Man was killed in April 13 airstrike after being pursued since 2007
KABUL - A NATO airstrike earlier this month killed a key al-Qaida operative in Afghanistan — a regional commander in charge of suicide bombings and cash flow, the international military coalition said Tuesday.
NATO identified the man killed in the April 13 airstrike in Dangam district of eastern Kunar province as Abu Hafs al-Najdi, also known as Abdul Ghani. The alliance said the strike also killed a number of other insurgents, including another al-Qaida leader known as Waqas.
"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," an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) statement said.
Al-Najdi, a Saudi citizen, directed al-Qaida operations in Kunar and traveled regularly between Afghanistan and Pakistan to coordinate with associates across the border, NATO said. He coordinated suicide bombing attacks as well as kidnappings and oversaw the transfer of money from Pakistan to cells in Afghanistan.
NATO said it had been chasing al-Najdi since 2007 and finally pinpointed him while he was meeting with Waqas.
News of his death came a day after hundreds of insurgents tunneled their way out of a high-security jail in southern Kandahar, triggering an extensive manhunt and tightening of security along the Pakistan border. (Agencies)