Kabul: A NATO airstrike earlier this month killed a key al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan — a regional commander in charge of suicide bombings and cash flow, the international military coalition said Tuesday.
NATO identified the man killed in the April 13 airstrike in Dangam district of eastern Kunar province as Abu Hafs al-Najdi, also known as Abdul Ghani. The alliance said the strike also killed a number of other insurgents, including another al-Qaida leader known as Waqas.
Al-Najdi, a Saudi citizen, directed al-Qaida operations in Kunar and traveled regularly between Afghanistan and Pakistan to coordinate with associated across the border, NATO said. He coordinated suicide bombing attacks as well as kidnappings and oversaw the transfer of money from Pakistan to cells in Afghanistan.
NATO said it has been chasing al-Najdi since 2007 and finally pinpointed him while he was meeting with Waqas.
Farther south in Paktia province, meanwhile, the provincial governor narrowly escaped an apparent assassination attempt by insurgents. A roadside bomb exploded just behind a vehicle taking Gov. Juma Khan Hamdard to his office, said Rohallah Samon, a spokesman for the governor.
Hamdard was not hurt, but three policemen who were in a chase vehicle were slightly injured, Samon said.