Khalid al-Batarfi is a senior member of AQAP in Yemen’s Hadramaut Governorate and a former member of AQAP’s shura council. In 1999, he traveled to Afghanistan, where he trained at al-Qa’ida’s al-Farouq camp. In 2001, he fought alongside the Taliban against U.S. forces and the Northern Alliance. In 2010, al-Batarfi joined AQAP in Yemen, led AQAP fighters in taking over Yemen’s Abyan Province, and was named AQAP’s emir of Abyan. Following the death of AQAP leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi in a June 2016 U.S. military strike, he issued a statement warning that al-Qa’ida would destroy the U.S. economy and attack other U.S. interests.
After the United States announced that it would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, al-Batarfi appeared in an AQAP video in January 2018, threatening the United States and Jewish people. On January 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of State designated al-Batarfi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order 13224.