At the time, hardly anyone noticed the failed attempt; it was just one more explosion in a violent country. The whole incident would have been little more than a footnote in the prehistory of America’s war with al-Qaeda if the players had remained in the past. But more than two decades after he planted those bombs, Nahdi, the man who planned al-Qaeda’s first attack on the U.S., has reemerged and this time he is ostensibly fighting for the other side.
Although it is unclear to what degree Nahdi’s views on violent jihad have evolved over the past two decades, his new position — as a high-ranking security officer in Yemen’s Interior Ministry — raises questions as to the extent that jihadis and al-Qaeda sympathizers have infiltrated Yemen’s security services at the same time the U.S. has been pouring millions into the country in an effort to combat the terrorist group.
When contacted by BuzzFeed, Nahdi said he was doing a great job confronting insecurity and denouncing al-Qaeda. But he refused to discuss the 1992 bombings. “I’m now a colonel in the Interior Ministry and was appointed as an assistant to the director of security for Mukalla,” he said.