.
.
.
.

Son of the spiritual head of the Egyptian Islamic Group killed in Afghanistan

Published:

The Egyptian Islamic Group announced on its website that the son of its spiritual leader, the 'Blind Sheikh,' who is in a U.S. jail for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan.

The group said that Ahmed Omar Abdul Rahman, who is also known as Saif, “was killed in an American air bombing from an unmanned plane on the frontlines in Afghanistan,” according to the translation by the SITE Intelligence Group for the brief statement that was released on the group’s website.

Two of the jailed sheikh’s sons are known to have developed close ties to al-Qaeda.

One son, Asim Abdul Rahman, who is also known as Abu Asim, is reported to have signed onto al Qaeda's International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders back in 1998. He is also rumored to have been granted citizenship by the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Suicide bombing in Panjshir

Meanwhile, suicide bombers struck inside Afghanistan’s fiercely anti-Taliban Panjshir valley on Saturday, the first time in a decade of war that the insurgents have managed to use their trademark tactic in the normally peaceful northern province.

Four bombers targeted the Provincial Reconstruction Team headquarters, which houses U.S. and Afghan troops and civilians, around dawn, Afghan and NATO officials said.

They were halted outside the base, but the deputy provincial Governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri said they had killed two civilians and wounded two guards when they detonated their explosives.

Panjshir Provincial Police Chief Qaseem Junglebagh disputed that toll and said the four men were all shot dead by security forces before they could set off the bombs.

A spokesman for NATO-led forces confirmed there had been a suicide attack, but said the compound was not breached and there were no foreign casualties.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, and said the bombers were from Panjshir province.

In separate news, the U.S. missiles killed six suspected militants in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border Saturday, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The strikes were part of a flurry of such attacks which could indicate a more aggressive American strategy against insurgents finding sanctuary there.
The United States is pressing Pakistan for action against Afghan insurgents in the region, especially the Haqqani network that it says is the No. 1 threat in Afghanistan and receives assistance from the Pakistan army.

Independently of what Pakistan does, Washington may up the tempo of missile strikes or widen their targeting, although either option could strain its already complicated relationship with Islamabad.

Washington has regularly used drones since 2008 to pummel insurgents and their hideouts in Pakistani tribal regions. U.S. officials do not acknowledge the CIA-led program. Pakistan publicly protests the strikes, which are unpopular in this Islamic nation, but tolerates them in practice.