Oct 7, 2021 - World

Former Taliban commander charged with killing U.S. troops

Photo of houses in Karte-Ye Sakhi

A neighborhood in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: Bilal Guler/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A former Taliban commander has been charged with terrorism-related offenses for killing U.S. troops in 2008, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Details: The indictment, unsealed Thursday by a grand jury in New York, brings charges against Haji Najibullah, who served as a Taliban commander in 2007 and 2008, for attacks on U.S. troops carried out by Taliban fighters under his authority.

  • The raids killed three U.S. Army servicemembers and their Afghan interpreter, and shot down a U.S. military helicopter, among other damages, according to the DOJ.
  • Najibullah, who already faced previous charges related to the kidnapping of an American journalist and two Afghan nationals, was arrested and extradited from Ukraine to the U.S. in October last year. He could face a sentence of life in prison.

What they're saying: "As alleged, during one of the most dangerous periods of the conflict in Afghanistan, Haji Najibullah led a vicious band of Taliban insurgents who terrorized part of Afghanistan and attacked U.S. troops," U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York said in a statement.

  • "Neither time nor distance can weaken our resolve to hold terrorists accountable for their crimes and to see justice done for their victims."
  • "He will now be held accountable in an American courtroom," added acting assistant attorney general Mark Lesko for the DOJ's National Security Division.
Go deeper