March 17th, 2010
06:23 PM ET

Around the Web: al Qaeda ‘on the run,’ Panetta says

CIA Director Leon Panetta told the Washington Post that the recent attacks in Pakistan have al Qaeda “on the run.”
"Those operations are seriously disrupting al-Qaeda," Panetta said. "It's pretty clear from all the intelligence we are getting that they are having a very difficult time putting together any kind of command and control, that they are scrambling. And that we really do have them on the run." FULL POST

March 16th, 2010
08:20 PM ET

Analysis: The last 100 yards to bin Laden

The fact that Attorney General Eric Holder believes that Osama bin Laden will not be found alive is not surprising to those I speak to in the national security community.

Senior military and intelligence officials have said to me over the years they don't really expect to get bin Laden alive.


March 12th, 2010
12:51 PM ET

Why all the confusion about identities of prize catches?

Adam Gadahn, a U.S.-born spokesman for al Qaeda

Was he or wasn't he?  You might have been scratching your head as you read conflicting reports about whether Adam Gadahn, the American-born mouthpiece for al Qaeda, had been captured in Pakistan.  Some unnamed Pakistani officials said they got him, while anonymous American officials shot back that there is no evidence to support the claim. 

Now we are as certain as we can be that it is not him.  We have both Pakistani and American officials saying Gadahn is not in custody, but why the contradictions, the confusion in the first place? 

Former senior U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials say the Pakistani government has been very good at letting the U.S. know within a reasonable period of time when it has captured someone noteworthy.  Furthermore, they say the Pakistanis want credit for it.  But it can be complicated.  FULL POST

March 8th, 2010
07:30 AM ET

Mixed reports over whether al Qaeda American arrested

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) - The identity and nationality of an alleged al Qaeda operative arrested in Pakistan remained shrouded in mystery and conflicting information Monday, a day after Pakistani officials said one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists was in custody.

A Pakistani military official told CNN Monday that the man arrested is a foreign operative linked to al Qaeda. The official did not specifically describe the man as American, and gave no further details.

On Sunday, a senior Pakistani government official told CNN that Adam Gadahn, a U.S.-born spokesman for al Qaeda, had been arrested. A second senior Pakistani government official later confirmed Gadahn's arrest.

But a U.S. intelligence official said there appeared to be no validity to the reports that Gadahn was in custody. Other U.S. officials also said they had no indication Gadahn had been captured.

Read the full story

Filed under: al Qaeda • Pakistan
March 3rd, 2010
10:20 AM ET

Bad two months for the Taliban

I’ve lived in Pakistan for more than two years and this is the worst two-month stretch I’ve seen the Taliban suffer through during my stay. The Taliban are in a slump and much of it has to do with Pakistan’s top spy agency and Pakistani security forces turning up the heat. FULL POST

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Filed under: al Qaeda • Haqqani • Pakistan • Taliban
March 3rd, 2010
07:21 AM ET

Whatever happened to bin Laden?

Osama bin Laden - remember him? Where is he, and is the U.S. getting closer to killing or capturing him?

Those are the questions hovering over several recent developments in the Afghanistan war: the capture of Afghan Taliban military leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar,  the killing of two key Taliban commanders  and an increase in drone attacks.


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Filed under: al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden
February 21st, 2010
08:18 AM ET

Was Taliban leader's capture really a good thing?

As coalition forces and insurgents battle each other in Marjah, some NATO and Afghan officials are talking about integration and reconciliation. CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour spoke with Taliban expert and journalist Ahmed Rashid, who's written many books on the subject, including the best-selling "Taliban." They discuss how Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar's capture could be a Catch-22, the likelihood of Taliban reconciliation and if there have already been secret meetings between the Taliban and Afghan government to discuss this. FULL POST

Filed under: al Qaeda • Baradar • Operation Moshtarak • Pakistan • Taliban
February 2nd, 2010
03:54 PM ET

Who is Sirajuddin Haqqani?

Sirajuddin Haqqani, or Siraj Haqqani, is a senior Taliban commander and leader of the Haqqani network, which was founded by his father Jalaladin Haqqani. A long-time ally of al Qaeda, the group operates on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and is well known to the U.S. military.

Haqqani has been a part of attacks against U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. In news interviews, he has claimed planning the April 2008 assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the 2008 attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including a U.S. citizen, according to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center. Last year,  the U.S. State Department announced a $5 million reward for information leading to Haqqani.

In 2008, a U.S. missile strike on the Haqqani compound killed Haqqani family members including wives and children. In July 2009, an American soldier and three Afghan soldiers were captured by low-level militants and then quickly "sold" to Haqqani.

Haqqani was born around 1973. The elder Haqqani, Jalaladin, was among the mujahadeen fighters who received U.S. help to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

RELATED: Drone strike targeted Sirajuddin Haqqani

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Filed under: al Qaeda • Haqqani • Pakistan • Taliban
January 29th, 2010
12:03 PM ET

Report: Bin Laden tape blames U.S. for climate change

(CNN) - A newly released audio message allegedly from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden condemns the United States and other industrial nations for causing climate change. The message was released Friday by the Arab network Al-Jazeera, based in Doha, Qatar.

"This is a message to the whole world about those responsible for climate change and its repercussions – whether intentionally or unintentionally – and about the action we must take," bin Laden says in the tape, according to  Al-Jazeera's Web site. "George Bush junior, preceded by congress, dismissed the [Kyoto Protocol] agreement to placate giant corporations. And they are themselves standing behind speculation, monopoly and soaring living costs."

The Kyoto Pact is a U.N. treaty adopted in December 1997, which has been signed by more than 100 nations, excluding the United States.

It was not immediately clear if the message represented an entire tape or was part of a previous one.

Last weekend, another purported tape from bin Laden was released in which he claimed responsibility for an attempt to blow up a plane en route to Michigan on Christmas Day. CNN could not independently confirm the authenticity of either message. However, the CIA has in the past confirmed Al-Jazeera reports on tapes from the al Qaeda leader.

Filed under: al Qaeda • Osama bin Laden
January 28th, 2010
07:48 AM ET

Al Qaeda, ISI blamed for Quran burning

Kabul, Afghanistan - The Afghan government is blaming Pakistani intelligence agents and al Qaeda for burned Qurans found in Helmand Province last week, a spokesman for the provincial government said.

A sack of burned Qurans was discovered by troops with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan forces, said Daoud Ahmadi, the Helmand government spokesman, on Wednesday. The Quran is the holy book of Islam.

They were found in a home in the district of Garmsir on Friday along with some ammunition, Ahmadi said. The owner of the home said the Qurans' burning was caused by an airstrike, but there was no other damage from an airstrike in the area, he added.

The owner of the home - whose son is a member of the Taliban - has been arrested in connection with the discovery, Ahmadi said. Two others have also been arrested, he said, for allegedly distributing pages of the burned Quran to area villagers. FULL POST

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Filed under: al Qaeda • Pakistan