On Saturday, the Pentagon said that the US carried an airstrike this week in southeastern Afghanistan targeting an al-Qaeda leader connected to multiple terrorist attacks, including a hotel bombing in 2008 that killed two U.S. service members
Deadly drone strike:
The strike, which was probably carried out by a drone, killed Qari Yasin in Afghanistan’s Paktika province on March 19.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in an emailed statement: “The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice.”
According to a statement by al-Qaeda, which was released on Wednesday and translated by the Long War Journal, Yasin is a longtime militant and was acting as a trainer for the Pakistani Taliban when he was killed.
The statement added that three of Yasin’s “companions” were killed in the strike. It is unclear whether any civilians were killed.
A seasoned terrorist:
Yasin plotted multiple terrorist attacks, according to the Pentagon, which include a 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team that killed eight and wounded six members of the team. Yasin was also responsible for coordinating multiple plots against Pakistani officials and politicians, including former president Pervez Musharraf, according to local media.
The Pentagon added that Yasin also helped planning the Sept. 20, 2008 bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan. The attack was carried out with a dump truck loaded with explosives. The attack killed 54 people, including U.S. Air Force Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez and Navy Cryptologic Technician Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew J. O’Bryant. Hundreds more were wounded.
In January 2009, less than four months after the attack, a U.S. drone strike was thought to have killed an al-Qaeda operations chief, Usama al-Kini, who was responsible for planning the Marriott attack.
The United States still has 8,400 troops in Afghanistan. It regularly carries out counterterrorism operations in the country against a number of terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.