NATO: Airstrike Kills Senior Afghan Taliban Leaders

Posted September 11th, 2012 at 3:40 am (UTC-5)
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NATO says a coalition airstrike has killed two senior Taliban leaders in eastern Afghanistan.

The coalition on Tuesday said one of the men, Mullah Hazrat, was the suspected mastermind of the August 2008 ambush on NATO troops that killed 10 French soldiers and wounded 21 others in Uzbin Valley, south of Kabul.

French, American and Afghan soldiers later launched a major offensive in the region to give control of the Taliban stronghold back to local security forces.

NATO says Hazrat and one of his associates, Shakir, were killed Sunday in the Alisheng district of Laghman province. The coalition says Hazrat is believed to have ordered several attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in recent months, including the use of suicide bombers in Kabul.

NATO says the senior Taliban leader also coordinated the movement of foreign insurgents from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

The coalition says no civilians were harmed during Sunday's airstrike.

All international combat forces are to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 after transferring security responsibility to their Afghan counterparts.

In May, French President Francois Hollande said he plans to pull all of France's 2,000 combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year, an earlier timeline than put forth by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. France has the fifth largest foreign contingent in Afghanistan.