Afghans accompanied Somalia al Qaeda leader

Nabhan fires a rifle in a videotape produced by al Qaeda’s media arm. Image by Nick Grace. Click to view.

Daniele Raineri, an Italian journalist who writes for Il Foglio and a friend of The Long War Journal, passed along a tip about the commando raid that resulted in the death of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a senior al Qaeda leader in East Africa as well as a senior leader in Shabaab. According to Guido Olimpio, a security expert for Il Corriere della Sera, there were four Afghan nationals accompanying Nabhan when he was killed by US Navy SEALs in Barawe. The identity of the Afghans has not been disclosed.

This should come as no surprise. Several Shabaab leaders, such as Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali and Aden Hashi Ayro, the former military leader who met his end in a US strike last year, have trained in Somalia, while there have been several reports of Afghans and Pakistanis relocating to Somalia to fight with Shabaab. If the report on the Afghans killed with Nabhan is accurate, it will be interesting to see who they were – foot soldiers or leaders?

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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