American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON – Afghan security forces and their International Security Assistance Force partners killed a senior al-Qaida leader in Kunar province May 27, a senior Defense Department spokesman told reporters at the Pentagon today.
“As a result of their efforts, alongside their coalition counterparts, they achieved a significant operational success in Kunar province … with the death of Sakhr al-Taifi,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters.
Sakhr al-Taifi, al-Qaida’s second-highest leader in Afghanistan, had commanded foreign insurgents and directed attacks against coalition and Afghan security forces, Little said.
“He frequently traveled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, carrying out commands from senior al-Qaida leadership,” the press secretary said. “He also supplied weapons and equipment to insurgents in the east and managed transport of insurgent fighters into Afghanistan.”
Little said security forces identified Sakhr al-Taifi and another al-Qaida terrorist in Kunar province’s Watahpur district, and took careful steps to ensure no civilians were in the area before conducting a precision airstrike.
A follow-on assessment determined no civilians were harmed in this operation, he added.
“This operation is another example of our ongoing efforts to degrade and weaken al-Qaida’s leadership,” Little said, “and a reminder of the mission we are pursuing -- to ensure that Afghanistan, never again, becomes a safe haven for al-Qaida or its militant allies.”
However, “despite the unprecedented pressure we have applied, al-Qaida remains a threat to our forces and to our homeland,” he said. “And we will continue to pursue our goal of dismantling and ultimately defeating them.”