Pakistan May Have No. 2 Al Qaeda Leader Surrounded
By Jim Garamone
Aliases: Abu Muhammad, Abu Fatima, Muhammad Ibrahim, Abu
Abdallah, Abu al-Mu’iz, The Doctor, The Teacher, Nur, Ustaz,
Abu Mohammed, Abu Mohammed Nur al-Deen, Abdel Muaz, Dr.
Ayman al Zawahiri. For more information Click HERE.
2004 – Pakistani officials believe they have the No. 2 man
in al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, cornered.
forces have about 200 al Qaeda fighters surrounded close to the
border with Afghanistan. News reports said he Pakistani military
is waiting until daybreak to launch air attacks on the area.
a close ally and confidant of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.
Western officials suspect him of helping to plan the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks in the United States. He also is suspected of complicity
in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, terrorist acts in Egypt
and the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The United States has offered a reward of up to $25 million for
bin Laden met when the two men fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan
in the 1980s. Zawahiri was the leader of the Egyptian Islamic
Jihad terror group. He is a physician.
In the past
two months, Pakistan has made a concerted effort to sweep through
the border area with Afghanistan. The mountainous area between
the two countries has given Taliban and al Qaeda members the opportunity
to slip back and forth between the two countries.
military seldom entered the area. It was a stronghold of Pathan
tribes, and an unwritten agreement among tribal leaders and the
Pakistani government left them undisturbed. The government of
Pakistani President Purvez Musharraf worked with tribal leaders
before launching the offensive. Many tribal leaders agreed with
the government and worked to identify areas where terrorists were
praised the Pakistanis for their work. "Pakistan has been
a tremendous ally in the war against terror," said Army Lt.
Col. Jim Cassella, a Pentagon spokesman. "They have captured
or killed more al Qaeda than any other country."
background, U.S. officials said the United States has been working
with Pakistani officials economically to strengthen the country,
and militarily to strengthen the army’s capabilities. "They
are well-prepared for operations in that mountainous environment,"
a U.S. official said.
would not say whether they have confirmation that Zawahiri is,
indeed, surrounded, and stressed that while his death or capture
would further weaken al Qaeda, it would not be a fatal blow to
the terror organization.