Abu al-Layth al-Libi
MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY COMBATING TERRORISM CENTER
Pagination or Media Count:
In the tradition of post-911 senior Arab militant figures operating in Khurasan the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, there is little doubt as to the standing of Libyan jihadi commander Abu al-Layth al-Libi. If Usama bin Ladin and Ayman al-Zawahiri came to be the most prominent Arab-Afghan leaders in the wake of the so-called War on Terror, these two were largely absent from the field command in Afghanistan and Pakistan, instead confining their role to strategic guidance by defining the parameters of the global jihad. When it came to leading combat on the front lines, it was al-Libi, a longtime leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group LIFG, who rapidly established himself as the champion of the Arab-Afghan milieu after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Just like the Saudi jihadi commander Khattab Samir al-Suwaylim in Chechnya, al-Libi became the public face of the Arab field command in Afghanistan, personally training and directing his fighters on the battlefield. Coupled with his pioneering role in publicizing the activities of the insurgency, his strong dedication and involvement in the day-to-day armed jihad in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region earned him popularity and respect in jihadi circles. Thus, his name still largely dominates the jihadi literature covering key Arab commanders who fought and died in Khurasan. Al-Libi s stardom is even more remarkable given that he did not submit to the authority of al-Qaida, the dominant organization in the Arab-Afghan landscape, until the last year of his life. Before that, he commanded his own fighting force and functioned as an essential magnet for jihadi volunteers indeed, as many Arab volunteers arriving in Khurasan discovered, all roads lead to al-Libi.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Unconventional Warfare