The White House is confirming that al-Qaeda‚??s second-in-command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, has been killed in a town near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.¬† He was apparently just a wee bit on the Pakistan side of the border when his 72 virgins were delivered by Predator Express, so the Pakistani Foreign Ministry condemned the attack as ‚??illegal.‚?Ě
The area around Libi‚??s compound was subjected to three different drone strikes over the past three days.¬† CBS News counts eight drone strikes on Pakistani soil over the past two weeks.¬† It would have been a shame to leave Afghanistan without offering the Taliban and al-Qaeda a proper farewell.
Speaking of which, isn‚??t there supposed to be an al-Qaeda-free path to peace stretching into Afghanistan‚??s future?¬† Why are those guys still hanging out in the militant compounds that apparently blossom organically across certain regions of Pakistan?
The UK Telegraph offers some background on the late Abu Yahya al-Libi:
Libi, a Libyan citizen believed to be in his late 40s, was thought dead in 2009 only to re-emerge months later, churning out propaganda messages.
He carries a $1m US bounty on his head and was captured in 2002 when Nato forces overran Afghanistan. However, he was part of an al-Qaeda breakout three years later increasing his cachet in militant circles.
Some terror experts believe he took over as deputy leader last year, following the death of Atiyah abd al-Rahman also in a drone strike in North Waziristan.
Ben Venzke, an analyst at the US-based IntelCenter, said that Libi‚??s death would be a severe blow to international jihadi groups.
‚??The loss of Abu Yahya al-Libi would be felt throughout the jihadi community as he has been one of the most visible jihadi figures from any of the groups around the world, with prolific video releases and writings,‚?Ě he said.
U.S. drone strikes have occurred with increasing frequency as our relationship with Pakistan grew more strained, particularly since we couldn‚??t come to an agreement about allowing NATO supply convoys to reach Afghanistan through Pakistani territory.¬† This apparently made certain American robots very angry.¬† Perhaps they would calm down and reboot themselves if the Pakistanis did something about all those militant compounds.