Arabiske jihadister som måtte rømme da USA veltet Taliban høsten 2001, vender nå tilbake for å gjenreise Khorasan – det islamske navnet på Afghanistan-regionen.

Khorasan-navnet går igjen på jihadistvideoer, og har en viss appell. Irak er en mye større slagmark, men splittelsen mellom sunnier og shiaer gjør konflikten «vond». Det er mye lettere å vende blikket mot Afghanistan. Her er frontene klare og lette å forholde seg til for jihadistene.

In both Iraq and Afghanistan, young militants feel that «Allah’s victory seems to be drawing near» and see parallels with the stalemating of the Soviet army in Afghanistan in the 1980s and its ultimate withdrawal, said Michael Scheuer, a former CIA official who until 2004 headed a team that searched for Osama bin Laden.

Al-Qaida is bringing back fighters it sent home after the post-9/11 invasion, he said. Al-Qaida leaders have written that «it would take three or four years to get the insurgency restarted. They seem to be pretty much on schedule and are bringing more fighters back into the theater,» he said.

Seth Jones, counterinsurgency expert at the U.S.-based Rand Corporation, said the influx is in the dozens or low hundreds, but is increasing, along with a fervor reminiscent of the 1980s, when Arabs such as the Saudi-born bin Laden flocked to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.

Attacks have surged. From Jan. 1 to May 31, 2006, 11 suicide attacks took 63 lives. In the same period of this year, 42 attacks killed 171 people, according to AP compiled statistics.

De arabiske veteranene tar inn nye arabiske rekrutter og verver afghanere og pakistanere til å bli selvmordsbombere. Selvmordsaksjoner er det store, farlige våpenet som ryster den afghanske hæren, og som er blitt symbolet på jihad.

Brian Glyn Williams, author of a report for the U.S.-based Jamestown Foundation on Afghan suicide attacks, also said the senior Arab militants are the recruiters and trainers who indoctrinate young men, most of them Afghans, to sacrifice their lives to kill Westerners and their Afghan allies. No Arab has yet been found to have been a suicide bomber.

«Nothing in the Taliban-al-Qaida arsenal seems to have been as effective as a shock weapon against the militarily superior Afghan National Army and (Western) troops as suicide bombers,» he said.

After interviews with Western and Afghan intelligence sources, a former deputy intelligence chief under the Taliban regime, and an occasional spokesman for the Taliban, a grainy picture of the al-Qaida camps emerges.

At camps in Burmal and Zirooki in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, Abu Yahia al-Libi, from Libya, who escaped U.S. custody in Bagram in 2005, trains suicide bombers along with an estimated 150 Arab militants. He too is releasing videos through al-Qaida’s As Sahab company.

In Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal area, terrorist training camps are being operated by Arabs in Shawal and Lawara, two districts tucked away in mountains so forested that local people say even the sun can’t be seen.

Uten støtte fra Pakistan, og vilje til å rydde opp i grensestrøkene blir det svært vanskelig å knekke Taliban og Al Qaida.

Arab militants join fight in Afghanistan

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