Officials Identify Taliban Leaders Captured in Afghanistan
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2007 Coalition forces today announced the positive identification of two Taliban members who were detained during an operation in late October to disrupt suicide-bomber operations in Afghanistan’s Wardak province.
Jawed, also known as Latif Allah, and Mohammadullah were detained by coalition forces in the Nerkh district during an operation in which two other militants were killed in a firefight. Several weapons, including more than 500 feet of detonation cord and several mortar rounds, also were discovered during the operation and destroyed to prevent use by militant forces.
During detention, Jawed admitted to being a Taliban explosive handler and providing a land mine to an unnamed Taliban commander. Both Jawed and Mohammadullah’s fingerprints were discovered on a cache of improvised-explosive-device materials, which included several fuses, electrical cords and detonation cords.
According to intelligence reports, both detainees are associates of a known Taliban commander responsible for training suicide bombers, as well as having foreign fighter facilitator ties.
“The Taliban’s suicide improvised-explosive-device cells and their facilitators are responsible for numerous deaths of innocent Afghan men, women and children,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force 82 spokesman. “Coalition forces will continue to aggressively pursue (suicide bomber) cells and their purveyors to ensure the safety and security of the people of Afghanistan.”
In operations yesterday, several militants were killed and 10 were detained during a combined Afghan and coalition operation in Zabul province to disrupt Taliban weapons and explosive material facilitators in the area.
During the mission, several militants posed a threat to the forces conducting a search of compounds in the Qalat district. Conventional munitions were used against the militants, killing two of them. A third militant, hiding in an orchard just outside the compound area, was found and detained by the combined force.
After hostilities ceased, Afghan and coalition forces continued their search of several compounds in the district. During the search, the combined force detained 10 other suspected militants indicated as having possible connections to Taliban forces.
During another operation yesterday to disrupt Taliban operations in Uruzgan province, Afghan and coalition forces killed several militants and detained seven others.
The combined force conducted a search in the Jawara district, where intelligence sources indicated Taliban and improvised-explosive-device cells linked to several previous attacks on Afghan and coalition forces were operating. While conducting a search of several compounds in the district, the combined force killed several armed militants. Continuing their search of the compounds, they found and detained seven suspected militants with possible connections to bombing facilitators.
Several military-style items, including ammunition vests and a set of military-grade night-vision goggles, were found with the suspected militants. Afghan and coalition forces also recovered several weapons and associated ammunition that was later destroyed.
“Afghan and coalition forces are systematically dismantling militant (improvised explosive device) cells so their indiscriminate weapons cannot be used against Afghan and coalition forces or the innocent people of Afghanistan,” Belcher said.
In operations Nov. 5, Afghan National Army soldiers disrupted the emplacement of an improvised explosive device near a coalition base in Helmand province. Afghan soldiers engaged several insurgents placing an IED near a major road. The insurgents quickly fled the area. Afghan and coalition forces secured the site and recovered portions of the IED left behind.
(Compiled from Combined Joint Task Force 82 news releases.)