| The Ongoing Terrorist Activities in Pakistan
|Sercan Doğan, ORSAM Ortadoğu Uzman Yardımcısı
| Pakistan holds a prominent place within the international terrorism agenda for quite a few years. The last agenda item is the operation against Osama bin Laden that took place in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Recently, terrorist activity has been going up in Pakistan, where political crises, instability and worsening relations with the US strain the country.
On September 5, the Pakistani Army announced that Younis al Mauritani, a high-level al Qaeda member has been detained in the southwest of Pakistan. According to the army statement, Younis al Mauritani was captured in an operation conducted by the ISI and Balochistan Frontier Corps in Quetta. The Pakistani army points out that the operation was carried on with the US cooperation in its planning and conduct phases. Al Mauritani, who is originally from Mauritania as his alias suggests, rose to the prominent ranks of al Qaeda in recent years. In these years, al Qaeda and Taliban have lost a great deal of its high level cadres due to the operations conducted by the US and Pakistan. The outcome of these operations is presented as a successful achievement of counter terror initiatives. There were claims about al Mauritani that he was the representative for an extensive assault against the European targets. This plan was exposed in September 2010. According to the German intelligence, Al Mauritani led a group composed of German terrorists that went to Pakistan from Hamburg. Al Mauritani’s terror plot included attacks on Mumbai style against targets in European countries. After it was exposed, intelligence services and counter-terrorism units of the US, Pakistan, France and Germany took serious measures. America launched drone strikes in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas and on October 4, 2010 four German nationals, who were claimed to implement the assault plan, were reported killed.
After al Mauritani’s arrest, two suicide attacks blasted Quetta on September 7. The Pakistani Taliban assumed the responsibility for the attacks, which devastated the residence of Farrokh Shehzad, the Deputy Inspector General for Balochistan and killed twenty five. Quetta is a bustling city on the border to Afghanistan with a population of approximately 900,000. There are claims that high level Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership have been taking refuge in Quetta after the invasion in 2001. Al Mauritani’s capture proved once again that Quetta could serve as a safe haven for terrorist groups. Furthermore, it also proved that the Taliban and Al Qaeda activity are by no means confined to tribal regions.
After Osama bin Ladin’s death in May, there were concerns that it would not have a decisive effect on the activity of terrorist groups. It is clear that al Qaeda’s activity in South Asia, Middle East and even Europe is not dependant on an individual. It would not be wrong to claim that the terrorism in the Middle East and outlying regions arise from the will and capacity to enforce a different world vision and order through violent means. The fact that one of the bombers in Quetta aged only 21 shows that the terrorist mindset has been transferred to the younger generation. It should also be stressed that the threat of terrorism is not confined by state boundaries and is facilitated by contemporary communication and transportation means. In order to cope with this threat, both the mindset and the operational capacity of terrorist groups must be eliminated.
 “Pakistan captures 'senior al-Qaeda leader'”, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/
 “Pakistan drone attacks kill Germans in response to Europe terror plot”, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2010/1005/Pakistan-drone-attacks-kill-
 “Twin suicide blasts rock Pakistan's Quetta”, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/ 2011/09/20119743430517455.html