Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti

Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti

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Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

 Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti (died 2 May 2011), also known as Shaykh Abu Ahmed, Arshad Khan and Mohammed Arshad, was a Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

-born Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 member and courier for Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

. According to secret documents, al-Kuwaiti was one of the few men Osama bin Laden completely trusted and was said to be his "favorite courier and right-hand man". He sheltered and lived with Osama bin Laden for a number of years and was killed with him
Death of Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden, then head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 a.m. local time by a United States special forces military unit....

 by a United States military team in May 2011.


Al-Kuwaiti was a Pakistani Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

 who was born and grew up in Kuwait and spoke Pashto
Pashto language
Pashto , known as Afghani in Persian and Pathani in Punjabi , is the native language of the indigenous Pashtun people or Afghan people who are found primarily between an area south of the Amu Darya in Afghanistan and...

 (in a cultivated, urban accent) and Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

. He was a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and had reportedly given computer training in Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 to the perpetrators of the September 11 World Trade Center attacks. He was implicated in the attacks and received contact in its aftermath from Riduan Isamuddin
Riduan Isamuddin
Riduan Isamuddin also transliterated as Riduan Isamudin, Riduan Isomuddin, and Riduan Isomudin, better known by the nom de guerre Hambali, born as Encep Nurjaman, born April 4, 1964 is the former military leader of the Indonesian terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah , which is linked with Al...

 (Hambali), who he provided a safe haven to and several of his close associates in his home in a quiet residential neighborhood of Karachi.

A leaked Guantanamo document by WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

 dated 16 January 2008 revealed that Mohamedou Ould Salahi had claimed that Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti was wounded while fleeing Tora Bora
Tora Bora
Tora Bora , known locally as Spīn Ghar , is a cave complex situated in the White Mountains of eastern Afghanistan, in the Pachir Wa Agam District of Nangarhar province, approximately west of the Khyber Pass and north of the border of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan...

 after the Battle of Tora Bora
Battle of Tora Bora
The Battle of Tora Bora was a military engagement that took place in Afghanistan in December 2001, during the opening stages of the war in that country launched following the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The U.S...

 in December 2001 and had later died from his injuries in his arms. The document claimed he was a mid-level al-Qaeda operative who facilitated the movement and safe haven of senior al-Qaeda members and families. As a speaker of Arabic and Pashto he could communicate and move easily among both the Arab members of al-Qaeda and the Pashtun tribesmen of Pakistan.

Contradicting the claims by Salahi that al-Kuwaiti had died in December 2001, in 2007, U.S. officials were reported to only then have discovered the courier's real name and, in 2009, that he lived in Abbottabad
Abbottabad is a city located in the Hazara region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in Pakistan. The city is situated in the Orash Valley, northeast of the capital Islamabad and east of Peshawar at an altitude of and is the capital of the Abbottabad District...

, Pakistan, using information collected from Guantánamo Bay detainees, notably from Hassan Ghul
Hassan Ghul
Allegedly an al-Qaeda agent, Hassan Ghul has also been identified as a member of Ansar al-Islam. His nationality has been reported as Yemeni, Pakistani or Egyptian....

 in 2004. From Ghul, the United States intelligence learned that al-Kuwaiti was also close to Mohammed's successor Abu Faraj al-Libi. Ghul further revealed that al-Kuwaiti had not been seen in some time, a fact which led U.S. officials to suspect he was traveling with bin Laden.

He was reportedly tracked from Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

 by Pakistanis working for the CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

. "The National Security Agency reportedly tracked phone calls between the courier Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti's relatives in the Persian Gulf to all numbers in Pakistan, and NSA surveillance eventually tracked Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti's location in Pakistan via one such phone call", the AP writes.

"In August 2010 they tracked al-Kuwaiti as he drove from Peshawar to a residence in Abbottabad
Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad
Osama bin Laden's compound, known locally as the Waziristan Haveli , is the safe house in which Osama bin Laden was hiding when he was killed. The structure is located at the end of a dirt road in Abbottabad, Pakistan. About 35 Miles north of the capital, Islamibad, and just 0.8 miles southwest of...

 – and as analysts inventoried the compound's striking security features they became convinced that it housed a high-level al-Qaeda figure."


Using satellite photos and intelligence reports, the CIA sought to identify the inhabitants of the fortified compound in Abbottabad. In September 2010, the CIA concluded that the compound was "custom built to hide someone of significance" and that it was very likely that Osama bin Laden was residing there. Al-Kuwaiti was said to be one of the two tall fair-skinned bearded men who claimed to be ethnic Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

s and were known in the community to be living at the house and occasionally attended local funerals.

He went locally by the name Arshad Khan, and his brother (or cousin as some neighbors thought) went by the name Tareq Khan. They claimed to be from a village near the town of Charsadda
Charsadda is a town and headquarters of Charsadda District, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is located at 34°8'43N 71°43'51E with an altitude of 276 metres and lies 29 kilometres from the provincial capital - Peshawar....

, in Pakistan's northwestern frontier province, and obtained their wealth from a family owned hotel in Dubai and from his occupation as a money changer and that his purpose for such high walls was to keep out enemies he had encountered in his profession. He was described as a "a friendly man from the tribal-areas". He died during the raid on the mansion
Death of Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden, then head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 a.m. local time by a United States special forces military unit....

 by the United States special SEALs
United States Navy SEALs
The United States Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command as well as the maritime component of the United States Special Operations Command.The acronym is derived from their...

team on 2 May 2011.