Bin Laden's "close associate" killed in southern Afghanistan

Iran Materials 23 December 2006 14:37 (UTC +04:00)

(AFP) - US-led coalition forces have killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, a close associate of Osama bin Laden and a Taliban leader, in southern Afghanistan, a military statement said.

"Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, a senior member of the Taliban's inner circle, was killed on December 19 in Helmand province," the statement said.

"Osmani was in the top ring of the Taliban leadership and he was also a close associate of Osama bin Laden and Gulbuddin Hekmatyr," coalition forces spokesman Colonel Tom Collins said on Saturday, reports Trend.

The US has declared Taliban leader Hekmatyr a wanted terrorist for helping lead the insurgency against foreign troops in Afghanistan.

The statement said credible intelligence led coalition forces to Osmani's location in Helmand province near the border with Pakistan.

A coalition airstrike hit Osmani's vehicle, which was travelling in a deserted area, killing him and two unidentified associates, it said.