Forces Kill Senior Taliban Leader in Baghlan Province


WASHINGTON – An Afghan and coalition force killed Qari Musa, a senior Taliban leader, during a precision airstrike in the Talah wa Barfak district of Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, military officials reported today.

Musa was the senior Taliban leader in the district, officials said, and routinely targeted Afghan government officials and Afghan National Police in the district. At the time of his death, he was gathering groups of fighters, including suicide bombers, to conduct attacks against Afghan security forces.

Musa also purchased weapons from arms facilitators to conduct ambushes, officials added.

The coalition force conducted the May 23 strike after receiving reports that identified Musa and several insurgents operating at a compound in the district. Besides Musa, two of his bodyguards and several other insurgent fighters were killed during the air strike.

No civilians were harmed as a result of the air strike, officials said.

In other operations:

— Ziahuddin, the Taliban-appointed senior governing official for Bamyan district, and Shayk Dayan, the newly Taliban-appointed senior governing official for Doshi district, were killed during a security operation in Baghlan province’s Doshi district May 22, International Security Assistance Force officials confirmed today.

— Also today, ISAF officials confirmed the capture of a Taliban facilitator during a security operation May 23 in Logar province’s Baraki Barak district. The facilitator assisted the insurgent network with improvised explosive devices and weapons for attacks against Afghan security forces.

— Officials confirmed today the capture of a Taliban leader during a security operation May 21 in Helmand province’s Nad’ Ali district. The leader was engaged in planning ambushes and other attacks on Afghan forces.

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— A coalition force patrol found and destroyed several weapons caches today in Kandahar province’s Arghandab district. The cache included an RPK machine gun, three 120 mm rounds, nine mortar rounds, 12 rocket-propelled grenades, an anti-personnel mine, three grenades, 800 7.62 mm rounds, seven booster rounds and four blasting caps.

In operations yesterday:

— Afghan and coalition forces air assaulted into Nuristan province’s Do-ab district to assess insurgent activity, officials said, following claims that the district was overrun by insurgents. The combined force came under small-arms fire upon landing from an unknown number of insurgents. The force returned fire and called for close-air support, suppressing the enemy fire and killing more than 10 insurgents.

“We have seen the insurgent claims in the media, Col. Hans Bush, ISAF Joint Command spokesman, said. “Our Afghan and coalition forces are on the ground. There is some fighting; however, no indication at this time the district was ever overrun. The ground force commander continues to develop the situation on the ground.”

— In Balkh province’s Chimtal district, a combined Afghan and coalition security force detained two suspected insurgents while searching for a senior Taliban leader. The leader is the Taliban-appointed senior governing official for the province. He is the focal point for all operational direction and is involved in all stages of western Balkh operations.

— In Helmand province’s Nahr-e Saraj district, a combined Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents during a security operation targeting a Taliban leader. The Taliban leader coordinated attacks against security forces and provides other insurgents in his area with munitions.

— In Khost province’s Musa Khel district, a combined Afghan and coalition security force detained two insurgents during a security operation targeting a Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin leader. The leader directs insurgents in Qalandar and Musa Khel districts.

— In Ghazni province, coalition force patrols discovered two weapons caches. In Qarah Bagh district, a patrol found eight rocket-propelled grenades, while a separate patrol in Deh Yak district discovered 10 120 mm rounds, one 105 mm rounds and a fuse. Security forces will destroy all weapons and ammunition.

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases.  Official US Government News.

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