Here’s What 23 Of The World’s Most Dangerous Terrorists Look Like Today

Photos by DoD/YouTube

In the years since 9/11, the U.S. military has come face-to-face with some of most ruthless terrorists on the face of the planet. But with a new commander-in-chief in the White House, we have to ask: What happened to the major militant figures from the golden years of the War on Terror? Task & Purpose checks in on 23 of the world’s terrorist leaders to see how they're doing after running afoul of American troops:

Mohammed Atef

Supposedly the military advisor for the terrorist group al Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man, Atef was killed in Afghanistan by a drone in 2001.

Photo by Eelke/Flickr

Ali Qaed Sinan al-Harthi

Also known as Abu Ali, the USS Cole bombing suspect was killed by a CIA drone in Yemen in 2002.

Photo by Josh/Flickr

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

The one-time leader of al Qaeda in Iraq who orchestrated the beheading of American hostages was killed by an airstrike in 2006.

Photo by Thanasis Anastasiou/Flickr

Baitullah Mehsud

The chief of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan was killed by a CIA drone strike in 2009.

Photo by abbamouse/Flickr

Hakimullah Mehsud

Following the death of the elder Mehsud in 2009, Hakimullah became leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and was killed by a CIA drone strike in 2013.

Photo by Geoff Blake/Flickr

Mushin Musa Matwalli Atwah

Once on President George W Bush’s list of the 22 most dangerous terrorists for his role in the 1998 embassy bombings, Atwah was killed by an airstrike in Pakistan in 2006.

Photo by Joshua Ezzell/Flickr

Abu Laith al-Libi

The Afghan al Qaeda commander and spokesman, was killed by a drone attack in Pakistan in 2008.

Photo by Emma-O Productions/Flickr

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid

Also known as Saeed al-Masri, the alleged third-in-command for the al Qaeda and the chief financial officer was killed in an airstrike in Pakistan’s tribal region in 2010.

Photo by Elvis Ripley/Flickr

Atiyah Abd al-Rahman

The high-ranking al Qaeda leader was killed by a CIA Predator drone strike in Pakistan in 2011.

Photo by James Bowe/Flickr

Hus­sein al-Ye­meni

An expert al Qaeda bomb maker who helped orchestrate the Camp Chapman suicide attack in 2009, Yemeni was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan in 2010.

Photo by abbamouse/Flickr

Ab­dal­lah Umar Quray­shi

The leader of two al Qaeda contingents in Afghanistan was killed in an airstrike in 2010.

Photo by Geoff Blake/Flickr

An­war Aw­laki

The American-born cleric was killed by a Hellfire missile from a CIA drone in Yemen in 2011.

Photo by Romana Klee/Flickr

Ibrahim Banna

Al Qaeda in Yemen’s media boss was killed by the same Hellfire missile that took our Awlaki in 2011.

Photo by Chaim Zvi/Flickr

Sakhr Taifi

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command in Afghanistan was killed in a coalition airstrike in 2012.

Photo by MP/Flickr

Abu Yahya al-Libi

Al Qaeda’s former second-in-com­mand was killed by a CIA drone strike in Pakistan in 2012.

Photo by Alistaire47/Flickr

Maulvi Nazir

The Taliban chief known for orchestrating attacks on American and NATO troops in Afghanistan died in a drone strike in 2013.

Photo by Elvis Ripley/Flickr

Adam Gadahn

A top al Qaeda propagandist and the first American since World War II to be charged with treason, Gadahn was killed by a CIA drone strike in Pakistan in 2015.

Photo by Jeremy Zilar/Flickr

Ali Awni Harzi

The ISIS commander and suspect in the 2012 Benghazi attack was killed in an airstrike in Mosul in 2015.

Photo by Eelke/Flickr

“Jihadi John” Mohammed Emwazi

The ISIS executioner known for his gruesome beheadings of Western hostages was killed by a drone strike near Raqqa, Syria, in 2015.

Photo by Nachans/Flickr

Akhtar Mohammad Mansour

The Taliban leader died when a drone strike destroyed his vehicle in Pakistan in 2016.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani

The ISIS spokesman was killed by a drone strike in Syria in 2016.

Photo by Pexels

Faruq al-Qatani

The senior al Qaeda was killed by a U.S. military airstrike in Afghanistan in 2016.


Osama bin Laden

Well, we all know how this ended:

The Arabian Sea, as seen from Kerala, India.

An Austrian Jagdkommando K9 unit conducts training (Austrian Armed Forces photo)

An Austrian soldier was apparently killed by two military working dogs that he was charged with feeding, the Austrian Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario has seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya, and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.

Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.

The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.

Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Read More Show Less

My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead

"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."


Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.

They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.

As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.

But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.

Read More Show Less
Photo: ABC News/screenshot

Federal court judge Reggie Walton in Washington D.C. has ruled Hoda Muthana, a young woman who left her family in Hoover, Alabama, to join ISIS, is not a U.S. citizen, her attorneys told Thursday.

The ruling means the government does not recognize her a citizen of the United States, even though she was born in the U.S.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- The Marine Corps could train as many as eight co-ed companies at boot camp each year, and the general overseeing the effort is hitting back against those complaining that the move is lowering training standards.

"Get over it," Maj. Gen. William Mullen, the head of Training and Education Command told on Thursday. "We're still making Marines like we used to. That has not changed."

Mullen, a career infantry officer who has led troops in combat — including in Fallujah, Iraq — said Marines have likely been complaining about falling standards since 1775.

"I'm assuming that the second Marine walking into Tun Tavern was like 'You know ... our standards have gone down. They're just not the same as it they used to be,'" Mullen said, referring to the service's famous birthplace. "That has always been going on in the history of the Marine Corps."

Read More Show Less