Sunday 24 December 2006

Me like...

If this report is true, and Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani is really dead, then it is a good day for Afghanistan, Nato and the UK.

Interestingly, it is said to be a Nimrod R1 which picked up a signal from the man's satellite phone, which enabled a US aircraft to launch a bombing strike. The R1 is a specific variant of the Nimrod MR2 maritime surveillance aircraft, fitted with a suite of highly sensitive electronic detectors. The main visual difference is, rather appropriately, the absence of the MAD boom.

Osmani, an associate of Osama Bin Laden, was the Taliban treasurer and has been the most senior member of the group's leadership to die in the war on terror, according to US officials. A Taliban spokesman, however, claims he is still alive and we have not seen any confirmation, as with Zarqawi's death.

We would prefer that the kill had been achieved without putting British lives at risk in antiquated aircraft, but now is not the time to be churlish. Congratulations appear to be due for a job well done.