The US and Afghan military have continued attacks against the Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan despite a threat from the group that a captured US soldier would be executed if the raids did not cease.
Last night, US and Afghan forces conducted two major raids in Paktia and Logar provinces. The raids were aimed at taking down the leadership of the Haqqani Network and gathering intelligence on the location of the captured US soldier.
The biggest raid took place against an "enemy encampment" situated "in the remote reaches of Paktia province" the US military said in a press release. The operation took place about 20 miles southeast of Gardez City, and was designed to stem the flow of foreign fighters and weapons moving from Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan through the Khost-Gardez Pass to the capital of Kabul.
The combined force killed "several" Haqqani Network fighters in firefights and with air support after repeatedly taking fire while moving to assault the Haqqani base. Several massive weapons caches were destroyed after US and Afghan forces overran the base.
Afghan and Coalition forces also conducted a targeted raid against a Haqqani Network safe house near the village of Ebad in Logar province. The compound is known to be used by a Haqqani commander to make roadside bombs. Three suspected Haqqani Network fighters were detained during the raid.
The US military conducted the raids the same day that Mullah Sangeen Zadran, a senior commander in the Haqqani Network, threatened to kill a US soldier unless Coalition forces end operations in two districts in Paktika and Ghazni provinces in eastern Afghanistan. The soldier was captured on June 30 after walking away from his combat outpost in Paktika province.
The US military has issued flyers in Paktia and Ghazni provinces, urging Afghans to provide intelligence on the location of the missing soldier. But the soldier may have already been moved into North Waziristan, a US intelligence official familiar with the search told The Long War Journal.
Just as the US has finally admitted that Taliban leader Mullah Omar and his senior commanders are running their Afghan operations from Quetta in Pakistan, the Haqqanis have been labeled as operating from Pakistan's tribal areas.
"The Haqqani network remains one of the most lethal Taliban organizations operating out of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas," the US military admitted in a recent press release.