November 4, 2011 | FDD’s Long War Journal

US Captures al Qaeda-Linked Haqqani Network Leader in Afghan East

In a recent raid in the eastern Afghan province of Laghman, Coalition and Afghan special operations forces captured a “senior Haqqani official” who is linked to al Qaeda and supports attacks in Kabul.

The Haqqani Network leader, who was not named, was captured along with “two additional suspected insurgents” during a raid yesterday in the Qarghah'i district in Laghman province, the International Security Assistance Force stated in a press release that rounded up operations in Afghanistan.

“The official has ties to both the Haqqani Network and al Qaeda and directly supports insurgent activity in Kabul province,” the ISAF press release said.

The Haqqani Network leader is likely a member of the Kabul Attack Network, which is made up of fighters from the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and cooperates with terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and al Qaeda. Top Afghan intelligence officials have linked the Kabul Attack Network to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate as well. The network's tentacles extend outward from Kabul into the surrounding provinces of Kapisa, Logar, Wardak, Nangarhar, Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Ghazni, and Zabul, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in 2010.

The Kabul Attack Network is led by Dawood (or Daud) and Taj Mir Jawad, military and intelligence officials told The Long War Journal last year. Dawood is the Taliban's shadow governor for Kabul, while Taj Mir Jawad is a top commander in the Haqqani Network. In the US military files released by WikiLeaks, Taj Mir Jawad is identified as a top Haqqani Network leader.

The ISAF has not reported on killing, capturing, or targeting al Qaeda operatives in Laghman. But in January 2010, ISAF announced that Qari Masiullah, the al Qaeda chief of security for Kunar province, was killed during an operation on Dec. 1, 2009 in Kunar, which borders Laghman. Masiullah ran a training camp that taught insurgents how to use and emplace IEDs that were used in attacks on Afghan civilians as well as on Afghan and Coalition forces throughout the provinces of Nangarhar, Nuristan, Kunar, and Laghman.

Nangarhar, Nuristan, and Kunar are known havens for al Qaeda and allied terror groups. Large areas of Nuristan and Kunar are considered to be under the control of the Taliban, which shelter and fight alongside al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda is known to embed small teams of trainers with Taliban and other terrorist groups, and in the east is known to fight on the battlefield as small units. [See LWJ reports, Al Qaeda's paramilitary 'Shadow Army' and 'Foreign trainers' active in southeastern Afghan province, for more information on al Qaeda's role in Afghanistan.]