Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Manhunt (military)

Manhunt (military)

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Manhunt (military)'
Start a new discussion about 'Manhunt (military)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Manhunting is the deliberate identification, capturing, or killing of senior or otherwise important enemy combatants, classified as high-value targets, usually by special operations forces and intelligence organizations
Intelligence agency
An intelligence agency is a governmental agency that is devoted to information gathering for purposes of national security and defence. Means of information gathering may include espionage, communication interception, cryptanalysis, cooperation with other institutions, and evaluation of public...

. According to a 2008 study, since 1968, 40% of armed non-state groups met their end because local police and intelligence agencies arrested or killed key members.

A response to asymmetric tactics adopted by terrorists, insurgents, pirates, narco-traffickers, arms proliferators, and other non-state actors, manhunting has been adopted by military and intelligence organizations to reduce collateral damage
Collateral damage
Collateral damage is damage to people or property that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome. The phrase is prevalently used as an euphemism for civilian casualties of a military action.-Etymology:...

 that would occur during a conventional military assault.

The most visible such operations conducted today involve counterterrorist activities. Some involve government-sanctioned targeted killing
Targeted killing
Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

 or extrajudicial execution. Operations to capture terrorists have drawn political and legal controversy. See Legal Issues below. Other military operations, such as hostage rescue or personnel recovery
Personnel recovery
The United States Army defines personnel recovery as "The sum of military, DOD civilian, DOD contractor personnel, or other personnel designated by the President or Secretary of Defense, who are isolated, missing, detained, or captured in an operational environment. Also called PR."-The five PR...

, employ similar tactics and techniques. The primary difference in hostage rescue or personnel recovery is that the person being rescued or recovered wants to be found; while high-value targets want to avoid being found.

Ancient times through conquest of the New World

  • The Athenian general Alcibiades
    Alcibiades
    Alcibiades, son of Clinias, from the deme of Scambonidae , was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. He was the last famous member of his mother's aristocratic family, the Alcmaeonidae, which fell from prominence after the Peloponnesian War...

     was assassinated in 404BC.
  • International manhunting dates to Alexander the Great's pursuit of Darius III.
  • Chinese General Sun Tzu
    Sun Tzu
    Sun Wu , style name Changqing , better known as Sun Tzu or Sunzi , was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed, and who is most likely, to have authored The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy...

     advocated assassination as a strategic method in his classic work The Art of War
    The Art of War
    The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military treatise that is attributed to Sun Tzu , a high ranking military general and strategist during the late Spring and Autumn period...

    .
  • The Romans pursued Hannibal Barca
    Hannibal Barca
    Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca Hannibal's date of death is most commonly given as 183 BC, but there is a possibility it could have taken place in 182 BC. was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician. He is generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history...

     after the Second Punic War
    Second Punic War
    The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

    .
  • The Hashashim, a mystic sect of warriors, cultivated a fearsome reputation with assassinations of opposing leaders, often in mosques or other public places.
  • Feudal Japan's Ninja
    Ninja
    A or was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, as well as open combat in certain situations...

     or Shinobi
    Shinobi
    Shinobi is the Japanese word for male ninja. It may also refer to:*Shinobi , a series of video games**Shinobi , the original video game in the series developed by Sega**Shinobi , the PlayStation 2 sequel...

     warrior sect adopted similar techniques.
  • Vlad Tepes, a.k.a. Dracula
    Dracula
    Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker.Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to relocate from Transylvania to England, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor...

    , carried out The Night Attack
    The Night Attack
    The Night Attack of Târgovişte was a skirmish fought between forces of Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia and Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire on Thursday, June 17, 1462. The conflict initially started with Vlad's refusal to pay the Jizya to the Sultan and intensified when Vlad Ţepeş invaded...

     in an attempt to kill the Ottoman
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

     leader, Mehmet II.
  • The conquest of the Aztec
    Aztec
    The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

     Empire resulted from Hernan Cortes
    Hernán Cortés
    Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

    ' capture of Aztec ruler Montezuma II.
  • Francisco Pizarro
    Francisco Pizarro
    Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

     later repeated the tactic against the Inca ruler Atahuallpa.

World War II

  • British Special Operations Executive
    Special Operations Executive
    The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

     planned Operation Anthropoid
    Operation Anthropoid
    Operation Anthropoid was the code name for the targeted killing of top German SS leader Reinhard Heydrich. He was the chief of the Reich Main Security Office , the acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, and a chief planner of the Final Solution, the Nazi German programme for the genocide of the...

    , a plot to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich
    Reinhard Heydrich
    Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich , also known as The Hangman, was a high-ranking German Nazi official.He was SS-Obergruppenführer and General der Polizei, chief of the Reich Main Security Office and Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia...

     the acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia
    Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
    The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was the majority ethnic-Czech protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic...

    . The operation was successful. However the debate over the utility of killing Heydrich in sense of Czech casualties of this action
    Lidice
    Lidice is a village in the Czech Republic just northwest of Prague. It is built on the site of a previous village of the same name which, as part of the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was on orders from Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, completely destroyed by German forces in reprisal...

    .
  • A hand-picked German special forces unit, led by Otto Skorzeny
    Otto Skorzeny
    Otto Skorzeny was an SS-Obersturmbannführer in the German Waffen-SS during World War II. After fighting on the Eastern Front, he was chosen as the field commander to carry out the rescue mission that freed the deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from captivity...

    , rescued former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini
    Benito Mussolini
    Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

     from the 6000 feet (1,828.8 m) Gran Sasso
    Gran Sasso
    Gran Sasso d'Italia is a mountain located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. The Gran Sasso forms the centerpiece of the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park which was established in 1993 and holds the highest mountains in continental Italy south of the Alps and is part of the...

     peak.
  • British officers Stanley Moss
    W. Stanley Moss
    Ivan William "Billy" Stanley Moss MC , was a British army officer in World War II, and later a successful writer, broadcaster, journalist and traveller. He served with the Coldstream Guards and the Special Operations Executive . He was a best-selling author in the 1950s, based both on his novels...

     and Patrick Leigh Fermor
    Patrick Leigh Fermor
    Sir Patrick "Paddy" Michael Leigh Fermor, DSO, OBE was a British author, scholar and soldier, who played a prominent role behind the lines in the Cretan resistance during World War II. He was widely regarded as "Britain's greatest living travel writer", with books including his classic A Time of...

     infiltrated Crete with the help of local partisans to capture General Kreipe, Commander of the Sevastopol Division.
  • Seven British Special Air Service
    Special Air Service
    Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

     members parachuted into France as part of Operation Gaff
    Operation Gaff
    During World War II, Operation Gaff was a six-man patrol of Special Air Service commandos, who parachuted into Nazi-occupied France on 18 July, 1944, with the aim of severely injuring or killing Field Marshal Erwin Rommel....

    , an unsuccessful plan to assassinate Field Marshal
    Field Marshal
    Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

    : Erwin Rommel
    Erwin Rommel
    Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

    .
  • British Special Operations Executive
    Special Operations Executive
    The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

     planned Operation Foxley
    Operation Foxley
    Operation Foxley was a 1944 plan to assassinate Adolf Hitler, made by the British Special Operations Executive . Although detailed preparations were made, no attempt was made to carry out the plan...

    , a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

     using a sniper
    Sniper
    A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

     team. The operation was not carried out due to debate over the utility of killing Hitler so late in the war.


Bolivia



In 1967, Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

 was pursued by the Bolivian military, who were poorly trained and equipped. The U.S. government sent a team of the CIA's Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

 commandos and other operatives into Bolivia to aid the anti-insurrection effort. The Bolivian Army
Bolivian Army
The Bolivian Army or Ejército Boliviano is the land forces component of the Military of Bolivia, the Bolivian Army has around 31,500 men.- Combat units directly under the Army general command :...

 was also trained, advised, and supplied by U.S. Army Special Forces including a recently organized elite battalion of Rangers
United States Army Rangers
United States Army Rangers are elite members of the United States Army. Rangers have served in recognized U.S. Army Ranger units or have graduated from the U.S. Army's Ranger School...

 trained in jungle warfare
Jungle warfare
Jungle warfare is a term used to cover the special techniques needed for military units to survive and fight in jungle terrain.It has been the topic of extensive study by military strategists, and was an important part of the planning for both sides in many conflicts, including World War II and the...

 that set up camp in La Esperanza
La Esperanza
La Esperanza is a town in northern Ecuador, in the Imbabura Province, Ibarra Canton. It lies at the northern foot of the Mount Imbabura volcano....

