An ex-top Taliban commander was previously accused of kidnapping a New York Times journalist. He was also charged with terrorism-related offenses, including leading a deadly attack against a U.S. military convoy and helping to shoot down an American helicopter.
Haji Najibullah was a Taliban leader, who was captured in Ukraine and extradited back to the United States almost a year ago. He was charged with multiple crimes, including commanding an insurgent attack that killed Sgt. 1st class Matthew Hilton, Sgt. 1st Class Joseph McKay Sgt. Mark Palmateer and their Afghan interpreter in juin 2008. In June 2008, the Taliban attacked Wardak Province using IEDs and RPGs.
After the U.S. overthrew their government, the Taliban waged a two decade-long insurgency in Afghanistan. They then returned to power in August following a disastrous and chaotic U.S. troop withdrawal.
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Najibullah was a commander of more than 1,000 fighters and reported directly to the Taliban senior leadership. He was also charged with the shooting down of an American helicopter in Wardak Province in October 2008. However, despite Taliban claims, it did not cause any U.S. deaths. In September 2008, Najibullah's foot soldiers also attacked an Afghan Border Patrol post.
Last year, the Taliban commander was arrested for allegedly kidnapping New York Times journalist David Rohde and Afghan journalist Tahir Ludin outside Kabul. They were looking for an interview with a Taliban leader in November 2008. Najibullah made them cross the Afghan border to Pakistan. Najibullah made Rohde call his wife in New York to request help during their seven-month captivity. Rohde was then forced to beg for her life as a guard pointed an automatic weapon at his face. Rohde and Ludin managed to escape the Taliban compound in Pakistani tribal areas within the year. Manga also escaped the Taliban compound.
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According to the Justice Department, Najibullah faces life imprisonment for conspiring to use weapons mass destruction, hostage-taking and kidnapping and providing material support for terrorist acts resulting in death.
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Audrey Strauss, U.S. Attorney, stated Thursday that Najibullah was the leader of a vicious group of Taliban insurgents that terrorized parts of Afghanistan and attacked U.S. forces. She said that neither distance nor time can diminish our determination to hold terrorists responsible for their crimes and see justice done to their victims.
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Tags: News. Taliban. Department of Justice.
Jerry Dunleavy is the original author
Original Location: Taliban commander accused of killing three soldiers from the US Army