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American Forces Press Service

Forces Confirm Deaths of 2 Taliban Leaders

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 11, 2012 – Afghan and coalition forces today confirmed the death of two senior Taliban leaders, including the suspected mastermind of an August 2008 ambush that left numerous French soldiers dead and 21 wounded, military officials reported.

The Taliban leaders -- Mullah Hazrat and Shakir -- were killed in a precision airstrike Sept. 9, officials said, when Afghan and coalition forces positively identified a group of armed insurgents in the Alisheng district of Laghman province and engaged them.

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 coalition and Afghan security forces and more than 100 Taliban insurgents, officials said.

In the years since, Hazrat was promoted to serve as the Taliban leader for the Alisheng district, officials said. 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 Afghanistan.

Shakir, also known as Attullah, was one of Hazrat’s associates and is believed to be responsible for several ambushes and attacks throughout western Laghman province, officials said. At the time of his death, Shakir was suspected of attempting to recruit foreign insurgents to rebuild his attack cell.

In operations in Afghanistan today:

-- A combined force detained numerous suspects and found and destroyed a Taliban weapons cache in the Pul-e Alam district of Logar province. The cache contained several rocket-propelled grenades and RPG components, grenades, heavy and small-arms ammunition, a firearm and bomb components.

-- A combined force killed an armed insurgent and detained several suspects during a search for a Taliban leader in the Khugyani district of Nangarhar province. The security force also seized and safely destroyed multiple assault rifles, several grenades and grenade components, and some illegal narcotics and homemade explosives.

-- A combined force detained two suspects during a search for an improvised explosive device facilitator in the Talah wa Barfak district of Baghlan province. The facilitator is believed to coordinate the movement of IED components throughout the district for insurgent attacks.

In operations yesterday:

-- A combined force discovered and cleared 31 IEDs in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province during a two-day operation. In total, the discovered IEDs consisted of more than 200 pounds of homemade explosives.

-- Coalition patrols seized more than 1,600 pounds of opium and detained two suspected narcotics smugglers in the Dishu and Nawah-ye Barakzai districts of Helmand province. In both incidents, the units investigated the area after observing suspicious activity through aerial surveillance. The seized opium was destroyed.

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