The United States remains committed to the fight against al-Qaida in all its forms. Khalid Saeed al-Batarfi is a senior leader in the terrorist organization known as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. He was the top commander for AQAP in Abyan Governate, Yemen, and was a former member of AQAP’s shura council.
Al-Batarfi was born in Saudi Arabia. In 1999, he traveled to Afghanistan, where he trained at al-Qaida’s al-Farouq camp. In 2001, he fought alongside the Taliban against U.S. forces and the Northern Alliance.
In 2010, al-Batarfi joined AQAP in Yemen, led AQAP fighters in taking over Yemen’s Abyan Province, and was named AQAP’s emir of Abyan. In April 2015, al-Batarfi was released from the Central Prison of al-Mukalla in Yemen when AQAP militants attacked the prison. Following the death of AQAP leader Nasir Al-Wuhayshi in a June 2016 U.S. military strike, he issued a statement warning that al-Qaida would destroy the U.S. economy and attack other U.S. interests.
After the United States announced that it would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, al-Batarfi appeared in an AQAP video in January 2018 threatening the United States and Jewish people.
On January 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of State designated al-Batarfi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224. The designation freezes al-Batarfi’ s assets and interests subject to U.S. jurisdiction and generally prohibits Americans from engaging in transactions with him.
The U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice Program is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the identification or location of al-Batarfi. He poses a significant risk of committing more acts of terrorism.
The United States remains committed to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula.