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Top al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri reported killed in US Predator strike


kashmiri.JPG

Ilyas Kashmiri, the leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and al Qaeda's Brigade 313.

The US has reportedly killed Ilyas Kashmiri, one of al Qaeda's most dangerous military commanders and strategists, in a Predator airstrike yesterday in South Waziristan.

Kashmiri is said to be one of nine members of the al Qaeda-linked Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, or HUJI, who were killed in yesterday's Predator airstrike that leveled a compound in the Wana area of South Waziristan.

A Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami spokesman named Abu Hanzla Kashir told Dawn that Kashmiri was killed in the attack. Kashir also threatened to attack the US to avenge Kashmiri's death.

"We confirm that our Amir (leader) and commander in chief, Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, along with other companions, was martyred in an American drone strike on June 3, 2011, at 11:15 pm," Kashir told the Pakistani news channel, according to The Telegraph.

"The oppressor US is our only target and, God willing, we will take revenge on the U.S. soon with full force," Kashir said, according to CNN.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal said that Kashmiri was indeed a target of the attack, but they could not confirm that he was killed.

"HUJI's statement is a sure sign we got him, we are pretty confident he is dead but we cannot confirm 100 percent," one official told The Long War Journal. The area where Kashmiri was killed is under Taliban control.

Another HUJI leader, Qari Mohammad Idrees, told The News that Kashmiri was killed after traveling from South Waziristan to North Waziristan in an effort to dodge a rumored Pakistani military offensive.

"We lost our hero finally. He was the hero of Islam, Kashmir and Afghanistan," Idrees told The News.

The attack took place in an area of South Waziristan controlled by Mullah Nazir, a Taliban commander who has proudly admitted he is also an al Qaeda leader. The Pakistani military refuses to move against Nazir as he is considered a "good Taliban" leader because he does not attack the state. Nazir does shelter al Qaeda and other terror groups, and carries out attacks in Afghanistan.

Several other top al Qaeda leaders have been killed by Predator strikes in Nazir's territories. One of the most senior al Qaeda leaders killed was Midhat Mursi al Sayyid Umar, better known as Abu Khabab al Masri. Abu Khabab was killed along with four members of his staff in a Predator strike on July 28, 2008. Also killed on Nazir's turf were Osama al Kini (Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam), al Qaeda's operations chief in Pakistan; and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, one of al Kini's senior aides. Both men were wanted by the US for their involvement in the 1998 suicide attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Kashmiri's death would be a major blow to al Qaeda and allied terror groups in the region. He has been seen as one of the contenders to take command of al Qaeda since the death of Osama bin Laden in a May 2, 2011 raid by US SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

US intelligence considers Kashmiri to be one of al Qaeda's most effective commanders. He served as the operational chief of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, an al Qaeda-linked group that operates in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami was designated as a terrorist entity by the US in 2010, and Kashmiri was added to the list of global terrorists for his role in leading HUJI as well as for his links to al Qaeda.

Kashmiri has also been linked to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, which has viewed him as an asset due to his prowess in fighting the Indians in Jammu and Kashmir. He is said to have been a member of Pakistan's Special Services Group, although he denied it in an interview with the Asia Times in 2010. One legend attributed to Kashmiri is that he beheaded a sepoy and presented the head to General Pervez Musharraf.

In late 2003, Kashmiri was detained by Pakistani police for his alleged role in an attempted assassination of Musharraf, but he was inexplicably released in February 2004. Kashmiri resurfaced in 2007 after the Pakistani military assault on the Lal Masjid in Islamabad and assumed command of Brigade 313. Kashmiri expanded Brigade 313's leadership cadre and rank and file, bringing in members of terror groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Laskhar-e-Jhangvi, and a host of other terror groups, as well as members of Pakistan's military and intelligence services.

As the leader of Brigade 313, Kashmiri took little time in turning on select targets in Pakistan. Brigade 313 has been behind many of the high-profile attacks and bombings inside Pakistan, including multiple assassination attempts against former President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Gilani. He also orchestrated the 2009 attack on Pakistani Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and the assault on a naval base in Karachi in May 2011.

Kashmiri was involved in the assassination of Major General Faisal Alvi, the retired commander of the Special Services Group, in Rawalpindi in late 2008. Alvi was killed just months after sending a letter to General Ashfaz Pervez Kayani, Pakistan's top military officer, in which he threatened to expose two Pakistani generals' involvement with the Taliban. Also, Kashmiri reportedly drafted a plan to assassinate General Kayani, but the plan was canceled by al Qaeda's senior leadership.

But Kashmiri's sights were not limited to Pakistan. He is thought to have played a major role in the multi-pronged suicide attack against government and security installations in the eastern Afghan province of Khost in May 2009.

Al Qaeda recognized Kashmiri's ability, and he was picked to lead the Lashkar al Zil, al Qaeda's paramilitary Shadow Army, which operates along the Afghan-Pakistani border. Kashmiri took control of al Qaeda's military forces after its prior leader, Abdullah Sa'ad al Libi, was killed in a US Predator airstrike in late 2008.

Kashmiri was well-suited for the role, as he has long had experience in running camps in the region. "Since 2001, Kashmiri has led HUJI training camps that specialized in terrorist operations, military tactics, and cross-border operations, including a militant training center in Miramshah, North Waziristan," according to the US Treasury report that added him to the list of specially designated global terrorists.