, a small settlement close to the location of Guevara's guerrillas. Félix Rodríguez
Félix Rodríguez (Central Intelligence Agency)
Félix Ismael Rodríguez Mendigutia is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer infamous for his involvement in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, in the interrogation and execution of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara and his ties to George H. W. Bush during the Iran-Contra Affair...

, a Cuban exile
Cuban exile
The term "Cuban exile" refers to the many Cubans who have sought alternative political or economic conditions outside the island, dating back to the Ten Years' War and the struggle for Cuban independence during the 19th century...

 turned 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...

 Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
The Special Activities Division is a division in the United States Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service responsible for covert operations known as "special activities"...

 operative, advised Bolivian troops during the hunt for Guevara in Bolivia. On October 7, an informant apprised the Bolivian Special Forces of the location of Guevara's guerrilla encampment in the Yuro ravine. They encircled the area with 1,800 soldiers, and Guevara was wounded and taken prisoner while leading a detachment with Simeón Cuba Sarabia
Simeon Cuba Sarabia
Simeón Cuba Sarabia , also known as Willy, was a member of the Ñancahuazú guerrilla column led by Che Guevara in Bolivia. Born in the Cochabamba region of Bolivia, he became a leader among tin miners in Huanuni and served as the secretary of organization and secretary of militias of the local mine...

. On October 9, Bolivian President René Barrientos
René Barrientos
René Barrientos Ortuño was a Bolivian politician who served as his country's Vice President in 1964 and as its President from 1964 to 1969....

 ordered that Guevara be summarily executed
Summary execution
A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is killed on the spot without trial or after a show trial. Summary executions have been practiced by the police, military, and paramilitary organizations and are associated with guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, and...

.

Colombia

  • Colombia
    Colombia
    Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

    n Military forces conducted an air raid into Ecuador
    Ecuador
    Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

     on March 1, 2008, killing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
    Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
    The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People's Army is a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary guerrilla organization based in Colombia which is involved in the ongoing Colombian armed conflict, currently involved in drug dealing and crimes against the civilians..FARC-EP is a peasant army which...

     (FARC) deputy Raúl Reyes
    Raúl Reyes
    Luis Edgar Devia Silva , better known by his nom de guerre Raúl Reyes, was a Secretariat member, spokesperson, and advisor to the Southern Bloc of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-EP...

     along with 16 other FARC guerillas.
  • On July 2, 2008, Colombian special forces tricked FARC captors into releasing hostages Ingrid Betancourt
    Íngrid Betancourt
    Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio is a Colombian politician, former senator and anti-corruption activist.Betancourt was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia on 23 February 2002 and was rescued by Colombian security forces six and a half years later on 2 July 2008...

    , Marc Gonsalves
    Marc Gonsalves
    Marc David Gonsalves is an American Northrop Grumman employee who was captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and was held hostage from February 13, 2003 to July 2, 2008. He was rescued in Operation Jaque, along with the two other American contractors, Ingrid Betancourt, and eleven...

    , Thomas Howes
    Thomas Howes
    Thomas Randolph "Tom" Howes is an American Northrop Grumman employee who was captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and was held hostage from February 13, 2003 to July 2, 2008. He was rescued in Operation Jaque, along with the two other American contractors, Ingrid Betancourt, and...

     and Keith Stansell
    Keith Stansell
    Keith Donald Stansell is an American Northrop Grumman employee who was captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and was held hostage from February 13, 2003 to July 2, 2008...

    , and 11 Colombian security personnel. Some hostages had been held since February 2003.

France


See Algerian War and counterinsurgency operations conducted against the Red Hand.

France deployed GIGN antiterrorist police and the French Navy
French Navy
The French Navy, officially the Marine nationale and often called La Royale is the maritime arm of the French military. It includes a full range of fighting vessels, from patrol boats to a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and 10 nuclear-powered submarines, four of which are capable of launching...

 to capture Somali pirates who had seized the 850-ton yacht Le Ponant
Le Ponant
Le Ponant is a three-masted, commercially operated French luxury yacht owned by CMA CGM and operated under their Compagnie du Ponant brand. The ship carries up to 67 passengers in 32 cabins...

. On April 11, 2008, the French forces captured six of 10 pirates as they attempted to escape with a $2 million ransom. The French operations brought publicity to the work of NATO's Combined Task Force 150
Combined Task Force 150
Combined Task Force 150 is a multinational coalition naval task force working under the 25 nation coalition of Combined Maritime Forces and is based in Bahrain established to monitor, inspect, board, and stop suspect shipping to pursue the "War on Terrorism" and in the Horn of Africa region ...

. CTF 150, established shortly before the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, conducts Maritime Security Operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden
The Gulf of Aden is located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which is about 20 miles wide....

, Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Oman
The Gulf of Oman or Sea of Oman is a strait that connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, which then runs to the Persian Gulf. It is generally included as a branch of the Persian Gulf, not as an arm of the Arabian Sea. On the north coast is Pakistan and Iran...

, the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

, Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 and the Indian Ocean. In August 2008, CTF 150 established a Maritime Security Patrol Area in the Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden
The Gulf of Aden is located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which is about 20 miles wide....

 to combat Somali piracy
Piracy in Somalia
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War in the early 21st century...

.

India

  • 1980s: See Operation Bluestar and Operation Woodrose
    Operation Woodrose
    Operation Woodrose was a military operation carried out by the Indian government in the months after Operation Blue Star to "prevent the outbreak of widespread public protest" in the state of Punjab. The government arrested all prominent members of the largest Sikh political party, the Akali Dal,...

    , operations to combat Sikh
    Sikh
    A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

     separatists in the Jammu and Kashmir
    Jammu and Kashmir
    Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

     regions.
  • 1999: See Kargil War
    Kargil War
    The Kargil War ,, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control...

     against Pakistan-sponsored infiltrators in the Kashmir
    Kashmir
    Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

     region.

Indonesia


Jemaah Islamiya terror suspect Noordin Mohammed Top
Noordin Mohammed Top
Noordin Mohammad Top , of Malaysian citizenship, was a Muslim extremist, also referred to as Din Moch Top, Muh Top, or Mat Top, was Indonesia's most wanted Islamist militant....

 was killed during a raid on his hideout by counterterrorism police in Temanggung, Central Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 on August 8, 2009.

Iraq


Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

i security forces seized Ayad Jalal Abdulwahab, an aide to Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

's former vice president Izzat al-Douri on October 13, 2009 in a helicopter raid in Diyala province. U.S. and Iraqi forces captured Abdulwahab in the town of Qara Tappa, 55 miles (88.5 km) northeast of Baqubah.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and US officials announced on Apr 19, 2010 that two leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a popular name for the Iraqi division of the international Salafi jihadi militant organization al-Qaeda. It is recognized as a part of the greater Iraqi insurgency....

 had been killed in a joint Iraqi-US operation. al-Qaeda
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...

 leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Abu Ayyub al-Masri , also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir and other aliases , was an active combattant of al-Qaeda and at least a senior aide to former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. When Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike on 7 June 2006, U.S...

 and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who led an affiliate group, were killed in the joint raid which took place in Thar-Thar
Lake Tharthar
Lake Tharthar, known in Iraq as Buhayrat ath Tharthar , is a lake situated 120 kilometers north of Baghdad between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. It is the largest lake in Iraq. The construction of several dams has made it an important source for irrigation. Its size shrinks and expands...

, west of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. The house was destroyed and the two bodies were found in a hole in the ground in which they had been hiding. Mr Maliki said, "During the operation computers were seized with e-mails and messages to the two biggest terrorists, 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...

 and Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri is an Egyptian physician, Islamic theologian and current leader of al-Qaeda. He was previously the second and last "emir" of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, having succeeded Abbud al-Zumar in the latter role when Egyptian authorities sentenced al-Zumar to life...

." In a statement, the commander of US forces in Iraq, Gen Raymond T. Odierno
Raymond T. Odierno
Raymond T. Odierno is a United States Army general and the 38th and current Chief of Staff of the Army. Odierno most recently commanded United States Joint Forces Command from October 2010 until its disestablishment in August 2011. He served as Commanding General, United States Forces – Iraq and...

, said: "The death of these terrorists is potentially the most significant blow to al-Qaeda in Iraq since the beginning of the insurgency."

Israel


See also: Israeli targeted killings
Israeli targeted killings
In the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israel Defense Forces use the term "focused foiling" against those it considers proven to have intentions of performing a specific act of violence in the very near future or to be linked indirectly with several acts of violence , thus raising...


Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 may have the most advanced and experienced manhunters.
  • Israel adopted targeted killing
    Israeli targeted killings
    In the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israel Defense Forces use the term "focused foiling" against those it considers proven to have intentions of performing a specific act of violence in the very near future or to be linked indirectly with several acts of violence , thus raising...

     in response to Black September
    Black September (group)
    The Black September Organization was a Palestinian paramilitary group, founded in 1970. It was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes and officials, and fatal shooting of a West German policeman, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, their most publicized event...

    's Munich Olympics massacre, leading to Mossad
    Mossad
    The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

    's Operation Wrath of God
    Operation Wrath of God
    Operation Wrath of God ,This title was an invention of later writers, and was most likely not used by the Mossad itself. also called Operation Bayonet, was a covert operation directed by Israel and the Mossad to assassinate individuals alleged to have been directly or indirectly involved in the...

     and Sayeret Matkal
    Sayeret Matkal
    Sayeret Matkal is a special forces unit of the Israel Defence Forces , which is subordinated to the intelligence directorate Aman. First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, Sayeret Matkal is also...

    's Operation Spring of Youth
    Operation Spring of Youth
    The 1973 Israeli raid on Lebanon took place on the night of April 9 and early morning of April 10, 1973 when Israel Defense Forces special forces units attacked several Palestine Liberation Organization targets in Beirut and Sidon, Lebanon...

    . During the "Avner team" two-year deployment, eight of 11 intended targets are killed; while collateral damage includes one KGB
    KGB
    The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

     officer, four Palestine Liberation Organization
    Palestine Liberation Organization
    The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

     (PLO) security personnel, and one freelance assassin in exchange for two team members lost.


Israel has continued to employ the targeted killing of violent radical opponents. Notable operations include:
  • April 1973, when Israeli commandos landed in Beirut
    Beirut
    Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

     and killed senior members of the Fatah
    Fatah
    Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

     movement including Yasir Arafat's deputy Yusuf Najjar
    Abu Yusuf
    Yaqub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari, better known as Abu Yusuf was a student of legist Abu Hanifah who helped spread the influence of the Hanafi school of Islamic law through his writings and the government positions he held.-Biography:...

     and the Fatah
    Fatah
    Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

     spokesman Kamal Nasir.
  • Israel may have been behind the 1979 explosion in Beirut that killed Ali Hassan Salameh
    Ali Hassan Salameh
    Ali Hassan Salameh was the chief of operations—code name Abu Hassan—for Black September, the organization responsible for the 1972 Munich massacre and other attacks. He was also the founder of Force 17...

    , founder of Fatah's elite Force 17
    Force 17
    Force 17 was a commando and special operations terror unit of the Palestinian Fatah movement and later of the Office of the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority. It was formed in the early 1970s by Ali Hassan Salameh ....

    .
  • In April 1988 an Israeli commando force landed in Tunis and killed the head of the (PLO) military branch Khalil al Wazir (Abu Jihad).
  • In February 1992, Israeli helicopters fired on the car of Hizbullah leader Abbas Musawi, killing him and members of his entourage.
  • In October 1995, following a series of suicide attacks which claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis, Mossad agents shot and killed the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Fathi Shaqaqi
    Fathi Shaqaqi
    Fathi Shaqaqi , alternatively spelled Fathi Shqaqi or Fathi Shiqaqi , was the Palestinian who founded and led the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organisation and was the initiator of suicide bombings....

    , in Malta
    Malta
    Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

    .
  • In January 1996, three months later, a booby-trapped cellular phone exploded, killing Hamas
    Hamas
    Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

     member Yahya Ayyash
    Yahya Ayyash
    Yahya Abd-al-Latif Ayyash was the chief bombmaker of Hamas and the leader of the West Bank battalion of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

    , also known as "The Engineer," who masterminded suicide attacks in which 50 Israelis died and 340 were wounded.
  • On September 25, 1997, an attempt to kill Khaled Meshal, the Jordanian-based political chief of Hamas
    Hamas
    Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

    , went awry. A struggle ensued. Two Mossad
    Mossad
    The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

     agents were arrested, along with Meshal's driver Mohammed Abu Saif. When Meshal fell ill, Jordanian police suspected he had been exposed to a toxic agent. An international debacle ensued. King Hussein nearly severed relations between Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

     and Jordan
    Jordan
    Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

    . U.S. sponsored negotiations with the Palestinians faltered. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    Benjamin Netanyahu
    Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is the current Prime Minister of Israel. He serves also as the Chairman of the Likud Party, as a Knesset member, as the Health Minister of Israel, as the Pensioner Affairs Minister of Israel and as the Economic Strategy Minister of Israel.Netanyahu is the first and, to...

     was forced to provide an antidote to save Meshal's life, and to release Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, who had been in custody. In the wake of an Israeli investigation, Danny Yatom
    Danny Yatom
    Danny Yatom is a former Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Labour. Before that he was a Director of the Mossad security service.-Background:...

    , director of Mossad
    Mossad
    The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

    , resigns in 1998.
  • Amal's operations officer, Hussam al Amin, was killed in an Apache helicopter attack in August 1998.
  • On November 9, 2000, near the West Bank town of Bethlehem, an Israeli Apache helicopter fired a laser-guided missile at the vehicle of Tanzim
    Tanzim
    Tanzim is a militant faction of the Palestinian Fatah movement.-Overview:The Tanzim militia, founded in 1995 to counter Palestinian Islamism, is widely considered to be an armed offshoot of Fatah with its own leadership structure...

     leader Husayn Abayat, killing him and wounding his deputy.
  • Similar operations on February 13, 2001 killed Masud Iyyad, a Force 17 officer trying to establish a Hizbullah cell in the Gaza Strip
    Gaza Strip
    thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

    , and PIJ activist Muhammad abd al Al, who according to the IDF
    Israel Defense Forces
    The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

     was responsible for terrorist acts and was on his way to carry out two major attacks.
  • On July 22, 2002, a 2000 lb (907.2 kg) bomb dropped from an F-16 fighter killed Salah Shihada, the leader and founder of Hamas' military wing of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
    Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades
    The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades is the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist fundamentalist socio-political organisation Hamas. Created in 1992, under the direction of Yahya Ayyash, the primary objective of the group was to build a coherent military organisation to support the goals of...

     in Gaza.
  • Ahmed Yassin
    Ahmed Yassin
    Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin was a founder of Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian paramilitary organization and political party. Yassin also served as the spiritual leader of the organization...

     was killed in an Israeli attack on March 22, 2004. While he was being wheeled out of an early morning prayer session, an Israeli helicopter gunship fired Hellfire missiles
    AGM-114 Hellfire
    The AGM-114 Hellfire is an air-to-surface missile developed primarily for anti-armor use. It has multi-mission, multi-target precision-strike capability, and can be launched from multiple air, sea, and ground platforms. The Hellfire missile is the primary 100 lb-class air-to-ground precision...

     at Yassin and both of his bodyguards. They were killed instantly, along with nine bystanders.
  • Israeli Defense Forces revealed that an April 14, 2008 air strike by an unmanned aerial vehicle
    Unmanned aerial vehicle
    An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

     killed Ibrahim abu Alba; Palestinian sources confirm his death. A member of the military wing of the Palestinian Democratic Front
    Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
    The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist, secular political and military organization. It is also frequently referred to as the Democratic Front, or al-Jabha al-Dimuqratiyah...

     responsible for operations in northern Gaza, the IDF said Alba was responsible for rocket attacks and a recent infiltration into Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

     that had injured three soldiers. The IDF stated Alba was planning another attack when he was killed near Beit Hanoun
    Beit Hanoun
    Beit Hanoun is a city on the north-east edge of the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of 32,187 in mid-year 2006. It is administered by the Palestinian Authority...

    .
  • On April 16, 2008, a helicopter airstrike kills Mohammed Ghausain, Islamic Jihad
    Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine
    The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine known in the West as simply Palestinian Islamic Jihad , is a small Palestinian militant organization. The group has been labelled as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel...

    's commander in northern Gaza
    Gaza
    Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

    .
  • On New Years Day 2009, Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

     begins air strikes targeting Hamas
    Hamas
    Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

     in the Gaza Strip
    Gaza Strip
    thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

     after militants repeatedly fire rockets into Israel. On January 1, Nizar Rayyan, a Hamas leader who urged suicide attacks against Israel, is killed in an air strike on his home in the northern Gaza Strip. Rayyan was the most senior Hamas leader to be killed since the death of Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi
    Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi
    Dr. Abdel Aziz Ali Abdulmajid al-Rantissi ; 23 October 1947 – 17 April 2004) was the co-founder of the militant Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin....

     in April 2004. Rayyan claimed, "we will kill the enemy and take hostages" during a Dec 31, 2008 interview on Hamas’ al-Aqsa television channel. The strike kills at least four other people in the Jabaliya refugee camp, including some members of his family. Subsequent IDF operations target the homes of Hamas leadership.
  • The Jan 19, 2010 targeted killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh
    Assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh
    The assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, took place on January 19, 2010, in a Dubai hotel room. Al-Mabhouh—a co-founder of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamist Palestinian militant group Hamas—was wanted by the Israeli government for the kidnapping and murder of two...

