WASHINGTON, April 26, 2011 — International Security Assistance Force officials confirmed today that an April 13 airstrike in Kunar province killed the No. 2 targeted insurgent in Afghanistan.
Abu Hafs al-Najdi, a senior al-Qaida leader also known as Abdul Ghani, was a Saudi Arabian national who operated primarily from Kunar and frequently traveled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said.
He directed al-Qaida operations in Kunar, including recruiting, training and employing fighters, obtaining weapons and equipment, organizing finances and planning attacks against Afghan and coalition forces, officials added.
Numerous other insurgents, including Waqas, another al-Qaida leader, Waqas, also were killed in the airstrike.
Abdul Ghani was responsible for the coordination of numerous high-profile attacks. On the morning of his death, officials said, he reportedly directed a suicide attack that killed a tribal elder and nine other Afghan civilians.
Throughout late 2010 and early this year, Abdul Ghani employed his network of insurgents against security force outposts throughout the province, including a December attack on a coalition forward operating base and two February attacks against an Afghan security force outpost. He commonly instructed subordinate leaders to kidnap foreigners traveling between Asmar and Asadabad, and he was responsible for directing suicide-bomb attacks targeting U.S. government officials, ISAF officials said, regularly circulating throughout Kunar, establishing insurgent camps and training sites, and teaching insurgents how to build and use bombs.
He was also a key financial conduit between Pakistan-based leaders and insurgent operatives in Afghanistan, streamlining control of assets and providing funding to insurgent fighters for weapons, explosives and equipment.
Abdul Ghani had been the focus of coalition force efforts since at least 2007, and was meeting with Waqas at the time of his death, officials said, noting that the two insurgents frequently worked together in coordinating attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
In operations throughout Afghanistan yesterday:
— A combined Afghan and coalition force acting on intelligence information captured a Taliban facilitator and several of his associates in Helmand province’s Sangin district.
— In an intelligence-driven operation in Baghlan province’s Dahanah-ye Ghori district, a combined Afghan and coalition force captured a Taliban leader who directed and facilitated the movement of insurgents from Pakistan to southern Baghlan.
— A combined force operating in Ghazni province’s Gelan district captured a Taliban facilitator who was involved in the acquisition of supplies and equipment for surveillance and attacks on coalition forces.
— Acting on reports of insurgent activity in Nangarhar province’s Sherzad district, a combined force captured an insurgent facilitator and detained several other suspected insurgents. The facilitator, an explosives expert, supported senior Taliban leaders in Takhar province’s Ishkamish district and Baghlan province’s Burkah district, assisting the networks with construction and placement of roadside bombs targeting Afghan and coalition forces. The force found 10 pounds of opium, grenades and multiple rifles at the scene.
— A combined Afghan and coalition force acting on intelligence tips in Khost province’s Sabari district captured a Haqqani network terrorist responsible for acquiring weapons and financial support for Haqqani operations.
— In Helmand province’s Marja district, a combined Afghan and coalition patrol found 680 7.62 mm rounds, a radio and eight assault-rifle magazines.
— A combined patrol in Kandahar province’s Arghandab district found two assault rifles, six full magazines, a pair of binoculars, 120 pounds of homemade explosives and several knives.
— In Kandahar province’s Zharey district, Afghan and coalition forces found 1,500 pounds of hashish. In the same district, a separate combined patrol found 5,200 pounds of hashish, 240 pounds of seeds, 250 pounds of marijuana, 240 pounds of poppy tar, 100 pounds of homemade explosives, a half barrel of machine-gun rounds, four 9-volt batteries, a bomb with detonation cord, seven pressure plates, three 82 mm mortar rounds and two artillery shells.
In other news from Afghanistan, a combined Afghan and coalition force killed a Taliban leader and another insurgent April 24 while detaining several others in Laghman province’s Alisheng district. The operation was conducted to capture Taliban leader Fazil Rabi Badam, who operated in the Alisheng and Dowlat Shah districts, planning and conducting attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
Upon arriving, the security force was attacked by armed insurgents who barricaded themselves inside a building and engaged the force with grenades. The force responded to the insurgents’ fire and moved to safeguard the civilians in the surrounding buildings.
While initiating a call-out for occupants to come out of the building, the force was again engaged by insurgents. After ensuring women and children were moved out of the area the combined force called for a precision airstrike. After the strike, the security force approached the building to attempt a second callout, but the insurgents again fired and threw grenades. A second airstrike killed two insurgents, including Badam.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases
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