In 2009, al Qaeda give Kashmiri another top role in the terror network: he was appointed to serve as a member of al Qaeda's external operations network, which is assigned to strike at targets in the West. Kashmiri has been directly linked to one plot in the West. In January 2010, a US federal grand jury indicted Kashmiri for plotting to attack the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Denmark for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.


For more information on Ilyas Kashmiri and Brigade 313, see LWJ reports, Al Qaeda Brigade 313 website goes online, and US adds Ilyas Kashmiri to list of designated terrorists.



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READER COMMENTS: "Top al Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri reported killed in US Predator strike"

Posted by BullsEye at June 4, 2011 7:46 AM ET:

I hate to sound so negative but in my opinion he's alive. The man has a strong link to Pakistan's ISI; they need him for future use.

Just because there's confirmation from HUJI doesn't make it any more plausible, ESPECIALLY since it's regarding the devious Ilyas.

Posted by BullsEye at June 4, 2011 7:49 AM ET:

Saleem Shahzad was killed and now Ilyas so quickly ratted out. Why?

Seems like whoever is in charge of Ilyas was afraid the trail was leading to him/them, and the trail got hotter thanks to Shahzad.

If Ilyas Kashmiri is dead, it's because someone or some people at the top NEEDED him to die.

Posted by Ben at June 4, 2011 7:50 AM ET:

The world needs to support Pakistani armed forces when media spin is in full play to create sympathies for Taliban and discredit the army. While international media is questioning Pakistan’s ability to safeguard its strategic assets and these questions remain unanswered by the local media, Pakistan’s media is pursuing different objectives. The major objective is to mislead the public and put pressure on the otherwise incompetent members of spineless Parliament to shift focus from the menace of terrorism to drone attacks on hideouts of terrorists. The spin has so far been very successful. The talk-show hosts, some of them known for their links with and sympathies for the terrorists, are successfully playing with the sensitivities of the common people to direct the hatred from blood-thirsty terrorists to the USA. The world and Pakistanis need to be guided. The need to be told that drone strikes are the solution, not the problem. Is this all being done for a purpose? To find the answer, read more at: http://pksecurity.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-is-more-perilous-drone-attacks-on.html

Posted by Charley at June 4, 2011 8:05 AM ET:

One down, four more to go on the Hillary-Mullen list of five. Great going, guys! Let's get them all.

It is not outside possibility that the Pakistan army and ISI are faking this, since Kashmiri is one of their pets.

Posted by AAndrew at June 4, 2011 8:15 AM ET:

Great news! Congratulations to the men and women who made this happen. Another HVT (and contender to take over UBL's role) taken out so soon after UBL's removal is huge.

If we can continue to take out HVTs faster than they can be replaced by equally experienced / capable replacements, we'll significantly degrade the organization over time.

AAndrew

Posted by jayc at June 4, 2011 8:29 AM ET:

If Kashmiri's death does pan out, this one will certainly upset the 'beehive.' This guy was a "local boy" who did well. Congrats to the shooters with the heaping praise, "there never is a bad time to kill a good terrorist."

Posted by Max at June 4, 2011 8:32 AM ET:

First, Bin Laden; now Kashmiri, next in line is Zawahiri. What a bunch of wasted lives and damaged victims!

"As the whirlwind passes, so the wicked is gone..." Proverbs 10:25

Posted by Villiger at June 4, 2011 9:09 AM ET:

Bill, one additional bit of history worth highlighting is that "Mr" (how polite The Times is!) Kashmiri escaped years ago from an Indian jail. Hope that the Indians have secured their detainees better now--it can't get more sloppy than that. At least Pak lets them out intentionally--front- or back-door, whatever.

From The Times

"Mr. Kashmiri, 45, has a long history of waging guerrilla operations. As a Pakistani Army trainer of Afghan mujahedeen fighters, he lost an eye battling Russian forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Later, while working with Kashmiri militants attacking India, Pakistan’s rival, he earned renown in Pakistan after escaping from an Indian jail where he was imprisoned for two years."

Posted by namvet at June 4, 2011 9:42 AM ET:

Its a bird. its a plane. No. Its PREDATOR.
The occupants of the compound have met their maker.

Posted by Marlin at June 4, 2011 9:52 AM ET:

If this report is true it would seem that the U.S. network of informants in the tribal areas is pretty effective.

According to report, Ilyas Kashmiri was in Khyber Agency 10 days back and reached Wana half-an-hour before US missile hit Thatai, the place where drone strike was carried out.

Geo TV: Ilyas Kashmiri killed in drone strike: British media

I wonder whether the fact he was outside a compound made it easier to locate and identify him?

Kashmiri and his men were said to be taking tea in an apple orchard when the attack occurred.

Locals say two rounds of two missiles each were fired within a space of a few seconds.

BBC: US strike 'kills' key Pakistan militant Ilyas Kashmiri

It would also appear that the U.S. knew exactly who they were aiming at and didn't take any chances of missing him.

“Nine militants were killed in last night’s drone strike,” a security official in Peshawar told AFP.

“All those killed were Kashmiri’s fighters but informers told us that the dead bodies were badly mutilated and that it was not possible to recognise any of them,” the official added.

Dawn: Harkatul Jihad al-Islami confirms Ilyas Kashmiri killed

Posted by KW64 at June 4, 2011 9:58 AM ET:

For someone considered the "Good Taliban" because they do not attack the Pakistani state, he sure did a lot of attacks and attempted attacks on Pakistani officials.

