NATO: Airstrike Kills Senior Al-Qaida Leader in Afghanistan

Posted May 29th, 2012 at 7:55 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan and coalition forces say an airstrike has killed al-Qaida's second-highest leader in Afghanistan.

In a statement Tuesday, the coalition identified the leader as Sakhr al-Taifi, a Saudi also known as Musthaq and Nasim.

NATO said he directed attacks against coalition and Afghan forces, traveling frequently between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The coalition says al-Taifi carried out commands from senior al-Qaida leadership and supplied weapons and equipment to insurgents in eastern Afghanistan.

The coalition said Sunday's airstrike in the Watahpur district of Kunar province killed another al-Qaida terrorist. It said the strike was conducted after the two militants were positively identified and that no civilians were harmed in the attack.

Kunar province borders Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas — a known safe haven for al-Qaida and Taliban-linked militants.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States invaded Afghanistan and ousted the Taliban-led government, which was giving refuge to al-Qaida.

Last May, U.S. forces shot and killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in a covert raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

In letters seized from bin Laden's compound, the terror mastermind recommended al-Qaida fighters head to Kunar to escape U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal agencies.

Bin Laden said the eastern Afghan province's “rougher terrain, many mountains, rivers and trees can accommodate hundreds of brothers without being spotted by the enemy.”

The documents were released by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.