Schlagwort-Archive: British

An Englishman in Afghanistan… – Meet Adam the Jihadi

by Florian Flade

His name is „Adam“. Adam left his homeland of Great Britain for a vacation of a very different kind. The British man, approximately in his 20s or early 30s went to Afghanistan, to the violent eastern province of Kunar and joined up with the Taliban fighters of the Haqqani clan operating across the border from Pakistan.

An Al-Jazeera camera team met „Adam“ while filming Taliban militants in the mountains of Kunar. The footage shows the British Jihadi, hiding his face behind a scarf wrapped around his head, handling what appears to be a American M-15 Assault rifles, probably captured by the Taliban after a firefight with US-Soldiers.

The foreign militant from Europe is then interviewed by Al-Jazeera and confirms: „I´m a from the West.“ He joined the Taliban movement to fight foreign occupiers and establish Sharia in Afghanistan.

Adam is just the latest example of British militants turning up at the frontlines of Afghanistan – on the side of the Islamist militancy. I posted a story by the British Guardian about Afghans living in the EU and traveled back to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban. Highlight of this story was a cab driver from London who spent vacation time as a Islamist warrior in the North of Afghanistan.


Somalia – The Next Waziristan

by Florian Flade

„W elcome to Somalia – there are no worries“

– Al-Shabaab Chief Spokesman Sheikh Mohammed Rage says in the latest video release by the Somali Islamist movement, inviting foreign Muslims to join Al-Shabaab and fight in Somalia. This newest propaganda piece is an outstanding release of surprising quality and the clear intention to recruit Westerners or at least foreign Muslims to the Somali Jihad. The 1/2 hour tape, edited with English subtitles, features not only training camp and combat footage in Somalia, but also presents the statements of several foreign militants including Western Islamists fighting in the ranks of Al-Shabaab.

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A British-Somali man called „Abu Dujana“ is seen sitting on a hilltop, the Somali coast in the background. The British militant explains in fluent English that Jihad is a duty for every Muslim and why he came to the war-torn country at the Horn of Africa to fight for the Ummah. „I would like to use my time“, the militant explains, „to talk about the blessings of living in the land of Jihad…before we came here, we were living in a society in which people were enslaved by their desires.“

„Abu Zaid“, a militant from Sweden, is giving a statement standing in what seems to be a empty football stadium. Speaking in Swedish to the Muslims of Sweden, the masked militant says: „And I also encourage you to make hijrah to this country.“ He then goes on and threatens Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who drew some caricatures of Prophet Muhammad and received numerous death threats since. The Somali foreign fighter says: „I want to send this warning to Lars Vilks who was behind the caricatures defaming our prophet. And I say to Lars Vilks that wherever you are, if not today or tomorrow, know that we haven´t yet forgotten about you and we will get hold of you and with Allah´s permission we will get you wherever you are and in whatever hole you are hiding know what awaits for you, as it will be nothing but this: slaughter!“ To his Muslim brothers and sisters „Abu Zaid“ says: „If you can kill this dog called Lars Vilks then you will receive a great reward from Allah!“

Another masked British Jihadi appears alongside blurry masked fighters explaining to the audience: „We are here to capture and to slaughter them. That´s the only reason we are here.“

In addition, a Sudanese, a Pakistani, two Kenyan and a Tanzanian Jihadi are shown giving statements and calling Muslims to fight Jihad in Somalia.

The new Al-Shabaab video also reveals the identity of Somalia´s first foreign suicide bomber, a Kenyan militant called „Musa“ who allegedly „in 2007…carried out a Martyrdom Operation that shook the pillars of the invading Ethiopian crusaders.“

A large number of Somali men from the exile communities of Europe and North America have traveled to Somalia in the last years, joining the al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab movement and fighting the Ethiopian occupation troops and later the Ugandan African Union Peacekeepers. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, the UK and the Netherlands are struggling to face this new terror threat by trying to infiltrate the recruiting networks of London, Göteborg, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. The „Al-Muhajiroun“ as the foreign fighters are called, have become a major concern for Western counter-terrorism agencies as some of these men are EU or American/Canadian/Australian citizens. Especially those Al-Shabaab recruits returning from the frontlines of Somalia pose a security threat. Waziristan still is the main terror training center in the world, European authorities say, but Somalia is quickly heading to become the next al-Qaeda base.

