Wednesday, October 6, 2010

al Qaeda's Pakistan Roster

A short article from the Longwar Journal describing the senior leadership of al Qaeda in Pakistan:

Al Qaeda has a deep bench inside Pakistan and relies on highly-skilled operatives from other like-minded jihadist organizations in plotting against the West. Members of various terror groups allied with al Qaeda, including Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), work with al Qaeda’s external operations committee.

Al Qaeda shares a safe haven in northern Pakistan with these groups, and this allows the organization to regenerate its external operations network despite being heavily targeted by the covert US air campaign in the tribal areas.

No terrorist better typifies this phenomenon than Rashid Rauf. A senior member of JeM, which was founded by the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, Rauf has a long pedigree in Pakistan's terror circles. He is a relative of Maulana Masood Azhar, the leader of JeM. His father founded Crescent Relief, a Muslim charity that collected funds for earthquake relief and is currently under investigation for funding the failed 2006 London airliner plot.

Rauf and senior al Qaeda leader Matiur Rehman were the architects of the 2006 London airline plot. The foiled attack, which has been called the "son of Bojinka," was modeled after the 1995 Bojinka plot devised by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and his nephew Ramzi Yousef. Rauf also assisted Adnan el Shukrijumah in training the al Qaeda operatives who planned to attack trains in the New York City area last year.

Ilyas Kasmiri, like Rauf, is a good example of how al Qaeda fills leadership voids by hand-selecting members from allied terror groups. Kashmiri is one of al Qaeda's top military leaders and the architect of al Qaeda's terror assaults utilizing coordinated suicide attack teams in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Kashmiri is the operational commander of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami (HUJI), a terror group backed by Pakistan's military and Inter-Service Intelligence directorate. He is also the leader of Brigade 313, al Qaeda's military organization in Pakistan. His training camp in Miramshah is hosted in a region administered by Siraj Haqqani, a top Taliban and al Qaeda leader.

Kashmiri has organized multiple attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, including the November 2008 terror assault on the Indian city of Mumbai, in collaboration with the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He has also attempted to execute attacks in the US and in Denmark, and was indicted by the US in 2009 along with David Coleman Headley, his point man. In Pakistan, he masterminded the assassination of the former commander of the Pakistani Special Services Group, and organized attacks on the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters and Pakistani police headquarters in Lahore.


No comments:

Post a Comment