The Closing Net

by Nathan Hamm on 7/28/2004

Ahmed Rashid reports that Afghan troops are closing the net around Mullah Omar.

On July 6, Afghan soldiers captured Mullah Sakhi Dad Mujahid, the Taliban commander of southern and western Afghanistan, along with a satellite phone, a notebook of expenses and a diary of telephone numbers including that of Mullah Omar, said General Bismillah Khan, chief of staff of the Afghan army.

’’Afghan agents made Mujahid ring Omar’s number, but Omar put the phone down after Mujahid mentioned a code word that meant he had been captured,’’ said General Khan. ’’It was just bad luck.’’

Omar’s number, according to another senior Afghan official, was not from a Thuraya satellite phone, which can be easily monitored by US intelligence, but was a local Pakistani number in or around the town of Quetta, the capital of neighboring Baluchistan province.

Mujahid is now being intensely interrogated at the US base at Bagram near Kabul, but a US military spokesman declined to say what additional information had been gained from him.

Also captured recently was Mullah Omar’s brother-in-law, now being interrogated by US forces.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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