↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Friday, May 29, 2009

Syed Saleem Shahzad: Al-Qaeda strikes back in Lahore

Asia Times Online investigations reveal that in response to the Swat operation, Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud sent several men to various destinations, but they all failed to launch an attack. The biggest group was sent to the southern port city of Karachi. It comprised Amjad Zameer Khattak alias Musarat alias Talha, the son of Sadiq Zameer and a resident of Swat; Mohammad Asim alias Tipu Sultan alias Babu, the son of Mohammad Hakeem Khan of Nowshehra in NWFP; Mohammad Safir alias Saifullah, Adnan and Abdul Hameed. They had belonged to the banned outfits the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Harkatul Mujahideen, but now they are allied with a nexus headed by Baitullah Mehsud. They apparently arrived in Karachi last week and planned a suicide attack on the headquarters of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which is anti-Taliban and a coalition partner in the federal and provincial government. They dropped this plan when they found the building to be too heavily guarded. They were in the process of identifying another target when their presence was leaked to the police and Khattak and Asim were arrested. The others escaped.


However, the real trigger for the Lahore attack, planned by more than two Pakistani groups, was the recent clampdown on a major al-Qaeda sanctuary in Mohmand Agency. Ten days ago, security agencies arrested four Saudi nationals. They were named only as Ahmed, Ali, Mohammad and Obaidullah and had arrived from Saudi Arabia recently. There was also an Abdullah from Libya, and all were experts in explosives and had spent some time in the Afghan province of Helmand. Al-Qaeda also has sanctuaries in Bajaur Agency, which, like Mohmand, borders the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nooristan. Top al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden and his deputy Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, have been seen in these regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The capture of the Saudis shows a real hostile gesture by Pakistan against al-Qaeda's most high-profile sanctuary. As a result, the Lahore operation was planned and financed by al-Qaeda. The Jundul Fida group led by veteran Kashmiri guerrilla commander Ilyas Kashmiri provided logistic support and militants linked with Baitullah Mehsud were used in the suicide mission.


Post a Comment

<< Home