Does that mean he attacks the right Pakistani officials instead of the wrong Pakistani officials in the eyes of those who decide who is good and who is bad?

Posted by Spooky at June 4, 2011 10:34 AM ET:

I'll not hold my breath until its confirmed, but otherwise, excellent news.

Posted by Matt at June 4, 2011 10:42 AM ET:

Very complex cat Kashmiri, using LeT to attack Mumbai to create a confrontation between India and Pakistan to get a Pakistani nuclear warhead out of secure storage for al-Qaida to attack the US.

He means what he says and does what he says, so after he threatened the CWG it was a done deal, a lot of pressure was put on the ISI and they pulled Kashmiri in and there was no attack on the CWG. Which showed the close links between the two.

Due to those links he would never overtly been placed as head of al-Qaida but as a under boss, but make no mistakes he would be calling the shots and been the boss. Unlike Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri he was known to be alive and in Pakistan so the ISI did not have ambiguity.

After that they had subcontracted attacks out to Yemen as a proxy to take the pressure off Pakistan being used a launching pad for global terror, but the brains was Kashmiri and it was coming out of Pakistan.

He always whether it was require for the operation or not, take special effort to include the targeting Jews.

After they try to steal a nuclear warhead to use against you what more can they do it is the ultimate form of terror. So any revenge threats that al-Qaida issue to the death of these individuals is irrelevant.

Posted by DANNY at June 4, 2011 10:42 AM ET:

Best new I heard all day! I hope he looked up and saw the Hellfires coming down from heaven for him just before he died. I am guessing he didn't though looking at the glasses he wore. Maybe his keen hearing alerted him to his demise just before they got to him. I just hope he knew it was America who killed him and he understood our disapproval for his truly evil ways. Today is a great day! Keep up the good job troops!

Posted by AMac at June 4, 2011 10:43 AM ET:

If confirmed, this is a major development. Al Qaeda's core structure will be hurt by the elimination of one of its most effective and senior leaders (though AQ affiliate organizations will likely be unaffected).

This comes at the same time as reporter Siobhan Gorman reports in the WSJ (link, will rot in a few days) on debate within senior policy circles in Washington on whether to sharply curtail the pace and scope of drone attacks.

Concern is reported to focus on the CIA's large role in the program (at the expense of the uniformed services?), and on the offense given to Pakistan. That country is drolly characterized as "a key ally in the fight against Islamist militants".

Posted by kulamarva balakrishna at June 4, 2011 10:49 AM ET:

Vienna,04-06-2011
There are more Kashmiries. The name has taken root even
in Hungary. Then the guerillas or jihadis remain on the Durand
Line.They are fully backed by the Pakistan military so long
the war was fought by Bush.Now a U turn is underway it
looks. The military is split,unable to think but the faith guides.
A pathetic situation, in the worst case the country will sink
after transferring "all assets" to outsider faith mongers. That
means the world should feed a difficult chaotic population of
no less than 150 million. The rest would be taken care of by
the sub continent.
-Kulamarva Balakrishna

Posted by LarryG at June 4, 2011 11:04 AM ET:

Does our King get credit?

Posted by sanman at June 4, 2011 11:13 AM ET:

What are the thoughts on the circumstances leading to his death? Was it because the Pakistanis wanted him dead?

I read that his original falling-out with ISI was because he started his own outfit, whereas they wanted him to join the existing Lashkar-e-Taiba group where they had plenty of representation and control. They wanted to make use of his skills and to keep an eye on him, whereas he felt they were just stringing him along, and that he could do better on his own. It seems that he managed to keep some of ISI's hardliners on his side, though.

It's one thing for him to have assisted assassination attempts on Musharraf who was seen as a pro-US stooge, but how did he get to the point of helping organize the attack on Pakistan's naval base? Surely that wouldn't have helped his image with the public.

AlQaeda wants to overthrow the Pakistani state in order to get the nukes, but did Ilyas Kashmiri want this badly enough to completely antagonize the military and the public by destroying prized assets like the P3c Orions in an humiliating attack?

What will people like the Haqqanis think? They're not abandoning their AlQaeda ties anytime soon. ISI doesn't want to breach ties with the Haqqanis, but will the Haqqanis soon want to breach ties with the ISI and army?

Posted by don owen at June 4, 2011 11:19 AM ET:

With new carrier launched long range stealth drone technology coming on board- these folks are going to soon realize WE ARE NEVER GOING AWAY. We will not need land bases or troops in either country to continue the killing of our sworn enemies. The term "super power" is still best defined by your carrier force strength- or lack of it.

Posted by TimSln at June 4, 2011 11:44 AM ET:

Great news, as one of Osama bin Laden's potential successors is eliminated.

Curious on what the sources of intelligence were that led to the strike.

Posted by Tyler at June 4, 2011 11:47 AM ET:

I scarcely doubt this is a coincidence after the US named him one of the five terrorists we wanted from Pakistan by the end of the month.

Reminder: He was on the Most Wanted List with a $5 million reward on his head.

Posted by Soccer at June 4, 2011 12:15 PM ET:

Pakistan probably shoved him in the way of a hellfire missile just so they could ease the pressure on them that they are currently facing from the U.S.

Posted by Jeff at June 4, 2011 12:18 PM ET:

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned one other plausible, and probably the most likely, explanation for how this guy was found - intel gleaned from all the material collected when Bin Laden was taken down. It's hard to believe they didn't collect a treasure trove of information, names, etc. and are starting to act on it.

