Al Qaeda-linked Taliban leader reported killed in Khyber Predator strike


Ibn-Amin.JPG

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.



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READER COMMENTS: "Al Qaeda-linked Taliban leader reported killed in Khyber Predator strike"

Posted by chris at December 20, 2010 11:27 AM ET:

BBC has a section on pakistans's changing its stance of Drone Attacks. I wonder if this is posturing for its own population or are they really going to try and stop the effort

Posted by Villiger at December 20, 2010 12:47 PM ET:

Get every single one these debauched neanderthals and get their pakistani masters too. Rid this planet of all this congealed evil, even if it takes to 2024. It will have been worth it.

As for the evil of China's disdain for liberties, thats another story.

The march to rise above being a Type Zero civilisation to a Type 1 is not easy. Nobody said it would. But now its basically these 2 'isms namely Islamism and Communism that stand in the way. The latter will possibly go in the wash, rather like the mighty USSR. The former will only become amenable after a lot more blood is spilt. I don't like it, but as Johnny Cash said, I guess things happen that way...

Posted by Bungo at December 20, 2010 2:25 PM ET:

Villager said : "Get every single one these debauched neanderthals and get their pakistani masters too. Rid this planet of all this congealed evil, even if it takes to 2024. It will have been worth it."

Right On !

"The march to rise above being a Type Zero civilisation to a Type 1 is not easy. Nobody said it would. But now its basically these 2 'isms namely Islamism and Communism that stand in the way."

Actually there are probably Several more "isms" in the way but I agree with the general sentiment. As Rosanne Rosanna Dana said, "It's always something"

Posted by Sean at December 20, 2010 5:32 PM ET:

@chris

I think they're only trying to placate their populace. If they tried to stop the drone attacks, then the sale of US defense tech would start to disintegrate.

They need their F16s.

Posted by Marlin at December 20, 2010 5:42 PM ET:

It's interesting to see the Pakistani military confirm that the militants are moving, and obviously they're OK with the drones following them. I wonder what would happen if they headed for southward to Baluchistan?

Intense drone activity in Pakistan's tribal region has moved northward, mirroring the movement of suspected militants as they try to flee the targeted strikes, according to a senior Pakistani military official.

Officials have seen an increased militant presence in Khyber Agency, one of the seven districts of Pakistan's tribal region bordering Afghanistan, said the official, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the operation.

Specifically, he says "they are moving into the Tirah Valley."

CNN: Drone activity in Pakistan moves northward, official says

Posted by Jack Daniels at December 20, 2010 8:56 PM ET:

There are two groups of militants. One is under the control of Pakistan and the other is not.

Seems to me US is targetting the group not under Pakistani control, the statement in this report says Pakistan has put a price on these militants. Thus US is effectively doing Pakistan's dirty work.

When is US really going to kill the Haqqani group and others as well or is the US skewed towards only killing the militants hated by Pakistani intelligence ISI ?

Posted by Villiger at December 21, 2010 10:13 PM ET:

Bungo, thank you for your comment.

And you're right "It's always something". Unfortunate, but true! You're also right there are a few other 'isms hanging about there.

'Modern' man we are but we're still living a dark age.

A man called J Krishnamurti gave a talk at the United Nations in 1985. Although he spoke at a more profound level, rather than a political one, he foresaw dealing with Islam'ism well before the Clash of Civilizations was written. In case its of interest, the link is here at youtube


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fzV8QH1JeE

Its only when we get beyond the 'ism's that, if we are lucky, we will have peace on this planet.

Returning to Pakistan, with its mix of religious fervour, rampant violence and handy nukes, they must be as dumb as their 'leaders' are greedy,to think they can be left alone.

So while"It's always something" is true, its kinda like one thing at a time. Their turn has come.

I observe the big change that has happened in the last year, between the two Obama strategy reviews is the realisation that Pakistan IS the problem. And it appears, though i'm at a distance, this is much more widely and boldly being pointed out by experts and influencers in the US. Is this true?

Posted by Cloud Living Review at December 22, 2010 7:43 AM ET:

The US Government knows a lot more about these militants. Their sole purpose is more than just fear. I think we need to call in the drones!

Posted by Infidel4LIFE at December 23, 2010 11:24 AM ET:

Being a talib commander has become a death sentence.

Posted by Marcus Smith at December 28, 2010 2:12 PM ET:

It seems that are efforts are continuing to be effective. This is good, I believe our government should continue with these tactics until the threat is neutralized, as a post said above me, I don't care if it takes till 2024. We must continue to fight for what is best for our nation, as well as the world at large.