In a rare announcemcent of a foreign plot, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is reporting that it has evidence that dozens of people with European citizenship, including a large number of highly educated Pakistanis are flocking to the tribal areas looking for terrorist training.
Officials say that there are as many as 20 British citizens in North Waziristan and “several dozen” people with citizenship elsewhere in Europe. Militant groups have been keen to recruit people with such citizenship because they could travel freely within the European Union.
The report may well be linked to last week’s claims of a “credible but non-specific” plot to carry out a Mumbai-style attack against some site in Europe or North America. The US has insisted that the massive escalation of drone strikes into the tribal areas is because of the plot.
Yet ironically it is opposition to those drone strikes and to the US-led war in Central Asia in general which is fueling the surprising trend of educated, not-particularly-religious Western citizens seeking to carry out militant attacks across the West.
The most obvious previous example would be the Times Square bomber, who started out as a relatively anonymous financial advisor living in Connecticut before deciding to travel to Pakistan to seek training and carry out his (ultimately failed) attack. Increasing concern about people who aren’t exactly “likely suspects” is fueling a flurry of new warnings about the attacks, and a US travel advisory against the entire continent of Europe.