ISAF captures al Qaeda trainer in Kunar

The International Security Assistance Force confirmed that an al Qaeda leader and trainer who was targeted in an operation in Kunar province on June 6 has been captured.

ISAF announced the arrest of the “senior al Qaeda leader” in a press release that was issued on June 15. The al Qaeda leader “is responsible for conducting al Qaeda training in Watahpur district.”

Additionally, “senior al Qaeda leadership sends money, weapons, supplies and new recruits to him for instruction in terrorism operations,” ISAF continued. “Following their training, the leader conducts attacks targeting Afghan and coalition forces with the new fighters and equipment.”

Four “extremists,” including the al Qaeda leader, were captured in the June 6 raid in Watahpur [see LWJ report, ISAF targets al Qaeda leaders in Kunar]. ISAF did not identify the nationalities of the captured “extremists,” but told The Long War Journal that there were “indications” of the involvement of “Arab” fighters. However, it is unclear if Arabs were among the captured “extremists.”

ISAF launched five separate raids against al Qaeda’s network in Kunar between June 6 and June 7. Two different al Qaeda leaders were targeted as well as a Taliban commander who supports al Qaeda’s operations in the area. The two al Qaeda commanders are likely members of al Qaeda’s Shadow Army, or the Lashkar al Zil. The paramilitary force fields small conventional units in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and also embeds military trainers within Taliban units in both countries.

Watahpur is a known hub of al Qaeda activity in Afghanistan. ISAF has conducted three operations against al Qaeda’s network in the district since the end of May. In 2012, eight of the 16 raids against al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba’s networks occurred in the Watahpur district alone, according to a study by The Long War Journal. In those operations, 10 senior al Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders or operatives were killed, including al Qaeda’s second-in-command for Afghanistan, al Qaeda’s leader for Kunar, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s emir for Kunar. [For more information on al Qaeda’s network in Kunar, see LWJ report, ISAF targets al Qaeda leader in Kunar, from May 28.]

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:

    Excellent hunting & capture.
    “…but told The Long War Journal that there were “indications” of the involvement of “Arab” fighters. However, it is unclear if Arabs were among the captured “extremists.”
    I have found this reluctance & “fuzziness” on the part of those directly involved in the identification & knowledge of the Force Composition opposing the USA EXTREMELY DISTURBING! This ‘charade’ IMO has been festering for way too long & is a pattern that pre-dates ‘our’ present GWOT.
    This is indicative of the US wishing to hide,
    “cover-up”, protect, etc., information, knowledge, facts, evidence etc., that the General Public would otherwise find unpalatable & contraire to their best interests

  • JRP says:

    See where the United States is planning on 2-way talks with the Taliban in Qatar. In light of the fact that the Taliban are expert at luring people in to a “meet & greet” so that they can detonate a suicide bomb, we are probably walking into a trap. They won’t detonate at the first, second, or third meeting. They’ll first lull us to the point where our guard is down and where we’ve started feeding higher level people into the meetings. Once Taliban figures they’ve maxed out the number and importance of people brought into the room, Kaboom! It’ll go down something like the way they tried to assassinate Hitler in 1944, except the bomber won’t leave the room. We are such dumbbells when it comes to dealing with and trusting these terrorists. We ought to just stick to the drone program and various special ops until they, not us, are worn out.

  • jean says:

    If you chart the activity in Kunar, the Kornegal and Shuyrak Valleys are rarely mentioned, but Waterpur has been become a “known hub”. Will the ANSF maintain the FOB in that district post 2013?


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