A doctor? But…but…poverty causes terrorism! He just needed some economic opportunities and all would have been well! “NHS doctor who became Taliban commander killed ‘in drone strike,'” by Robert Verkaik and Robert Mendick, the Telegraph, March 14, 2015
An NHS doctor who skipped bail to join the Taliban has been killed in a counter-terrorism offensive in Pakistan.
Dr Mirza Tariq Ali, 39, who worked in hospitals in London and Cambridge, was involved in extremist groups in the UK when he was charged with violent disorder.
Last year the Telegraph reported that he fled the UK before his court appearance to become a Taliban commander in Pakistan where he fronted extremist propaganda including a recruitment video.
On Saturday, it was reported that he had been killed in an attack led by the Pakistan security services. A conflicting report said he had been killed in a US drone strike.
Before leaving for Pakistan, Ali was a close associate of radical cleric Anjem Choudary as well as a number of UK jihadists who have gone to fight for Islamic State in Syria.
Choudary immediately responded to news of the death by describing Ali as a ‘martyr’ after he was reported killed by the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, which has carried out a number of targeted attacks against prominent jihadists.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, spokesman for the Taliban group which Ali had joined, vowed to avenge his death which he attributed to ISI and its Western allies.
Ehsan, one of the world’s most notorious terrorists, is wanted for the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head in October 2012 for wanting to go to school. Malala, now 17, was widely praised for her courage and later awarded the Nobel peace prize.
During his time in Pakistan, Ali edited an online English-language jihadist magazine, called ‘Ihya-e-Khilafat’ (Revival of the Islamic Caliphate) aimed at recruiting Muslim youths from the west.
The extremist magazine which he helped to edit publishes contact details for potential jihadi youths and advises them not to use home computers which might be tracked by intelligence agencies.
The surgeon, who had been a doctor in the Pakistan army before taking up a hospital post in London ten years ago, was convicted in the first-ever successful prosecution for Islamic sectarian violence in Britain after he was seen hitting a bystander over the head with a pole at a Central London rally in 2013.
He skipped bail before his trial and was found guilty in his absence at the Old Bailey and sentenced to 15 months.
He has since been struck off by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.
It was previously reported that he was fighting as a jihadist in Syria to join British fighters. But instead he travelled to Pakistan where he became a commander for a Taliban splinter-group under a new name – Dr Abu Obaidah Al-Islamabadi.
Wearing a black turban, he was seen in a video clip saying: “Allah blessed me with the passion of Jihad.
“I left Britain with an intention to go to Iraq and join Islamic State, but I was arrested on the way and sent to prison in Croatia.”
He somehow ended up in Pakistan and joined a branch of the Taliban accused last year of involvement in the massacre of 132 children in Peshawar.
Choudary has written an obituary about Ali, in which he said: “Once we were acquainted I soon realised that Tariq Ali was no ordinary Muslim but rather in many respects an extremely exceptional one.”…