Coalition and Afghan special operations forces killed the Taliban’s deputy shadow governor for Nuristan province in an airstrike today. The deputy shadow governor was killed just one week after ISAF captured a liaison to the Peshawar Shura who also served as a facilitator for the Taliban’s shadow governor in Nuristan.
The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that Jamil ur Rahman and another “insurgent” were killed in a “precision airstrike” today in the Waygal district in Nuristan.
ISAF described Jamil as “a senior insurgent leader in Nuristan province” who “provided leadership and support to insurgent forces throughout Nuristan and Kunar and coordinated insurgent activities across eastern Afghanistan.”
Mohammad Tamim Nuristani, the governor of Nuristan, confirmed the death of “Sheikh Jamil” and described him as the deputy shadow governor for Nuristan. Abdul Hakim, a “militant commander,” was also killed in the airstrike in the village of Amshosh, according to Pajhwok Afghan News.
Jamil is reported to have clashed with a Lashkar-e-Taiba commander known as Maulawi Ahmad. Ahmad’s followers ambushed Jamil and beat him and broke his arm after the two commanders had a dispute over the Lashkar-e-Taiba attacking a road crew, according to Time. The Lashkar-e-Taiba is one of several Pakistan-based, al Qaeda-linked groups that operate in Nuristan and neighboring Kunar province. Pakistan’s military and intelligence service both support the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The airstrike that killed Jamil took place just one week after ISAF and Afghan forces captured a Taliban facilitator who is linked to Dost Mohammed, the Taliban’s shadow governor for Nuristan. The Taliban facilitator, who has not been named, was captured in Kunduz province on May 16. He also served as a liaison to the Peshawar Shura, one of the Taliban’s four regional military commands in Afghanistan.
Dost Mohammed is one of the most wanted Taliban commanders in Afghanistan, and has organized massed assaults on US bases in the province. In one such attack, on Camp Keating in October 2009, Dost’s fighters, backed by al Qaeda and other foreign fighters, overran a portion of the base and killed nine US soldiers.
Nuristan is a known haven for the Taliban and al Qaeda. In September 2011, Governor Nuristani said that six of the eight districts in his province were effectively under Taliban control [see LWJ report, Governor: Most of Nuristan under Taliban control]. The current status of Nuristan’s districts is unclear; the Taliban are still thought to hold sway in the province. In November 2011, Coalition and Afghan special operations forces captured an al Qaeda operative who was known to operate in Waygal as well as in Kunar.
The Afghan government and the Coalition have given up on waging counterinsurgency operations in Nuristan and Kunar. The US military has withdrawn from several combat outposts in the rugged, remote provinces. Instead, conventional and special operations forces are launching periodic sweeps to cull the Taliban forces, or “mowing the grass,” as a senior US general described it in April 2011.