July 22, 2013 | Quote

Most of Al Qaeda’s Big Names Have Been Either Captured or Killed, But Some Remain

It was the “bullhorn moment” that launched the War on Terror.

Amid the ruins of the World Trade Center, then-President George W. Bush draped his left arm around Firefighter Bob Beckwith while holding a bullhorn with his right.

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah: At large

The highest-profile member of Bin Laden’s inner circle remains. Successor Ayman al Zawahiri, a cantankerous Egyptian physician, regularly taunts the U.S. and Israel with audio messages posted to jihadist websites.

There is speculation Zawahiri is somewhere in Pakistan. Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, says, “That’s certainly possible, but there’s no way to say.”

Mohammed Atef: Dead

Bruce Hoffman, a former CIA official who is a professor at Georgetown University, believes Zawahiri may be hiding in a populated area, just as Bin Laden did.

Drones, which have proven so effective elsewhere in Pakistan, are “problematic to use in built-up urban areas,” Hoffman said.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed: Dead

Further, Joscelyn said, the high risk and local political consequences of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Bin Laden make a similar strike targeting Zawahiri less likely even if he were located.

With seasoned terror leaders now extremely cautious about using cell phones and other forms of electronic communication that can be tracked, the search for Al Qaeda’s remaining leaders relies heavily on human intelligence.

Abdul Rahman Yasin: At large

In the hunt for Zawahiri, the U.S. may be a victim of its own success.

“The trick is to catch someone who’s met with him, or someone who’s met with someone who’s met with him,” but the group is so decimated that many in the intelligence community believe “there aren’t that many people to target,” Joscelyn said.

Read the full article here.


Al Qaeda