Tom Hussain, Foreign Correspondent
Last Updated: January 29. 2010 12:18AM UAE / January 28. 2010 8:18PM GMT
Religious schools are one of the means – but far from the only one – by which jihadists are recruited. Khalid Tanveer / AP Photo
LAHORE // A year ago, in the central industrial city of Gujranwala, a gentle, thoughtful giant of a man named Asim Goraya agreed to arrange meetings for The National with local representatives of Lashkar-i-Taiba, the militant group accused of carrying out the November 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai.
However, Goraya had little in common with LiT. Rather than spend his days plotting the destruction of India and the United States, he believed in a romanticised jihad that was a duty for practising Muslims and involved fighting only the non-Muslim powers occupying Muslim lands.
That sense of duty led him to run away in 1980 from home at the age of 12 to join the jihad against the Soviet forces then occupying Afghanistan; he got as far as a training camp in the north-west Khyber tribal agency before his father tracked him down four days later and took him home. Continue reading
By Bill RoggioJanuary 12, 2010 6:49 AM
An al Qaeda operative from Jordan was killed during a recent US airstrike in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan,
Mansur al Shami, a longtime jihadi whose real name is Mahmud Mahdi Zeidan, was confirmed to have been killed in a statement released on the Al Faloja and Shamukh al Islam jihadist web forums, according to the SITE Institute.
“The martyrdom of Mahmud Mahdi Zeidan… on the soil of Pakistan, the land of the diligent and of the mujahedeen is confirmed,” the statement read.
Shami’s family was also contacted by a member of al Qaeda who was present during the strike. “A man called me on Sunday and said my brother died in the US attack,” Shami’s brother Omar told AFP. “He spoke bad Arabic and said he escaped the attack. I think he is a Pakistani.” Continue reading
Last updated 16:46 11/10/2009
LATEST: Pakistani commandos have raided a building inside army headquarters and freed 25 people held hostage for more than 18 hours by Islamist fighters, a military spokesman said.
Three captives and four hostage-takers were killed, while one militant was believed to be on the run.
The audacious assault on the country’s military establishment showed the strength of militants allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban ahead of a planned army offensive on their heartland in South Waziristan along the Afghan border and signaled that any push there would be met with more attacks across Pakistan.
The government said the siege had steeled its resolve to go through with the South Waziristan offensive, calling it “inevitable.” The United States and Pakistan’s other Western allies want the country to take more action against insurgents also blamed for soaring attacks on US and Nato troops in Afghanistan. Continue reading