WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2010 — Coalition and Afghan forces apprehended several insurgent leaders in Afghanistan overnight, including a Taliban district leader suspected in the kidnapping of a British news reporter last year, military officials said.
Afghan and International Assistance Security Force members captured the Taliban leader for the Chahar Darah district of Kunduz province during an overnight operation in neighboring Takhar province.
The district leader is suspected of being directly involved in the kidnapping of New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell in September 2009. He also is believed to have maintained close ties with senior Taliban and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leadership in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan, and terrorized the local populace by forcibly collecting taxes, intimidating relatives of police and attacking government buildings. He was detained along with two associates.
In other combined operations in Afghanistan:
– Forces detained several suspected Taliban insurgents in Helmand province yesterday while in pursuit of a Taliban leader who commands up to 20 fighters in the Marja district. Using intelligence tips, the force searched a remote compound and found a man shackled and locked in one of the rooms. The man claimed to be a national police member and said the Taliban had kidnapped him. The security force is still gathering information to confirm his identity. The force detained the suspects and seized multiple grenades, assault-rifle magazines and ammunition and 20 pounds of wet opium.
– Forces targeted a Haqqani terrorist network leader who supplies weapons used for attacks throughout Khost province’s Musa Khel district during an overnight operation there. Intelligence tips led the force to a remote compound in the Sabari district. As they approached, several armed insurgents threatened them. The force engaged the insurgents, killing two. After questioning residents, the force detained a suspect and recovered a machine gun.
– Forces captured a Taliban leader overnight who operated in Kandahar province’s Dand district, coordinating attacks and arming Taliban fighters. Intelligence tips led the force to a compound in the Arghandab district where they peacefully identified and detained the targeted man and two of his associates.
– Forces captured a Taliban senior leader overnight who operated in Wardak province’s Sayed Abad district and is believed to have been active in coordinating attacks directly with Taliban leaders in Pakistan. Based on intelligence tips, the force targeted a compound in the Sayed Abad district and peacefully identified and detained the man, along with one of his associates.
– In Paktika province’s Yosuf Khel district, a combined force captured a Taliban leader who led bombing attacks. Intelligence reports led the force to a compound in Yosuf Khel where they peacefully identified and detained the targeted man, along with several of his associates.
– Forces targeted a Taliban senior leader in Zabul province overnight who commands a cell that conducts regular roadside-bomb attacks along Highway 1. The suspect maintains ties with several foreign fighters and Taliban leadership operating in the region. The force peacefully detained the man and several others at a remote compound in the Tarnek wa Jaldak district.
– Forces captured a Taliban leader of a bombing network operating in Qalat district during an overnight operation yesterday in Zabul province. Based on intelligence tips, the security force targeted a compound southeast of Tana Chah, and peacefully detained the suspect and several of his associates.
– A combined patrol found and destroyed two separate narcotics supplies yesterday. First, a joint strike force raided a drug lab in Nangarhar province’s Achin district, where they found and destroyed 44 pounds of packaged heroin, 66 pounds of hashish and 47 gallons of a chemical used to process heroin and associated equipment. In a separate operation, a patrol used intelligence information and residents’ tips to secure 3,300 pounds of processed opium, more than a ton of raw opium and about 60 pieces of drug-processing equipment. One suspected insurgent was detained.
In all the operations, combined forces protected women and children throughout their searches, officials said.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases