Combined Force in Helmand Arrests Taliban Leader

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 5, 2013 - A combined Afghan and coalition security force arrested a senior Taliban leader and detained another insurgent in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Afghanistan's Helmand province today, military officials reported.

The leader is accused of commanding a cell of fighters responsible for attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. He allegedly provides weapons for insurgents and is believed to be heavily involved in improvised explosive device operations, officials said.

In other Afghanistan operations today:

-- A combined force in Nangarhar province's Khugyani district detained an insurgent during a search for a Taliban facilitator who provides logistical support to Taliban senior leaders throughout western Nangarhar. He allegedly has organized the purchase, transfer and delivery of weapons and has sold rockets used in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

-- In Khost province's Sabari district, a combined force detained two insurgents during a search for a Haqqani network leader who controls fighters responsible for attacks on Afghan and coalition forces. He also is accused of facilitating the movement of weapons and significant amounts of money for insurgency operations.

Yesterday in Jowzjan province's Shibirghan district, a combined force arrested a Taliban facilitator and detained several other insurgents. The facilitator allegedly has procured weapons for the insurgency, including IEDs, machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols, rocket-propelled grenades, fragmentary grenades, ammunition and magazines.

In other news, Afghan and coalition forces confirmed that Taliban facilitator Mullah Zakir Akhund was killed during an April 3 operation in Jowzjan's Shibirghan district.

Akhund was responsible for providing financial aid to insurgents in several provinces, collecting taxes for the Taliban, overseeing a network of Taliban tax collectors and coordinating financial matters with other leaders. He also was involved in providing weapons for use against Afghan and coalition forces.

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