ISAF detains senior Haqqani Network leader linked to the IMU


Coalition and Afghan special operations forces captured a top-tier Haqqani Network leader who has close ties to the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan during a raid in eastern Afghanistan yesterday.

The Haqqani commander, who was not named, was captured during a raid in the Spera district in Khost province. The leader was identified by the International Security Assistance Force as "the second-in-charge for Haqqani operations in Paktia" province. He commanded a large group of fighters, including "Uzbek foreign fighters."

"As a senior leader, he was responsible for directing more than 250 fighters, including Uzbek foreign fighters, in attacks against the Afghan government and Afghan National Army," ISAF stated in a press release. "Additionally, he has planned and coordinated several attacks on the Spera District Center."

The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Jihad Group, an IMU splinter faction, are known to operate in the southeastern Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni, and Zabul. On April 12, in a raid in the Orgun district in Paktika, ISAF captured a commander who "operated for both the Haqqani Network and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as a facilitator," according to the ISAF press release. "He assists the networks with the acquisition, movement and employment foreign fighters, including Iranians, and supplies to support Haqqani operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan," ISAF stated.

Also, on April 18, ISAF and Afghan forces captured two Haqqani Network commanders in Ghazni. One of the facilitators "worked for both Haqqani and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leaders" in the Orgun district in Paktika province, and he aided "Uzbek foreign fighters to support Haqqani attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan." The other Haqqani Network facilitator "provided safe havens for foreign fighters traveling from Kunduz to Paktika province and Pakistan for tactical training and operations." ISAF often uses the term "foreign fighters" to describe al Qaeda-linked groups from outside of Afghanistan.

ISAF has announced that it conducted 20 raids targeting the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al Qaeda, Turkish foreign fighters, and "foreign fighters" [see list below]. The Turkish foreign fighters are likely members of the Taifatul Mansura, an al Qaeda-linked group that operates in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Background on the Haqqani Network

The Haqqani Network operates primarily in the Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia, and Paktika, and also has an extensive presence in Kabul, Logar, Wardak, Ghazni, Zabul, Kandahar, and Kunduz.

The terror group has close links with al Qaeda and the Taliban, and its relationship with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) has allowed the network to survive and thrive in its fortress stronghold of North Waziristan, a tribal agency in Pakistan. The Haqqani Network has also extended its presence into the tribal agency of Kurram.

In North Waziristan, the Haqqanis control large swaths of the tribal area and run a parallel administration with courts, recruiting centers, tax offices, and security forces. In addition, the Haqqanis have established multiple training camps and safe houses used by al Qaeda leaders and operatives, as well as by Taliban foot soldiers preparing to fight in Afghanistan.

The Haqqani Network has been implicated in some of the biggest terror attacks in the Afghan capital city of Kabul, including the January 2008 suicide assault on the Serena hotel, the February 2009 assault on Afghan ministries, and the July 2008 and October 2009 suicide attacks against the Indian embassy.

The terror group collaborated with elements of Pakistan's military and intelligence service in at least one of these attacks. American intelligence agencies confronted the Pakistani government with evidence, including communications intercepts, which proved the ISI's direct involvement in the 2008 Indian embassy bombing. [See LWJ report Pakistan's Jihad and Threat Matrix report Pakistan backs Afghan Taliban for additional information on the ISI's complicity in attacks in Afghanistan and the region.]

Four of the Haqqani Network's top leaders have been added to the US' list of specially designated global terrorists over the past several years. Siraj Haqqani, who also is a member of al Qaeda's executive council, was added in March 2008. Nasiruddin Haqqani, a key financier and "emissary" for the Haqqani Network, was placed on the US' terrorist list in July 2010. Khalil al Rahman Haqqani, a key fundraiser, financier, and operational commander for the Haqqani Network who also aids al Qaeda, was added to the US' list of terrorists in February 2011. Badruddin Haqqani, an operational commander who also aids al Qaeda, was designated as a terrorist on May, 11, 2011.

Jalaluddin Haqqani, the father of Siraj, Nasiruddin, and Badruddin, and the brother of Khalil, has not been added to the US' list of terrorists, despite his close links to both the Taliban and al Qaeda. In an interview with Al Somood, the Taliban's official magazine, Jalaluddin admitted he served on the Taliban's executive council, which is known as the Quetta Shura.