Britain´s MI5 has noticed the emerging terror potential growing in lawless, war-torn Somalia. „I am concerned that it’s only a matter of time before we see terrorism on our streets inspired by those who are today fighting alongside al-Shabaab“, MI5 Chief Jonathan Evans said back in September. „A significant number of UK residents“ were training in al-Shabaab camps to fight in the insurgency in Somalia, he added: „“Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militia in Somalia, is closely aligned with al-Qaida, and Somalia shows many of the characteristics that made Afghanistan so dangerous a seedbed for terrorism in the period before the fall of the Taliban.“

About 100 UK residents are believed to have joined Al-Shabaab, including men of Somali origin, Bangladeshis, Pakistani and West-African. Some of them are University students, others worked as waiters in restaurants. One young Somali men from London carried out a suicide bombing in Somalia in 2007, giving a martyrdom statement and calling for other British jihadis to come to Africa.

Swedish security officials suggest around 20 Islamists have left the country and reached the terror camps of Somalia in recent years. Probably more or less the same numbers are given by Danish intelligence. Terror recruits from the Somali communities of Copenhagen are confirmed to have committed suicide bombings in Somalia, one occurred during the graduation ceremony of medicine students in a Mogadishu Hotel in January – Dozens died in the blast.

In Germany the recruiting network of Al-Shabaab is under intense investigation by counter-terrorism authorities after several men attended and indeed did travel to Somalia on terrorism means. One of them, a 23 year-old White convert, was arrested in Kenya on his way to Somalia. German intelligence had tipped off the Kenyan officials after the suspect´s mother found a letter written by her son stating he would „never return to Germany alive“.

Most recently German federal police discovered a recruiting and support network run by Al-Shabaab sympathizers in Western Germany. The 15-20 men group calls itself „German Shabaab“ and is promoting the Jihad of Al-Shabaab as a religious duty. Most of the men are of Somali-origin, some are Arabs and converts.

The newest Al-Shabaab propaganda video will not fail to attract more Western recruits and the likely result will be an increase in travel movement from Europe to East Africa.

Al-Qaeda´s Euro-Plot – What to make of it?

by Florian Flade

„The Mujahideen are coming to you!“ – German al-Qaeda fighter

Groups of armed men wearing explosive devices on their bodies, attacking German train stations, the subway system of Paris, London Hotels and Italian Museums, killing hundreds of civilians and causing mass media attention over days . Bloodshed in the heart of Europe, nine years after 9/11.


Was that the scenario al-Qaeda had planned for several European countries in a terror plot now uncovered and possibly foiled by Western intelligence agencies?

Let´s start where the rumors and unconfirmed intel whistle started. Two major U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal and New York Times both reported recent increase in U.S. drone attacks on the Pakistani tribal areas of North Waziristan is the result of intelligence gathering suspecting terror networks in that region are planning major simultaneous Mumbai-style attacks on European cities.

Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network of the Taliban operating out of Pakistan, are both involved in the Euro-Plot, targeting especially the UK, France and Germany. To prevent the terror networks, whose plans were in the early stage, from organizing the „Who“, „Where“, „How“ and „When“, the CIA boosted the drone hunt in North Waziristan. This led to an all time record in missile attacks on terror targets in the Pakistani tribal with more than 20 drone operations causing 70 casualties on the militant´s side in September 2010 – previous record was January with just 13 such attacks.

