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Senior Afghan Taliban killed in woman's clothes: NATO

world Updated: Jun 26, 2010 15:37 IST

AFP
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A senior Taliban commander disguised in woman's clothes was killed by Afghan and international forces when he fired on troops trying to catch him south of Kabul, the military said on Saturday.

NATO and Afghan security forces cornered Ghulam Sakhi at a compound on Friday night in Logar province's Puli Alam district, and called for women and children to leave the building, a coalition statement said.

"As they were exiting, Sakhi came out with the group disguised in women's attire and pulled out a pistol and a grenade and shot at the security force," the statement by NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

"When Afghan and coalition forces shot him he dropped the grenade and it detonated, wounding a woman and two children," it said.

Sakhi was known by several aliases and was involved in attacks on Afghan and foreign forces using improvised explosive devises (IEDs), the main Taliban weapon in the war now in its ninth year.

He had also been involved in the kidnap and killing of a security chief in Logar province, ISAF said.

Afghan and international forces also killed several insurgents in an air strike on Friday night in the southern province of Zabul, ISAF said.

After the air strike aimed at groups waging roadside bomb attacks, troops found materials used for making IEDs, as well as automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers at the scene, it said.

The statement added that the military took steps to protect civilians before calling in the air strike.

Civilian casualties are an incendiary issue in Afghanistan, even though the United Nations reported early this year that the vast majority of civilian deaths are caused by Taliban attacks.

The former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, US General Stanley McChrystal, limited air strikes as he made minimising civilian casualties a major tenet of his counter-insurgency strategy.

McChrystal was sacked this week for insubordination and replaced by General David Petraeus, the chief architect of the counter-insurgency strategy.