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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

Oct 19, 2021 - World

WHO, UNICEF to launch polio vaccine drive in Afghanistan

Afghan boys return to their homes after attending school in Chashma Dozak area of Badghis province on Oct. 16. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will launch a house-to-house vaccination campaign to inoculate children in Afghanistan against polio, the UN announced Monday.

Why it matters: The campaign, which begins Nov. 8 with the Taliban's backing, is the first such vaccine drive in over three years to reach all Afghan children, the press release noted.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden lays out $1.75 trillion "framework" before Europe departure

President Biden in Kearny, N.J., on Oct. 25. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden announced Thursday a "framework" for $1.75 trillion in social program and climate change spending after failing in prior efforts to win over his fellow Democrats on a much broader and costlier package.

Why it matters: Biden is gambling that by proclaiming the broad contours of the proposal, which he immediately began selling in a meeting with House Democrats before jetting off to Europe, progressives will vote for his $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan if and when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brings it to the floor.

Economy slows in third quarter amid Delta variant

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy increased at an annual rate of 2% in the third quarter, the Department of Commerce said Thursday.

Driving the news: The gross domestic product figures for July through September come in much lower than the 6.7% increase in the second quarter, reflecting the "continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Department of Commerce.

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