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Afghanistan: Snr Taliban Commander Nabbed By ADF

Senior Taliban Extremist Commander Captured By Australian Special Forces

A deliberate operation in Oruzgan Province by the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) last week has netted the senior Taliban extremist commander responsible for coordinating a campaign of intimidation and violence against the province's population.

Mullah Bari Ghul, the Taliban extremist 'Shadow Governor' for Oruzgan province, was the key facilitator in the provision of equipment, money and foreign fighters to extremist operations and coordinated the actions of individual insurgent cells.

Defence spokesperson Brigadier Brian Dawson said the capture of the 'Shadow Governor' was likely to have immediate, disruptive effects across extremists operating in the province.

"The loss of the one person who knew what was currently underway, what was planned for the future and had the contacts to gain further support is a significant blow to the Taliban extremists' command and control in the province," Brigadier Dawson said.

"Extremist cells in Afghanistan operate in small isolated groups and only a few key individuals have any real sense of the overall provincial insurgency plan."

The 'Shadow Governor' was also responsible for authorizing the campaign of improvised explosive device (IED) attacks across Oruzgan such as those that killed Signaller Sean McCarthy, Trooper David Pearce and countless Afghan citizens.

"Mullah Bari Ghul was directly responsible for the importation of componentry, the provision of specialists in the construction of IEDs and authorizing their emplacement across the province."

"He was also ultimately responsible for the July 13 suicide bomber attack in the Deh Rawood bazaar that killed 21 Afghans and injured a further 12."

Brigadier Dawson said the success of the operation highlighted the professionalism, agility and tenacity of the SOTG personnel.

"Finding one man intent on remaining hidden within a province measuring more than 22,500km2 is no easy feat," Brigadier Dawson said.

"Conducting an operation to capture him without loss of life is even more difficult and the success of this operation speaks volumes for the inherent capability within the SOTG.

"Australia's special forces, with support from the Afghan National Army and ISAF, have refined the process of identifying those in Oruzgan who continue to wage their campaign of terror."

Mullah Bari Ghul has been transported to Tarin Kowt and transferred to a Dutch detention facility. His future incarceration will be negotiated between ISAF and the Afghan Government.

Further details of the ADF commitment to Afghanistan can be found at http://www.defence.gov.au/opslipper/default.htm

Further information about the ongoing detention of Mullah Bari Ghul and potential legal action should be sought from ISAF and the Afghan Government.

MEDIA NOTE:

* In accordance with International protocols regarding the detention of personnel in operational areas, Defence will not release any imagery of Mullah Bari Ghul following his capture.

* The SOTG is continuing its operations to disrupt the Taliban extremist command and control network in Oruzgan province. As these operations are ongoing, no specific details of the operation to capture the 'Shadow Governor' will be released.

ENDS

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