Investigators have discovered a "Jihadi village" of white German al-Qaeda insurgents, including Muslim converts, in Pakistan's tribal areas close to the Afghan border.
By Dean Nelson in New Delhi and Allan Hall in Berlin
25 Sep 2009
The village, in Taliban-controlled Waziristan, is run by the notorious al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which plots raids on Nato forces in Afghanistan.
A recruitment video presents life in the village as a desirable lifestyle choice with schools, hospitals, pharmacies and day care centres, all at a safe distance from the front.
In the video, the presenter, "Abu Adam", the public face of the group in Germany, points his finger and asks: "Doesn't it appeal to you? We warmly invite you to join us!"
According to German foreign ministry officials a growing number of German families, many of North African descent, have taken up the offer and travelled to Waziristan where supporters say converts make up some of the insurgents' most dedicated fighters.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which has a foothold in several German cities, has capitalised on growing concern over the rising profile of German forces in Afghanistan. Their role has become increasingly controversial in Germany in recent weeks after dozens of civilians were killed in an air strike ordered by German officers.
Last night a foreign ministry spokesman told The Daily Telegraph they were now negotiating with Pakistani authorities for the release of six Germans, including "Adrian M", a white Muslim convert, his Eritrean wife and their four year old daughter, who were arrested as they were making their way to the "German village". They are particularly concerned about the welfare of the child.
They are being held in custody in Peshawar after their arrest in May shortly when they crossed the border from Iran. They are understood to have left Germany in March this year.
The spokesman said negotiations were "under way" with Pakistani authorities "concerning a group of German citizens" and that it had been aware that the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan had been recruiting in Germany "since the beginning of the year".
Their recruitment drive has been led by "Abu Adam", a 24-year-old German believed to be of Turkish or North African descent who was raised with his, and fellow Jihadi, Abu Ibrahim, in the smart Bonn suburb of Kessenich.
Adam, whose real name is Mounir Chouka, received weapons training from the German army as part of his national service, and later spent three years training at the Federal Office of Statistics where colleagues described him as a "nice boy".
He left in 2007, telling colleagues he was joining a trading firm in Saudi Arabia, but is believed to have joined a terrorist training camp in Yemen.
In another recruitment video released earlier this year he urged supporters to: "Die the death of honour."
Khalid Khawaja, a former Pakistan intelligence officer, who describes himself as a friend of Osama bin Laden, said he was aware of a German contingent and that there were a number of Swedish converts too who had arrived in Pakistan "for Jihad".
"The Europeans are there [in Waziristan]. The most dedicated people there are from Europe. They will do anything for Islam. They are not there because their father's are Muslim, but by choice," he said.