Business is still booming at Afghan and Pakistani terror camps

Embedded in this must-read article at Spiegel on German jihadis is a section on the al Qaeda and affiliated groups’ camps that operate in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas despite the US Predator air campaign and special operations raids. From Spiegel:

Much has changed in the Islamist terrorist scene in Germany in the almost 10 years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but one constant has remained. Like the 9/11 attackers, the overwhelming majority of militant jihadists in Germany have attended training camps run by al-Qaida or affiliated groups.

In these camps, would-be terrorists receive instruction on terrorism techniques and are given orders to be carried out in Europe. The camps are still in the Hindu Kush region that straddles Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, but now they are somewhat farther to the south than before, in the border area between the two countries. The Western invasion of Afghanistan did not change that. Neither have countless military offensives or US drone attacks.

Osama bin Laden is dead, as are many of his closest associates. But the recruitment of new blood is still going strong. The terror network has been continually transforming itself, as new terrorists have come up through the ranks, running individual camps and smaller organizations, before disappearing from view again.

Al-Qaida today resembles an army whose battalions were torn apart after the invasion of Afghanistan and whose surviving troop units are now operating more or less autonomously. But there are still many soldiers willing to fight, including some from Germany. “So many people arrive every month that there are problems finding places for them to stay,” says Rami Makanesi, a suspected al-Qaida member from Hamburg who also attended a training camp in the Hindu Kush region.

Paradoxically, the new structure, with its many splinter groups, makes it easier for Islamist fanatics to latch onto one of the organizations. “In the last few years, the threat level in Germany from al-Qaida has actually increased,” says German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, a member of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU).

Makanesi’s claim that “so many people arrive every month that there are problems finding places for them to stay” shouldn’t be dismissed. In fact, Makanesi’s statement matches the observations made by David Coleman Headley, the US jihadi indicted for plotting attacks in Denmark. The following comments by Headley are taken from the US federal indictment of Headley [see Threat Matrix report, US jihadi: North Waziristan ‘bustling’ with ‘Foreign Mujahideen’ from October 2009]. In the excerpt below, Headley is rebutting survey results that claimed the locals in North Waziristan didn’t support the jihadis.

This “survey” is the biggest crock of S … I was there on some business recently and I assure you this dude is not even close .. I even doubt the ability of the surveyors to conduct this “research” in Miranshah or Ramzak. I even challenge [the identified individual who posted the survey online] to just walk around the bazaar in Miranshah. This bazaar is bustling with Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Russians, Bosnians, some from EU countries and of course our Arab brothers. According to MY survey the foreign population is a little less than a third of the total. Any Waziri or Mehsud I spoke to seemed grateful to God for the privilege of being able to host the “Foreign Mujahideen.” [emphasis in the original]

There are so many German-speaking terrorists in the area that in Waziristan, a village of so-called “German Taliban” was established, according to propaganda released by the Islamic Jihad Group, an offshoot of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Both the IMU and the IJU have large numbers of Germans and Europeans in their ranks. IMU camps have sprung up in the Afghan north, in Samangan, Balkh, and Sar-i-Pul provinces. Also the term “European Taliban” has begun to be used in the region.

We’ve said this multiple times: Raids and Predator strikes are good tools for disrupting the terror networks in the Afghan-Pakistan region, but they are no substitute for taking and holding ground.

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

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  • Sure Sure and what else would you expect them to say, eh? Maybe something like:
    “Our recruitment is collapsing and if fact we are having desertions. Everybody says why should I give up my life when the commanders like the Sheik ben Laden are shacked up with young woman fornicating and watching satellite television. Hell everybody has seen the bodies of the fools that have been blown up by the preditors and aren’t so sure there is a paradise. How would even allah put those body parts back to gether.”
    Anybody who believes David Coleman Headley can buy used bridges in excellent shape bringing traffic into Manhatten island.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Except the camps are still there, and Western intel agencies are wetting themselves over the numbers of Western jihadis going through them.

  • steve says:

    wetting themselves because they are scared to death or because they are so excited to hit target rich camps full of terrorists?

  • Graham says:

    None the matter, this is why the Reaper drone was invented.

  • Charu says:

    On the contrary I expect them to downplay these camps and to try to discredit Headley who is clearly singing to the Feds.

  • Well I have spent a bit of time surfing the internet looking for how many actual foreign imported terrorists there were in Pakistan. There is very little actual numerical data. Many sites say foreigners are streaming in but not how many. The one number that seems consisnent is 30% arab and 70% elsewhere. I only found one site with a real estimate of 2300 foreign imported terrorists in Pakistan with many of those being used against Kashmir. So maybe if two to three a week is streaming in I’ll buy that.

  • Vienna,11-05-2011
    The plain fact is that the bazar is financed by
    the Friends of Democratic Pakistan FoDP who donate billions of dollars every year.Until I took up the matter strongly last year the foolish faithfuls were very busy painting Dr.Hamid Karzai as half mad.He is not. He is concerned about poor Afghani, old men, women and children. When he was inducted to Afghan politics he had to begin with scratch. Now he knows.German sponsored World Security Network,where is it now focusing on FATA under the guidance of
    half a dozen Pakistani generals retired or serving?There are fifteen countries in the world
    that host Pakistanis as duel citizens with special privileges.They created sovereign Kosavar Republic! World should open its wide eyes and focus them. Kulamarva Balakrishna

  • Render says:

    ISAF/NATO keep right on reporting hundreds of al-Qaeda, IMU, and “foreign fighters” being killed or captured every month, month in and month out. In some months as many as one out of every three insurgent/terrorists killed/captured are reported as being non-Afghan.
    As if one hand doesn’t know what the other is claiming…
    The “foreign fighters” aren’t the same ones getting whacked or captured over and over again (at least the dead ones), and they aren’t springing forth from the ground like the skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts (1963), they’re coming from somewhere.
    That somewhere isn’t new, nor is it news, except to a number of professional analysts and pundits who have had an interest in maintaining the “few crazies in the hills with guns/no threat to Americans” meme over the last six years.
    Ego and analysis do not mix well.

  • Paul D says:

    Why has Ramzak and Miranshah not been targeted by CIA/MI6/RAW as the mighty Pak Army are doing nothing!

  • Mr T says:

    And how do these jihadis get to the training camps? Well, I think they fly into Pakistan on commercial airliners and get in the jihad taxi outside and are taken right to them.
    Why do the Pakistanis allow people into their country that are there to fight in the long war?
    If their Intelligence service is so good, then they know this is happening. Don’t they ask themselves, why are these 20 something year old men all arriving here in Pakistan? Why are they here? What are they doing? Where do they go? Do they work? Why do they never leave? Oh, they are all just simple students coming to learn the Koran.
    Since when did Pakistan just allow anybody to come into their country and disappear to roam freely where the secuirity people don’t know who or where they are?
    In other words, they are complicit. Again.

  • Jimmy says:

    Read how the Ottoman Empire’s foundations were laid:
    “Osman became chief, or Bey, upon his father

  • john says:

    So…it’s a proxy war. Just like it has been for the last 30 years. No surprises. The ISI continues to run camps and use Jihad as a source of manpower and funding. This is old news, not new. The Pakistani “government” continues to function as a side-show while the ISI and other associated agencies continue their “defensive” policies. The locals live for the now, and bribery becomes the way things are done, to the point that getting a few miles of road can cost upwards of 100 million dollars and take as long as a year. We’ve given them 10 years and billions of dollars. If they wanted to join the modern world at all they’d have done it by now. Let them rot.


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