British troops kill 'leader of Taliban bombers'

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The Independent Online

British troops killed "one of the most dangerous Taliban leaders", believed to be responsible for the deaths of two British servicemen in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said today.

Mullah Mansur is believed to be behind a number of suicide bomber attacks that have targeted and killed British and Afghan forces in and around Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, the MoD said.

These include the suicide attacks that killed Sergeant Ben Ross of the Royal Military Police and Gurkha Corporal Kumar Pun in Gereshk on 7 May.



Mansur was killed by UK Apache helicopters in the early hours yesterday in an isolated area near Nahr e Saraj, north east of Lashkar Gah, the MoD said.

Defence Secretary John Hutton said: "Mullah Mansur was the heart of the insurgents' attempts to kill and injure British and Nato troops in Afghanistan and his presence brought misery to innocent Afghan civilians.

"This is a significant blow to the Taliban. British forces will continue to work with international partners to improve security across Helmand to prevent the export of terror from Afghanistan to the UK."

Lieutenant Colonel Nick Richardson, the spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: "UK forces conducted a successful precision strike against one of the most dangerous men in Helmand, and what we consider to be the most dangerous man in the central area around Lashkar Gah.

"Mullah Mansur's illegal activities included the supply and construction of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and planning IED attacks in an area stretching from Lashkar Gah to Gereshk.

"The attacks he helped plan and execute have probably killed or wounded hundreds of people, and most of them have been either Afghan civilians or police. This operation was the culmination of months of effort and the strike itself was carefully co-ordinated and checked to ensure there were no civilians in the area.

"The death of Mullah Mansur is the latest in a series of prominent insurgent commanders and signals another serious blow to the insurgency."

Colonel Assadullah Sherzad, Helmand security chief, said: "Our duty is the maintenance of security for the people of Helmand and to clear a path to progress.

"These kind of operations will continue so that people like Mansur, who throw obstacles in our path, are removed."

The number of British service personnel who have died in Afghanistan since the start of operations in October 2001 stands at 165.

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