A report published recently in the respected publication, Asia Times, states that Qari Hussain Mehsud, a high ranking al Qaeda deputy who helped organize the murder of seven American CIA operatives last year, was killed earlier this month in a drone attack in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area. Syed Saleem Shahzad, author of the account, writes that Mehsud’s specialty in the al Qaeda organization was “training suicide bombers”, one of whom carried out a horrific suicide attack against CIA personnel at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, last December.
Mehsud’s messenger of death, a Jordanian doctor posing as a double agent with important information, was welcomed at the base where he detonated a suicide vest before he could be searched. The resulting loss of seven CIA operatives, including the station chief, made it “the deadliest attack” against the intelligence agency since the 1983 Beirut bombing.
“But the damage done to the CIA in this attack cannot be overestimated,” claimed one intelligence analyst. “At least one of the agency’s top analysts on al Qaeda was killed. In an intelligence war, this is the equivalent of sinking an aircraft carrier.”
Americans may also be familiar with the Pakistani terrorist’s most recent attempt to kill Americans. Mehsud was the one who recruited in Pakistan American citizen Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, and the eight members of his cell, sending them to one of his “suicide training camps” in North Waziristan. But Shahzad must not have been a good student, since he failed to set off a bomb-rigged vehicle at the famous New York venue last May, for which he received life in prison without parole.
Mehsud’s unlamented demise is the result of the CIA’s highly successful “decapitation” campaign, in which drones target high-level terrorist operatives hiding in Pakistan. Starting in 2008, an estimated 700 al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists have been killed by the drone’s Hellfire missile. Particularly painful for al Qaeda and their allies, according to military observers, is the fact that about two dozen top-level leaders, like Mehsud, and 100 mid-level ones are among the dead. The loss of mid-level cadres is apparently hurting the two terrorist organizations the most, since these are the experienced field commanders who translate their leaders’ plans into reality.