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U.S. Creates Task Force to Target Al-Zarqawi

Now, here's a timely idea....

U.S. Creates Task Force to Target Al-Zarqawi

WASHINGTON — U.S. military planners have assembled a special task force charged with finding and neutralizing Jordanian terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), U.S. officials told FOX News.

Known as Task Force 626, the operation is assembled along the same lines as that of Task Force 121 (search), which searched months before capturing Saddam Hussein and is still hunting Usama bin Laden.

Task Force 626 is smaller than its higher-profile sibling but is similarly made up of CIA operatives, special operations troops from the Navy and the Army, and a handful of investigators.

Members of 626 have fanned out in areas ranging from Baghdad to Fallujah and other areas in the contested al Anbar province in search of al-Zarqawi. While al-Zarqawi is still at large, officials say the task force and other military units have been very successful in eliminating many leaders of his group's leadership.

Many key al-Zarqawi figures have been "whacked," one official told FOX News, citing the missile strike that took out al-Zarqawi's spiritual guide and advisor late last week.

Officials believe they may have taken out as much as half of the members of the senior leadership of al-Zarqawi's group, Tawhid and Jihad (search) — whose name is loosely translated as "Monotheism and Holy War," but they caution that the group harbors many more figures who could rise up and take their places.

One can only wonder why it took this long. While it is true we have done his infrastructure a fair amount of damage, it has seemed like we have not been as aggressive as we need to be in pursuit of Al-Zarqawi. I presume finding him will be far easier than Saddam. In Saddam's case we had a man who had help both from those who loved him and those who feared him. He had a bankroll and was not involved with high-level tactical command and control functions.

If Al-Zarqawi is trying to fight the war he will undoubtedly be easier to find. And the sooner the better.


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Comments (5)

I think one of the problems... (Below threshold)
Cz:

I think one of the problems earlier may have been the reluctance of the common Iraqi citizens to provide info on these terrorists. That is now likely changing, as Iraqis begin to realize that the bombings are killing primarily their own people.

Once the local intelligence begins to aid the task force, I suspect there will be some long-awaited victories in this quest.

I'd be more impressed if th... (Below threshold)
kenny:

I'd be more impressed if the bush administration hadn't decided not to bomb the terrorist camp that Zarqawi has based in 3 times before the start of the Iraq war.
Of course the fact that the Zarqawi camp was in Kurdish controlled northern Iraq might have weakened bush's 'case' that Saddam supported terrorists, which would only have left the 'WMD' case for war..........

What is the frequency, Kenn... (Below threshold)

What is the frequency, Kenny?

You announce something like... (Below threshold)

You announce something like this because you expect it to bear fruit, soon. The fact that we hit one of their big guys this week in an Israel-style car-shot means something specific. The Israelis are able to pull off those kinds of attacks because they have inside info. This means that we have it now, too. This also may indicate that our commanders are confident enough in these sources to publicly announce that we're going after the son of a bitch.

Huh... ya know, I could hav... (Below threshold)
David:

Huh... ya know, I could have sworn I heard about this particular unit way back in January, although perhaps not with this designation. Is it possible that this is just some confusion caused by a reorg?




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