Monday, May 14, 2007

Taliban Military Leader Is Killed

From the WaPo:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, May 13 -- Mullah Dadullah was the face of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan as it used suicide bombings, videotaped beheadings and targeted assassinations to escalate its insurgent campaign over the past two years.

Dadullah periodically turned up on television to taunt the Afghan government and U.S.-led international forces with threats of ever more ambitious attacks.

On Sunday, his face was on display again, resting on a pink sheet, bloody and lifeless. A bullet hole was visible in the back of his head, with two more piercings in his stomach.

Dadullah, the Taliban's top operational commander, was killed Saturday after U.S.-led troops and Afghan forces tracked him down and surrounded him in southern Afghanistan, according to Afghan and international security officials.

His death was hailed by those officials as a critical victory in the fight against the Taliban at a time when the extremist Islamic movement has destabilized large portions of the country through Dadullah's uncompromising approach to warfare.

"We fully expect Mullah Dadullah will be replaced in time, but for now the insurgency has received a serious blow," said Maj. John Thomas, a spokesman for the NATO-led force that patrols Afghanistan and that supported U.S.-led operations against Dadullah.

Thomas described Dadullah as "the top person in our scope in Afghanistan that we were interested in removing."

It was unclear who would replace Dadullah. Another top leader, Akhter Mohammed Osmani, was killed in December, and a third, Obaidullah Akhund, was captured in February. Although the group's overall leader, Mohammad Omar, remains at large, he is believed to play a lesser role in the organization's military operations.

A Taliban spokesman denied that Dadullah had been killed, but witnesses who inspected the body as it lay at the governor's palace in the southern city of Kandahar on Sunday identified it as Dadullah's, based on distinctive facial features and a missing left leg. More

Good going! Between this and the two Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders all being taken out in the past two weeks I'd say we're having a heck of a month.

So good in fact that if I were more suspicious or prone to being conspiratorial I'd say that they had been keeping the bodies on ice until support for the war fell to an all time low .....