March 2002 News

Pak has 10,000 jehadis

24 March 2002
The Statesman

Washington DC: Pakistan may be the only country in the world which has at least 10,000 'non-military personnel' ready to give their lives anytime, a top Pakistani security official said. The official, said 'jehadis' or militants were in large numbers in Pakistan ready to die anytime. 'Pakistan's intelligence agencies have long had covert ties to-militant groups in Pakistan ties nurtured to help successive Pakistani governments support the now-defunct Taliban, as well as pressing Pakistan's battle against Indian troops in Kashmir,' The Washington Post reported. Referring to 'crackdown' on militant outfits, the daily said; 'But with violence continuing almost daily, many analysts are asking whether the crackdown has been mostly talk. For example, recently about 1,300 of arrested militants have been released without being charged with any crime.' Several terrorists of the al-Qaeda and Taliban, being hunted by the coalition against terrorism led by the US, have been provided safe haven by elements in Pakistan's ISI. The anti-American forces, by various accounts, the report said are also finding support from a coalition of disparate groups within Afghanistan. 'From his Pakistani hideout,' Haji Mullah Sahib, once-a Taliban ideologue and functionary in Kandahar, claimed that former Taliban have been absorbed into the Kandahar govemment' 'and there are many' - who 'maintain the rage' (against the US), the report said. Meanwhile, the US has carried out a series of raids on 'charities' and business organisations which have been moving billions of dollars around the world through various businesses, part of which provided financial muscle to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Federal agents searched 16 homes and offices in Herndon, Northern Virginia last week, focusing on a tightly interconnected and very private financial empire with worldwide ties that has drawn the suspicion of investigators for. at least seven years, 'The Washington Post' said. Showing up with warrants and drawn guns, the agents seized computers, financial records and boxes of other documents from some of the nation's most reputable Islamic organisations and leaders a coordinated series of raids that 'outraged many Muslims.' At the centre of the federal investigation, is a cluster of companies and charities based in Herndon that was launched in the 1970s by one of Saudi Arabia's leading banking families, the al-Rajhis. The network has owned or invested in scores of businesses worldwide, from sprawling' dairy farms in Zimbabwe to a huge poultry business in Georgia and lucrative office buildings it downtown Washington, DC.


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