Afghan Suicide Bombers Directly Linked to Pakistani Camps

Pakistan’s tribal agencies churn out suicide bombers for the Afghan insurgency and beyond, and western Pakistan continues to devolve into a terror safe haven


Taliban military commander Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Pakistan’s culpability in the rebirth of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and the rise in violence in Afghanistan, is beginning to become difficult for even the Pakistani government to paper over. With the government’s surrender to the Taliban and al Qaeda in North Waziristan, and the eagerness of the Pakistani government to surrender additional tribal agencies, the evidence will quickly mount that western Pakistan is Taliban and al Qaeda occupied territory.

Today, Afghan authorities announced the arrest of seventeen terrorists who “told authorities they attended militant training camps in neighboring Pakistan.” The camps were identified directly. “The would-be bombers trained in Shamshatoo, an Afghan refugee camp near Peshawar, and at another camp near Data Khel in Pakistan’s semiautonomous North Waziristan tribal region,” according to Said Ansari, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s intelligence agency.

An American intelligence source indicates there are over 20 al Qaeda and Taliban run training camps currently in operation in North and South Waziristan.

The Khaleej Times notes the “foreign” influence in Pakistan. “All of the detained have confessed they received training for suicide attacks, attacks against schools and institutions from Arab, Chechen and Uzbek instructors on the other side of the border (Pakistan),” said Ansari. According to the terms of the Waziristan Accord, “The agreement envisages that the foreigners living in North Waziristan will have to leave Pakistan but those who cannot leave will be allowed to live peacefully, respecting the law of the land and the agreement.” The foreigners have not left, nor are they living in “peace.” In fact, the “foreigners” played an instrumental role in the signing of the Waziristan Accord, including Mullah Omar (Afghan), Tahir Yuldashev (Uzbek) and Sheikh Eisa al-Masri (Egyptian).


Taliban commander Nek Mohammed, killed during Pakistani operations in 2004.

Christian Lowe, in his review of PBS’s Frontline documentary Return of the Taliban, notes that Pakistan has given up patrolling Waziristan and the Taliban is “thriving.”

Ask any military commander in Afghanistan where he thinks the threats are coming from and he’ll tell you they’re from the tribal areas of Pakistan. Though the Pakistani government issues vociferous denials that it harbors al Qaeda on its soil–with Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf recently declaring that al Qaeda’s leadership is hiding in Afghanistan (which has more than 20,000 U.S. troops) not in Pakistan’s tribal areas (which now has zero Pakistani troops on patrol)–the Frontline documentary provides strong evidence that powerful terrorist leaders such as Jalaluddin Haqqani and Nek Mohammed have been allowed to thrive in the tribal areas.

Taliban commander Nek Mohammed was killed in the spring of 2004 during Pakistan’s initial attempt to tame the tribal agencies, but Jalaluddin Haqqani, the Taliban’s most effective military commander, is still operating from Waziristan. Haqqani was spotted at the signing of the Waziristan Accord.

As Mr. Lowe notes, it is an open secret in military and intelligence circles that Pakistan is a refuge for the Taliban. Over the last six months, two senior officers were quoted as saying such. Colonel Chris Vernon discussed the Taliban’s command structure in Quetta in May of 2006. The thinking piece of the Taliban is out of Quetta in Pakistan. It’s the major headquarters… They use it to run a series of networks in Afghanistan,” said Colonel Vernon. Colonel Arie Vermeij, the senior Dutch officer in Afghanistan, recently noted Pakistan’s porous border and the problem a safe haven creates on the border. “Unfortunately, al Qaeda supports the Taliban, which gets help from Pakistan… We take a lot of Taliban prisoners or eliminate them, but more fighters continually come from Pakistan and other countries,” said Col. Vermeij.

The future of Afghanistan, the Pakistani government and the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal all remain in doubt as the Taliban and al Qaeda continue the unchecked rise in power.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • Dale in Armstrong says:

    Bill: Here’s a Major Irony for you, in your article: you mention one of the trainers of the Homicide Bombers over in Pakistan, is named:
    Sheikh Eisa al-Masir!
    In Arabic, that means:
    Sheikh ( you know that one!) JESUS from Egypt!
    Eisa is Arabic for the name “Jesus”!
    The limits of the hypocrasy of the Jihadis knows no bounds; the ultimate in peaceful prophets, Jesus, whose message to mankind was love thy neighbor and turn the other cheek; his name, being used a “Nom de guerre” by a Jihadi, teaching people who to BLOW UP and MURDER their fellow innocent Human Beings!

  • Jesus Reyes says:

    I dont understand what Frist is doing in Afghanistan. The clarification from his office is mostly a repetition.

  • Good Captain says:

    Any inkling of the US’ response in the next few months?

  • thanos says:

    Do we know for certain that the camps are still operating? When did the fighters train? Those are important questions, I don’t profess to have answers, but would really like to know.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    My sources say yes, the camps are currently open for business, and are currently training recruits.
    Good Captain,
    Other than strikes at high value targets ala Damadola or Danda Sandgai, I see little options absent a major attack on Western targets that force our hand.

  • TS Alfabet says:

    I would hope that we are talking to an ambitious, pro-West general in the Pakistan army who is willing to seize control of the Pakistan government with our covert support at an opportune time. Otherwise, we simply cannot tolerate a radical Pakistan with nukes.
    I wonder, too, how this news squares with the captured Al Qaeda docs from Iraq where Bin Laden paints a rather dire picture of life in Pakistan. It seems to me that AQ has successfully relocated to Pakistan and is well on the way to having an even better training base there than in A-stan.

  • Afghan Suicide Bombers Directly Linked to Pakistani Camps

    Courtesy of The Fourth Rail:
    Pakistan’s tribal agencies churn out suicide bombers for the Afghan insurgency and beyond, and western Pakistan continues to devolve into a terror safe haven
    Pakistan’s culpability in the rebirth of the Talib…

  • David says:

    I think the ‘keys to the kingdom’ in Pakistan are held by the ISI, not any General in the Pakistani army.
    The Pakistani ISI, the Taliban and Al Qaeda are inextricably linked together, and all are getting money from dissaffected, anti-Western, Salafist members of the House of Saud.
    If Iran gets an A-bomb, Saudi Arabia will get one too, from the Paki arsenal, with one of those Salafist Wahhabist members of the House of Saud not far from the trigger.
    I heard from one of my young co-workers today that members of Al Qaeda are not “real” Muslims. Such is the state of dis-information in America today.

  • thanos says:

    If the camps are still operating then it might be worthwhile for someone to sweat Hamid Gul a bit, too bad we can’t get him. I’ve always thought that there are definitely two ISI’s, akin to how our CIA operates lately with timely leaks.


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