German IMU fighter killed in drone strike last fall

Ahmed-IMU-droned.jpg

A wanted spokesman for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan has announced the death of a Moroccan IMU fighter who lived in Germany who was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan last October. The German, who was identified as Ahmed, was eulogized by Yassin Chouka, another German who serves as a senior IMU operative and propagandist.

Chouka announced Ahmed’s death in a “video produced by the IMU’s media arm, Jundallah Studio, and posted on a jihadist website on March 18, 2013,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained and translated the video. In the video, Ahmed is repeatedly described by Chouka as “the King of Setterich,” a reference to Ahmed”s home town in Germany. Chouka is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and has announced the death of Germans in Pakistan in the past.

According to Chouka, Ahmed “died with two other mujahideen on 10 October 2012 in a drone attack.” The strike took place “on the day following his completion of explosives training.”

The US is known to have carried out a drone strike on Oct. 10, 2012 in the town of Hurmuz in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan. Five “militants” were reported to have been killed in the strike, but their identities and affiliations were not disclosed at the time.

Ahmed “was identified by German intelligence” on April 11 and confirmed to have been killed, Florian Flade, a reporter for Die Welt told The Long War Journal.

Ahmed entered Pakistan “three years ago,” according to Die Welt.

Once in country, he “participated in training camps and military seminars of the mujahideen, and he spent his hours in ditches and specialized with his close friends in operations against the apostate Pakistani army,” according to Chouka.

The video showed footage from one such operation, an attack in Zangara in South Waziristan in June 2011. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan often teams up with the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan to attack the Pakistani military in South Waziristan. The group also has a strong presence in northern Afghanistan, where it has integrated its operations with the Afghan Taliban. NATO special operations forces routinely target the IMU in northern Afghanistan.

The Mir Ali area of North Waziristan is a known terrorist haven for al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and its offshoot, the Islamic Jihad Group, and a host of foreign and Pakistani terror groups. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan as well as fighters from Hafiz Gul Bahadar’s Taliban group also operate in Mir Ali. The area hosts training camps for suicide bombers, IED makers, and military units.

The US has conducted numerous strikes in the Mir Ali area. Since Sept. 8, 2010, several Germans and Britons have been reported killed in Predator strikes in the Mir Ali area. The Europeans were members of the Islamic Jihad Group and the Ismalic Movement of Uzbeksitan. The jihadists are believed to have been involved in an al Qaeda plot that targeted several major European cities and was modeled after the terror assault on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008. The European plot was orchestrated by Ilyas Kashmiri, the al Qaeda leader who was killed in a US drone strike in June 2011.

The US has targeted al Qaeda’s top leaders and its external operations network, as well as the assortment of Taliban, Pakistani, and foreign jihadist groups operating in the region. The strikes have mostly been confined to a small kill box consisting of North and South Waziristan. Of the 336 strikes recorded since 2004, 319, or 95%, have taken place in the two tribal agencies.

The US has launched just 11 drone strikes in Pakistan so far this year, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal. The last strike took place on March 21.

The number of strikes in Pakistan has decreased since the peak in 2010, when 117 such attacks were recorded. In 2011, 64 strikes were launched in Pakistan, and in 2012 there were 46 strikes.

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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