The Long War Journal reports:
Al Haq has a long pedigree with both the Taliban and al Qaeda. He was born in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, was educated as a physician, and practiced medicine in Pakistan. “He was associated with Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan headed by late Maulvi Younas Khalis, which joined the Taliban Movement in 1996,” The Nation reported. He “was also part of the Afghan delegation flown to Sudan in 1996 to bring Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan.”
On Dec. 19, 2000, al Haq was identified as a senior member of al Qaeda per United Nations resolution 1267. He accompanied Osama bin Laden during the 2001 battle at Tora Bora in Nangarhar province, and helped senior al Qaeda leaders escape the US and Afghan militia assault on the cave complex. During renewed fighting at Tora Bora in the summer of 2007, al Haq was reported to have been wounded and fled across the border into Pakistan’s Kurram tribal agency.
Update, 10:00 PM EST: Bill Roggio further reported on this and added a clarification:
Pakistani security forces have captured the leader of an al Qaeda suicide cell that was behind the attack on the Sargodha military base last fall. Ahsan al Haq and five cell members have been detained by Pakistani security forces in the city of Lahore, Reuters reported.
“We recovered explosives and jackets used for suicide bombings at his house next to a madrassa (Islamic school),” and anonymous intelligence official told Reuters. “All of them admitted they were behind the Sargodha attack and were planning to carry out similar attacks, even against politicians.”
Al Haq, a retired Pakistani Army major, “was said have been close to Afghan Muslim guerrilla commander Younis Khalis, who battled Soviet forces in the 1980s and later had links with the Taliban,” Reuters reported. “Haq ran a militant training camp in Afghanistan during Taliban rule.”
The Sargodha attack targeted a bus carrying military personnel on the air base. Eight were killed and 27 wounded in the strike. Four military officers were among those killed.
The Sargodha Air Force Base is a nuclear weapons and missile storage facility in central Punjab province. The Taliban and al Qaeda have conducted multiple strikes on or near Pakistani nuclear facilities, as well as against military and police facilities situated near nuclear facilities. There have been two suicide attacks at Sargodha since the summer of 2007.
The report of Ahsan al Haq’s arrest may explain the recent report of the capture Dr. Amin al Haq, the leader of Osama bin Laden’s security detail. Dr. Amin al Haq was also reported to have been captured in Lahore, and was a close associate of the late Younis Khalis. The Nation reported Dr. Amin al Haq was captured on Jan. 6, but this information has yet to be confirmed. It appears The Nation may have confused the two jihadis.