by Nozheen Adel Murad
BY NOZHEEN ADEL MURAD - Lahur Talabany was born in 1976, and is a well-respected and distinguished figure in the Iraqi and Kurdish political, military and intelligence communities. He has dedicated his professional career to the Kurdish cause and is seen as a prominent figure among the new generation of PUK cadres and enjoys favorable standing throughout Kurdistan, Iraq and the wider region.
From 1999 to 2001 Talabany served as the Special Representative of the PUK to Turkey. Having returned to the Kurdistan Region, he co-founded the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG) in 2002, which was established with the support of the United States Military 10th Special Forces Group and the Central Intelligence Agency. Talabany continues to play an integral role in the fight against terrorism. Having established strong foundations with key figures in Kurdistan and Iraq, Talabany also maintains good relations with prominent Arab leaders and influential Western and Middle Eastern states.
In response to the rise of extremist groups in the Hawraman area of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Talabany was instrumental in the creation of Kurdistan's first counter terrorism elite special forces. Countering terrorism in relatively few numbers at the outset, the CTG forces have grown in number and are considered a well-established rapid response unit. In 2003 Talabany played a leading role in the decisive Operation Viking Hammer to oust the Ansar Al-Islam terrorist organization, which was recognized as a major threat to Kurdistan’s national security. The operation’s success led to the permanent expulsion of Ansar Al-Islam from the Kurdistan Region.
In 2013, Talabany was appointed as the Director of the Zanyari Agency. Upon his appointment, one of Talabany's first actions was to incorporate the CTG into Zanyari Agency. The new framework adopted by the Agency was a historic shift as it was the first time in the Kurdistan Region that a military entity was integrated into an intelligence agency. Talabany has played a pivotal role in unifying the Kurdish intelligence apparatus as well as modernizing Zanyari to better combat evolving national and regional security threats. Since becoming director, Talabany has developed a strong strategic partnership with his counterparts in other services.
Lahur Talabany is the Director of Zanyari Agency, one of the two intelligence agencies in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRG) operating within the framework of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, and director of the Counter Terrorism Group (CTG) special forces group. Talabany is also a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) Central Council and is a leading figure in the fight against terror. He is also the Vice President of the International Institute for Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES).
This article is part of a series of publications related to our upcoming event "Once and For All! Strategies to End the Scourge of Isis", that will be held on 02 November 2018, in Prague.
A special EGIC collection of articles and analyses will be distributed during the event.
Click on the link below to sign up to the event and find out more about it.