ISAF, Afghan forces capture another HIG commander in Khost

Coalition and Afghan special operations teams captured yet another Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin commander, this time during a raid in the Sabari district in Khost province. From the ISAF press release:

Afghan and coalition forces detained a Hezb-E Islami Gulbuddin commander and two suspected insurgents during an operation in Sabari district, Khost province yesterday.

The commander is involved in command and control, transporting Hezb-E Islami Gulbuddin operatives, improvised explosive devices, weapons, and ammunition for use in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. According to recent reporting he is also responsible for transporting insurgents, weapons and ammunition within Khost, Paktika and Paktiya.

Intelligence reports led the security force to the targeted compound where Afghan forces called for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully before conducting a search. The Hezb-E Islami Gulbuddin commander identified himself to the security force. Two additional suspected insurgents were detained after initial questioning at the scene.

The HIG leader in Khost is now the sixth commander captured since special operations teams jugged Farid, a senior HIG/Taliban media emir, on Feb. 16. This is interesting as only three HIG commanders were reported captured by ISAF in the year prior to the Feb. 16 raid that netted Farid. ISAF has clearly gotten some good intel on HIG and has prioritized the targeting of the network.

Also, keep in mind that HIG is active in eastern Afghanistan because it operates in Pakistan’s tribal areas and in Khyber-Paktunkhwa province. HIG is active in the district of Peshawar, particularly at the Shamshatoo Refugee Camp, where it publishes two newspapers, Shahaadat and Tanweer. Hekmatyar’s followers enforce sharia law in Shamshatoo. HIG also operates at a base in Spina Shaga in Kurram, along with the Haqqani Network.

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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  • JRP says:

    The Davis dilemma and Karzai’s Zero Tolerance policy on civilian casualties has curtailed both the drone war and the ground war. Our combat forces on the ground have been reduced to nothing more than the administration of what is becoming an Afghan version of a WPA project interspersed with “apology/pay money” visits to the families of collateral victims. When is our Country going to start being as concerned with protecting the Homeland from the next 9/11 as it has become with appeasing the Afghan and Pakistani Governments, who manage to tabulate every slight against them on our part whilst turning a blind eye toward their sheltering of those whose sole mission in life is to destroy the U.S. Golden Goose laying largesse-filled eggs for the Afghans and the Pakistanis?

  • ArneFufkin says:

    @JRP: Your ongoing negative representations here concerning the tempo and success of ISAF operations in Afghanistan bear no correlation to the briefings I follow from commanders in that theater. The coalition troops and ANSF are taking the fight to the enemy with relentless purpose. Progress is steady.
    Perhaps you can provide the evidence you have to bolster your claim of that the operations there are reduced to a “WPA project”? Until you do so, I’ll believe the briefs presented on a regular basis by folks like Gen Mills, CSM Hill, BCT commanders and others who are on the ground in the Afghan theater and report real progress. These aren’t polyannas spreading sunshine and rainbows. The Taliban is being beaten down.

  • JRP says:

    @ ArneFufkin . . . Sincerely hope you’re correct, but top commanders are historically known to toe the line drawn by their political bosses or be overly optimistic (MacArthur in Korea and Westmoreland in Vietnam come to mind). Our commanders may be saying whatever they are saying, but when you hear the complaints from front line units on the ground, especially the USMCs, about the rules of engagement, you tend to think that some of those briefings are way overly optimistic. In any event, the Taliban is not the main enemy; it is Al Qaeda, and we are not aggressively pursuing the elimination of the threat AQ represents, which is the acquisition of nuclear weapons from the Pakistani arsenal by Gift, Purchase or Theft; the smuggling of those nuclear weapons to U.S. shores or off U.S. shores; then their detonation. In your opinion what is the risk of that scenario and, assuming you feel there is some legitimate risk, in your opinion are we addressing it well or poorly?

  • villiger says:

    JRP, Arne:
    You might be interested in reading this recent risk analysis by Shaun Gregory who has seen/studied Pakistan, and its nuclear structure, close-up:
    I imagine its only for political reasons that de-fanging Paks nuke arsenal is not articulated as part of the AfPak objective.
    My little personal view of the risk is that it is unacceptably high. Actually the risk of even “authorised” use by the Pak State is unacceptably high, because of the fragmented nature of today’s Pakistani ‘State’, combined with its desperate economic condition.

  • JRP says:

    @ Arnefufkin . . . Thank you for the link. Appears to me that you concur in my thinking (probably that of lots of others, both in and out of Government) that there is a grave danger here from Pakistani Nuclear Arsenal. The scenario I see is that, prudently, Pakistan’s military long ago dispersed the nuclear weapons stockpile so that one strike could not eliminate all Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. (I’m assuming all those weapons are atomic bombs of the strategic variety vice tactical and designed to be delivered by airplane.) Continuing with the scenario . . . The more “hidden” sites, the greater the risk of loose security. It will be from a relatively “unguarded” site that the weapons will be filched by Al Qaeda operatives. Arming the weapons will be easy enough for any number of anti-Western nuclear arms engineers, including those from No. Korea, China, and even, perhaps, some from Russia, Libya, or Iran. 9/11 proved how easy it is to approach America for delivery. Then . . . Poof! . . . Ballgame over. This scenario is the singular most dangerous threat facing America; not the economy, not the Taliban, perhaps not even the continued freedom of AQ’s top leadership. My fear is that the threat is not being addressed by elimination plans, but only by useless cajoling of a powerless official Pakistani Government and ditto for the totally cynical Pakistani intelligence service.

  • Villiger says:

    JRP, first, just to point out that it was my link not Arne’s–didn’t mean to butt in to your dialogue, only wanted to add some information!
    Second, i agree with your concerns there, though would add that India and US troops in Af carry an equal if not greater risk.

  • JRP says:

    @ Villiger . . . Yes, sorry for the mis-attribution and thank you for the link.


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