Force Captures Senior Haqqani Leader in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2011 — A com­bined Afghan and coali­tion secu­ri­ty force cap­tured the Haqqani network’s senior leader in Afghanistan dur­ing a secu­ri­ty oper­a­tion in the Jani Khel dis­trict of Afghanistan’s Pak­tia province, mil­i­tary offi­cials report­ed.

Secu­ri­ty forces detained Haji Mali Khan, uncle of Sir­aj and Badrud­din Haqqani and the senior Haqqani com­man­der in Afghanistan, on Sept. 27, offi­cials said. He was one of the high­est-rank­ing mem­bers of the Haqqani net­work and a revered elder of the Haqqani clan, they added.

Mali Khan report­ed­ly worked direct­ly under Sir­aj Haqqani. He man­aged bases, had over­sight of oper­a­tions in both Afghanistan and Pak­istan, and moved forces from Pak­istan to Afghanistan to con­duct ter­ror­ist activ­i­ty. Jalalud­din Haqqani con­sis­tent­ly placed Mali Khan in posi­tions of high impor­tance.

Mali Khan served as an emis­sary between the late Bait­ul­lah Mah­sud and senior lead­ers with­in the Haqqani lead­er­ship. Before he was killed last year, Mah­sud was the Tehrik Tal­iban Pakistan’s top leader who pro­vid­ed for­eign fight­ers, includ­ing Uzbeks, to the Tal­iban and Haqqani net­works. He led 20,000 pro-Tal­iban mil­i­tants and orga­nized attacks against Pak­istani and Afghan tar­gets. Mah­sud was blamed for the Decem­ber 2007 assas­si­na­tion of for­mer Pak­istan Prime Min­is­ter Benazir Bhut­to.

In the past year, Mali Khan estab­lished a mil­i­tant camp in Pak­tia province’s Man­gal trib­al lands, coor­di­nat­ed the trans­fer of mon­ey for insur­gent oper­a­tions, and facil­i­tat­ed the acqui­si­tion of sup­plies.

Although he was heav­i­ly armed dur­ing the oper­a­tion that led to his cap­ture, Mali Khan sub­mit­ted to the secu­ri­ty force with­out inci­dent or resis­tance. The force also detained mul­ti­ple addi­tion­al insur­gents, includ­ing Mali Khan’s deputy and body­guard.

The Haqqani net­work and its safe havens remain a top pri­or­i­ty for Afghan and coali­tion forces, offi­cials said. Secu­ri­ty forces have con­duct­ed more than 500 oper­a­tions so far in 2011 in an effort to dis­rupt the Haqqani net­work lead­er­ship, result­ing in the death of 20 net­work facil­i­ta­tors and the cap­ture of near­ly 300 insur­gent lead­ers and 1,300 sus­pect­ed Haqqani insur­gents.

In Oct. 1 oper­a­tions in Afghanistan:

— A com­bined force detained a Tal­iban leader and killed mul­ti­ple insur­gents in Kan­da­har province’s Mai­wand dis­trict. The leader oper­at­ed in the Pan­jwai dis­trict and trav­eled fre­quent­ly to Kan­da­har City. He was in charge of a large group of fight­ers and pur­chased mul­ti­ple weapons each month for use in attacks through­out the region. The force also detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents and con­fis­cat­ed 20 pounds of opi­um and mul­ti­ple weapons.

— A com­bined force in Hel­mand province’s Now Zad dis­trict detained mul­ti­ple sus­pect­ed insur­gents while search­ing for a Tal­iban leader who is respon­si­ble for mul­ti­ple road­side-bomb attacks, acquir­ing funds and ammu­ni­tion for oth­er insur­gent lead­ers and facil­i­tat­ing attacks against Afghan forces.

— In Hel­mand province’s Kaja­ki dis­trict, a com­bined force detained mul­ti­ple sus­pect­ed insur­gents while search­ing for a Tal­iban leader who facil­i­tates nar­cotics, as well as fund­ing for insur­gent activ­i­ty in Hel­mand and Kan­da­har provinces. He also builds road­side bombs.

— A com­bined force in Khost province’s Musa Khel dis­trict killed two insur­gents while search­ing for a Haqqani net­work leader who facil­i­tates weapons, as well as coor­di­nates attacks against Afghan forces along the Afghanistan-Pak­istan bor­der between Khost and Pak­tia provinces. The insur­gents were killed after fir­ing a rock­et-pro­pelled grenade at the secu­ri­ty force. The force also detained a sus­pect­ed insur­gent and con­fis­cat­ed rock­et-pro­pelled grenade launch­ers, grenades, a recoil­less rifle, ammu­ni­tion and bomb-mak­ing mate­ri­als.

— In War­dak province’s Nerkh dis­trict, a com­bined force detained a sus­pect­ed insur­gent while search­ing for a Tal­iban leader who coor­di­nates attacks against the local pop­u­lace and Afghan forces.

— A com­bined force in Lagh­man province’s Qarghahi dis­trict detained mul­ti­ple sus­pect­ed insur­gents while search­ing for a Tal­iban leader who is respon­si­ble for mur­der, kid­nap­ping, and the man­u­fac­tur­ing and facil­i­ta­tion of road­side bombs used in attacks against Afghan forces.

In Sept. 29 oper­a­tions in Afghanistan:

— A com­bined secu­ri­ty force patrol in Nan­garhar province’s Kuz Kunar dis­trict detained two insur­gents while tar­get­ing an insur­gent net­work known to facil­i­tate lethal aid used in attacks against Afghan secu­ri­ty and coali­tion forces.

— In Hel­mand province’s Nahr‑e Saraj dis­trict, a com­bined force seized and destroyed sev­en 81 mm illu­mi­na­tion mor­tars, two 81 mm mor­tar rounds, three 40 mm grenades, sev­er­al rounds of ammu­ni­tion and 30 bomb com­po­nents.

— A com­bined secu­ri­ty force patrol in Zab­ul province’s Shinkai dis­trict detained two insur­gents and seized a home­made bomb, which was safe­ly destroyed on site.

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es