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Top Afghan Militant Reportedly Killed In U.S. Drone Strike

Protesters in Pakistan shout anti-U.S. slogans during a protest in July against drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.
Arif Ali
/
AFP/Getty Images
Protesters in Pakistan shout anti-U.S. slogans during a protest in July against drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.

A senior leader of the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network — considered one of the most dangerous factions fighting American troops in Afghanistan — has been killed in a U.S. drone strike over northwestern Pakistan, officials say.

Sangeen Zadran was among five people killed at a compound in the North Waziristan tribal region when a missile fired from a U.S. drone hit the building, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

Reuters says Zadran was "the operational commander in Pakistan's tribal areas for the Haqqani network, which regularly attacks U.S. forces in Afghanistan from its mountain hideouts in Pakistan."

A Taliban spokesman told The Associated Press that Zadran was still alive, but the BBC quotes officials who say the militant's funeral had already been held in the regional capital of Miranshah.

The BBC reports:

"Experts say the 45-year-old was viewed as a senior militant leader in both countries and that he is a big loss to the Haqqani group although not irreplaceable.

"In 2011, the US state department added him to its list of specially designated global terrorists, claiming he orchestrated the kidnappings of Afghans and foreigners in the rugged and violent border area.

"He has also been identified as the man who kidnapped a US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, four years ago — the only known American soldier currently held by Afghan insurgents."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

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