London [UK]: Pakistan’s policies have fostered terrorism since time immemorial as the country has always kept itself under a garb while jihadist networks took a footprint in Britain, leading to the deadliest terrorist attacks in the history of Britain, said Kyle Orton, a British Security Analyst.
As the West always ignored the lessons of 7/7 and 9/11, Britain became a special place in the long-standing, transnational ISI jihadist networks. Masood Azhar, an ISI operative and UN-listed terrorist, toured Britain in 1993, fundraising and recruiting for the Kashmir jihad. And created local networks to continue the job. Some of these networks later defected to the Islamic State (IS) which is also known as Daesh these days.
Moreover, Azhar also created a template for “Londonistan” in the 1990s, where jihadists set up shop in London to provide resources to insurgencies in the Muslim world.
In September 2005, Al-Qaeda released a video to Al-Jazeera of a terrorist named Mohammad Sidique Khan’s last testament declaring his “war” on the West and praising “today’s heroes”- Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda’s then-deputy (now emir) Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the founder of the Islamic State movement, which was at that time part of Al-Qaeda, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian, whose real name was Ahmad al-Khalayleh, a report by Policy Research Group said.
Later in September 2005, a statement from Al-Zawahiri confirmed Al-Qaeda had “launched” the “blessed raid” on London but an official British government report on 7/7, released in May 2006, said: “There is as yet no firm evidence to corroborate this claim or the nature of Al-Qaeda support [for the 7/7 attacks] if there was any.”
Two months later, to coincide with the first anniversary of the attacks, Al-Qaeda released the video of Tanweer’s testament, with Al-Zawahiri, showing “a terrorist training site and a map of London with areas circled as potential targets”.
After 2001, NATO took over the responsibilities for security in Afghanistan however the tables turned when the Taliban re-entered Afghan soil and took control of the country from the Ashraf Ghani government.
The takeover got massive coverage and it was seen that Pakistan stood behind the killing of hundreds of eastern troops and intelligence officers, as well as thousands of Afghans.
Moreover, during the NATO presence in Afghanistan, it was a common discussion between ex-servicemen that Pakistanis were generally the commanders of Taliban units, and it is likely that the old habit of embedding Pakistani Special Services Group (SSG) operatives with the Taliban-Qaeda insurgents, especially during the ISI-planned “spring offensives”, POREG stated.
As per the report, Pakistan had helped Bin Laden escape in 2001 and harboured him in a safe house in a garrison town close to its capital till the cover was blown up in 2011 and ultimately the Taliban became entirely intermingled with Al-Qaeda and its derivatives like “Haqqani Network (HN)”, as it did with the “Kashmiri” groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
West kept paying Pakistan to help solve a problem it created and sustained–and had every incentive to sustain as Pakistan’s lawless conduct–its fundamental strategic commitment to the use of terrorism as a state policy under the protective canopy of pirated nuclear weapons, the report added.
“Pakistan has essentially developed its bargaining power by threatening its own demise,” as a scholar aptly put it.
As there are around 1.2 million British citizens of Pakistani descent and about 200,000 Pakistani nationals’ resident in Britain, the population concentrates in ways that give it an outsized domestic political sway, and the ISI exploits this to push its own agenda through various “community” groups.
As the 7/7 inquiry report noted, one of the reasons Khan and Tanweer did not raise immediate red flags with their Pakistan journeys is that “extended visits to Pakistan by young men are not unusual”. Terrorists can obviously blend in easily with such a large movement of humanity.
Now that NATO is out of Afghanistan, if and when a British citizen goes rogue, in or from Pakistan, the ISI will be there to offer a helping hand in finding them for a price and if Britain accepted the apparent necessity of cooperation with the ISI at a time when the ISI was killing British troops, it is unlikely this will change now, POREG stated.