Drones killed fairly high-ranking al-Qaeda militants in recent days, including al-Qaeda´s Afghanistan-Pakistan Emir Egyptian Sheikh Fateh al-Masri, the Saudi AQ military commander of Afghan province Kunar, Abu Abdallah Omar al-Qureishi and a Kuwaiti bomb expert named Abu Atta.

In the course of this week, other media outlets in Europe and North America were reporting what their sources in government, anti-terror units and intelligence revealed about the suspected „Euro-Plot“.
The terrorist were planning to strike European cities with assault commando-style attacks similar to the ones that were carried out in Indian Mumbai at Luxury Hotels in November 2008. Groups of armed men attacking civilian „soft“ targets like train stations, hotels, museums, tourist places or the subway system in several European countries.

The major source for the intelligence leading to unravelling al-Qaeda´s plot, is a German-Afghan citizen who was arrested in Kabul, Afghanistan, in July.
Ahmad Wali S., a 36-year old Islamist and resident of Hamburg, had left Germany in March 2009 as part of a Eleven-Person-Group, to travel to Pakistan and join with the terror group „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.“
S. was a regular worshipper of the Masjid Taiba, formerly known as „Al Quds Mosque“ in St.Georg quarter of Hamburg. This was the mosque were Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers of the Hamburg cell of the 9/11 attacks met and prayed.

Ahmad Wali S., had worked for a cleaning company at Hamburg airport and was very close with the 9/11-Hijacker´s Moroccan helper Mounir al-Motassadeq who still lives in Germany. Both went on vacation together some years ago.
While in Hamburg, S. became part of a group known as the „Club of 50“, radical Salafi members and mosque visitors who were supporting violent Jihad.

Eleven people out of the fifty radical jihadis from Hamburg travelled to Pakistan via Iran, Qatar, Dubai and Turkey in spring of 2009. While most of the extremists reached their final destination, the training camps of „Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan“ (IMU), at least two men were arrested and sent back before they joined the terror group.

Ahmad Wali S., his brother and his Indonesian wife entered Pakistan´s tribal region and joined IMU. Why he travelled to Kabul, where S. was arrested by U.S. forces in July, is not known. Some German officials believe he was about to return to Germany.

In U.S. military prison at Bagram, Afghanistan, S. was interrogated by the Americans. He presented them useful information about the activities of the terror groups in Waziristan. S. was reluctant to speak, some sources say, telling the interrogators about an alleged plot by a joined-alliance of Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani network, IMU and al-Qaeda. This plan to sent out commando-units to Europe, Ahmad S. claims, was approved by al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Because of the information given by the arrested Hamburg jihadi, the CIA was able to identify several of the plotters and start a precise hunt in North Wazirstan using the deadly unmanned drones.

Meanwhile information from Pakistani officials indicate that the plotters of the attacks in Europe, were in fact themselves European. Two British brothers of Pakistani origin and eight German nationals are at the heart of the al-Qaeda plot, unconfirmed reports say. A North African is rumored to be the chief-planner.

Abdul Jabbar, one of the British jihadis, was possibly killed in one of the recent U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan.

British officials said they believe at least 15-20 British nationals are receiving terror training in al-Qaeda camps in North West Pakistan.
In Germany, intelligence monitors very closely who from the German radical Islamist community is traveling to terror camps and who is returning. Around 220 German nationals have been trained in Jihadi terror camps since the 1990s (73 are confirmed). Of those suspects who have returned since, few are behind bars, most of the returnees are monitored by police and intelligence.

Even though German officials have warned about the increase in Jihadi tourism from Germany to Waziristan, the trend in recent months was a different one. Intercepted e-mail exchange and phone calls made from Pakistan to Germany indicated a growing despair and hopelessness by the German militants.

Life in the terror camps of the IMU, the Islamic Jihad Union and it´s break-away group „German Taliban Mujaheddin“ is hard and almost unbearable, the reports from Pakistan suggested. The groups lacked money and food and the rise in drone attacks was grueling on the jihadi´s will to combat. They felt desperate, German intelligence concluded, many wanted to go home.

