Former Taliban commander Mansoor Dadullah captured in Pakistan

Former Taliban commander Mullah Mansoor Dadullah. Click to view.

Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, a senior Taliban figure, has been wounded and captured along with five lieutenants by Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, the Pakistani military reported. There are two conflicting reports of Mansoor’s capture. The official military line is Mansoor was captured while crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan, while anonymous sources claimed he was captured in a religious seminary in Baluchistan.

Mansoor was reported to have been wounded during a firefight as he attempted to enter Baluchistan province in Pakistan from Kandahar province, Afghanistan, according to Pakistan’s Inter Service Public Relations. Mansoor and his party refused to stop when challenge and a firefight ensued. “Security personnel returned fire. As a result all of them sustained injuries and all of them were captured,” Major General Athar Abbas, the military spokesman said. “Dadullah was arrested alive but he is critically wounded.”

But unnamed intelligence sources told The Associated Press that Mansoor and his party were captured after police, Army, and anti-terrorism commandos of the Special Services Groups surrounded a religious seminary in the Zhob district of Baluchistan. Mansoor was captured along with associates Haji Lala, Khudai Dad, Khalid Dad, and Abdur Razzak, according to the intelligence source.

The Zhob district appears to be a Taliban staging area. Mansoor is the second high-profile Taliban leader to be killed or captured in the district over the past year. Pakistani security forces killed Abdullah Mehsud, a senior Taliban leader South Waziristan in July 2007. A senior US official recently stated the Afghan Taliban leadership and command and control are operating in Quetta in Baluchistan. The Pakistani government has denied senior Taliban and al Qaeda leader are inside Pakistan, which may be the reason the military is claiming Mansoor was captured while crossing the border from Afghanistan.

Mansoor was the military commander of Taliban forces in the strategic southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan, and Zabul provinces. He took command of Taliban forces in May 2007 after his brother Mullah Dadullah Ahkund, a popular but brutal and effective commander, was killed by British special forces in Helmand province.

Pro-Taliban supporters shout slogans during a rally in Killi Nalai [AP]. Click to view.

Mansoor eulogized his brother in May via videotape to a large gathering of 10,000 Taliban supporters in Baluchistan province in Pakistan. “The blood of my brother will never go waste. We will never forget his sacrifices, and the role of other martyrs,” Mansoor said. “We will complete Dadullah’s mission by expelling Americans and liberating Afghanistan.” The crowd chanted, “Long live Mullah Omar, Long Live Osama bin Laden and Taliban movement.”

Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban movement, relieved Mansoor of his command in late December. Omar fired Mansoor for failing to live up to the rules of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. “Mullah Mansoor Dadullah is not [in] obedience to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in his actions and has carried out activities which were against the rules of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” said Omar. “So the Decision Authorities [or Shura Majlis, executive council] of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan have removed Mansoor Dadullah from his post and he will no longer be serving the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in [any way] and no Taliban will obey his orders any more.” It is unclear what role, if any, Mansoor played in the Taliban hierarchy after his dismissal.

The Pakistani government has captured numerous Taliban leaders, yet several have been released in an effort to placate the Taliban in the tribal areas. Most recently, the government freed senior Taliban leader Mullah Obaidullah Akhund, along with Amir Khan Haqqani, two brothers of slain Taliban commander Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Usmani, and a cousin of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Sufi Mohammed, the leader of the ideological leader of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi in the Northwest Frontier Province, was freed during negotiations with the Taliban in Swat. Sufi led over 10,000 Taliban fighters against US forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002. Al Qaeda leader Rashid Rauf mysteriously escaped police custody while being transferred from a court to a jail. After the signing of the North Waziristan Accord in September 2006, the government opened the floodgates and released more than 2,500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters and leaders.

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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  • Tommy says:

    Great news!
    I don’t think anyone in the Taliban gives a crap about him. I don’t think they’ll threaten the government to release him. They’re probably doing the Taliban a favor by capturing him.
    btw- Has it ever been 100% confirmed that Obaidullah was released?

  • Edward says:

    Are there strategic implications for either of the stories as to how he was captured, since each has a different unit and location, besides past Pakistani denial of senior Taliban/AQ presence?

  • Wali says:

    Pakistan’s ISI knows exactly where all the Taliban leaders are. Whenever there is pressure from West they hand or kill one at the time. If they hand all the leadership at once then the billions of military aid will stop. The US also knows where they are, it’s like a movie you kill the bad guy at the end of the movie we are the middle or start of it. The puppet govts. of Pakistan and Afghanistan are killing their own people to satisfy the west. If we give a chance to the people of these two countries, they can live in peace. The governments and the Taliban are both enemies of peace. With billions of Aid to the warlords and drug lords in the name of democracy, we say hundreds of people died because of cold. If billions are spent on education and creating jobs the whole world will be in peace.

