The initial report was incorrect, Hekmatyar has not been captured, see the correction for details.
On the day of the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attack, Coalition forces score a high value target in Afghanistan. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the commander of Hezb-i-Islami and ally of al Qaeda and the Taliban, has been captured during a joint U.S. and Afghan Army raid in “eastern Afghanistan.” Hekmatyar, contrary to his rhetoric gave up to the Coalition forces without a fight. Hekmatyar’s arrest is said to be part of an ‘ongoing operation.’
Hekmatyar has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist “ and “has participated in and supported terrorist acts committed by al-Qa’ida and the Taliban.” The 9-11 Commision report indicates Osama bin Laden kept lines of communication open with Hekmatyar. “bin Laden apparently kept his option open, maintaining contacts with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who, though an Islamic extremist, was also one of the Taliban’s most militant opponents,” states the report.
Hekmatyar fought against the Soviets, was prime minister of Afghanistan in the mid 1990s, and became an anti-Taliban fighter until the collapse of Afghanistan’s Taliban government in December of 2001. After the U.S. operation, Hekmatyar threw in his lot with the Taliban and al Qaeda, and brought Hezb-i-Islami into battle against the government of Hamid Karzai. Hezb-i-Islami split in two, with a section loyal to Hekmatyar (know as Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin or HIG). HIG has influence particularly with Afghan refugees in western Pakistan. Hekmatyar had deep ties to Iran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, and is said to have facilitated the movement of high level al Qaeda leaders, including Saif al-Adel and Saad bin Laden, into Iran with the assistance of the IRGC.
The capture of Hekmatyar is a major blow to al Qaeda and the Taliban, as it provides an opportu nity to split his organization. HIG is considered one of the major Anti-Government Elements (or AGEs) in Afghanistan. And Hekmatyar may be privy to valuable information about the location of high level al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.
The Khaleej Times is reporting a commander of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami, along with “six associates” were captured “at a compound near Hafezan in eastern Nangarhar province.” The initial report of Hekmatyar’s capture may be premature, however American intelligence sources are tight lipped on the subject at the moment.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.