Afghan Commander Ismail Khan Captured by Taliban in Herat

Long-time commander was handed over in deal with Taliban

Former Herat Governor, former Afghan Energy Minister, a long-time commander Ismail Khan has been considered an important local commander in northwestern Afghanistan. He’s also in Taliban custody.

Khan’s capture, which in some outlets was reported as a surrender, was part of the culmination of the fall of Herat this week. Khan, and the current Herat governor, and other security officials, were handed over as part of a deal when the Taliban took over, according to provincial MPs.

Some analysts are saying that the Taliban’s concerns about regional warlords have them concerned about the fate of people like Khan as their regions fall. They say this could lead to a number of other warlords surrendering.

Khan was long hyped as an anti-Taliban hero for northwest Afghanistan, and getting him off the field is both a boost for the Taliban and another blow to morale across the country, as resistance seems to be failing and the limited number of figures seen as possible resistance leaders don’t seem to be likely to come charging to the rescue.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.