In a statement, U.S. and NATO officials said Wali and his “Red Unit” were responsible for planning and carrying out multiple suicide bombings, IED attacks and coordinated assaults against civilians, Afghan and coalition forces. Wali was also in charge of resupplying munitions, explosives and materials for the Taliban throughout Helmand province.
In other words, this was a bad dude.
“Mullah Shah Wali’s death will disrupt the Taliban network, degrade their narcotics trafficking, and hinder their ability to conduct attacks against Afghan forces,” said General John Nicholson, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan commander. “USFOR-A and our Afghan partners will continue to aggressively target Taliban leaders to destroy their drug network, disrupt their communications, and deny them safe haven.”
The Taliban controls poppy cultivation and the opium trade in Helmand province, using the profits to fund its activities.
Officials also confirmed the death on Dec. 4 of Omar Khetab, a senior al-Qaeda leader, in addition to multiple other al-Qaeda operatives after operations in Ghazni, Paktia and Zabul provinces. Khetab is described in the US-NATO statement as the second-in-command of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. He also had a key role in advising the use of rockets, mortars and training for Taliban night attacks.
“Both leaders are responsible for the deaths of many innocent Afghans, and their removal will both disrupt the terrorist operations of their respective organizations and improve overall security of the country,” the statement reads.