January 2002 News

UK Qaida men have Pak connections

27 January 2002
The Tribune
SANJAY SURI

LONDON: An extensive link between Islamic extremists and terror groups in Pakistan is beginning to surface after the detention of several British nationals at Camp X-Ray in Cuba. The arrested men in Cuba include three Britons. Five more British Muslims who were rounded up in Afghanistan are due to be sent to Cuba. All eight of these have extensive Pakistani connections. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has described the men rounded up to be taken to Cuba as the "hardest of the hardcore" terrorists. The arrests and the interrogation of these men have shown that Britain has become an even bigger centre for recruiting terrorists than was realised earlier. The leader of an Islamic group told IANS that almost all of the volunteers from Britain are Pakistanis. The leader who has often gone on record earlier did not want to be named because he said "the atmosphere is difficult". The leader of one Islamic group, Madad, who was involved in large-scale recruitment, is now reported to have gone missing. He had said earlier that his group helped recruit more than 1,000 youths over five years. The extent of the recruitment drive was revealed also by The Observer, which reported on Sunday that a video showing Islamic extremists killing and mutilating non-believers is being circulated among mosques in Britain. The video is being circulated by groups with links to Al Qaida, the paper said. Two of the British Muslims now at Cuba, Asif Iqbal (20) and Shafiq Rasul (24) left for Pakistan just days after September 11. Hundreds of others flew out in the days and weeks following, according to official sources. The videotape showing images of Islamic militants maiming and killing "infidels" was shown in mosques to "inspire" young people to join Osama bin Laden's network, a report said. The video, smuggled into UK only days before the September 11 attacks, was produced by the Salafist Group for Preaching and War (SSPC), an extremist Algerian organisation backed by Bin Laden and widely regarded as one of the most active and brutal, it said. A second video shows graphic footage of Taliban soldiers decapitating Northern Alliance opposition troops following a gunfight in Afghanistan, it said adding several other videos were being sold in Britain to raise funds for Islamic 'cause'.

 

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