Conflict & Justice

On Facebook, NATO says it killed Abdul Ghani, Al Qaeda No. 2 in Afghanistan


A screen shot of the ISAF (NATO) Facebook page announcing the killing of senior Al Qaeda leader Abu Hafs al-Najdi, also known as Abdul Ghani, killed by NATO forces in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

NATO forces in Afghanistan have killed their no. 2 insurgent target in the country — senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Ghani — according to a statement posted on their Facebook page.

Abdul Ghani, also known as Abu Hafs al-Najdi, died in an air strike almost two weeks ago in Kunar province, near Pakistan, the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) statement said.

The Saudi citizen ran training camps and planned attacks on tribal leaders and foreigners. ISAF has been pursuing him since 2007, and his killing marks what the force called "a significant milestone in the disruption of the Al Qaeda network."

"He directed Al Qaeda operations in the province, including recruiting; training and employing fighters; obtaining weapons and equipment; organizing al Qaeda finances; and planning attacks against Afghan and coalition forces," ISAF said.

ISAF says it has killed more than 25 Qaeda leaders and fighters in the past month and that about 100 Qaeda members still operate in Afghanistan.

Abdul Ghani and other insurgents were killed in Kunar's Dangam district on Apr. 13. That morning, he is said to have directed a suicide attack that killed tribal elder Malik Zarin, a close ally of President Hamid Karzai, and nine other civilians.

Abdul Ghani also "commonly" ordered the kidnapping of foreigners and directed suicide bombings targeting U.S. government officials, ISAF said, and he instructed insurgents on how to build explosives and conduct attacks.

"He was also a key financial conduit between Pakistan-based leaders and insurgent operatives in Afghanistan," ISAF said. "Abdul Ghani was able to streamline control of assets and provide considerably more funding to insurgent fighters."

Abdul Ghani was also number 23 on a Saudi list of most-wanted militants.