A drone strike in the Waziristan border region of Pakistan killed 15 people on Monday. The target of the strike was Abu Yahya al-Libi who isconsidered to be Ayman al-Zawahiri’s second in command of al Qaeda. Unnamed intelligence officials have confirmed that al-Libi was killed in the strike.
Meanwhile, Taliban commanders are claiming that al-Libi’s vehicle was struckbut that he was not in it at the time. Monday’s drone strike was thethird in the region over the weekend. An unnamed “security analyst” saysthis strongly suggests there was good intel that al-Libi was in the area.
Al-Libi was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 by NATO and sent to a high-security prison in Bagram. However, he escaped prison in 2005 andreturned to Waziristan. Since then, his profile has become more public.ABC reports that he appeared in multiple propaganda videos for al Qaedain the past two years.
Pakistan has condemned the strikes and summoned an American representative to deliver a formal complaint about the action. Relations with Pakistan have deteriorated sharply in the past month after Shakeel Afridi, a doctor who assisted the CIA in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to 33 years in jail just two weeks ago. Time magazine reports today that there is concern for Dr. Afridi’s safety.
There has also been controversy in this country over the drone strikes. Less than a week ago, the New York Times penned an editorial which noted, “The administration is counting all military-age males killed by dronefire as combatants without knowing that for certain, assuming they areup to no good if they are in the area.” As a result of this policy, the White House claims that no civilians are killed in these attacks.