NATO Kills Saudi Al-Qaida Commander in Afghanistan

by Florian Flade

NATO announced today a April 14th airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed a wanted Saudi al-Qaida commander who was responsible for suicide bombings and attacks on Coalition troops. Abu Hafs al-Najdi aka „Abdul Ghani“ was one of ISAF´s most wanted targets in Afghanistan.

The 27 year-old Saudi national whose real name is Saleh Nayef al-Makhlafi regularly crossed the border into Pakistan and met with senior al-Qaida leadership, ISAF claims. Al-Makhlafi became al-Qaida´s commander and recruiter in Kunar Province, training militants and sending them on attacks against NATO and Afghan security forces.

When the NATO airstrike happened, al-Makhlafi was holding a meeting in Dangan district of Kunar with a number of Afghan, Pakistani and foreign militants, some of whom were also killed in the military strike.

The Saudi al-Qaida commander´s name is found on the Saudi-Arabian most-wanted list of terrorists among the 85 sought-after al-Qaida members. Al-Makhlafi´s aliases are given as „Abdul Ghani“ and „Abu Hafs“. He was born in the Saudi captial Riyadh according to the information presented by the Saudi interior ministry. ISAF was on the hunt for Al-Makhlafi for four years.

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