Pakistani Forces Pound Alleged Hideout

Pakistani Forces Pound Alleged Hideout (AP)

About 1,000 Pakistani soldiers backed by helicopter gunships, mortars and artillery Wednesday pounded a mountainous region near the Afghan border where a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers is believed to be hiding.

The assault targeted the village of Spinkai Raghzai in South Waziristan, a tribal region where the Pakistani army has been hunting Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida associates. But the top military commander in the region said Tuesday it was unlikely bin Laden was hiding in the area, as U.S. authorities suspect.

Abdullah Mehsud, a former prisoner at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba who was released in March, had been hiding in the area. The one-legged militant, who is Pakistani, is believed responsible for the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers on Oct. 9. Since returning home, he has taken command of militants in South Waziristan and has forged ties with al-Qaida, Pakistani intelligence officials say.

Also Wednesday, intelligence officials said they had captured a suspected al-Qaida communications expert of Middle Eastern origin whom they identified as Abdul Rahman. Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed confirmed the arrest of a terror suspect, but would not provide further details on when or where he was captured. The man did not appear to be on either the FBI (news – web sites)’s most-wanted terror list or a similar Pakistani list.

So, we’re chasing after a one-legged terrorist who we had in custody after 9/11 and then let go? Lovely.

FILED UNDER: Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anjin-San says:

    Why does this suprise you? While Bush obsesses on Iraq, the war on terror is botched. We are spending 30 billion a year on homeland security, great. We blow thru almost that much in a month in Iraq.

    Apparently the Bush admin is now persuing a “catch and release” policy with terrorists…. Oh yea, but Bush “never said” he was not really worried about Bin Laden. Now I will sleep better.

  2. ken says:

    Just how many one legged terrorists are there?

    Hmm… I wonder if there may be a connection between getting a leg blown off by a western superpower and taking up arms against them.

  3. Anjin-San says:

    Funny, Bush supporters would rather take cheap shots at Kerry in the caption contest then talk about the bungled war on terror…

  4. brenton says:

    just a quick thought, if i may. clearly, the war on terror has not been waged perfectly.

    two things on that, though: first, this is not an argument for either not engaging in said or a way to fix it. the oft-repeated statement that ‘the war on terror has been bungled’ is not particularly constructive by itself. many geo-political situations have been bungled and still turned out just fine (it’s not like the countries that would eventually be the allies recognized and contained the threat of nazism immediately–just the most dramatic example i can think of). second, does not the very name “war on terror” seem like this particular conflict might lend itself to the second-guessing of alleged bungling? i mean, the adversary is a shadowy network of ruthless religious fanatics with little compassion for human life. it’s pretty tough to anticipate and counter every maneuver of such a foe. i, for one, don’t think i’d be very good at trying to think like an islamofascist terrorist, and then trying to guess the best way to hem in their destructive influence.

    is constructive second-guessing bad? of course not, when it is coupled with a constructive counter-plan. just saying that things have been ‘bungled’ is only giving way to emotion; it is gratifying to see your opinion appear on a computer screen. (this gratification, obviously, is my reward for this thing i’m currently typing.)

    also, is it easier (and more pleasant) to write funny captions for funny pictures? yes, of course. so don’t wonder at such a phenomenon.