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Analysts and officials who track militant movements say they think al Qaeda’s leadership, including Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, remains in Pakistan, where its redoubts have shrunk further under Pakistani military assaults, according to Mr. Shah, the ex-brigadier, who was interviewed in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar near the tribal regions.

But jihadists from outside the Arab world have been getting more attention.

New terrorist group emerges

A report on extremist trends released last month by Germany’s domestic intelligence said the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), headquartered in Pakistan’s tribal area, is “widening its sphere in the sense of global jihad to include Europe.”

Once dominated by ethnic Uzbeks, the IJU has sought to recruit German converts who have embraced a radical form of Islam, as well as Germans of Turkish origin, say analysts familiar with the organization.

In 2007, German intelligence foiled a terrorist plot planned by ethnic-German converts to Islam who belonged to the Islamic Jihad Union.

“They [IJU] want to recruit Turkish-origin people, but maybe born in Germany, established here and with a German passport they train them and build them up and send them to Germany, as well as to other European countries to commit acts of terrorism,” said Rolf Tophoven, director of the Institute for Terrorism Research and Security Policy, based in Essen, Germany.

According to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks Islamist extremist messages, the IJU is known as the European affiliate of al Qaeda. SITE described the IJU’s rise in prominence as a significant development within the global jihadist movement.

The IJU, like other jihadi groups, seeks the installation, if necessary by force, of Islamic governments and revenge for Western attacks. In 2005, the U.S. State Department designated the IJU a foreign terrorist group.

Eyes on Central Asia

For the past 30 years, Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Washington’s Georgetown University, has been tracking terrorist groups and studying insurgencies. He said that European governments, as well as China and Russia, have good reason to keep a close eye on the tribal regions of Pakistan.

“The IJU was also strengthened by their access to German converts,” as well as to disaffected members of China’s Muslim Uighur minority, concentrated in Xinjiang, western China, whose radicalization “the Chinese are very concerned about,” Mr. Hoffman said.

Russia, too, has strong interests in the Muslim-dominated republics that were part of the Soviet Union, and in Chechnya and Dagestan, he said.

The threat from the changing jihadist demographics is “more in the future than immediately,” he said in an interview. “The main threat is that the existing nucleus will attract more, and as time goes on, the threat will increase. It exists now, but at a lower level.”

Ivan Safranchuk, an associate professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told the AP that the governments of the Central Asian republics also fear instability from neighboring Afghanistan once NATO and U.S. troops leave in 2014.

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