(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- When a U.S. Chinook helicopter was shot down by Taliban insurgents in Wardak, Afghanistan, last month, killing 38 people on board, the target of operations that night escaped.
But on Tuesday, coalition forces finally tracked Qari Tahir down in a dry riverbed in Sayyidabad district and killed him with an air strike, NATO's International Security Assistance Force announced Thursday.
"Tahir was the Taliban’s top leader in Tangi Valley and was the target of a previous combined operation on Aug. 5, 2011, that resulted in the loss of the CH-47 Chinook last month. He led a group of insurgent fighters throughout the valley and was known to use roadside bombs and rockets to intimidate the local populace," the ISAF said in a statement.
"After ensuring no civilians were in the area, the force called for the air strike which resulted in the death of Tahir and another insurgent," the statement continued.
The district where Tahir died has become one of the Taliban's closest safehavens to Kabul. A few months ago, the Taliban overran a military base that had been transferred from the U.S. to Afghan security forces, and residents say insurgents regularly set up checkpoints throughout the area.
The ISAF doesn't admit the district is largely Taliban-controlled, but it does admit it has launched an average of one night raid in the district every week in 2011, killing 35 suspected insurgents and detaining more than 80.
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