Pakistan’s jihadi camps remain a threat
Dan Darling has some early opinions on the al-Qaeda cell that was unearthed in Lodi, California. That cell comprised of two Pakistanis and two Americans of Pakistani origin.
What is so troubling about this for me is not only that the confessed American al-Qaeda trainee volunteered to return to the US after less than 3 years worth of indoctrination for the express purpose of killing his own countrymen in such mundane locations as hospitals and stores.
Also, is there something in particular about California that seems to make it such an attractive grounds for al-Qaeda recruiting? From John Walker-Lindh to Adam Pearlman and now Hamid Hadayat, there seem to be far too many cases of al-Qaeda recruiting in California in particular and the West Coast in general to just be an isolated incident. One thing that might be worth looking into is whether or not there isn’t some kind of jihadi support network down there, as I recall a number of the 9/11 hijackers being active in southern California prior to the attacks.[Winds of Change]
This should help convince the United States that closing down those Pakistani jihadi groups and their camps is as important to its own security as it is for India’s. This should put paid to Washington’s tacit acceptance of Musharraf’s attempts to distinguish between the jihadis of the Afghan front (branded as al-Qaeda terrorists) and the jihadis of the Kashmir front (still called freedom-fighters).
Related Link: Evan Kohlmann at the excellent Counterterrorism blog has more. But he appears to be mistaking al-Qaeda camps in Waziristan with the one in Rawalpindi (where the Lodi suspects went to). The irony is that while the Waziristan is getting the attention (because that’s where bin Laden is purported to be) the Lodi terrorists actually trained near Rawalpindi — the heart of Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment.