High Value Targets

Muhammad Hanif, in Afghan custody

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.

ahmed and indohaadde.jpg

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.

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9 Comments

  • Cruiser says:

    We may have hit and seriously wounded or killed Aden Hashi Farah Ayro in the AC-130 strike in Somalia. He was belived to have been the main Somali militant to shelter the AQ operatives in Somalia.
    //today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=newsOne&storyID=2007-01-17T221835Z_01_N17364454_RTRUKOC_0_US-SOMALIA-USA-RAID.xml&WTmodLoc=Home-C2-TopNews-newsOne-4

  • allen says:

    This is why the West will prevail against Islamofascism:
    They may love to die, but we love to fight –
    “Four Royal Marines flew into a battle zone clinging to the outside of helicopter gunships in a bid to rescue a fallen comrade “

  • Bill Roggio says:

    You caught me in mid-update, Cruiser… Updated and noted.

  • Marlin says:

    Time magazine makes the claim that the capture of Abdul Haq, better known as Dr. Hanif, should be largely attributed as a successful operation by Afghanistan’s intelligence branch, National Defense Services (NDS). I hope it is true that their capabilities are growing.
    ———————————–
    Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of harboring leading elements of the Taliban. And, they say, the confession of a leading Taliban spokesman arrested in Afghanistan on Monday further bolsters their claim. Abdul Haq, better known as Dr. Hanif, was caught just hours after crossing the border from Pakistan into Afghanistan in Nangahar province. His capture, after he was followed from the border on a tip, was a success for the beleaguered National Defense Services (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence branch, which has long been unable to prevent suspected Taliban militants from treating the poorly guarded border as a revolving door, entering at will to assist with attacks on Afghan and Coalition forces, then melting back into the sanctuary of Pakistan’s ungoverned frontier zone.
    Time: A Taliban Spokesman’s Confession

  • Marlin says:

    A team of SAS soldiers captured a key Taliban commander yesterday in a lightning raid on a heavily-fortified compound in southern Afghanistan.
    Without a shot being fired, the force of fewer than 30 elite soldiers, backed by Afghan troops, achieved “total surprise” and seized Mohammad Nabi in the early hours of the morning near Gereshk, in Helmand province.
    Nabi is believed to be a key commander in the Taliban insurgency in the neighbouring province of Kandahar.
    The compound, which had been under observation by Nato forces for around two weeks, was typical of the heavily-fortified homes favoured by the Pashtun tribes of southern Afghanistan, which often boast battlements and watch towers.
    “We suspect that he has had a major part to play in the Taliban’s operations in Zarai and Punjwai districts,” said Squadron Leader David Marsh, a British military spokesman, referring to key areas of Taliban resistance in Kandahar and the scene of near continuous fighting since May, 2006.
    SAS seizes Taliban leader in secret war

  • Tim Solan says:

    DNA tests confirm the death of Abu Sayyaf leader Khaddafy Janjalani.
    //news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070120/ap_on_re_as/philippines_abu_sayyaf_3

  • Devin says:

    The Taliban and Al Qaeda have really had thier asses handed to them by the US and NATO in the past year, especially. Now all we need is to get some good intel on Bin Laden and Zawahiri, and fill those two dirtbags with a good amount of lead.

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