They’re having a party in Pakistan
The new issue of CTC Sentinel, West Point’s terrorism monitor, has an interesting article about the connection between Pakistan’s FATA and terrorism in Europe. Essentially, it says that the FATA is fuelling much of the terror in Europe. It also confirms that Pakistan is the hot new destination for those wanting to make big jihad: ...
The new issue of CTC Sentinel, West Point’s terrorism monitor, has an interesting article about the connection between Pakistan’s FATA and terrorism in Europe. Essentially, it says that the FATA is fuelling much of the terror in Europe. It also confirms that Pakistan is the hot new destination for those wanting to make big jihad:
Alain Grignard, who heads counterterrorist operations for the Belgian Federal Police, said that the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan have replaced Iraq as the destination of choice for aspiring jihadists from Belgium and other countries on the European continent. According to Grignard, “Not since the year before 9/11 have we seen as many people travel towards the Afghanistan-Pakistan conflict region.”
(This reminds me a bit of a line in Fred Anderson’s Crucible of War — yes, it should have been in my top 10 list — about how, during the French & Indian War, Indian warriors traveled from as far as Iowa to join the French attack on Fort William Henry in what is now upstate New York.)
The Sentinel also offers an illuminating piece on the growth and structure of the Taliban and affiliates in the Pakistani province of Punjab. It says a lot of them were trained and equipped by the state, are better educated and technologically savvier than their Pashtun confreres, and are increasingly using heavy weapons.
This quotation underscores the international breadth of the problem:
Perhaps the best explanation of the Punjabi Taliban’s structure came from Tariq Pervez, the newly appointed head of Pakistan’s nascent National Counterterrorism Authority (NACTA): “ideas, logistics, cash [comes] from the Gulf. Arab guys, mainly Egyptians and Saudis, are on hand to provide the chemistry. Veteran Punjabi extremists plot the attacks, while the Pakistan Taliban provides the martyrs.”
Overall, I am struck by how quickly the Sentinel has become one of my essential reads. I think this is partly a reflection of the electronic age-they can pull together an issue and publish it almost instantly, with the electrons racing around the globe. It reminds me a bit of Andrew Exum‘s Abu Muquwama and The Small Wars Journal, which went from start-ups to essentially daily reads almost overnight. It also represents a form of disintermediation, which may be one reason that newspapers are becoming less important. That is, if the experts can publish their own newsletter and make it broadly available, why wait for generalist reporters to re-hash it?
ASGHAR ACHAKZAI/AFP/Getty Images
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