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Taliban intelligence head reported killed in U.S. bombing

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The feared head of intelligence under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been killed, an official of the new interim Afghan government and U.S. intelligence sources told CNN Wednesday.

"Qari Ahmadullah has been killed by U.S. bombs in Zadran district of Khowst province," said Abdullah Tawheedi, a deputy head of intelligence in the interim administration.

Tawheedi said the death occurred two or three days ago. He said people had identified the body, and Ahmadullah's remains had been buried in his hometown in Ghazni province.

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But the Pentagon declined to confirm the report. U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem said a December 26 airstrike targeted a compound belonging to the Taliban's intelligence ministry. The military had "good intelligence" regarding the compound, he said, but could not confirm that Ahmadullah was killed.

"We just don't have the evidence that, you know, that's proof-positive," Stufflebeem said.

Tawheedi said Ahmadullah was in the home of Mullah Taha, a well-known Taliban commander, when the house was hit by U.S. bombs. He said two of Taha's sons were also killed, but Taha was not injured.

"This area belonged to the al Qaeda network and the Taliban," Tawheedi said. Taha's current whereabouts are not known, he said.

Tawheedi said he had received reports that another well-known Taliban commander, Mullah Abdul Salam Rocketi, had been killed in the same raid. But he said he had no independent confirmation of this report.

Ahmadullah was notorious for his and his subordinates' torture methods and cruelty, including floggings with thick cables and the use of electric shocks.

"My brother was taken by the Taliban intelligence one night," said Jabar Amini, a translator for CNN in Kabul. "He was sitting with his wife and baby, and they took him from the house and drove away.

"Three days later, we found out that he was in a jail in Kabul run by the intelligence. They accused him of being an important commander of the Northern Alliance. He was not," Amini said.

"Finally my mother was able to get in and see him and his head was shaved and he was completely blue," Amini said. "He had been beaten with cable and shocked with electricity. They also put him under a water pump and forced water into his mouth so he couldn't breathe."

The family bought his brother's release with $500 three months later, he said.

CNN's John Raedler, Kanishka Bakhshi and Barbara Starr contributed to this report.




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