A senior al Qaeda commander has been reported to have been captured in the Pakistani city of Lahore, according to a Pakistani newspaper. Dr. Amin al Haq, the security coordinator of Osama bin Laden’s Black Guard, “was apprehended from Lahore couple of days back,” The Nation reported, citing “credible Afghan sources.” Al Haq is said to be “under interrogation” at an undisclosed location.
The report of al Haq’s capture has not been confirmed, a senior intelligence official told The Long War Journal. US intelligence agencies are aware of the report.
Al Haq has a long pedigree with both the Taliban and al Qaeda. He was born in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, was educated as a physician, and practiced medicine in Pakistan. “He was associated with Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan headed by late Maulvi Younas Khalis, which joined the Taliban Movement in 1996,” The Nation reported. He “was also part of the Afghan delegation flown to Sudan in 1996 to bring Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan.”
On Dec. 19, 2001, al Haq was identified as a senior member of al Qaeda per United Nations resolution 1267. He accompanied Osama bin Laden during the 2001 battle at Tora Bora in Nangarhar province, and helped senior al Qaeda leaders escape the US and Afghan militia assault on the cave complex. During renewed fighting at Tora Bora in the summer of 2007, al Haq was reported to have been wounded and fled across the border into Pakistan’s Kurram tribal agency.
As security coordinator for the Black Guard, it is believed al Haq would be in close proximity to Osama bin Laden. US intelligence believes Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan’s tribal agencies, a claim the Pakistani government has denied. Many of the senior al Qaeda leader captured in Pakistan since Sept. 11, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Musab al Suri, have been detained in Pakistan’s major cities.
Several senior al Qaeda leaders — such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Saif al Adel, and Walid bin Attash — rose through the ranks in al Qaeda by serving in the Black Guard. A Special Forces raid against the Black Guard camp in Danda Saidgai in North Waziristan, Pakistan in March 2006 resulted in the death of Imam Asad and several dozen members of the Black Guard. Asad was the camp commander, a senior Chechen al Qaeda commander, and associate of Shamil Basayev, the Chechen al Qaeda leader killed by Russian security forces in July 2006.