RealNews

Al-Qaida Says Arrest Won't Cripple It

Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network lost a key operative with the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, but Taliban fugitives and al-Qaida allies said Sunday the arrest will not cripple the organization. “There is not just one person there. For every one Khalid Shaikh there are 10 others. There are lots of people who can do his work,” said an Afghan rebel who gave his name as Ahmed but who also goes by Abu Bilal. Mohammed, 37, is suspected of planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. He was captured early Saturday in a joint raid by Pakistani and CIA agents, officials said, and now is believed to be in U.S. custody overseas. His arrest may mean less money — though only temporarily — for al-Qaida and its allies, Ahmed said. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Mohammed’s main work for al-Qaida was to move money and recruit operatives, said Ahmed, a fund-raiser for the Afghan rebel commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Ahmed said he had known Mohammed since the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the 1980s. Back then, Mohammed and his brother ran a Saudi-funded Islamic charity in Peshawar, Ahmed said. Ahmed said Mohammed never would have been arrested had he stayed along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. On the Afghan side are mountains with plenty of places to hide. On the other is a semiautonomous region known as Pakistan’s tribal region. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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