Chretien: pleading on behalf of a terrorist
This Independent puff piece on the heroic wives of heroic Al-Qaeda men would be notable only for its sympathy with those who would destroy us were it not for one detail: former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien personally intervened to gain the freedom of an associate of Osama bin Laden whose family business is, as the article says, jihad. Meet two sisters, Maha and Zaynab:
Maha’s late husband, Ahmed Said Khadr, the recently deceased Egyptian-Canadian patriarch of the family, ran orphanages and schools in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
He was also named on a United Nations list of wanted terrorists and was once jailed on suspicion of involvement in the 1995 bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad. (He was released after a personal appeal from Canada’s then prime minister, Jean Chretien.) His Arab associates in Afghanistan included Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, his Egyptian strategist and No 2. Zawahiri is the “high-value target” who was recently alleged to have been cornered in the mountains of Waziristan, in the tribal belt of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan. His voice subsequently appeared on an audiotape urging Pakistanis to overthrow President Pervez Musharraf.
Zaynab went to school with Zawahiri’s daughter, and Bin Laden was guest of honour at her 1999 marriage to her now ex-husband, a sharpshooter from Yemen. The family also briefly shared a sprawling Arab compound in Jalalabad with Zawahiri’s family. All four sons were taught to shoot at the now-demolished al-Qa’ida training camp at Khalden in eastern Afghanistan.