KABUL, Afghanistan (April 26, 2011) — The International Security Assistance Force confirmed their number two overall targeted insurgent in Afghanistan was killed during an airstrike in Dangam district, Kunar province, April 13.
Al-Qaida senior leader Abu Hafs al-Najdi, also known as Abdul Ghani, a Saudi Arabian national, operated primarily from Kunar and traveled frequently between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He directed al-Qaida operations in the province, including recruiting; training and employing fighters; obtaining weapons and equipment; organizing al-Qaida finances; and planning attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
Abdul Ghani, and numerous other insurgents, including another al-Qaida leader, Waqas, were killed in the April 13 airstrike.
Abdul Ghani was responsible for the coordination of numerous high-profile attacks. On the morning of his death, he reportedly directed the suicide attack that killed tribal elder Malik Zarin and nine other Afghan civilians.
Throughout late 2010 and early this year, Abdul Ghani employed his network of insurgents against security force outposts throughout the province. These attacks included a December attack on a coalition forward operating base and two February attacks against an Afghan security force outpost.
Abdul Ghani commonly instructed subordinate leaders to conduct kidnapping operations against foreigners traveling between Asmar and Asadabad, and he was responsible for directing suicide bomb attacks targeting U.S. government officials.
Additionally, Abdul Ghani regularly circulated throughout Kunar, establishing insurgent camps and training sites, teaching insurgents explosive device construction and attack procedures.
He was also a key financial conduit between Pakistan-based leaders and insurgent operatives in Afghanistan. Abdul Ghani was able to streamline control of assets and provide considerably more funding to insurgent fighters. This led to increased funds to provide weapons, explosives and equipment to multiple insurgent attack cells.
Abdul Ghani had been the focus of coalition force efforts since at least 2007, and at the time of his death, was meeting Waqas. The two insurgents frequently worked together in coordinating attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
The al-Qaida network and its safe havens remains a top priority for Afghan and coalition forces. In the last month, coalition forces have killed more than 25 al-Qaida leaders and fighters, and the death of Abdul Ghani marks a significant milestone in the disruption of the al-Qaida network.