Posted by Marlin at June 4, 2011 12:49 PM ET:

As we all know, habits can be hard to break. In the cat-and-mouse game of terrorism/counter-terrorism predictability can be deadly for you when data mining is used extensively by the other side.

A man named Abu Hanzala who claims to be a member of Kashmiri’s terror outfit sent out a fax today confirming that Kashmiri was “martyred” last night (11:15 local time)

[...]

According to a local villager named Ghami Khan who lives in the vicinity of the attack, a group of Punjabi militants were on their way from nearby Khyber Agency to a militant hideout in South Waziristan when they stopped to rest in an apple orchard. He said this was a well-worn path of Kashmiri and Punjabi militants moving from one base to another. “They got tired, were taking a rest and drinking tea when they were hit,” the man told The Daily Beast by cell phone. He said local militants said they saw the broken jug, cups of tea, and six or seven bodies, Kashmiri among them, scattered about the orchard.

The Daily Beast: Al Qaeda Commander Ilyas Kashmiri Killed in U.S. Predator Strike

Posted by Solo at June 4, 2011 1:16 PM ET:

It's so hard to find good help these days.....especially when they keep getting blown to pieces.

Posted by rana Muhammad imran khan at June 4, 2011 1:18 PM ET:

I'm sure, he is alive and just playing game with his enemies, just like, he played in past, confirmed dead, but his ghost re-appeared, same thing this time.

Posted by DANNY at June 4, 2011 1:22 PM ET:

Marlin,
can we believe anything from these writers? The Daily Beast? I wonder...

Posted by Eric at June 4, 2011 1:34 PM ET:

The CIA should use this opportunity to wage some major psychological warfare. They should announce that Kashmiri was located through intelligence recovered from the Bin Laden raid whether it is true or not. Other Al aqeda commanders and operatives will be forced to go even deeper into hiding and disrupting their ability to plan or wage attacks. As long as they are on the run, they can't hurt us or our allies.

Posted by Marlin at June 4, 2011 1:39 PM ET:

Danny -

I agree that The Daily Beast has a very discernable slant to the left that affects their political coverage especially. But I've also found they can have some very good original reporting. I believe this article falls in the second category and can be trusted.

Posted by Charu at June 4, 2011 1:51 PM ET:

Hooray!!! This is great news; however, I will believe it only after we have his body identified. Nothing that the Pakistanis say or do is believable.

Kashmiri was never their "good" Taliban. If the Pakistanis have truly turned 180 degrees, then their Haqqani assets will meet Kashmiri's fate. Got to keep the screws on them until all of their terrorists are eliminated and their nukes eliminated. There are some countries that should ever be allowed to possess WMDs; North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.

Posted by kp at June 4, 2011 2:33 PM ET:

One down, four more to go on the Hillary-Mullen list of five. Great going, guys! Let's get them all.
My thoughts exactly. One wonders where the intel for this strike came from?

1. From the US and linked to the UBL raid (not directly but perhaps from location or contacts or phone or courier info recovered in the raid to which "technical means" have been applied to follow up).

2. Independently of Pakistan by the CIA (perhaps with others: MI6, RAW, etc) HUMINT, drone imagery and intercept and other technical means in the FATA

3. Jointly by CIA/ISI/IB sharing info and the CIA exploiting ISI HUMINT with technical means.

4. Directly from ISI HUMINT ("He's going to be at a meeting at this location on this date").

I have no idea which one it is. I suspect #3. And there is a claim for this:

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/06/20116495720875573.html

A US drone strike killed a senior al-Qaeda figure in Pakistan after a tipoff from local intelligence, a Pakistani intelligence official said
Perhaps because SIGINT had gone dark?
"We were closing in on him and he switched off his satellite phone and cellphone and he wanted to cross the border to Afghanistan to find a hiding place," the official added. "It was a tipoff by us since we were closely monitoring his movements."
From the hit 30 minutes after arriving at the rest stop location it would seem that he was followed there (by a drone perhaps waiting until they could get a confirmed positive ID. It seems unlikely a local informant could notice these Punjabis making tea at 11:15pm local time, call his localpolice who would then talk to the ISI/Army and have that percolate up the system all the way to the CIA to enable them to get a drone over the target in 30 minutes. Perhaps there was an informant at the Khyber Agency end of their trip (especially as the start point of their trip seemed to be known).

I wouldn't discount the reported five other HUJI killed in the attack. I would presume they're HUJI senior leadership or at the very least commanders.

It would also appear that the U.S. knew exactly who they were aiming at and didn't take any chances of missing him.
It is believed the CIA is using face rec drone drone imagery e.g. DARPA has been funding open source research on topics like face rec from low contrast images and autofocus on distant targets with long lenses. Just he sort of tech you'd need to do this sort of thing). It also keeps the civilian casualties down to a minimum when you hit in the open or in a vehicle away from a compound (if you know other non-combatants are there).

I rather doubt the "he's still alive" comments. I suspect the CIA had a face rec of the guy before the strike. And pretty soon they will have DNA or other bits recovered from the attack location or his burial site to help confirm the kill.

I suspect the Pakistani is get getting serious after an ultimatum, errr, agreement was delivered post-UBL raid. A quid pro quo for future aid. Plus the Pakistani government has no love lost for Kashmiri and his attacks on them even if he has been useful in Kashmir (and indirectly in India).

