Afghan forces capture al Qaeda ‘financier’ in Nangarhar

The Afghan Special Police Force, a unit assigned to the Interior Ministry, claims to have captured an al Qaeda “financier” during a raid in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar on Dec. 8.

The Interior Ministry reportedly announced the arrest in a statement released yesterday, according to Kabul 1TV. The al Qaeda financier, who was not named, is reportedly “a Pakistani national.” The Interior Ministry said he was captured in the district of Khogyani. Police also reportedly found a “flag of [the] Taliban on the wall of the room where the militant was captured.”

Khogyani is among 14 Nangarhar districts known to host terror cells, according to data compiled by FDD’s Long War Journal. The US military has reported targeting al Qaeda and allied groups in Nangarhar since 2007. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Al Qaeda facilitator targeted in eastern Afghanistan.]

The US military and Afghan forces have consistently targeted al Qaeda’s network throughout Afghanistan despite claims from Obama administration officials that the group has been decimated since Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May 2010. Al Qaeda has made up for the loss of traditional “Arab” commanders by backfilling leadership positions with Afghan and Pakistanis from jihadist groups based in the region.

Most recently, the US killed Faruq al Qahtani, the al Qaeda emir for eastern Afghanistan. The US was hunting Qahtani for six years before he was finally brought down in an airstrike in Kunar province on Oct. 23. One month prior, three al Qaeda leaders and six operatives were killed in a raid in Paktika province that also killed Azam Tariq, a leader from the Movement of the Taliban in South Waziristan.

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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