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NATO: Taliban cell leader killed

Sept. 7, 2012 at 4:15 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 7 (UPI) -- NATO forces in Afghanistan carried out two successful operations, killing a Taliban cell leader and seizing large quantities of opium, officials said Friday.

In a statement, the International Security Assistance Force said the cell leader, identified as Ahmed Shah or Ajmal, is believed to have been in charge of Taliban military operations in western Helmand province. Days before he was killed Thursday, he is believed to have led an attack that killed several Afghan soldiers, ISAF said.

Ajmal was killed by an airstrike after ISAF soldiers made sure there were no civilians in the area, officials said.

Also in Helmand, Afghan security forces working with coalition troops made a vehicle stop that led to a big haul in drugs with more than 1,000 pounds of dry opium and 200 pounds of wet opium seized. The search also turned up weapons, ammunition and night vision goggles, the ISAF release said.

Three suspected insurgents were arrested. Military officials say the Taliban uses drugs to finance its operations.

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