Haqqani Network’s Taj Mir Jawad subgroup targeted in raid

Coalition and Afghan special operations forces targeted “a high-profile attack facilitator” for the Taj Mir Jawad Network during a raid in eastern Afghanistan yesterday. Taj Mir Jawad is a senior commander for the Haqqani Network and also commands the Kabul Attack Network, a jihadist alliance that operates in and around the Afghan capital.

Two “insurgents” were captured during yesterday’s raid that targeted the facilitator in the Gardez district in Paktia province, the International Security Assistance Force reported today. ISAF said the “high-profile attack facilitator” is “responsible for providing weapons and funding for his fellow insurgent fighters” and “is currently gathering supplies and fighters for a future attack against Afghan and Coalition forces.”

In addition to running the Haqqani Network subgroup that is named after him, Taj Mir Jawad also co-leads the Kabul Attack Network along with Dawood (or Daud), a Taliban commander, military and intelligence officials told The Long War Journal in August 2010. Dawood is the Taliban’s shadow governor for Kabul. In the US military files released by Wikileaks several years ago, Taj Mir Jawad is identified as a top Haqqani Network leader.

The Kabul Attack Network operates in the capital and in the surrounding provinces of Wardak, Logar, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kapisa, Khost, Paktia, and Paktika. It has executed numerous high-profile attacks in the capital over the years. Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and the Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin also participate in operations directed by the Kabul Attack network.

Besides running his subgroup and co-leading the Kabul Attack Network, Jawad also serves as a senior Taliban propagandist and is believed to be one of the personalities behind Zabibullah Mujahid, the spokesman for the Taliban who publishes at Voice of Jihad. The Haqqani Network, which is active in eastern, southern, and central Afghanistan, operates under the aegis of the Taliban and releases propaganda through Voice of Jihad.

ISAF has directly targeted the Taj Mir Jawad Network at least once before. In April 2011, ISAF named the group for the first time when it announced a raid that resulted in the capture of a Taliban commander linked to the group [see Threat Matrix report, ISAF targets Taj Mir Jawad Network in Khost].

The Haqqani Network remains a capable foe in Afghanistan despite the surge of American troops that began in 2010 and ended last year. The US did not send a significant number of troops into the Haqqani Network’s heartlands in the east, and instead focused efforts on the Taliban in parts of Helmand and Kandahar provinces. US commanders said that the Afghan security forces would have to deal with the Haqqani Network, likely long after the US withdraws from Afghanistan.

The US has also eased pressure on the Haqqani Network in its sanctuaries in Pakistan. Despite years of efforts and promises from top US officials and military officers, including former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, that Pakistan would launch a military operation in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, US officials have given up on putting pressure on Pakistan to take action.

Additionally, although top leaders of the Haqqani Network, including its operational leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, used to be frequently targeted by CIA drone strikes in North Waziristan, targeting of these leaders appears to have dropped off. The last Haqqani Network leader to be hit by a drone strike, Jan Baz Zadran, was killed in October 2011. There have been no reported successful drone strikes against Haqqani Network leaders or commanders since Zadran’s death.

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 info. Thanks

  • Adam says:

    Not true, Bill. Badruddin Haqqani was at the very least targeted last year. By the way, what do you mean by “personalities”? Mujahid doesn’t exist? Never would have guessed.

  • jau says:

    It’s sad that we have essentially given up on killing or capturing these scumbags. You cannot fight a war with one hand tied behind your back. Whether it is father or son Haqquani, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Mullah Omar, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, Hakimullah Mehsud, Ayman al-Zawahiri or a litany of other jihadist’s that are fighting us in the “Khorasan” region.

  • jean says:

    However we have done very little to address their extensive logistical and training infrastructure. They deployed thousands of IED last year and the year before. The components are being built in tribal areas- Image a WWII in which we target a few Nazi Leaders but ignored the Ruhr Valley.

  • blert says:

    The Ruhr Valley this time around is in Pakistan.
    Towards this end, the production of ammonium nitrate — on the loose — is being severely curtailed — if you can believe the media accounts.
    Fertilizer grade nitrates are being reformulated to reduce if not out right ruin their utility for IED manufacture. This latest change is surprisingly recent.
    I advocated throttling ammonium nitrate production at the source — right here at the LWJ — years and years ago.
    The ISAF has been attempting to do so for years, too. Pakistan has always managed to keep a couple of fertilizer mills cranking out contraband ammonium nitrate, none the less.
    My other plaint was that each factory has to label their fertilizer with a marker. (UV chemical blended into the mix) This would make it practical to trace back the opfor supply chain to find out who is diverting materials.
    BTW, you’ll never hear if the IED dud rate goes up. But it stands to reason that it is.
    Historically, the Germans ran out of nitrate production sufficiency in August 1944. Speer is on record as having to blend in rock salt (NaCl) to explosive shells so that the army could be kept supplied.
    What started out as a trickle — a 5% blend down — grew to a flood — 35% blend down by March 1945.
    The dud rate for Nazi ammo took off. This reality is still missing from all larger accounts of that war. You have to dig deep into war diaries to find it.
    This blend down did not extend to anti-tank shells and small arms. This is the key reason that 88mm anti-tank guns were feared right through to the end. They were exempted, too.
    Something like this is happening/ not happening with the Afghan IED threat. It’s taking ever more opfor effort to get any bang at all for their efforts.
    As seen in the Battle of the Atlantic — and the Battle for al Anbar — at some point the opfor has to leave the fight. Loses just become too great vs the results in what is a battle of attrition.
    Which brings us to Islamabad. It’s broke. It’s so broke that it needs others to borrow for it on their credit — for it has none.
    Islamabad’s tilt towards Beijing has been rebuffed. She already has enough wastrel dependents: Burma and Nork.
    (BTW, previous efforts by Beijing have run wildly over budget and seriously behind on tempo. The ‘naval base’ is a complete dog. The attempt to get through the mountains turned out to be a ‘pass too high.’ The fact that Islamabad has been revealed as a chronic double-dealing cheat does not ender them to Beijing.)
    In which case: who is going to be Pakistan’s sugar daddy once the ISI-Taliban racket blows up?

  • jean says:

    It’s been a few years since I have read stats about IED components, but I think I recall the 12,000 being floated by the counter IED teams for 2012. That is number of IEDs deployed against the COF. During my first extended deployment, it’s was about a 50/50 split between the plastic antitank mines and commercial grade explosives which were obtained from reconstruction efforts. Ammonium nitrate has since become more prevalent. There is or was an entire cottage industry devoted to IED components, the industry was located through out the FATA. Again our failure to “bomb the Ruhr” or crossing the Siegfried Line, has allowed a 21st century wartime economy to flourish with no consequences.
    I have pondered “why” behind their failure to leave the battlefield. The conventional soldier in me thinks that we just haven’t had enough attrition i.e. killing. My counter insurgent side thinks we may have killed too many locals and it’s become a personal feud. My current thinking is that we need to target the foreign fighter contingents; the ANSF should be able to handle the Afghan Taliban. Their battle will be for the control of the drug trade, natural resources and foreign aid- 2014…….
    The Chinese have been learning some expensive lessons in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but they have a lot of money to throw around.
    On a quick historical note. The Germans had quality control issues with their conscripted workforce.
    I have been long time reader of LWJ – great analysis and comments


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