NATO Says It Has Killed Senior Militant Linked To Hotel Attack
"NATO forces in Afghanistan say they have killed a senior militant they suspect of involvement in [Tuesday's] attack on the Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul," the BBC reports. "Ismail Jan died in an airstrike in the eastern province of Paktia on Wednesday, the alliance said."
In a statement, the International Security Assistance Force that directs allied forces says that Jan, "a top Haqqani network leader suspected of providing material support to the Kabul suicide bomb attack ... was the deputy to the senior Haqqani commander inside Afghanistan, Haji Mali Khan."
While the Taliban claimed responsibility for the hotel attack, which left about 20 people dead (including the eight attackers), NATO has pinned the blame on the Haqqani network. The Taliban and the Haqqani network, which in recent years has staged several high-profile attacks and kidnappings, do often work in support of each other.
According to the ISAF statement, "the security force tracked [Jan's] location after receiving several intelligence reports from Afghan government officials, Afghan citizens and disenfranchised insurgents."
The strike that killed Jan came on the same day that White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan unveiled "a new national counterterrorism strategy," as The Associated Press reports. Under that doctrine, AP says, the U.S. "will push ahead with more targeted drone strikes and special operations raids and fewer costly land battles like Iraq and Afghanistan in the continuing war against al-Qaida" and other terrorist networks.
NPR's Rachel Martin reports that Brennan also said the U.S. will use "every tool in our government to pursue al-Qaida and its affiliates."
The administration's new National Strategy for Counterterrorism report is posted here.