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May 30, 2010

NATO Airstrikes Kill Top Taliban Commander

NATO forces in Afghanistan launched airstrikes Monday against Taliban militants who forced Afghan troops to abandon the Barg-e Matal district in Nuristan, an eastern province on the border with Pakistan.

NATO says Afghan forces requested military assistance.

In southern Kandahar province, NATO said an airstrike killed top Taliban commander Haji Amir and several of his fighters in the Panjwa'i district Sunday.  The alliance says Amir escaped from an Afghan jail in a Taliban-coordinated prison break in June 2008.  

NATO accuses Amir of having recently traveled to Pakistan to plan upcoming attacks. It says he returned to Afghanistan in April to lead attacks against coalition and Afghan forces.  

Meanwhile, General Stanley McChrystal, the top military commander of in Afghanistan, led a solemn Memorial Day ceremony Monday at Bagram Air Field outside Kabul.

The general told hundreds of soldiers at the base in Afghanistan that the observance of Memorial Day is about "the people we have lost."

Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday in May, is a national U.S. holiday to pay tribute to Americans killed during  military service.