  • Marlin says:

    It’s fitting that Mansoor Dadullah was captured in Pakistan. Syed Saleem Shahzad makes the case in his 2nd of a two article series that the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda will pick Pakistan as their next target.

    “Pakistan’s fears are not without basis. After Lal Masjid [Red Mosque operation in Islamabad last year in which the radical mosque was stormed], Sheikh [Osama bin Laden] personally appointed an amir [chief] for Pakistan for khuruj [revolt]. The decision got the approval of the shura and then an organization was set up in various Pakistani cities,” the al-Qaeda member says.
    Al-Qaeda’s shura makes all decisions, including the religious and strategic assessment of any project, for instance the decision to stage a
    khuruj was approved by Bin Laden last year.
    The shura discussed the religious justification of
    khuruj and after long debate agreed it was essential for Pakistan. The religious requirements to launch khuruj include the appointment of an “amir of khuruj“.
    According to sharia law,
    khuruj against rulers can only be launched when the chances of success are good.
    “It [
    khuruj] will be different from isolated attacks, rather it will be collective actions of revolt throughout Pakistani cities. This is what khuruj is by strategy and according to the demands of sharia,” Abu Haris said.
    They will definitely come after us, but this time we will not give them the chance of first strike,” Abu Haris says.

    Asia Times: Al-Qaeda sets sight on the next battlefield

  • Alex says:

    Seriously, let’s give Pakistan an offer to hit those 29 training camps and other Taliban/AQ centers with heavy aerial bombing, and offer to let Pakistan take the credit for the raid because of course we’re not “supposed” to be going in to Pakistan.

  • Neo says:

    “Mansoor eulogized his brother in May via videotape to a large gathering of 10,000 Taliban supporters in Baluchistan province in Pakistan.”

  • Wali says:

    To Saaq:
    How come the sharia laws are not in door steps of Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore?
    Why are they killing the pashtoons in the name of terrorists on both sides or Durand line?
    What Sharia are you talking about? Sharia coming from madrassas created by the British? Run by ISI?
    to stop the developments in the pashtoon areas, to stop the pahstoons from getting education. Why don’t you bring your sharia to Sindh and Punjab? Slaughtering teachers is sharia? burning schools is sharia?

  • ST333 says:

    This feels like the Zarquawi bombing. When al Qaeda and their allies have no more use for someone in their organization, that person’s location and movements are apparently leaked and their clock starts ticking. I could be wrong and I hope it was good HUMINT or SIGMINT but for some reason I doubt it. I tend to agree with an opinion above that said ISI essentially threw us a bone to keep the cash flowing. Who knows, maybe Dadullah knows he was sold out and will cough up some info to get revenge.

  • Ason says:

    It seems to me that Dadullah was given up by the central Taliban to Pakistan as part of some bargain.

  • Sam says:

    I hope we can just watch and “monitor” his interrogation by the Afghans and let them handle the water boarding and whatever else.
    Too many in our Congress are eager to shield the enemy and prosecute our own side. At least I assume they are on our side.
    I don’t think they would give up Dadullah if a capture was likely. They would give him up to have him killed.

  • Buck Smith says:

    Everyone keeps saying we are getting our butts kicked in Afghanistan, but we don’t lose any firefights and we keep killing off the HVTs.

  • Whither Liberalism, whither Conservatism, or will they wither?

    Echoes of our immediate post-WWII elections seem thick in the air.
    After 1989 and the collapse of Communism, most commentators expected a GOP crack-up as we lost the glue of anti-Communism, yet despite George H. W. Bush’s loss (assisted by a veng…

  • Marlin says:

    The bureau chief of an Arab TV channel is reporting that Pakistani Taliban kidnapped the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan and are offering his release in return for the Pakistani government releasing Mansoor Dadullah.

    […]local Taliban admitted that they had kidnapped Pakistani envey to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin and asked the tribal leaders of Khyber Agency to convey their message to Pakistani government that they are ready to free Tariq Azizuddin against the release of Mansoor Dadullah.

    Geo TV: Taliban demand swap of Mansoordad with Pak ambassador

  • Marlin says:

    More news about Mansoor Dadullah.

    “We have handed Dadullah over to the security agencies. He is under interrogation and details will be known later,” Saud Gohar, the police chief of Balochistan, told AFP.
    Gohar said that Dadullah had narrowly evaded capture in another shootout in January that left two militants dead.
    “The incident took place in the same district about three weeks ago. Police flagged a car but it did not stop and the occupants opened fire,” the police chief said.
    “They escaped into an orchard and the exchange of fire lasted half an hour. Two of his guards were killed but Dadullah managed to flee,” he added.
    “Since then we continued to collect information from different sources and finally, we captured him alive yesterday. Dadullah’s arrest reflects our resolve that we will not allow terrorists on our soil.”

    AAJ TV: Mullah Mansoor under interrogation: police


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