Afghan and Coalition forces reportedly killed or captured at least 34 Taliban shadow administrators in 2014, according to local and international media reports. Among those killed were seven Taliban shadow governors, as well as numerous shadow district administrators — including shadow police, intelligence, and military commanders. At least one other Taliban shadow governor surrendered to Afghan authorities, in Jawzjan province in late December 2014 along with approximately 200 of his subordinates.
Overall, Taliban shadow administrators were reportedly killed in 17 out of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces [see first graph below]. The highest number of incidents occurred in Badakhshan and Kunar provinces, with both provinces recording a total of five Taliban shadow administrators killed in each, including their respective shadow governors. In the case of Badakhshan, two Taliban shadow governors were killed within a five-month period.
Approximately 57 percent of the Taliban shadow administrators reportedly killed in 2014 died in clashes with Afghan security forces [see second graph below]. It should be noted, however, that drone strikes in Kunar and Farah provinces resulted in the deaths of at least four Taliban shadow district administrators in 2014. And incidents involving “airstrikes” killed an additional two Taliban shadow district administrators in Kapisa and Badakhshan provinces; it is unclear if those airstrikes were conducted by conventional air assets or drones. In a separate case, one Taliban shadow administrator was killed during an incident of infighting. And in another unique case, Afghan residents gunned down a Taliban district administrator in Farah province in early June 2014. Only 11 percent of the Taliban administrators removed from the battlefield in 2014 were captured alive by security forces.
With the conclusion of the NATO International Security Assistance Mission (ISAF) effort in December 2014, the Afghan government will likely continue to pursue a military campaign against known Taliban leaders. “The killing or arresting of Taliban shadow governors is important because they are running the terror network behind the scenes,” Afghan security analyst General (ret.) Fazlullah Jurat told Central Asia Online in November. “Their killing will dampen the morale of insurgents …. They run the show, and if they are eliminated, it will obviously hurt the Taliban,” Jurat noted.
Afghan security forces continue to suffer an “unsustainably high” death toll in the fight against insurgents, however. In November, US Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, then the Commander of the ISAF Joint Command (IJC), reported to VOA News that 4,634 Afghan security personnel had been killed in action in 2014, compared with 4,350 in 2013, “despite a 25 percent dip in Taliban attacks from 24,000 to 18,000 over the same period.”
Notably, the Taliban insurgency has not fared much better. According to a data sampling in early 2014, it was noted that Afghan security forces kill on average 12 Taliban insurgents every day. Approximately 720 Taliban insurgents were killed by Afghan security forces between January and February 2014 alone, according to data compiled by VOA Dari Service.
Although the data presented in the two graphs is based on cross-referenced local and international media reporting, The Long War Journal cannot otherwise independently confirm the exact number of Taliban shadow administrators killed in 2014. Occasionally, the Taliban will confirm the deaths of their shadow administrators, such as with the deaths of the Kandahar and Kunar shadow governors. Other times, the Taliban will vehemently deny the loss of their field commanders and shadow administrators. Additionally, the Afghan government is known to erroneously report the deaths of Taliban commanders, although information provided by the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) is usually supported by visual evidence such as photos or video interviews with captured Taliban commanders.
Incidents involving the reported death or capture of Taliban shadow administrators in 2014:
Jan. 7, 2014 – Mullah Salim, the Taliban shadow district chief for Mizan district, Zabul province, reportedly succumbed to his injuries after being shot multiple times by his own security guards. Salim was hiding in Quetta, Pakistan, at the time of the attack. Salim’s death was the latest in a string of intra-Taliban clashes that had left a number of Taliban commanders dead and injured in the Quetta area in late 2013. (Khaama Press)
March 9, 2014 – Afghan security forces reportedly killed the Taliban shadow chief for Bakwa district, Farah province, along with three of his associates late on March 9. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
March 31, 2014 – Afghan NDS officials announced the arrest of Mohammad Fazil, the Taliban shadow chief for Cha’ab district, Takhar province, on March 31. Fazil had reportedly been tasked with carrying out a series of attacks in Takhar to disrupt the Afghan presidential election that was held on April 5. (Khaama Press)
