Foreign fighters among those killed in clashes in Yemeni south

Fighting around the city of Lawdar in Abyan province continued for the third day straight, and Yemeni military officials claimed to have dealt al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula heavy losses. Saba Net, a Yemeni state-run news service claimed, based on a report from, a Defense Ministry website, that dozens of al Qaeda fighters, including two commanders and foreigners, were among those killed:

“A number of al-Qaeda leaders and militants, including Saudis, Somalis and Pakistanis were killed in the last hours fighting”, the source said, adding that the armed forces shelled “Zara” area and air strikes targeted a gathering of al-Qaeda in the area of “Um Ain”.

Abyan’s tribesmen battled al-Qaeda in Lawder outskirts killing two senior members Dardish Ahmed Mohammed Taher and Imad al-Manshaby, a field leader, and ten other elements, he said.

About 15 tribesmen were also killed in the clashes, according to the source.

The Associated Press put the number of killed in Lawdar today at 28 AQAP fighters and three tribesmen. The death toll in Lawdar is quickly approaching 200; the Yemeni military claims that most of those killed are AQAP fighters. Dozens of Yemeni soldiers and tribesmen have also reportedly been killed [see Threat Matrix report, AQAP, Yemeni forces battle in south].

Saudis are known to fight in Yemen, as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the fruit of the union of al Qaeda’s Saudi and Yemeni branches. Some of AQAP’s top leaders, including Said al Shihri, the second in command, are Saudis. Somalis from Shabaab are also routinely reported to be fighting alongside AQAP in the south. And Pakistanis are reported to have fought in Yemen as well. AQAP has had success in southern Yemen, and this tends to attract foreign fighters to the ranks.

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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  • Paul D says:

    Usual suspects.
    How are Saudis and Pakistanis allies of the West?

  • gerald says:

    The War on Terror has definitely gone Worldwide!

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    I’m surprised they’ve found Pakistanis killed in Yemen. How did they know they were Pakistanis ? Did they have an ID card in their shirt ? Also why would Pakistani Muslims travel all the way to Yemen, when they can go and do islamic terrorism in their own territory of Waziristan or go next door to Kashmir or Afghanistan. It doesn’t make sense, unless they are British or American citizens of Pakistani descent, who may travel from western countries to Yemen.

  • Neonmeat says:

    @ Birbal Dhar
    I would suspect that they travel to the Yemen in the belief that the Objective of creating a Shariah State is easier to achieve there than in Afghanistan where they face a massive ISAF contingent.
    We see this a lot, for instance hundreds of Chechens are fighting in and around Afghanistan even while Doku Umarov leads a jihad against the Russians and their proxies within Chechnya.

  • Birbal Dhar says:

    @ Neonmeat
    The Chechen question in Afghanistan is also another mystery. The Pakistani army claims they have killed or captured Chechens, but none of these so called Chechens have been linked to Chechnya or even the Russian Caucasus region.
    I suspect these so called Chechens are Muslims from from former soviet republics such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or even Kyrgyzstan, who may have travelled from those regions to Afghanistan via Pakistan. The Pakistanis may have called them Chechens, because those fighters may have told him that they are from Chechnya, because of its islamic terrorism fight, or because they spoke Russian and the Pakistanis think that Muslim Russian speakers are all from Chechnya.
    Once again it doesn’t make sense a Chechen would travel all the way to Afghanistan, when he could join an islamic terrorist group in Chechnya or its neighbouring Russian Caucasus republics.

  • mike merlo says:

    any Haqqani’s?


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram