BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have arrested a suspected Afghan Taliban commander believed to have taken part in an attack on a military convoy about a decade ago in which at least 16 U.S. and Afghan soldiers were killed.
The federal prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday that the 30-year old Afghan citizen, identified only as Abdullah P., was arrested in the southern state of Bavaria on March 23 and was being detained during the continuing investigation.
The suspect is believed to have joined the Taliban insurgency in 2002 and entered a unit commanded by his father, the statement said. In 2004, he took over the unit and received weapons including an artillery piece, a rocket and several guns.
He was involved in several attacks on foreign and Afghan soldiers, including one in which a convoy of seven or eight military vehicles was attacked with at least two bombs and rocket-propelled grenades, according to the prosecutors.
“In this attack, at least 16 American and Afghan soldiers were killed,” said the statement. A spokeswoman said the attack was in Kunar province bordering Pakistan but it was unclear in which year it took place.
He is also suspected of trying to kill soldiers in another attack in which it was not clear whether the detonated bombs hit their targets, the statement said.
The suspect left his unit in 2008 shortly before getting married and was threatened with death, the statement said. In 2009, he fled to Pakistan and arrived in Germany in July 2011 via the so-called Balkan route for migrants.
Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Tom Heneghan