Al Qaeda leader killed in Pakistan
September 15th, 2011
12:38 PM ET

Al Qaeda leader killed in Pakistan

By National Security Supervising Producer Adam Levine

An al Qaeda figure identified as the terrorist network's chief of operations in Pakistan has been killed, a U.S. officials said Thursday.

Abu Hafs al-Shari was killed in Waziristan, Pakistan, according to one of the sources.  While there was no explanation how he was killed, it is known armed predator drones have been used to kill suspected terrorists.

One US official called it a "blow" to the core of Al Qaeda.

"The loss of their chief of operations in Pakistan, an individual who played a key operational and administrative role for the group, will pose a challenge for Zawahiri.  Abu Hafs was a contender to assume some of [recently killed Atiyah abd al-Rahman's] duties, coordinated al Qaeda’s anti-US plotting in the region, and worked closely with the Pakistani Taliban to carry out attacks inside Pakistan."

A senior administration official said the strike will "further degrade" Al Qaeda's ability to recover from the Rahman killing in August because " because of his operations experience and connections within the group."

The pressure on Al Qaeda in Pakistan has been significant with a number of key leaders, most notably Osama bin Laden, being eliminated.  Earlier this week, the top intelligence official at the Pentagon said US counterterrorism operations have left the group feeling "besieged."

"Its senior leaders are being eliminated at a rate far faster than al Qaeda can replace them, and the leadership replacements the group is able to field are much less experienced and credible," said Michael Vickers, the Under Secretary for Defense Intelligence at an event in Washington on Tuesday. Vickers said the pressure on Al Qaeda has left it in a "precarious" postiion and predicted that at this rate the group could be eliminated wtihin the next two years.

"We have substantially attrited AQ's mid-level operatives, trainers and facilitators, its recent recruits, including several westerners, and senior leaders and operatives of its safe haven providers," Vickers said.

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency, David Petraeus, told Congress on Tuesday that the pressure could lead to Al Qaeda rank and file fleeing Pakistan to Afghanistan or leaving south Asia.

Vickers said that this year alone the terror group has lost eight of its "top 20" leaders and of all its top leaders from 2001 only one, Ayman al-Zawahiri, remains. The killing of al-Shari raises the total to nine.

- Pam Benson, Larry Shaughnessy and Alex Mooney contributed to this report

soundoff (456 Responses)
  1. anthony

    The Pakistan lands.......the root of terror.....funny how 90% of them were blown away in this region. How do we stop our govenment from sending them any more money.....this need to come to a complete halt. I guess the bottom line is that we dont pay them to help much but just to give us the right to bomb.

    September 30, 2011 at 8:59 am | Reply
    • Sidewinder

      I wonder what percentage of the money we give the Pakis gets handed over to terrorists who then use that to fund operations against us? What a viscious cycle. We buy oil from Saudi, Saudis fund terrorists on the down-low, though that started to back fire so maybe the Saudis have stopped doing that.

      September 30, 2011 at 10:50 am | Reply
  2. Fred Phred

    Wow, a terrorist in Pakistan? Would woulda guessed?

    September 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  3. Sidewinder

    You nailed that one on the head. The powers that be keep dancing around that issue by saying that Pakistan and Afghanistan are interrelated. That's as close as they get to saying the Paki's are one of the main reasons world wide Islamic Jihadism is what it is today. And lets not forget how free and easy they are with nuclear technology. Who here is willing to bet that the Jihadists have not already been provided with all they need to make a low yield device? I wouldn't bet money against it.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Reply
  4. InfidelHere

    Anybody else fed up with PAKIISTAN? The most significant contributor to Islamic terrorism is Pakistan, where the dictatorial government of these Muslims are Salafist....some of the most devoted and worse practicing Muslims the earth produces. Pakistan's mosques and madrassas have manufactured more actual terrorists than an ISLAMIC arm pit like Saudi Arabia.
    They are responsible for the Taliban – the fundamentalist regime associated with al-Qaeda. Taliban chief Mullah Omar was educated in the Binori Mosque Madrassa in Karachi. The head of Pakistan's ISI intelligence service, Lt. General Mahmoud Ahmad, not only provided the funds, arms, and direction to the Taliban, he and they provided direct wire transfers to Muhammad Atta, the 9/11 ringleader, immediately before he murdered 3,000 Americans. Pakistan is the home of Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, the men many believe conceived the first and second World Trade Center bombings.

    That’s right, there were TWO Islamic attacks on the World Trade Center by…wait for it…wait for it…MUSLIMS!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  5. Krish

    Notice how they all hide in Pakistan. Terrorist capital of the world. At least Pakis actually have something to be proud of now.

