ISAF targets IMU leader in Afghan northwest


Map of Afghanistan’s provinces. Click map to view larger image.

ISAF killed four “insurgents” today during a raid in Faryab province that targeted a senior Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader who “plans and conducts attacks against coalition troops throughout northern Afghanistan.” From the ISAF press release:

An Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of an insurgent leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in Shirin Tagab district, Faryab province, today.

The leader plans and conducts attacks against coalition troops throughout northern Afghanistan and is also suspected in plotting an attack against a senior Afghan official.

Initially, Afghan troops conducted a call out of the occupants of the building where the insurgents were suspected to be hiding. Women and children came out of the building followed by one man with an AK-47 rifle. The armed insurgent fired on the security force from behind the women and children. Two other insurgents fired at the security force, one from inside the building and the other from a nearby tent. The security force returned fire, killing the three armed aggressors.

One Afghan civilian female was wounded during the exchange. A coalition helicopter evacuated her, along with her husband, to a medical facility for treatment where she is listed in stable condition.

The security force killed one additional insurgent, wounded another, and detained several as a result of this operation.

ISAF has been targeting Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Taliban commanders in the northwest over the past several years. In the north, IMU leaders have integrated into the Taliban’s shadow government. [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.]

In February, ISAF captured “a Taliban-appointed deputy and head of the insurgent group’s military commission in Badghis province” during a raid in southern Helmand province. He “arranged large-scale attacks, distributed weapons and collected taxes.” Additionally, he “represented both the Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan groups and was responsible for coordinating insurgent activities in Badghis and Faryab province.”

The Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are known to run suicide training camps in the Afghan northwest. In March 2011, special operations forces targeted a Taliban commander who was described by ISAF as “a key power player in provinces Jawzjan, Faryab, and Sar-i-Pul” with “ties to foreign fighter facilitation and suicide training camps operating in Sar-i-Pul province.” Reuters reported that “Arab, Uzbek and Pakistani militants” were present in Sar-i-Pul.

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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