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German Citizen Arrested with Taliban in Afghanistan

German Citizen Arrested with Taliban in Afghanistan

Thursday, 1 March, 2018 - 08:15
Taliban fighters on patrol in January 2010. AFP file photo

A German national has been arrested with the Taliban during a raid in Afghanistan's insurgency-racked Helmand province, officials told Agence France Presse late Wednesday, a rare example of a European among the insurgents.

"A man … who identified himself as a German citizen and speaks German, was taken along with three other suspected Taliban on Monday night in Gereshk district of Helmand province," said Omar Zwak, the provincial governor's spokesman.

A statement from the Afghan army corps in the province confirmed that the man had been detained with other suspects in a joint operation between Afghan Special Forces and the Afghan air force.

"The German national calls himself Abdul Wadood, and he was taken to Kandahar for further investigation," the statement said.

Gereshk police chief Ismail Khplwak said the man was the "military adviser of Mullah Nasir", commander of the Taliban's elite "Red Unit" in Helmand.

If confirmed it would be one of the few incidents in which a European has been captured fighting among the insurgents.

Foreigners do fight alongside the Taliban but citizens of Western nations are rare.

Late last year sources told AFP of the presence of French fighters for ISIS in northern Afghanistan, as analysts suggested foreigners may be heading for the war-torn country after being driven from Syria and Iraq.

But General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, said no more than a "smattering" of other foreigners had been seen with the local affiliate of ISIS.

"A very small number. This is no comparison to what we saw in Iraq and Syria," he told reporters on Saturday.

Much of opium-rich Helmand in Afghanistan's south remains controlled or contested by the Taliban who are heavily reliant on the proceeds of drug trafficking to fuel their insurgency.

The Taliban's Red Units serve as the insurgents' special forces and have carried out many fatal attacks on the Afghan army and police. 

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