In “The Pakistan Connection: The little-noticed arrests of three men allegedly planning U.S. attacks renews questions about the country”s tolerance of terrorists,” Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball of Newsweek notice what we have extensively documented here: Pakistan’s double game.
June 20, 2007 – The international media barely noticed when Pakistani authorities recently picked up three foreign jihadis, including two German passport holders, in the remote town of Taftan near the Iranian border. But the arrests are being taken seriously by Western intelligence agencies.
The suspects were allegedly carrying sophisticated satellite phones and traveling through a lawless region known as a hotbed of Islamic radicalism. That and other circumstances have touched off an international investigation into the backgrounds and prior travel of the suspects. The chief concern is that the suspects may have been planning to cross into Iran on their way to Western Europe””or even the United States””to act as potential “muscle” in possible terror attacks, a European intelligence official tells NEWSWEEK. (The official asked not to be publicly identified talking about sensitive intelligence matters.)
Although little hard evidence about the intentions of the suspects has surfaced, the interest in the three alleged jihadis””one of whom hails from Kyrgyzstan””reflects mounting worries among Western intelligence officials about developments in Pakistan’s border regions. It also underscores concerns among U.S. officials that potential terrorists could take advantage of loose travel rules for European citizens to enter the United States on tourist visas.
Just this week, the Western media began publicizing an inflammatory new jihadi video, made in the same region, that purports to show a “graduation ceremony” of 300 aspiring suicide bombers headed for the West. According to an account of the tape on the ABC News web site, the ceremony was staged on June 9 at a training camp alleged to be operated by the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The video, recorded by a Pakistani journalist, shows groups of about 150 masked men””supposedly suicide bombers assigned to conduct attacks in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States. Some of the would-be bombers were speaking English. Emceeing the graduation ceremony was a Taliban commander named Mansoor Dadullah””allegedly the brother of Mullah Dadullah, a senior Taliban commander whose brother was killed by U.S. forces in May.
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