Baloch jihadist group in southern Afghanistan announces death of commander
A Baloch jihadist group that has pledged allegiance to the Taliban and calls Ayman al Zawahiri its emir recently released a statement praising one of its commanders killed during fighting in southern Afghanistan.
Junood al Fida, the Baloch jihadist group, eulogized Abdul Hafeez, who is also known as Maulvi Abu Baseer, in an English-language statement that was released on its Twitter account on Aug. 3. The statement was obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group.
According to the statement, Hafeez had waged jihad for four decades. He fought against the Soviets, the Northern Alliance, and against US, Western, and Afghan forces after 9/11. Junood al Fida described him as "a well-known commander in Zabul, Helmand & Kandahar Province of The Islamic Emirates Of Afghanistan," the official name of the Taliban.
He was killed while leading "a group of 6 Mujahideen brothers who were Istish'hadi (Martyrdom Bombers)" against three Afghan military "camps" in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. His death occurred sometime during the month of Ramadan.
Junood al Fida said that Hafeez was from the district of Jhal Magsi in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan.
The jihadist group has also released at least three videos since mid-May that show the group fighting in the Shorawak district in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.
On July 8, the Junood al Fida released a statement on the jihadist Jamia Hafsa Urdu Forum in which it threatened the United States and pledged bayat, or allegiance, to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
"We gave our bayat to Amir al Mumineen (the commander of the faithful) Mullah Muhammad Omar Mujahid, may God protect him, and we are his soldiers ..." the statement said, according to a translation obtained by the Long War Journal.
"As for the United States' future in Afghanistan, it will be fire and hell and total defeat, Allah willing, as it was for their predecessors: the Soviets and the British before them."
The July statement described Junood al Fida members as "Muhajireen," or emigrants who were welcomed by the Taliban, and said the "Khorasan," a region in central Asia that encompasses Afghanistan, is "one of the greatest battlegrounds for warriors of Tawheed (Monotheism) and has served as a lion's den for Allah's soldiers."
In the same statement, Junood al Fida indicated its loyalty to al Qaeda. The jihadist group described Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's leader, as "Our Shaykh al Habib [beloved leader]" and "Amiruna [our chief]."
Baluchistan province in Pakistan is known to host several jihadist groups. The Afghan Taliban have an extensive presence in Baluchistan, particularly in the districts bordering Afghanistan. In these districts the Taliban are known to run madrassas, training camps, supply depots, and other critical infrastructure to support their fighters in Afghanistan. Additionally, the Taliban raise funds and recruit fighters in Baluchistan. The Taliban's executive council is known to be based in Quetta, the provincial capital.
A group known as the Movement of the Taliban in Baluchistan also operates in the Pakistani province. The group is known to have attacked numerous NATO supply convoys moving through the province, and also fights in Afghansitan.
Al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan maintain a presence in Baluchistan as well. Younis al Mauritani, a member of al Qaeda's military committee, and two other al Qaeda operatives known as Abdul Ghaffar al Shami and Messara al Shami were captured in Quetta in September 2011.
Junood al Fida is the second foreign jihadist group to swear allegiance to the Taliban in the past month. On July 21, Zawahiri renewed his pledge to Mullah Omar. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda renews its oath of allegiance to Taliban leader Mullah Omar.]