April 7, 2014 – NDS officials confirmed the killing of 17 senior Afghan Taliban leaders, including Nur Qasim Sabari (Haidari), the Taliban’s shadow governor for Kunar province, and Qari Osman, the Taliban shadow chief for Shegal district. The Taliban later confirmed the death of Nur Qasim. (Khaama Press, The Long War Journal, Pajhwok Afghan News)
April 16, 2014 – The Taliban shadow governor for Kandahar province, Mullah Abdul Wassay (a.k.a. Qari Abdul Hamid), a prominent Noorzai Taliban commander, was killed in a clash with Afghan forces in Kandahar province. His body was discovered by Afghan officials five days later, apparently in neighboring Helmand province, and his corpse was displayed to journalists in Lashkar Gah. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
May 5, 2014 – Afghan police forces reportedly ambushed a small group of Taliban fighters in Paktia province and killed five insurgents, including Mohammad Nezam Khel, the Taliban shadow chief for Khoshamand district, Paktika province. (Note: The original source article erroneously stated that Khoshamand district is part of Paktia province; it is actually part of Paktika province. Therefore, it remains unclear whether the police ambush occurred in Paktia or in Paktika.) (Khaama Press)
May 11, 2014 – The Taliban shadow chief for Surkh Rod district, Nangarhar province, was reportedly killed along with eight other insurgents in an Afghan security operation launched earlier that morning. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
May 14, 2014 – Afghan security forces launched a “special military operation” in Farah province and reportedly killed at least 55 Taliban militants. Among those killed was Mawlawi Abdul Raziq, the Taliban shadow chief for Gulistan district. (Khaama Press)
May 29, 2014 – Afghan security forces launched operation Zulfiqar-2 in Dasht-e Archi district, Kunduz province, and reportedly killed five Taliban insurgents. The Taliban shadow chief for Khwaja Ghar district, Takhar province, was among those killed, as well as a Taliban military commander named Mullah Nasar. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
May 31, 2014 – Kabir Halal, the Taliban shadow military chief for Yousuf Khel district, Paktika province, was among 25 Taliban fighters reportedly killed during a fierce clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in the Yousuf Khel district.
June 7, 2014 – Malawi Rahmatullah Hafiz, the Taliban shadow chief for Bakwa district, Farah province, and three other insurgents were reportedly killed in a clash between local residents of Bakwa district and insurgents. Two local residents were also injured in the clash. (ToloNews)
July 8, 2014 – The Taliban shadow governor of Badakhshan province, Qari Fakhruddin, and nine other insurgents were killed in a clash with Afghan security forces in the hotly contested Jurm district. Ghulaam Haidar Haidari, head of the Afghan National Army (ANA) 209th Corps, confirmed that Afghan forces had captured the body of Fakhruddin and his weapons. (ToloNews)
July 9, 2014 – The Taliban shadow deputy governor for Kunduz province, Mullah Mohammad Noor Wasiq, was reportedly killed along with four other insurgents during a clearing operation launched by Afghan security forces in Chahar Dara district, Kunduz province. The clash, which took place in Yatim village, also killed a Taliban commander named Qari Izzatullah, and five other suspected insurgents were detained. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
July 23, 2014 – Airstrikes in Badakhshan province reportedly killed five insurgents, including Mullah Yasin, the Taliban shadow chief for Jurm district. The strikes took place near the Jobiar area of Jurm district. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
July 30, 2014 – Fierce fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents in Sangin district, Helmand province, reportedly resulted in 20 insurgents killed, including Mullah Nasir, the Taliban shadow chief for Sangin district. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
Aug. 2, 2014 – Clashes between Afghan security forces and insurgents in Faryab province reportedly left four insurgents dead, including Mullah Nazar, the Taliban shadow chief for Bal Cheragh (Bilchiragh) district, Faryab province. The clash took place in the Tash Qala area of Bal Cheragh district. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
Aug. 4, 2014 – The Taliban shadow chief for Narang district, Kunar province, known as Abdullah, was reportedly killed along with an associate following a gunfight with Afghan security forces in the Watapur district. Three three other insurgents were wounded in the clash and an Afghan policeman was killed. The Taliban later denied that Abdullah had been killed, but conceded that a Taliban commander and his associate had been killed in clash in Watapur district. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
Aug. 11, 2014 – NDS officials announced the capture of Mawlawi Sheikh Ahmad (a.k.a. Haji Wadan), the Taliban shadow chief for Bala Balouk district, Farah province. Sheikh Ahmad was arrested during a security operation in the 7th police district of Kandahar City. (Khaama Press)
Sept. 10, 2014 – Afghan security operations in Wardak province resulted in clashes in Sayyedabad, Nerkh, and Jalrez districts. Six insurgents were reportedly killed, including Sayed Hassan, the Taliban shadow intelligence chief for northern Wardak. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
