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American Forces Press Service

Coalition Forces Kill Senior Taliban Leader

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2006 – A coalition air strike Dec. 19 in Afghanistan’s Helmand province killed a senior member of the Taliban’s inner circle, military officials reported today.

Credible intelligence led coalition forces to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani’s location near the border with Pakistan, officials said. His vehicle, traveling in a deserted area, was destroyed by the air strike, instantly killing him and two unidentified associates.

"Osmani was in the top ring of the Taliban leadership and he was also a close associate of Osama bin Laden and Gulbuddin Hekmatyr," said Army Col. Tom Collins, a coalition spokesman. "His death is a major achievement in the fight against extremists and their terrorist networks."

Osmani was the Taliban’s chief of military operations in the provinces of Uruzgan, Nimroz, Kandahar, Farah, Herat and Helmand. He played a central role in facilitating terrorist operations involving Taliban, al Qaeda and the Haqqani network, including roadside bomb and suicide attacks, kidnappings, numerous atrocities against innocent civilians, and direct attacks on coalition, NATO and Afghan forces, Collins said.

In other news from Afghanistan, Afghan security forces with coalition forces captured five suspected terrorists today during an operation in Jalalabad in Nangarhar province, east of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Credible information led to the capture of the primary suspect, a known roadside bomb facilitator with ties to al Qaeda and other militant groups operating against the Afghan government and international forces, officials said.

There were no reported injuries to civilians, Afghan or coalition forces.

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