Really? We could have told them that, but it’s nice to have it corroborated:
Most of the major terrorist plots against the West since 2004 had links to Pakistan, including two that targeted Canada, says a study to be released today by a U.S. think tank.
In just over half of the 32 “serious” plots identified in the New America Foundation study, the participants had received either training or direction from jihadists in Pakistan.
The findings underscore Pakistan’s role as al-Qaeda’s primary safe haven, despite recent concerns about countries like Yemen, writes investigative journalist Paul Cruickshank, the study’s author.
“This paper has shown that by some measures al-Qaeda’s safe haven in Pakistan has actually become more dangerous in recent years. More serious plots emerged in the West in 2010 linked to established jihadist groups in Pakistan than in any year since al-Qaeda built up its operations in FATA in the early 2000s.”
FATA is the acronym for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the rugged frontier region of Pakistan, where al-Qaeda and its affiliates have set up since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In 53% of terror plots, members of the groups involved had trained in Pakistan, compared with 6% in Yemen, 3% in Iraq and 38% where no overseas training occurred, the study says.
Forty-four percent of the plots were directed by jihadist groups in Pakistan, while 6% were directed from Yemen, 3% from Iraq and 47% had no clear overseas direction.
Most of the Western recruits who went to Pakistan had initially wanted to fight NATO forces in Afghanistan but were instead persuaded to return to their home countries to conduct terrorist attacks, it says.
“The FATA safe haven continues to be the greater threat to the United States, as well as other Western countries, given the decades-long presence of al-Qaeda’s leaders, numerous bomb making instructors, training facilities, and facilitators in the region, and the presence of several Pakistani militant groups like the Pakistani Taliban increasingly determined to attack the United States,” the report says.
Pakistan has faced heavy criticism since the United States tracked Osama bin Laden to a home near a major military base not far from the capital, Islamabad. The Pakistani military intelligence service, ISI, is widely believed to provide support to jihadist groups.
In addition to Pakistan, Somalia has emerged as a destination for young Muslim extremists. Officials say up to 20 Canadians have travelled to Somalia over the past few years to join the al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabab.
Full Story at Canada’s National Post
We have long maintained that in order to tackle Islamic terrorism, Pakistan must be tackled first. This country – and in particular the vast, rural Federally Administered tribal Areas (FATA) in the North West bordering Afghanistan – is the crucible of world terrorism and has proven to be a safe haven for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Toiba and a whole alphabet sup of sub-groups and wanabees.
Pakistan nominally controls this territory, but in fact it is run by the elders of myriad Pashtun tribes, with varying loyalties (but mainly to themselves).
Nothing happens here without their agreement. But what does happen affects the whole world.
Pakistan’s lax approach to this fulcrum of terror is also compounded by the fact that large swathes of its well-equipped and funded military are sympathetic to one or more of these organisations; often actually helping them avoid Coaltion counterterrorism actions and they are even suspected of direct involvement in major Muslim terror attacks such as the Mumbai massacre.
Oh, and Pakistan also has a significant nuclear arsenal. With ‘friends’ like this, what could possibly go wrong?
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