NATO Says Al Qaeda’s No. 2 in Afghanistan Killed in Air Strike
U.S.-led coalition troops battling Afghan Taliban insurgents have killed Al Qaeda’s second-in-command in Afghanistan in an air strike in the country’s eastern province of Kunar, the coalition said Tuesday.
Sakhr al-Taifi, a Saudi national, commanded foreign insurgent fighters and frequently moved between Afghanistan and Pakistan, often overseeing the transport of militants into Afghanistan, NATO said in a prepared statement. The air strike occurred Sunday in the Watahpur district of Kunar, a volatile Afghan province along the Pakistani border.
Al-Taifi and one other unnamed Al Qaeda militant were killed in the air strike, NATO said.
Over the last two years, the U.S. has steadily eroded Al Qaeda’s leadership ranks. U.S. drone missile strikes during that time period have killed at least 18 senior Al Qaeda leaders and commanders, as well as several top Taliban commanders. The death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a secret U.S. commando raid in the military city of Abbottabad in May 2011, was followed by a drone strike the next month that killed a top Al Qaeda planner, Ilyas Kashmiri, in Pakistan’s militant-infested tribal region along the Afghan border.