Britain welcomes capture of senior Haqqani leader

1st October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain on Saturday welcomed the capture of a senior commander of the Taliban-allied Haqqani network in Afghanistan, saying it was a blow to one of the war-torn country's most dangerous terror networks.

"I welcome the recent capture of Haji Mali Khan by coalition and Afghan forces," said a statement from Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, whose responsibilities include British policy on Afghanistan.

"As a senior commander within the Haqqani network, his removal from the battlefield will deal a major blow to one of the most dangerous terrorist networks operating in Afghanistan.

"We will continue to support the Afghan National Security Forces and support the development of an Afghanistan that is able to maintain its own security and prevent the return of international terror groups such as Al-Qaeda."

Khan, the uncle of the Haqqani network's leader, was captured close to Afghanistan's porous border with Pakistan in Paktiya province Tuesday, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

It came as the United States stepped up pressure on Pakistan to act against the Haqqanis, linked to Al-Qaeda and blamed for a string of attacks on Western targets.

Britain is the second biggest contributor of forces to ISAF after the US, with around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan.

A total of 382 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since operations began there in October, 2001, according to defence ministry figures.

© 2011 AFP

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