Senior Kabul Attack Network commander killed in Coalition airstrike

In an airstrike yesterday, Coalition forces killed a top Haqqani Network commander who facilitated attacks in the Afghan capital.

The commander, known as Qari Mansur, was killed along with five fighters in a “precision airstrike” after they had attacked an Afghan National Police unit. “Based on intelligence sources, coalition forces tracked Qari Mansur to a remote valley east of Kabul City,” the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release.

“Qari Mansur was one of the most prolific attack planners for the Kabul insurgent network,” said ISAF spokesman Colonel Rafael Torres. Mansur “reportedly took attack instructions directly from Haqqani senior leaders in Pakistan prior to the Saturday’s [parliamentary] elections,” ISAF stated.

Mansur is the latest senior Kabul Attack Network commander killed in an ISAF airstrike just outside the capital. On Sept. 9, an ISAF strike killed Mur Mohammed, another senior commander involved in suicide and IED attacks in Kabul.

The killing of Mohammed and Mansur by airstrike illustrates the Taliban and the Haqqani Network’s penetration in and around the Afghan capital, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

“In both cases, ISAF had to call in air to take out two commanders just miles from the capital,” the official said. “In the case of Mansur, Afghan and ISAF forces were deterred from reaching the strike location due to the presence of a ‘minefield.'”

The Kabul Attack Network is the Taliban group responsible for carrying out attacks in and around the Afghan capital. It is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate as well.

The Kabul Attack Network is led by Dawood (or Daud) and Taj Mir Jawad, military and intelligence officials told The Long War Journal. Dawood is the Taliban’s shadow governor for Kabul, while Taj Mir Jawad is a top commander in the Haqqani Network. In the US military files recently released by Wikileaks, Taj Mir Jawad is identified as a top Haqqani Network leader.

ISAF and Afghan forces have been targeting the Kabul Attack Network over the past several months. The network’s tentacles extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, and Kapisa. On Aug. 26, combined forces captured Zia Ul Haq, a senior Taliban commander operating in Logar province who was responsible for the facilitation of foreign fighters and suicide bombers into Kabul.

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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