NATO airstrike kills Taliban Commander Mullah Berader

The Taliban flag.

US and Afghan forces continue to strike hard at the Taliban’s leaders in southern Afghanistan. The US Air Force killed Mullah Berader, a senior Taliban general and leader, after British and Afghan forces called in an air strike on Taliban fighters attempting to ambush their patrol in Helmand province. Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense has confirmed Berader’s death in the fighting.

Mullah Berader served on the Taliban Shura Majlis, or executive council, up until his death as well as served as a senior commander in southern Afghanistan. He was a senior general prior to the fall of the Taliban in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001. Berader was said to have been close to Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s spiritual leader.

Berader is the fourth member of the Taliban Shura Majlis to have been killed or captured since December 2006. Mullah Akhtar Usmani was killed in an airstrike in Helmand province in December of 2006. Mullah Obaidullah Akhund was arrested in Pakistan in January of 2007. Mullah Dadullah Akhund was killed in Helmand province in June of 2007. Dadullah was the senior-most Taliban military commander, and was replaced by his brother Mullah Dadullah Mansoor, in November of 2006, Graeme Smith of Canada’s Globe and Mail listed the Taliban Shura Majlis as follows:

1. Mullah Omar

2. Mullah Dadullah

3. Akhtar Usmani

4. Mullah Mohammed Hassan

5. Mullah Obaidullah

6. Mullah Berader

7. Hafiz Majid

8. Amir Khan Motaki

9. Turabi

10. Hamid Agha (aka Qudratullah Jaman)

Several other senior Taliban leaders have been killed or captured since December of 2006. Qari Faiz Mohammad, a member of the Taliban’s military shura, was killed in a raid in Helmand province in July 2007. Afghan forces also captured Taliban spokesman Dr. Muhammad Hanif in January 2007. He was later released in an exchange for an Italian hostage. In June of 2007, NATO forces killed Mullah Mahmud Baluch, a senior Taliban commander in Helmand and Nimruz provinces. Numerous other regional and district-level Taliban commanders have been killed or captured in the south during the same time period.


Helmand province.

The success against the senior Taliban commander can be credited to the push into the Helmand River Valley, where the Taliban have established their safe havens within Afghanistan. Successive operations have given Afghan and NATO intelligence a good picture of the Taliban’s network in the region. British, Afghan and US forces have been conducting major battles in the Helmand River Valley over the past several months. NATO and Afghan forces launched Operation Achilles in March of 2007 in an effort to blunt the much touted “Taliban offensive.”

Afghan and NATO forces are currently attempting to deny the Taliban control over the district of Musa Qala after the British signed a peace agreement with “tribal elders,” much like the Pakistanis have done throughout the Northwest Frontier Province. British and Afghan Army and auxiliary forces have been moving north from the Gershk district into the Sangin and Musa Qala districts, while a joint British and Afghan force is working to secure the vital Kajaki Dam. The district of Washir in western Helmand province has also been a focus of British and Afghan Army operations in August.

The Taliban have taken frightening losses attempting to defend this terrain, both in leaders and foot soldiers. Operation Storm, which was launched during the month of June, resulted in over 270 Taliban killed alone. In neighboring Kandahar province, 103 Taliban were killed in a single airstrike after attempting to ambush a NATO and Afghan patrol. The Taliban have been repeatedly ambushing NATO and Afghan patrols up and down the Helmand River Valley, only to take dozens of casualties in each engagement. At some point, the Taliban leadership will have to decide if they are capable of defending Helmand province from the onslaught of British and Afghan forces. The Taliban leadership is putting itself at risk by holding firm in Helmand province.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • David M says:

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run – Web Reconnaissance for 08/31/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  • Paul says:

    What a great summary of the latest in Afghanistan! I haven’t found a site I enjoy more for info on the war. Thanks Bill Roggio.

  • Since it is not possible to negotiate with fanatics, this is unfortunately the only way to put an end to the madness and chaos. One thing you can count on with jihadists, they have no capacity for reason and logic. They are simply believers in an evil and bankrupt misrepresentation of a religion.

  • KaneKaizer says:

    Is there still no confirmation on whether or not Dadullah’s brother and replacement, Mansoor Dadullah, was killed in that airstrike awhile ago?

  • RHYNO327 says:

    kudos to UK and Afghan forces for calling in a devastating airstrike. i would like to know wat kind of warplane was used. i have read B-52’s and B-1B’s are constantly on station to provide support. is this true? i also would like to know why do we not act on these “safe havens” in the NWFP’S. Obama was right, if Musharraf won’t act, we will. these lands are not under ANY gov. control. so why don’t we act? this war is draining our allies manpower. the UK reserve is down to nothing. its supposed to be a NATO operation, but only the US, UK, Canada, Dutch are doing the fighting and dying. even France had 200 Spec. Ops there at one time. they still have Mirage 2000’s there for CAS. where are the Germans? sitting fat and bloated way up north out of harms way. if we are to win here, those camps in p-stan have to be DESTROYED. they are making a move to isolate Kandahar, to eventually take it back. CANNOT LET IT HAPPEN. Strike those camps. the inaction by US officials and Nato forces is gonna come back to haunt us.


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