Ex-Taliban commander pleads not responsible to killing US troops

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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 mentioned it’s “preposterous” to cost his shopper in deaths that occurred in a battle the USA began.

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

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

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

“As alleged, throughout one of the harmful intervals of the battle in Afghanistan, Haji Najibullah led a vicious band of Taliban insurgents who terrorized a part of Afghanistan and attacked U.S. troops,” US Lawyer for the Southern District of New York Audrey Strauss mentioned in an announcement on October 7.

“He’ll now be held accountable in an American courtroom,” Appearing Assistant Lawyer Basic Mark J Lesko additionally mentioned.

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

He mentioned the deaths of American troopers was an “immense tragedy”, but it surely “is preposterous” that his shopper needs to be held accountable for homicide in a US courtroom for the dying of “American troopers combating in a battle commenced by the USA”.

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

The subsequent listening to within the case is scheduled for November 18, Saloomey reported, and it’s anticipated to “take a while to work its means via 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 practically two months after the US completed a deliberate withdrawal from Afghanistan after practically 20 years of battle. The US led an erratic evacuation effort from the capital, Kabul, which had fallen below the management of the Taliban.

The US held its first in-person meetings with high Taliban leaders final weekend. The conferences, held within the Qatari capital Doha, noticed senior Taliban officers and US representatives focus on “opening a brand new web page” of their international locations’ relationship, a high Afghan diplomat mentioned.

Biden administration officers later mentioned the talks have been “candid and professional“.

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