Over the past several months, ISAF has heavily targeted the Haqqani Network with special operations raids. ISAF claims it has killed or captured more than 80 mid-level Haqqani Network commanders since the beginning of the year.

Raids against foreign terror groups in the Afghan southeast (Khost, Paktia, Paktika, Ghazni, and Zabul) since August 2010

Note: The information below is derived from ISAF press releases. The date listed corresponds to the date of the press release.

Date: Aug 4, 2011
Location: Spera district, Khost
Associated group: Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
Description: An Afghan and coalition combined security force detained a Haqqani Network leader during a security operation in Spera District, Khost province. The detained leader was the second-in-charge for Haqqani operations in Paktia. As a senior leader, he was responsible for directing more than 250 fighters, including Uzbek foreign fighters, in attacks against the Afghan government and Afghan National Army.

Date: July 27, 2011
Location: Ab Band district, Ghazni
Associated group: Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
Description: In Ab Band district, Ghazni province, an Afghan-led security force detained two suspected insurgents during a security operation targeting an Islamic Movement Uzbekistan facilitator, yesterday. The facilitator collaborates with fighters from both local Taliban members and senior leaders of the IMU.

Date: July 24, 2011
Location: Gelan district, Ghazni
Associated group: Al Qaeda
Description: An Afghan-led security force detained one suspected insurgent yesterday while searching for a Taliban facilitator. The facilitator plans attacks and provides logistical support to other insurgents. He also has direct ties to senior al Qaeda members, and arranges escape routes for them to safe havens in Pakistan.

Date: July 22, 2011

Location: Sar Rowzah district, Paktika
Associated group: Foreign Fighters
Description: Security forces, including Afghan special forces, killed more than 50 insurgents during a security clearance of a known Haqqani network foreign fighter encampment site. The encampment site was a staging area for Haqqani and foreign fighters. These fighters were moved into the country by Haqqani insurgents who planned to use them for attacks throughout Afghanistan. (Note the enemy casualties were later noted at over 80, and included Arab and Chechen fighters.)

Date: June 21, 2011
Location: Tarnak wa Jaldak district, Zabul
Associated groups: Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Foreign Fighters
Description: ISAF today confirmed the capture of a Taliban facilitator during a security operation in Tarnak wa Jaldak district, Zabul province. The facilitator assisted in the transfer of Uzbeks and Farsi speaking foreign fighters from Pakistan into Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban.

Date: May 29, 2011
Location: Shah Joy district, Zabul
Associated group: Al Qaeda
Description: In Shah Joy District, Zabul province, a combined Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents during a security operation targeting a Taliban leader. The leader leads a core group of insurgent fighters augmented by al Qaeda associated foreign fighters assembled in Quetta, Pakistan.

Date: May 9, 2011
Location: Qalat district, Zabul
Associated group: Foreign Fighters
Description: A combined Afghan and coalition security force was engaged by multiple foreign fighters, resulting in numerous killed and two detained during a security operation in Qalat district, Zabul province.

Date: April 20, 2011
Location: Khost district, Khost
Associated group: Al Qaeda
Description: A combined Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents during a security operation in Khost district, Khost province. The operation was conducted to apprehend several insurgents suspected of planning an attack in Khost province. The individuals have been conducting military training and preparation in a compound that is associated with Pakistan-based al Qaeda leadership.

Date: April 17, 2011
Location: Ghazni district, Ghazni
Associated groups: Foreign Fighters and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
Description: A combined Afghan and coalition force captured two Haqqani Network facilitators during a security operation in Ghazni district. One facilitator provided safe havens for foreign fighters traveling from Kunduz to Paktika province and Pakistan for tactical training and operations. The other facilitator worked for both Haqqani and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leaders in Orgun district, Paktia province. He facilitated Uzbek foreign fighters to support Haqqani attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Date: April 12, 2011
Location: Orgun district, Paktika
Associated groups: Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Foreign Fighters
Description: ISAF confirmed the capture of a Haqqani Network leader during a security operation in Orgun District, Paktika province, April 12. The leader operated for both the Haqqani Network and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as a facilitator. He assisted both networks with the acquisition, movement and employment of foreign fighters and supplies to support Haqqani operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Date: April 11, 2011
Location: Orgun district, Paktika
Associated groups: Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Foreign Fighters
Description: An Afghan and coalition security force detained one suspected Haqqani Network insurgent while searching for a Haqqani facilitator during a security operation in Orgun district, Paktika province. The facilitator operates for both the Haqqani Network and Islamic movement of Uzbekistan as a facilitator in the district. He assists the networks with the acquisition, movement and employment foreign fighters, including Iranians, and supplies to support Haqqani operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Date: Nov. 1, 2010
Location: Zadran district, Paktia
Associated group: Foreign Fighters
Description: The International Security Assistance Force confirmed Qari Amil, another Haqqani Network senior leader responsible for suicide attacks as well as facilitating fighters from Pakistan into Khost province and Kabul, was killed during an overnight operation in Paktia province Saturday.

