The South Asia Channel

A guide to recent militant arrests and deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Confused about the recent slew of arrests and/or deaths of al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Here’s a roundup of who, what, where, and when. Abu Yahya Mujahdeen al-Adam. Though initial media reports suggested al-Qaeda’s American spokesman "Azzam the American," Adam Yahiye Gadahn, was arrested in Karachi several days ago, it now appears ...

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Confused about the recent slew of arrests and/or deaths of al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Here’s a roundup of who, what, where, and when.

Abu Yahya Mujahdeen al-Adam. Though initial media reports suggested al-Qaeda’s American spokesman "Azzam the American," Adam Yahiye Gadahn, was arrested in Karachi several days ago, it now appears that Gadahn’s arrest was a case of mistaken identity: Abu Yahya Mujahdeen al-Adam, from Pennsylvania, is believed to be involved in al-Qaeda operations in Afghanistan, and his name and origin probably caused the confusion.

Maulvi Faqir Muhammad. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander from Bajaur was reported killed by a Pakistani airstrike in Mohmand on Friday, but a Reuters reporter apparently identified his voice on a phone call in which Maulvi Faqir said he was fine and reports of his death were propaganda.

Agha Jan Mohtasim. This Afghan Taliban commander, who Pakistan’s Daily Times writes is the son-in-law of Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, was reportedly captured on March 3 in Karachi.

Muhammad Tufail. A commander linked to attacks in Nowshera, Tufail was reportedly killed in a shootout with Pakistani security forces in FR Peshawar on March 2.

Muhammad Iqbal. Killed in the same shootout as Muhammad Tufail was this TTP commander who supplied suicide bombing materials to militants in Islamabad and across Pakistan.

Muhammad Alam Binouri. Also known as Maulana Khalil and Binouri Mullah, Binouri was one of the 21 most wanted Taliban commanders in the Swat Valley and was reportedly killed in a gunbattle with Pakistani security forces on March 1.

Muhammad Qari Zafar. This Punjabi Taliban commander wanted in connection with the deadly 2006 bombing of the U.S. consulate in Karachi was killed by a drone strike in North Waziristan on February 24.

Maulana Fazlullah’s nephew. Though his name hasn’t been reported, a nephew of Swat Valley Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah was arrested in Nowshera in late February.

Mullah Abdul Qayoum Zakir, Mullah Muhammad Hassan, Mullah Ahmed Jan Akhunzada, and Mullah Abdul Raouf. Anand Gopal reported that these four members of the Afghan Taliban’s ruling Quetta shura were arrested in late February. Mullah Abdul Qayoum Zakir oversaw Afghan Taliban military operations; Mullah Hassan was a minister under the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan; Mullah Akhunzada is the former Taliban governor of Zabul; and Mullah Rauof ran operations in northeastern Afghanistan.

Umar Abdul Rehman. This Taliban operative was captured in Karachi on February 23 with a stash of suicide vest-making materials.

Maulavi Abdul Kabir. The Quetta shura member, commander of Taliban fighters in eastern Afghanistan, and former Taliban governor of Nangarhar province was arrested in mid-February in Nowshera.

Muhammad Haqqani. A suspected U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan killed this son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the head of the al-Qaeda linked Haqqani insurgent network. Muhammad Haqqani’s involvement in the insurgency is unclear; some reports claim he provided a hideout for Arab fighters in the region, but others write that his brother Siraj, who leads the Haqqani network’s operations, wanted him to pursue a "more normal" life.

Sheikh Mansoor. An al-Qaeda leader of Egyptian origin, Sheikh Mansoor was reportedly killed by a drone strike in North Waziristan on February 17.

Abdul Haq al-Turkistan. The leader of a Chinese separatist insurgent group called the Turkistani Islamic Party was killed by a U.S. drone in North Waziristan on February 15.

Mullah Abdul Salam. The Taliban’s ‘shadow governor’ of Kunduz, Mullah Abdul Salam was reportedly nabbed in Faisalabad in early February. Taliban sources say Mullah Salam was en route to meet with Mullah Baradar at the time of his capture.

Mullah Mir Mohammed. The Taliban ‘shadow governor’ of Baghlan was reportedly arrested along with Mullah Salam.

Mullah Muhammad Younis. Not much known about this Taliban official, but he was reported captured by the BBC and the Christian Science Monitor in mid-February. Amir Mir of The News writes that he was an "explosives expert who served as police chief in Kabul" during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan.

Mullah Baradar. The second-in-command of the Afghan Taliban was arrested in a joint CIA-ISI operation in Karachi in early February, and is currently being held by Pakistani security forces. It’s unlikely he will be turned over to Afghan or U.S. authorities, reports claim, and a court in Lahore has ruled against his extradition, though the CIA, FBI, and Kabul reportedly want him.

Hakimullah Mehsud. The chief of the TTP is now believed to have died from injuries sustained from a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan in mid-January. The TTP have denied this and recently released an undated video of Hakimullah, but Taliban sources say the TTP’s top shura has not convened in two months and no one has stepped up to take Hakimullah’s place.

Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim. A suspected U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan in early January killed this commander,  who was wanted in connection with the 1986 bombing of Pan American World Airways flight during a stop in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi. 

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