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August 8, 2004
AQ Networks Rolling Up

Al-Qaeda leadership and their networks continue to roll up into hostile hands this summer, as now the United Arab Emirates announce the capture of a "senior" AQ leader and his extradition to Pakistan:

A senior Pakistani al-Qaida operative who used to run one of the terror group's training camps in Afghanistan has been arrested in the United Arab Emirates and handed over to Pakistani officials, the information minister said Sunday.

Qari Saifullah Akhtar is in Pakistani custody, the latest in a string of major breakthroughs against the al-Qaida network, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told The Associated Press.

Akhtar ran an al-Qaida training camp in Rishkhor, Afghanistan, where terrorists learned kidnapping and assassination techniques, as well as traditional combat skills used by Taliban fighters in their war to win control of the country before they were ousted in late 2001.

When President Bush announced that the US would go to war against al-Qaeda and Islamofascist terrorists, he said that the war would take a long time and not exclusively consist of open battles fought on traditional battlefields -- although it would include some of the traditional warfare, too. He talked about clandestine operations and victories that would take months to be known to the American public. Bush told us that we would need to stand fast and stay the course, as reversal and early withdrawal could do more damage than doing nothing in the first place.

Here we have an excellent example of Bush's analysis. From one arrest and flip of an AQ agent, we now have begun rolling up large sections of the terrorist network. Far from being a unilateralist, Bush turned Pakistan from a neutral -- at best -- to an important ally and has most Muslim nations cooperating to destroy AQ's ability to launch new operations. As we capture more and more of their network, we will hopefully uncover ongoing operations before they launch. In fact, I am certain we already have done so, which is why things have been so quiet for the past three years.

Al-Qaeda had the patience to plan its operations years in advance and see them through to fruition. Does the American public have the same resolve in defeating the Islamofascists? I suppose we will see in November.

UPDATE: Via Instapundit, CNN has even more interesting background on Akhtar:

A Pakistani al Qaeda operative believed to have been close to al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was flown to Pakistan after he was arrested in Dubai, Pakistani intelligence sources said.

Qari Saifullah Akhtar's capture may help in the hunt for the al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, the sources said.

Ahktar has been linked to two assassination attempts against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, the sources said.

That explains why the Pakistanis wanted Akhtar and why he wasn't handed over to American intelligence first. Musharraf wants to take care of his would-be assassins himself, I'm sure, rather than wait for the wheels of American justice to roll to their conclusion. Besides, we really want Akhtar's intel, not his corporeal presence. As long as he rots, it can be in Pakistan for all we care.

The global effort to target al-Qaeda appears to be drawing ever closer to the center of the Islamofascist syndicate, doesn't it? A few more days like this, and we'll start hearing the Democrats whine about the timing of these victories again.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 8, 2004 9:59 AM

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