Taliban names replacement after death of top commander
The Taliban in Afghanistan says the younger brother of a top military commander killed over the weekend will take over as chief military strategist for the movement.
The Taliban named Mullah Bakhtto succeedMullah Dadullah, a one-legged fighter who was killed on Saturday in Helmand province in a joint operation involving British and Afghan troops and U.S. Special Forces.
Dadullah'sdamaged body was put on display in Kandahar on Sunday, covered by a pink sheet.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement that Dadullah's death means "the insurgency has received a serious blow," but the Taliban moved quickly to name a replacement. His brother, however, is said to have less combat experience.
ISAF said in the statement that Dadullah, whose full name was Dadullah Akhund, was a notorious figure.
"He has been responsible for the deaths of many Afghans through many means to include the suicide bombers he has trained in his sanctuary and subsequently deployed into Afghanistan," it said.
A Canadian Forces official, meanwhile, said Dadullah's death was "great news."
Maj. Steve Graham, commander of Reconnaissance Squadron with the Royal Canadian Dragoons, said the death is a relief for the coalition but may not make any difference over time.
Graham, in charge of a reconnaissance operation near the border town of Spin Boldak in southeast Afghanistan, added the news travelled quickly on the weekend.
"They texted it straight to my cellphone," Graham said.
According to theCBC's Derek Stoffel, the death has raised tensions in southern Afghanistan.
Late Sunday, a rocket attack against a Canadian field base in Kandahar province killed an Afghan interpreter and left another injured.
No Canadian soldiers were injured in the attack on the base at Ma'sum Ghar, located at the edge of the Arghandab river in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province.
The Canadian Forces extended their condolences on Monday to the family of the Afghan interpreter killed.
Lieut. John Nethercott, spokesperson for the Canadian military, said interpreters are important to the work of the coalition. "The interpreters are invaluable," he said.
"In the meantime, our condolences go out to the family of this brave individual."
Canada has more than 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, with the majority stationed in the volatile southern province of Kandahar. Fifty-four Canadian soldiers have been killed since Canada first sent troops to the troubled country in early 2002.
Assadullah Khalid, the governor of Kandahar province, put the body of Dadullah on displayathisofficial residence.The body appeared to have three bullet wounds, two in the torso and one in the back of the head.
Dadullah had lost a leg in a landmine blast when he was a member of the mujahedeen insurgency against the Soviet army that occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s.
With files from the Canadian Press