The Mullah Dadullah Front, a Taliban group closely linked to al Qaeda, executed yesterday’s deadly suicide attack at a bathhouse in Spin Boldak in Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar, a US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal.
The suicide bomber killed 17 people, including Ramazan, a senior police commander who is allied with General Abdul Raziq, an anti-Taliban warlord in Kandahar, and wounded 23 more in the attack. Ramazan served as Raziq’s second-in-command.
Raziq has led his border police in operations against the Taliban throughout Kandahar, and has been described by US military officers as a highly effective commander. But he is also considered to be a brutal leader who has benefited from Afghanistan’s drug trade as well as cross-border smuggling to and from Pakistan. Taliban suicide bombers have targeted Raziq in the past.
The Mullah Dadullah Front, or Mullah Dadullah Mahaz, is a wing of the Taliban in the south that has adopted al Qaeda’s tactics and ideology, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in December 2010. The Mullah Dadullah Front is led by none other than Mullah Adbul Qayoum Zakir, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee who has since been promoted as the Taliban’s top military commander and co-leader of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura. On Dec. 4, Coalition and Afghan special operations troops captured a senior Mullah Dadullah Front financier and weapons facilitator.
Zakir and other Taliban leaders operate from the Pakistani border city of Chaman in Baluchistan, as the location shields them from US and NATO operations. The Taliban maintain a command and control center in Chaman, but the Pakistani military and intelligence services have refused to move against the Taliban there.
The Mullah Dadullah Front operates largely in the southern Afghan provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, and Uruzgan, and is considered the most effective and dangerous Taliban group in the region. The group has been active in attempting to sabotage negotiations between the Afghan government and lower-level Taliban leaders and fighters in the south.
Several recent high-profile attacks have been attributed to the Mullah Dadullah Front. On Dec. 12, 2010, the Mullah Dadullah Front executed a complex suicide assault on a US combat outpost in Kandahar city, killing six US and two Afghan soldiers.
This week, the Mullah Dadullah Front kidnapped and beat Sayed Badar Agha, a religious leader in Sangin in neighboring Helmand province who has been negotiating a truce with the Afghan government, US military intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.