Hekmatyar Captured?

Woo-hoo!

Hekmatyar fought against the Soviets, was prime minister of Afghanistan in the mid 1990s, and became an anti-Taliban fighter until the collapse of Afghanistan’s Taliban government in December of 2001. After the U.S. operation, Hekmatyar threw in his lot with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and brought Hezb-i-Islami into battle against the government of Hamid Karzai. Hezb-i-Islami split in two, with a section loyal to Hekmatyar (know as Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin or HIG). HIG has influence particularly with Afghan refugees in western Pakistan.

The capture of Hekmatyar is a major blow to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, as it provides an opportu nity to split his organization. HIG is considered one of the major Anti-Government Elements (or AGEs) in Afghanistan. And Hekmatyar may be privy to valuable information about the location of high level al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

Hekmatyar is closely tied to Iran, and had his base of support in Herat before the 2001 invasion. Captured in Eastern Afghanistan, the former prime minister gave up without a fight.

He’s also the only Prime Minister to ever shell his own capital, Kabul in a post-Soviet spat between himself and Burhanuddin Rabbani’s and Ahmed Shah Massoud’s forces. Later, after the rise of the Taliban, Hekmatyar joined the efforts against the Taliban led by Rabbani and Massoud (killed September 9, 2001 in a suicide bombing).

Hekmatyar’s capture in a joint American/Afghan operation will help stabilize Afghanistan. Along with the continuing success of Operation Medusa, Afghanistan is improving significantly.

Update: Shucks. Wasn’t him, it was his stunt double.

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