Posted on 07/29/2007 4:56:16 PM PDT by Dog
ISAF says Qari Faiz Mohammad, a top Taliban commander with close links to supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, died in a fierce clash with ANA and ISAF troops last week. Details of the raid were not released but one ISAF soldier died in southern Afghanistan that same day.
There has been no official announcement of Qari Faiz Mohammad’s death from Taliban sources.
Qari Faiz Mohammad was one of Afghanistan’s ‘Most Wanted’ Taliban leaders. He acted as Chairman of the Taliban military council and allegedly financed many Taliban operations launched in Helmand province, according to the BBC.
The suspected death of Qari Faiz Mohammad follows last month's air strike that killed another ‘Most Wanted’ commander, Mullah Mahmood Baluch, an infamous weapons smuggler active in Helmand and Nimroz province's. The June, 9th air strike occurred shortly after Mahmood Baluch led a convoy of weapons and ammunition over the Pakistan-Helmand border.
Before that, top Taliban strategist Mullah Dadullah died during a Coalition air assault on his safe house in Helmand province. The death of Mullah Dadullah on May, 12 is the single greatest blow to the Taliban leadership since the movement was ousted from power in late 2001.
Helmand is easily the most unstable state in the country with heavy fighting and suicide attacks occurring on a near daily basis.According to the BBC, listed the remaining ‘Most Wanted’ Taliban members include: Mullah Mohammad Omar, Mullah Berader, Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, Abdul Rahim, Naime Bareech and Dadullah Mansour.
Several senior Taliban and al Qaeda Commanders killed by security forcesWed, 25/07/2007 - 19:42 — matt Source: Afgha.com
By Matt DuPee
A clash in Zabul province this past Sunday between Taliban rebels, the ANA and officers from the national intelligence service left 14 Taliban dead. One of the corpses was later identified as a ‘senior’ Taliban commander named Mullah Muhammad Hussain Mustaad, according to a government spokesman who talked to Pajhwok News. This marks the middle of a series of targeted killings this month by security forces against known al Qaeda and Taliban commanders on both sides of the border.
The report described him as the former ‘director of the Academy of Sciences and deputy head of the administrative affairs department during the era of Taliban.’
An unnamed Taliban spokesman allegedly confirmed the death of Mullah Muhammad Hussain Mustaad, but claimed only four Taliban died in the operation.
Zabul province, long plagued by Taliban violence, continues to be a serious security concern, especially for the long stretch of the Kabul-Kandahar highway that cuts through it.
“Zabul is dangerous completely I can not tell you which road is dangerous and which one is not,” said Muqim Jamshady, the CEO of Afghan Logistics in a recent interview with Afgha.com. “This province is a Red zone.”
'Taliban and al Qaeda Commanders killed in the east'
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, Taliban commander Qari Bahadur who is likely to be linked with the newly formed Tora Bora Military Front, has been killed after a Coalition air strike destroyed his compound in the Tora Bora complex. The entrenched network of fortified positions and cave complexes has been in the sights of Coalition fire power for some time now, to view Afgha.com’s July coverage of Tora Bora, click here.
An al Qaeda spokesman contacted Pajhwok news to announce Bahadur’s death, describing him as “the nephew of former Hezb-i-Islamic commander Sheikh Mullahkhel.” The strike took place last week.
Two known al Qaeda bomb-makers, Abu Haider al-Hawani and Sheikh Muhammad Ehsan, were also reported to have been killed in separate attacks last week.
According to an al Qaeda spokesman ‘Ahmad Suleman,’ who spoke to Pajhwok News, the Coalition killed al-Hawani in a rocket attack while he was in South Wazristan. Sheik Ehsan was killed in a gun battle in the war torn district of Bermal which is located in Paktika province.
If proven to be true, this would mark the second publicized Coalition rocket attack against militants in South Waziristan in as many months. Incidents on June 19, and June 24, specify NATO and the US’s role in cross border attacks into western Pakistan. NATO later confirmed and apologized for the June 24, incident.
10 civilians were thought to have perished in the massive aerial bombardment against a compound suspected of housing militants who attacked a Coalition position located in Paktika’s Bermal district only hours before. In March, an unconfirmed report claimed NATO forces raided a compound in South Waziristan and nabbed Taliban commander, Mullah Hakimallah Mehsud. ISAF later denied any involvement in the cross-border raid.
