Coalition Airstrike Targets Taliban Leader

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2011 - A coalition airstrike targeting a Taliban leader killed two suspected insurgents in Afghanistan's Zabul province's Tarnek wa Jaldak district today, military officials reported.

NATO International Security Assistance Force officials still are gathering information to confirm if the Taliban leader -- responsible for roadside bomb and direct-fire attacks, kidnappings and assassinations along Highway 1 -- was killed.

Forces tracked the Taliban leader based on recent intelligence reports indicating he is planning multiple attacks against Afghan civilians and coalition forces, officials said, noting that he is involved in the coordination of weapons movement and placement to support such attacks.

In operations yesterday:

-- Afghan and coalition forces killed Tofan, a Haqqani terrorist network leader, and another suspected insurgent with an intelligence-driven precision airstrike in Khost province's Sabari district. Tofan facilitated the movement of roadside bombs from Pakistan to insurgent groups operating in the area and recently assumed a leadership position, officials said. A follow-on security force confirmed Tofan and another suspected insurgent were killed, and also recovered an assault rifle, ammunition, pistols, grenades and chest racks at the scene.

-- Afghan and coalition forces detained two Haqqani leaders, along with another suspected insurgent, in an intelligence-driven operation in Nangarhar province's Chaparhar district. The Haqqani leaders planned, organized and facilitated attacks on Afghan government officials in Jalalabad and on coalition forces in the area. One was responsible for attacks against Afghan checkpoints and infrastructure developments and was involved in a November attack on Forward Operating Base Fenty, officials said. The other, they added, tried to buy Stinger missiles for a future attack on Jalalabad Airfield.

-- In Ghazni province's Gelan district, Afghan and coalition forces detained a Taliban leader and another suspected insurgent. The Taliban leader has been involved in weapons trade and distribution, operating out of Zabul province's Shah Joy district and Ghazni's Gelan district. He reportedly had several heavy machine guns for an upcoming attack against Afghan and coalition forces, officials said.

-- Afghan and coalition forces detained a Taliban facilitator in Wardak province's Sayyidabad district. He reportedly received ammunition from a Taliban insurgent and conducted surveillance on coalition forces for upcoming attacks, officials said.

-- In Khost province, Afghan and coalition forces detained a Haqqani facilitator who operated in the province's Sabari and Khost districts, along with another suspected insurgent. The Haqqani facilitator guided and directed attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the province's Sabari, Bak, and Terayzai districts, officials said, and he reportedly received an update on plans for an attack targeting coalition forces from a Haqqani network leader.

The security force recovered assault rifles, pistols, chest racks and ammunition at the scene.

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