Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today

Let's see how they're doing...

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. Over the years, oversight of the Global War on Terror has changed hands several times, with each presidential administration passing America’s Forever War off to the next. 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.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article was first published on April 1, 2017.

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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
Photo by Thanasis Anastasiou/Flickr

Baitullah Mehsud

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

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
Photo by abbamouse/Flickr

Ab­dal­lah Umar Quray­shi

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

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
Photo by Chaim Zvi/Flickr

Sakhr Taifi

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

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
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.

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
Photo by Nachans/Flickr

Akhtar Mohammad Mansour

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

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani

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

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
Photo by Pexels

Faruq al-Qatani

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

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today

Osama bin Laden

Well, we all know how this ended:

Here’s what 23 of the world’s most dangerous terrorists look like today
The Arabian Sea, as seen from Kerala, India.

Jared Keller
Jared Keller

is the executive editor of Task & Purpose. His writing has appeared in Aeon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post, among other publications. Contact the author here.

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