Taliban “shadow” governor for Uruzgan province arrested

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.



  • Alex says:

    Good job. Maybe as the ANA starts expanding its reach, we’re starting to get better intelligence on the ground.

  • Nic says:

    The second to the last paragraph states that “Mullah Qader, commander of the air force” was killed. I am having trouble picturing the Taliban Air Force (TAF). Rodney Dangerfield, may he rest in peace, could have used TAF as a source of material for his standup act.

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/11/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • Joakim Ekström says:

    Maybe this is the most stupid question ever, but if I may:
    Since every soldier is a sensor, why not disperse soldiers over the entire RC East for example. One solder per square kilometer or what it adds up to. With this network of “sensors”, maybe the war can be won from the air?
    Your thoughts?

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Joakim Ekström
    The military term for that is “strategic dispersal” and it invites “defeat in detail”.
    Operating without a concentration of firepower, the individual soldier is an easy mark to be overwhelmed. And the enemy just rolls over them one by one. Not enough power to stop them at any one point.
    A very foolish move…

  • Joakim Ekström says:

    DJ, I guess you’re right. But isn’t the Taliban employing this very tactic? Spies on the ridges that monitor the outposts. By never firing, the spies never reveal their positions.
    When the coalition hears the radio chatter, they know that there is a Taliban somewhere within line-of-sight, but because the area within line-of-sight is so vast, it is increadiby difficult to find the spy anyhow. Likewise, in my scenario, when the Taliban notice that they are being airstriked they would know that there probably is a coalition soldier within line-of-sight, but it should be really difficult to find the soldier anyhow because the area within line-of-sight is so vast. And also because of the blast of the 2000 lb JDAM.
    If a coalition soldier on a mission like this suspects that he’s been spotted, maybe he could order an aerial evacuation or something.
    Of course the key of this tactic would be that the Taliban don’t find the scouts. That would be a terrible disaster, needless to say.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Joakim Ekström
    Scouts and recon are a different subject. They are always used. Still tend to be teams or UAVs.
    Never on the scale you described. To put one person per square Km would disperse the entire military force in Afghanistan. Check the size of the area you are refering to…

  • Joakim Ekström says:

    Thanks DJ. I am really not trying to be a smart ass here. I’m just deeply committed to success and I’m thinking a lot about how the Taliban can be defeated. Strategically, I think patience, persistence and learning are the most important elements.
    May God bless the great soldiers that are taking the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    Its a shame the rest of NATO is not as commited to winning this as some others are. If NATO really committed itself to smashing the T-ban/AQ, it would be done. The Germans, Italians, Spaniards, and to a lesser degree France, can do a hell of alot more. DISGRACE.


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