US charges former Taliban commander with killing American troops

Former Taliban commander Haji Najibullah is facing terrorism-related charges for actions in Afghanistan from about 2007 to 2009.,

Former Taliban commander Haji Najibullah is facing terrorism-related charges for actions in Afghanistan from about 2007 to 2009 that resulted in the deaths of three U.S. Army soldiers.

“Najibullah, who allegedly served as a Taliban commander in 2007 and 2008, is charged with numerous terrorism offenses relating to attacks against the U.S. military in Afghanistan, including an attack that killed three U.S. servicemembers, and others relating to taking an American journalist hostage in Afghanistan,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko in a press release Thursday. “He will now be held accountable in an American courtroom.”

Court documents reveal the 45-year-old Afghan national was previously charged in a 2008 kidnapping of an American journalist, with the new indictment charging him with attacks on a U.S. military convoy that resulted in the deaths of three U.S. Army soldiers and their Afghan interpreter in June of 2008.

Najibullah is also charged with an October attack that same year in which a U.S. military helicopter was shot down.

“As alleged, during one of the most dangerous periods of the conflict in Afghanistan, Haji Najibullah led a vicious band of Taliban insurgents who terrorized part of Afghanistan and attacked U.S. troops,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “Najibullah will answer for his heinous acts in an American courtroom.”

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Najibullah was arrested and extradited from Ukraine in Oct. 2020 and is now in federal custody in the United States.

The Taliban commander was responsible for the Jaghato district in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province, court documents say. Najibullah had over 1,000 troops under his command, who he had conduct attacks on American and NATO troops outside of Kabul.

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