Afghan Special Forces reported that they’ve captured a German national in southern Helmand province who has been an eight-year advisor to the Taliban. The German man was captured along with three other militants in a government raid on a bomb-making site in Gereshk district.
His identity is unclear. Officials say he speaks German and says he is German.
If confirmed, it would be a rare case of a Westerner fighting with insurgents in Afghanistan. Large parts of Helmand are under Taliban control.
Afghan officials believe the man has been with the Taliban for eight years. An army statement said: “The German national calls himself Abdul Wadood.”
His German name is not known.
“The man has been moved to Kandahar air base and he is now in the custody of US forces,” Maj Abdul Qadir Bahdurzai of the Afghan army’s 215 Corps told BBC Afghan.
Photos of his capture show a man in his thirties or forties in traditional Afghan dress, flanked by two Afghan special forces soldiers.
“A man with a long beard, wearing a black turban 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,” a spokesman for the provincial governor said.
Gereshk police chief Ismail Khplwak described the captured man as the “military adviser of Mullah Nasir”, commander of a local Taliban elite group in Helmand, AFP news agency reported.
While foreign fighters are common in Syria alongside so-called Islamic State (IS) militants, it is rare to find Western nationals in Taliban ranks.
The best-known is perhaps John Walker Lindh, who became known as the “American Taliban” and was arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The Taliban now control more territory than at any time since the coalition troops left in 2014. It is unknown at the present time whether Afghan authorities will try to maintain the German militant or turn him over to German authorities.
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Photo courtesy: Afghan National Army