How this suicide bomber opened a new front in Al-Qaeda’s war

How this suicide bomber opened a new front in Al-Qaeda’s war

According to the guard, Balawi had been to the base before. He claimed that before the doctor reached the first gate, the Afghan security guards in charge of the perimeter security were instructed by US soldiers to go into their rooms.

“They did not want any Afghans to see Balawi,” he said. A US army vehicle then led the car through the next two gates, reaching the inside of the base before stopping outside a block of buildings used by the CIA and military intelligence to debrief their sources.

As Balawi stepped out of the car, seven CIA officers and a handful of soldiers gathered around. According to the guard, it was then that Balawi detonated his bomb, killing eight and injuring six.

Arghawan, still sitting in the driver’s seat, survived the initial blast but a US soldier shot him in the head with his pistol, assuming that he was part of the bomb plot.

“There were lots of body parts,” said the guard. “The suicide bomber’s legs were all that was left of him. He had hidden the bomb beneath his pattu.”

According to one US intelligence official, the explosive was so powerful that it killed agency operatives who were as far as 50ft away. [continued…]

Editor’s Comment — Arghawan, the Afghan army commander who drove Balawi into the base, “clearly knew” Balawi, Arghawan’s driver told The Sunday Times. So, given that as the Washington Post says, “Virtually everyone within sight of the suicide blast died,” Arghawan would have been the crucial witness who could describe what happened — were it not for the fact that he got executed by an American soldier.

Pakistan’s volatile tribal areas draw foreign militants

As Pakistan’s army pushes ever deeper into the country’s mountainous tribal regions in a bid to flush out extremists, they are making a startling discovery – the majority of fighters are foreigners, and not just from Afghanistan.

Uzbeks, Europeans, Afghans, Russians and even a few Caucasian Americans all have been arrested along the rugged border with Afghanistan as the military presses its operation in North and South Waziristan.

Col Nadeem Mirza, the military commander, told The National on an exclusive trip to the region: “Our intelligence had informed us that al Qa’eda followers were hiding in the tribal agencies but no one was expecting to find so many foreigners and al Qa’eda members here. It seemed like these areas had become a fortress for al Qa’eda.” [continued…]

The terrorist mind: an update

Despite the lack of a single terrorist profile, researchers have largely agreed on the risk factors for involvement. They include what Jerrold M. Post, a professor of psychiatry, political psychology and international affairs at George Washington University, calls “generational transmission” of extremist beliefs, which begins early in life; a strong sense of victimization and alienation; the belief that moral violations by the enemy justify violence in pursuit of a “higher moral condition;” the belief that the terrorists’ ethnic, religious or nationalist group is special and in danger of extinction, and that they lack the political power to effect change without violence. [continued…]

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