Posted by GB at June 4, 2011 2:45 PM ET:

Expect the conspiracy theorists to be hard at work. As far as I've read all of the bodies were mutilated beyond belief so theres going to be a lot of doubts. The Pakistani public is going to love having another story to gossip about.

Posted by JT at June 4, 2011 3:36 PM ET:

As the screwed up Pakistan world turns, there is a report that "US nationals" have been detained in Peshawar:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/06/05/foreigners-detained-in-peshawar.html

Posted by Bing at June 4, 2011 3:39 PM ET:

I'll wait for some further confirmation, but if true, extremely good news.

The fact is that US capabilities are improving in tracking these neanderthals, while they simply will run out of the means to hide from us.

Posted by JT at June 4, 2011 3:49 PM ET:

A commenter referred to the Times as being so respectful to "Mr." Kashmiri. This is the same media that referred to OBL as a "pious" man.

One wonders why pious people of other religions don't get the same respect . . . .

Posted by JRP at June 4, 2011 5:47 PM ET:

It could also be that with Bin Ladin dead a faction competing for ascension to the throne, the Zawahiri faction, for instance, anonymously ratted Kashmiri out so that CIA could do the dirty work for them. Charismatic leaders always have competing factions below them kept in check only by the Leader's continued existence. Once the Leader is gone, what had only been palace intrigue to that point turns to open hostility. I'll put my money on Zawahiri (anonymously, of course) as the source behind the sting.

Posted by Rudd at June 4, 2011 6:38 PM ET:

"Nothing that the Pakistanis say or do is believable."

You realize you've written this on a website which has a stats section for drone strikes and quotes the number 14 as the amount of civilians killed in 2010.

Are the Pakistanis *that* dishonest?

Posted by willis at June 4, 2011 7:17 PM ET:

"
"The oppressor US is our only target and, God willing, we will take revenge on the U.S. soon with full force," Kashir said..."

And of course, were it not for this little incident, we would be content to live in peace with the U.S., what with us being a peace-loving religion and all.

By the way Kashir, what did you say your address was? I mean, speaking of full force and all.


Posted by AW1 at June 4, 2011 7:39 PM ET:

Kulamarva Balakrishna

Give me one reason why the USA, Western Europe, or India should feed the one hundred and fifty million Pakistanis if the country collapes. I certainly can not think of one. Of course the world will say save them I say why? Let the people at the madrassas take them in and feed them. Let the immans take them in and feed them. Let the Taliban take them in and feed them. While we embargo any supplies coming in and lay seige to the country

Posted by kp at June 4, 2011 7:51 PM ET:

And in other news Peshawar police trying to blow the cover of (probable) CIA operatives operating with diplomatic (CD) plates. Including calling out the TV cameras. How nice of the ISI.

"Peshawar police stop suspected car with foreigners on board"

http://www.samaa.tv/newsdetail.aspx?ID=32720

They let them go after two hours. More details.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/182553/three-foreigners-detained-in-peshawar/

Clearly the Pakistan folks are not quite on the same page with us.

In other new the names of the guys killed alongside Kashmiri have been published. That's pretty good for unrecognizable bodies (i.e. they knew who they were pre-attack). ("Revealing the names of those killed in US missile attack, he said Mohammed Ibrahim, Farooq Ahmed, Ameer Hamzah, Mohammed Usman, Mohammed Nauman, Imran, Abdul Quddos and another person whose name could not be ascertained were killed in the attack.")

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=16563

Nice piece in The Times of India asking the same question as others here: why now? Kashmiri had become a liability. And if they're right then there is now no distinction between "good" and "bad" Taliban. The Haqqanis must be wondering what's going to happen next.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Kashmiri-had-become-a-major-worry-for-Pak/articleshow/8731241.cms

Posted by James at June 4, 2011 9:03 PM ET:

If our guys could sneak in a 'brief case' bomb during one of [or even their next] high-level meeting (or Quetta Shura). I predict there will be one some time in the near future so they can choose a successor to bin laden.

Think along the lines of an Operation Valkyrie like plan. This is at a minimum needed as a back up plan (or as close as you'll get to a 'fail safe' plan) involving US (our intelligence agencies) and India's in the event AQ acquires (or comes too close) to acquiring one or more nuclear warheads.

I am fascinated with this Operation Valkyrie and I believe it can serve as a role model or template for a back up plan between US and India in the event worse comes to worse concerning Pakistan.

Posted by Villiger at June 4, 2011 9:52 PM ET:

Suggest all go back and read Shahzad's article, that led to his torture and death, again.

http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/ME27Df06.html

A couple of extracts:

1. "The May 2 killing in Pakistan of Osama bin Laden spurred al-Qaeda groups into developing a consensus for the attack in Karachi, in part as revenge for the death of their leader and also to deal a blow to Pakistan's surveillance capacity against the Indian navy."

2. "Asia Times Online contacts confirm that the attackers were from Ilyas Kashmiri's 313 Brigade, the operational arm of al-Qaeda."

We know:

A.) Shahzad was in touch with Kashmiri and/or his inner circle.

B.) Whoever tortured him wanted to know what he knew. They didn't want merely to punish him or to kill him.

C.) The timing of Mehran is related to OBL's death, and the resulting internal AQ leadership claims/tussle.

As for the rest, we can sit and join the dots.