    , who was suspected of planning the transfer of weapons from Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

     to Hamas
    Hamas
    Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

    , has widely been attributed to Israel's Mossad
    Mossad
    The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

     intelligence service.

Legal and ethical Issues about targeted killing


  • On December 14, 2006 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that targeted killing
    Targeted killing
    Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

     is a legitimate form of self-defense against terrorists, and outlined several conditions for its use. This decision, arrived at after four years of deliberation, may establish precedent for international law
    International law
    Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

    .
  • Israel's policy of targeted killing has been censure
    Censure
    A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. Among the forms that it can take are a stern rebuke by a legislature, a spiritual penalty imposed by a church, and a negative judgment pronounced on a theological proposition.-Politics:...

    d by the United Nations Human Rights Council
    United Nations Human Rights Council
    The United Nations Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations System. The UNHRC is the successor to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights , and is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly...

     (UNHRC) in the past. But these actions have been widely discredited as a disproportionate UNHRC bias against Israel. Even the UN Secretary General has expressed disappointment at UNHRC's apparent focus on Israel, while other human rights violations go unaddressed.
  • Elyezer Shkedy, the recently retired Israeli Air Force
    Israeli Air Force
    The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

     commander, claims IAF operations only comprised 5% of targeted killings in 2003–04, while in 2007-8, IAF strikes comprised 50–70% of targeted killing operations. “Bystander fatalities” decreased from 50 of 100 Palestinians killed (1:1 ratio), to 1 in 25 (24:1 ratio). In the final months of 2007, 98 terrorists were killed with a single bystander fatality (98:1 ratio). While the IAF does not provide detailed data of these operations, B'Tselem
    B'Tselem
    B'Tselem is an Israeli non-governmental organization . It calls itself "The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories"...

     (the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) communications director Sarit Michaeli acknowledges improvements in IAF accuracy.

North Korea


North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

 secretly sent a 31-man detachment from its 124th Army Unit into the Republic of Korea to kill President Park Chung-hee
Park Chung-hee
Park Chung-hee was a Republic of Korea Army general and the leader of South Korea from 1961 to 1979. He seized power in a military coup and ruled until his assassination in 1979. He has been credited with the industrialization of the Republic of Korea through export-led growth...

, nearly succeeding in a Jan 21, 1968 raid on the Blue House.

Rhodesia/Zimbabwe


In the Rhodesian/Zimbabwe War of Independence (Chimurenga War, 1966–1980), the Selous Scout were officially credited with either directly or indirectly being responsible for 68% of all insurgents killed, while losing less than 40 scouts in the process. The Selous Scouts
Selous Scouts
The Selous Scouts was a special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army, which operated from 1973 until the introduction of majority rule in 1980. It was named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous , and their motto was pamwe chete, which, in the Shona language, roughly means "all...

, Grey's Scouts
Grey's Scouts
Grey's Scouts were a Rhodesian mounted infantry unit raised in July 1975 and named after George Grey, a prominent soldier in the Second Matabele War. Based in Salisbury , they were known for their participation in the Rhodesian Bush War...

 and Tracker Combat Unit were formed to pursue Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

n terrorists deep into the African bush. Their first operational use was in 1967.

Soviet Union and Russian Federation

  • On the orders of Joseph Stalin
    Joseph Stalin
    Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

    , Stalinist Ramon Mercador assassinated exiled Communist ideologue Leon Trotsky
    Leon Trotsky
    Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

     in Mexico City in 1940.
  • Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    . On December 27, 1979, 700 Soviet troops dressed in Afghan uniforms, including KGB
    KGB
    The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

     and GRU
    GRU
    GRU or Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye is the foreign military intelligence directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation...

     special force
    Special Force
    Special Force is a first-person shooter military video game, published by Hezbollah, created using the Genesis 3D engine. The game is set in a 3D environment, in which the player takes the role of a Hezbollah combatant fighting the IDF...

     officers from the Alpha Group
    Alpha Group
    The Alpha Group , is an elite component of Russia's Spetsnaz as well as the dedicated counter-terrorism unit of the Federal Security Service...

    and Zenith Group, occupied major governmental, military and media buildings in Kabul
    Kabul
    Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

    , including their primary target – the Tajbeg Presidential Palace
    Tajbeg Palace
    Tajbeg Palace or Tapa-e-Tajbeg Palace is a Palace built in the 1920s and located about ten miles outside of the center of Kabul, Afghanistan. The stately mansion sits atop a knoll among foothills where the Afghan royal family once hunted and picnicked...

    . At 19:15, the assault on Tajbeg Palace
    Operation Storm-333
    Operation Storm-333 was the codename of the Soviet special forces operation on December 27, 1979 in which Soviet special forces stormed the Tajbeg Palace in Afghanistan and killed President Hafizullah Amin and his 200 personal guards...

     began; as planned, president Hafizullah Amin
    Hafizullah Amin
    Hafizullah Amin was the second President of Afghanistan during the period of the communist Democratic Republic of Afghanistan....

     was killed.

  • Soviet Spetznaz and GRU
    GRU
    GRU or Glavnoye Razvedyvatel'noye Upravleniye is the foreign military intelligence directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation...

     conducted extensive operations against Mujahideen
    Mujahideen
    Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

     warriors in the mid-1980s. The Afghan resistance movement
    Resistance movement
    A resistance movement is a group or collection of individual groups, dedicated to opposing an invader in an occupied country or the government of a sovereign state. It may seek to achieve its objects through either the use of nonviolent resistance or the use of armed force...

    , assisted by the United States, Pakistan
    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...

    , Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

    , the United Kingdom, People's Republic of China and others, contributed to Moscow's high military costs and strained international relations. The US viewed the conflict in Afghanistan as an integral Cold War
    Cold War
    The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

     struggle, and the CIA provided assistance to anti-Soviet forces through the Pakistani intelligence services, in a program called Operation Cyclone
    Operation Cyclone
    Operation Cyclone was the code name for the United States Central Intelligence Agency program to arm, train, and finance the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, 1979 to 1989...

    . A similar movement occurred in other Muslim countries, bringing contingents of so-called Afghan Arabs
    Afghan Arabs
    Afghan Arabs were Arab and other Muslim Islamist mujahideen who came to Afghanistan during and following the Soviet-Afghan War to help fellow Muslims fight Soviets and pro-Soviet Afghans....

    , foreign fighters who wished to wage jihad
    Jihad
    Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

     against the atheist communists. Notable among them was a young Saudi named 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...

    , whose Arab
    Arab
    Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

     group eventually evolved into al-Qaeda
    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...

    .

  • See Second Chechen War
    Second Chechen War
    The Second Chechen War, in a later phase better known as the War in the North Caucasus, was launched by the Russian Federation starting 26 August 1999, in response to the Invasion of Dagestan by the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade ....

     and List of Second Chechen War assassinations

Serbia


Under increasing international pressure, Serbian authorities extradited former Serbian nationalist Radovan Karadzic
Radovan Karadžic
Radovan Karadžić is a former Bosnian Serb politician. He is detained in the United Nations Detention Unit of Scheveningen, accused of war crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats during the Siege of Sarajevo, as well as ordering the Srebrenica massacre.Educated as a...

 to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a...

. A fugitive
Fugitive
A fugitive is a person who is fleeing from custody, whether it be from private slavery, a government arrest, government or non-government questioning, vigilante violence, or outraged private individuals...

 from 1996 until July 2008, Karadzic was indicted for war crime
War crime
War crimes are serious violations of the laws applicable in armed conflict giving rise to individual criminal responsibility...

s by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a...

 (ICTY). The indictment concluded there were reasonable grounds for believing he committed war crimes including genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

, against Bosnian Muslim
Bosniaks
The Bosniaks or Bosniacs are a South Slavic ethnic group, living mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a smaller minority also present in other lands of the Balkan Peninsula especially in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia...

 and Bosnian Croat
Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina form one of the three constitutive nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.There is no precise data regarding Bosnia and Herzegovina's population since the last war. Ethnic cleansing within Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s saw the vast majority of Croats move and take...

 civilians during the Bosnian War
Bosnian War
The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The war involved several sides...

