Khalid Batarfi

Khalid Saeed Batarfi
خالد سعيد باطرفي
Khalid Batarfi.jpg
Khalid Batarfi appearing in an AQAP video.
Born1978, 1979 or 1980[1]
NationalitySaudi Arabian
Other namesAbū al-Miqdād al-Kindī, Abū al-Miqdād al-Kanadī
Known forEmir of AQAP
Military career
Allegiance AQAP
Years of service2010–present
RankSupreme commander (Emir) of Abyan

Field commander in Hadramaut

Emir of AQAP
Battles/warsYemen Insurgency

Yemeni Civil War

Khalid Saeed Batarfi (Arabic: خالد سعيد باطرفي‎), also known as Abū al-Miqdād al-Kindī (Arabic: أبو مقداد الكِنْدِي‎),[3] is a Saudi Arabian militant and the current emir of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.[4] He oversaw the Yemen-based group's media network[5] and led jihadist fighters in their takeover of Yemen's Abyan Governorate in 2011, where he was accorded the position of emir.[6][7] He also reputedly carried out terrorist attacks in the Abyan and Hadhramaut governorates.[5]

On 17 March 2011, Batarfi was captured by security forces in the Taiz Governorate.[5] For four years, he was imprisoned in Mukalla. He was freed, along with about 300 other inmates, by al Qaeda fighters on 2 April 2015, during the Battle of Mukalla.[4][7][8] The Washington Post compared the Mukalla prison break to the escape of 23 fighters, including future AQAP emir Nasir al-Wuhayshi, from a Yemeni prison in 2006, a formative event for the group.[9]

Batarfi attracted media attention when he posed for photographs taken by al Qaeda members in the Hadhramaut governor's palace, which fighters took over.[7][10]

Batarfi was promoted to leader after the death of Qasim al-Raymi in January 2020.[11] In February 2021, the UN claimed that Batarfi was arrested during a security operation in Al Ghaydah in October 2020.[12] However, Batarfi later appeared in a video discussing the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.[13]


  1. ^ "Khalid Saeed al-Batarfi". Rewards for Justice.
  2. ^ "Counter Terrorism Designations". United States Department of the Treasury. 23 January 2018.
  3. ^ Fighting Back: What Governments Can Do About Terrorism edited by Paul Shemella
  4. ^ a b "Officials: Al Qaeda fighters free 270 from Yemeni prison". CNN. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Three militants, three soldiers killed in Yemen". CNN. 17 March 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Amid Yemen chaos, al Qaeda stages prison break". CBS News. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Spencer, Richard (4 April 2015). "The al-Qaeda commander at home in a governor's palace". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  8. ^ Bacchi, Umberto (2 April 2015). "Yemen: Al-Qaeda frees 300 in al-Mukalla prison attack". International Business Times. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  9. ^ Miller, Greg (5 April 2015). "Al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen exploits chaos to rebuild, officials say". Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  10. ^ Bacchi, Umberto (4 April 2015). "Yemen: Al-Qaeda operative Khalid Batarfi takes selfies inside Mukalla government". International Business Times. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  11. ^ "AQAP confirms death of leader, appoints successor: SITE". Yahoo!. 23 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Al Qaeda's leader in Yemen under arrest, UN report reveals". CNN. 4 February 2021.
  13. ^ https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2021/02/aqap-leader-cites-u-s-capitol-riot-as-evidence-of-americas-supposed-decline.php

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