The Terror Journal

A Journal on Terrorism and Genocide

NATO killed senior Insurgent in Afghanistan

NATONATO killed a senior Taliban commander and nine other suspected militants in southern Afghanistan, while the coalition and its Afghan allies suffered an equal number of deaths in separate attacks in the same area, officials said Monday.

The violence highlighted the deadly insurgency raging in the south as the U.S. prepares to deploy thousands of additional troops to reverse Taliban gains in recent years.

Senior Taliban commander Maulawi Hassan and his associates were killed Saturday when troops attacked an isolated compound in the Kajaki area of southern Helmand province, NATO said in a statement, adding there were no civilians involved.

”Maulawi Hassan was a senior insurgent figure in northern Helmand, and his influence extended into western Oruzgan,” the statement said.

Southern Afghanistan is the center of the Taliban insurgency, which has made a comeback in the last three years following the group’s initial defeat by U.S.-led forces in late 2001. Afghan and coalition forces have stepped up operations against militants in southern Afghanistan, and the U.S. plans to send thousands of additional soldiers there this year.

On Monday, Afghan police and intelligence agents detained five Taliban militants in Oruzgan, including the group’s senior commander for the province, Mullah Azizullah, said police officer Wali Jan.

The militants were stopped in Arzo district while driving from the city of Quetta in neighboring Pakistan, Jan said.

Quetta is believed to be a safe-haven for many senior Taliban leaders, including the group’s supreme leader, Mullah Omar, according to Afghan officials. Pakistan denies the claim and says Omar is in Afghanistan.

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Also Monday, Taliban fighters ambushed a police patrol in southern Kandahar province’s Spin Boldak district, killing eight officers and wounding another, said Sahib Jan, a police officer.

On Sunday, a rocket slammed into the main NATO military base in the south, killing a contractor and wounding six others.

Kandahar airfield, the nerve center for the alliance’s war effort in southern Afghanistan, has been hit by many rockets in the past but Sunday’s death was the first in such an attack, another NATO statement said.

Also Sunday, two NATO soldiers were killed in a ”hostile incident” in the same region, a third NATO statement said, without releasing the soldiers’ nationalities or the exact location of the attack.

President Barack Obama said Sunday that sending additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan must be part of a comprehensive strategy that includes an exit plan.

”What we can’t do is think that just a military approach in Afghanistan is going to be able to solve our problems,” Obama said on CBS’ ”60 Minutes.” ”So what we’re looking for is a comprehensive strategy. And there’s got to be an exit strategy. There’s got to be a sense that this is not perpetual drift.”

Obama’s comments were a prelude to a revamped plan for fighting insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan that is expected to be announced this week. On Friday, a military official said the overhauled U.S. strategy would call for new garrisons in far-flung Afghan communities to better hold off the Taliban.

Obama’s plan covers the next three to five years, with the goals of containing the insurgency, heading off the possibility that it could topple Afghanistan’s fragile central government and providing enough security for Afghan citizens that they reject the insurgents of their own accord, the official said Friday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the review was not complete.

In the interview, Obama said the most difficult decision he’s had to make in his 2-month-old presidency was to send more troops to Afghanistan, which he decided before completion of a strategic review on the region.

”When I make a decision to send 17,000 young Americans to Afghanistan, you can understand that intellectually, but understanding what that means for those families, for those young people when you end up sitting at your desk, signing a condolence letter to one of the family members of a fallen hero, you’re reminded each and every day at every moment that the decisions you make count.”

Source: NYT

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