An Insurgent's Life

  • Share
  • Read Later


Joins the mujahedin in Afghanistan. Works as a correspondent for radical Islamist magazine Al Bunyan Al Marsus


Returns to Jordan. Arrested in 1994 for possession of explosives and spends 5 years in prison where he refines his radical religious ideology and memorizes the Koran


Meets with Osama bin Laden but does not join al Qaeda. Starts using the name Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi and sets up his own terrorist-training camp in Herat, near Afghanistan's western border with Iran. The camp becomes an Islamic commune of jihadis and their families with al-Zarqawi as their emir, or military chieftan.


After the fall of the Taliban, al-Zarqawi crosses into Iran and then into northern Iraq in 2002 where he joins up with Islamist militants


Oct. 28: U.S. Agency for International Development official/diplomat Lawrence Foley shot to death in home in Amman, Jordan; police arrest three men who claim they were recruited, armed and paid by Zarqawi.


February: Colin Powell says al-Zarqawi's presence in Iraq is evidence of an al-Qaeda-Saddam connection, making a case for a U.S. invasion of Iraq

August: Zarqawi's al-Tawhid wal-Jihad ("Monotheism and Jihad") launches a suicide bombing campaign in Iraq. The group bombs the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing 22 people, and the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf, killing about 100.


March 2: Bombings kill more than 100 worshipers in Karbala and Baghdad during the Shiite festival of Ashura

May 11: Al-Zarqawi beheads U.S. contractor Nicholas Berg (who was abducted in April) on videotape

July 1: Reward for Zarqawi's capture raised to $25 million (same as for Osama bin Laden)


September: Beheads U.S. hostage and contractor Eugene Armstrong. The execution, like others, is posted on the Internet

Oct. 11: In a 6,000-word letter in Arabic dated July 9, 2005, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al- Qaeda's No. 2, tells al-Zarqawi that Iraq is ripe to provide popular support to Islamic militants. He also adivses al-Zarqawi to stop beheading hostages because it was unpopular with the Muslims. U.S. intelligence says that this provides a look into al-Qaeda strategy in Iraq

Nov. 9: Al-Zarqawi's terrorist bombs kill 60 in three Jordanian hotels.


Jan. 5: Weeks after a parliament election, Zarqawi's group takes credit for suicide bombings against Shiites in Karbala and a police station north of Baghdad

Feb. 22: Bombing of Shiite Shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad. Iraqi insurgents deny a connection, but the Iraqi government blames al-Zarqawi

April 25: A video of al-Zarqawi surfaces on the Internet, calling the U.S.'s presence in Iraq a "crusader" campaign and urging Muslims to defend their faith

June 7: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi dies on a stretcher following a U.S. military air strike in which two 500 lb. bombs were dropped from an F-16 on the safehouse where he was staying (in Habhib village, about 3 miles north of Baquba, which is 20 miles northeast of Baghdad)