US grabs Pakistani Taliban commander from Afghan intel

The US military has taken a senior Pakistani Taliban commander known as Latif Mehsud from the custody of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Intelligence. Latif was reportedly negotiating a prisoner release with Afghan officials, who were hoping to recruit him as an intermediary for peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban.

Latif and three other Taliban fighters were captured last week while traveling in the Mohammad Agha district of Logar, the governor of the province told The Associated Press. He was being escorted by the NDS, which was taking him to a headquarters for talks, when a US military team halted the convoy, detained him, and then transferred him to the US-controlled section of Bagram prison, Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai told The Washington Post.

The Pakistani Taliban confirmed that Latif was in custody, but claimed he was “seized by the Afghan army at the Ghulam Khan border crossing in the eastern province of Khost on Oct. 5,” The Washington Post reported. The Pakistani Taliban and intelligence officials claimed he “was returning from a meeting to discuss swapping Afghan prisoners for money,” according to the AP.

The raid has upset Afghan officials, including Karzai. The bilateral security agreement between the US and Afghanistan has been put on hold as the Afghan government demands an end to unilateral US raids after the end of 2014, when the US and NATO officially end combat operations.

Latif formerly served as the driver to Hakeemullah Mehsud, the emir of the al Qaeda-linked Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. He was recently promoted to serve as a senior aide to Hakeemullah. According to The News, he replaced Khan Said, or Sajana Mehsud, as the deputy leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan; the report has not been confirmed, however. He is also said to lead the Pakistani Taliban’s forces in Miramshah, North Waziristan.

Commanders and fighters from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan are known to operate and fight in Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban routinely hold funerals for members who have been killed in fighting there. And the International Security Assistance Force, the NATO-led Coalition, has targeted, killed, and captured numerous Pakistani Taliban operatives during raids in Afghanistan.

In the most high-profile raid targeting the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s network in Afghanistan, the US military killed Mullah Dadullah, also known as Maulana Mohammad Jamal; his deputy, Shakir; and 10 other Taliban fighters, in an airstrike in the Shigal wa Sheltan district in Kunar province in August 2012.

Mullah Fazlullah, the radical Pakistani Taliban leader from Swat, is being sheltered by the Afghan branch, Shahidullah Shahid, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan’s senior spokesman, said just four days ago. Shahid also said that the Afghan Taliban “brothers” are providing financial assistance to the Pakistani Taliban, and that his group is no longer fighting in Afghanistan. Fazlullah is rumored to have been killed in a local clash with Afghan Taliban forces in Kunar, but the Pakistani Taliban denied the reports.

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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  • Andrew C says:

    Hell yeah. This is how you play the game. The Afghan and Pakistani authorities screw us over so much and double-deal behind our back, it’s about time we gave a little karmic payback.

  • Frank Dunn says:

    Question now is whether this Pakistani Taliban terrorist and 65+ other non-Afghans the US is holding outside of Kabul will be transferred to Guantanamo? Since Obama cannot publicly admit to following Bush’s policy, what is to happen with these killers & maimers of American and allied forces?
    My fear is that Obama will use the partial government shutdown to transfer prisoners to Afghan control. SoS Kerry is in Kabul today, discussing the status of forces agreement with President Karzai. Will Kerry turn over control of these prisoners to Karzai to secure an agreement? If yes, the remaining US presence will be at greater risk as the terrorists escape or are freed. If no, where will the 65+ be held?

  • AntiDal says:

    Leave the pakistani Taliban alone, they are the good Taliban.

  • Andrew C says:

    @2 Frank your eagerness to turn this partisan clouds your judgement and taints your logic. Why would Obama hand this guy over to Karzai after Karzai had complained furiously about the U.S “abducting” him from a meeting with the Afghan government? Did you not read the article?
    This guy will get sent to a “black site” and worked over by the Saudis or some other third-party, probably.
    I agree there ARE serious problems like brazen prison breaks and freed Gitmo scum going back to being active terrorists. But to tie this with the government shutdown and other stuff is just silly. Business continues as usual in this part of the world.

  • gb says:

    Good call..whoever made it. I guess he’ll have to get his sea legs on…US Navy=new GTMO

  • Rens says:

    Karmic Justice?
    I think the best we can do is to call a spade a spade. So that if they ask for help in a few years, we can tell them “You stabbed us in the back, now twist in the wind”.
    Also it will let the public know why we pulled out without achieving the desired results. More people should read “Operation Darkheart and learn about Pakistani ISI perfidy.
    unless we deal with it and discuss it, there is no point in helping anyone in that area of the world. Let them rot.
    Frank Dunn
    This just gets better and better. I did not know about the 65 or that the dishonorable JFK was conducting the negotiations. Not that it matters. Too many FSOs seem to be useless.
    It just all needs to be documented.

  • m3fd2002 says:

    The brutal truth is: It’s all over but the body count. “Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity”
    – Karl von Clausewitz

  • . says:

    Perhaps Mehsud was a disposable ISI asset.

  • Its Really Good News For US Maybe US make Plan For Grab Any Pakistani Taliban commander And This Time US Get Success To Grab That. Good News For US
    Now US Country Try To Ask All Information About Taliban From The Commander.Let See What Happen Now

  • ElenaSofia says:

    The attack was the worst form of fratricide. Karzai was making progress in doing something Western leaders have not thought to do: making peace with the Pakistani Taliban so that they would help create a hostile environment for the Afghan Taliban who use Pakistan as a safe haven. Karzai is looking to the post-US environment and is trying to help shape it so that the Afghan government under different leadership survives. US forces seem to be operating under outdated, short term assumptions and in violation of their RoEs – attacking an Afghan government convoy has never been permitted.

  • Tawab says:

    Here is NDS’s press release.
    In the aftermath of the arrest of Latifullah Masoud, a leader of Pakistan Taliban, a number of Western media and diplomats have stated that National Directorate of Security NDS was involved in the arrest of Mr. Masoud.
    While NDS refutes these baseless allegations, we would like to clarify that NDS was not involved in this arrest at all and there was no coordination with NDS in this regard.
    NDS personnel are committed to a stable, independent and sovereign Afghanistan and will spare no effort in safeguarding these values.
    NDS Press and Media Department

  • giay luoi says:

    It is a strategic failure to base force structure on budget rather than threat assessment, which has been the issue with US military force development over the years.

  • Charu says:

    Who does the Pakistani Taliban target? The Pakistani military and its ISI. It is foolish for us to admonish the Afghans and to harangue them to not go Pakistan’s way in using terrorist proxies to effect regional strategy. From the Afghan’s POV, the enemy of their enemy (Pakistan), the Pakistani Taliban, is their friend. Since we have dismally failed to get the Pakistanis to stop supporting the (Afghan) Taliban who are fighting us and the Afghan National Army, by humiliating the Afghans in this manner we are only strengthening the forces who have killed so many of our men and women.


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