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.
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