Task Force 145 Liquidates al-Zarqawi

There is a considerable amount of traffic looking for details on Task Force 145. The Counter Terror Blog has a nice summary of the Task Forces efforts thus far.

Task Force 145 was very likely the linchpin in the success in killing Zarqawi, Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, his spiritual adviser, and other lieutenants during a high-level meeting. Over the past two months, TF-145 has conducted numerous raids and killed or captured numerous high-level members of Zarqawi's organization in the area directly north and west of Baghdad. Known strikes against senior members of al-Qaeda in Iraq's organization were executed in Baghdad, Ramadi, Yusifiyah, Muthana Chemical Complex at Lake Thar Thar, Samarra, Karbala, Jublayah, and Balad. Zarqawi was finally identified and targeted in Baquba, a city with an entrenched insurgent presence. “Tips and intelligence from Iraqi senior leaders from his network led forces to al-Zarqawi and some of his associates who were conducting a meeting approximately eight kilometers north of Baqubah when the air strike was launched,” according to Multinational Forces-Iraq.

Task Force 145's operations were not random, but a concerted operation based on intelligence on al-Qaeda's organization and whereabouts in the region north and west of Baghdad. Zarqawi and al-Qaeda focused their efforts on the Iraqi capitol of Baghdad in an effort to influence the western media, incite a civil war and destabilize the nascent Iraqi government. This required moving their operational capabilities closer to the capitol.

The tightening of al-Qaeda's network in and around Baghdad provided Task Force 145 an opportunity to focus on Zarqawi's organization. Task Force 145 systematically began to dismantle al-Qaeda's organization from the bottom up. Cell leaders, financiers, facilitators and military commanders were rolled up in a series of target raids, slowly degrading al-Qaeda's capabilities while opening a window to al-Qaeda's organization and operations. The raids provided intelligence for follow-up strikes, which ultimately led to the attack of Zarqawi's safe house.

A search of The Counter Terror Blog regarding Task Force 145 is available here, be sure to check it out for comprehensive backgrounding of the units efforts to date.

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