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Senior Taliban leader killed in British Apache strike

3rd June 2009 - 09:55 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


One of the most dangerous Taliban leaders in Helmand, believed to be behind suicide attacks that have killed British and Afghan troops, was killed during a planned UK Apache helicopter strike.

Mullah Mansur was killed in the early hours of Monday, 1 June 2009, in an isolated area near Nahr e-Saraj, north east of Lashkar Gah.

He is thought to be behind a number of suicide bomber attacks that have targeted and killed British and Afghan forces in and around Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.

These include two suicide bomber attacks last month in Gereshk: one that killed Sergeant Ben Ross of the Royal Military Police and Gurkha Corporal Kumar Pun on 7 May; the second on 11 May that killed 13 Afghan police and civilians and wounded 27 other people.

He is also believed to be behind the suicide bomber attack on the Helmand Police Headquarters in March that killed nine Afghan policemen and two civilians, with 28 people wounded.

The Apache helicopter attack is also thought to have killed and injured a number of other prominent insurgent leaders and accomplices of Mullah Mansur.

He was known to have strong links to insurgent commanders from the Baluch tribe in the south and acted as the link between the insurgency in the south and central Helmand.

Lt Col Nick Richardson Task Force Helmand spokesman said: "UK forces conducted a successful precision strike against one of the most dangerous men in Helmand, and what we consider to be the most dangerous man in the central area around Lashkar Gah.

"Mullah Mansur's illegal activities included the supply and construction of improvised explosive devices [IEDs] and planning IED attacks in an area stretching from Lashkar Gah to Gereshk.

"The attacks he helped plan and execute have probably killed or wounded hundreds of people, and most of them have been either Afghan civilians or police. This operation was the culmination of months of effort and the strike itself was carefully co-ordinated and checked to ensure there were no civilians in the area.
"The death of Mullah Mansur is the latest in a series of prominent insurgent commanders and signals another serious blow to the insurgency."

Helmand Security Chief, Colonel Assadullah Sherzad, said: "Our duty is the maintenance of security for the people of Helmand and to clear a path to progress. These kinds of operations will continue so that people like Mansur, who throw obstacles in our path, are removed."

"Mullah Mansur was the heart of the insurgents' attempts to kill and injure British and NATO troops in Afghanistan and his presence brought misery to innocent Afghan civilians. This is a significant blow to the Taliban."

"British forces will continue to work with international partners to improve security across Helmand to prevent the export of terror from Afghanistan to the UK."

This operation comes within days of a major operation striking at the Taliban in northern Helmand. Over the weekend, Op MAR LEWE was conducted by soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, which pushed the Taliban further away from the villages around the town of Musa Qaleh.

Source: UK Ministry of Defence


The Shephard News Team


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