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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Zazi Not The First Afghan Al Qaeda

Many otherwise excellent stories about Najibullah Zazi (such as this one) describe him as the first or only Afghan national to be involved in an international terrorism plot.

Even discounting Pakistani border regions for the moment, this statement is not true. Wali Khan Amin Shah was an Afghan national and close friend to Osama bin Laden, who was convicted in 1996 of plotting alongside Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to bomb 11 U.S.-bound airliners.

KSM's mentor during his early career was Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the founder of an Al Qaeda training camp and jihad instructor par excellence. Another of Sayyaf's protege's was Abdurajak Janjalani, the Filipino founder of the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group.

It's true that very few Afghans have been visibly involved in Al Qaeda's external operations, but Zazi is far from the first, and most likely not the last.


Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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