Freed Taliban commander now leads the fight in northern Afghan province

TOLOnews reports on a senior Taliban leader who was recently freed by the Afghan government and has now returned to lead the Taliban in Badghis province. Maulawi Ghulam Mohammad served as the deputy governor for Ghor province before the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the Sept. 11 attack.

Maulawi Ghulam Mohammad, a senior Taliban commander who was released last month from the Bagram Prison, has reportedly joined the Taliban again and gone on a rampage against security forces, casting doubts on the wisdom of the Afghan government’s efforts to have Pakistan release militants in order to kick-start peace talks with the insurgent group.

The Taliban commander was said to have rejoined the group right after he was released and has since killed 13 Afghan Local Police (ALP) officers and injured 20 others in Badghis province within a span of one month.

Sharafuddin Sharaf, the Badghis Police Chief, said that Maulawi Ghulam Mohammad had been appointed as the Deputy Shadow Governor of the Taliban in Badghis province after his release.

Mr. Sharaf added that the Taliban commander is now leading a group of 400 insurgents and has launched several deadly attacks on security forces’ check-posts in the province.

Maulawi Ghulam Mohammad was the Deputy Governor of Ghor province during the Taliban regime before the U.S. invasion in 2001. He was arrested by the foreign forces immediately after the collapse of the regime. He was in prison for several years, until the Bagram Prison was handed over to the Afghan Government, at which time he was released.

Ghulam Mohammad is just the latest Taliban leader who has returned to the fight. The most prominent is Mullah Zakir, who was detained in 2001 and held at Guantanamo Bay, and then transferred to Afghan custody and promptly freed in 2007. Zakir quickly returned to the fight, and by 2009 was identified as the Taliban’s “surge commander”; he was responsible for countering the US’ surge of forces in the south starting in 2009. Zakir is now the Taliban’s top military commander. See LWJ reports, The Taliban’s surge commander was Gitmo detainee and Former Gitmo detainee leads top Taliban council, for more information on Zakir.

Pakistan is preparing to release Mullah Baradar, who was replaced by Zakir. It is assumed that his release will facilitate peace talks with the government. And you know what they say about what happens when you assume.

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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4 Comments

  • Paul D says:

    Bill
    How many Gitmo detainees have been released to become leaders of the Islamist forces Versus the West?
    Its either incompetence or the West wanted them to be leaders in the battlefield?

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    What is it about government that it betrays its own people? Karzai continues to twist the knife. Maybe someday the back that it is stuck in will be his own.

  • blert says:

    These high profile Gitmo graduates are set loose only upon being vetted by the White House.
    As we all remember, the President ran on a platform that specified shutting down club Gitmo with all due haste.
    The usual drill has been to to repatriate Gitmo graduates to their native lands. (If they promise to not spank them too hard.)
    By Afghan law, killing infidels while on jihad is never a crime, even if these particular infidels are the sole support of the regime!
    So, Karzai is actually out of the picture. The White House knows, going in, that every fanatic they send to Afghanistan will be set free as fast as Kabul can process the paperwork.
    Pakistan confines (Afghan oriented) Taliban commanders solely for their own protection. (Drone-proof accommodations.)
    These players are not politicians in the Western sense, not at all. They are warlords. They don’t collect taxes — they take booty — or wholesale opiates.
    Most cannot read nor write. It’s a great irony, Taliban = students. But, because Mo’, himself, did not read nor write, Taliban elites deliberately shun the skills.
    Mullah Omar, famously, can’t read a word. When he ran the store, all of his immediate subordinates couldn’t read, either.
    Which is one insight as to their value of schooling — and teachers.
    Islamabad is delighted to have illiterates running the show to their west. With such a handicap, they’ll never get beyond skirmish warfare. Perfect.

  • Knighthawk says:

    Last I recall the recidivism rate (back on the battlefield or otherwise ‘known’ to be back in the game) from Gitmo alone was around 30%.
    //www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/03/latest_gitmo_recidiv.php

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