I suspect that in the internal tussle, claimants for the AQ top slot were competing to demonstrate who was the smartest and most devastating cookie. Kashmiri's invasion of PNS Mehran was a conspicuous success, but he may also have crossed a line, or two lines.

As for Shahzad, i would guess his relationship was a direct one with Kashmiri.

As for timing, one thing leads to another.

Posted by sanjay M at June 5, 2011 12:28 AM ET:


After the discovery and death of OBL safe within Pakistan, USA has deeply questioned ISI about coming clean with it's terrorist surrogates.

Ilyas Kashmiri's death was not a US scoop, but a part of a delibrate move by ISI to feed a few bad apples that it has groomed all these years to the USA to keep them off its back for now.

Next few months we are going to see quite a few more infamous terrorists being fed to US drones by ISI to act like they are indeed partner in the war against terrorism.

Why a sudden heart change. While they are under tremendous pressure from Obama administration, but also mindful of the fact that if they do not help the present administration help win the elections next year in the United States, the Republican administration might end up being much worse for Pakistan. They know very clearly tea party stronghold on the republicans and that Republicans might hold them accountable for every penny given to Pakistan.

Even though President Obama has really made Pakistan look bad, but at least the billions in aid money has not stopped, and for Pakistan that is all what matters. That is the money it needs to help its course against bigger perceived enemy, India, and all else is expendable in its fight against it.

It is really strange that in a fight against two nuclear armed neighbors, India and Pakistan, rest of the world has been held hostage, and Pakistan has been reaping in billions from USA and China to help sustain it's nefarious designs.

Posted by Mr T at June 5, 2011 2:19 AM ET:

Don't forget, we followed UBLs messenger for months. we probably followed alot of his contacts as well but could not act on anything as the focus was on UBL. Now, we can act on some of those other leads.


Plus, they are all active with the spring offensive. Thats leaves them more exposed. But this was a ISI guy. A homeboy. It could be we acted unilaterally again. Only way to get the big fish as they are alerted by the ISI in advance.

Posted by ser at June 5, 2011 2:33 AM ET:

Villiger I think you are completely correct that all this is somehow tied with Syed and Kashmiri.

Although I find it hard to believe that some of the big shots ratted him out. That would mean that they would offer a muslim, a brother of jihad, to the non-believers.

Seems Ilyas was traveling in the open since according to some villager he saw some militants resting in an orchard for tea and then came the hit. Someone could have recognized him then and informed. Still it seems like too big of a coincidence just now.

I personally dont think ISI has been in contact with Ilyas since he switched sides. But they surely know who he communicates with and hangs around with. A bit of surveillance of them and then maybe a breakthrough.

Posted by cm at June 5, 2011 8:28 AM ET:

How ironic that Illyas was recently discussing the possibility of an attack on the CEO of of Lockheed Aircraft.
"Oh, what a lovely tea party Mr. Kashmiri, could you please pass the....." BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

Posted by Jignesh at June 5, 2011 9:09 AM ET:

A new from india on kashmiri

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-has-no-confirmation-about-Ilyas-Kashmiri-s-killing/H1-Article1-705963.aspx

Posted by villiger at June 5, 2011 9:12 AM ET:

MUST SEE video clip linked by steve m in the last thread on the predator attack:
The Last Interview of Syed Saleem Shahzad

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmTM6gyHxbo&fea


This makes it evident that

A) The pak army is split--pro-jihadis and regulars. A mutiny is inevitable in time. Kayani i'm sure is shit-scared.

B) Therefore we have a good army and bad army--get used to these terms--after all, this is Pakistan folks! PakMil which we so worry about is not the fighting machine we think it is.

C) The urban middle-class are seriously disillusioned. They know that they are being grossly mislead by their whole 'leadership', which is neither collective nor whole.

D) The Pak economy is destroyed, the Army is rich.

Shahzad needs to be congratulated and decorated, posthumously for his investigation of the truth.
---
Btw, what do Pakistan, Iran and N Korea have in common? other than their nuke policies?

Answer: Their peoples are being SERIOUSLY MISLEAD. We can sit here and say, wake-up Pakistan, but who is their to lead them?

Posted by naresh c. at June 5, 2011 9:38 AM ET:

General Musharraf once awarded Ilyas Kashmiri with a medal of honor and cash when he gave Musharraf a decapitated head of an Indian kafir (Bhausaheb Maruti Talekar) in the year 2000.
He was a hero in Pakistan then. Is that decapitated head still with Musharraf ?

Posted by villiger at June 5, 2011 11:08 AM ET:

naresh c, i'm sure he has a few skeletons in his cupboard. I shall wait for the day when all their army brass is invited to The Hague. Despite Kashmiri, OBL et al, life is long!
----
Ser, i agree that the (good) ISI has likely not been in touch with Kashmiri. The bad ISI wouldn't rat on him. In fact Pak did in the end use the US for the contract, just like they did Mehsud. If Pak did the job themselves, they would deepen the wrath of the bad Army.

So they screwed Shahzad instead and sacrificed a professional journalist, in the process.

"But they surely know who he communicates with and hangs around with. A bit of surveillance of them and then maybe a breakthrough."

As i said, i doubt the good ISI knew, so they wrenched some info from Shahzad which gave them the trail--perhaps even Kashmiri's satellite phone...OBL had one of those too, didn't he? Or an assistants'.

PakMil's massive ego was so sorely bruised, esp within Pakistan by Mehran--they had to be seen to be acting quickly.

