Family members surround caskets during a mass funeral in Miranshah, North Waziristan, June 16. Local residents said the dead were killed in a drone attack a day earlier
HAJI MUJ TABA/REU TERS
Drone strikes protect America from Al Qaeda’s terror
In another major blow to Al Qaeda, a United States drone
strike August 22 in the North Waziristan tribal area of
Pakistan killed the organization’s new number two commander, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. The successful strike
demonstrates the importance of continuing the drone missile campaign along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan as
a cornerstone of the mission to degrade and eventually
defeat Al Qaeda.
Pakistani officials and media outlets regularly criticize
the drone missile strikes as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty. But the US is highly unlikely to relent in its drone
campaign since the tactic has proven to be the most effective tool for the US to destroy Al Qaeda’s leadership and
disrupt its ability to plot and train for attacks across the
Al-Rahman, a Libyan national, had risen to Al Qaeda’s
number two spot following the elimination of Osama bin
Laden May 2. In addition to serving as the primary liaison
to Al Qaeda’s organizational networks in Iraq and Iran, al-Rahman had bolstered Al Qaeda’s position in Algeria by
helping form Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The elimination of al-Rahman — a central operational
planner for the organization — is another sign that Al
Qaeda is weakening. Al-Rahman had directed American
terrorist Bryant Neal Vinas, who helped Al Qaeda with a
plot to bomb the New York City subway in 2009. Al-
Rahman had also directed terrorist plots in Europe and
played a role in the suicide bombing that killed seven
Central Intelligence Agency operatives in Afghanistan in
Lisa Curtis is Senior Research Fellow for South Asia in the
Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.
Reproduced with The Heritage Foundation’s permission.