Coalition and Afghan special operations teams killed a senior Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader who coordinated operations with the Taliban and directed suicide operations in Balkh province. The raid that targeted the IMU leader is the 20th reported by ISAF against the al Qaeda-linked group so far this year.
The IMU leader who was killed during the April 20 raid in the Balkh district in the province of the same name was identified as Feda Mohammad, the International Security Assistance Force noted yesterday in a press release.
ISAF said that Mohammed, who is also known as Omari, has “a long history of planning attacks against civilians and Afghan and coalition forces.”
“Prior to Afghan New Year’s celebrations in March, Mohammad coordinated a failed attack against public gatherings, specifically targeting the Balkh provincial governor and other government officials with suicide bombers,” ISAF said.
The IMU leader also executed “coordinated operations between IMU and Taliban networks, and has extensive experience facilitating the movement of improvised explosive devices throughout the area,” ISAF said in a press release that first announced the raid on Saturday.
The IMU has integrated its operations with the Taliban in the Afghan north and maintains its base of support across the border in Pakistan. IMU leaders have served in the Taliban’s shadow government in the north.
The IMU remains entrenched in northern Afghanistan despite years of persistent operations against the terror group. Several senior IMU leaders, including two of the terror group’s top commanders for Afghanistan, have been killed since ISAF stepped up operations against the terror group in the summer of 2010.
The IMU also operates in eastern Afghanistan, but so far this year, all of the raids against the group have occurred in the north. Based on a study by The Long War Journal, this year the majority of operations targeting the IMU have occurred in neighboring Baghlan and Kunduz provinces (six each), while four have occurred in Takhar, and two in Balkh, and one in Jawzjan.
Early 2013 has seen the highest rate of operations against the IMU so far in the war. Last week there were six raids, which resulted in the death of Mohammed, and the capture of one senior IMU commander and two facilitators. When asked about the increase in operations, ISAF told The Long War Journal that the start of the Afghan fighting season and intelligence gains were the cause.