Tag Archives: Paktika

Will Taliban Hostage Bowe Bergdahl Be Released Soon?

by Florian Flade

Bowe Robert Bergdahl left his military outpost in Paktika Province on June 30 2009. Hours later he was captured by the Taliban and is since then held hostage by the Haqqani group in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Bergdahl who is considered to be the only U.S. soldier currently held by enemy forces in Afghanistan or Pakistan, appeared in at least five propaganda videos released by the Taliban. In the videos Bergdahl spotting a full grown beard, is seen urging the U.S. government to fulfill the demands of the hostage takers – the release of Pakistani scientist Aafia Sidiqi, the payment of 1 Million US-Dollars and the release of 21 Taliban militants held by the U.S. and Pakistan.

As U.S. media is reporting now there is a deal underway securing the release of a “Westerner” from Taliban captivity. On January 31 the Obama ddministration briefed Senate leaders on a transfer deal. Five high-ranking Taliban prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay Prison are about to be sent to Qatar where they shall be held under house arrest.

Among the released are the Taliban´s former interior minister Mullah Khair Khowa, Noorullah Noori, a former governor in northern Afghanistan and former commander Mullah Fazul Akhund.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein meanwhile confirms a prisoner swap as reported by the Foreign Policy Magazine. Feinstein said the deal involved the trade of one Westerner for the five Taliban leaders. She also confirmed the name of the Westerner in question but FP Magazine did not report the name.

Most likely the Westerner about to be exchanged for the Taliban prisoners is the 25 year-old POW soldier Bowe Bergdahl. The only other Western prisoner currently held by Taliban elements in the region is a the American Warren Weinstein kidnapped by Islamists in Pakistan last year and also believed to be held in the Waziristan region of Pakistan.

One Face Of Al-Qaida In Afghanistan

by Florian Flade

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Terrorist analysts and intelligence officials worldwide are throwing around guesses of many Al-Qaida fighters are actually present or rather said left in Afghanistan right now. The CIA estimate in recent years was that the number is approximately a few dozen to a hundred individuals. NATO thinks Al-Qaida´s presence in Afghanistan is deteriorating but the terrorist group is actively operating in some parts of the country, especially in the valleys of the eastern provinces Kunar, Paktika, Paktia and Nuristan.

Martyr eulogies that are appearing on the Jihadi Internet forums are a slight hint of how Al-Qaida´s face actually looks in Afghanistan today. Almost every month pictures and short biographies of recently killed Al-Qaida fighters are released by family members, friends or online comrades of the Jihadis.

Most recent is a 20 year-old Omani national named Ahmed Ali Yusuf aka “Abu Ubaidah al-Omani”. Yusuf, born in 1992 in the Barka Province of Oman studied at the Technical College before he left for Afghanistan in 2011 and became an Al-Qaida fighters.

“When he arrived in the land of Khorasan (Afghanistan/Pakistan) he was eager to fight on Allah´s path and joined the training camps where he received training”, a Lebanese Online Jihadi writes about the Omani militant.

According to the reports from region Abu Ubaidah al-Omani participated in fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan and was killed in the morning hours of January 8 probably by a NATO airstrike. He had fought in Afghanistan for six months. Pictures of the Omani Al-Qaida fighter including images showing the young in training camps and his dead body were released on the Jihadi forums.

New Taliban Video Shows Kidnapped US Soldier Bergdahl

by Florian Flade

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In a new propaganda video by the Haqqani Taliban´s media outlet the 2009 kidnapped US soldier Bowe Bergdahl is seen for a few seconds. Bergdahl appears right next to Taliban commander Mullah Sangin Zadran and is then blindfolded by the militant.

The last time Bergdahl appeared in a Taliban video was in November 2010 which seems to be of the same footage as the most recent appearance.