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Saturday, May 12, 2007

NATO confirms death of prominent Taliban commander

'Mullah Dadullah was the backbone of the Taliban,' Kandahar governor says

Last Updated: Sunday, May 13, 2007 | 12:00 PM ET

CBC News

Mullah Dadullah — a top Taliban military commander thought to have ordered a number of abductions and beheadings — was killed while battling coalition forces in southern Afghanistan, NATO officials confirmed on Sunday.

Afghan officials had announced Dadullah's death early Sunday. Later, NATO's International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) confirmed that Dadullah had died in Helmand province on Saturday in a joint operation involving British and Afghan troops and U.S. Special Forces, backed by NATO air support.

An Afghan man looks at the body of Mullah Dadullah, who played a key role in day-to-day Taliban operations and was on the Taliban's leadership council.An Afghan man looks at the body of Mullah Dadullah, who played a key role in day-to-day Taliban operations and was on the Taliban's leadership council.
(Allauddin Khan/Associated Press)

Dadullah "will most certainly be replaced in time, but the insurgency has received a serious blow," ISAF said in a statement.

"Mullah Dadullah was the backbone of the Taliban," said Asadullah Khalid, the governor of the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar. "He was a brutal and cruel commander who killed and beheaded Afghan civilians."

His body was taken to Kandahar province and shown to reporters at the governor's compound, NATO said.

There, the body lay on a stretcher, covered with a pink sheet. An Associated Press reporter said the left leg was missing and there were three bullet wounds: one to the back of the head and two to the stomach.