August 17th, 2010
10:13 AM ET

Taliban fighter linked to U.S. sailors' kidnapping is slain

Security forces killed a Taliban official with "direct ties" to the insurgent network involved in the recent kidnapping and murders of two U.S. Navy sailors, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on Tuesday.

Afghan and coalition troops killed Bilal, "a highly active Taliban facilitator," in Logar province on Monday.

Bilal was linked to the Taliban network that abducted and killed Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin McNeley and Petty Officer 3rd Class Jarod Newlove in July, an ISAF news release said. It is not yet known what role, if any, Bilal played in the sailors' kidnapping. The insurgents' full name was not provided.

"We are happy to announce the results of this successful operation. This man was a known criminal who regularly facilitated rocket attacks against Afghan and coalition forces," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, ISAF spokesman.

"Bilal was also associated with a violent network directly responsible in the kidnapping and vicious killing of two American sailors," Torres said.

More: Second U.S. sailor found dead

Security forces approached a targeted compound when "Bilal, who was armed with an AK-47, ran away from one of the buildings."

He "attempted to hide amongst two civilian farmers, but when the security force caught up with him, he engaged the assault force," ISAF said. "They returned fire, killing him. The farmers were not injured."

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Filed under: Casualties • Taliban
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