Airstrike in Helmand Kills Taliban Attack Cell Leader

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 7, 2012 - A precision airstrike killed a Taliban cell leader yesterday during a security operation in the Nad-e Ali district of Afghanistan's Helmand province, military officials reported.

Ajmal, also known as Ahmed Shah, is believed to have commanded an attack cell and directed insurgent activity throughout western Helmand, including multiple attacks on Afghan security forces, officials said. In recent days, they added, he is believed to have conducted an attack that wounded several Afghan soldiers.

A post-strike assessment determined no civilians were harmed and no civilian property was damaged.

Also in Helmand, an Afghan and coalition security force in the Now Zad district detained several suspected insurgents today during an operation to arrest a Taliban leader believed to direct insurgent activity throughout the district, including the acquisition of weapons and attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces. The security force also seized assault rifles and illegal narcotics.

In other news, Afghan commandos and coalition forces found a large cache of weapons and drugs yesterday during a vehicle interdiction in Helmand's Reg-e-Khanishen district. The combined force seized more than a half-ton of dry opium, 220 pounds of wet opium, weapons, ammunition and night-vision goggles.

The force also detained three insurgents suspected of enabling attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in the area. Sales from illegal drugs are funding insurgent activity throughout Afghanistan, officials said.

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