Yesterday, al Qaeda in Afghanistan released the 19th issue of “Vanguards of Khorasan,” an online magazine that discusses operations in the central Asian country, along with other topics. Interestingly enough, the magazine has contributions from “al Qaeda officials including Abu Yahya al-Libi, Attiya Allah, and Khalid bin Abdul Rahman al-Husainan,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which has translated the main article and the index of the magazine.
One of those on the list, Attiya Allah, is of special interest, as this is another name for senior al Qaeda leader Atiyah Abd al Rahman. US intelligence officials have claimed that Atiyah was killed in an airstrike in North Waziristan on Aug. 22.
When asked by The Long War Journal if Attiya Allah is the same person as Atiyah Abd al Rahman, the SITE Intelligence Group responded: “That is our understanding.”
If the Attiya Allah referenced in the latest edition of issue of Vanguards of Khorasan is indeed Atiyah Abd al Rahman, then this would be the second time that al Qaeda has released a statement by him since his purported death. To date, al Qaeda has not released any statement announcing his death. On Aug. 30, nine days after he was widely reported killed, As Sahab, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, released a Ramadan statement by Atiyah that had been recorded prior to the report of his death and referred to him as if he were alive.
Atiyah may in fact be dead. But it is odd that al Qaeda has released at least one tape by Atiyah, and possibly an article as well, without announcing his death. But I cannot think of another incident when this has happened.
I’m told that US officials are certain of Atiyah’s death based on signals intercepts between al Qaeda/Taliban operatives; however, there is no physical evidence to prove that he was killed. Keep in mind that other al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, including Hakeemullah Mehsud and Atiyah in 2010, were uncritically classified as dead based on signals intel alone. Like vampires, these leaders have come back to life to carry out more havoc. So without a corpse or an al Qaeda martyrdom statement, reports of Atiyah’s death should be viewed with skepticism.
For more on the reports of Atiyah’s death, see:
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