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U.S. military: Airstrike kills senior Taliban leader

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Airstrike kills one of the top Taliban leaders in Kandahar
  • Officials ordered attack when Haji Amir had stopped in a mud hut
  • Amir escaped from prison in June 2008
  • U.S. military says he was recently in Pakistan planning Taliban attacks

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A precision airstrike has killed one of the two most senior Taliban leaders in Kandahar province and several of his fighters, the U.S. military said Monday.

Officials had been tracking Taliban commander Haji Amir and his fighters for several days and ordered the air strike when the leader stopped at a small mud hut in a rural area Sunday morning, according to a military statement.

Amir escaped from prison in June 2008 and recently was in Pakistan planning Taliban attacks, the statement said.

The U.S. military said he returned to Afghanistan in April to lead attacks against coalition and Afghan forces.

In a separate operation Sunday night, an Afghan-international security force detained several suspected insurgents while searching a series of compounds in Helmand province.

Officials seized weapons and approximately 30 kilograms of wet opium during the search, according to the military.