Australian special forces conducted a preplanned raid against a top Taliban commander and his network in central Uruzgan province last week. Mullah Bari Ghul, the Taliban’s shadow governor for the province, was nabbed in the raid. Mullah Bari Ghul has been labeled “the key facilitator in the provision of equipment, money and foreign fighters to extremist operations and coordinated the actions of individual insurgent cells” in Uruzgan province by the Australian Defense Department.
“The loss of the one person who knew what was currently underway, what was planned for the future and had the contacts to gain further support is a significant blow to the Taliban extremists’ command and control in the province,” Australian Defense spokesperson Brigadier Brian Dawson said in a press statement.
Mullah Bari Ghul conducted the Taliban’s deadly improvised-explosive device campaign against Afghan and Coalition personnel in Uruzgan province, including the attacks that killed Australian Signaller Sean McCarthy, Trooper David Pearce and countless Afghan citizens, according to the Australian Department of Defense.
“Mullah Bari Ghul was directly responsible for the importation of componentry, the provision of specialists in the construction of IEDs and authorizing their emplacement across the province. He was also ultimately responsible for the July 13 suicide bomber attack in the Deh Rawood bazaar that killed 21 Afghans and injured a further 12,” Dawson added.
No Coalition or Afghan security personnel were injured in the covert operation to nab Mullah Bari Ghul but further details of the raid were not released sighting operational security. Mullah Bari Ghul has since been transported to the main detention facility in the Tarin Kowt, the capital of Uruzgan, which is run by a large Dutch military contingent.
Several Taliban shadow governors have been killed or arrested this year by security forces. Mullah Abdul Rahim Akhund, the feared Taliban shadow governor of Helmand province, surrendered in Quetta, Pakistan after three of his close aides were killed during a quick series of British decapitation strikes. Abdul Hamid Akhundzada, the shadow governor of Faryab province, was killed by Afghan civilians in early July.
In late June, the Afghan Defense Ministry claimed to have killed the entire Taliban provincial council for Kandahar province in a massive operation against the Taliban in the Arghandab district. “Many important Taliban were killed,” General Gul Agha Naibi, commander of the ANA’s Kandahar Atal Corps told reporters at the time. “There was Mullah Abdul Shukur, the Taliban governor of Kandahar; Mullah Kamran, the chief of police; Mullah Baaz Mohammad, chief of intelligence; Mullah Sayed Wali, head of the bank, Mullah Qader, commander of the air force, and Mullah Mohib, commander from Spin Boldak.”
In May, the Taliban shadow governor for Ghor province, Mullah Jalil, and Mullah Abdul Saraj, who was appointed as police chief for the province by the Taliban leadership, were killed along with four other insurgents during an Afghan security operation.