A German jihadist is thought to have been killed in an airstrike carried out by US drones on March 9 in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan.
The German, a known “Islamist” from Aachen, has been identified at Samir H., according to a report in Der Spiegel. Samir was one of 13 Taliban and “foreign fighters” who were killed in the March 9 strike in Makeen, South Waziristan. In that strike, the remotely-piloted US strike aircraft fired missiles at a pickup truck transporting Taliban fighters.
Samir was the “son of a Tunisian father and a German mother” and was “born and raised in East Germany,” according to [email protected], a website that tracks European jihadists. Samir “traveled to Pakistan in October 2009 with his wife and two children, and joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). In November 2009 Samir´s sister, at the age of 18, followed her older brother and made her way to the Waziristan tribal region.”
The town of Makeen is in an area under the control of Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, which is closely allied to al Qaeda. The US has struck targets in Makeen four other times, in 2008 and 2009. One strike in June 2009 killed Khwaz Ali Mehsud, a top aide to Baitullah Mehsud, the former leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Baitullah himself was killed shortly thereafter by a drone strike in August 2009 in nearby Ladha.
In a controversial follow-up strike in Makeen at the funeral for Khwaz Ali, US drones killed 83 Pakistanis, including 30 “militants.” Senior terrorist leaders, including Haqqani Network commander Mullah Sangeen Zadran, and Baitullah and his deputy Qari Hussain Mehsud, were thought to be attending the funeral.
German jihadists in the Afghan-Pakistan theater
Germans jihadists are known to flock to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Union, the German Taliban Mujahideen, and the Taifatul Mansura. The German Taliban Mujahideen have even set up a “village” somewhere in the Waziristans, where fighters are trained.
Two German jihadists, the brothers known as Mounir and Yassin Chouka, serve as prominent members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and are based along the Afghan-Pakistan border. Mounir, who is also called Abu Adam, may have been wounded in a US Predator airstrike last summer. Mounir is a senior member of Jundallah Media, the IMU’s media production arm. Yassin, also known as Abu Ibrahim, released a report in February 2011 that described his travels from Europe to Pakistan, which included a stop in Yemen and several meetings with Anwar al Awlaki, the American-born terrorist who served as a senior ideologue and operational commander for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula before his death in a Predator strike.
Some prominent and not-so-prominent German jihadists have been killed, captured, or targeted in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Two Germans, Shahab D., who went by the name of Abu Askar, and Imran Almani, were killed in a US drone strike in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan in September 2010. Abu Askar was a native of Iran, but grew up in Hamburg. Askar attended the radical Taiba Mosque in Hamburg (formerly known as Al Quds), the same mosque that was involved in the 9/11 attacks. In early August 2010, German officials closed the Taiba mosque, several weeks after a German named Ahmed Siddiqui was captured by US forces in Afghanistan. Siddiqui disclosed details of a plot to conduct Mumbai-like terror assaults in Europe, and said that the plot had been ordered and financed by Osama bin Laden.
Bekkay Harrach, also known as Al Hafidh Abu Talha al Almani, was killed while leading an assault on Bagram Airbase in May 2010. Harrach led a team of 20 fighters made up from the ranks of al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, according to his martyrdom statement. Before his death, Harrach produced propaganda for al Qaeda in which he threatened to attack Germany.
Eric Breininger, a German member of the Islamic Jihad Union, was killed while fighting Pakistani security forces in a clash near Mir Ali in North Waziristan on April 30, 2010. Breininger was wanted for plotting to attack US military personnel in Germany.
“Abdullah from Essen,” a German citizen from Afghanistan who was known as Miqdad, was killed while fighting US forces in Baghlan province, northern Afghanistan in March 2011. Miqdad, who was nicknamed “Afghan Lightning,” first arrived in Pakistan’s tribal area of Waziristan in November 2010. “In 2011, he concluded his training in a training camp, and traveled shortly after that to northern Afghanistan,” the IMU said.
Abdul Fettah al Almani, the leader of the German Taliban Mujahideen, was rumored to have been killed sometime in 2011 in a US airstrike in the Afghan-Pakistan border region. He has since turned up in Iran with another German jihadist.
Germans have also been captured in Afghanistan. In July 2010, Ahmed Siddiqi, a German from Hamburg, was captured in Kabul. Siddiqi, who disclosed the al Qaeda plot to carry out Mumbai-styled terror assaults in Europe, had trained in Pakistan and fought in Afghanistan. And on May 9, 2011, ISAF captured a “Germany-based Moroccan al Qaeda foreign fighter facilitator” in Zabul in southeastern Afghanistan.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.