Ibn Amin, from a ‘wanted’ poster released by the Pakistani government in 2009.
A Taliban leader who commanded one of al Qaeda’s military units in northwestern Pakistan is reported to have been killed by US Predators in the Dec. 17 airstrike in the Khyber tribal agency.
Ibn Amin, the commander of the Tora Bora Brigade, one of six formations in al Qaeda’s Lashkar al Zil or Shadow Army, is said to have been killed along with 32 other terrorists by the US in an unmanned Predator attack in Speen Drang in the Tirah Valley in Pakistan’s Khyber tribal agency. The US carried out three strikes in the Tirah Valley on Dec. 17, and another on Dec. 16. More than 60 Taliban and Lashkar-e-Islam commanders and fighters were reported killed in the three strikes.
Amin is said to have been meeting with leaders of the Lashkar-e-Islam, a Taliban-like group that controls large areas of Khyber. Eight Lashkar-e-Islam commanders were reported killed in the strike. Leaders of the Lashkar-e-Islam said Amin was among those killed in the strike.
US Intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that Amin was indeed a target of the strikes, and he is thought to have been killed.
Amin was attempting to repair a rift between top leaders of the Lashkar-e-Islam, which is commanded by Mangal Bagh, Geo News reported.
One of the most wanted Taliban leaders in Pakistan, Amin was Mullah Fazlullah’s second in command; Fazlullah is the overall leader of the Swat Taliban.
In May 2009, the Pakistani government placed a 15 million rupee ($185,000) bounty out for Amin for leading the Swat Taliban’s military forces during the Taliban takeover from 2007 to 2009. He was known for his brutality; his forces routinely executed and butchered anyone who opposed Taliban rule in the Swat Valley, including policemen, soldiers, and government officials.
Amin is said to have been involved in the execution and beheading of Pir Saimullah, an anti-Taliban tribal leader, and desecration of his corpse in December 2009. The Taliban dug up Pir Saimullah’s corpse, hanged it upside down, and warned villagers not to bury the body lest they incur the Taliban’s wrath.
As the leader of the Tora Bora Brigade, Amin is said to have commanded between 1,500 and 2,000 fighters. The Pakistani Army ejected the Taliban from Swat after the Taliban overreached and invaded neighboring districts. The Taliban takeover of Buner in April 2009, which was organized by Amin, had put the Taliban within 60 miles of Islamabad and sparked fears of a collapse of the Pakistani government.
Amin is reported to have been sheltering in the Mohmand tribal agency and reorganizing the Swat Taliban for an al Qaeda-led offensive in the northwest. According to the Asia Times, Amin’s fighters were training in the Tirah Valley in Khyber.
Amin has been reported killed in the past. The Pakistani military and the interior ministry claimed that Amin was killed in May 2009 during the Swat offensive. Amin later resurfaced and took control of the Taliban forces in Swat, and continued to carry out harassment attacks against the military.