Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

Post-Iraq, would-be militants eye Pakistan


By William Maclean

The flow of foreign militants to Pakistan worries Western governments, which fear the south Asian country has replaced Iraq as the place to go for aspiring Islamists planning attacks on the West.

The camps will probably be smaller and the skills on offer less photogenic to al Qaeda’s online video audience, but that is no deterrent to Arabs, Central Asians and Europeans making their way to the turbulent northwestern tribal areas.

Those arrivals are in addition to a steady flow of Britons of Pakistani descent who have visited the area for many years, security sources say. The assumption among many Western officials is that U.S. success in Iraq since 2006 has diverted some recruits for the anti-Western cause to the Pakistan-Afghan theatre.

While Iraq rarely provided the range of commando-style training available in the 1990s at sprawling al Qaeda camps on the border with Afghanistan, Iraq’s draw as a battlefield in 2003-2006 diverted potential jihadi trainees away from Pakistan.