Nato airstrike kills Haqqani leader
A top Haqqani leader allegedly supporting suicide attack on a luxury hotel in Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday night was killed in a NATO airstrike in eastern Paktia province, the NATO-led coalition force said on Thursday.
"The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed today a top Haqqani network leader namely Ismail Jan suspected of providing material support to the Kabul suicide bomb attacks June 28 was killed in a precision airstrike in Gardez district, Paktia province, yesterday," said ISAF statement, Xinhua reported.
Haqqani network, which has close relations with al-Qaida and Taliban, is mostly active in eastern Afghan provinces and Kabul, and blamed for suicide attacks, roadside bombings and ambush against Afghan and ISAF forces.
"Ismail Jan was the deputy to the senior Haqqani commander inside Afghanistan, Haji Mali Khan. Jan and several Haqqani fighters were killed in the airstrike," the statement said.
Jan also served as an insurgent leader in the Khost-Gardez Pass area, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and moved into Afghanistan from Pakistan in late 2010, the statement said.
"The security force tracked his location after receiving several intelligence reports from Afghan government officials, Afghan citizens and disenfranchised insurgents. After planning to avoid civilian casualties and mitigate collateral damage, the precision airstrike was conducted, killing Jan and several other insurgents," the statement added.
Afghan security forces have captured or killed more than 80 Haqqani leaders and facilitators since January, primarily in Paktika, Paktia and Khost provinces. Initial reports indicate no civilians were harmed in the airstrike, the statement said.
A total of 21 people including 10 civilians, two policemen and nine attackers were killed and 18 others including 13 civilians were injured when nine suicide bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on Tuesday night.