Afghanistan — Forces Kill Senior Taliban Leader in Baghlan Province

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2011 — 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. 

— 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 

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