· US officials believe Al Qaeda has completed recruiting Western would-be terrorists
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: United States intelligence officials fear that a new breed of Al Qaeda-linked terrorists, all white Europeans, may have been trained at camps in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas to carry out operations in Europe and elsewhere.
According to ABC News, dozens of these potential European terrorists have been dispatched to plan attacks against Europe and possibly the United States. The men are said to come from Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Romania and Estonia. Some European recruits may have already gone operational. Two of the suspects arrested in a September 2007 plot to kill American soldiers in Germany were native Germans, and it is being investigated to discover whether they were Pakistan-trained. An April 2008 report alleged that an increasing number of European nationals had attended training in Pakistan and were later involved in, or suspected of, terrorist offences in European Union countries.
Successful: US intelligence officials believe that Al Qaeda has successfully completed its major goal of recruiting and training Western would-be terrorists. “Al Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the US: the identification, training and positioning of operatives for an attack in the homeland,” according to a February Threat Assessment report from the director of National Intelligence who said that his agency had “seen an influx of new Western recruits into the Tribal Areas since mid-2006.”
It is argued that white European terrorists, assuming they exist, are going to be more difficult to detect and would be easily able to enter Europe and the US. “They’re recruiting operatives from Europe. Why? If you’re from Europe, it doesn’t require a visa to fly to the United States,” Mike McConnell, director of National Intelligence, said in a speech in March. “So if you can get a disgruntled person in Europe to come to Pakistan to be trained in how to buy something commercially – hydrogen peroxide – (and) use it in a particular way, you could have mass casualties in the United States greater than 9/11,” he said.
Intelligence officials told ABC News that the administration was trying to target key Al Qaeda leaders in the tribal regions with Predator attacks and recently killed one leader who had helped co-ordinate European operatives.
· Source: Daily Times, 22/6/2008