ONE former top Taliban military commander previously charged with kidnapping a New York Times journalist was hit by new charges that accused him of a host of terror-related offenses, including helping shoot down a U.S. helicopter and lead a deadly attack on a U.S. military convoy in Afghanistan that killed three U.S. Army soldiers.
Haji Najibullah, a Taliban leader arrested in Ukraine and extradited to the United States nearly a year ago, was on Thursday hit by a 13-speaker indictment in the southern district of New York, accusing him of numerous crimes stretching over 2007 to 2009, including command of a Taliban insurgency attack that killed Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Hilton, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph McKay, Sgt. Mark Palmateer and their Afghan interpreter in June 2008. The Taliban attack near Wardak province involved the use of IEDs, RPGs and automatic weapons.
The Taliban led a two-decade revolt in Afghanistan after the United States overthrew their regime before returning to power in August following a chaotic and disastrous withdrawal of US troops implemented by President Joe Biden.
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Najibullah, whom the Justice Department said “commanded more than a thousand fighters” and reported to senior Taliban leaders, was also accused of his role in the shooting down of a US helicopter in Wardak province in October 2008, despite Taliban claims. at a time that did not result in any U.S. deaths. Another attack by Najibullah’s infantry destroyed an Afghan border patrol post in September 2008.
The Taliban chief was accused last year of allegedly kidnapping New York Times journalist David Rohde, Afghan journalist Tahir Ludin and their driver Asadullah Mangal outside Kabul in November 2008, while seeking an interview with a Taliban leader. Najibullah forced them to migrate across the Afghan border to Pakistan. During their seven months in captivity, Najibullah forced Rohde to call his wife in New York to ask for help, and in a video, Rohde was “forced to beg for his life while a guard pointed a machine gun” at his face. Rohde and Ludin fled the Taliban compound in Pakistani tribal areas next year, and Manga soon escaped as well.
The Justice Department said Najibullah is accused of providing material support for terrorist acts that result in death, murdering U.S. citizens, destroying a U.S. military plane, conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, hostage-taking, kidnapping and other crimes, and facing life in prison.
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U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said Thursday that Najibullah “led a vicious group of Taliban insurgents who terrorized part of Afghanistan and attacked U.S. troops,” saying “neither time nor distance can weaken our decision to hold terrorists accountable. their crimes and see justice done for their victims. ”
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Tags: News, war in Afghanistan, Taliban, Ministry of Justice
Original author: Jerry Dunleavy
Original location: Taliban commander accused of killing three US soldiers