ISAF launches airstrike against IMU facilitator
Coalition and Afghan special operations forces conducted another raid against the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Badakhshan province. From the ISAF press release:
Afghan and coalition security forces conducted an operation to detain an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan facilitator in Argo district, Badakhshan province, today.
The IMU facilitator supplies weapons and explosive devices to insurgents for attacks against Afghan security forces and coalition troops throughout province.
During the operation, the security force was attacked by two groups of insurgents. The security force returned fire and requested a precision airstrike.
After the airstrike, the Afghan and coalition security force conducted a follow-on assessment of the area and determined no civilians had been harmed and multiple insurgents had been killed.
As a result of the operation, the security force recovered five AK-47s, three RPG launchers, several RPG rounds and multiple grenades.
According to Xinhua, eight Taliban fighters, including a commander named Mawlawi Saifudin, were killed in the airstrike.
Badakhshan has become increasingly unstable over the past several years, as the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the IMU have exerted their influence in the remote northeastern province. The province was transferred from ISAF to Afghan control at the end of January 2012.
Violence has flared in the province over the past week. On May 31, eight policemen and six Taliban fighters were killed in the province. Yesterday, Coalition and Afghan forces rescued two foreign and two Afghan aid workers in Badakhshan; several Taliban fighters were killed during the rescue operation.
ISAF has conducted five 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 last raid took place on May 24, when an IMU facilitator was captured in Argo district. The IMU is known to have a presence in the districts of Argo, Faizabad, and Kishim.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a key ally of al Qaeda and the Taliban, and supports operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as plots attacks in Europe. The IMU is known to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and has integrated into the Taliban's shadow government in the north [for more information on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, see LWJ report, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan].