Omar Khalid al Khurasani was closely allied with al Qaeda and its emir, Ayman al Zawahiri. In the past Khurasani has called for the imposition of sharia law, the establishment of a global caliphate, and the seizure of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. He was killed in a drone strike in Paktia province.
Afghan forces suffered 97 percent casualties during the suicide assault. The attack is the latest in the southern province, where the Taliban has stepped up its attacks on Afghan military outposts.
Taliban suicide teams hit the police headquarters and a training center in the provincial capital of Gardez City. Twenty-two policemen and 20 civilians were killed and scores more were wounded.
Taliban forces have overrun two district centers in Kandahar and Farah provinces over the past two days. The jihadist group continues to gain ground in Afghanistan despite a change in US strategy that has reduced restrictions on local commanders to launch airstrikes against the group.
The strike took place just days after Pakistan freed two westerners and their children from Taliban custody in the same tribal agency.
The commander, who went by the alias Abu “Khalid,” or Shahid Showkat, was highly sought by Indian security forces for his role in orchestrating attacks targeting Indian military positions and personnel.
In what has become an all too common, the Taliban has released yet another propaganda video that shows it fighters occupying an Afghan military base during the daytime after overrunning it in a nighttime assault.
As with previous propaganda videos, the Taliban demonstrates that it can organize its forces for assaults on bases and district centers and execute attacks over extended periods of time, or parade its troops in the open, without fear of being targeted from the air by Afghan or Coalition forces.