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NATO claims killing senior terrorist in Afghanistan

28 March, 2012

KABUL/KANDAHAR: Afghan special forces and NATO troops have killed a senior commander of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in northwestern Afghanistan, the NATO force said on Tuesday.

The IMU - which emerged from the Ferghana Valley that is shared between Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - has cooperated with al Qaeda elements and the Afghan Taliban to try to establish an Islamic Caliphate.

Makhdum Nusrat, the 'highest-ranking IMU insurgent operating in the country', was killed on Monday in Faryab province in northwestern Afghanistan along with several other fighters, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

ISAF said Makhdum was wanted for attacks against coalition forces and for plotting to kill an Afghan member of parliament. There was neither independent confirmation of his killing nor his standing within the IMU.

The group is believed to be active in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. With many of its supporters holed up in lawless ethnic Pashtun areas of northwest Pakistan, the group has forged close links with al Qaeda.

Separately, the Afghan Defence Ministry was locked down for two hours after authorities received intelligence that the highly secured compound in the heart of Kabul was under threat of attack.

Two Afghan officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter, said later that the threat emerged from a faulty intelligence report.

Several news organisations reported on Monday that nearly a dozen vests packed with explosives were found, and more than a dozen suspects, including Afghan soldiers, were arrested in connection with an alleged plot to attack the ministry. The ministry issued two statements on Tuesday, both calling the media reports baseless. Separately, the commander of an Afghan lieutenant who killed two British soldiers denied on Tuesday that the officer was a Taliban infiltrator, saying he had served in the army with credit for years.

End.

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