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Strike kills senior Taliban commander in Kandahar

Release No: UNRELEASED June 8, 2010 PRINT | E-MAIL

Click the image above for ISAF video footage of the air strike that killed Taliban commander Haji Amir May 30.
Click the image above for ISAF video footage of the air strike that killed Taliban commander Haji Amir May 30.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (June 7, 2010) — An Afghan-international coalition force used a precision air strike to kill one of the two most senior Taliban leaders in Kandahar Province, and several of his fighters on May 30, in Panjwa’i district.

“In Kandahar Province, efforts are under way in Zharay, Panjwa’i, and Arghandab districts to protect the people from the insurgency,” U.S. Army Col. Wayne Shanks, ISAF Public Affairs Officer, said.

One of these operations targeted an insurgent commander, Haji Amir, in the Dand district of Kandahar Province. Amir was the second most dangerous insurgent leader in Kandahar and had escaped from Sarposa prison in 2008.

The video shows the precision strike followed by a secondary explosion indicating more explosives were in the building.

“Haji Amir’s removal from the battlefield will seriously hamper the Taliban’s operations here, and he will not be able to hurt the Afghan people or our forces anymore,” said Shanks.

Haji Amir was tasked with creating a series of IED obstacles in anticipation of increasing operations in the region. Haji Amir and his fighters had been tracked for several days, and when they stopped at a small unoccupied mud hut in a farming area near the village of Zangabad, the combined force called in the air strike.

The Taliban leader operated throughout Dand, Zhari and Panjwa’i districts. He escaped from Sarposa Prison in a Taliban coordinated prison break in June, 2008.

Most recently Amir had been in Pakistan planning the Taliban’s upcoming attacks, and he returned to Afghanistan in April to lead attacks against coalition and Afghan forces, according to Shanks.

In another operation, Mullah Zergay, the top Taliban commander for the Kandahar City area, was killed by Afghan-international forces in an operation in Zharay district last week.

Zergay’s operations, particularly those using explosive devices are directly responsible for the deaths of many Afghans in Kandahar, Arghandab and Zharay districts. He was also involved in violent intimidation, kidnappings and executions of government employees and village elders.

“Zergay's death is considered to be a major loss for the Taliban leadership in southern Afghanistan,” Shanks said.