Strike Kills No. 2 Insurgent in Afghanistan

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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