Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) captured three Taliban fighters who were part of an assassination cell that killed several high-level Afghan officials in the north. The three cell members, who report to a commander based in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, were detained while traveling to Pakistan.
The three cell members of the Taliban cell were identified as Qari Yaseen, Qari Hassan, and Qari Muhibullah, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. They were captured by NDS personnel In Parwan province while attempting to leave the country for Pakistan.
The captured Taliban fighters, who had all attended the Khwaja Mukhtar madrassa in Takhar City, reported to a Peshawar-based commander known as Qari Abdul Rahim.
“I got familiar with one of the Taliban members Qari Abdul Rahim in Shamshatu area of Pakistan,” one the cell members said, according to TOLONews.
The NDS said that Rahim’s network also was “helping other terrorist networks in Kunduz, Badakhshan and parts of Baghlan province.”
Although not stated by the NDS, Rahim’s cell is linked to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which has integrated with the Taliban in the Afghan north, runs training camps and directs suicide attacks, and is closely allied with al Qaeda. [For more information on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and its activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, see LWJ report, IMU cleric urges Pakistanis to continue sheltering jihadis in Waziristan.]
On Jan. 30, Afghan and Coalition troops killed an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader known as Ilhom during a raid in Takhar. The International Security Assistance Force said that Ilhom “facilitated the training of suicide bombers for attacks throughout the area” and was responsible for last year’s Christmas Day suicide attack at a funeral in Taloqan that killed 20 Afghans, including Abdul Mutalib Baig, a member of parliament. The NDS said today that Rahim’s cell was also involved in the assassination of Baig.
In addition to killing Baig, Rahim’s cell is implicated in two other high-profile targeted killings: the assassination of the top Afghan police commander in the north, General Daud Daud, and his former Shura-e-Nazar deputy, Shah Jahan Noori, on May, 28 2011; and the murder of Kunduz Governor Mohammad Omar in Tahkar on Oct. 8, 2010.