Al Qaeda eulogizes senior commander killed in recent drone strike
Badr Mansoor. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.
Ustad Ahmad Farooq, al Qaeda's spokesman for Pakistan, confirmed that Badr Mansoor, a top military commander, was killed in a recent US drone strike in North Waziristan. Farooq's eulogy for Mansoor focused on Pakistan's complicity in the US drone comapign.
Farooq described Mansoor as "the brave son of this soil, a gem of the Ummah [Muslim community], a great military leader, and the beloved personality of local and emigrant mujahideen who dedicated more than 15 years of his life to jihad on various fronts of Kashmir, Afghanistan and Pakistan," in a statement that released on jihadist web forums and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
"This brave son of the brave soil of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was martyred in a drone attack carried out with the help of intelligence inputs provided by Pakistani intelligence agencies," Farooq continued. He also claimed that Mansoor's wife was wounded in the strike and accused the US and President Obama of intentionally targeting civilians.
Mansoor was killed by US Predators in the Feb. 9 airstrike in North Waziristan that also killed six other "Punjabi Taliban." He was a senior al Qaeda leader who used his ties to both the Harakat-ul-Mujahideen and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan to recruit fighters from their ranks, train them, and place them into al Qaeda. He also ran camps that funneled fighters into Afghanistan. US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that Farooq represents al Qaeda's deep bench of future leaders who are recruited from allied terror groups in South and Central Asia.
Farooq, who himself was rumored to have been killed in a US drone strike in June 2011 (that strike targeted Ilyas Kashmiri, who was thought to have been killed but has recently been spotted meeting with Taliban leader Hakeemullah Mehsud), devoted the bulk of Mansoor's eulogy to attacking the Pakistani government for supporting the US drone strikes.
Farooq described the rupture between the US and Pakistan after the clash in Mohmand at the end of November 2011 that resulted in the deaths of 24 Pakistani troops as "eye-wash."
"On one hand, the Pakistani government is dramatizing the so-called tensions with the US, and on the other hand, it is helping the Americans to kill Pakistani people in tribal areas to appease their masters," Farooq said. "We know that this drama of Pak-US strained ties is being orchestrated to regain the army's image that suffered immensely during last ten years of its anti-jihad campaign in the tribal areas, Swat and Balochistan."
Farooq also said the US "is prioritizing the targets that directly threaten the Pakistani army," and accused the government and military of trying to "fool" and "lie to the people of Pakistan, that drone strikes are being carried out without their permission?"
"They claim that they are opposed to drone strikes, but if they are really opposed to drone strikes, why all the time do the spies we arrest confess to be working for the Pakistani army to detect actionable targets for drone strikes?," he asked. He also noted that the Pakistani Air Force and Army do nothing to stop the drones from striking.
"Is it possible that Pakistani radars always fail to detect these drones? In fact, the drone campaign is running with full support from the Pakistani army," he said. "Therefore, this institution is as much responsible as the Americans for the killing of innocents in the tribal areas."