 (1992–1995). He was arrested
Arrest of Radovan Karadžic
Radovan Karadžić was arrested in Belgrade and extradited into International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia custody in The Hague in July 2008, as the 44th Serb/Montenegrin suspect sent to The Hague....

 in Belgrade on July 21, 2008 and brought before Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

’s War Crimes Court a few days later. He was extradited to the Netherlands, and is currently in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, in the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a...

.

United Kingdom

  • British Special Air Service
    Special Air Service
    Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

     manhunting operations were conducted during the Malayan Emergency
    Malayan Emergency
    The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

    , against key Irish Republican Army operatives, and as part of global counterterrorism missions.
  • Britain employed groups of Iban
    Iban
    IBAN or Iban may refer to:People* Ibán Espadas , footballer* Iban Iriondo , bicycle racer* Iban Mayo , bicycle racer* Iban Mayoz , bicycle racer* Iban Nokan, anthropologist and ethnographer...

     and Dayak
    Dayak people
    The Dayak or Dyak are the native people of Borneo. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic subgroups, located principally in the interior of Borneo, each with its own dialect, customs, laws, territory and culture, although common distinguishing traits are readily...

     tribesmen as jungle trackers during the Malayan Emergency
    Malayan Emergency
    The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

    , attaching the skilled natives to British forces. The trackers were later formed into the Sarawak Rangers.
  • Britain developed specialized tactics six months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, under the code name Operation Kratos
    Operation Kratos
    Operation Kratos referred to tactics developed by London's Metropolitan Police Service for dealing with suspected suicide bombers, most notably firing shots to the head without warning....

    . The "tactics have been developed to include a specialised response to both the sudden appearance of a suspect where we have intelligence they may be about to commit a deadly attack and for the surveillance of suspects identified through intelligence.... These tactics are only ever used when absolutely necessary."
  • British Special Air Service
    Special Air Service
    Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

     forces, operating in concert with United States Special Operations Forces, disrupted suicide bomber networks responsible for over 3000 deaths in Baghdad
    Baghdad
    Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

    , Iraq. Over 3500 members of the bomb making networks were captured or killed in an 18-month period from 2007–2008. Most of the hundreds of network members killed were members of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The SAS suffered 6 killed and over 30 injured, many due to rappelling from helicopters with over 100 pounds of equipment.

United States


The United States has used armed forces or militia to apprehend people deemed threats to national security since colonial times.

Colonial period

  • In 1644, Virginia Governor
    Governor of Virginia
    The governor of Virginia serves as the chief executive of the Commonwealth of Virginia for a four-year term. The position is currently held by Republican Bob McDonnell, who was inaugurated on January 16, 2010, as the 71st governor of Virginia....

     William Berkeley dispatched a colonial militia to apprehend Powhatan
    Powhatan
    The Powhatan is the name of a Virginia Indian confederation of tribes. It is estimated that there were about 14,000–21,000 of these native Powhatan people in eastern Virginia when the English settled Jamestown in 1607...

     chief Opchanacanough
    Opchanacanough
    Opechancanough or Opchanacanough was a tribal chief of the Powhatan Confederacy of what is now Virginia in the United States, and its leader from sometime after 1618 until his death in 1646. His name meant "He whose Soul is White" in the Algonquian language...

    .
  • King Philip's War
    King Philip's War
    King Philip's War, sometimes called Metacom's War, Metacomet's War, or Metacom's Rebellion, was an armed conflict between Native American inhabitants of present-day southern New England and English colonists and their Native American allies in 1675–76. The war is named after the main leader of the...

     turned badly for the Wampanoag in July 1676. Metacom, chief of the Wampanoag Confederacy
    Confederation
    A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

     and known to Massachusetts
    Massachusetts
    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

     settlers as King Philip
    Metacomet
    Metacomet , also known as King Philip or Metacom, or occasionally Pometacom, was a war chief or sachem of the Wampanoag Indians and their leader in King Philip's War, a widespread Native American uprising against English colonists in New England.-Biography:Metacomet was the second son of Massasoit...

    , goes into hiding with seven men near Providence
    Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

    , Rhode Island
    Rhode Island
    The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

    , in Assowamset Swamp. Captains Benjamin Church and Josiah Standish
    Josiah Standish
    Capt. Josiah Standish, son of Capt. Myles Standish, was born abt 1633 in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. He died on 19 March 1690 in Preston, New London County, Connecticut. A Captain in the Plymouth Colony Militia who participated in King Philip's War, Standish, along with Captain Benjamin...

     of the Plymouth Colony
    Plymouth Colony
    Plymouth Colony was an English colonial venture in North America from 1620 to 1691. The first settlement of the Plymouth Colony was at New Plymouth, a location previously surveyed and named by Captain John Smith. The settlement, which served as the capital of the colony, is today the modern town...

     Militia
    Militia
    The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

     lead a raiding party, tracking Metacom to Mt. Hope, Rhode Island
    Rhode Island
    The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

    . An Indian named John Alderman
    John Alderman
    John Alderman was a praying Indian who shot and killed the rebellious Native American leader Metacomet in 1676, while taking part in a punitive expedition led by Captain Benjamin Church....

     shoots Metacom on August 12. His body is beheaded, drawn and quartered and displayed in Plymouth for many years.
  • Revolutionary
    American Revolution
    The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

     militia caused an uproar by intentionally targeting British and Hessian
    Hesse
    Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

     officers with sniper fire during and after the battles of Lexington and Concord
    Battles of Lexington and Concord
    The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy , and Cambridge, near Boston...

     in 1775.
  • When Congress creates the Continental Army in 1775, a call is issued to form ten companies of volunteer riflemen from various colonies. Daniel Morgan
    Daniel Morgan
    Daniel Morgan was an American pioneer, soldier, and United States Representative from Virginia. One of the most gifted battlefield tacticians of the American Revolutionary War, he later commanded troops during the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.-Early years:Most authorities believe that...

     is selected to lead one of two companies of sharpshooters from Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

    . The sharpshooters are encouraged to shoot enemy officers, noncommissioned officers, and other important "strategic targets" like artillerymen as targets. In the Battle of Cowpens
    Battle of Cowpens
    The Battle of Cowpens was a decisive victory by Patriot Revolutionary forces under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, in the Southern campaign of the American Revolutionary War...

    , General Morgan ordered his defending riflemen to "aim for the epaulets," clearly ordering his men to target British officers. After the battle, 39 of 100 British dead were officers—a disproportionate casualty rate.
  • In July 1776, Daniel Boone
    Daniel Boone
    Daniel Boone was an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman whose frontier exploits mad']'e him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which was then beyond the western borders of...

     pursued a Shawnee
    Shawnee
    The Shawnee, Shaawanwaki, Shaawanooki and Shaawanowi lenaweeki, are an Algonquian-speaking people native to North America. Historically they inhabited the areas of Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania...

     raiding party through the Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

     wilderness to rescue his daughter Jemima and two friends. The adventure inspired James Fenimore Cooper
    James Fenimore Cooper
    James Fenimore Cooper was a prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century. He is best remembered as a novelist who wrote numerous sea-stories and the historical novels known as the Leatherstocking Tales, featuring frontiersman Natty Bumppo...

     to write The Last of the Mohicans
    The Last of the Mohicans
    The Last of the Mohicans: A Narrative of 1757 is a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper, first published in February 1826. It is the second book of the Leatherstocking Tales pentalogy and the best known...

    .

Indian Wars


The United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 was sent to pursue leaders or small bands of Native Americans who defied the U.S. government, including Black Hawk
Black Hawk (chief)
Black Hawk was a leader and warrior of the Sauk American Indian tribe in what is now the United States. Although he had inherited an important historic medicine bundle, he was not one of the Sauk's hereditary civil chiefs...

, Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt, popularly known as Chief Joseph, or Young Joseph was the leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain band of Nez Perce during General Oliver O. Howard's attempt to forcibly remove his band and the other "non-treaty" Nez Perce to a reservation in Idaho...

, Geronimo
Geronimo
Geronimo was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars. Allegedly, "Geronimo" was the name given to him during a Mexican incident...

 and Victorio
Victorio
Victorio was a warrior and chief of the Chihenne band of the Chiricahua Apaches in what is now the American states of New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua....

.