    September 18, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  6. ranger 830

    Pakis like Bacha Bazi boys!!!!! For you civis who may not be privey to the Bacha Bazi you should look it up!!!! Get a good look at how these holy muslim warriors spend their down time with little boys!!!!!! YOU SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES. I WOULD BE EMBARESSED TO CALL MYSELF MUSLIM.The most hipocritical, backstabbing,lying ,cheating people ever and not to be trusted the Pakis. RLTW. Bitches, shoot straight and keep your tomahawk sharp and your powder dry.

    September 18, 2011 at 10:50 am | Reply
  7. cgutting

    Sounds like only a few 'dead-enders' left, eh?

    September 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Reply
    • Dan Hubbell

      Another one bites the dust, but it does make one wonder "why" all these "gaxaxy class" a@@#$@%es are ending up dead in Packistan? Some people in that country are all offended and stating that their country's borders are being violated. But it still doesn't sound right to me! With President Usama Bin Obama presently running the US response, it just does not seem like something President Obama would support (think about it) unless he is actually willing to kill off these ai-Qaida types just to get re-elected president (he thinks). Seems kind of cold blooded to me, killing all of these "brothers-in-the failt" just on the "chance" it would get him re-elected president? These "brothers-in-the-faith" are pretty good at that sort of thing too, certainly not something I would recommend even after 9/11.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:09 am | Reply
      • Inprotest

        For brevity – you my friend, are an idiot.

        September 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
      • rk

        Dan you are one stupid mother@#$%. Idiot.

        September 17, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  8. Predator Rattlesnake

    Sleep well, Ayman al-Zawahiri, sleep well!

    September 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  9. Spartacus

    Joe,

    seriously man...do you know what the Koran says about JEWISH PEOPLE AND/OR ANYONE WHO....
    a- is a "non believer"?
    b-in any way critisizes anything written in it, itself?
    c-in any way critisizes the so called "Prophet Muhammed"?
    d-in any way critisizes the religion of Islam?

    do you?

    you should.

    and that's just my opinion,
    someone who thinks the way you do will never , ever change that.
    I have no fear of anyone or anything,
    I face what I do not understand dead on,
    I have the courage of my own convictions and I enjoy telling people
    who spout the B.S. that you have all about it.
    When I have no clue what I am talking about I don't go on the internet and make rediculous assertations that have no basis in fact.

    see ya!
    I say ya got some reading to do...a lot of it.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • IThinkImMe

      To be fair, the bible says the same thing.
      "Thou shalt not worship false idols"
      And any "bible thumper" will damn anyone they deem unworthy or a sinner. Just watch Red State (2011)
      Let he without sin cast the first stone.

      September 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  10. jhnz

    It's time for the world to learn, the "secret code" can achieve a 90% accuracy rate within the oil market. What I'm trying to do is wake you up so that you can see that you can make as much money as you want within the oil market by using the "secret code". So here is the proof, shown live with NO POSSIBLE WAY to fake!! Google Oil Trading Academy to learn more.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  11. Kevin

    One less terrorist to deal with. Good shot, America!😀

    September 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  12. Bin Ladens Anus

    Wake up, U.S.! If you want to find a terrorist, go to Pakistan. They seem to all be gathering in the country that calls themselves allies of the United States and partners in the war on terrorism. Really? Doesn't really seem so, does it?

    September 15, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  13. IThinkImMe

    Hey Bill, I found that quote from Bush talking about being a war-time president. Since you wanted me to source it, heres the source, from his own mouth
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmLXPB8YCd8&w=640&h=390]
    and
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D60SarYBHLI&w=640&h=390]

    September 15, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  14. Frangible

    And this, people, is why Afghanistan will be an eternal war. The Taliban and regional terrorism comes from Pakistan and a couple drones are not sufficient to stop the number of hostile tribals.

    It's like going to war against Nazis, and not invading Germany, then being surprised Nazis are still around.

    September 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  15. Blogson

    The al-Qaeda supposed dead body count is sounding more and more like the ones which the U.S. military issued during the Vietnam war. At this rate, al-Qaeda must be badly depleted. But then, the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army should have been depleted as well, given those body counts. Apparently they won with only a few straggler soldiers remaining . .

    September 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Reply
    • aacon

      Difference is the war on terror never ends until terrorists are eliminated.Their will have to be a small presence always to keep them in check.This war is kind of like chess.No nam.

      September 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Reply
    • ComSenseWiz

      The analogy is weak. The body count totals in Vietnam were minions and ants, not the leadership. In this case, the reference was to the top leadership of Al Qaeda. Apples and oranges.

      September 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Reply
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