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American Forces Press Service

Afghan Forces Capture Al Qaeda, Taliban Leaders

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2007 – Afghan and coalition forces continued operations in Afghanistan over the past three days, resulting in the capture of Taliban and al Qaeda leaders.

On May 25, Afghan National Police detained an al Qaeda leader known only as Mujahid in the Bak District of Khowst Province. The police detained two men who were affiliated with the al Qaeda leader.

The terrorist leader has been responsible for multiple improvised explosive device and suicide bomber attacks in Khowst Province. He targeted schools and government officials resulting in the deaths of dozens of innocent civilians. He has also been involved in weapons smuggling and supplying logistics to other al Qaeda fighters.

“The removal of Mujahid will help bring peace and stability to the Afghan civilians in Khowst Province,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a Combined Joint Task Force- 82 spokesperson. “Intelligence gained from this al Qaeda cell leader will surely lead us to other al Qaeda members.”

Afghan Border Police detained Taliban leader Sayed Gulab in the Pachir Wa Agam district of Nangarhar province on May 24. The border police had received intelligence on the notorious Taliban area commander and improvised explosive device cell facilitator. The police moved quickly to the village of Shir Wagan and detained him. He is being held in a coalition detention center.

Gulab is suspected of being responsible for emplacing IEDs in the Pachir Wa Agam district resulting in the injuries and deaths of innocent Afghan civilians and Afghan National Security Forces. He is also known to have extensive connections with other senior Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership in Nangarhar and Pakistan.

In an unrelated incident, Afghan and coalition officials said an estimated 50 Taliban members stole a stockpile of United Nations World Food Program goods intended for Afghan civilians in the Khas Oruzgan District of Oruzgan Province on May 25.

The thieves, under the cover of darkness, took bulk food, clothing and survival items intended for thousands of Afghan civilians living in the District. Maliks and village elders protested the crime and reported the incident to Afghan National Security and coalition forces operating in the area. Those forces are working with local government officials to track down the Taliban criminals and recover the stolen goods.

The World Food Program is the United Nations front-line agency in the fight against global hunger. The organizations goal is to provide 525 metric tons of food aid to 6.6 million Afghans through various projects and programs by December 2008. The agency focuses on relief and resettlement for internally displaced persons and refugees including food for work and education programs.

Since June 2006, there have been 16 incidents in which enemy fighters attacked World Food program convoys. The attacks are aimed at depriving hundreds of thousands of Afghans of deperately needed food.

In other action, Afghan National Army soldiers and coalition forces received rocket-propelled grenade and mortar fire from an unknown-size element of enemy fighters at a coalition base in the Sangin District of Helmand Province.

Enemy fighters quickly retreated into nearby compounds when Afghan and coalition forces returned fire. From four compounds, enemy fighters continued to fire upon the coalition base. Close-air support was then requested and directed to fire on the four enemy positions.

From Coalition press releases

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