NATO air strike kills fighter linked to Afghan hotel attack

June 30, 2011 16:41


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KABUL - NATO aircraft killed an insurgent leader linked to a deadly hotel attack in the Afghan capital this week, the coalition said on Thursday, a raid that raised questions about whether Afghan forces are ready for the looming security transition.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the Intercontinental, one of two major hotels used by foreigners and Afghan government officials, a rare night-time raid that began on Tuesday and ended five hours later with 12 killed.

However, the NATO-led Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network had also been involved in the assault by nine suicide bombers and gunmen.

ISAF identified the Haqqani network leader killed in an air strike as Ismail Jan, who it described as a deputy to the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan, Haji Mali Khan. It said he and "several Haqqani fighters" were killed in the air strike in the Gardez district of Paktia province south of Kabul on Wednesday.

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