Death of Sakhr al Taifi major blow to al-Qaeda: Pentagon

Washington: The death of Sakhr al-Taifi, al-Qaeda`s second in command in Afghanistan, is a major blow to the terrorist outfit in the war torn country, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. "Sakhr al-Taifi was responsible for commanding foreign insurgents and directing attacks against coalition and Afghan forces," the Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little, told reporters at a news conference.

"He frequently travelled between Afghanistan and Pakistan, carrying out commands from senior al-Qaeda leadership. He also supplied weapons and equipment to insurgents in the east and managed transport of insurgent fighters into Afghanistan," he said.

Little said after identifying al-Taifi and an additional al-Qaeda terrorist and taking careful steps to ensure no civilians were in the area, US forces engaged the targets with a precision airstrike.

A follow-on assessment determined no civilians were harmed in this operation, he added. "This operation is another example of our ongoing efforts to degrade and weaken al-Qaeda`s leadership and a reminder of the mission we are pursuing to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for al-Qaeda and or its militant allies," Little said.

"Despite the unprecedented pressure we have applied, al-Qaeda remains a threat to our forces and to our homeland, and we will continue to — continue to pursue our goal of dismantling and ultimately defeating them," he said.