The terrorist life, it's not all bombs and glitter. There are expense reports, meetings, and the kind of responsibilities you'd expect from a low-level manager in any organization.
A trove of letters found and authenticated by the Associated Press in Mali tell the story of how a man who would come to be responsible for more than 100 deaths was fired from al-Qaida for failing to carry out some of the more mundane aspects of running an international terrorist organization.
In one 10-page letter, al-Qaida leadership scolded an ambitious terrorist, the one-eyed Algerian bandit known as Moktar Belmoktar, for failing to attend meetings, for ignoring orders, for missing their phone calls, and for failing to turn in required monthly expense reports, AP reports.
But there were other problems as well.
Among al-Qaida's complaints with Belmoktar: he didn't charge enough ransom for one hostage, he failed to carry out any "spectacular operations," and he posted messages on Internet forums badmouthing the terrorist organization.
But Belmoktar had his complaints too – he said that he was tired of carrying out endless kidnappings-for-ransom, "which the mujahedeen got bored with."
Belmoktar responded to his severance by breaking away and carrying out or claiming responsibility for at least two deadly terrorist attacks, including a siege of a gas plant in Algeria in January and, earlier this month, simultaneous bombings in Niger. Those attacks killed up to 101 people.
All of the details can be found in the AP's story.