Khalid Sheikh Mohammed : Unsolved Mysteries

Where are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's wife and sons? What is the name of his wife? Were the children really brought to the U.S. for questioning or were they kept in detention in Pakistan, Afhanistan or elsewhere? Were they tortured? Were they ever released? Who got the reward for KSM's capture?

Back in 2003, when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured, there were varying reports on his capture and the seizure and detention of his children. In 2004, Amnesty International wrote this open letter to Pakistan President Musharraf inquiring as to their whereabouts (See page 11.)

The timeline appears to go like this: [More...]

  • November, 2002: Ramzi Binalshibh captured, as are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's sons (and possibly his wife.)
  • February, 2003: One or two Quetta Raids, lead to information KSM is in Rawalpindi
  • March 1, 2003: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed arrested at a flat in Rawalpindi, along with Mustafa al-Hawsawi (who will be a co-defendant of KSM's) and Ahmed Qadoos, a "simpleton", later released.

From the Olga Craig article, November, 2003:

Yousef al-Khalid, nine, and his brother, Abed al-Khalid, seven, were taken into custody in Pakistan last September when intelligence officers raided a flat in Karachi where their father had been hiding. He fled just hours before the raid but his two young sons, along with another senior al-Qa'eda member, were found cowering behind a wardrobe in the apartment.

Last night CIA interrogators confirmed that the boys were staying at a secret address where they were being encouraged to talk about their father's activities. "We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children," said one official, "but we need to know as much about their father's recent activities as possible. We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care."

From page 11 of the Amnesty International letter:

The whereabouts of two other children arrested in September 2002 also remains unknown. Nine-year-old Yousef al-Khalid and seven-year-old Abed al-Khalid are the sons of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is allegedly a senior leader of al-Qa’ida. According to press reports, Yousef and Abed were picked up in September 2002 by Pakistani security forces during a raid on an apartment in Karachi where it was believed their father was hiding. However, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed escaped arrest.

The boys were then reportedly held in an undisclosed place until March 2003. Following the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on 1 March 2003, Yousef al-Khalid and Abed al-Khalid were reportedly transferred to custody in the US allegedly to force their father “to talk”. US authorities have denied that Yousef and Abed were in the custody of US officials, either in the US or anywhere else, or that the boys had been interrogated by US officials.

However, when asked where Yousef al-Khalid and Abed al-Khalid were, the US spokesperson allegedly declined to comment. Amnesty International is not aware of any statement about the brothers being made by the Pakistani authorities.

The letter quotes articles in The Sunday Times, London, 9 March 2003 and The Daily Times, 12 March 2003. In a statmement to his son's combatant review tribunal, the father of detainee Majid Khan said his son had told him the boys were mistreated during their detention. (See page 13.)

What about their mother?

Little is known of his sons' mother, who is thought to be Pakistani. "We have no evidence that suggests she has anything to do with al-Qa'eda," a Pakistani intelligence source said yesterday. "All we know is that she is the sister of an al-Qa'eda member that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed met at a Pakistan college, the University of Dawa al Jihad, in the late 1980s."

What is her name and who is her brother, believed to be an al Qaida member who also attended the University of Dawa al Jihad? The only other mention of her I've seen is one reporting she and the children joined KSM in Pakistan in 1997.

According to the Telegraph on March 9, 2003, the "supergrass" (informant) who provided the information that led to KSM's arrest was a former Taliban commander who received the $25 million (17 million pounds) is living in in a safe house in Leiceister.

The informant was offered £17million, a new identity and a house in the States by CIA chiefs desperate to nail September 11 schemer Khalid. But last night it emerged the dad-of-four -- a suspected Taliban officer -- asked to move to Britain instead because he has a friend in the East Midlands. A source said: “He was offered America, but said he would prefer Britain because he has a friend in Leicester."

How did they get the supergrass?

CIA chiefs picked up the Egyptian grass while hot on the trail of terror chief Khalid, the brains behind Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida attacks in the US in 2001. The man was arrested in the Pakistani border town of Quetta on February 14.

An official said: “At the time of the Quetta raid, the authorities were looking for Khalid. “He escaped, but from there they followed him to another town in Rawalpindi. “They got information from the man they picked up in Quetta and from phone calls until they tracked Khalid down in Rawalpindi.”

Kuwaiti-born Khalid, 39, was arrested as he slept in the home of an Islamic radical pal on Saturday. He is being quizzed at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan over al-Qa’ida’s terror plans...

Other details on Supergrass:

Meanwhile, the informant and his family were under armed guard at a secret location. A security source said: “The man is thought to be a mid-range Taliban officer who had become disillusioned. “He was kicked out of Afghanistan, but returned after the regime toppled last year. When it became clear he was in possession of a dynamite piece of knowledge, he was paid a visit.

"A mixture of carrot and stick was used with the informant. The money on offer will cover the cost of a new home and travel. “He’ll get the rest in staged payments over the rest of his life. There’s no way the US would risk giving him a lump sum as it may arouse suspicion.

So Supergrass was arrested in a raid in Quetta on Feb. 14, 2003. On March 1, 2003, the AP reported:

CIA officers and Pakistani authorities carried out the operation that led to Mohammed's capture, according to American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The tip-off came about a week earlier following a raid in the southwestern town of Quetta and the arrest of a Middle Eastern man, possibly of Egyptian origin, according to a Pakistani government source who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

"At the time of that raid in Quetta the authorities were looking for Khalid Shaikh but he escaped and from there they followed him to Rawalpindi," said the official. "They got information from the man they picked up in Quetta and from phone calls until they tracked him down to Rawalpindi."