American Civil War

  • John S. Mosby
    John S. Mosby
    John Singleton Mosby , nicknamed the "Gray Ghost", was a Confederate cavalry battalion commander in the American Civil War...

     planned his 17-man raid on Fairfax Courthouse to capture Union General Edwin H. Stoughton
    Edwin H. Stoughton
    Edwin Henry Stoughton , was a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War and a lawyer.-Early life:Stoughton was born in Chester, Vermont, the son of Henry Evander and Laura Stoughton....

    .
  • Lafayette Baker's 1st District of Columbia Cavalry unsuccessfully tried to capture Mosby.
  • Union Colonel Ulric Dahlgren
    Ulric Dahlgren
    Ulric Dahlgren served as a Union Army colonel. He was in command of an unsuccessful 1864 raid on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, and was killed in the raid.-Early life:...

     is killed in a March 5, 1864 cavalry raid on Richmond. On his body, Confederates discover a letter ordering the capture and execution of Confederate
    Confederate States of America
    The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

     President Jefferson Davis
    Jefferson Davis
    Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

    . The incident becomes known as The Dahlgren Affair
    Dahlgren Affair
    The Dahlgren Affair was an incident in the American Civil War involving a failed Union raid on the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia on March 2, 1864...

     and leads to an investigation and personal denial by Union General Ulysses S. Grant
    Ulysses S. Grant
    Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

  • Lafayette Baker is recalled to active duty to pursue Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

    's Confederate assassins, including John Wilkes Booth
    John Wilkes Booth
    John Wilkes Booth was an American stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. Booth was a member of the prominent 19th century Booth theatrical family from Maryland and, by the 1860s, was a well-known actor...

    .

Early 1900s

  • The 20th century began with the United States intervention in the Philippines
    Philippines
    The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

    , as the Army sought out individual insurrectos in a concerted counterinsurgency campaign.
  • American political influence was employed in 1904 in a manhunt for Ion Perdicaris
    Ion Perdicaris
    Ion Hanford Perdicaris was a Greek-American playboy who was the centre of a notable kidnapping known as the Perdicaris incident, which aroused international conflict in 1904.-Family life:...

    , who had been taken captive by Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni.
  • In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson
    Woodrow Wilson
    Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

     ordered the Mexican Expedition to end Pancho Villa
    Pancho Villa
    José Doroteo Arango Arámbula – better known by his pseudonym Francisco Villa or its hypocorism Pancho Villa – was one of the most prominent Mexican Revolutionary generals....

    's expeditions in the American Southwest.

World War II


A squadron of P-38 Lightning
P-38 Lightning
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament...

 twin-engined fighters was sent to shoot down Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's transport aircraft in Operation Vengeance, downing his bomber on April 18, 1943 as it approached Bougainville
Bougainville Island
Bougainville Island is the main island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville of Papua New Guinea. This region is also known as Bougainville Province or the North Solomons. The population of the province is 175,160 , which includes the adjacent island of Buka and assorted outlying islands...

.

Vietnam War

  • In the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

    , the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group carried out unconventional warfare
    Unconventional warfare
    Unconventional warfare is the opposite of conventional warfare. Where conventional warfare is used to reduce an opponent's military capability, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing...

     operations against Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army forces in Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

    , Cambodia
    Cambodia
    Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

     and Laos
    Laos
    Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

    .
  • Fourteen Army Combat Tracker Teams, trained at the British Jungle Warfare Schools in Malaya
    British Malaya
    British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

     and New Zealand, were deployed to Vietnam to hunt enemy insurgents.
  • During the battle of Khe Sanh
    Khe Sanh
    Khe Sanh is the district capital of Hướng Hoá District, Quảng Trị Province, Vietnam, located 63 km west of Đông Hà.Khe Sanh Combat Base was a United States Marine Corps outpost in South Vietnam used during the Vietnam War. The airstrip was built in September 1962...

    , military intelligence identifies communications emanating from an area designated Oscar 8. Suspected of being the command post for General Vo Nguyen Giap
    Vo Nguyen Giap
    Võ Nguyên Giáp is a retired Vietnamese officer in the Vietnam People’s Army and a politician. He was a principal commander in two wars: the First Indochina War and the Vietnam War...

    , Special Forces
    Special forces
    Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

     teams and indigenous Hatchet teams
    Hatchet Force
    A Hatchet Force or Hatchet Team was a special operations team of American and South Vietnamese members of MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War, who operated in small covert operations along the Ho Chi Minh trail from 1966...

     are dispatched to capture or kill General Giap following an air strike by B-52 bombers. The mission is unsuccessful, leading to heavy losses on both sides.

1980–1999


A shift in US national security policy began to emerge in the late 20th century, as national leaders began to identify individuals as adversaries, rather than countries. This became evident in the hunts for:
  • Ilich Ramirez Sanchez aka Carlos the Jackal
    Carlos the Jackal
    Ilich Ramírez Sánchez , better known as Carlos the Jackal, is a Venezuelan pro-Palestinian currently serving a life sentence in France for shooting to death two French secret agents and a Lebanese informer in 1975....

  • Manuel Noriega
    Manuel Noriega
    Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno is a Panamanian politician and soldier. He was military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989.The 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States removed him from power; he was captured, detained as a prisoner of war, and flown to the United States. Noriega was tried on...

  • Mohamed Farrah Aidid
    Mohamed Farrah Aidid
    General Mohamed Ali Farrah Aidid was a controversial Somali military leader, often described as a warlord. A former general and diplomat, he was the chairman of the United Somali Congress and later led the Somali National Alliance...

  • The pursuit of Slobodan Milošević
    Slobodan Milošević
    Slobodan Milošević was President of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He served as the President of Socialist Republic of Serbia and Republic of Serbia from 1989 until 1997 in three terms and as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000...

    , Radovan Karadžić
    Radovan Karadžic
    Radovan Karadžić is a former Bosnian Serb politician. He is detained in the United Nations Detention Unit of Scheveningen, accused of war crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats during the Siege of Sarajevo, as well as ordering the Srebrenica massacre.Educated as a...

     and Balkan war criminals
    International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
    The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a...

    .


Manhunting after September 11, 2001


See also War on Terrorism
War on Terrorism
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...


  • US military manhunting operations included Operation Red Dawn
    Operation Red Dawn
    Operation Red Dawn was the U.S. military operation conducted on 13 December 2003 in the town of ad-Dawr, Iraq, near Tikrit, that captured Iraq President Saddam Hussein, ending rumours of his death. The operation was named after the 1984 film Red Dawn. The mission was assigned to the 1st Brigade...

    , the apprehension of Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

    , along with operations to apprehend key Ba'ath party leaders
    Most-wanted Iraqi playing cards
    In the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition, the U.S. military developed a set of playing cards to help troops identify the most-wanted members of President Saddam Hussein's government, mostly high-ranking Baath Party members or members of the Revolutionary Command Council...

    , and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ; October 30, 1966 – June 7, 2006), born Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh was a Jordanian militant Islamist who ran a paramilitary training camp in Afghanistan...

    , along with the capture or death of al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. The U.S. military issued a deck of Most-wanted Iraqi playing cards
    Most-wanted Iraqi playing cards
    In the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition, the U.S. military developed a set of playing cards to help troops identify the most-wanted members of President Saddam Hussein's government, mostly high-ranking Baath Party members or members of the Revolutionary Command Council...

     to assist in the identification and apprehension of key Iraqi leaders.http://www.angelfire.com/ultra/terroristscorecard/IraqDeck.html

  • Manhunting proved an effective tactic to capture key members of Al Qaeda in Iraq and to disrupt networks employing improvised explosive device
    Improvised explosive device
    An improvised explosive device , also known as a roadside bomb, is a homemade bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action...

    s and explosively formed projectiles
    Explosively Formed Penetrator
    An explosively formed penetrator , also known as an explosively formed projectile, a self-forging warhead, or a self-forging fragment, is a special type of shaped charge designed to penetrate armour effectively at standoff distances...

     against U.S. forces in Iraq
    Iraq
    Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

    .

  • The Pentagon
    The Pentagon
    The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.Designed by the American architect...

     acknowledged an aggressive hunt for terrorists was taking place in the Horn of Africa
    Horn of Africa
    The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

     in 2007. As part of Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa
    Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa
    Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa is a joint task force of United States Africa Command . It originated under Operation Enduring Freedom-Horn of Africa as part of the United States response to the September 11, 2001 attacks...

