- Al Gore’s climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Army’s 3-D printed bombs will create ‘a whole new universe’ of deadly capabilities
- Hamas calls on Hezbollah to join in fight against Israel
- Senators to FIFA, others: Don’t reward Putin with the World Cup in 2018
- U.S. condemns Israeli shelling of shelter in Gaza
- Obamacare shoots premiums up by 88 percent in California
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable despite millions spent on security: Congress
- Driverless cars to hit the British streets by 2015
Uighurs, Uzbeks supplant Arabs as jihadis in Pakistan’s lawless areas
Question of the Day
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — In the Pakistani tribal regions that harbor al Qaeda and a caldron of other jihadist groups, Islamic militants from Central Asia, China, Turkey and even Germany are growing in number, eclipsing Arabs and possibly raising new challenges not just for the U.S., but for Europe, Russia and China, say intelligence officials, analysts and residents of the area.
But stepped-up U.S. drone strikes, Pakistani military offensives and dwindling cash reserves have driven out many of the Arabic-speakers in recent years, says Mahmood Shah, a retired brigadier and former security official in the tribal regions.
While there are no exact numbers, Brig. Shah said intelligence sources in the tribal regions put the number of Arab and African jihadists at about 1,500, compared with 3,500 to 4,000 ranging from Chinese Uighurs and Uzbeks to recruits from Turkey and the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan, as well as native and immigrant Germans.
Two senior U.S. officials said the drone war is affecting al Qaeda numbers and morale. The deaths of high-profile al Qaeda figures such as Abu Yahya al-Libi, killed in a drone strike in June, have made others skittish, prompting some to leave Pakistan for other battlefields in Syria, Yemen, Iraq or their home countries, the officials said.
In separate interviews, both Americans cited the case of a Saudi named Najam, who lost his legs to a drone strike at about the same time as al-Libi died. They said Najam, who came from an affluent family, was able to reach an agreement with the Saudi government to return to his wife and children.
Intelligence suggests that Najam’s treatment has encouraged other militants to seek similar deals, switch to other battlefields or seek leniency from their governments, both U.S. officials said.
They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss information gleaned from on-the-ground intelligence.
None of the Central Asian groups figuring in the apparent demographic change are new to the tribal regions.
Some were welcomed to Afghanistan decades ago during the 1980s Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Others arrived during the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan that lasted from 1996 to the American-led invasion of 2001. The breakaway Chechen government even had an embassy in Kabul.
The arrest in Madrid a month ago of three men who are said to have had explosives and reportedly trained in Pakistan’s tribal areas seems to highlight the changing reality.
Two of them, Eldar Magomedov and Mohamed Ankari Adamov, were said to be Russians of Chechen descent, while the third, Cengiz Yalcin, is Turkish.
Spanish officials contend they were planning an attack in Spain or elsewhere in Europe. There was no identification of the target.
TWT Video Picks
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- Senate overcomes first filibuster of Obama's border-spending bill
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world