The National Directorate of Security captured a senior Taliban commander who was involved in the network in the Afghan capital that targets Westerners and other foreigners. The commander also had a hand in the recent assassination of Uruzgan’s police chief, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.
The NDS announced today that it captured Hamidullah, who is also known as Zabit Hamid, during a clash in the 5th police district in Kabul. Hamidullah was part of a network tasked with “targeting foreigners in Kabul” and he was also “involved in several terrorist activities in Kabul, Ghazni and Paktika province,” Khaama Press reported, based on the NDS press statement.
While not stated in the NDS press release, Hamidullah is a commander in what US and Coalition military officials used to call the Kabul Attack Network. This network is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and it pools resources and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate as well. The network’s contacts extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, Kapisa, Kunar, Ghazni, and Zabul.
The Kabul Attack Network has been linked to a host of suicide and other attacks in and around the capital over the past five years. Most recently, the network was involved in the Feb 25 attack that targeted a convoy transporting NATO’s top diplomat to Afghanistan. A Turkish soldier and a civilian were killed in the suicide attack.
Linked to assassination of Urugan’s influential police chief
US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that Hamidullah is thought to be involved with the March 19 assassination of Matihullah Khan, the chief of police for the southern province of Uruzgan. A Taliban suicide bomber dress in a burqa approached Matihullah as he was in the 6th district in Kabul and detonated an explosive vest, killing the influential police commander. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack, Xinhua reported.
Matiullah’s uncle, Jan Mohammad Khan, a governor of Uruzgan province who had become one of former President Hamid Karzai’s top advisers, was also killed in a complex suicide attack in Kabul’s 6th district four years ago. A suicide assault team, which is thought to have been made up of members of the Kabul Attack Network, attacked Jan Mohammad’s home in the capital on July 19, 2011. [See LWJ report, Key adviser to Karzai, member of parliament assassinated in suicide assault in Kabul.]
Jan Mohammad and his nephew Maitullah were influential power brokers in Uruzgan who exploited tribal rivalries to gain power. While they fought the Taliban, their actions also drove their rivals into the ranks of the Taliban.
Despite Matiullah’s divide and conquer strategy in Uruzgan, he was “the only thing keeping the Taliban out of central and eastern Uruzgan,” a US intelligence official told LWJ.
“If his militia collapses with his death then it could significantly destabilize the power dynamics of the area,” the official continued.