    , The Ethiopian Premier claimed that the United States targeted 20 terrorists in Somalia
    Somalia
    Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

     in January 2007. In September 2009, United States Special Forces
    Special forces
    Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

     and Navy SEALs recovered the body of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan after Nabhan was killed in an air strike by AH-6 Little Bird
    MH-6 Little Bird
    The MH-6 Little Bird , and its attack variant AH-6, are light helicopters used for special operations in the United States Army. Originally based on a modified OH-6A, it was later based on the MD 500E, with a single five-bladed main rotor...

     special operations helicopters in Operation Celestial Balance.

  • The United States reportedly operates two targeted killing programs employing Predator unmanned aerial vehicles: The first, conducted by the Department of Defense
    United States Department of Defense
    The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

    , carries out surveillance and strike missions in areas recognized as war zones, and thus are an extension of combat operations. The second, not officially acknowledged, is conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency
    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...

     in areas outside of officially recognized war zones. Manhunting activities accelerated in August–September 2008 along the Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    -Pakistan
    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...

     border region. Officials remarked the rise in attacks by Predator UAVs and Hellfire
    Hellfire
    Hellfire may refer to:* The fires of Hell or lake of fire, terms used to describe Hell-In music:* "Hell Fire" a heavy metal/speed metal band Formed by Tony Campos in the spring of 2010. Hell Fire taking it back to influences such as Iron Maiden, Helloween, Metallica, Angel Witch, Overkill etc...

     missiles was due to a desire to strike decisively at al Qaeda senior leaders in the waning months of the Bush administration. In 2009, the Barack Obama
    Barack Obama
    Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

     administration reaffirmed its commitment to lethal strikes, when CIA Director Leon Panetta
    Leon Panetta
    Leon Edward Panetta is the 23rd and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama since 2011. Prior to taking office, he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency...

     confirmed the strikes had been successful to date, and would continue. Since that date, strikes against Pakistan-based high-value targets have trebled. Some question the cost vs. benefit of drone attacks, which admittedly deplete the ranks of senior al Qaeda leaders, but also polarize public opinion. Strike accuracy appeared to improve in 2008–2009, with collateral damage reduced as frequency of operations increased. See also Drone attacks in Pakistan
    Drone attacks in Pakistan
    The United States government, led by the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division, has made a series of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones . These attacks are part of the US' War on Terrorism campaign, seeking to defeat Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants...

    .

  • On July 13, 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Central Intelligence Agency
    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...

     (CIA) had initiated a secret program in 2001 to capture or kill senior al Qaeda leaders. Director Leon Panetta
    Leon Panetta
    Leon Edward Panetta is the 23rd and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama since 2011. Prior to taking office, he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency...

     reportedly halted the program, which had not progressed beyond the planning and preparation stages.

  • In October 2009, United States Air Force
    United States Air Force
    The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

     MQ-9 Reaper
    MQ-9 Reaper
    The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is an unmanned aerial vehicle , capable of remote controlled or autonomous flight operations, developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for use by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, the CIA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Royal...

     unmanned aerial vehicles were deployed for the first time to patrol the waters off Somalia
    Somalia
    Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

     in hopes of stemming piracy.

  • In Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    , Interior Minister General Mohammed Daud Daud
    Mohammed Daud Daud
    General H.E. Mohammed Daud Daud , also known as General Daud Daud, was the police chief in northern Afghanistan and the commander of the elite 303 Pamir Corps. He was considered one of the most effective and important opponents of the Afghan Taliban.Gen. Daud studied engineering in college...

     expressed opposition to the addition of approximately 50 suspected drug kingpins to a list of individuals approved for capture or killing by U.S. and NATO forces. U.S. officers stated that the list complied with international law and the military's rules of engagement
    Rules of engagement
    Rules of Engagement refers to those responses that are permitted in the employment of military personnel during operations or in the course of their duties. These rules of engagement are determined by the legal framework within which these duties are being carried out...

    , because it only listed drug lords thought to support the insurgency. A U.S. military spokesman stated that narcotics trafficking was used to finance insurgency.

  • On May 2, 2011, United States Special Operations Forces, including Navy SEALs
    Seals
    Seals may refer to:In military:* United States Navy SEALs, the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force* Royal Thai Navy SEALs, part of the Royal Thai NavyIn sport:* Florida Seals, a minor league ice hockey team from 2002 and 2007...

     and CIA operatives, conducted a daring raid into Abbotabad, Pakistan
    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...

     with the intention to capture or kill Usama bin Ladin. Shortly after a helicopter assault into a large compound, bin Ladin was identified and killed. See main article: Death of Osama bin Laden
    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....


Military manhunts within the United States

  • Military reconnaissance aircraft helped domestic law enforcement look for the Beltway sniper.
  • The Department of Defense
    United States Department of Defense
    The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

     can be called on to support the Department of Homeland Security during designated National Special Security Event
    National Special Security Event
    A National Special Security Event is an event of national or international significance deemed by the United States Department of Homeland Security to be a potential target for terrorism or other criminal activity...

    s.

Legal controversy

  • Manhunting is a challenging legal issue. Since the September 11 attacks in 2001, Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

     and the United States have labeled manhunting as "targeted killings" against "enemy combatant
    Enemy combatant
    Enemy combatant is a term historically referring to members of the armed forces of the state with which another state is at war. Prior to 2008, the definition was: "Any person in an armed conflict who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war." In the case of a civil war or an...

    s," thus constituting legitimate military target
    Legitimate military target
    Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, Article 52, provides for the general protection of civilian objects, restricting attacks to military objectives...

    s for military action.
  • Contemporary international law provides two distinct normative paradigms which govern targeted killings in situations of law enforcement and the conduct of hostilities. Any targeted killing not directed against a legitimate military target remains subject to the law enforcement paradigm, which imposes extensive restraints on the practice. Even under the paradigm of hostilities, no person can be lawfully liquidated without further considerations.
  • In 2009, Philip Alston
    Philip Alston
    Philip G. Alston is an international law scholar and human rights practitioner. He is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, and co-Chair of the law school's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice...

    , an Australian human rights lawyer, presented a report to the United Nations Human Rights Commission that Predator drone strikes may violate international law. Alston filed a Study on targeted killings with the Geneva
    Geneva
    Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

    -based commission in May 2010.
  • Spokesmen for the Central Intelligence Agency
    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...

     responded that the Agency "uses lawful, highly accurate, and effective tools and tactics to take the fight to Al Qaeda and its violent allies. That careful, precise approach has brought major success against a very dangerous and deadly enemy." The Department of Defense
    United States Department of Defense
    The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

     program, which is publicly acknowledged, operates in the recognized war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and targets enemies of U.S. troops stationed there. As such, it is an extension of conventional warfare. CIA Director Leon Panetta
    Leon Panetta
    Leon Edward Panetta is the 23rd and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama since 2011. Prior to taking office, he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency...

     defended the practice, stating that CIA targets enemies of the United States, "and we have deliberately made sure that only those that represent those kinds of targets are the ones we're going to go after."
  • Efforts to capture and interrogate terrorist suspects have also resulted in controversy. The practice of extraordinary rendition
    Extraordinary rendition
    Extraordinary rendition is the abduction and illegal transfer of a person from one nation to another. "Torture by proxy" is used by some critics to describe situations in which the United States and the United Kingdom have transferred suspected terrorists to other countries in order to torture the...

     has been called into question by human rights organizations and international law experts, because it circumvents standard criminal law processes and methods. Methodology employed for the interrogation
    Interrogation
    Interrogation is interviewing as commonly employed by officers of the police, military, and Intelligence agencies with the goal of extracting a confession or obtaining information. Subjects of interrogation are often the suspects, victims, or witnesses of a crime...

     of terrorist suspects have also raised ethical, moral and legal concerns. Approval of "enhanced interrogation techniques"
    Enhanced interrogation techniques
    Enhanced interrogation techniques or alternative set of procedures are terms adopted by the George W. Bush administration in the United States to describe certain severe interrogation methods, often described as torture...

     by Bush administration officials was deemed by many to violate the spirit, if not the letter of the United States Code
    United States Code
    The Code of Laws of the United States of America is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal laws of the United States...

     and international law
    International law
    Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

    , including the Hague Conventions and Geneva Conventions
    Geneva Conventions
    The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

    . Opponents also charge the employment of targeted killing is a violation of Executive Order 12333
    Executive Order 12333
    On December 4, 1981 President Ronald Reagan signedExecutive Order 12333,an Executive Order intended toextend powers and responsibilities of US intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of U.S...

