The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

At least 1,000 Al-Qaeda suspects nabbed in Pakistan, new study reveals

A recently published study by a Pakistani think-tank revealed there were at least 1,000 Al-Qaeda suspects picked up in Pakistan over the past four years.

The study, conducted by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, based on monitoring media reports, disputed the official figure, of 660 detainees, given previously by the Pakistani government:

“Pakistani security agencies arrested more than 1,000 al-Qaeda suspects between January 2002 and May 2006. Of them, 70 came from Algeria, 86 from Saudi Arabia, 20 from Morocco, 22 from the United Arab Emirates, 11 from Libya, 7 from Kuwait, 20 from Egypt, 28 from Indonesia, 18 from Malaysia, and 36 from the West Asian countries. They also included 18 citizens of Western countries: 5 from the United States, 2 from Australia, and 11 from the United Kingdom. They also included an unknown number of French and German citizens.�

The study excluded the Afghani and Pakistani suspects nabbed by the security forces.

There were reports since the start of the manhunt for al-Qaeda suspects that the Pakistani intelligence services were exaggerating the importance of many of the detained Arab detainees, to appease the US and gain more financial and political support for General Pervez Musharraf’s regime. There were occasions too when the Pakistanis handed the Americans ordinary Arabs, not involved in politics, as “high value al-Qaeda targets.�

Pakistan was also the destination for several rendition flights, in and out, that ferried Islamist terror suspects to interrogation centers in the Middle East and other locations.