“U.N. experts say the predominant view among member nations is that the leadership of al-Qaida has passed to Sayf al-’Adl, who was responsible for Osama bin Laden’s security and trained some of the hijackers involved in the 9/11 attack on the U.S.

The panel of experts said in a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Monday [2/13/2023] that no announcement has been made of Sayf al-’Adl replacing Ayman al-Zawahri, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Kabul last August.

‘But in discussions in November and December many U.N. member states took the view that Sayf al-’Adl is already operating as the de facto and uncontested leader of the group,’ the report says.”

– UN Report: Sayf al-’Adl Widely Seen as New al-Qaeda Leader,” abcnews.go.com, February 13, 2023


“Victims of the 9/11 attacks are not entitled to seize $3.5bn (£2.9bn) in assets belonging to Afghanistan’s central bank, a US judge has ruled.

Lawyers pursuing the compensation argued these funds could satisfy court judgments they had obtained against Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban.

At the time of the attacks in 2001, the Taliban had allowed al-Qaeda militants to operate from Afghanistan.

The suicide plane attacks on America claimed 2,977 lives.

Judge George Daniels said he was ‘constitutionally restrained’ from approving access to the funds, which are frozen in the US, as this would amount to a ruling that the Taliban were Afghanistan’s legitimate government.

He noted that the Biden administration did not recognise the Taliban, which meant US courts did not have the power to do so either. …

‘The judgment creditors are entitled to collect on their default judgments and be made whole for the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, but they cannot do so with the funds of the central bank of Afghanistan,’ Judge Daniels wrote in his 30-page judgement.

‘The Taliban, not the former Islamic Republic of Afghanistan or the Afghan people, must pay for the Taliban’s liability in the 9/11 attacks,’ he added. …

The judge’s ruling is a defeat for those who had claimed some of the $7bn of Afghanistan’s central bank funds frozen at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.

‘This decision deprives over 10,000 members of the 9/11 community of their right to collect compensation from the Taliban,’ said Lee Wolosky, a lawyer who argued for victims’ compensation. ‘We believe it is wrongly decided and will appeal.'”

– Mattea Bubalo, “Judge Blocks 9/11 Victims’ Claim to Afghan Assets,” bbc.com, February 22, 2023


“The United States has repatriated two brothers to their native Pakistan after holding them for almost two decades without charges at the controversial Guantanamo Bay military prison.

Abdul Rabbani, 55, and Mohammed Rabbani, 53, were arrested by Pakistani authorities in their home city of Karachi in 2002 before swiftly being transferred to U.S. custody for allegedly operating al-Qaida safe houses.

The U.S. Defense Department on Thursday announced the repatriation of the brothers, who were never charged with a crime, to Pakistan, saying their detention was ‘no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.’ …

Another Pakistani detainee, Majid Khan, who confessed to his role as an al-Qaida courier, was transferred from Guantanamo and resettled in Belize earlier this month after completing his sentence.

Khan, 42, was held in the detention facility for about 15 years. He was sentenced in 2021 to 10 years, with credit for the years he spent cooperating with his American interrogators.

Last October, the United States released the oldest prisoner at Guantanamo, identified as Pakistani national Saifullah Paracha, and transferred him to his home country.

Paracha, 75, had been held at the detention center since 2003 on suspicion of being tied to al-Qaida but he was never charged with a crime. …

The Pentagon on Thursday noted there are 32 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay, 18 of whom are eligible for transfer, nine defendants in military-run tribunals, and two others convicted.”

– Ayaz Gul, “US Returns Pakistani Brothers Held for Almost 20 Years at Guantanamo Bay,” voanews.com, February 24, 2023


A bipartisan plan to fill a funding gap for people sickened by toxins released in the 2001 terror attacks was rolled out Tuesday [2/28/20/23]  by lawmakers hoping to deal with the money shortfall before it becomes a crisis.

The bill — meant to cover shortfalls the World Trade Center Health Program is expected to face starting around 2027 — aims to fix a funding formula that has not kept up as higher enrollment and costs surged more than lawmakers expected when the program was made permanent in 2015. …

The laws enacting the program failed to adequately estimate the numbers of people who would apply, the increasing severity of cancer afflicting tens of thousands, and spiking inflation, its proponents say. There are more than 125,000 people in the program, including more than 25,000 diagnosed with cancer.

Democrats who controlled both houses of Congress last year failed to advance a bill to fix the problem, forcing Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to scramble to add $1 billion to a year-end funding bill at the last minute. That money covers the program’s shortfall until about 2027.

The new bill unveiled Tuesday aims to cure the problem permanently.”

– Michael McAuliff, “NY Lawmakers – Republicans and Democrats – Unveil Bill to Close Funding Shortfall in 9/11 Health Program,” nydailynews.com, February 28, 2023