Sunday, February 10, 2013

2 IMU leaders captured in northern Afghanistan

(file photo)

2 IMU leaders captured in northern Afghanistan

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) captured two Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan commanders during separate raids in northern Afghanistan over the past two days. Special operations forces have captured five IMU operatives during five raids in the Afghan north so far this year.

Today, ISAF forces captured a a leader from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and another "insurgent" in Baghlan's Burkah district. The leader "is believed to have overseen intelligence operations for an IMU network and for coordinating IED emplacement in the province," ISAF stated in a press release. He also served as "a Taliban facilitator who provided safe haven for Taliban insurgents traveling through Burkah district."

And on Feb. 8, ISAF forces captured another IMU commander during an operation in Yangi Qal'ah district, Takhar province. The captured leader was an explosives expert who was "assisting with the planning of an impending high profile attack," according to ISAF. He is also known to have coordinated the building of IEDs and their movement in the province. One other suspected insurgent was detained during the raid.

The last operation targeting the IMU, which took place on Jan. 29, captured a IMU commander in Baghlan province. The commander was responsible for conducting assassinations and coordinating the supply of weapons to insurgents. That operation followed two other raids in early January which killed an IMU facilitator and captured an IMU leader who also served as a Taliban commander.

In the five raids reported by ISAF that targeted the IMU this year, three have taken place in Baghlan and two have taken place in Takhar. All three raids in Baghlan have occurred in the district of Burkah, which has long served as a safe haven for the IMU and the Taliban.

Additionally, on Feb. 7, ISAF also reported that its forces captured a senior Taliban leader who worked closely with the militant group Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) during an operation by Afghan and Coalition forces in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province. The commander is believed to facilitate suicide operations and "manages the recruitment, training and movement of insurgents to conduct attacks." He is also accused of using his "village leadership position to recruit suicide bombers and insider attack facilitators" from the local high school.

Both HIG and the IMU are known to have bases in the tribal regions of Pakistan and to support suicide bomber facilitation inside Afghanistan. On Sept. 18, 2012, a female HIG suicide bomber killed 12 people, mostly foreign workers, in an attack on a bus near Kabul International Airport.

Background on the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

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