Internationally, at google news the Mehran headline barely clocked up 3,000 articles vs Strauss-Kahn's 20,000 and OBL's 80,000; Kashmiri at around 1,600 only. Shows what the world's priorities are.

Bottom line is Kayani is an emperor with no uniform, for he cannot go fight the WOT full-on because his troops will simply not support him. Shahzad saw that and had the balls to say so. Apart from details on their nukes, this was PakMil's best kept secret. Although, i wonder if the White House recognises this as a reality.

The good news is that when push comes to shove the good Army may well defang their nukes before they hand over power to the Islamists. But, would the bad Army have a hold on some by them?

This is what makes this whole shooting match THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME IN TOWN. Or on the planet. And it isn't even a subject for discussion at the UN LOL. The rest are details.

Posted by ose at June 5, 2011 11:44 AM ET:

What will the consequences be for AQ with this? Will there be any? Do they have people in line ready to fill the empty spot, with equal competence?

Fresh recruits have never been a problem for AQ. Apparently the waziristans is swarming with fresh recruits every day. But to keep them lining up they need ideologues preferably charismatic who can inspire and talk to an aspiring jihadi. This is where a guy like Awlaki comes in with his fluency in english.

They also need strategists who see to the bigger picture. They need knowledge of politics and at least a basic understanding how the enemy works.

Then u need the military commander with know how of military tactics and how to fight a guerilla war. The HN-fighters seem to be fairly well trained in contrast to the insurgents in north western afghanistan. The latter in many cases consists of farmers who moonlights as insugents but with a very little know how.

What was Ilyas strength?


Posted by omar at June 5, 2011 11:49 AM ET:

sanjay, the idea that republicans would be tougher on ISI is laughable. It was a Republican administration that was throwing money on them like crazy for 7 years (remember GW Bush? or have you retroactively made him a democrat?).
THough I think US security policy is fairly bipartisan. Both parties trade accusations for electoral purposes, but there is a lot of common policy. Republicans may be more comfortable with overseas thugs in private, but democrats can do an equally good job of holding their nose and dealing with crooks and torturers. Both are also somewhat prone to corruption, though again the Republicans may be a bit worse because of greater defence industry links. The whole "he is weak on defence and he is too gung-ho" thing is mostly domestic political propaganda.
In any case, dont miscontrue my comments: the military side, most of the intelligence agency people, constitutional govt, all these are still in place and reasonable professional, so the country is not yet in any danger of becoming a banana republic.

Posted by omar at June 5, 2011 11:50 AM ET:

Musharraf is said to have given him a cash reward, not a "medal of honor" (which is not a Pakistani decoration anyway)...

Posted by Charu at June 5, 2011 12:30 PM ET:

As I recall reading (from Steve Coll's book?) the severed head toured several prominent mosques in Pakistan, and the faithful got to see the kaffir's fate as they donated more money to the cause.

I can't imagine a similar scene taking place in a church or temple or synagogue in any country anywhere in the world, in our time.

Why Musharraf continues to be sheltered in London beats me, because he had to know that bin Laden was being sheltered in his military's cantonment; the house built when he was the generalissimo-in-charge. This man has to be one of the most duplicitous, two-faced Pakistanis known to the world, which is saying a lot!

My skepticism over Kashmiri's reported death grows as I read about the names of his associates who were purportedly killed along with him, and the details of his "final" moment. The ISI's screen writers appear to have been working overtime to demonstrate how good their intelligence was. Until we have visual and DNA identification of his corpse, we should continue hunting for him as though he is still alive.

Posted by Tyler at June 5, 2011 1:07 PM ET:

SITE intel group has relayed a picture of Kashmiri's corpse released by Harkat ul Jihad. In it he's clean-shaven, but if you compare the ear, nose, and brow to Kashmiri's bearded picture...the similarities are clear and striking.

He's dead. We got him this time.

Posted by Tyler at June 5, 2011 1:07 PM ET:

link to the photo

http://news.siteintelgroup.com/images/stories/dispatches/june11/Kashmiri.jpg

Posted by gitsum at June 5, 2011 1:24 PM ET:

Way to go, lets get some more of these so called al Qaeda heroes so we can get the hell out of there all the sooner! Hoo Rahh GIT SUM

Posted by villiger at June 5, 2011 1:48 PM ET:

Bill has now posted that Shahzad interview in his videos section.

Here's a corollary, sadly post Shahzad's death (also from Real News):


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd546tIqBAo

Two suggestions:


1. Support Shahzad's family by buying his very recent book. And by doing so support the truth as well.

2. Circulate the original Shahzad video link as wide as possible--do it through the LWJ site so that Bill Roggio also gets the deserved incremental exposure.

Posted by Villiger at June 5, 2011 1:55 PM ET:

MUST SEE video clip linked by steve m in the last thread on the predator attack:
The Last Interview of Syed Saleem Shahzad

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmTM6gyHxbo&fea


This makes it evident that

A) The pak army is split--pro-jihadis and regulars. A mutiny is inevitable in time. Kayani i'm sure is scared as hell.

B) Therefore we have a good army and bad army--get used to these terms--after all, this is Pakistan folks! PakMil which we so worry about is not the fighting machine we think it is.

C) The urban middle-class are seriously disillusioned. They know that they are being grossly mislead by their whole 'leadership', which is
neither collective nor whole.

D) The Pak economy is destroyed, the Army is rich.

