WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
Non-Pakistani extremists head to Pakistani training outposts
OCTOBER 17, 2007 – The Daily Times, Pakistan’s English language paper, reported yesterday that it is not only young men from the UK who have travelled to Pakistan to allegedly receive terrorist training.
“Today, even small countries such as Belgium, Denmark and Switzerland have detected non-Pakistani extremists going to Pakistani training outposts.”
This is what they had to say:
These new links, combined with the unprecedented plots against Germany and Denmark, show a gathering menace, the official said. “I think that Europe has been at extremely high risk during the past six months,” he said. “First, because many fighters have returned from Iraq. Second, because of the real problem of Pakistan.”
In the Danish case, the leader of an alleged cell was trained by Al Qaeda in Pakistan in an apparent plot to kill Danish civilians, partly as revenge for the publication of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), anti-terrorism officials say.
In the German case, police in September arrested three suspects accused of assembling 1,500 pounds of explosive materials for vehicle bombings near US military bases. The trio allegedly took orders from Islamic Jihad Union, an Al Qaeda ally based in Pakistan.
Starting in 2005, the three main suspects spent time at the Qortoba Arabic-language school in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, intelligence officials say.
German suspects also attended such schools in Saudi Arabia and Syria and roamed in Turkey, investigators say, drifting abroad for months at a time.Fritz Gelowicz, the accused ringleader, reportedly met a key contact – a militant from Balochistan – at a Koranic school in Damascus, Syria, in 2005, an anti-terrorism official said. In March 2006, Gelowicz and two other suspects trained at a camp in the lawless Waziristan region, according to Pakistani and US intelligence provided to German investigators. Investigators say the training camp was near the city of Mir Ali. The suspects used a variety of contacts and routes, but they all entered Pakistan via Iran.
As the plot gathered momentum early this year, a second wave of associates set off from Germany. But US and German police had begun intense surveillance, and Pakistani police were on alert. During the first half of the year, Pakistani authorities arrested seven militants.
On June 10, two alleged key figures in the group made it only a few miles across the Pakistani border before their capture at a bus stop. Tolga Duerbin and Houssein al Malah had met a contact in Tehran, paid $100 to a smuggler in an Iranian border town, and were carrying satellite phones and fake Afghan IDs when they were caught, according to investigators and a defence lawyer.
Pakistani police locked them in an underground prison in Islamabad, blindfolded them and grilled them about associates in Germany, said Duerbin’s lawyer, Michael Sertsoez. Duerbin said American agents were present during interrogations, the lawyer said. The two were eventually deported.