Sunday, December 24, 2006

Taliban smoked

Some conflicting reports that this bad guy was killed on last Tuesday.
From the Times online Sunday edition here:

THE Taliban commander in charge of attacks on British and Nato forces in southern Afghanistan was reported yesterday to have been killed in a US airstrike after an RAF aircraft intercepted his satellite telephone.

Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, the Taliban treasurer, was the most senior member of the group’s leadership to die in the war on terror, according to US officials.

A Taliban spokesman, however, said he was still alive.

Osmani, an associate of Osama Bin Laden, is said to have been part of a triumvirate with Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban military commander, and Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader. Osmani headed Taliban operations in six provinces.

Military souces said he had been killed by a strike on his vehicle as he and his aides left a village in the Zahre area. An RAF R1 monitoring aircraft is believed to have been tracking him. The aircraft was working with a US special operations team, including members of Delta Force, plus intelligence specialists from a unit known as Task Force Orange who tracked him on the ground.

The satellite telephone signal allowed the RAF aircraft to pinpoint Osmani’s location. As he headed out of the village in a 4x4, a US plane dropped a smart bomb onto the vehicle.

The Taliban issued an immediate denial, saying the bomb had killed Mullah Abdul Zahir, a district commander, and three of his men.

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