Monday, September 11, 2006

Afghan Warlord Captured

On the day of the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 attack, Coalition forces score a high value target in Afghanistan. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the commander of Hezb-i-Islami and ally of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, has been captured during a joint U.S. and Afghan Army raid in “eastern Afghanistan.” Hekmatyar, contrary to his rhetoric gave up to the Coalition forces without a fight. Hekmatyar's arrest is said to be part of an 'ongoing operation.'

Hekmatyar has been designated by the U.S. Department of State as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist“ and “has participated in and supported terrorist acts committed by al-Qa’ida and the Taliban.” The 9-11 Commision report indicates Osama bin Laden kept lines of communication open with Hekmatyar. “bin Laden apparently kept his option open, maintaining contacts with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who, though an Islamic extremist, was also one of the Taliban's most militant opponents,” states the report.
The ongoing NATO/coalition/Afghan Operation Medusa is paying dividends in both eliminating Taliban fighters, and has apparently meant actionable intel on terrorist operations in Afghanistan.

More importantly, the possibility that he surrendered without a fight suggests that he might be willing to trade his life for the whereabouts of key al Qaeda and Taliban leaders with whom he had maintained contact. This is a serious blow to the Taliban and al Qaeda operations in Afghanistan.

UPDATE 9/13/2006:
It appears that Hikmatyar's capture was a case of mistaken identity and earlier reports were inaccurate. He's still at large.

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