ISAF airstrike kills 3 al Qaeda operatives in Afghan east

Coalition and Afghan special operations forces killed three al Qaeda operatives in an airstrike in the same district where 38 US and Afghan troops, including Navy SEALs, were killed when their helicopter was shot down in August 2011.

The three al Qaeda operatives were killed yesterday in an airstrike in the Danoki area of Sayyidabad district in Wardak province, the district governor told Bakhtar News. The al Qaeda operatives, who were not named, were meeting with the Taliban and worked together to attack the Afghan government.

The International Security Assistance Force would neither confirm nor deny that the airstrike took place.

“At this time there is no operational reporting available that confirms the Bakhtar News story,” ISAF Joint Command Media Operations told The Long War Journal. “If more information becomes available it may be released as appropriate.”

Al Qaeda is known to embed small teams of trainers with Taliban and other terrorist groups, and in the east is known to fight on the battlefield as small units. [See LWJ reports, Al Qaeda’s paramilitary ‘Shadow Army’ and ‘Foreign trainers’ active in southeastern Afghan province, for more information on al Qaeda’s role in Afghanistan.]

Al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan are known to operate in Wardak province. The presence of terror cells has been detected in the districts of Maidan Shah, Sayyidabad, and Tarnek Wa Jaldak, or three of the province’s eight districts, according to ISAF press releases that have been compiled by The Long War Journal.

Special operations forces target terror groups in Wardak

Special operations forces have targeted al Qaeda, “foreign” fighters,” and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan four times in Wardak since the beginning of October 2010. ISAF often uses the term “foreign fighters” to signify al Qaeda.

On Oct. 13, 2010, ISAF searched Tarnek Wa Jaldak district for a Taliban leader who “regularly moves weapons and foreign fighters from Pakistan into the province.”

On Nov. 1, 2010, ISAF targeted a cell leader in Maidan Shah district who commanded “a cell of approximately 50 foreign fighters,” according to an ISAF press release. The cell leader served as “a suicide-attack facilitator and [led] small-arms and improvised explosive device attacks against ANSF and ISAF.”

On Nov. 18, 2011, special operations forces killed Mujib Rahman Mayar, an Afghan member of al Qaeda, during a raid in Sayyidabad. Mayar “trained insurgents and worked as a courier” for the terror group, ISAF stated after his death. “He delivered messages and transported money for the al Qaeda network.”

And on April 26, Coalition and Afghan special operations teams captured an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan facilitator in Sayyidabad. “The facilitator, along with senior IMU leaders in the area, was planning future large-scale attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Kabul, Wardak and Logar districts,” ISAF stated.

Sayyidabad a dangerous district

Last summer, Sayyidabad was the scene of several high-profile attacks by the Taliban and allied groups. The Taliban have been in control of the Tangi Valley, which runs through Sayyidabad, since the withdrawal of US forces from Combat Outpost Tangi in the spring of 2011. US troops turned over the base to the Afghan Army, which immediately abandoned it. The Taliban later released a videotape that showed hundreds of fighters and senior Taliban leaders massing at the abandoned base and conducting a tour.

The Taliban shot down a US Army Chinook helicopter in Sayyidabad on Aug. 6, 2011. Thirty-eight US and Afghan troops, including 17 US Navy SEALS from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, were killed in the crash.

And on Sept. 10, 2011, the Taliban detonated a massive suicide bomb outside of Combat Outpost Sayyidabad, killing four Afghans and wounding more than 100 people, including 77 US soldiers. US commanders later blamed the attack on the Haqqani Network, a powerful Taliban subgroup closely allied with al Qaeda.

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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  • mike merlo says:

    Good news. Nice to read pressure is still being applied.

  • Jim Cregg says:

    It is a shame, that we have to kill brave, proud, men , who have taken a stand against the United States, but we have to do it! I tip my hat to them, but they picked the wrong opponent!

  • JT says:

    Being brave and proud is one thing, but if your purpose on this planet is to kill anyone who is non-Muslim in an effort to create a worldwide Islamic theocracy, I definitely do not tip my hat at them. I encourage the use of drones at them. If nothing to show that the civilized world will not stand for such a goal.
    Apartheid in South Africa had proud people too. Look what it got them.

  • rk says:

    You tip your hat to AQ and think it’s shameful we have to kill them?? There’s nothing “proud” or “brave” about killing American/Afghan soldiers and civilians.

  • gb says:

    You clearly haven’t fought these vermin. There’s no bravery when poisoning young school children, or when sawing off defensless men’s heads while their hands are bound. Yes some of them are brave, but to tip your hat to them is ludicrous.

  • mike merlo says:

    Cregg’s a clown

  • sports says:

    @Cregg…huh? your kidding…right?

  • Omar says:

    Seriously american and nato forces should reconsider their stay in afghanistan. they have been there for more than 10 years and they have achieved nothing but defeat at every corner like the soviet union. the american population paid a heavy price by paying heavy taxes and lossing their sons and daughters for a cause they dont know, for only making the richer more rich and implementing democracy upon people who dont want it. once americans depart karzai will fall INSHAALLAH just look at his state of security when americans are present there.

  • Jim Cregg says:

    I don’t think I am a clown…..our enemy is brave and honorable….from their perspective, from our’s savage…….Russia and Jaspan were our allies, and Japan and Germany were our allies…… are too ignorant of history and reality to make a cogent comment… the way we are allied with Viet nam these days……time heals all wounds!

  • James Cregg says:

    If you are facing the United States of America, you are brave!

  • Jim Cregg says:

    To gb, no I have not fought them, but my father put bullets into the heads of wounded Chinese in Korea, I understand the hate of the enemy, and some of them deserve it, and maybe we can’t co-exist, if that is the case….nukes, but I have a broader perspective…….as Tecumseh said, ” Love your enemy, after you defeat him ! ”

  • James Cregg says:

    To you , who have been there, I bow my head…..I am an idealist, who wishes for best outcome!

  • Billy says:

    I can tell you first hand how dangerous the Tangi valley is, as I have been there. My company and I got stationed at KOP Sulten Kyehl, which was the old KOP Carwile. For anyone that doesn’t know those KOP’s are located in the Sayyidabad district. We replaced the 10th Mountain and they were the Unit that handed over the outpost in the Tangi. Sadly, I have had the misfortune of going into the Tangi and I can tell you it wasn’t pretty. The Taliban in this area are extremely intelligent and even more tactically sound in IED’s and ambushes.
    The attack that hurt 77 Soldiers happened right before we got into country. When I was at KOP Sayyidabad there were still traces of that explosion; you could still see HESCO shrapnel splattered along the moutain sides. It was not a pleasant view to see and I can only imagine the Soldiers that had to experience such an event.
    In conclussion I just wanted to drop in and confirm this article Bill wrote. The Sayyidabad district is just as dangerous as this article suggest’s. I could go into further detail but given OPSEC I’ll just leave it at that. Bill great article and thanks for giving everybody a fresh and real view of what’s going on over there.


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