A possible Bin Laden successor: Ilyas Kashmiri

While Ayman al-Zawahri remains the “presumed” successor to bin Laden, the longtime al-Qaida deputy is deeply unpopular in some circles and his elevation is by no means guaranteed, a senior U.S. official told reporters this weekend. If al-Zawahri doesn’t make it, Kashmiri may emerge as the dark horse in the ensuing power struggle, the official told NBC on Monday…

Kashmiri was at one point a member of the Pakistani military, serving as a commando in a Special Services Group that was once tasked with training Afghan mujahedeen to fight the Soviets.

He was later reassigned to train Kashmiri fighters against the Indians, but broke from the Pakistani army and joined a terrorist group — called Harakat-ul Jihad-i-Islami, or HUJI (“Movement of Islamic Holy War”) — that has been closely aligned with al-Qaida.