Officials Confirm Capture of Taliban Leader

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 - Afghan and coalition forces today confirmed the capture of the suspected senior Taliban leader for Afghanistan's Helmand province and his predecessor during a May 14 operation in the province's Babaji district.

One of the men is accused of being the head of Helmand's Taliban provincial commission until the second man recently returned from Pakistan and assumed the role, officials said. Both are suspected members of the Quetta Shura.

Both men reportedly ordered the intimidation of the local population and were in charge of the insurgent justice system in that area, military officials said. The senior leader also managed military appointments and the supply of weapons and ammunition to conduct attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

Both men surrendered and were detained along with several other suspected insurgents with ties to insurgent activities, officials added.

In operations around Afghanistan yesterday:

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force conducted an operation resulting in the detention of two suspected insurgents and the death of an Afghan civilian in Helmand province's Musa Qalah district. The security force was searching for a Taliban facilitator and noticed a man fleeing the area. They pursued him to a nearby wood line, and an Afghan member of the force called for him to come out. He began to move directly toward the security force with an object in his hand despite instructions and warnings relayed in multiple ethnic languages, and he raised the object. Perceiving a threat the security force killed him. It was later discovered the object in the man's hand was a flashlight.

-- In Sar-e-Pul province's Sayad district, a combined Afghan force detained several suspected insurgents while searching for the acting Taliban governing official of Jowzjan province.

-- A combined force in Helmand's Kajaki district killed two insurgents who tried to engage them. The combined force found and destroyed 353 pounds of opium and 132 pounds of other narcotics.

-- In Zabul province's Qalat district, a combined force detained several suspected insurgents during an operation targeting key leaders of a Taliban roadside-bomb cell.

-- Also in Helmand province, separate combined patrols found weapons caches in the Marja and Sangin districts. The weapons included an 82 mm mortar round, 21 recoilless rifle rounds, six anti-personnel mines, two 105 mm smoke shells, a 107 mm warhead, a 130 mm high-explosive artillery shell, three communication radios and four full assault-rifle magazines.

-- A combined force captured a Hezb-e Islami Gulbuddin terrorist network facilitator in Khost province's Sabari district.

-- In an intelligence-driven operation in Logar province's Baraki Barak district, a combined force detained a suspected insurgent while searching for a Taliban.

-- A combined force in Nangarhar province's Khugyani district detained a suspected insurgent while searching for a Taliban leader.

-- Afghan civilians in Bamyan province's Kahmard district led Afghan and coalition forces to a weapons cache consisting of 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine-gun ammunition, 23 hand-grenades and 21 rocket-propelled grenades. The security force destroyed the weapons and ammunition.

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