Several Canadians seeking to wage jihad against the West are training at camps in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, according to a report from the region.
Twelve Canadians who entered Afghanistan in February 2010 and fought against Coalition and Afghan forces there for nine months have been transferred to North Waziristan for more advanced training, a Pakistani Taliban leader told the Asia Times. Al Qaeda recruited the Canadians to carry out attacks in their home country.
“In Afghanistan they received basic jihadi training, while currently they are busy doing some special courses,” a Taliban commander from the Darpa Khel area of North Waziristan told Asia Times. “Their main learning is how to use sophisticated weapons, and how to connect with local smuggling networks in North America. They are also learning how to use ordinary material like sugar and basic chemicals to make powerful explosives. These militants will then return to their country to execute al Qaeda’s plan of targeting big cities in Canada.”
The Canadians reportedly were recruited by Abu Shahid, a leader of the Jihad al-Islami or Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Ayman al Zawahiri’s group which forms the core of al Qaeda’s leadership. “Shahid is responsible for all of the activities of the Canadians in North Waziristan” and “is confident he can recruit more Canadians,” the report noted.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating the veracity of the report, according to AFP.
Several Canadians are known to have traveled to the Afghan-Pakistan border area to fight with al Qaeda and the Taliban. The most prominent was Ahmed Said Al Khadr, who was also known as Abdul Rehman Khadr al Kanadi. Khadr was a close confidant of Osama bin Laden, who invited Khadr to join the Shura Majlis, the top leadership council, after the US invasion of Afghanistan. Khadr was tasked with helping al Qaeda families escape into Pakistan. He was also close to South Waziristan Taliban leader Mullah Nazir, who shelters al Qaeda leaders in the Wazir tribal areas and yet is considered to be a “good Taliban” leader by the Pakistani state.
Khadr was wanted by the US for his suspected ties to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the US. He was also on the United Nations’ 1267 Committee list of designated terrorists. Pakistani security forces killed Khadr and several other al Qaeda fighters during a raid in October 2003.
Khadr’s sons, Omar and Abdurahman, have both spent time at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba after being detained while fighting US forces in Afghanistan in 2001. Omar, the youngest detainee (he is thought to have been 15 when he was captured), is still in custody. Abdurahman was released in 2003.
Also two Canadians of Arab origin are thought to have been the target of an Aug. 20, 2008 US Predator airstrike in the Korzai region near Wana, South Waziristan, a stronghold of Mullah Nazir. The men were said to have held Canadian passports.
Al Qaeda is known to be seeking Western passport holders to help facilitate and execute attacks in the West as such individuals draw less attention and can move more freely, without suspicion, in their home countries.
“We believe the next major attack will be carried out by someone carrying a Western passport,” a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in September 2008 while explaining why the US is ramping up the Predator campaign against al Qaeda’s external operations network in Pakistan’s tribal areas. “It is imperative we stop the next [Sept. 11] attack. This is what we are trying to do.”
US Predators have killed several Western al Qaeda operatives in recent Predator strikes in Pakistan. In October and November of 2010, 16 Germans and a Briton were killed. Abdul Jabbar, the Briton, had been appointed head of the so-called Islamic Army of Great Britain just days before he was killed. The Europeans were tasked with carrying out Mumbai-styled attacks in their home countries.
Al Qaeda is known to used Westerners in its plots against the Western nations. Some of the more prominent Western al Qaeda operatives include: Bryant Neal Vinas, who trained in North Waziristan and plotted to attack the subway in New York City; Faisal Shahzad, who trained in Pakistan and came close to detonating a car bomb in Times Square; David Coleman Headley, who worked with top al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and aided in the Mumbai terror assault as well as plotted attacks in Denmark; and Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, who trained in Yemen and nearly blew up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.