Coalition and Afghan special operations forces captured an Islamic Jihad Group (IJG) facilitator in the course of two recent raids in the Afghan north.
International Security Assistance Force and Afghan troops first targeted and missed capturing the operative during a Feb. 9 raid in the district of Nahr-e Shahi in Balkh province, an ISAF press officer told The Long War Journal. But during a second raid, in the district of Dowlatabad, also in Balkh, the IJG facilitator and several “insurgents” were detained.
The IJG facilitator “is responsible for coordinating the movement of foreign fighters from Iran and Pakistan into Afghanistan,” ISAF stated in a press release. ISAF often uses “foreign fighters” to describe al Qaeda operatives and members of affiliated terror groups.
ISAF is seeking to determine whether the IJG operative is from Afghanistan or from outside the country.
“The targeted individual’s nationality is still being verified at this time,” the ISAF press officer told The Long War Journal.
The raid against the IJG in Balkh is the first of its kind in the province. Over the past four years, ISAF and Afghan special operations forces have targeted IJG commanders and facilitators during raids in Kunduz district in Kunduz province, Besmil and Khost districts in Khost province, and Zadran district in Paktia province.
The Islamic Jihad Group (also known as the Islamic Jihad Union) is a splinter faction of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The Islamic Jihad Group is based out of the Mir Ali region of Pakistan’s tribal agency of North Waziristan, where it maintains close ties with al Qaeda leader Abu Kasha al Iraqi, and with North Waziristan Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar, who controls the Datta Khel region. It is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization.
German and Turkish Muslims make up a significant portion of the IJG. Its fighters are often referred to as German Taliban, and they carry out attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2009, the IJG released video of ‘German Taliban villages’ in Waziristan. Its fighters were seen training at camps and conducting military operations.
The IJG was also at the center of a plot to carry out Mumbai-like terror assaults in European cities which was discovered in the summer of 2010 after an IJG operative was captured in northern Afghanistan. Shortly after the plot was exposed, unmanned US Predator and Reaper strike aircraft pounded IJG camps in North Waziristan, killing dozens of IJG fighters and commanders, including several Germans.