'Logar Taliban Commander gunned down’
A Taliban commander who ran operations in Logar province was allegedly shot and later died of his wounds on July 20, according to a Pajhwok report. Mullah Dawood Yousaf, who led fighters in Logar’s southwestern Charkh district, suffered gun shot wounds during a ferocious shoot out with Afghan police in Charkh’s main bazaar three days earlier. Seven policemen died as a result of that clash as well as an unknown number of militants.
Some fighters were arrested alive following the clash. One of those arrested confirmed to police that Mullah Dawood Yousaf was the Taliban commander of southern Logar and that he routinely smuggled guns and ammunition from his home village in Ghazni’s (Dado) Zana Khan district.
Another Taliban commander is said to have been gunned down in Balouchistan's Chaman city, which connects to Afghanistan’s Kandahar province via a direct highway, on Wednesday, July 25. Mullah Naimatullah and his two Uzbek escorts were allegedly shot to death after a short visit. A second report indicates the incident took place in the ‘Boghra area of Pakistan's restive North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). It is not clear what caused these discrepancies.
The unidentified gunmen escaped without being arrested and the motive is not yet known. The unidentified gunmen escaped without being arrested and the motive is not yet known. Another militant known as Haji Naimatullah was one of the Taliban commander's operating in Helmand province, particularly around Musa Qala, earlier this year. Asia Time Online's Pakistani Bureau chief, Syed Saleem Shahzad, spoke with Haji Naimatullah in February. It is unclear if the dead militant is indeed the same man.
'Pakistani Taliban leader'
Even more recently, Abdullah Mehsud, a top Taliban leader and commander of thousands of fighters in South Waziristan, killed himself with a hand grenade as Pakistani authorities closed in on his hideout. The incident occurred on Tuesday, July 24.
A contradictory claim surfaced on Thursday, when one of the owners of the house Abdullah Mehsud died in, told reporters the Pakistani military shot Mehsud to death. Sheikh Alam Mandokhel, the man who owns the house, said Mehsud suffered a single gun shot wound to the stomach.
Sheik Alam Madokhel’s story cannot be independently verified. Abdullah Mehsud was buried in South Waziristan on Wednesday.
The operation took place in Pakistan’s southwestern Balouchistan province in the village of Zhob. His two brothers, Abdul Rahman Mehsud and Muhammad Azam, were captured alive by the raiding party.
Abdullah Mehsud fought against the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, also known as ‘the Northern Alliance,’ during the late 1990’s and during the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. It was during the winter of 2001, that Abdullah along with hundreds of others was arrested after the city of Kunduz fell to Coalition forces. He was subsequently jailed and sent to Guantanamo Bay where he remained incarcerated for 25 months.
He successfully fooled his captors into believing he played no significant role on the battlefield and was released to the Pakistani government. Upon his release he reconstituted his fighting force in South Waziristan and staged a series of high-profile attacks throughout the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The abduction of 2 Chinese engineers and the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in October, 2004, are only two of the attacks attributed to him.
His death as well as the others comes at a time of heightened security in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Western countries who feel an imminent terror attack is in the final stages of preparation and will likely be enacted within weeks. The center of gravity for the militants is thought to be the rugged strip that separates Afghanistan and Pakistan and where many of the above mentioned assassinations have taken place.
Political tension is boiling over in Pakistan while the government is desperately trying to reign in militants without sparking an all out revolution. Over 50 Taliban fighters have been killed in western Pakistan this week as the military tries to overrun what the US calls ‘al Qaeda’s Pakistani sanctuary.’ Afghanistan has seen an increase in violent attacks too, such as the repeated kidnappings throughout the southeast, most notably the 23 South Koreans in Ghazni, and the 2 German engineers in Wardak.
As the situation grows direr by the week, security personnel and foreign troops in Afghanistan as well as Pakistani authorities, are struggling to extinguish the flames of a raging insurgency that threatens to embroil the entire region. The military hopes that ‘decapitation’ strikes against top militant commanders will be enough to thwart the Taliban’s tentacles from strangling the life out of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s Musharraf administration.