Haythem bin Mohammed al Khayat, a Jordanian better known as Abu Kandahar al Zarqawi. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.
A Lebanese al Qaeda fighter recently praised a fellow Jordanian operative who was killed in Afghanistan sometime in 2010. Before his death, the Jordanian had helped several “brothers” enter the Afghan-Pakistan theater to wage jihad.
In an interview published by al Waqa Magazine, Abu Zubaydah al Lubnani recounted his time with Haythem bin Mohammed al Khayat, a Jordanian better known as Abu Kandahar al Zarqawi, who was killed by US forces in late 2010 [see LWJ report, Jordanian al Qaeda operative killed in Afghanistan]. Lubnani’s interview was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Lubnani said he first met Abu Kandahar on the Paltalk Internet chat forum “through one of the coordinating mediator brothers.”
“At the time, I had requested one of the brothers to help me go to fight, and he [Abu Kandahar], may Allah have mercy on him, used to work as a coordinator for the brothers who want to join the mujahideen, especially those on the Khorasan front,” Lubnani said. Jihadists often use the term “Khorasan front” to describe Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas and northwest.
In his role as a facilitator for foreign fighters into the Afghan-Pakistan theater, Abu Kandahar helped several al Qaeda operatives wage jihad in the region.
“I and those with me were the first to enjoy the honor of going to fight through Abu Kandahar. I can count more than ten brothers who went to fight through Abu Kandahar,” he said.
Lubnani also stated that he “spent with the brother [Abu Kandahar] six consecutive months on the line in South Waziristan,” after traveling to the Pakistani tribal agency. In South Waziristan, al Qaeda fighters often shelter with the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan as well as with Taliban fighters under Mullah Nazir, who calls himself an al Qaeda leader.
Before his death, Abu Kandahar was a member of a network of foreign al Qaeda operatives that included Abu Dujanah al Khurasani, the suicide bomber who carried out the attack at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost province on Dec. 30, 2009 that killed seven CIA operatives and a Jordanian intelligence officer. Khurasani lulled the CIA officers into a false sense of security by claiming to have intelligence that would lead them to Ayman al Zawahiri, who at that time was al Qaeda’s second in command.
Other members of the network included Abu Abdulrahman al Qahtani, a veteran jihadist from Yemen; Ghazwan al Yemeni, a top operative in al Qaeda’s external operations network who aided in the attack at Combat Outpost Chapman; and Abu Dujanah al Sanaani, a Yemeni and an Internet jihadist who is known to have operated the Al Balagh Media Center and to have interviewed Siraj Haqqani. Qahtani, Ghazwan, and Sanaani were killed in fighting and Predator strikes along the Afghan-Pakistani border during the fall of 2010.
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