Pentagon: Al-Qaida leader killed in airstrike in Afghanistan

A U.S. airstrike killed Qari Yasin, a prominent terrorist leader aligned with al-Qaida, last week in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Saturday night.

A dump truck carrying 13,000 pounds of explosives blew up at the entrance of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing at least 50 people on Sept. 20, 2008. Qari Yasin, a terrorist who plotted the bombing, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Saturday night. File photo by Sajjad Ali Qurehsi/UPI | License Photo
A dump truck carrying 13,000 pounds of explosives blew up at the entrance of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing at least 50 people on Sept. 20, 2008. Qari Yasin, a terrorist who plotted the bombing, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Saturday night. File photo by Sajjad Ali Qurehsi/UPI | License Photo

The counter-terrorism strike was conducted on March 19 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, the Pentagon said in a release. That area is where Pakistani Taliban operatives have operated after slipping across the border in 2014.

Yasin, described by the Pentagon as a “senior terrorist figure,” plotted multiple terror attacks, including the Sept. 20, 2008, bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, that killed more than 50 people, including two U.S. servicemen. A dump truck carrying 13,000 pounds of explosives blew up at the entrance of the hotel.
Yasin also was linked to the 2009 attack on a bus that was carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan. Killed were six Pakistani policemen and two civilians, and injured were six members of the team. After that attack, Pakistan was excluded from hosting major international cricket matches and it now plays most of its “home” games in the United Arab Emirates.

“The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a statement.

Last week, Pakistani security officials and Islamist militants said that an American drone strike had killed Yasin. The Pentagon confirm the attack Saturday night.

The Pakistani Taliban, formally called Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, is an umbrella organization of various Sunni Islamist militant groups based along the Afghan border in Pakistan.

By Allen Cone