Pakistan: German, Spanish 9/11-linked passports found
After a sweep of a militant stronghold in the lawless tribal region of South Waziristan, the Pakistani army has recovered passports purportedly belonging to two leading al-Qa'ida figures, including a member of the notorious Hamburg cell that orchestrated September 11.
Among a pile of documents, photographs, weapons and computers seen by The Independent yesterday in Waziristan, is a German passport belonging to Said Bahaji, the logistical expert of the notorious German terror cell that orchestrated the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
Bahaji, 34, who is of Moroccan descent, obtained the passport just days before September 11 and used it to travel to Pakistan according to the information stamped in the document.
It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the passports, nor to establish the fate of their apparent holders. If they are authentic, the documents would prove that South Waziristan, a bastion of the Pakistani Taliban, has also been a sanctuary for foreign Jihadists and key al-Qa'ida figures in Pakistan. Major General Athar Abbas, the military's chief spokesman said the documents were being made public to demonstrate the presence of foreign militants in South Waziristan which borders Afghanistan.
A Spanish passport, also recovered, purportedly belonged to Raquel Burgos Garcia. According to a student card, she is the wife of Amir Azizi, a Moroccan terrorist suspect who has been linked to both the September 11 attacks and the Madrid bombings.
The documents were apparently found after the capture of the village of Sherwangai on 20 October. The take- over came after three days of intense fighting in the dusty, barren and expansive Waziristan wilderness, at the start of an anti-Taliban offensive launched under intense political pressure from the United States. "We moved in as a battalion at night to take the terrorists by surprise," Lieutenant Colonel Inam Tarar said yesterday. As he spoke, mortar shells were being blasted into a village across a gorge nearby.
Source: Independent (English)