Top Jihadi Leaders In Afghanistan Killed By American Airstrikes

first published on December 8, 2017 by

Recent operations in Afghanistan have lead to the deaths of top jihadi leaders from the Taliban in Afghanistan. Mullah Shah Wali, the leader of an elite group of Taliban commandos known as Red Unit, was killed in a kinetic airstrike on December 3, 2017. A U.S. Spokesperson from NATO’s Operation Resolute Support made the announcement confirming the death of Wali and several of his Lieutenants on December 5, 2017, and the announcement was also followed by the release of the gun-tape from the aircraft that dropped the munitions.

jihadi leadership

The Red Unit, also known as Red Group, is a unit within the Taliban consisting of highly trained commandos. They are believed to have somewhere between 250 and 350 total members, and it is not uncommon to see them using American military equipment like M4 carbine rifles, light, medium, and heavy machine guns, as well as night vision optics and body armor similar to that of regular American forces.

They were first spotted on the battlefield near Sangin in 2016 after a Taliban spokesperson released a statement saying that the Red Unit was producing good results against the Afghan National Army in the area. There has also been rumors that the group operates in a similar fashion to our own special operations units, conducting operational deployments around the country of Afghanistan where they train and equip local Taliban fighters to be more effective against the Afghan National Army.

Red Unit

An image taken from a Red Unit recruiting poster in the Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

In an article released by the Military Times in August of 2017, the unit was described as extremely effective and dangerous in the Helmand province of Afghanistan which has long been considered the heartland of the Taliban.

It appears to be the latest development in Taliban tactics. Over the past six months, the insurgents have shown that they are able to modify their approach to suit different terrain. For instance, in southern Uruzgan they have started closing off local roads and intra-provincial highways to cut supplies to villages and towns, putting local government under pressure. This allows them to expand their territory while launching fewer direct attacks on police checkpoints and buildings, minimizing the number of casualties among the insurgents. The Taliban commander said that casualties among the commando unit had been minimal, but he gave no numbers.

Naturally, the decimation of Red Unit leadership is a great thing for both the Afghan National Army operating throughout the country, and for Resolute Support personnel operating on the ground in advise and assist roles. This degradation in leadership should hopefully lead to a stronger stance in retaking recent gains made by the Taliban in operations led and planned by Resolute Support, and conducted by the ANA.

Below is the video release of the airstrike against Mullah Shah Wali, and several of his Lieutenants. The easiest way to kill a snake is to take off its head. That is what this airstrike has done.


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