Al-Qaeda's New Leadership
Khalid Habib, Afghan Field Commander
Habib serves as a field commander for al-Qaeda along the Afghan-Pakistani border, according to U.S. military officials.
He first emerged publicly in November 2005 in a videotape delivered to the Pajhwok Afghan News agency in Peshawar, Pakistan. In the video, titled "Defeating the Cross," al-Qaeda included a statement naming Habib as its commander in southeast Afghanistan and Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi as its commander in southwest Afghanistan.
Two months later, Pakistani officials initially reported that Habib was killed in a U.S. missile airstrike on the village of Damadola, Pakistan, near the Afghan border. Pakistani security officials have withdrawn that assertion in recent interviews, saying that no al-Qaeda leaders died in the attack.
Habib is believed to have worked closely with al-Iraqi to coordinate al-Qaeda's military presence in Afghanistan. Al-Iraqi was captured on his way to Iraq late last year and handed over to the CIA, who secretly kept him in custody until April, when he was transferred to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Habib may be operating under an assumed identity, according to some counterterrorism analysts. One of his nom de guerres is believed to be Khalid al Harbi.
— Craig Whitlock and Munir Ladaa