WASHINGTON: United States Defence Secretary James Mattis had confirmed that killed of senior Al-Qaeda operative Qari Yaseen in an airstrike in eastern Afghanistan.
Yaseen was reportedly killed in a drone strike in the in Barmal district of Paktika province while travelling in a vehicle along with three companions on March 19.
Yaseen was the alleged mastermind of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009, which killed six policeman. He was also behind the attack at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in 2008 which killed dozens.
Mattis said that he was also involved in the killing of two US soldiers, as well several Pakistani citizens.
“The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” he said.
Yaseen, who hailed from Balochistan, also had developed links with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. The Pentagon said Yaseen was killed during an air strike in Paktika province which borders Pakistan.
It may be mentioned that President Donald Trump gave the Central Intelligence Agency new authority to conduct drone attacks against terrorists.
Taliban fighters on Thursday captured Afghanistan’s strategic southern district of Sangin, where US and British forces had suffered heavy casualties before it was handed over to Afghan personnel.
The Taliban effectively control or contest 10 of 14 districts in Helmand, the deadliest province for British and US troops over the past decade, blighted by a huge opium harvest that helps fund the insurgency.
The Pentagon has said it would deploy some 300 Marines this spring to Helmand, where American forces had engaged in heated combat until they pulled out in 2014.
The Marines will head to the poppy-growing province this spring to assist a NATO-led mission to train Afghan forces, in the latest sign that foreign forces are increasingly being drawn back into the mounting conflict.