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He was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 for planning to kill President Musharraf, but was later released. He became increasingly important to Al-Qaeda, becoming the leader of its “Shadow Army,” and became involved with operations against the West. One European intelligence officer said this position makes him “the most important guy linking Al-Qaeda with Western recruits.” One such recruit is Raja Lahrasib Khan of Chicago who has been arrested for providing material support to Al-Qaeda. Khan said that Kashmiri is actively seeking operatives for attacks in the U.S., and is the “main key, after Osama Bin Laden.”
Kashmiri has been tied to various plots in the West. He was involved in the 2009 plot to blow up New York City subways, and was one of the masterminds behind plans to carry out Mumbai-style attacks throughout Western Europe last year. He also planned an attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons mocking Mohammed. An American terrorist recruit named David Headley testified that Kashmiri dispatched operatives to conduct surveillance on the CEO of Lockheed Martin in preparation for his murder.
He is also responsible for highly-sophisticated attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He put together the suicide bombing of Operation Base Chapman, which assists the drone campaign. He orchestrated several assassination plots against Pakistani officials, including Prime Minister Gilani. Al-Qaeda vetoed one plan of Kashmiri’s to kill General Kayani, the army chief of staff. He also is believed to be behind a dramatic attack on the headquarters of the Pakistani army in 2009 and a raid on a naval base in May. He also planned spectacular attacks in India with the goal of provoking war between India and Pakistan. Kashmiri hoped that a war would end Pakistani operations against terrorists.
Kashmiri’s latest activity is said to be overseeing the creation of “Lashkar-e-Osama,” or “Army of Osama.” A few days before the drone strike that allegedly killed him, Kashmiri met with members of the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan to plan the group’s campaign. The participants discussed attacking the embassies of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in Pakistan. They also talked about poisoning NATO soldiers in Afghanistan and attacking Pakistan’s largest munitions factory.
Although we do not know if Kashmiri is indeed dead, the confirmed death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed in Somalia is also a major setback for Al-Qaeda. Thought to be the chief of the terrorist group’s operations in East Africa, Mohammed was at the top of the FBI’s most-wanted list for masterminding the simultaneous bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 that killed 224 people. He is also believed to be behind a 2002 bombing of a hotel in Kenya owned by an Israeli that killed 14 people. The bombing coincided with an attempt to down an Israeli airliner with a missile.
Mohammed was killed after he and his driver got lost and unexpectedly ran into a security checkpoint. Their truck was fired upon when they tried to flee. A senior U.S. counterterrorism official described his death as a “strong kick in the gut” for Al-Qaeda.
The war against radical Islamic terrorism will continue, but the death of every enemy commander brings us a step closer to its finish.
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