Hellfire burns another Taliban leader

AFP:

A suspected US missile strike on a militant training camp in Pakistan's tribal belt bordering Afghanistan killed a top Taliban commander and at least 15 other people, officials said Monday.

The attack was the latest in a series on Pakistani soil which have sharply raised tensions between Washington and Islamabad, a key ally in the US campaign against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Officials said the strike in the lawless South Waziristan area on Sunday night killed Haji Omar Khan, a lieutenant of veteran Afghan Taliban chieftain and former anti-Soviet fighter Jalaluddin Haqqani.

"The death toll has gone up to 16 as six more bodies have been recovered from the site. Senior Taliban commander Haji Omar died in the strike," local administration official Mawaz Khan told AFP.

Another government official quoting local sources said up to 20 people were killed, mostly Pakistani Taliban fighters, adding that a team was on its way to the area to investigate.

Khan was active in attacks on US-led and NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan, local residents and security officials said.

He was a cousin of late Taliban commander Nek Mohammed, who was killed in 2004 in one of the first apparent US missile strikes in the region.

"Omar was sending fighters into Afghanistan and commanded them in several outings. He did not have any political affiliations and was linked to Haqqani," a security official said on condition of anonymity.

Sunday's strike was the 12th such incident in the past 10 weeks, all of which have been blamed on US-led coalition forces or CIA drones based in Afghanistan.

...

These decapitation strikes will take a toll on the Taliban's ability to command and control it attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Good riddance.

Bill Roggio has much more on the Taliban commander killed in the attack. He had strong ties to Mullah Omar. Some have mistakenly suggested that Mullah Omar was killed.

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