|June 18, 2002||atimes.com|
US concern over tardy Pakistan intelligence forces
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
KARACHI - In its ongoing quest to track down members al-Qaeda, the United States is placing increasing demands on Pakistan to take action against suspected terrorists, but it is becoming concerned over the apparent inability of Pakistan's intelligence agents to act on information given to them by their US counterparts.
Abdullah al-Muhajir, after his arrest in the United States recently upon his return from Pakistan on suspicion of plotting to set off a radiological "dirty" bomb in the US, is believed to have divulged that he met two senior al-Qaeda men in Karachi, including Khalid Al-Shiekh, one of the most wanted terrorists in the world.
Under questioning, Abdullah al-Muhajir is said to have given a detailed account of Pakistan-based militant groups, and admitted that with the close coordination of these groups several prominent al-Qaeda leaders had managed to slip into Pakistan from Afghanistan.
This information was passed to the Pakistani intelligence machinery, but since being given the information it has not been able to make any arrests of note, much to the apparent frustration of US officials. The information acquired from Abdullah al-Muhaji points to the presence of a number of prominent Arab fighters holed up in the slums of Karachi. They are said to be well integrated and awaiting the chance to restart their operations against US interests.
What earlier successes Pakistan has had have, however, been the result of being supplied by information by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), including the arrests of Arab fighter Abu Zobaida and associates of his in different cities in Punjab province, where they had received shelter from the Jaish-i-Mohammed militant group.
In an attempt to help the Pakistanis, the US has offered to deploy its human resources (both marines and detectives) in monitoring suspected terrorists and militant organizations. The US has also offered to install monitoring equipment at borders, airports and all other exit points from the country, including railway stations. This is aimed at stemming the flood of militants crossing into Indian-controlled Kashmir, and those coming from across the porous western border with Afghanistan. However, Pakistani authorities have agreed only to allow monitoring at the borders, and not within the country.
Meanwhile, Pakistani investigators have speculated that Friday's bomb blast outside the US Consulate in Karachi that killed 11 people might not have been a suicide attack as originally suspected but rather a remotely controlled device that set off a bomb in the car of unsuspecting passengers.
A previously unknown group calling itself al-Qanoon (the Law) claimed responsibility for the blast in a message to media organizations. It said the bomb was the start of a jihad against the US and Pakistani rulers. However, a police official said they were exploring the possibility that the bomb may have been planted in one of the more than two dozen vehicles destroyed in the blast. One of these was a car from a motor school in which four women were killed.
Senior investigators confirmed to Asia Times Online that they could not find any definite clues that confirmed a suicide attack (or that imply the presence of a strong al-Qaeda network in Karachi), but the FBI agents who arrived on Saturday in Karachi dismissed the investigations of the Pakistani law-enforcement authorities and insisted that the attack had been a suicide bombing carried out by al-Qaeda and/or local jihadis.
(©2002 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on our sales and syndication policies.)
Front | China | Southeast Asia | Japan | Koreas | India/Pakistan | Central Asia/Russia | Oceania
Business Briefs | Global Economy | Asian Crisis | Media/IT | Editorials | Letters | Search/Archive
back to the top
©2001 Asia Times Online Co., Ltd.
Room 6301, The Center, 99 Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong