Taliban intel officer linked to Pakistan captured in Kandahar

Yesterday, ISAF captured a Taliban intelligence operative who scouted attack sites for suicide bombers based in Pakistan. From the ISAF press release:

The targeted individual is an intelligence operative responsible for providing direction in the form of site selection and target sets for the suicide bombers who reportedly came into the city from Chaman, Pakistan.

The facilitator additionally provides support to Taliban operations including recruitment and improvised explosive device facilitation. He is closely associated with senior facilitators and has connections within the Dand and Panjwa’i districts’ Taliban networks.

The Taliban use Chaman as a command and control center for operations in the south, particularly in Kandahar. You can read more about the importance of Chaman to the Taliban’s operations in the south here. Keep in mind that Chaman is far, far away from Pakistan’s tribal areas.

In this Dec. 15 interview with Colonel Jeffrey Martindale, the Taliban’s reliance on Pakistan as a safe haven, and the US’ inability to do something about it, is laid bare. Martindale is the commander of Task Force Raider and the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division, who is leading US forces in the fight against the Taliban in Kandahar city and the district of Arghandab, formerly a Taliban stronghold.

Q: Colonel, Viola Gienger from Bloomberg News. I don’t know if you touched on this earlier, but what do you see as the role of Pakistan safe havens in your particular area? What kind of connection are you seeing? How much of a problem does that pose for you?

COL. MARTINDALE: It is clearly a problem for us. We do know that the leadership for the Taliban that are operating within my area are directed from leadership that are in Pakistan. We know that some of the leaders now have gone back and they have sanctuary there. And we do track them through time, and have since we’ve been here, going back and forth. And of course we target them as they come into our areas.

So it’s a problem. The solution to that problem really is not for me to answer. I would like a solution. It would certainly help with the efforts here. But, you know, it’s — it is what it is. There are — sanctuary there, and we have international-level dynamics that probably prevent us from going in and eliminating that sanctuary at this time.

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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