The U.S. captured al Qaeda key commander Abu Ikhlas al Masri in 2010. He was freed from Bagram prison after the Taliban takeover in 2021, and is thought to have reformed an Al Qaeda unit.
The Taliban took control of the provincial capitals of Kunduz and Sar-i-Pul cities, while Taloqan, the capital of Takhar, is under direct threat. Four provincial capitals have now fallen under Taliban control in the past three days.
In Logar province, a large Taliban convoy that carried the Taliban’s shadow governor paraded through a town unopposed by Afghan and Coalition forces.
The Taliban again highlighted the Red Unit, the group’s special operations unit that spearheads its assaults throughout Afghanistan.
The Taliban continues to churn out propaganda that touts the training of its elite military units, even as the US seeks to negotiate its exit from Afghanistan.
The Red Unit, the Taliban’s version of special forces that operates throughout Afghanistan and is often at the tip of the spear of assaults on district centers, military bases and outposts, is said to have initiated the fighting in Dasht-i-Archi district. At least 30 Afghan soldiers were killed during the assault.
The Afghan military said it captured a German citizen who was fighting in Helmand province and belonged to the Taliban’s Red Unit, which serves as an elite unit that spearheads attacks on Afghan forces.
Mullah Shah Wali, the leader of the Red Unit’s forces in Helmand , was killed in a US airstrike in the Taliban-controlled district of Musa Qala. The Red Unit has served as the Taliban’s shock troops and special forces.