Senior Taliban, Abu Sayyaf detained, killed in Afghanistan and the Philippines; Islamic Courts leader possibly captured in Kenya, another killed in an airstrike; Pakistan on the hunt for al Qaeda leader
Coalition forces have made some strides in degrading the leadership of the global Islamist movement. Two senior Taliban commanders were captured in Afghanistan, while the Philippine military continues to dismantle Abu Sayyaf’s leadership on the island of Jolo. Kenyan officials believe the Islamic Courts’ second in command was detained and another killed in an airstrike, while Pakistan is on the heels of an al Qaeda leader who fled airstrikes in North Waziristan.
Taliban spokesman, military commander captured in Afghanistan
Yesterday, Afghan security forces captured Taliban spokesman Dr. Muhammad Hanif. Hanif is has given numerous interviews with the media, and issued press releases and rebuttals to NATO and Afghan statements. He was said to have been in instant satellite and email contact with the press. There should be little doubt his reliance on digital communications led to his capture. Hanif is said to be is cracking under interrogation, and according to Afghan intelligence, claims Taliban leader Mullah Omar is living in Quetta. “He is protected by the ISI,” Pakistan’s intelligence agency, said Hanif to Afghan intelligence. Hanif was captured after crossing the Pakistani border from the tribal agencies into Afghanistan.
NATO forces also said an unnamed Taliban commander for the Panjwai district in Kandahar was killed during a raid. Panjwai has been the scene of some of the most intense fighting in Afghanistan, as this district is the birthplace of the Taliban. Canadian and NATO forces killed upwards of a 1,000 Taliban over the course of the last year in multiple operations to uproot the terrorists.
Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah leaders, operatives killed in the Philippines
The Philippine military has been heavily engaged in fighting against al Qaeda sponsored Abu Sayyaf. The Philippine military has confirmed Abu Sulaiman, one of the top five leaders of Abu Sayyaf with a U.S. bounty of $5 million, has been killed in fighting on Jolo. Abu Sulaiman is believed to be the mastermind behind the 2004 Manila Bay ferry bombing, which killed up to 100, and was behind the kidnapping and murder of U.S. citizens. Killed alongside Sulaiman was Abu Sayyaf operative Bonia Ysmael.
Earlier in January, Philippine forces killed Binang Sal, an Abu Sayyaf bomb expert, and Jundam Jamalul (a.k.a. Black Killer). The U.S. put out a bounty of $40,000 for Jamalul’s capture or death. Gufran (aka Abu Samur), an Indonesian aide to Jemaah Islamiyah leader Dulmatin, was also killed.
Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani is believed to have been killed during fighting on Jolo last fall, but this has yet to be confirmed. DNA test are still outstanding.
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Sheik Yusuf Indohaadde during a news briefing, Saturday, June 17, 2006. AP photograph, click to view.
Islamic Courts leader possibly captured in Kenya, another killed in airstrike
The East Africa Standard, a Kenyan newspaper, has reported that Sheikh Ahmed Sharif has been captured by Kenyan police. The reports are conflicting. Some sources state he was caught trying to enter the Dadaab Refugee Camp, others state he “voluntarily surrendered to Kenyan officials at the border and requested for asylum status through the [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] agency.” Somali officials are claiming Sharif was captured, and the Ethiopians claim to have his briefcase in custody. An American intelligence source tells us it is likely Sharif was captured, but could not confirm this.
Sharif Ahmed is second in command of the Islamic Courts, behind Hassan Dahir Aweys, who is believed to have fled the country. Sharif’s capture would put a major dent in the Islamic Court’s ability to mount an insurgency, as he held sway over a significant faction of the ICU fighters. Sharif would also provide vital intelligence on the Islamic Court’s command, control and organization.
Aden Hashi Farah Ayro, Aweys’s prot
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.