Foreign Policy Blogs

The State Department's Hit List in Afghanistan/Pakistan

Every day I get emailed all the press briefings from the US State Department and yesterday, I found this in my inbox:  The State Department has put up bounties of several million dollars, under the Rewards for Justice program, for three men with connections to Al Qaeda, Abu Yahya al-Libi, Baitullah Mehsud, and Sirajuddin Haqqani.  All three of these men are also strongly connected to the Taliban-led insurgency in the tribal areas, with Mehsud one of the group’s main leaders.

abuAbu Yahya al-Libi was only given a million dollar bounty for his capture (the other two $5 mil), was actually in custody once, but escaped from the Bagram prison, and ever since has been a featured propagandist for Al-Qaeda.  He, like the other two, is suspected to be hiding in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

baitullah-mehsudBaitullah Mehsud is the senior leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban and has a bounty of $5 million dollars for his capture.  Mehsud has his hands dirty from many suspected violent, terror attacks, including the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the suicide bombing of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel.  Mehsud has also stated publicly his intent to attack the United States.

haqSirajuddin Haqqani is a senior leader of the Haqqani terrorist network, which was founded by his father Jalaladin Haqqani, and like Mehsud has a $5 million dollar bounty on his seizure. Haqqini has admitted to the assassination of Afghan President Karzai last April.  

These Rewards for Justice bounties are not likely to have much impact on the capture or deaths of any of these dangerous men, but I am pleased that the State Department is actively pursuing them and highlighting to the US, Afghan, Pakistan, and global public the nefarious practices of these treacherous men.  Who knows, with the world’s economy in the dumps, maybe there’ll be more people looking at that cool $5 million in a new light.  Maybe we should put Dog the Bounty Hunter on the case?  Nah.