Ex-Taliban commander pleads not responsible to killing US troops

Haji Najibullah, charged in relation to 2008 assault on US troops in Afghanistan, says accusations are ‘incorrect’.

The lawyer for an ex-Taliban commander charged with killing American troops in Afghanistan in 2008 has stated it’s “preposterous” to cost his consumer in deaths that occurred in a conflict the United States began.

Haji Najibullah, 45, pleaded not responsible in a federal court docket in Manhattan on Friday to the costs, telling the choose that the “accusations are incorrect”.

US prosecutors introduced final week that they had been charging Najibullah in relation to a June 2008 assault by Taliban fighters underneath his command on a US navy convoy with computerized weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and different explosives.

Three US navy personnel, in addition to their Afghan interpreter, had been killed within the assault.

“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,” US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss stated in an announcement on October 7.

“He will now be held accountable in an American courtroom,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J Lesko additionally stated.

Najibullah’s lawyer, Mark Gombiner, stated on Friday that proof will present the allegations are usually not true.

He stated the deaths of American troopers was an “immense tragedy”, however it “is preposterous” that his consumer ought to be held accountable for homicide in a US courtroom for the dying of “American soldiers fighting in a war commenced by the United States”.

Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey, reporting from New York, stated US prosecutors rejected that argument, saying authorized precedents exist to carry such fees.

The subsequent listening to within the case is scheduled for November 18, Saloomey reported, and it’s anticipated to “take some time to work its way through the courts”.

Najibullah, 45, was already in US custody after being charged for the 2008 kidnapping of an American journalist and two Afghan civilians. He was arrested and extradited from Ukraine to the US in October of final 12 months, and faces life in jail if convicted.

The plea got here nearly two months after the US accomplished a deliberate withdrawal from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of conflict. The US led an erratic evacuation effort from the capital, Kabul, which had fallen underneath the management of the Taliban.

The US held its first in-person conferences with prime Taliban leaders final weekend. The conferences, held within the Qatari capital Doha, noticed senior Taliban officers and US representatives talk about “opening a new page” of their nations’ relationship, a prime Afghan diplomat stated.

Biden administration officers later stated the talks had been “candid {and professional}“.