Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#2 senior al-Qaeda leader killed in Afghanistan


International forces in Afghanistan say they have killed their number two insurgent target in the country - senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Ghani.

The Saudi citizen died in an air strike almost two weeks ago in Kunar province, near Pakistan, Nato-led forces said.

Abdul Ghani, also known as Abu Hafs al-Najdi, ran training camps and planned attacks on tribal leaders and foreigners, the Nato statement said.

Nato estimates some 100 al-Qaeda members still operate in Afghanistan.

The alliance says it has killed more than 25 al-Qaeda leaders and fighters in the past month. There is no independent confirmation of the claim.

Abdul Ghani has been blamed for a number of high-profile attacks - including the death of Malik Zarin, a tribal leader in the east who was a close ally of President Hamid Karzai.

Mr Zarin and nine other people were killed in a suicide attack on the morning of the militant leader's own death.

Abdul Ghani is also accused of mounting attacks against foreigners, including US officials.

The International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said Abdul Ghani controlled a network of insurgents that targeted security forces outposts throughout Kunar province.

"Abdul Ghani commonly instructed subordinate leaders to conduct kidnapping operations against foreigners... and he was responsible for directing suicide bomb attacks targeting US government officials," Isaf's statement said.

Nato has been pursuing him since 2007. He is also number 23 on a Saudi list of most wanted militants.


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