Asian Tigers, hear them roar

A Taliban splinter group kills “american spy”

by Samuel Schmidt

Last week, in the western, tribal regions of Pakistan, a Jihadi activist (a Muslim holy warrior) and former Pakistani intelligence officer was executed by the Taliban. Mir Ali is a centre of militant activity in North Waziristan. Khalid Khawaja, the man found dead with shots in the head and chest, had a note attached to his body claiming that he was an American spy, and that other “spies” would have the same fate.

The Taliban group who captured Khawaja over a month ago and killed last week, had also kidnapped two other men. Their fate is currently unknown. They are a well known ex-Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) official, Colonel Imam, and Asad Qureshi, a journalist. The ISI is the Pakistani version of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

The group who claimed responsibility is called “the Asian Tigers.” This is a new group who has emerged; they were previously unknown in the region, although they are believed to be a cover name for a group of Punjabi sectarian militants belonging to the Lashkar I Jhangvi group. This is a Sunni Muslim extremist group based primarily in the Punjab region of Pakistan. It has links with al Qaeda and has assisted in several high-profile attacks on Westerners in Pakistan, including the January 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. It is believed that they have joined with other Sunni extremist groups to form the Pakistani wing of al Qaeda.

Khalid Khawaja, the murdered man, was a retired Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official who boasted of his links with Osama bin Laden. “He (Khawaja) made an essential contribution in bringing to attention the disappearances by the Pakistani intelligence agencies at the behest of the US authorities – whatever his motivations,” said Ali Dayan Hasan a Human Rights Watch researcher who had worked with Khawaja, described him as “an ambiguous operator who balanced an implacable belief in jihadist causes with a concern for the plight of those victimised by the ‘war on terror’,” the Guardian reported.

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