Europe notes al Qaeda command and control spot

AKI/Dawn:

Pakistan's tribal areas are the “command and control centre” for al-Qaeda, according to a report by the European Police Office.

Europol says the region is the headquarters of the organisation's "remaining core leadership” who are planning attacks in the European Union.

The annual Terrorism Situation and Trend Report-2008 by Europol is an important awareness tool for decision-makers at the European level.

“Afghanistan and Pakistan in general and the Pashtun areas in particular are of utmost importance to EU counter-terrorism,” said the report.

It said that in the past terrorist links between Pakistan and the EU were almost exclusively focused on the UK, but now that link is expanding to the rest of the EU.

It said that the foiled plot in Germany, related to an Uzbek group based in the tribal areas, and recent cases in the UK and Denmark indicated an increasingly assertive and efficient Pakistani-based command and control of terrorism in the EU.

It also said that a number of EU nationals who attended training in Pakistan were later involved in terrorist offences in the EU.

The report said: “The tribal areas of Pakistan host a number of terrorist training camps operating in support of the Afghan Taliban, pro-Taliban Pakistani groups and foreign mujahadeen.”

“Afghan Taliban and pro-Taliban groups in Pakistan have links to the increasingly active core-structure of al-Qaeda that is currently based in the Pashtun tribal areas in western Pakistan. There it is believed to have reorganised and rebuilt its capabilities as well as its command and control functions.”

...
Al Qaeda's command and control function is primitive at best. Because of US signal intelligence assets, the group is limited to short hand written notes past by couriers. It ability to function in Afghanistan is extremely limited at this point. The number of al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan maybe under 100 at this point. It has survived because of Pakistan's in ability to control the space in the tribal areas and its refusal to permit the US and NATO to control that space. How much longer Pakistan will be permitted to fail in its efforts to stop al Qaeda from using its territory for terrorism is a good question.

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