On the eve of 9/11, it is time to pause and remember those who lost their lives that day in the war on terrorism. It is also time to remember that this threat persists and continues to become more complex daily.
In Germany last week, three German citizens were charged with plotting to kill Americans. The plot targeted a “club” frequented by U.S. servicemen and had the potential to kill hundreds. Two of the three conspirators were ethnic Germans, and all three had been trained in “jihadi” training camps in Waziristan, a tribal area of Pakistan controlled by al-Qaeda and Taliban supporters. The plot itself was enough to cause concern among intelligence officials in the U.S. and Europe but what really worries these security officials is that the plot was to be carried out by the “white men of Waziristan”.
For years, leading U.S. counterterrorism experts possessed evidence that al-Qaeda was recruiting, training and positioning operatives for attacks on the West. Their targets included North American and European citizens with passports that allow unrestrained travel to the U.S. without the potential of attracting the kind of attention other travelers would.
John Walker Lindh, Jose Padilla and Adam Gadahn are proof enough that Westerners have been trained by al-Qaeda.
What is of significant concern now is the evidence indicating that the ranks of Western converts is growing. Reliable sources in Waziristan have reported “seeing white men” among those being trained in “jihadi” camps.
Taliban officials have bragged that they are training Westerners, proudly stating that people are coming from all over the world, especially the U.S., UK, Germany and Australia. According to the Taliban, some of these individuals return to their native countries, while others remain to fight Western forces in Afghanistan. As proof of this claim, the Taliban announced that “two Canadians” were “martyred” recently in Waziristan by a Predator attack.
As we reflect on 9/11, let us never lose our resolve to fight this growing and ever-more complex war on terrorism.