Saturday, December 30, 2006

Telegraph: "Freed jihadis put Pakistan's war on terror 'back to square one'"

As I have noted previously, Pakistan is one of the weaker links in the war on terror:
Anti-terrorism forces in Pakistan have been told to brace themselves for a wave of atrocities. Intelligence officials warned that the security situation is now more precarious than it was before the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Senior officers say they are "back to square one" in their fight against international terrorist groups after the release of dozens of militants by Pakistani courts. High-ranking police officials say that as many as 80 hard-core militants are on the loose after being cleared by the courts or released on bail.

They are believed to have been involved in crimes including the attempted assassination of President Pervez Musharraf and a suicide attack on the American consulate in Karachi.

A memo sent by Pakistan's interior ministry to law enforcement agencies around the country warns of a plot to use suicide bombers to target Britons and Americans, including diplomats, in a coordinated campaign involving some of the country's most notorious terrorist groups. The ministry warned that the bombers were also believed to be looking at high-profile individuals and military installations as potential targets.

Last month, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the head of MI5, warned of the growing threat from within Pakistan. She said young British Muslims were being groomed to become suicide bombers and that most of the 1,600 suspects being tracked by her agents were British-born but linked to al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

MI5 is reported to have compiled detailed dossiers on British Muslims travelling to jihadist training camps in Waziristan, on the border with Afghanistan, the region where the United States believes Osama bin Laden is hiding. At least two of the British Muslims involved in the Tube and bus bombings in London on July 7 last year are known to have visited training camps in Pakistan.

Anti-terrorism officers in Pakistan say they are deeply alarmed by the security situation. "We are back to square one and the situation is more precarious than it was before 9/11," one senior officer told The Sunday Telegraph. "They are planning more attacks. They have got huge backup. There are so many youths who are joining them. The old ones who are released from the prison are guiding and training the new cadres." [...]
(Hat Tip: Lucianne)

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