    , itself a result of concerns about assassination expressed by the Church Committee
    Church Committee
    The Church Committee is the common term referring to the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church in 1975. A precursor to the U.S...

     investigations during the 1970s.
  • The United Nations
    United Nations
    The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

     Special Rapporteur on Human Rights issued two reports regarding the use of "intrusive means" to counter terrorism, and secret detention. Western governments widely criticized the reports as politically-motivated and hypocritical, as many of the countries seated on the United Nations Human Rights Committee have questionable human rights histories.
  • On January 13, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union
    American Civil Liberties Union
    The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

     filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the United States Government, including the Department of Defense
    United States Department of Defense
    The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

    , Central Intelligence Agency
    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...

    , Department of State and Department of Justice
    United States Department of Justice
    The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

    . The FOIA request asked the government to disclose the legal basis for its use of predator drones to conduct "targeted killings" overseas. In particular, the ACLU seeks to find out when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and how the United States ensures compliance with international laws relating to extrajudicial killings. The FOIA request was followed up when the ACLU filed suit on Mar 16, 2010. In particular, the lawsuit
    Lawsuit
    A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

     asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties, and other basic information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings. According to the ACLU, State Department spokesman Harold Koh announced in March 2010 that State will provide a legal justification at a date to be determined.

America formally announces policy


On March 26, 2010, in a speech before the American Society of International Law
American Society of International Law
The American Society of International Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational membership organization, based in Washington, D.C.. It was founded in 1906, and was chartered by the United States Congress in 1950...

, United States Department of State
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 Legal Advisor Harold Koh formally announced the United States' legal interpretation
Statutory interpretation
Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. Some amount of interpretation is always necessary when a case involves a statute. Sometimes the words of a statute have a plain and straightforward meaning. But in many cases, there is some ambiguity or...

 of international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

 with respect to targeted killing. Koh first stated that "U.S. targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war
Laws of war
The law of war is a body of law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct...

." He further explained that the United States is in "an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the associated forces" and thus has the lawful right to use force
Use of force by states
The use of force by states is controlled by both customary international law and by treaty law. The UN Charter reads in article 2:All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or...

 "consistent with its inherent right to self-defense" under international law in response to the 9/11 attacks. Under domestic law, he stated that targeted killings are authorized by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)
Iraq Resolution
The Iraq Resolution or the Iraq War Resolution is a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress in October 2002 as Public Law No: 107-243, authorizing military action against Iraq.-Contents:The resolution cited many factors to justify the use of military force against...

. Although he contended that these international and domestic legal grounds "continue to this day," he also provided additional justification for current U.S. actions based on continued attacks and intent by al Qaeda. He concluded that the existence of this "ongoing armed conflict" grants legal authority to the United States to protect its citizens through the use of force, including lethal force, as a matter of self-defense. Koh then addressed specific legal reasoning and standards considered by the United States "when defending itself against high-level leaders planning the attacks." He reiterated the widely accepted conceptualization of an "organized terrorist enemy" as one that does not have conventional forces
Conventional warfare
Conventional warfare is a form of warfare conducted byusing conventional military weapons and battlefield tactics between two or more states in open confrontation. The forces on each side are well-defined, and fight using weapons that primarily target the opposing army...

. Instead, such an enemy plans and executes its attacks while hiding among civilian populations, he said. As such, "that behavior simultaneously makes the application of international law more difficult and more critical for the protection of innocent civilians." Koh identified three elements related to situational considerations that the United States uses when determining whether a specific targeted drone killing at a particular location will occur:
  • Imminence of the threat
  • Sovereignty
    Sovereignty
    Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

     of other States involved
  • Willingness and ability of those States to suppress the threat
    Use of force by states
    The use of force by states is controlled by both customary international law and by treaty law. The UN Charter reads in article 2:All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or...

     the target poses

Koh stated that the "rules" of targeting operations used by the United States are consistent with principles under the laws of war. He cited two well-known principles that govern the State's use of force during an armed conflict: distinction and proportionality. These principles are designed to protect civilians once armed conflict has begun. They are recognized under customary international law as part of Jus in Bello (conduct during war).
  • Distinction
    Distinction (law)
    Distinction is a principle under international humanitarian law governing the legal use of force in an armed conflict, whereby belligerents must distinguish between combatants and civilians...

    : Requires that attacks be limited to military objectives
    Objective (military)
    A military objective is a clearly defined desired result in a given campaign, major operation, battle, or engagement set by the senior command for their formations and units to achieve. Military objectives can be set within a three-tier scale of combat structure of tactical, operational and...

     and that civilians or civilian objects shall not be the object of the attack.
  • Proportionality
    Proportionality (law)
    Proportionality is a principle in law which covers two distinct concepts. Within municipal law it is used to convey the idea that the punishment of an offender should fit the crime...

    : Prohibits attacks that may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, that would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated
    Collateral damage
    Collateral damage is damage to people or property that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome. The phrase is prevalently used as an euphemism for civilian casualties of a military action.-Etymology:...

    .

Koh said that the United States adheres to these standards and that the United States takes great care in the "planning and execution to ensure that only legitimate objectives are targeted and that collateral damage is kept to a minimum."

See also

  • Anti-partisan operations in World War II
    Anti-partisan operations in World War II
    Anti-partisan operations were operations against the various resistance movements during World War II by the Axis powers...

  • Assassination
    Assassination
    To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

  • Biometrics
    Biometrics
    Biometrics As Jain & Ross point out, "the term biometric authentication is perhaps more appropriate than biometrics since the latter has been historically used in the field of statistics to refer to the analysis of biological data [36]" . consists of methods...

  • Combined Task Force 150
    Combined Task Force 150
    Combined Task Force 150 is a multinational coalition naval task force working under the 25 nation coalition of Combined Maritime Forces and is based in Bahrain established to monitor, inspect, board, and stop suspect shipping to pursue the "War on Terrorism" and in the Horn of Africa region ...

     and Piracy in Somalia
    Piracy in Somalia
    Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War in the early 21st century...

  • Counter-insurgency
    Counter-insurgency
    A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

  • Drone attacks in Pakistan
    Drone attacks in Pakistan
    The United States government, led by the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division, has made a series of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones . These attacks are part of the US' War on Terrorism campaign, seeking to defeat Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants...

  • FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives
    FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives
    The FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list arose from a conversation held in late 1949 between J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, and William Kinsey Hutchinson, International News Service Editor-in-Chief, who were discussing ways to promote capture of the...

  • Fugitive
    Fugitive
    A fugitive is a person who is fleeing from custody, whether it be from private slavery, a government arrest, government or non-government questioning, vigilante violence, or outraged private individuals...

  • High-value target
  • Illegal drug trade
    Illegal drug trade
    The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

  • Intelligence (information gathering)
    Intelligence (information gathering)
    Intelligence assessment is the development of forecasts of behaviour or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organization, based on a wide range of available information sources both overt and covert. Assessments are developed in response to requirements declared by the leadership...

  • Iraq War
  • Letter of marque
    Letter of marque
    In the days of fighting sail, a Letter of Marque and Reprisal was a government licence authorizing a person to attack and capture enemy vessels, and bring them before admiralty courts for condemnation and sale...

  • List of military strikes against presumed terrorist targets
  • Manhunt (law enforcement)
    Manhunt (law enforcement)
    In law enforcement, a manhunt is a search for a dangerous fugitive involving the use of all available police units and technology and sometimes help from the public....

  • Most-wanted Iraqi playing cards
    Most-wanted Iraqi playing cards
    In the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition, the U.S. military developed a set of playing cards to help troops identify the most-wanted members of President Saddam Hussein's government, mostly high-ranking Baath Party members or members of the Revolutionary Command Council...

  • Operation Condor
    Operation Condor
    Operation Condor , was a campaign of political repression involving assassination and intelligence operations officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America...

  • Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Operation Red Dawn
    Operation Red Dawn
    Operation Red Dawn was the U.S. military operation conducted on 13 December 2003 in the town of ad-Dawr, Iraq, near Tikrit, that captured Iraq President Saddam Hussein, ending rumours of his death. The operation was named after the 1984 film Red Dawn. The mission was assigned to the 1st Brigade...

  • Sniper
    Sniper
    A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

  • Targeted killing
    Targeted killing
    Targeted killing is the deliberate, specific targeting and killing, by a government or its agents, of a supposed terrorist or of a supposed "unlawful combatant" who is not in that government's custody...

  • Terrorism
    Terrorism
    Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

  • United States Special Operations Command
    United States Special Operations Command
    The United States Special Operations Command is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States Armed Forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense...

  • Unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Use of force by states
    Use of force by states
    The use of force by states is controlled by both customary international law and by treaty law. The UN Charter reads in article 2:All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or...

  • War on Terrorism
    War on Terrorism
    The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...


External links