Mullah Dadullah Front
The Mullah Dadullah Front, also known as the Dadullah Front, the Mullah Dadullah Lang Allegiance or the Mullah Dadullah Mahaz, is an insurgent group in Afghanistan that has claimed responsibility for a series of bombings and assassinations centered in Kabul. The group has been described by the National Directorate of Security, the principle intelligence agency of Afghanistan, as an affiliate of the Taliban; Taliban spokesmen have denied any relationship and described the group as a creation of Afghan intelligence services.
Mullah Dadullah Akhund was a Taliban military commander killed in 2007. According to Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal, Dadullah had joined the Taliban in 1994 but was held in disfavor by some in that organization for his brutality during the Afghan civil war. Following the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 Dadullah led Taliban forces in southern Afghanistan. U.S. Military officials stated that Dadullah made use of suicide bombings in the Taliban's fight against American, NATO and Afghan government forces, and embraced the radical ideology of al-Qaeda rejected by many other Taliban leaders. Dadullah was killed by British special forces in Helmand Province in 2007; the Dadullah Front, apparently named in his memory, now operates in Kandahar, Helmand, and Uruzgan Provinces, with near or total independence from, and even hostility towards other Taliban forces.
U.S. Military and intelligence officials have claimed that the Dadullah Front is led by Mullah Adbul Qayoum Zakir, also known as Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, a former detainee of Guantanamo Bay who was released in 2007. They have furthermore stated that the spokesman for the group as of 2010 was named Barialay Rahbarmal, though the group's spokesman in 2012 identified himself to the Express Tribune as Qari Hamza.
The Dadullah Front claimed responsibility for 14 May 2012 assassination of Afghan High Peace Minister Mullah Arsala Rahmani, who was shot in traffic within Kabul. Hamza, speaking to the Tribune, stated that the Dadullah Front would "target and eliminate" all persons allowing "[non-Muslim] occupation of Afghanistan." Rahmani was the second Peace minister to be killed within the year, following the assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani by a suicide bomber on 20 September 2011. The Dadulla Front also claimed responsibility for that assassination. Both Rahmani and Rabbani had been responsible for organizing ongoing peace talks between the Taliban and the Karzai's government in Afghanistan.
Callers claiming to represent the group contacted several Afghan officials in May 2012, including Zabul Province representative Dawood Hasas, and threatened retaliation should they vote in favor of a "strategic partnership" negotiated between Hamid Karzai and U.S. President Barack Obama. Jeffrey Dressler, a fellow for the Washington Institute for the Study of War, described the Dadullah Front's operations as centered in Southern Afghanistan but extending to other parts of the country.
American and Afghan officials have stated that they fear the Dadullah Front may derail peace negotiations underway with the Taliban.
Association within Afghanistan
Afghan intelligence officials have claimed that the Dadullah Front is affiliated with or a splinter faction of the Taliban. Taliban spokesmen have denied any relationship to the Front, or the assassinations of Rabbani and Rahmani. They have furthermore suggested that the group is a creation of the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Intelligence.
- Roggio, Bill, "Financier for 'Mullah Dadullah Front' captured in Afghan south", The Long War Journal, 4 December 2010.
- Norland, Rod, "In Afghanistan, New Group Begins Campaign of Terror", The New York Times, 19 May 2012.
- Simpson, Connor, "Meet the New "More Radical" Insurgent Group in Afghanistan", The Atlantic Wire, 19 May 2012.
- Roggio, Bill, "Mullah Dadullah, Taliban top commander, killed in Helmand", The Long War Journal, 13 May 2007.
- Roggio, Bill, "Mullah Dadullah Front claims assassination of Afghan High Peace Council member", The Long War Journal, 14 May 2012.
- Special Operations Interrogator's Report, "State of the Taliban," published by The New York Times, drafted 6 January 2012.
- Khan, Tahir, "Killer blow to the peace process: senior afghan peace negotiator assassinated," Express Tribune, 14 May 2012.