KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 11, 2012) — Afghan and coalition forces today confirmed the death of two senior Taliban leaders, including the suspected mastermind of the August 2008 ambush which left numerous French soldiers dead and 21 wounded.
The Taliban leaders—Mullah Hazrat and Shakir—were killed in a precision airstrike Sunday when Afghan and coalition forces positively identified a group of armed insurgents in Alisheng district, Laghman province, and engaged them.
Mullah Hazrat is believed to have planned and directed the Aug. 18, 2008, ambush, 40 miles east of Kabul, which resulted in a two-day running battle between ISAF and Afghan security forces and more than 100 Taliban insurgents.
In the years since, Mullah Hazrat was promoted to serve as the Taliban leader for Alisheng district. He is believed to have ordered several attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in recent months, including the use of suicide bombers in Kabul. He also coordinated the movement of foreign insurgents from Pakistan into the country.
Shakir, also known as Attullah, was one of Mullah Hazrat’s associates and believed to be responsible for several ambushes and attacks throughout western Laghman. At the time of his death, Shakir was suspected of attempting to recruit foreign insurgents to rebuild his attack cell.
A post-strike assessment determined no civilian property was damaged and no civilians were harmed.
In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:
An Afghan and coalition security force detained two suspected insurgents during an operation to arrest an improvised explosive device facilitator in Talah wa Barfak district, Baghlan province today. The facilitator is believed to coordinate the movement of IED components throughout the district for insurgent attacks.
Afghan National Army Soldiers of the 2nd Kandak, 1st Brigade, 205th ANA Corps and International Security Assistance Force soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment conducted a dismounted clearance operation in Panjwai district, Kandahar province Sunday and Monday that resulted in the discovery and clearance of 31improvised explosive devices. During the two-day foot patrol, the Afghan and ISAF force stopped nearly 20 times upon discovery of individual or multiple IEDs along their route. The force paused to secure and clear each one before continuing movement. During the mission the patrol was also engaged several times by insurgent small arms fire. In total, the discovered IEDs consisted of nearly 100 kilograms of homemade explosives. The mission resulted in no injuries or damage to ANSF, ISAF or Afghan civilians.
In air interdiction operations in Helmand province Monday, ISAF patrols seized more than 750 kilograms of opium and detained two suspected narcotics smugglers in Dishu and Nawah-ye Barakzai districts. In both incidents, the ISAF units investigated the area after observing suspicious activity through aerial surveillance. The seized opium was destroyed on site. No coalition casualties were sustained during the operation.
An Afghan and coalition security force detained numerous suspected insurgents and destroyed a Taliban weapons cache during an operation in Pul-e ‘Alam district, Logar province today. The Taliban weapons cache contained several rocket-propelled grenades and RPG components, multiple grenades, heavy and small arms ammunition, and one firearm. The security force also discovered a trigger mechanism for an improvised explosive device and more than a dozen kilograms of homemade explosives. The security force safely destroyed the weapons and explosives in an isolated area away from all structures and civilians.
An Afghan and coalition security force killed one armed insurgent and detained several suspected insurgents during an operation to arrest a Taliban leader in Khugyani district, Nangarhar province, today. As the security force identified itself and approached the Taliban leader’s suspected location, an armed insurgent displayed hostile intent toward the Afghan and coalition troops. The security force positively identified the lethal threat and engaged, killing the armed insurgent. The security force also seized and safely destroyed multiple assault rifles, several grenades and grenade components, and nearly a dozen kilograms of illegal narcotics and homemade explosives.