U.S. Strike Kills Afghan Taliban Leader
Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, a top leader in the Taliban, was killed in a U.S. airstrike.
A top Taliban military commander described as a close associate of Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar was killed in an airstrike this week close to the border with Pakistan, the U.S. military said Saturday. A Taliban spokesman denied the claim.
Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani was killed Tuesday by a U.S. airstrike while traveling by vehicle in a deserted area in the southern province of Helmand, the U.S. military said. Two associates also were killed, it said.
There was no immediate confirmation from Afghan officials or visual proof offered to support the claim. A U.S. spokesman said “various sources” were used to confirm Osmani’s identity.
Osmani, regarded as one of three top associates of Omar, is the highest-ranking Taliban leader the coalition has claimed to have killed or captured since U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime in late 2001 for hosting bin Laden.
We’ve killed enough #2 and #3 leaders in various al Qaeda affiliated groups at this point that we can be reasonably sure that it’s not going to have much impact in Iraq. On the other hand, there does seem to be a widespread consensus that al Qaeda proper is a shadow of its 9-11 self. And, certainly, to the extent that the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist, killing them off is worthwhile for its own sake.