Pakistani Police Chief Warns of 9/11 Style Attacks on US and Europe By Al Qaeda and Taliban
March 30, 2009
Qaeda, Taliban planning 9/11-like attacks in US, Europe: NWFP IG
* Navid says Taliban are spreading throughout Pakistan
By Muhammad Bilal
The Daily Times (Pakistan)
ISLAMABAD: Al Qaeda and Taliban are planning to stage terrorist strikes similar to the 9/11 attacks in the US and Europe, NWFP police chief Malik Navid told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior on Monday.
The briefing, on the law and order situation in NWFP, informed the committee that the extremists were spreading throughout Pakistan, adding they planned to destabilise the Middle East to have a launch pad for terrorist attacks on the US or Europe. He said Arabs and people from other countries had entered Afghanistan in large numbers between 1979 and 1995, adding some had expertise in making biochemical weapons. He urged the government to focus on curbing militancy in the country, saying the activities of militants were rapidly increasing.
Responding to question from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Wasim Akhtar on whether the Taliban were moving towards the country's major cities, including Karachi and Lahore, Navid said the Taliban were in every city and town. Most groups choose to operate secretly, he added. "Their people are present in every city and town. In some places they are active, in others dormant. The Taliban's philosophy is to create pockets everywhere," he said.
He said the Taliban were currently moving towards southern Punjab with intent to eventually reach the financial hub of the country, Karachi. He said the attack on the police academy in Lahore had proven that they were now established in the city.
The NWFP inspector general of police said there was a 1,000-mile porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, adding the neighbouring country was the major source of the weapons in the Tribal Areas. He claimed the Taliban were trying to turn the Tribal Areas into the Islamic Emirates of Waziristan.
Madrassas: According to Navid, Al Qaeda is expert in indoctrinating suicide bombers within a three-month period. He said five to 10 percent of the country's madrassas were also involved in this. Al Qaeda operative Qari Hussain is training the bombers, he added. The police chief said the militants were composed of Pakistani Taliban, jihadis, local groups, criminals and Afghan Taliban, adding the major component was Al Qaeda. He said the Taliban choose to challenge the writ of the government and target army installations, law enforcement agencies, government buildings, schools, barbers, music shops, NGOs and Internet cafes. He said six suicide attacks had occurred in the NWFP during 2006, 125 in 2007, 62 in 2008 and five in the past three months. He said the Taliban had very sophisticated weaponry, adding police personnel required capacity building to match their opponents.
Condemnation: Also on Monday, the standing committee strongly condemned the terrorist attack on a police academy in Lahore and directed the Interior Ministry to present a comprehensive inquiry report during the next meeting. The committee also expressed its dissatisfaction over the inquiry report submitted on the terrorist attack against the Sri Lankan cricket team. The committee was also informed that there had been no progress in the investigation of the murder of journalist Musa Khan Khel in Matta Khel. Navid told the committee that the area was controlled by the Taliban and was inaccessible to police. However, he suspected the involvement of a third party.