The Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) confirmed in a statement today that Qari Muhammad Yasin, a senior al Qaeda military commander, was killed in a US drone strike. The bombing took place in the Laman area of the eastern Paktika province on Mar. 19. The statement confirming Yasin’s demise was released online and is attributed to Mohammad Khurasani, the Pakistani Taliban spokesman.
Khurasani describes Yasin as a “close assistant” of the Pakistani Taliban and a “trainer of Mujahideen.” He claims that three of Yasin’s “companions” were also killed in the US drone strike.
Khurasani confirms that Yasin “was one of the closest companions of Shaheed Amjad Farooqi…a famous personality of Pakistan Jihad.”
Yasin’s relationship with Farooqi was previously reported by The Nation. Farooqi engineered two assassination attempts against Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in Dec. 2003 at the behest of al Qaeda leader Abu Faraj al Libi and is suspected of involvement in other terror attacks as well. Farooqi was a member of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, the Harkat-ul-Ansar and its successor – the Harakat-ul-Mujahideen – as well as Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Yasin’s connections with Farooqi positioned him to become a key leader in what is often described as the Punjabi Taliban, which includes jihadists from various other Pakistani terrorist organizations who are aligned with al Qaeda. Khurasani refers to Yasin as a “Punjabi Taliban commander,” thereby confirming his role in the group.
The Punjabi Taliban is led by Asmatullah Muawiya, the commander of what Osama bin Laden described as one of several al Qaeda military “companies.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Bin Laden docs hint at large al Qaeda presence in Pakistan].
Khurasani refers to Yasin in glowing terms, describing him as “as one of the greatest trainers of explosives and electronics in the fields of jihad.” Yasin’s “students” are “still…performing their duties in the field of jihad relating to such sectors of jihad,” meaning they are manufacturing explosives.
Therefore, Khurasani’s eulogy confirms that Yasin trained his potential replacements long ago. As has often been the case in the 9/11 wars, the US kills a senior al Qaeda figure, only to then face his successors.
Khurasani adds that Yasin “participated enthusiastically in the various jihadi operations in Pakistan,” including an attack on the Pakistani Army’s general headquarters (GHQ). Yasin “was considered as the master mind of that plan and attack” on the GHQ, Khurasani writes.
The Pakistani Taliban’s eulogy contains the standard language about “martyrdom,” saying Yasin wished to be “martyred” and now he has joined others who have perished along the way.
“We, [the Pakistani Taliban], send our deep condolence to the survivors and companions of respected Ustad (trainer) on his martyrdom,” Khurasani’s statement reads. “May ALLAH grant patience to the survivors.”
Those “survivors” likely include Yasin’s “students,” some of whom are likely operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
For more information on Qari Yasin and his web of connections to al Qaeda and Pakistani jihadist groups, see FDD’s Long War Journal report: Al Qaeda commander believed to be killed in US airstrike.