by Florian Flade
Abu Yahya al-Libi in new video message released June 22
Three weeks have passed since a US drone strike in North Waziristan allegedly killed Al-Qaida´s Top commander Abu Yahya al-Libi. Since then Al-Qaida has neither officially confirmed nor denied the death of al-Libi. Question still remains: Is the White House´s claim true or not?
Instead of celebrating the martyrdom of yet another of its leaders Al-Qaida is releasing videos of al-Libi. Last week the terrorist network´s media wing “As-Sahab” released a 17-minute video statement titled “The American Military and Ethics of Wars” in which al-Libi talks about civilian deaths in Afghanistan.
The more interesting details regarding the second new Abu Yahya al-Libi tape within two weeks is: Al-Qaida does not seem to regard him as dead. The organization labels him “Al-Sheikh Al-Mujahid Abu Yahya al-Libi (may Allah protect him)” – the latter phrase indicating the person is still alive. Otherwise the phrase “may Allah have mercy upon him” would be used.
Like the other video message released recently – titled “Tragedies of Ash-Sham: Between the Crimes of the Nusayris and the Plots of the West” – the newest al-Libi tape was allegedly recorded in the Islamic year of 1433. So no indicating the videos were produced after the June 4th drone strike? No.
Al-Qaida could be playing the old game of not confirming or denying a leader´s death and meanwhile releasing all the old footage of the person recorded in recent months. In other cases – for example the death of Atiyyatullah al-Libi – it took months for Al-Qaida to publish a statement.
The Western intelligence community is pretty sure Abu Yahya al-Libi is history…but still lacks the proof.
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Tagged Abu Yahya al Libi, Afghanistan, al Qaeda, al Qaida, American War and Ethics, Attack, Bagram, CIA, dead, drone strike, Florian Flade, killed, new, Pakistan, terrorism, terrorist, US, video, Waziristan, White House
by Florian Flade
Bowe Robert Bergdahl left his military outpost in Paktika Province on June 30 2009. Hours later he was captured by the Taliban and is since then held hostage by the Haqqani group in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
Bergdahl who is considered to be the only U.S. soldier currently held by enemy forces in Afghanistan or Pakistan, appeared in at least five propaganda videos released by the Taliban. In the videos Bergdahl spotting a full grown beard, is seen urging the U.S. government to fulfill the demands of the hostage takers – the release of Pakistani scientist Aafia Sidiqi, the payment of 1 Million US-Dollars and the release of 21 Taliban militants held by the U.S. and Pakistan.
As U.S. media is reporting now there is a deal underway securing the release of a “Westerner” from Taliban captivity. On January 31 the Obama ddministration briefed Senate leaders on a transfer deal. Five high-ranking Taliban prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay Prison are about to be sent to Qatar where they shall be held under house arrest.
Among the released are the Taliban´s former interior minister Mullah Khair Khowa, Noorullah Noori, a former governor in northern Afghanistan and former commander Mullah Fazul Akhund.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein meanwhile confirms a prisoner swap as reported by the Foreign Policy Magazine. Feinstein said the deal involved the trade of one Westerner for the five Taliban leaders. She also confirmed the name of the Westerner in question but FP Magazine did not report the name.
Most likely the Westerner about to be exchanged for the Taliban prisoners is the 25 year-old POW soldier Bowe Bergdahl. The only other Western prisoner currently held by Taliban elements in the region is a the American Warren Weinstein kidnapped by Islamists in Pakistan last year and also believed to be held in the Waziristan region of Pakistan.
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Tagged Afghanistan, American, Bowe Bergdahl, commanders, deal, Guantánamo, Haqqani, hostage, kidnapped, leaders, Pakistan, Paktika, POW, prisoner, swap, Taleban, Taliban, terrorism, terrorists, US, US soldier, USA, Warren Weinstein, Westerner