ISAF captures al Qaeda 'facilitator' in Afghan east
Coalition and Afghan special operations forces captured an al Qaeda operative during a raid yesterday in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.
The combined special operations team captured the "al Qaeda facilitator" and killed two other "insurgents" who "were observed displaying hostile intent toward the security force" during a raid yesterday in Nangarhar's Surkh Rod district, the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release. Another "insurgent" was also captured during the raid.
ISAF said the al Qaeda facilitator "served as a courier between Afghanistan and Pakistan and delivered supplies to insurgents." The name and country of origin of the al Qaeda facilitator was not disclosed by ISAF.
The al Qaeda facilitator who was detained yesterday is likely the same one who has been hunted by special operations forces over the course of the past seven months.
On May 6, special operations forces targeted a Taliban leader in Nangarhar's Behsud district who was described by ISAF as "an al Qaeda affiliated insurgent." The leader is "operating in Wanat district, Kunar province and Waygal valley, Nuristan province," and is "closely associated with a number of Taliban leaders who are currently facilitating al Qaeda foreign fighters in the region."
And on Nov. 15, special operations forces captured several "insurgents" in Behsud while searching for an al Qaeda facilitator who "transports insurgent fighters and supplies from Nangarhar to Kunar province," according to ISAF.
Al Qaeda and allied Pakistani terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Islam, Hizb-i-Islami Khalis, and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan all maintain a presence in Nangarhar province, according to an investigation by The Long War Journal. The presence of terror cells has been detected in the districts of Achin, Bati Kowt, Behsud, Chaparhar, Dara Noor, Deh Bala, Hisarak, Jalalabad, Khogyani, Pachir wa Agam, Sherzad, Shinwar, and Surkh Rod, or 13 of Nangarhar's 22 districts.
The facilitator is the second al Qaeda operative that has been killed or captured in the Afghan east this month. On Nov. 18, special operations forces killed Mujib Rahman Mayar, an Afghan who served as an al Qaeda facilitator. Mayar "trained insurgents and worked as a courier," the ISAF release stated. "He delivered messages and transported money for the al Qaeda network."
Al Qaeda is known to embed small teams of trainers with Taliban and other terrorist groups, and in the east is known to fight on the battlefield in small units. [See LWJ reports, Al Qaeda's paramilitary 'Shadow Army' and 'Foreign trainers' active in southeastern Afghan province, for more information on al Qaeda's role in Afghanistan.]