Afghanistan — NATO Officials Confirm Taliban Leaders’ Deaths

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2011 — Offi­cials from NATO’s Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand today con­firmed the iden­ti­ty of two Tal­iban lead­ers killed recent­ly in Afghanistan.

Afghan and coali­tion forces killed Maulawi Zahir Jan. 9 in Kun­duz province’s Khan­abad dis­trict. Zahir was an explo­sive device and weapons traf­fick­er con­nect­ed to sev­er­al Tal­iban lead­ers in Pakistan. 

Qari Baryal was killed in a Jan. 7 coali­tion airstrike in Kunar province. He was a Tal­iban leader and al-Qai­da affil­i­ate who led a group of at least 25 fight­ers in and near the province’s Pech Valley. 

ISAF Joint Com­mand offi­cials also pro­vid­ed details on oth­er recent operations: 

— Secu­ri­ty forces yes­ter­day killed three insur­gents, includ­ing Mir­wais Sabri, a Haqqani net­work leader, in Khost province’s Sabari dis­trict. Sabri was respon­si­ble for plan­ning and car­ry­ing out sev­er­al attacks on secu­ri­ty forces in the area. Secu­ri­ty forces spot­ted Sabri and the oth­er two insur­gents in a remote part of the dis­trict and called in an airstrike. Sabri’s asso­ciates were killed in the airstrike. Sabri was killed dur­ing a fol­low-on search of the area after he fired on the secu­ri­ty force. 

— Afghan and coali­tion forces in War­dak province’s Maid­en Shahr dis­trict killed Safi­ul­la, a mid-lev­el insur­gent com­man­der, and detained three oth­ers. Safi­ul­la was con­nect­ed to sev­er­al indi­rect-fire and small-arms attacks against local secu­ri­ty forces in the area. Tips from local res­i­dents led secu­ri­ty forces to his loca­tion. Safi­ul­la was armed and tried to flee, but was sur­round­ed by secu­ri­ty forces. He was shot and killed after refus­ing requests to for­feit his weapon. Safiulla’s three asso­ciates were detained for fur­ther questioning. 

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force and ISAF Joint Com­mand News Releases 

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