This is true, and I’m happy to see it in print in the Wall Street Journal: the US trained counter-terror special forces contain al Qaeda members and sympathizers.
Its not that one al Qaeda operative recently infiltrated, its several and they were part of the unit long before the US stepped up its efforts this year. The PSO, the National Security and the Yemeni military all contain substantial elements of al Qaeda, some at the highest positions. And its hard to call them covert or double agents when they are known, protected and facilitated. The challenge in Yemen is elite support of al Qaeda. From the WSJ, via Youweb, an article that explains the very complex events in Mudiyah and the surrender of the 16.
On Oct. 16, al Mai’aser members (the governor’s tribe) surrounded the home of a man they suspected was a key operative in the ambush (on the governor of Abyan). The Yemeni security official says the man is a known al Qaeda sympathizer who also works as an officer in a U.S.-trained counterterrorism special-forces unit deployed in Mudiyah. The military didn’t return calls seeking comment.
When the suspect refused to surrender, a gunfight broke out; one of al Mai’aser’s rivals was killed and at least six others injured, although not the suspect himself, according to local residents.
A day later, tribal elders intervened to mediate a truce, a discussion that involved local government officials and military personnel who were also members of the two tribes. By Oct. 28, in a deal brokered by the tribal mediation, 14 men had surrendered to the governor for their alleged role in the attack on his convoy. The men were taken into tribal custody, to be dealt with under the rules of tribal justice.
Late Monday, the governor announced the 14 men would be handed over to Yemen’s security agency—apparently breaking the tribal guarantees given to the men to surrender.
Update: Those with good will are to be released…
Yemen Post: Abyan Governor Ahmed Al-Maisari said on Monday that 14 Al-Qaeda members handed themselves in to the authorities after they had been convinced by the local government and sheikhs. 5 Al-Qaeda leaders were among the 14 including Jamal Nuairan, said the governor, adding: “We also arrested 3 other terrorists.” — They would be sent to the political security prison in Aden and their investigations would be completed, he said, pointing out that anyone of them would be found guilty of committing illegal acts would be turned over to justice. But those with good-will will be released and rehabilitated, he added, as he said the authorities are continuing a hunt for other terrorist elements.