Pakistani Taliban training Frenchmen

News Agencies – March 24 2012

 

Dozens of French Muslims are training with the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan, raising fears of future attacks following the shooting deaths of seven people in southern France allegedly by a man who spent time in the region, Pakistani intelligence officials claim.

Authorities are investigating whether Mohamed Merah, the Frenchman of Algerian descent who is suspected of killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers in Toulouse this month, was among the training group. Merah was killed in a dramatic gunfight with police after a 32-hour standoff at his Toulouse apartment. The 23-year-old former auto body worker traveled twice to Afghanistan in 2010 and to Pakistan in 2011, and said he trained with al-Qaida in the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan.

Approximately 85 Frenchmen have been training with the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan tribal area for the past three years, according to the intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Most of the men have dual nationality with France and North African countries.

Canadians involved in al-Qaeda training in Pakistan

The RCMP is investigating a claim that a dozen Canadians in al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan are preparing to mount terror missions in Canada. The Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online reported Friday that “well-placed” Taliban sources say a group of Canadian militants is receiving jihadi training in al-Qaeda camps in North Waziristan for terror attacks in Canada.

12 Canadian men allegedly departed for Afghanistan last February and, after nine months there, al-Qaeda dispatched them to the Darpakhel area of North Waziristan in November. The 30-year-old Canadian head of the group, they say, converted to Islam in 2007, “sports a golden beard,” and goes by the alias Abu Shahid.

Several recently convicted Canadian terrorists followed Awlaki teachings, including members of the Toronto-18 terror group convicted of planning attacks on targets in Ontario. News reports in October said three young Winnipeg men ventured abroad in 2007 after first undergoing conversion to radical Islam. They were tracked to Waziristan.