Following the failed attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 by Nigerian Umar Abdulmutallab — a man with ties to al-Qaeda in Yemen — the United States is asking the Arabian Peninsula nation for help in restricting the terrorist organization’s activities.
The Times of London reported December 29 that in the wake of the botched airplane Christmas day bombing Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi has claimed there may be hundreds of terrorist plots against the West planned by al-Qaeda from Yemen. Specifically, al-Qirbi said: “Of course there are a number of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen and some of their leaders. We realize this danger. They may actually plan attacks like the one we have just had in Detroit. There are maybe hundreds of them — 200, 300.”
As has been widely reported, al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch is proudly claiming responsibility for the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day in Detroit. The alleged attempted perpetrator and therefore al-Qaeda co-conspirator, Umar Abdulmutallab, is a well-born Nigerian educated in London with an expressed affinity for another advocate of terrorism against America, the radical American-born imam, Anwar al-Awlaki.
In the twilight of the pre-dawn on Thursday, bombs dropped on the home of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born, Yemeni-based cleric. Yemeni Air Forces carried out the attack in an effort to kill al-Qaeda militants reportedly gathered there to plan attacks on Western concerns. At the time of this writing, it is unclear whether the controversial imam was actually killed in the early morning air strike.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, upon completing a two-day visit to Afghanistan on December 22, pledged that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is committed to staying in the country until the Afghan government and military are ready to take over their own defense and that there would be no deadline for the exit of allied troops from the country.