Officials Confirm Capture of Taliban Leader

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 — Afghan and coali­tion forces today con­firmed the cap­ture of the sus­pect­ed senior Tal­iban leader for Afghanistan’s Hel­mand province and his pre­de­ces­sor dur­ing a May 14 oper­a­tion in the province’s Baba­ji dis­trict.
One of the men is accused of being the head of Helmand’s Tal­iban provin­cial com­mis­sion until the sec­ond man recent­ly returned from Pak­istan and assumed the role, offi­cials said. Both are sus­pect­ed mem­bers of the Quet­ta Shu­ra.

Both men report­ed­ly ordered the intim­i­da­tion of the local pop­u­la­tion and were in charge of the insur­gent jus­tice sys­tem in that area, mil­i­tary offi­cials said. The senior leader also man­aged mil­i­tary appoint­ments and the sup­ply of weapons and ammu­ni­tion to con­duct attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces.

Both men sur­ren­dered and were detained along with sev­er­al oth­er sus­pect­ed insur­gents with ties to insur­gent activ­i­ties, offi­cials added.

In oper­a­tions around Afghanistan yes­ter­day:

— A com­bined Afghan and coali­tion force con­duct­ed an oper­a­tion result­ing in the deten­tion of two sus­pect­ed insur­gents and the death of an Afghan civil­ian in Hel­mand province’s Musa Qalah dis­trict. The secu­ri­ty force was search­ing for a Tal­iban facil­i­ta­tor and noticed a man flee­ing the area. They pur­sued him to a near­by wood line, and an Afghan mem­ber of the force called for him to come out. He began to move direct­ly toward the secu­ri­ty force with an object in his hand despite instruc­tions and warn­ings relayed in mul­ti­ple eth­nic lan­guages, and he raised the object. Per­ceiv­ing a threat the secu­ri­ty force killed him. It was lat­er dis­cov­ered the object in the man’s hand was a flash­light.

— In Sar-e-Pul province’s Sayad dis­trict, a com­bined Afghan force detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents while search­ing for the act­ing Tal­iban gov­ern­ing offi­cial of Jowz­jan province.

— A com­bined force in Helmand’s Kaja­ki dis­trict killed two insur­gents who tried to engage them. The com­bined force found and destroyed 353 pounds of opi­um and 132 pounds of oth­er nar­cotics.

— In Zab­ul province’s Qalat dis­trict, a com­bined force detained sev­er­al sus­pect­ed insur­gents dur­ing an oper­a­tion tar­get­ing key lead­ers of a Tal­iban road­side-bomb cell.

— Also in Hel­mand province, sep­a­rate com­bined patrols found weapons caches in the Mar­ja and San­gin dis­tricts. The weapons includ­ed an 82 mm mor­tar round, 21 recoil­less rifle rounds, six anti-per­son­nel mines, two 105 mm smoke shells, a 107 mm war­head, a 130 mm high-explo­sive artillery shell, three com­mu­ni­ca­tion radios and four full assault-rifle mag­a­zines.

— A com­bined force cap­tured a Hezb-e Isla­mi Gul­bud­din ter­ror­ist net­work facil­i­ta­tor in Khost province’s Sabari dis­trict.

— In an intel­li­gence-dri­ven oper­a­tion in Log­ar province’s Bara­ki Barak dis­trict, a com­bined force detained a sus­pect­ed insur­gent while search­ing for a Tal­iban.

— A com­bined force in Nan­garhar province’s Khugyani dis­trict detained a sus­pect­ed insur­gent while search­ing for a Tal­iban leader.

— Afghan civil­ians in Bamyan province’s Kah­mard dis­trict led Afghan and coali­tion forces to a weapons cache con­sist­ing of 12.7 mm anti-air­craft machine-gun ammu­ni­tion, 23 hand-grenades and 21 rock­et-pro­pelled grenades. The secu­ri­ty force destroyed the weapons and ammu­ni­tion.

Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand News Releas­es

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