Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in US airstrikes since 2004


If the death of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban who is thought to have been killed during the Aug. 5 airstrike in South Waziristan, is confirmed, his name will top of the list of senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed since the US began launching airstrikes into Pakistan's tribal areas in 2004.

Baitullah would be the first tier one target (senior most al Qaeda and Taliban commanders) killed since the Jan. 1, 2009, airstrike that killed Osama al Kini and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan. Al Kini was al Qaeda's operations chief in Pakistan, and Swedan was his deputy. Both men had been indicted for their roles in the 1998 suicide attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Since mid-May 2009, when the US ramped up its campaign to kill Baitullah, three of his military commanders in South Waziristan have been killed in strikes.

The senior al Qaeda leaders killed in 2008 include Abdullah Azzam al Saudi, a trainer, facilitator, and liaison between al Qaeda and the Taliban operating in Pakistan's northwest; Abu Jihad al Masri, the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group and the chief of al Qaeda's intelligence branch; Khalid Habib, the commander of the Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army, al Qaeda's paramilitary force in Pakistan's northwest and Afghanistan; Abu Khabab al Masri, the chief of al Qaeda's weapons of mass destruction program and a master bomb maker; Abu Sulayman Jazairi, the chief of al Qaeda's external network and a senior trainer, explosives expert, and operational commander; and Abu Laith al Libi, a senior military commander in Afghanistan and the leader of the reformed Brigade 055 in al Qaeda's paramilitary Shadow Army.

List of High Value Targets killed in Pakistan since 2004

Baitullah Mehsud
The leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
Date reported killed: Aug. 5, 2009

Kifayatullah Anikhel
A Taliban commander under Baitullah Mehsud.
Date killed: July 7, 2009

Mufti Noor Wali
Suicide bomber trainer for the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Date killed: July 3, 2009

Khwaz Ali Mehsud
A senior deputy to Baitullah Mehsud.
Date killed: June 23, 2009

Abdullah Hamas al Filistini
A senior al Qaeda trainer.
Date killed: April 1, 2009

Osama al Kini (aka Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam)
Al Qaeda's external operations chief who was wanted for the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Date killed: January 1, 2009

Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan
A senior aide to Osama al Kini who was wanted for the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Date killed: January 1, 2009.

Abdullah Azzam al Saudi
Served as liaison between al Qaeda and the Taliban operating in Pakistan's northwest. Azzam facilitated al Qaeda's external operations network. He also served as a recruiter and trainer for al Qaeda
Date killed: November 19, 2008

Abu Jihad al Masri
The leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group and the chief of al Qaeda's intelligence branch, and director of al Qaeda's intelligence shura. He also directed al Qaeda's external operations in Egypt.
Date killed: October 31, 2008

Khalid Habib
The commander of the Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army, al Qaeda's paramilitary force in Pakistan's northwest and Afghanistan.
Date killed: October 16, 2008

Abu al Hasan al Rimi
A senior al Qaeda operative.
Date killed: October 2008 - exact date unknown

Abu Wafa al Saudi
An al Qaeda commander and logistician.
Date killed: September 4, 2008

Abu Khabab al Masri
The chief of al Qaeda's weapons of mass destruction program and a master bomb maker.
Date killed: July 28, 2008

Abu Mohammad Ibrahim bin Abi al Faraj al Masri
A religious leader, close to Abu Khabab al Masri.
Date killed: July 28, 2008

Abdul Wahhab al Masri
A senior aide to Abu Khabab al Masri.
Date killed: July 28, 2008

Abu Islam al Masri
Aide to Abu Khabab al Masri.
Date killed: July 28, 2008

Abu Sulayman Jazairi
The chief of al Qaeda's external network. Jazairi was a senior trainer, an explosives expert, and an operational commander tasked with planning attacks on the West.
Date killed: March 16, 2008

Dr. Arshad Waheed (aka Sheikh Moaz)
A mid-level al Qaeda leader.
Date killed: May 14, 2008

Abu Laith al Libi
Senior military commander in Afghanistan and the leader of the reformed Brigade 055 in al Qaeda's paramilitary Shadow Army.
Date killed: January 29, 2008

Liaquat Hussain
Second-in-command of the Bajaur TNSM.
Date killed: October 30, 2006

Imam Asad
Camp commander for the Black Guard, al Qaeda's elite bodyguard for Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri. Asad was a Chechen with close links to Shamil Basayev.
Date killed: March 1, 2006

Abu Hamza Rabia
Al Qaeda's operational commander. He was involved with two assassination plots against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Date killed: December 1, 2005

Nek Mohammed
A senior Taliban commander in South Waziristan who had links to Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar.
Date killed: June 18, 2004



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READER COMMENTS: "Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in US airstrikes since 2004"

Posted by Scully at January 5, 2011 10:15 AM ET:

Interesting to note that Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, aka Abu Mohammed el Masry, involved in the East Africa Embassy Bombings and is on the FBI most wanted list, was married to the daughter of Sheik Abu Faraj El Masry... and he was a 'trainer' for several years.... has anyone looked in depth at the possibility that he is identifiable with the man listed below reported dead in July 2008?

Abu Mohammad Ibrahim bin Abi al Faraj al Masri
A religious leader, close to Abu Khabab al Masri.
Date killed: July 28, 2008