From the pages of “Benghazi: Know Thy Enemy” by Sarah Adams and Dave “Boon” Benton, on this 11th anniversary of the Benghazi attacks, they reflect on what they didn’t know on September 10th, 2012, drawing valuable lessons for the current state of Afghanistan.

The Interconnected Mujahideen Network

We didn’t realize the intricate web of connections among various militia groups in Benghazi, rooted in their shared experiences in Afghanistan. There is a reason Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al-Qa’ida leader at the time, trusted and directed this network to target Americans in Libya; he fought alongside them during the muj-era.

Highlighting some key figures involved from Afghanistan, beyond al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) leader Abdel Malik Droukal and Mohktar Belmoktar, the actual mastermind of the Benghazi Mission attack, who orchestrated it under the direction of Zawahiri, were:

• Seifallah ben Hassine led Ansar al-Sharia-Tunisia and was notorious for providing Tunisian suicide bombers responsible for the assassination of Ahmed Shah Massoud on September 9th,2001.

• Sufyan bin Qumo led Ansar al-Sharia-Darnah and was one of the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees we’ve identified in connection with our attacks.

• Mohammad al-Gharabi led Rafallah al-Sahati Brigades, not only contributing numerous attackers to the Mission assault but also overseeing the mortar team that struck the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Annex.