Sept. 16, 2014 – Airstrikes in Kapisa province reportedly killed 11 insurgents, including Roohullah, the Taliban shadow chief for Koh-i-Safi district, Kapisa province. The airstrikes struck the insurgents in the rugged Pacha Khak area of Kapisa province. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
Sept. 22, 2014 – A drone strike killed the Taliban shadow governor for Herat province, Abdul Qadir, better known as Mullah Abdul Rahman Nika, while he was conducting a meeting in Bakwa district, Farah province. (Pajhwok Afghan News and Xinhua)
Sept. 23, 2014 – Mullah Ghani Shah, the Taliban shadow chief for Pashtun Zarghoon district, Herat province, was reportedly killed along with two associates after unknown gunmen ambushed them in the Obe district. (Bakhtar News)
Sept. 24, 2014 – Airstrikes reportedly killed nine Taliban insurgents in Nangarhar province, including the Taliban shadow chief for Sherzad district, Nangarhar province. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
Sept. 29, 2014 – Afghan security forces reportedly killed Kamal Baradar, the Taliban shadow police chief for Garziwan district, Faryab province, during a gunfight in Garziwan. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
Sept. 29, 2014 – Mawlawi Mamor, the Taliban shadow chief for Doshi district, Baghlan province, was captured with three other insurgents during an Afghan security operation. (ToloNews)
Oct. 25, 2014 – NDS officials announced the arrest of the Taliban shadow chief for Nad-e Ali district, Helmand province. The shadow chief, who remained unnamed, was reportedly captured in Kabul City after the NDS detected his arrival. NDS officials reported that the shadow chief was planning to carry out attacks inside Kabul City. (CentralAsia Online)
Nov. 3, 2014 – Afghan security forces reportedly killed eight insurgents, including Mawlawi Alauddin, the Taliban shadow chief for Argo district, Badakhshan province. (Khaama Press and Xinhua)
Nov. 10, 2014 – The Taliban shadow governor for Takhar province, later identified as Mawlawi Mohammad Ismail, was reportedly killed during an operation by ANA commando forces.The operation was launched late on the night of Nov. 9 in neighboring Kunduz province. (Khaama Press)
Nov. 11, 2014 – Afghan security forces claimed to have killed Mawlawi Mohammad Karim, the Taliban shadow governor for Samangan province, during an operation in Jawzjan province. (Big News Network)
Nov. 15, 2014 – A suspected drone strike killed six Taliban insurgents in Kunar province. Among those killed was the Taliban shadow chief for Manogai (Manogay) district, Kunar province. In a separate incident, the Taliban shadow chief for Argo district, Badakhshan province, was reportedly detained along with four of his associates. (World Bulletin)
Dec. 17, 2014 – Afghan security forces raided the Katiba village, located in Jurm district, Badakhshan province, and reportedly killed eight Taliban fighters. Among those killed was Mawlawi Amanuddin, the Taliban shadow governor for Badakhshan. The death of Amanuddin marked the second shadow governor for Badakhshan killed in 2014. (Xinhua)
Dec. 20, 2014 – Heavy clashes remained ongoing in the Dangam district of Kunar province. The Afghan Ministry of Defense claimed killing 62 insurgents, including Ahmad Khan, the Taliban shadow chief for Dangam district. (Khaama Press)
Dec. 26, 2014 – Afghan security forces claimed to have killed an unnamed Taliban shadow district chief for Alisay district, Kapisa province. (Khaama Press)
Dec. 30, 2014 – Approximately 200 Taliban fighters, including a top Taliban leader for Darzab district, Jawzjan province, surrendered to Afghan authorities and joined the Afghan First Vice President in a peace ceremony. Mullah Nematullah also had served as the Taliban shadow governor for Jawzjan province. (Pajhwok Afghan News)
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This is the best year in review story I have seen. It is a great presentation of the information and an interesting summary of the years results in this struggle. I read LWJ daily but taking a step back and looking at a yearlong effort is a great way to add depth and perspective. Nice Work. I appreciate it.
And it makes no difference, the Taliban is winning anyway. They will accept nothing less than absolute victory and will sacrifice everything for it. ISAF and the Puppet Regime we installed, and it is a puppet regime no sense pretending otherwise, are unwilling to die for victory.
@Tom – I disagree. The puppet Afghan Communist regime held on until the Soviets abandoned it.
The current puppets will hold on as well unless the West tires of supporting them. Which they may in a few years, the short attention span in D.C is remarkable. But for now they are safe.
On a related note, I have been impressed by Ghani – he seems to be the PAK Mil whisperer, calming their irrational fears with trust building measures. I’m placing a great store on what seems to be a tacit agreement for Pak to pull back on its support of anti-Afghan gov’t forces in return for the Afghan intelligence services cooling their retaliatory support for the Pakistani Taliban.