Afghanistan — Gizab’s Taliban Commander captured

Aus­tralian Spe­cial Forces and their Afghan part­ner force, the Provin­cial Police Reserve, have cap­tured the com­man­der of the Tal­iban forces in Giz­ab.

Tal­iban com­man­der Mul­lah Atiqul­lah and two of his close asso­ciates were cap­tured on the after­noon of April 30, in an Afghan-led oper­a­tion.

Com­man­der of Joint Task Force 633, Major Gen­er­al John Cantwell, said Mul­lah Atiqul­lah became active as the senior Tal­iban leader in Giz­ab late last year.

“Mul­lah Atiqul­lah was in charge of try­ing to estab­lish Giz­ab as a safe haven for the Tal­iban,” Major Gen­er­al Cantwell said.

“He failed because the peo­ple who live there were not pre­pared to tol­er­ate his oppres­sion and intim­i­da­tion.

“Aus­tralia is in Afghanistan to help the Afghan peo­ple, and that is exact­ly what we did in this case. The peo­ple of Giz­ab stood up to the Tal­iban and then sought and received assis­tance from the Provin­cial Police Reserve, sup­port­ed by our Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group.”

Major Gen­er­al Cantwell said the trust shown by the Giz­ab com­mu­ni­ty in the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces was key to the suc­cess in the region over the past two weeks.

“On the same day as the cap­ture of Mul­lah Atiqul­lah, Giz­ab locals led Provin­cial Police Reserve and Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group mem­bers to a large Tal­iban muni­tions cache.

“That cache includ­ed six 107 mm rock­ets, eight 82 mm mor­tars and an anti-tank mine, which could have been used to cause sig­nif­i­cant harm to Afghan vil­lagers, mem­bers of the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces and ISAF troops,” Major Gen­er­al Cantwell said.

The cap­ture of Mul­lah Atiqul­lah and his close asso­ciates was the cul­mi­nat­ing event in the com­mu­ni­ty upris­ing that began on April 21.

Mul­lah Atiqul­lah was trans­ferred to the cus­tody of Dutch forces, before sub­se­quent­ly being trans­ferred into the cus­tody of Afghanistan’s Nation­al Direc­torate of Secu­ri­ty for pros­e­cu­tion in accor­dance with Afghanistan’s laws.

For more infor­ma­tion on the Aus­tralian Defence Force’s oper­a­tions in Afghanistan go to: http://www.defence/gov/au/op/afghanistan/index.htm

Giz­ab imagery is avail­able at: http://www.defence.gov.au/op/afghanistan/gallery/2010/20100429/index.htm

Media Note:

Major Gen­er­al John Cantwell is avail­able for inter­view Sat­ur­day, 8 May 2010 from 2pm-4pm AEST.

Media Con­tact: Defence Media Liai­son: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 66

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia