Abdullah Mehsud

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Abdullah Mehsud
Abdullah Mehsud -- most wanted poster.png
Abdullah Mehsud from his US "most wanted poster".
Born 1974
Helmand, Afghanistan
Died Balochistan, Pakistan
Detained at Guantanamo
Alternate name Said Mohammed Alim Shah, Noor Alam (birth name)
ISN 92
Alleged to be a member of Taliban
Charge(s) no charge, held in extrajudicial detention
Status released, "returned to the battlefield", KIA

Abdullah Mehsud (Pashto: عبدالله مهسود‎) (Urdu: عبدالله محسود‎) (1974 – 24 July 2007) was a member of the Mahsud tribe in South Waziristan, and a Pashtun militant commander who killed himself with a hand grenade after security forces raided his dwelling in Zhob, Balochistan, Pakistan.[1]

American authorities later claimed that he had originally been a prisoner in the Guantanamo bay detainment camps, who was judicially released and subsequently "returned to the battlefield".

Early life[edit]

Abdullah Mehsud (Muhammad Alam Mahsud) was born in early 1974 in Nano village of South Waziristan, and was a member of the Mehsud clan Saleemi Khel in South Waziristan. Abdullah Mehsud fought against the Northern Alliance and lost a leg to a landmine in 1996.[2]

Capture[edit]

During the opening days of Operation Enduring Freedom, Mehsud fought against U.S. and Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan. In December 2001, he surrendered to the Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum in the Battle of Kunduz.[3] He was handed over to the U.S. and spent 25 months in Guantanamo Bay detention camp, where he was fitted with a prosthetic limb.[4] He was released by the U.S. and returned to South Waziristan.

Return to the battlefield[edit]

After his release, Mehsud immediately begin rebuilding his Taliban cadre. He commanded a force of up to 5,000 Taliban fighters. He then began initiating attacks on coalition soldiers in Afghanistan.[5]

In Waziristan, Mehsud was believed to be behind the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers from the building of the Gomal Zam Dam, which left one hostage dead during a botched rescue attempt. He was also alleged to have been behind an attack on Pakistan's Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao that killed 31 people.[1]

In March 2005 a Department of Defense document claimed:[6]

Mahsud, now reputed to be a militant leader, claimed to be an office clerk and driver for the Taliban from 1996 to 1998 or 1999.[6] He consistently denied having any affiliation with al Qaida. He also claimed to have received no weapons or military training due to his handicap (an amputation resulting from when he stepped on a land mine 10 years ago). He claimed that after September 11, 2001 he was forcibly conscripted by the Taliban military.

In 2005, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced that Mehsud had been killed by ISI forces, only to later retract the statement.[7]

Mehsud was one of the first three former Guantanamo captives the Bush Presidency reported had returned to the battlefield. As of July 2007 spokesmen reported that over thirty captives had returned to the battlefield, or associated with terrorists, after their release. As of July 2007 the spokesmen had named seven of those individuals.

Promise to never surrender[edit]

Sikh Spectrum reported that during a telephone interview in 2004, Abdullah Mehsud promised to never surrender. [8]

Death[edit]

On 24 July 2007, Mehsud was at a house with other militants in Zhob, Balochistan. A team of law enforcement agencies conducted a raid on the house where he was staying. Mehsud killed himself by detonating a hand grenade. During the raid, several other militants were killed , Abdul Rahman Mehsud and Muhammad Azam, were captured along with a local Taliban leader.[9]

Relationship with Baitullah Mehsud[edit]

Abdullah Mehsud has been described as a leader of Baitullah Mehsud, a tribal leader of the Waziri Mehsud tribe.[10] Other sources merely assert that they were clansmen, or associates.[11][12][13] Islam Online reports that Baitullah suspected that Abdullah was a double agent.[14]

Defense Intelligence Agency claims he "returned to terrorism"[edit]

The Defense Intelligence Agency asserted Abdullah Mahsud had "returned to terrorism".[15] The DIA reported:

Abdullah Mahsud blew himself up to avoid capture by Pakistani forces in July 2007. According to a Pakistani government official, Mahsud directed a suicide attack in April 2007 that killed 31 people. After being transferred to Afghanistan in March 2004, Mahsud sought several media interviews and became well known for his attacks in Pakistan. In October 2004, he kidnapped two Chinese engineers and claimed responsibility for an Islamabad hotel bombing.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Mehsud behind attack: Sherpao". Dawn (newspaper). 30 April 2007. Retrieved 24 October 2007. 
  2. ^ Pakistani Taliban commander Abdullah Mehsud killed during raid - The Long War Journal
  3. ^ South Asia Tribune, Pakistan Army pays more than half million dollars to al-Qaeda in bizarre deal, 10 February 2005
  4. ^ Pakistani Officers: Gitmo Detainees Abuse Guards
  5. ^ http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/07/pakistani_taliban_co.php
  6. ^ a b "JTF -GTMO Information on Detainees" (PDF). Department of Defense. 4 March 2005. Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Salman Masood (25 July 2007). "Taliban Leader Is Said to Evade Capture by Blowing Himself Up". New York Times. Retrieved 24 October 2007. 
  8. ^ Mohammad Shehzad (February 2004). "I Will Never Surrender: Abdullah Mehsud" (19). Sikh Spectrum. Retrieved 3 March 2008. 
  9. ^ Abdul Rahman Mehsud and Muhammad Azam
  10. ^ "Former Guantanamo inmate blows himself up in Pakistan". Dawn (newspaper). 24 July 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2008. "During Mehsud's time on the run, his brother Baitullah had taken over from him as one of the top Taliban commanders in Pakistan's tribal regions." 
  11. ^ "Pakistan tribal leaders threaten to resume attacks against government". The News. 29 July 2005. Retrieved 3 March 2008. "Baitullah Mehsud, who abandoned his more well-known colleague Abdullah Mehsud to cut a peace deal with the government some months ago in return for amnesty, has warned of "terrible attacks" against the government if he and his men..." 
  12. ^ Bill Roggio (24 July 2007). "Pakistani Taliban commander Abdullah Mehsud killed during raid". Longwar Journal. Retrieved 3 March 2008. "Abdullah Mehsud, born Noor Alam, was a member of the Mehsud clan in South Waziristan, and was a clansman of Baitullah Mehsud, the most powerful commander in the tribal agency." 
  13. ^ Saleem Shahid (25 July 2007). "Cornered militant blows himself up". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 3 March 2008. "Security was beefed up in Zhob and on Balochistan's border with Waziristan after the killing of Abdullah Mehsud, the most important Taliban commander in the country after Baitullah Mehsud." 
  14. ^ Aamir Latif (29 January 2008). "Pakistan's Most Wanted". Islam Online. Retrieved 3 March 2008. 
  15. ^ "Fact Sheet: Former GTMO Detainee Terrorism Trends" (PDF). Defense Intelligence Agency. 13 June 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2008.  webcitation.org

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