Afghan Officials: Taliban Leader Behind South Korean Kidnappings Killed
KABUL, Afghanistan — U.S. airstrikes
targeting a meeting of Taliban leaders killed a high-ranking commander
involved in the kidnappings of 23 South Koreans two months ago, Afghan
officials said Tuesday.
Mullah Abdullah Jan, the Taliban commander of
Qara Bagh district in Ghazni province, was among 12 killed in the
strike on a mud-brick housing compound overnight, said Ghazni
provincial police chief Gen. Ali Shah Ahmadzai.
Jan was the fifth Taliban commander allegedly
involved in the abductions who has been reported killed in recent days,
and believed to be the highest-ranking one eliminated so far.
Afghanistan's Interior Ministry on Sunday said police had killed three Taliban commanders allegedly involved in the abductions. Another, a Mullah Mateen, was said to be killed in fighting earlier in the month.
There have been several military operations in Ghazni since the release of the last of the captives on Aug. 30, possibly reflecting the desires of the Afghan government or U.S. and NATO forces to assert authority over the rebellious southeastern region following the abductions.
Two of the Korean hostages were slain soon after the kidnappings on July 19. Two women were released later during the Taliban's negotiations with South Korea. The remaining 19 were freed after further Taliban-South Korean talks.