Taliban assassinate police and tribal affairs chiefs in south

The Taliban have intensified their assassination program in southern Afghanistan, killing two senior government officials in Kandahar and Zabul provinces.

Two days ago, a Taliban suicide bomber killed the chief of police for the district on Daman in Kandahar province. Three policemen and a civilian were also killed in the Aug.17 attack, which targeted the police chief as he drove toward Kandahar city. The suicide attack in Daman took place just two days after a combined Coalition and Afghan special operations force captured “a key Taliban weapons distributor” along with an undisclosed number of fighters in the district.

In the neighboring district of Dand, the Taliban killed six policemen by poisoning their food. The soldiers died from their meal after breaking the Ramadan fast. The cook who poisoned the food fled and rejoined the Taliban.

In Zabul province, the Taliban killed the provincial Border and Tribal Affairs chief and his wife and wounded his sister in an attack on his home. Zabul is a known haven for the Taliban and al Qaeda. On Aug. 11, Afghan and Coalition forces detained more than 20 suspected “insurgents” in Zabul while targeting an al Qaeda foreign fighter facilitator operating in the district of Shamulzai.

Background on the Taliban’s operations in Kandahar

The Taliban, under a directive issued by Mullah Omar, have responded to the Coalition and Afghan offensive in the south with a campaign of violence and intimidation. Taliban fighters have been directed to “capture and kill any Afghan who is supporting and/or working for coalition forces or the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” as well as “any Afghan women who are helping or providing information to coalition forces.”

As part of the Taliban’s offensive in Kandahar, the terror group has targeted tribal leaders, politicians, and other elites for assassination. More than 20 people, including the district chief for Arghandab and the deputy mayor of Kandahar City, have been killed over the past several months. On July 31, the Taliban assassinated a tribal leader in the strategic Arghandab district just north of Kandahar city.

The Taliban’s military commander in Kandahar is Mullah Muhammad Isa Akhund. In an interview with Al Sumud, a Taliban magazine, Akhund claimed that nearly all of Kandahar is under Taliban control.

“The situation in Kandahar is favorable to the mujahedeen, with the grace of God, and the mujahedeen are present in effective and influential ways in the city of Kandahar, the farther districts, the surrounding areas, and the crucial roads of the province,” Akhund told Al Sumud. “It is known to all that the mujahedeen control the rural areas of the country.”

Top leaders at the International Security Assistance Force and US politicians have described Kandahar as the strategic center of the country, and said the province is key to defeating the Taliban.

Over the past five months, ISAF has targeted top Taliban leaders in Kandahar in a series of raids that have killed more than 150 mid and high-level commanders. Key Taliban commanders recently killed in the province include Haji Agha, the Taliban’s military commander for the Panjwai, Dand, and Zhari districts in Kandahar; Mullah Zergay, the Taliban’s leader for Kandahar City and the districts of Zhari and Arghandab; and Izzatullah, the Taliban’s military commander for Panjwai.

At the end of July, ISAF stated that its operations are impacting the Taliban’s command and control in the key province. “Since June, security forces have conducted several clearing operations within Kandahar province capturing more than 125 suspected insurgents, including numerous Taliban leaders,” the ISAF press release stated. “Coalition Forces have also discovered and destroyed several IED factories, and a large number of IEDs and automatic weapons.”

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



  • Mr T says:

    These “tribes” that control an area are just like countries. They run themselves and don’t allow the government of Pakistan to come in and control them. That allows them to not be subject to any international rules of conduct and they can hide behind that veil to terrorize the world. If Nazirland was a real country, we would have invaded them long ago or put sanctions on them etc. They may ally with Mehsudland and so forth but we would still be fighting a country instead of a “tribe”. They are using that non organization as a shield from international law.
    Pakistan is complicit in that subterfuge. They are using it to their advantage as well. Maybe the US should send in some Texas special forces without uniforms and then claim we don’t know what those Texans do but we won’t go into their territory because we signed a peace deal with them.
    Why are they allowed to play this game?

  • T Ruth says:

    Mr T, it is because we are submitting ourselves to play the game by the rules set by Pakistan.
    It is obvious that the sovereignity of the Pak state over a large part of the of their NW region simply does not exist, de facto. Especially when they feign lack of control over these areas, historically and also now, in the present.
    The US has done absolutely nothing to elevate this viscious anomaly at the UN level which is the logical first port of legal call when political-moral suasion has failed.
    There is a level where Pak is a separate issue from AfPak for its own sake. Its terror factories and the export of that product to London, New York, Bombay and so on.
    Apart from the UN route where it is quite usual for matters to arrive when often it is too late, there is a clear opportunity for the West and its real allies to play a different game–that of covert, politically managed dismemberment. The Pak regime is not invulnerable, far from it.
    Pak’s nuclear pile makes it all the more vital that the intnl community that comprises the civilized world acts firmy, decisively and urgently. For the time being we are stuck in a stalemate of a mediocre game of chess glued to our seats of destruction, including the possibility of self destruction.
    Anyone for dominos?
    If not, just keep sending all your cheese to feed the rat lines out of Islamabad.


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