Islamabad police capture 'Ghazi Force' commander
Islamabad police recently captured a senior operational leader in a shadowy Taliban group behind several high-profile attacks in the capital.
Police say the suspect, Jamshed, who is also known as Tahir, is the mastermind of four of the five suicide attacks that took place in Islamabad this year, including the Oct. 5 attack at the World Food Programme office that killed five employees.
Jamshed is a senior commander in a little-known Taliban group called the Ghazi Force. He is said to have scouted the attack on the World Food Programme office and provided the suicide vest to the bomber. Police said Jamshed was involved in the four suicide attacks in Islamabad that have been attributed to the Ghazi Force.
The Ghazi Force is named after Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, the brother of former Red Mosque leader Maulana Abdullah Aziz. Ghazi was killed when Pakistani troops assaulted the Red Mosque in July 2007 after he and his brother led an insurrection in the capital.
The Ghazi Force was founded and is currently led by Maulana Niaz Raheem, a former student at the Red Mosque.
The Ghazi Force runs a terror training camp in Guljo in the district of Hangu, and is also based in the tribal agency of Arakzai. At the Guljo camp, attendees are trained in the making explosives, ambushing military units, and light and heavy weapons usage.
In late May, the Islamabad police detained another senior leader of the Ghazi Force. Fidaullah, who also aided suicide attacks in Islamabad, was arrested along with Shah Abdul Aziz, a former member of parliament. Fidaullah is also thought to have founded the Ghazi Force with Raheem.
The arrests took place outside the home of Maulana Abdullah Aziz, the former leader of the Red Mosque who was released from prison in mid-April on $2,500 bail. Maulana Abdullah Aziz was not detained, despite his obvious links with the two men.
The Ghazi Force is just one of several deadly Taliban groups based in Arakzai, one of many Taliban safe havens outside of South Waziristan, where a military offensive is underway.