Pakistani, Saudi fighters killed in Helmand operation

Afghanistan’s interior minister said today that seven Pakistani and Saudi nationals were among 27 Taliban fighters killed during raids by special operations forces in the Washir and Girshk districts in Helmand province. From TOLONews:

Twenty-seven insurgents were killed, including commanders, during two operations in Helmand province launched by Afghan special forces, Ministry of Interior (MoI) said Sunday.

Of those killed, seven were found to be citizens of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, MoI spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

The operation in two districts landed a severe hit against the Taliban, Sediqqi said.

“Our special police were able to give the biggest blow to the Taliban,” he said.

“The operations were launched in Fulad area of the Washir district and the Hyderabad area of the Grishik district in Helmand province in which 27 Taliban were killed and three others were detained.”

The Saudis and Pakistanis were likely associated with the Mullah Dadullah Front, a wing of the Taliban in the south that has adopted al Qaeda’s tactics and ideology. The Mullah Dadullah Front is led by Mullah Adbul Qayoum Zakir, the former Guantanamo 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 news of the raid in Helmand comes the same day The Guardian reports that documents seized during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad show that just weeks before his death, bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Mullah Omar were in contact to discuss strategy in Afghanistan. No surprises here, as a close relationship between the Taliban and al Qaeda can be surmised from tracking the latter’s operations in Afghanistan. From The Guardian:

Documents found in the house where Osama bin Laden was killed a year ago show a close working relationship between top al-Qaida leaders and Mullah Omar, the overall commander of the Taliban, including frequent discussions of joint operations against Nato forces in Afghanistan, the Afghan government and targets in Pakistan.

The communications show a three-way conversation between Bin Laden, his then deputy Ayman Zawahiri and Omar, who is believed to have been in Pakistan since fleeing Afghanistan after the collapse of his regime in 2001.

They indicate a “very considerable degree of ideological convergence”, a Washington-based source familiar with the documents told the Guardian….

Some communications in the documents date back several years but others are said to be from only weeks before the raid on 2 May last year in which Bin Laden died.

“Questions and issues come up. They don’t see eye to eye on everything but it’s clear they understand they have an interest in co-operating [on attacks against Nato, Afghan government and Pakistani targets],” the source said. “Of those engaged in the conversation, two [Zawahiri and Omar] are still alive today and there is no reason to believe that either has substantially changed his views in the last year.”

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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  • Devin Leonard says:

    Just one more reason why we shouldn’t be negotiating with Mullah Omar, we should be actively hunting him down via a Tier 1 unit. If that means going into Pakistan again…so be it. What are the Pakis going to do …shut down the southern route, oh wait…they already did that. And kicked out our advisors, and broke contacts with the CIA etc….etc….. Screw the Pakis lets get this guy.

  • JRP says:

    Anything in there to indicate the whereabouts of Zawahiri? Any possibility that U.S. knows his whereabouts, but prefers not to take him out for fear he’ll be replaced with someone more competent and/or more charismatic?

  • mike merlo says:

    It looks like this 2012 fighting season is starting to shape up to be a repeat of either ’05 ’06 or ’07, I think ’06, when the reconstituted Taliban caught us off guard by fielding larger numbers than most everybody anticipated.

  • Charu says:

    So despite the spin put out that Bin Laden was an isolated old has-been, and that Mullah Omar was someone who we could negotiate with, it turns out that the former was active and colluding with the latter. The value of Afghanistan is not so much to keep AQ from setting base there – they already have a base in Pakistan with access to a far more sophisticated intelligence service than anything they could set up in Afghanistan. It is to have a base from which to contain the AQ/Taliban/ISI combine within Pakistan.

  • Paul D says:

    Pakistan,UAE and Saudi support/fund the Taliban so no surprise their nationals are involved!


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