Tag Archives: airstrike

One Face Of Al-Qaida In Afghanistan

by Florian Flade

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Terrorist analysts and intelligence officials worldwide are throwing around guesses of many Al-Qaida fighters are actually present or rather said left in Afghanistan right now. The CIA estimate in recent years was that the number is approximately a few dozen to a hundred individuals. NATO thinks Al-Qaida´s presence in Afghanistan is deteriorating but the terrorist group is actively operating in some parts of the country, especially in the valleys of the eastern provinces Kunar, Paktika, Paktia and Nuristan.

Martyr eulogies that are appearing on the Jihadi Internet forums are a slight hint of how Al-Qaida´s face actually looks in Afghanistan today. Almost every month pictures and short biographies of recently killed Al-Qaida fighters are released by family members, friends or online comrades of the Jihadis.

Most recent is a 20 year-old Omani national named Ahmed Ali Yusuf aka “Abu Ubaidah al-Omani”. Yusuf, born in 1992 in the Barka Province of Oman studied at the Technical College before he left for Afghanistan in 2011 and became an Al-Qaida fighters.

“When he arrived in the land of Khorasan (Afghanistan/Pakistan) he was eager to fight on Allah´s path and joined the training camps where he received training”, a Lebanese Online Jihadi writes about the Omani militant.

According to the reports from region Abu Ubaidah al-Omani participated in fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan and was killed in the morning hours of January 8 probably by a NATO airstrike. He had fought in Afghanistan for six months. Pictures of the Omani Al-Qaida fighter including images showing the young in training camps and his dead body were released on the Jihadi forums.

Anwar al-Awlaki Allegedly Killed By Airstrike in Yemen

by Florian Flade

US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

Some have labeled him “the next Osama Bin Laden” or “the Youtube Bin Laden – for the intelligence community in the West he was a pain in the arse: US-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Since he moved to his ancestors homeland of Yemen in 2004 he spread Jihadi ideology over the internet using his own blog and internet forums to promote essays and theologicial publications legitimating Jihad, suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in the West.

Today Arab media is reporting that Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in an airstrike in Yemen. Al-Arabiya TV quotes Yemeni officials as saying Awlaki traveled in a convoy in al-Jawf province near the Saudi-Arabian border when it was hit by Yemeni fighter jets. Awlaki and four Al-Qaida militants were killed, the Yemeni government source claims. A spokesman for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington D.C. tells CNN the alleged Al-Qaida affiliated cleric was killed near the town of Khashef, east of the Yemeni capital Sanaa on friday morning. CBS News reports a White House official says there is “high confidence” that Anwar al-Awlaki was indeed killed today.

If true the death of Awlaki will have a quite significant impact on the Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and there ability to attract foreign Jihadis. Awlaki as a fluent English speaker and charismatic preacher had a appeal towards Western Jihadis and will not easily be replaced by other American members of AQAP like Samir Khan. Awlaki was important to AQAP not because he holds any leadership position within the organization but because of his propaganda value and the picture of him painted in Western media as one of the most dangerous terrorists desperately wanting to harm the United States.

Awlaki, who was born in Las Cruces (New Mexico) in 1971 and therefore holds a U.S. passport. The son of a Yemeni agricultural minister grew up in Yemen and the U.S. and was educated at American universities, rose the ranks of AQAP as soon as the Saudi Al-Qaida and its Yemeni counterpart merged in January 2009. He is said to have inspired Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hassan and adviced him to carry out a attack on US forces in an e-mail exchange. Awlaki also is seen as a key element in the recruitment and radicalization of the Nigerian underwear bomber Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab who tried to blow up a US airliner over Detroit Christmas 2009.

Earlier this year a Yemeni court sentenced Awlaki to ten years in prison because of his incitement to kill foreigners in Yemen. Numerous times U.S. and Yemeni forces tried to kill Awlaki in recent years. In May a U.S. drone strike missed the Al-Qaida cleric.

As there are contradicting reports about how and where exactely Anwar al-Awlaki was killed and the fact that U.S. officials are so quick confirming the terrorist´s death it is very likely Awlaki was killed either in a joint operation by the Yemeni and American forces or in a U.S. drone or airforce attack.

NATO Kills Saudi Al-Qaida Commander in Afghanistan

by Florian Flade


NATO announced today a April 14th airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed a wanted Saudi al-Qaida commander who was responsible for suicide bombings and attacks on Coalition troops. Abu Hafs al-Najdi aka “Abdul Ghani” was one of ISAF´s most wanted targets in Afghanistan.

The 27 year-old Saudi national whose real name is Saleh Nayef al-Makhlafi regularly crossed the border into Pakistan and met with senior al-Qaida leadership, ISAF claims. Al-Makhlafi became al-Qaida´s commander and recruiter in Kunar Province, training militants and sending them on attacks against NATO and Afghan security forces.

When the NATO airstrike happened, al-Makhlafi was holding a meeting in Dangan district of Kunar with a number of Afghan, Pakistani and foreign militants, some of whom were also killed in the military strike.

The Saudi al-Qaida commander´s name is found on the Saudi-Arabian most-wanted list of terrorists among the 85 sought-after al-Qaida members. Al-Makhlafi´s aliases are given as “Abdul Ghani” and “Abu Hafs”. He was born in the Saudi captial Riyadh according to the information presented by the Saudi interior ministry. ISAF was on the hunt for Al-Makhlafi for four years.