ISAF targeted Pakistani Taliban commander in Nangarhar

In yesterday’s bi-daily roll-up of operations in Afghanistan, ISAF noted that it targeted a facilitator from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (or Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) during a raid in the eastern province of Nangarhar. From the ISAF press release:

Afghan and coalition forces detained two suspected insurgents while searching for a Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan facilitator in Jalalabad district, Nangarhar province, yesterday. The insurgent, linked to Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan leaders in Pakistan, enables militants and suicide bombers from Pakistan to conduct operations targeting innocent Afghan civilians and Afghan and coalition security forces in the Kunar and Nangarhar provinces.

Security forces followed leads to a targeted compound in Jalalabad City, where they called for all occupants to exit the buildings peacefully. After ensuring the safety of two children, the security force detained two suspected insurgents for further questioning. No damage was caused to the compound and no civilians were harmed during the operation.

It is well known that the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (Hakeemullah Mehsud’s pan-Taliban movement in Pakistan’s tribal areas and greater northwest) operates inside Afghanistan, even though some analysts claim the movement is focused only on attacking the Pakistani state.

What is interesting, however, is that yesterday’s press release is only the second time I can discern that ISAF has mentioned the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in its press releases (the other time was in June 2010, when announcing a raid that targeted a Haqqani Network commander), and it is the first time that ISAF has announced it actually targeted a Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan commander in Afghanistan.

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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