Two al Qaeda commanders are reported to have been killed in a US airstrike in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika. The deaths of the jihadist leaders, who are members of an al Qaeda company known as the Badr Mansoor Group, have not been confirmed.
The two were identified by Dawn as Aqalzadin and Ikramullah, who were among seven jihadists reported to have been killed in “a US drone strike” that targeted “a compound near Komal village of Paktika province.” The area is near Pakistan’s tribal agency of South Waziristan, which is a hub for al Qaeda and other Pakistani jihadist groups.
Al Qaeda and other Pakistani jihadist groups have not released a statement announcing the martyrdom of the two Badr Mansoor Group commanders.
It is unclear if the airstrike was carried out by the International Security Assistance Force or the CIA. Both ISAF and the CIA operate the remotely piloted Predators and Reapers in Afghanistan, while the CIA exclusively directs drone strikes in Pakistan. ISAF has not responded to an inquiry by The Long War Journal on the operation, whereas the CIA does not release information on its air operations in Afghanistan or across the border in Pakistan.
Al Qaeda is known to maintain a presence in Paktika province, which is a hub for the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, a powerful Taliban subgroup. On June 2, jihadist forums published a video titled “We are on a journey to the hereafter,” and was released by As Sahab in the Subcontinent. As Sahab is the name of al Qaeda’s official media arm.
The video showed al Qaeda operatives conducting training exercises and executing attacks in Paktika’s Urgun district. The video included a speech by Hajji Abdullah Afghani and another unnamed Afghan al Qaeda commander who called for Muslims across the world to wage jihad.
“Waging jihad is obligatory upon all Muslims and upon the entire Muslim Ummah,” the unnamed al Qaeda commander said in a speech. He continued: “And why should we wage jihad? So that the Koran can become the ultimate authority in the entire world!” according to a translation of the speech that was obtained by The Long War Journal.