Maulavi or Mullah Dadullah or Dadullah Akhund (Pashto: ملا دادالله آخوند) (c. 1966 – 12 May 2007) was the Taliban's senior military commander until he was killed by British and American special forces in Afghanistan in 2007. He was an ethnic Pashtun from the Kakar tribe of Kalai-Kakaran village in Uruzgan province of Afghanistan. He also had a home in Alajilga, a border village in Kandahar province. According to the United Nations' list of entities belonging to or associated with the Al-Qaida organization he had been the Taliban's Minister of Construction.
Dadullah lost a leg when fighting with the Mujahideen against Soviet occupation in the 1980s. He was a member of the Taliban's 10-man leadership council before the US-led invasion in 2001. He was reportedly also a close aide to Mullah Omar. In the period of 1999-2000, he led the suppression of a revolt by Hazaras in Bamyan province. When the Taliban regime fell in December 2001, Dadullah escaped capture by Northern Alliance forces in Kunduz province.
Fight post 2001
Rumors that Dadullah may be headed to recapture the city with as many as 8,000 Taliban fighters, following the November 2001 Battle of Mazar-i-Sharif, a thousand American ground forces were airlifted into the city.
He allegedly participated (by giving orders via cell phone) in the murder of Ricardo Munguia on March 27, 2003. In 2005 he was sentenced in absentia to life in prison, along with three others, by Pakistan for the attempted murder of a member of Pakistan's parliament, Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam party. Sherani, an opponent of the Taliban, survived an IED attack in his home constituency of Balochistan in November, 2004.
A "Western intelligence source" claimed Dadullah may have been operating out of Quetta, Pakistan. Others, including the Pakistani government, claimed he was operating near Kandahar, Afghanistan. In 2006, he claimed to have 12,000 men and control 20 districts in the former Taliban heartland in the southern provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul and Orūzgān.
Dadullah had reportedly been a central figure in the recruitment of Pakistani nationals to the Taliban and was also one of the main Taliban spokesmen, frequently meeting with Al-Jazeera television reporters. In the summer of 2006, he was reportedly sent by Mullah Omar to South Waziristan to convince local Pashtun insurgents to agree to a truce with Pakistan. In October 2006 it was rumored that the Afghan government was considering giving control of its defense ministry over to Dadullah as part of a reconciliation plan with the Taliban to stop the ongoing insurgency.
Mullah Dadullah was linked to massacres of Shi'a, the scorched earth policy of Shi'a villages in 2001 (which he boasted about once on the radio), and the summary execution of men suspected of throwing hand grenades into his compound in 2001 (they were hanged at one of the main roundabouts). According to an interview he gave to the BBC, he had hundreds of suicide bombers waiting for his orders to launch an offensive against NATO troops.
Dadullah oversaw Taliban negotiations for the hostage-taking of Italian reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo and his two Afghan assistants in March 2007. Mastrogiacomo's driver was later beheaded. Mastrogiacomo was reportedly exchanged for five senior Taliban leaders, including Ustad Yasir, Abdul Latif Hakimi, Mansoor Ahmad, a brother of Dadullah, and two commanders identified as Hamdullah and Abdul Ghaffar. The Taliban threatened to kill the interpreter Ajmal Naqshbandi, one of the two Afghan assistants, on March 29, 2007 unless the Kabul government freed two Taliban prisoners. Ajmal was later beheaded after the Afghan government refused to free anymore Taliban prisoners. According to Asadullah Khalid, the governor of Kandahar Province, "Mullah Dadullah was the backbone of the Taliban. He was a brutal and cruel commander who killed and beheaded Afghan civilians."
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Afghan officials reported on May 13, 2007 that Mullah Dadullah was killed the previous evening in a raid by U.S, Afghan and NATO forces, known to have included the Special Boat Service (SBS), a British special forces unit, in Helmand Province, after he left his "sanctuary" for a meeting with fellow commanders, in southern Afghanistan. Assadullah Khalid, the governor of Kandahar province, put the body of Dadullah on display at his official residence. The body appeared to have three bullet wounds, two in the torso and one in the back of the head. The Taliban named Mullah Bakht, Dadullah's younger brother, as his replacement.
On June 7, 2007, the Taliban said that Dadullah's body had been returned to them, in exchange for four Afghan health ministry workers who had been held hostage, and had been buried by his family in Kandahar. The Taliban said that a fifth hostage had been beheaded because Dadullah's body was not returned quickly enough.
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