Afghanistan — Taliban Leader’s Death Confirmed; Forces Seize Insurgent Sub-Commander

WASHINGTON — A Tal­iban sub-com­man­der was cap­tured and sev­er­al oth­er sus­pect­ed insur­gents were killed or cap­tured yes­ter­day by Afghan and inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty forces, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

Offi­cials also con­firmed the death last week of Mul­lah Zer­gay, the senior Tal­iban com­man­der for Afghanistan’s Kan­da­har City region, dur­ing a fire­fight with Afghan-inter­na­tion­al forces dur­ing an oper­a­tion in the Zharay dis­trict.

Dur­ing an oper­a­tion in Log­ar province yes­ter­day, a com­bined force cap­tured a Tal­iban sub-com­man­der who is respon­si­ble for impro­vised explo­sive device and small-arms attacks against coali­tion forces. The com­bined force was search­ing a com­pound in the vil­lage of Muchkeyl in the Khar­war dis­trict after intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion con­firmed insur­gent activ­i­ty. When con­front­ed, the Tal­iban sub-com­man­der, who has ties to the Haqqani net­work, imme­di­ate­ly sur­ren­dered and iden­ti­fied him­self as the tar­get­ed insur­gent.

Also yes­ter­day, a sep­a­rate Afghan-inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty force action result­ed in the deten­tion of sev­er­al indi­vid­u­als sus­pect­ed of insur­gent activ­i­ty in Ghazni province. The com­bined force detained the sus­pect­ed insur­gents while search­ing a com­pound in the vil­lage of Bar Nowruzk, Qarah Bagh dis­trict, after intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion con­firmed insur­gent activ­i­ty. No shots were fired and no one was harmed dur­ing the above oper­a­tions.

Dur­ing anoth­er oper­a­tion yes­ter­day, a coali­tion heli­copter attacked and killed mul­ti­ple insur­gents as they were mov­ing to a fight­ing posi­tion in Farah province. Air­craft were direct­ed to a cave com­plex in a rur­al area of Gulis­tan dis­trict, after intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion ver­i­fied insur­gent activ­i­ty. After observ­ing wide­ly sep­a­rat­ed groups of armed men mov­ing to pre­pared fight­ing posi­tions away from the caves, air­craft engaged a group, killing the insur­gents. A ground search force found two auto­mat­ic rifles, ammu­ni­tion and a grenade.

Mean­while, it has been con­firmed that Mul­lah Zer­gay, the Tal­iban com­man­der of the Kan­da­har city area, was killed last week by Afghan-inter­na­tion­al forces dur­ing an oper­a­tion con­duct­ed in the Zharay dis­trict.

Zer­gay had direct­ed insur­gent activ­i­ties in the Arghandab and Zharay dis­tricts, includ­ing Kan­da­har City. He used explo­sives in near­ly all of his oper­a­tions and was direct­ly respon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple deaths in Kan­da­har City, alone. He rose to pow­er through vio­lent intim­i­da­tion cam­paigns against civil­ians and by lead­ing kid­nap­pings and exe­cu­tions of gov­ern­ment employ­ees and vil­lage elders.

After track­ing his loca­tion for sev­er­al weeks, an Afghan-inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty force moved to cap­ture Zer­gay in a Tal­iban safe haven area south of Kudeza’i in Zharay dis­trict. As the assault force approached, sev­er­al armed insur­gents attacked it with machine-gun fire and rock­et pro­pelled grenades.

The assault force returned fire and dur­ing the ensu­ing fire­fight Zer­gay and sev­er­al mem­bers of his secu­ri­ty detach­ment were killed. Zergay’s death is con­sid­ered to be a major loss for the Tal­iban lead­er­ship in south­ern Afghanistan.

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es