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November 19, 2004
Pakistan Bags Another One

Our Pakistani allies have racked up another high-profile al-Qaeda capture, this one wanted for the attempted assassination of Pervez Musharraf and the murder of an American diplomat's family. Osama Nazir planned and executed several bombings of Christian targets and served as an important AQ conduit:

Osama Nazir, considered an important catch, was nabbed from the industrial city of Faisalabad in central Punjab province on Tuesday, a senior security official told AFP.

"He is the most important Pakistani Al-Qaeda operative who was facilitating foreign Al-Qaeda operatives for attacks in Pakistan," the official, who asked not to be identified, said. "He is a prized catch and was a main link between foreign Al-Qaeda operatives and local jihadi (Islamic militant) groups."

Nazir headed a group of 24 militants and masterminded the March 2002 attack on a Church in Islamabad's high security diplomatic enclave in which five people including a US diplomat's wife and stepdaughter were killed.

The US put a $5 million bounty on his head after the murder of the Americans in Islamabad. I'm sure that Pervez Musharraf had an even bigger reward in mind for the capture of his would-be assassin. Nazir, in a way, helped create this partnership between Pakistan and America on the war by making the strategic mistake of attacking the Pakistani head of state. Prior to the assassination attempts (Nazir was not the only AQ operative to try it), Musharraf had been at best a reluctant member of the coalition, under tremendous pressure from the US. Since the lunatics first attacked, Musharraf has been much more enthusiastic about smoking out his one-time allies and the difference has shown in the rash of arrests this year.

The intelligence gets better with every capture, and their networks degrade in at least a direct proportion. George Bush warned us that the war would be long and many battles would not be fought in front of the cameras. His diplomacy in piecing together a Muslim front on this war has paid huge dividends, and at the end, I believe history will show it to have been the decisive factor in the victory.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 19, 2004 6:40 AM

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