Abdelmalek Droukdel

Abdelmalek Droukdel
Born (1970-04-20) 20 April 1970
Meftah, Algeria
Other names Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud
Known for Founder and Emir of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb
Religion Islam (Salafism)

Military career

Allegiance Al-Qaeda
Service/branch GSPC (1996–2006)
Rank Emir of AQIM

War in Afghanistan
Algerian Civil War Insurgency in the Maghreb

Abdelmalek Droukdel (born 20 April 1970), also known by his nom de guerre as Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud, is the emir, or leader, of the Algerian Islamic militant group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), formerly the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC).

Early life and education

Droukdel was born in Meftah, Algeria on 20 April 1970.[1] He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Blida before joining the insurgency in 1996.[2][3]

Afghan War, Algerian Civil War and the GSPC

Droukdel returned to Algeria after fighting in the Afghan civil war, and joined the GSPC.[4] Droukdel was a regional leader of the GSPC for several years before becoming the group's commander in 2004 following the death of then-leader Nabil Sahraoui.[5][6] His mentor was Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.[7] After the killing of Zarqawi in 2006, Droukdel published a statement in a website and stated "O infidels and apostates, your joy will be brief and you will cry for a long time... we are all Zarqawi."[8]

Emir of AQIM

Abdelmalek Droukdel with some of his soldiers, making attacking plans, somewhere in Maghreb, in 9 October 2009.

Under Droukdel's leadership the GSPC sought to develop itself from a largely domestic entity into a larger player on the international terror stage. In September 2006, it was announced that the GSPC had joined forces with al-Qaeda and in January 2007, the group officially changed its name to the "Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb."[9] Droukdel played a significant role in this merge.[4] However, the local leaders of the organization such as Droukdel began to pursue much more independent activities and were distanced from al-Qaeda in the last quarter of 2012.[10]

Droukdel ousted Mokhtar Belmokhtar from the organization in late 2012 for Belmokhtar's "fractious behaviour".[11] Journalists discovered a document attributed to Droukdel and dated 20 July 2012 in Timbuktu that criticized militants for implementing Islamic law too quickly in Mali.[12] He believed the destruction of shrines would provoke Western governments to intervene in Mali.[13]


In December 2007, the United States Department of the Treasury imposed financial sanctions and froze Abdelmalek Droukdel's assets under Executive Order 13224.[14][15]


  1. Interview with Abu Musab Abdel Wadoud, Commander of the Algerian Salafist Group for Prayer and Combat (GSPC) Archived 21 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine. Global Terror Alert, 26 September 2005.
  2. Ragtag Insurgency Gains a Lifeline From Al Qaeda New York Times, 1 July 2008
  3. Abdel Bari Atwan (4 February 2008). The Secret History of Al Qaeda. University of California Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0-520-25561-6. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  4. 1 2 Jacinto, Leela (27 September 2010). "Key figures in al Qaeda's North African branch" (PDF). CIMIC. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  5. New chief for Algeria's Islamists BBC, 7 September 2004
  6. Andrew Hansen; Lauren Vriens (21 July 2009). "Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" (PDF). CIMIC. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  7. Belkadi, Boubker (13 December 2007). "Ruthless chief, head of Al-Qaeda's NAfrica branch". Middle East Online. Algiers. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
  8. Trabelsi, Habib (9 June 2006). "Zarqawi death 'relief' for rival rebels: experts". Lebanon Wire. AFP. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  9. Salafist Group for Call and Combat Announces its New Name as al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb SITE Institute, 26 January 2007
  10. Johny, Stanly (9 January 2013). "Waiting for a deluge". Business Standard. New Delhi. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  11. Morgan, Andy (20 January 2013). "'Mr Marlboro' lands a seismic blow". The Independent. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  12. MALI-AL-QAIDA'S SAHARA PLAYBOOK - Associated Press
  13. Doyle, Mark (2013-02-26). "Mali Islamists warned about Sharia in al-Qaeda 'manifesto'". BBC News. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  14. U.S. freezes assets of Algerian over al Qaeda ties Reuters, 4 December 2007
  15. "Terrorism: What You Need to Know About U.S. Sanctions" (PDF) (Press release). U.S. Department of Treasury. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.

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