A prime example of the situation in the terror camps was presented in form of Rami M., a German-Syrian national originally from Frankfurt but residing in Hamburg. M., a former drug-dealer and low-profile criminal had turned to radical Islam and became the leader of the Hamburg Jihadi group. He was the one urging other young men to join the Mujahiddeen in Waziristan.

Rami M. travelled to Waziristan in March 2009 and joined the IMU. Just about one year later, in June 2010, Rami M. contacted the German embassy in Pakistan, telling them he wants to surrender and return to Germany. Problem was, Rami M. told the officials via phone, he had lost all his ID documents including his passport and driver´s license. The German embassy officials talked to intelligence and police in Germany, asking them what to make of M.´s case.

While most in the German intelligence community regarded Rami M. as a desperate young men, some experts were on alert. Could Rami M. be the next „Abu Dujana al-Khorasani“? A Jordanian al-Qaeda man had killed a team of CIA experts in Khost, Afghanistan, just a few months before in a suicide bombing.
German embassy in Pakistan arranged an appointment with Rami M., sending him documents he could use to pass checkpoints and reach the consulate in Islamabad.

German police were convinced Rami M. was planning an attack on the German embassy, so they called their Pakistani colleagues telling them about the „high-value terror target“ coming to a checkpoint in Bannu, near the tribal areas.
Indeed Rami M., dressed in a white Burqa, was arrested on June 21th, then held by Pakistani´s ISI and later handed over to German officials. On August 26th he returned to Germany and is in prison now.

In addition to Rami M.´s case, there is also the development of three German jihadis arrested at an airport in Istanbul in early September.
Berlin convert Thomas U., his pregnant convert wife and a German-Turkish national wanted for financial support to terror groups in Pakistan, were on their way back from Waziristan to Germany. Thomas U. and his wife planned on taking a flight from Istanbul to Copenhagen and cross the border to Germany via car. Why they returned? Probably because the pregnant woman was not willing to give birth to their child in a dirty Pakistani hut. No indication the couple was sent back to carry out a terror attack. Thomas U. had sent e-mails to his family in Berlin, decribing to them the situation in the IMU camps.

„I don´t know if I will be alive next summer“, Thomas wrote in December 2009.

So what to make of the reports saying it was a German-Jihadi-dominated plot the Europeans and Americans were tracking?

Fact is: there are dozens of German nationals training in Waziristan. Convert Eric Breininger, German-Afghan Javad S., German-Turkish Ahmet M., Berlin convert Danny R. and maybe even al-Qaeda spokesman Bekkay Harrach alias „Abu Talha the German“ became „martyrs“ in the past 12 months, most of them killed by Pakistani security forces. It is possible German nationals are involved in an international terror plot. Maybe the increase of drone attacks on Waziristan and the number of casualties have resulted in a growing eagerness to carry out revenge attacks in Europe.

If true, a cooperation between al-Qaeda, Pakistani groups like Lashkar e-Toiba, IMU, IJU, German Taliban Mujahideen, the Haqqani network and Tehrik e-Taliban could very well result in a devastating terror assault on European cities. Nevertheless more groups being involved also means more people are talking, sending e-mails, calling others, so the chance of the plot being uncovered by Western intelligence is huge. And: why no mention of Ilyas Kashimiri, the AQ chief of operations who must have had his hands on this plan?

Does al-Qaeda want to strike Europe? YES. France and Belgium banned the Burqa, Germany, UK and Italy are part of the Afghanistan-occupation, Denmark and Sweden have insulted the prophet, Netherlands are home of Geert Wilders – the list of reasons for al-Qaeda to attack the continent is growing. And so is the number of terror recruits coming to Waziristan.

Still the word of most European intelligence officials: „No imminent threat“.