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NATO says it has killed a senior Haqqani militant in Afghanistan

Local journalists in the targeted Afghan province say they have no knowledge of the Haqqani leader or of an airstrike. But the quick response to the InterContinental attack has given a peek into the US approach in coming years.

By Staff writer / June 30, 2011

A rear part of the Inter Continental hotel that caught in fire has turned to black after it was attacked by militants in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, June 29.

Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP

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New Delhi

The NATO-led international force in Afghanistan said it killed Wednesday a high-level insurgent commander it suspects provided “material support” to the terrorist assault Tuesday on the InterContinental Hotel.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) says it killed a man named Ismail Jan in an airstrike over eastern Afghanistan. According to ISAF, Ismail Jan was a deputy to the senior commander in Afghanistan for the Haqqani Network, a faction of the Taliban-led insurgency.

However, local journalists in Paktia Province, reached by the Monitor, report no knowledge of any airstrike nor of a commander named Ismail Jan.

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So far, the response to the InterContinental has offered a window into the US approach to the Afghan conflict for the years to come.

The response during the hotel raid involved Afghan forces on the front lines with an option to call for backup [see story on how the raid tested Afghan security skills]. And the swift retaliatory strike the next day – if it indeed happened – fits the intelligence-driven, focused strikes that the Obama administration wants to rely more on in the US effort to combat terrorism.

A key advantage of this strategy is that it requires far fewer troops. One disadvantage, however, is that it relies heavily on Afghan political support for the sort of missions that have come under the heaviest local criticisms: bombings and special forces raids.

Such operations often result in complaints from residents that those targeted were in fact innocents – charges that are sometimes true and often reported nationwide.

Another disputed incident

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