WASHINGTON, June 23, 2010 – Afghan and international security forces killed a large number of insurgents, including several key leaders for both the Haqqani terrorist network and the Taliban, in the Jani Khel district of Afghanistan’s Paktia province earlier this week, military officials reported today.
The security force killed Hamiddullah, a Haqqani network commander for the Sabari district in Khost province. Hamiddullah had direct ties to Haqqani senior leaders based in Pakistan and he reportedly was responsible for an ambush of an Afghan army unit in March that resulted in the deaths of three Afghan police officers.
According to intelligence information and local police, news of Hamiddullah’s death is expected to have significant disruptive effects on the insurgent network operating throughout Khost and Paktia, officials said.
Earlier this month, Afghan and international forces killed a number of Haqqani network fighters, including another Haqqani commander, Fazil Subhan, in Khost province.
In the recent two-day offensive operation on the largest insurgent camp in the area, assault forces also killed Qari Ismael, a Taliban leader for Jani Khel district, and Maulawi Sadiq, a known facilitator for foreign fighters.
After the fighting stopped, officials and village elders reported that a large number of foreign fighters, including Arabs, Uzbeks, Turks and Chechens, were among those killed. Afghan and coalition forces also found dozens of automatic weapons, multiple rocket-propelled grenade launchers and rounds, and communication equipment.
The Haqqani network is attempting to establish strongholds in the Khost-Gardez Pass in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Paktia and Khost provinces, officials said. Large numbers of foreign fighters remain interspersed in the ranks of the Taliban and Haqqani networks, and the area is used by insurgent groups to move supplies and foreign fighters into Afghanistan from Pakistan, they added.
No coalition forces were injured or killed despite engagement by heavily armed insurgents on four different occasions throughout the operation.
In an operation the night of June 21 in the Afghan capital of Kabul, Afghan security forces working with International Security Assistance Force partners found more than 11 tons of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer banned by the Afghan government because it can be used in making explosives.
Authorized by Afghanistan’s interior ministry, Afghan special police surrounded a compound housing several insurgents. After ensuring all residents exited safely and arresting the insurgents, police found the ammonium nitrate.
Based on a current ISAF analysis, officials said, this discovery eliminated more than 500 potential roadside bombs.
In a separate action yesterday morning, a combined Afghan-international patrol conducted an operation in Kandahar province to disrupt a network known to sell illegal drugs to finance the Taliban insurgency. After surrounding the compound of interest, Afghan special police ensured all residents exited safely. A man was detained, and police seized more than 140 pounds of opium.
No civilians were injured in either operation.
In other news from Afghanistan:
— An Afghan-international security force detained several suspected insurgents while pursuing a Taliban commander in Zabul province last night. The security force found and destroyed automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade boosters and ammunition. No shots were fired, and no one was harmed during the operation. — A separate Afghan-international security force operation detained several suspected insurgents and found 30 pounds of opium in Helmand province last night while searching for the newly appointed Taliban deputy shadow governor for Nawah-ya Barakzai district. No one was harmed, and the combined force protected a number of women and children during the operation.
— An Afghan-international security force detained the Taliban’s recently appointed chief of finance for Baghlan province, along with two other suspected insurgents, in Helmand the night of June 21. The Taliban finance chief also is a bomb-making expert and former district commander of at least three insurgent cells in Baghlan. No shots were fired, and the combined force protected the women and children present during the search. This operation continues a string of recent successes against Taliban networks in Baghlan, officials noted. In late May, combined forces removed three successively appointed Taliban provincial shadow governors for the province. Mullah Ruhullah was killed along with his deputy on May 14. His replacement, Maulawi Jabbar, was killed along with two Taliban commanders on May 28. Three days later, his replacement was detained by Afghan and coalition forces.
— Also on the night of June 21, combined forces acting on an Afghan civilian’s tip detained two foreign fighters in Kandahar province while pursuing the Dand district’s Taliban military commander, who is linked to suicide-bomb attacks in the province. No shots were fired, and the combined force protected women and children present during the search that led to the detention of two Pakistani men.
— On June 21, a combined security force detained several suspected insurgents in Helmand’s Nawa Barak district while pursuing a senior Taliban commander who operates in the area. The commander is a bomb-attack facilitator and Taliban fund raiser, officials said, and also is suspected of involvement in suicide-bomb attacks.
— Afghan and international partners conducted an operation in Helmand province the night of June 20 to disrupt a Taliban network that supplies explosives and other materials used in roadside bombs. When several insurgents failed to follow directions from Afghan special police and presented a deadly threat to the combined force, they were killed. Police ensured the remaining residents left the compound safely. Women and children were protected, and two men were taken into custody. No civilians were injured.
— An Afghan-international patrol confiscated more than a ton and a half of unprocessed opium and more than 20 pounds of heroin during a vehicle search June 21 in Helmand’s Garm Ser district. Two individuals were captured and detained when they fled from the vehicle.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases