New Taliban governor with strong ties to Al-Qaeda and Iranian IRGC

A notorious Taliban commander who organized attacks in and around the capital city of Kabul, was appointed by the Taliban to serve as the governor of Kabul province. The commander, known as Qari Baryal, was previously described as an “al Qaeda-associated Taliban leader.” Baryal regularly received cash from the Iranian IRGC and its extraterritorial operations arm the Quds Force to execute his attacks.

Baryal and his network was known to facilitate the movement of weapons, explosives, and suicide bombers from the Pakistan border to Kabul.

Baryal was “involved in the supervision of IED production, suicide personnel allocation, and overall attack planning and execution.”

The Qari Baryal Group helped plan and coordinate numerous attacks against military bases in Kabul and Parwan provinces, including the sprawling Coalition airbase at Bagram.

Baryal received direct support from the Iranian IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) and its extraterritorial operations arm, Quds Force, according to a recently declassified report.

According to the report, as of October 2012, a “Taliban fighter Amanullah . . . is currently living in Tehran, Iran” and “is working as a financial liaison officer between Iran and the Taliban.”

“Iranian Government funnels money through Amanullah to support the Taliban’s fight against Afghanistan’s government.” The report noted. Baryal received funds directly from Amanullah to fuel attacks in and around Kabul.

Iran’s Qods Force supported the Taliban through its Ansar Corps, which was assigned to direct military and political operations inside Afghanistan.

NATO’s command in Afghanistan, reported that Baryal and “several” Taliban fighters were killed in an airstrike in Kunar province on Jan. 7, 2011. But Baryal clearly survived the Jan. 2011 strike, continued to serve as a top Taliban leader in central and northern Afghanistan, and is now governing influential Kabul province.

Source: FDD’s Long War Journal
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