Coalition: Senior Taliban leaders killed in Kapisa province
Coalition forces have positively identified five significant Taliban subcommanders killed in recent fighting in Kapisa province, a volatile area 70-kilometers north of Kabul. Two of the commanders were behind the Aug. 18 ambush against French and Afghan forces in eastern Kabul Province that reuslted in 10 French soldiers killed and 21 wounded.
Coalition forces killed Ahmad Shah and Mullah Rohoullah durign a raid on a compound in the Nijrab district on Aug. 30. Coalition forces took heavy small-arms fire and volleys from rocket-propelled grenades, and called in airstrikes to destroy the compound. Shah, Rohoullah, and six other Taliban fighters were killed in the attack.
The US military described Shah and Rohoullah as Taliban commanders in Kapisa that facilitated the movement of "foreign fighters" - which means Pakistani Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. The men also were behind multiple attacks on ISAF and Afghan forces and helped smuggle weapons.
The two Taliban leaders were behind the deadly Aug. 18 ambush against a combined French and Afghan patrol in the Sarobi district in Kabul province, just 30 miles from the Afghan capital. The combined patrol was tasked with monitoring the suspected insurgent route that connects Kabul's Sarobi district with the Tag Ab Valley. Ten French soldiers were killed and 21 were wounded during the complex ambush. The French claimed to have killed between 40 and 70 Taliban fighters during the fighting. The French unit was pulled from the line and sent home, AFP reported.
The Taliban ambush involved an estimated 170 fighters, "broken up into different groups." The "well-organized trap" on "terrain that was extremely favorable to the enemy" involved coordinated fires with mortars, rockets, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms. The Taliban surrounded the French and Afghan forces in a valley, and were only beaten back after US air support struck Taliban positions.
Coalition forces have also identified three other senior Taliban subcommanders killed in fighting throughout Kapisa province. Qari Nejat, a district level commander operating in Kapisa's insurgent plagued Tag Ab Valley, was killed along with four other Taliban fighters during a Coalition raid on August 5, according to a Combined Joint Task Force-101 press statement.
Nejat was a lieutenant to the Taliban's overall commander for Kapisa province, Qari Baryal, and has been tied to the recent bombing of the Tag Ab bazaar that left six Afghan civilians injured. He has also been linked to the July 16 kidnapping of three Afghan National Police officers in Jalokhel and is suspected of torturing and beheading an Afghan civilian on June 30, according to same report.
Coalition forces also killed Khairullah Nezami (Khairuddin Nizami) and Qari Ezmarai, both of whom were known Taliban bomb experts, along with four other Taliban fighters during a raid in the Tag Ab district on August 23. Qari Ezmarai has also been linked to the movement of suicide bombers and foreign terrorists into Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan. Both commanders were active in the restive Jalokhel village area, a hotly contested area of Kapisa province that has been the site of repeated insurgent attacks and Coalition raids.
Bill Roggio contributed to this report.