Al-Qaida’s “number three” killed in Pakistan

Josef Litobarski
13 August 2008

A senior al-Qaida leader was reported to have been killed in Pakistan on Tuesday. Abu Saeed Masri, also known as Mustafa Abu Yazid, was thought to be the head of al-Qaida operations in Afghanistan and number three in the organisation as a whole. His death will strike a blow against al-Qaida in Afghanistan, but given the decentralised nature of the terrorist group, it remains to be seen whether it will be more than a symbolic victory in the wider "war on terror." 

Masri was apparently killed in heavy fighting between militants and the Pakistani army along the border with Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban, allied with Al-Qaeda, has declared "open war" in response to the military offensives of the Pakistani army. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed up to 14 people and destroyed a truck carrying Pakistani air force staff on Tuesday. A Taliban spokesman said attacks would continue unless the army ceased operations in the Swat valley region of Pakistan.

The toD verdict: The security situation in Pakistan is deteriorating rapidly. Whilst the Pakistani government tries to Keep up to date with the latest developments and sharpest perspectives in a world of strife and struggle.

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impeach President Musharraf, al-Qaida is reportedly trying to exploit the political turmoil in Pakistan to strengthen its position in the region - analysts have described a "resurgent" al-Qaida, rebuilding its network in Pakistan's tribal regions and striking at targets in Afghanistan, before retreating again across the border where it is difficult for NATO forces to pursue them.

The frustration felt by NATO forces in Afghanistan at this situation has led to unilateral attacks across the border, angering Pakistan. The latest such attack reportedly occurred on Wednesday when at least 10 militants were killed in explosions at two training camps, as a result of an alleged US missile strike, according to Pakistani officials.

Pakistan's offensive against militants in the region is aimed, among other things, at demonstrating to the west that Pakistan can deal with insurgents within its borders. Yet the problem for Pakistan is that these offensives stir up a hornet's nest of militant activity, prompting more unilateral attacks from the US. It will be a difficult cycle to break, but if not properly dealt with, it could easily escalate out of control.

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