Sunday, October 17, 2021

Taliban commander accused of killing US soldiers

8th October (WNN) — A federal grand jury in New York on Thursday indicted a former Taliban commander on charges related to the killing of American soldiers in Afghanistan and the downing of a US military helicopter.

The grand jury dropped the indictment on Haji Najibullah, 45, with 13 terrorism-related charges, including murder, attempt to murder, destroying US military aircraft, taking hostage and hijacking.

Najibullah was previously indicted in connection with the kidnapping of an American journalist in November 2008, for which he was indicted in October last year.

The Justice Department said Najibullah had been a Taliban commander since 2007 and oversaw more than a thousand fighters who attacked American and NATO troops as well as Afghan allies with automatic weapons, improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades and other adversaries. -Attacked and killed by counterintelligence attacks. tank weapons. Ten of his 13 charges carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Audrey Strauss, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said, “As reported, during one of the bloodiest periods of conflict in Afghanistan, Haji Najibullah led a vicious band of Taliban insurgents who fled parts of Afghanistan. terrorized and attacked American soldiers.” a statement. “Neither time nor distance can undermine our resolve to hold terrorists accountable for their crimes and to see justice for their victims.”

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The indictment accuses Najibullah of commanding Taliban fighters who attacked a US military convoy in Wardak province on June 26, 2008, killing Sgt. First Class Matthew L. Hilton and Joseph McKay, Sgt. Mark Palmatier and his Afghan interpreter.

According to court documents, on 27 October 2008, Taliban fighters under the control of Najibullah also shot down a US military helicopter. The Justice Department said no one was killed despite the Taliban’s attack claiming it to be fatal for all.

The indictment also accuses Najibullah of kidnapping a New York journalist and two Afghan nationals in Pakistan on November 19, 2008.

New York Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shia said that even though Najibullah has already been charged in connection with the kidnapping, investigators continue to work to uncover further crimes that may be linked to the former Taliban leader. .

“These latest charges for the terroristic killings of American soldiers in Afghanistan are expected to bring some degree of closure to the families of the soldiers who laid down their lives for our country,” he said in a statement.

Najibullah was arrested from Ukraine and extradited to the United States in October last year.

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