In claiming responsibility for the December 30th suicide bombing attack by Jordanian physician Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi that killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer, Mustafa al-Yazid aka Sheikh Sai’d the overall commander of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, said that the attack was carried out on behalf of Al-Qaeda to avenge the deaths of Baitullah Mehsud, Abu Saleh al-Somali, and Abdullah Sai’d al-Liby.This claim of responsibility reveals that Al Qaeda organization has been hit severely, within the recent weeks losing two of its most senior military activists.
Since its formation Al Qaeda was operating through different committees that ran its day to day activity in different fields (Propaganda, religious, counter espionage, political issues, maintenance and administrative). The most important committee has always been the military committee which is subdivided into two main subsections – Internal and external. Abu Salah Al Somali was Al Qaeda chief of external operation responsible for Al Qaeda operation in the international arena, and Abdullah Sai’d al Liby was Al Qaeda overall chief of the internal unit responsible for the overall activity along the battle zone of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border zone.
In addition one should remembers that Al Qaeda has lost (late 2008) the over all chief of the Military committee Khaled Khabib and the identity of his successor (If there is one ) is still not clear .
No doubt that the elimination of both Al Somali and Al Liby constitutes a severe blow to the organization. In fact Al Somali and Al Liby were the most important commanders within the military rank of Al Qaeda and their elimination is likely to have a great effect on the military and operational performance of the organization both in the internal and external fronts.
On the other hand ,since the declaration of the “Global war on terrorism “ that followed the 9/11 attacks , Al Qaeda has demonstrated a unique and constant capabilities to overcome major blows and was able to quickly rehabilitate its command and control chains preserving the organization’s overall structure. Since the coalition's offensive in Afghanistan in October 2001, Al Qaeda has lost four "chiefs of staff" (heads of the Military Committee), and four chiefs of both external and internal units, and was however still able to regroup and mobilize suitable replacements from within, continue its activity and maintain its status as the biggest terrorist threat to Western forces in Afghanistan and the international arena as a whole.
So, it seems, that the latest attack that hit CIA’s headquarters in Khost, was yet another reminder of these overwhelming abilities of Al Qaeda to overcome these severe major blows, regroup and conduct unique and spectacular attacks.