ISAF targets Taliban leader of al Qaeda cell based in Quetta

Coalition and Afghan forces targeted a Taliban leader who commands al Qaeda fighters that are based in Pakistan and carry out attacks in southern Afghanistan.

Combined Coalition and Afghan special operations forces attempted to capture the Taliban leader during a raid on a compound in Kandahar city on May 26. Two “suspected insurgents” were detained during the raid, the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release.

The Taliban commander “directs a core group of insurgent fighters augmented by al Qaeda associated foreign fighters assembled in Quetta, Pakistan,” ISAF stated.

The Taliban commander is associated with the Mullah Dadullah Mahaz, or Mullah Dadullah Front, a radical Taliban subgroup closely linked to al Qaeda, US military intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.

The Mullah Dadullah Front is a wing of the Taliban in the south that has adopted al Qaeda’s tactics and ideology, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in December 2010. The Mullah Dadullah Front is led by Mullah Adbul Qayoum Zakir, the former Guantanamo Bay detainee who has since been promoted as the Taliban’s top military commander and co-leader of the Taliban’s Quetta Shura.

The radical Taliban wing is thought to be behind the series of recent suicide assaults and assassinations in Kandahar [see LWJ report, Suicide bomber assassinates Kandahar police chief].

The Pakistani city of Quetta, where the al Qaeda fighters operating in Kandahar and Zabul were organized, is a bastion for the Afghan Taliban and numerous Pakistani terror groups linked to al Qaeda, including the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The Afghan Taliban’s leadership council, which is known as the Quetta Shura, is based in the provincial capital. Mullah Omar and other top Taliban commanders are known to shelter in Quetta, with the aid and support of Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

On May 19, ISAF attempted to capture a Taliban commander who operates in Zabul and also directs al Qaeda fighters who are assembled in Quetta. On May 29, ISAF conducted a follow-up raid against the Taliban commander in the Shah Joy district in Zabul.

Al Qaeda operates in conjunction with the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and the Hizb-i-Islami Guldbuddin network throughout Afghanistan. Al Qaeda operatives often serve as embedded military trainers for Taliban field units and impart tactics and bomb-making skills to these forces. In some areas, such as in Nuristan and Kunar provinces, al Qaeda operatives fight together as small units [see LWJ report, Analysis: Al Qaeda maintains an extensive network 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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  • Paul D says:

    Its about time Quetta needs targeting by special forces!

  • Marlin says:

    I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or a pattern, but two top Taliban commanders recently arrested by the SAS in Helmand province were also members of the Quetta Shura.

    A crack SAS team has captured two top Taliban commanders without a shot being fired in a secret dawn raid in Afghanistan.
    The 12 elite troops seized Maulawi Rahman and Maulawi Mohammed at a high-walled compound north of the remote town of Babaji in Helmand province. Both men, who surrendered without a fight, are said to have been close confidants of Osama Bin Laden.
    Rahman and Mohammed

  • JRP says:

    Does anyone know what, if any, officially reported progress has been made in tracking Zawahiri down ever since the Abbottabad raid? #1 is dead and #3 was captured. It would be very nice to get the triple play.

  • Soccer says:

    Paul D, all in good time.
    Marlin, how do you do that? How do you quote things? I assume you use HTML code to do it like that.
    JRP, what #3 was captured? Please tell me.
    It’s good when we capture and detain Taliban and Al Qaeda commanders, however, the only thing that worries me is if they were to eventually escape (again) or be released by their captors.

  • WitchDoctor says:

    #2 is running like a rat leaving a sinking ship. After what the US did in Abbottabad all of those guys are wondering about where they can be safe.

  • Marlin says:

    Soccer –
    Being an old COBOL programmer helps, I guess. There are severe limits to my HTML knowledge, however. I’d like to provide a template for you to use in this Comment, but I can’t figure out how to do that without the HTML code actually taking effect.
    Probably the best advice I can give you is to right click (via Windows) on a post with a Comment of mine and then click ‘View Source’. You’ll then be able to see how the HTML code actually looks. It’s quite simple and with a little experimentation I’m sure you’ll do fine.

  • JRP says:

    @ Soccer . . . KSM/Khalid Sheik Mohamed was, I believe, deemed the #3 terrorist leader for the 9/11 attacks. He’s been in custody awaiting trial for some years now. If my facts are incorrect, someone correct me.
    In the meantime . . . What about Zawahiri? I’m really surprised so little has been said about him since Abbotabad. Is he officially considered inconsequential at this point? Many times the importance of the Executive Officer evaporates once his Captain is gone. Is it possible that within the terrorist circle he has been 100% marginalized?

  • Paul D says:

    I would suggest Mullah Omar and Zawahiri have been moved by the ISI since the OBL raid!

  • Paul D says:

    The only way to win this war is Western education for youngsters in muslim countries and to reduce the role/influence of the Mullahs.
    As a christian i was never taught to hate other religions/non believers whether in school or church.
    Can we say the same in Pakistan,Saudi Arabia,Iran etc?


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