US airstrike kills high-profile terrorist leader
The DOD has confirmed that a U.S. counter-terrorism airstrike conducted March 19 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, resulted in the death of Qari Yasin, a well-known Al Qaeda terrorist leader responsible for the deaths of dozens of innocent victims, including two American service members.
Yasin, a senior terrorist figure from Balochistan, Pakistan, had ties to Tehrik-e Taliban and had plotted multiple Al Qaeda terror attacks, including the Sept. 20, 2008, bombing on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad that killed dozens of innocent people, among them U.S. Air Force Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriguez and Navy Cryptologic Technician Third Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O’Bryant.
Yasin was also responsible for the 2009 attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed and six members of the team injured.
“The death of Qari Yasin is evidence that terrorists who defame Islam and deliberately target innocent people will not escape justice,” said Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.
The Long War Journal reports that Mohammad Khurasani, the Pakistani Taliban spokesman, describes Yasin 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 bombs, according to the Long War Journal.
Yasin has decades of experience with jihadist factions operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to The Nation, he had worked for Amjad Farooqi, the Pakistani terrorist who engineered two assassination attempts against Musharraf in Dec. 2003 at the behest of al Qaeda leader Abu Faraj al Libi. The Long War Journal reports that Farooqi 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.
The US has been hunting Yasin for several years. In Dec. 2013, the Pakistani government listed Yasin as the tenth most wanted terrorist in the country, according to Long War Journal.