ISAF captures IMU facilitator in northeastern Afghanistan
Coalition and Afghan special operations forces captured an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) facilitator during a raid today in Badakhshan province. The raid took place just one day after two foreign and two Afghan aid workers were among five people kidnapped in the province.
The combined special operations team captured the IMU facilitator and "several other insurgents" during a raid in Badakhshan's Argo district, the International Security Assistance Force stated in press release. ISAF said the IMU facilitator "was responsible for acquiring and transporting explosive materials and improvised explosive devices for attacks against Afghan and Coalition forces throughout the district."
Students in the province are protesting the raid, and claimed that their fellow classmates as well as teachers were among those detained, according to Pajhwok Afghan News.
Today's raid occurred just one day after two female foreign aid workers, whose nationalities have not been reported, and three Afghan males, including two aid workers, were kidnapped in the same province. The aid workers are employed by Medair, a Swiss relief agency, according to Reuters.
ISAF has conducted four raids against the IMU in Badakhshan since September 2011, and another in August 2010 that targeted a Taliban operative who aided "foreign fighters," according to ISAF press releases compiled by The Long War Journal. The IMU is known to have a presence in the districts of Argo, Faizabad, and Kishim.
The IMU continues to maintain a close working relationship with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Haqqani Network. The Pakistan-based terror group has integrated into the Taliban's shadow government in the north, and conducts operations with the Haqqani Network in the east. In addition, the IMU has been involved in several high-profile suicide attacks and assassinations in Kabul and in the north.
ISAF has stepped up its targeting of the IMU's leadership cadre over the past several months. Coalition and Afghan commandos have targeted top IMU leaders and associates in 18 raids in Badakhshan, Baghlan, Faryab, Kunduz, Takhar, Logar, and Wardak provinces since Jan. 29. Two of those raids have taken place this month, nine occurred in April, and four in March. In the course of those raids, special operations forces have killed the IMU's past two commanders for Afghanistan; the raids have also resulted in the capture of three senior facilitators and the death of another.
For more information on the IMU, see LWJ reports, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan, and ISAF captures IMU facilitator in Wardak province.