Coincidentally, so was Mohammed Omar Abdel-Raman, son of the cleric. Peter Finn reported in the Washington Post,

Mohammed was nearly captured on Sept 10, 2002, when Ramzi Binalshibh, a key member of the Hamburg cell, was picked up, and again the next day when two of Mohammed’s young sons were arrested at an apartment following a shoot-out. Four months later, US and Pakistani officials received information that Mohammed and other Al-Qaeda suspects were hiding at a house owned by a senior leader of Pakistan’s Jamaat-e-Islami, on the outskirts of Karachi.

When they raided the house on Jan 10 this year, they captured two Al-Qaeda suspects but Mohammed didn’t show up for a scheduled visit. Ten days later, Pakistani and US intelligence agents raided an apartment near Karachi’s main shopping district and arrested two Jordanian citizens who had been in contact with Mohammed.

Mohammed narrowly escaped arrest one last time, Feb 13 in Quetta. A raid netted the son of Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian cleric. Although they missed Mohammed, US communications specialists soon traced him to another part of the city. It was the endgame.

Others put his capture on Feb. 14. See also, this Fox News article:

Mohammed Omar Abdel-Rahman, is a son of the blind Egyptian sheik accused of inspiring the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center....The younger Abdel-Rahman was caught several weeks ago in Quetta, Pakistan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Pakistani officials have suggested the Quetta arrest helped lead authorities to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, although American sources disputed that, saying Mohammed was found by other, unspecified means.

The BBC reported it was an e-mail from Mohammed Omar Abdel-Raman that led to the capture of KSM.

The man arrested in Quetta was later identified as Mohammed Omar Abdel Rahman, the son of a blind Egyptian cleric jailed for his role in planning the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. An e-mail from the younger Abdel Rahman eventually led investigators to the address in Rawalpindi, security officials say.

As noted in this Human Rights Watch report, David Johnston, in the New York Times, March 4, 2003, wrote:

On Feb. 13, when Pakistani authorities raided an apartment in Quetta, they got the break they needed. They had hoped to find Mr. [Khalid Sheikh] Mohammed, but he had fled the apartment, eluding the authorities, as he had on numerous occasions. Instead, they found and arrested Muhammad Abdel Rahman, a son of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric...

Mohammed Omar Abdel Rahman is still in custody at Guanatamo. Question: Why did Taliban officer " Supergrass" get a $25 million reward if they got to KSM from Mohammed Omar Abdel Rahman?

[Note: I'm not going into the conspiracy theory reports that KSM was really killed in a raid the day before or after Ramzi Binalshibh was captured in November, 2002, that his body was identified by his wife,d who was later questined by the FBI and turned over to Egyptian authorties, and the U.S. cooked up the al-Jazeera London bureau chief's 2002 interviews of Binalhibh and KSM to sell KSM as the 9/11 mastermind and did a photo-swap to make it look like KSM was arrested in March, 2003. So far there are no legitimate reports that KSM is dead and the person in custody about to go on trial is someone other than KSM.]

I'll just ask again: Where are the wife and sons of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and who is his wife? And who is Supergrass and did the U.S. really pay him $25 million for the capture of KSM?

Update: According to Peter Finn of the Washington Post, Mrs. KSM and their children are in Iran. According to Mansoor Khan at The Nation, ("Ramzi's wife dubs US inhumane",) he recently interviewed the wife of KSM's nephew, Ramzi Yousef, in Karachi, but she had travelled there from Iran. The State Department's Reward for Justice site is here. While it lists the rewards paid for specific captures, including $25 million for Saddam's sons, it doesn't list anything being paid for the capture of KSM.

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    A New York Times story (none / 0) (#1)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 04:47:37 PM EST
    by Mark Mazzetta, which appears on the Times website only in a shortened form w/o this paragraph, mentioned (in a version appearing in other papers) that KSM's wife and children are together and living in Iran.  Doesn't make too much sense to me, since the Iranian Shiites, I thought, are no friends of the Sunni al Qaeda, but that's what it said.  No source given.

    thanks, but do you mean (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:31:17 PM EST
    the Washington Post? Peter Finn reported this yesterday, it's the first I've seen of it. I can't find a mention of it in the NY Times article.

    The braggadocio visible in his courtroom outbursts also led Mohammed to agree to lecture CIA agents in a classroom setting while in custody. But his time in prison has been marked by moments of despair, according to officials familiar with his detention. Those moments include the time he was given photographs of his children, two of whom were captured with him but now live in Iran with his wife.

    It could be true though, since that's where Ramzi Yousef's wife apparently is.  On 10/28, Mansoor Khan at The Nation reported on an interview with her in Karachi, Pakistan, where she had traveled from Zahidan, Iran.

    The wife of Abdul Basit alias Ramzi Yousaf expressed these views during an exclusive talk with The Nation during her visit to Karachi from Zahidan, Iran here on Wednesday.

    Thanks for the tip, I'll keep digging.


    Yes, that's it (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:51:11 PM EST
    The Minneapolis Star, which ran the story under the NYT reporter's by-line, interwove that paragraph and others from the WaPo story apparently.  At the end it says, "The Washington Post contributed to this story."  I guess that's what that means.  Anyway, yes, that's the sentence that caught my attention and to which I was referring.