Date: Nov. 1, 2010
Location: Zadran district, Paktia
Associated group: Foreign Fighters
Description: An Afghan and coalition security force killed Zubair, a Haqqani Network facilitator responsible for the movement of weapons and improvised explosive device materials for distribution to foreign fighters and Haqqani networks in the area, during an overnight operation in Paktia province.

Date: Oct. 15, 2010
Location: Khost district, Khost
Associated group: Foreign Fighters
Description: An Afghan and coalition security force targeted a Haqqani Network senior leader, who mainly manages Haqqani operations in Pakistan and the movement of foreign fighters from Pakistan into Afghanistan, detaining several suspected insurgents during an operation in Khost province.

Date: Sept. 11, 2010
Location: Gardez district, Paktia
Associated group: Foreign Fighters
Description: Afghan and coalition forces detained several insurgents in Paktia province, including another Taliban facilitator. The facilitator, who supplies weapons and improvised explosive devices to foreign fighters, is the fifth facilitator caught in the province in less than two weeks.

Date: Aug. 27, 2010
Location: Yahya Khel district, Paktika
Associated group: Turkish foreign fighters (likely the Taifatul Mansura)
Description: Afghan and coalition security forces detained one insurgent in Paktika province while in pursuit of a Taliban facilitator involved in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices. The commander sells and facilitates rocket-propelled grenades and works with Turkish foreign fighters.

Date: Aug. 23, 2010
Location: Spera district, Khost
Associated group: Foreign Fighters
Description: An Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents in Paktia province while in pursuit of a Haqqani facilitator for foreign fighter and Haqqani camps located in Spera district of neighboring Khost province.

Date: Aug. 11, 2010
Location: Zadran district, Paktia
Associated group: Foreign Fighters
Description: An Afghan and coalition security force killed more than 20 armed insurgents, including Arab, Chechen and Pakistani fighters, during the latest deliberate clearing operation against Haqqani Network foreign fighters camps and safe havens in Zadran district of Paktia province.

Date: Aug. 11, 2010
Location: Shamulzai district, Zabul
Associated group: Al Qaeda
Description: An Afghan and coalition force detained more than 20 suspected insurgents in Zabul province while in pursuit of an Al Qaeda foreign fighter facilitator.

Date: Aug. 4, 2010
Location: Terayzai district, Khost
Associated group: Foreign Fighters
Description: The international security assistance force confirmed the capture of a Haqqani Network facilitator directly responsible for distributing weapons and improvised explosive device material to foreign fighters and Haqqani-affiliated networks during an Afghan and coalition force operation in Khost province on Aug 4.



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READER COMMENTS: "ISAF detains senior Haqqani Network leader linked to the IMU"

Posted by Graham at August 4, 2011 5:26 PM ET:

"He assists the networks with the acquisition, movement and employment foreign fighters, including Iranians"

Qods Force?

Posted by TEM at August 6, 2011 10:45 AM ET:

As usual Bill,great information.

In regard to Iran's involvement in Afghanistan, during the earliest days of the liberation of the country, the revolutionary guard sent between 50-100 qods, as part of hunter-killer team to kill USA military personnel who had linked up with the Northern Alliance, The targets would have primarily been Green Berets and CIA paramilitary personnel.
Not certain how many Iranians actually were sent on this mission,however, I do know that zero returned alive.
Regradless of what the "experts" had been saying on all the cable talk shows, the Iranians have been involved since day 1,just has they have in Iraq.


Iran has been and still is a real problem, that eventually will have to be dealt with in a very harsh manner.
Then again, the Israeli's may beat the USA to the punch.