Less than a week before he was reported killed by a drone strike, top al-Qaida commander Ilyas Kashmiri was said to have been plotting to create a special death squad to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan's Express-News newspaper reported Monday that Kashmiri called a meeting of jihadist commanders last week to create "Lashkar-e-Osama," which would carry out suicide bombings throughout Pakistan. Members of the group planned attacks against diplomats and embassies in Pakistan, with targets including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and China.
The newspaper also reported that Kashmiri and his associates planned to target the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad with explosives. They sought to acquire large amounts of poison, apparently to contaminate food supplies bound for NATO troops in Afghanistan. The plot involved kidnapping drivers of NATO supply trucks passing through Pakistan and mixing poison into food.
The jihadists also planned strikes against Pakistani security officials and the country's top ammunition production facility. Other possible targets reportedly included visiting Chinese dignitaries, oil terminals and naval bases throughout Pakistan, the port of Karachi and the Karachi airport.
The plotters discussed using auto rickshaws carrying explosives as one means of carrying out the attacks.
U.S. and Pakistani officials have disagreed as to whether Kashmiri is actually dead. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said he could confirm "100 percent" that Kashmiri died June 3 when a Predator drone fired three missiles into a house in South Waziristan. By contrast, a U.S. official, noting that earlier reports of Kashmiri's death have proven false, said Washington is operating on the assumption that he is still alive.