1 The Long War Journal: Fedayeen-i-Islam commander thought killed in US airstrike

Written by Bill Roggio on February 25, 2010 12:30 PM to 1 The Long War Journal

Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/02/fedayeeniislam_comma.php


Qari Mohammad Zafar, a leader of the Fedayeen-i-Islam.

A top terrorist leader wanted by the US for attacking the consulate in Karachi in 2006 is thought to have been killed during an airstrike in North Waziristan.

Qari Mohammad Zafar, the operational commander of the Fedayeen-i-Islam, is reported to have been killed in a US airstrike in the village of Danda Darpa Khel, Pakistani officials told Dawn. The US last hit the village on Feb. 18, and killed Mohammed Haqqani, a military commander in the Haqqani Network.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not confirm his death but said it was "possible" he was killed.

"We've received some information that may verify the reports but we cannot be certain," an official said. "It is possible but we cannot confirm. We'd like to check him off our list as he is dangerous."

Zafar is wanted by the US government for his involvement in the Karachi Consulate bombing in 2006, which resulted in the death of three Pakistanis and a consular official. "Zafar is suspected of being a key figure involved with this attack," according to the Rewards for Justice website page. A $5 million reward has been offered for information leading the capture of Zafar.

Zafar is a senior leader of the Fedayeen-e-Islam, an alliance between the Pakistani Taliban, the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and Jaish-e-Mohammed [see LWJ report, "Terror alliance takes credit for Peshawar hotel assault" ]. The group was based in the Mehsud tribal areas in South Waziristan but fled the region after the Pakistani military began an offensive there in October 2009.

Other senior leaders of the Fedayeen-e-Islam include Qari Hussain Mehsud, the notorious Taliban commander who trains child suicide bombers; Asmatullah Moaviya, another senior aide to Baitullah who was reportedly arrested in Mianwali in Punjab province; and Rana Afzal.

The Fedayeen-e-Islam took credit for some of the more deadly attacks in Pakistan, including the September 2008 suicide attack on the Islamabad Marriott Hotel, the March 2009 storming of a police station in Lahore, and the June 2009 suicide assault on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar.

Zafar is also closely linked to Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami. Zafar and Akhtar are thought to have been the main leaders of the September 2008 suicide attack on the Marriott hotel in Islamabad.