KABUL –The leader for an al-Qaeda linked foreign militant network in Afghanistan has been killed in a joint raid of Afghan and NATO forces, the coalition reported on Tuesday.
Makhdum Nusrat, the chief of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Afghanistan, was wanted by NATO and the Afghan government, NATO said in a statement. He was reportedly killed Monday as troops were trying to capture him in the Shirin Tagab district of northern Faryab province, near the border with Turkmenistan.
“During the operation, insurgents fired on the combined security force. The force returned fire, killing Makhdum and several additional IMU insurgents,” the statement said. “Two other insurgents were detained.” NATO troops confiscated a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, multiple rockets, several AK-47s and a number of grenades,” the statement said.
The statement described Makhdum as the highest-ranking IMU insurgent operating in the country and accused him of leading attacks against Afghan and foreign troops throughout the northern provinces for the last eight months.
The Afghan government has in the past accused NATO troops of wrongly identifying Afghans and ethnic Uzbeks living in Afghanistan as militants linked to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Two men and two women killed in a NATO operation last May were identified by the coalition as being from the militant group. But villagers described them as civilians. In protests in Takhar province following their deaths, more than a dozen Afghans were killed in clashes with NATO troops and local forces.