Former Taliban emir Faqir Mohammed reported captured by Afghan intel


Faqir Mohammed. Image courtesy of AfPax Insider.

Faqir Mohammed, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s former deputy emir and a previous leader in Bajaur, is reported to have been captured by Afghan intelligence officials along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The report is unconfirmed.

Faqir is said to have entered Nangarhar province from the Pakistani tribal agency of Khyber, an Afghan intelligence official told Dawn.

“Maulvi Faqir and his four accomplices who had entered Nangarhar from Bajaur Agency were apprehended near Basawal on Torkham Road near the border of Khyber Agency’s Tirah Valley,” the Afghan intelligence official told the Pakistani news agency yesterday. “Yes I can confirm their names as they had told us. Maulvi Faqir, Shahid Umar, Maulana Hakeemullah Bajauri, Mualana Turabi and Fateh are the people who have been arrested.”

Pakistani intelligence officials also told The Associated Press that Faqir is in custody. Afghanistan and Pakistan have not officially announced the capture of Faqir, however.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is known to operate in Nangarhar province. ISAF aircraft targeted the group in Nangarhar’s Deh Bala district in August 2010.

The Tirah Valley is a known haven for the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other Pakistani terror groups. Safe havens in the valley enable these terror groups to launch attacks inside Pakistan as well as across the border in Nangarhar province. The US launched four drone strikes against terror groups in the Tirah Valley in Pakistan; all four strikes took place in 2010. The US killed Ibn Amin, a dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda military commander who operated in the Swat Valley, in a December 2010 drone strike in the Tirah Valley,

Before being sidelined by the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in early 2012 over leadership issues, Faqir led the Taliban in Bajaur for years. He is also tied to some of al Qaeda’s top leaders, including the group’s emir, Ayman al Zawahiri. In the past, Faqir sheltered Ayman al Zawahiri and other senior al Qaeda leaders; one of the first US drone strikes in Pakistan targeted Zawahiri and other top commanders in an area controlled by Faqir.

Faqir recently appeared on a videotape with Maulvi Abu Bakr, the new emir for the Taliban in Bajaur [see LWJ report, Sidelined Pakistani Taliban commander back in good graces]. In the video, which was produced sometime in December 2012, Faqir confirmed that differences between himself and other leaders in Bajaur had been resolved after Hakeemullah Mehsud and his deputy, Mullah Fazlullah, who is also the emir of the Taliban in the Swat Valley, mediated the dispute.

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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  • Mr T says:

    Is that Cat Stevens? I wondered what happened to him.

  • Watershed says:

    A travelling man I say!
    And how nice that he decided to enjoy some Afghan weather with his NDS hosts.

  • gabriel says:

    That easy huh?

  • mike merlo says:

    if ‘this’ is true it sounds like there is a good possibility that Faqir Mohammed was on the run & possibly seeking sanctuary with either US or Afghan intel people

  • Moose says:

    This guy was way too ambitious for his own good. He tried taking over the TTP when Baitullah Mehsud was killed. Then he didn’t take too well to being demoted as head of Bajaur last year and I strongly believe that he set up Dadullah, his replacement, to be killed. Then he’s forced to appear in a video with Dadullah’s replacement stating all is good and that he’s relinquishing his claim to leadership in Bajaur. Yeah right. Now he hands himself over to Afghan intel (I believe he did this on his own b/c it appears he was taken as soon as he crossed the border – Afghan intel must have been expecting him). He’s either in fear for his life or he’s looking for new benefactors. I personally think it’s going to get bloody in Bajaur this year.
    A great case study in fighting Islamic militants is the Algerian civil war in the 1990s. Algerian security forces created and exploited internal divisions like this with fantastic results. Divide and conquer is how we can beat these guys.

  • JT says:

    It is always welcome news when a Taliban/AQ type is captured or eliminated. Even more so when captured. Here’s hoping that valuable info can be obtained to 1 – get hard core Jihadists like Hucky and 2 – continue publicizing that the archaic ways of the past are losers in today’s world.
    A world of inclusiveness and true tolerance is what is expected of civilized people. The faster the Middle East realizes this, the better off we all will be.

  • Moose says:

    In my previous post I assumed Faqir was “captured” by Afghan intel when he crossed into Afghanistan. According to reports, Faqir was actually trying to re-enter Pakistan. I thought it interesting that Afghan intel was in charge of the operation. Anyways, in light of all the problems this guy is having with the TTP leadership, I think there’s much more to this. Perhaps he was given up intentionally by his TTP bros?

  • Pat says:

    It is better to capture these guys a lot of the time rather than kill. Gathering information and not killing civilians via collateral damage is always a win for the good guys.

  • Leroy marnolejo says:

    Killem all!!!


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