Shahzad needs to be congratulated and decorated, posthumously for his investigation of the truth.
---
Btw, what do Pakistan, Iran and N Korea have in common? other than their nuke policies?

Answer: Their peoples are being SERIOUSLY MISLEAD. We can sit here and say, wake-up Pakistan, but who is there to lead them?

Posted by Villiger at June 5, 2011 2:29 PM ET:

omar

"Republicans may be more comfortable with overseas thugs in private, but democrats can do an equally good job of holding their nose and dealing with crooks and torturers."

Holding their own perhaps, or holding their ground, maybe.

But holding their nose, nope, not in English. In Pakistanian, maybe!

Posted by villiger at June 5, 2011 2:52 PM ET:

Charu,
Personally i consider your suggestion about arresting Musharraf a pragmatic one.

But i wonder, is it that he knows too much about certain underhand US dealings that could cause embarrassment?

And on Pakistan turning 180 degrees, forget it; maybe in a parallel universe.

Btw, this may be of interest, in case you missed it....

ttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/weekinreview/05pakistan.html?_r=1

A bit verbose but the last quarter is interesting.

Posted by namvet at June 5, 2011 3:57 PM ET:

Here is a brief excerpt form World News containing a couple of pages of history and names. Well worth the visit.

Quote:
"Pakistani sources are reporting the death in a drone strike this weekend of Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri. If true, it is a big setback for al Qaeda and could help ease tensions between Pakistan and the U.S. a bit.
Kashmiri is al Qaeda's top Pakistani operative. He was born in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir on February 10, 1964. Trained in the camps of the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) and then the elite Pakistani commando group, the Special Services Group (SSG), he was the darling of the Pakistani army for years. He fought in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan where he lost an eye and a finger. Then he took the war to India both in Kashmir and in New Delhi itself."
End Quote

Full report at:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-06-04/the-death-of-another-al-qaeda-leader-aids-us-pakistan-relations/?om_rid=Nsjka0&om_mid=_BN64Y9B8bhklXw

Posted by K__K at June 5, 2011 5:36 PM ET:

Ahhh he's found in Pakistan. Why am i not surprised. ?

Posted by C Wolf at June 5, 2011 5:55 PM ET:

Enjoy the 12 Virginians!

Posted by kp at June 7, 2011 2:10 PM ET:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/183308/kashmiri-planned-reprisal-attacks-for-osamas-death/

Ilyas Kashmiri wanted to create Laskhar-e-Osama [Army of Osama]

According to intelligence reports seen by The Express Tribune, the head of the fearsome 313 Brigade of the Harkatul Jihad al Islami called a meeting of several Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commanders to create the “Laskhar-e-Osama” which would be tasked with carrying out suicide bombings throughout Pakistan, including some high-profile targets. Kashmiri was reportedly killed in a US drone strike in South Waziristan on Friday.

Besides Kashmiri, TTP commanders Asmatullah Maavia, Amjad Farooqui, and Badar Mansoor, among others, attended the meeting. The three commanders were assigned territories to conduct bombings in. Mansoor was tasked with targeting Lahore and southern Punjab, while Farooq was told to carry out attacks in Islamabad and Azad Kashmir.
This is a separate (NW?) meeting (apparently) from the one that was attacked, I presume, as Asmatullah Maavia, Amjad Farooqui and Badar Mansoor aren't listed amongst the casualties.

And in a followup

http://tribune.com.pk/story/184061/four-nabbed-for-alleged-contact-with-ilyas-kashmiri/

Four people were arrested from Faisalabad on Tuesday for alleged contact with Harkatul Jihad al Islami leader Ilyas Kashmiri
Looks like a US/Pakistani intel cooperation is working ...

Posted by kp at June 7, 2011 8:31 PM ET:

More interesting context: why was IK in Nazir's SW? From a link from LWJ news.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=189081

[IK] moved to North Waziristan after the Lal Masjid [Red Mosque] operation in Islamabad in 2007 but interestingly some militant groups always suspected him behind the operation because of his past connection with Pakistan Army. He was trusted more by the Punjabi Taliban rather than the Pashtuns but with the passage of time he developed good relations with Hakeemullah Mehsud group. On the other hand, he never had good relations with the militant groups which had an unannounced peace accords with Pakistani authorities in tribal areas and were fighting only against US troops in Afghanistan.

It was reported last Friday that Ilyas Kashmiri was killed in a US drone attack at an apple orchard close to Wana area of South Waziristan. This area is under the control of Maulvi Nazir, who is considered a “Pakistan-friendly good Talib”. It is not yet clear why Kashmiri decided to visit an area where another Taliban leader Hakeemullah Mehsud does not feel safe and where Hakeemullah's fighters were attacked by Maulvi Nazir group sometime back. Hakeemullah is now hiding somewhere in North Waziristan. Some sources claimed that perhaps the Pakistani authorities helped the US to track down Kashmiri, but his being in a non-friendly area is still a mystery.

That might explain why IK was ratted out to the ISI by the "locals" especially if he was meeting with TTP (i.e. Mehsud's people) in SW.

It's always worth being reminded that these disparate groups don't all see eye to eye.

Posted by Aasim at June 15, 2011 4:40 AM ET:

i'm a journalist in islamabad pakistan with a prime interest in terrorism etc.

Sources closest to Kashmiri have confirmed his death, so the conspiracy theories etc can all be laid to rest.