Australian special forces have caught a Taliban leader behind a host of bomb attacks in Afghanistan 's Oruzgan province, potentially dealing a blow to future terrorist assaults.
The Defence Department revealed that the elite Australian troops last week captured Mullah Bari Ghul, whom coalition forces believe was a key figure behind extremist operations in the province.
Defence described Bari Ghul as a key figure in providing equipment, money and foreign fighters to extremist operations in Oruzgan province.
They also believe him to be involved in coordinating the actions of individual insurgent cells.
Defence spokesman Brigadier Brian Dawson said his capture was likely to have an immediate disruptive impact on extremists operating in the province.
"The loss of the one person who knew what was currently underway, what was planned for the future and had the contacts to gain further support is a significant blow to the Taliban extremists command and control in the province," Brigadier Dawson said in a statement.
According to Defence, Bari Ghul carried out the role of a "shadow governor", responsible for authorising bomb attacks across the province.
"Extremist cells in Afghanistan operate in small isolated groups and only a few key individuals have any sense of the overall provincial insurgency plan," Brigadier Dawson said.
He suggested that Bari Ghul could be ultimately responsible for the roadside blasts which killed Signaller Sean McCarthy last month and Trooper David Pearce last October.
"Mullah Bari Ghul was directly responsible for the importation of componentry, the provision of specialists in the construction of IEDs and authorising their emplacement across the province," Brigadier Dawson said.
"He was also ultimately responsible for the July 13 suicide bomber attack in the Deh Rawood bazaar that killed 21 Afghans and injured a further 12 (people)."
Bari Ghul has been transported to Tarin Kowt, the capital of the province, and is being held in a Dutch detention facility.
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