Pakistan: Journalist interviews Belgian al-Qaeda fighter

Pakistan: Journalist interviews Belgian al-Qaeda fighter

A video of the report is available here (in French)


His face hidden by a dark veil, wearing camouflage and armed with a knife and a machine gun. Ghent resident 'Adelbert Naaktgeboren' appeared this way on TV last night. As a real al-Qaeda fighter in Afghanistan, with a new name - Abu Adam Saifoula. He and his fellow fighters captured their uniforms from the Americans, by attacking the back-lines. "And thanks to the help of Allah, we also managed to kill Americans."

The young man says that he's been fighting with al-Qaeda against NATO troops for five years. "A holy war against the infidels," he calls it. "A war which will only end when the infidels all convert to Islam, or are killed."

French journalist Mélanie Bois found and met the Ghent Jihad fighter. "It happened in Pakistan," she said yesterday by phone from Pakistan. "Six kilometers from a village Dara Adamkhel in the area of Peshawar. In the middle of a a perilous zone, which is under control of the Taliban. He didn't want to say anything about the details of his life."

Mélanie Bois says that in his former life the man was named 'Adelbert Naaktgeboren'. To the camera he says that he's 'from Belgium' and 'from Ghent'. "He didn't show me his passport. But when the camera was off, he spoke to me in French and Flemish. He also looks like a European. He is 25 years old, has big brown eyes and a beard."

Naaktgeboren got interested in Islam in 2001, after the attacks on the WTC towers in New York. He couldn't bear that the whole world turned against the Muslims. Very quickly he got in touch with Salafists [orig ed: radical Muslims] in Dilbeek, and through them with members of al-Qaeda. The classic interpretation of the Koran wasn't strict enough for him.

And he is not alone, Naaktgeboren says threateningly in the report. He says it's inevitable that the battle would also be conducted in the West. Out of vengeance. "Because our sisters must take off their headscarf in school".

He told Mélanie Bois that five years ago he was given a choice by al-Qaeda. "Either he would become a sleeper fighter in Europe, or he could go to Afghanistan to fight there. He chose the latter. First a member of al-Qaeda suggested he train for six months in a distant area of Pakistan. After that training, he joined the al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan."

He didn't want to say anything about his family in Belgium. There's one 'Naaktgeboren' family currently living in Ghent, who said yesterday in a phone-call that they had nothing to do with this man.

Adelbert Naaktgeboren told Mélanie Bois that the sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki had inspired him. "Via the internet". Al-Awlaki is also the man who put the young Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab with underwear full of explosives on a plane to the US on Christmas Day.

Nobody at the Ghent prosecution could say yesterday whether Adelbert Naaktgeboren is a real name, and whether the man is known to the Belgian police services. "But we're taking this especially seriously and making it an absolute priority."


If the report is true, than this is the second White Belgian who after converting to Islam turns out to be an al-Qaeda terrorist," says terrorism expert Claude Moniquet in response to the RTL report.

In 2002 ex-journalist Claude Moniquet established the European Strategic Intelligence & Security Center (ESISC) in Brussels, an advisory think-tank on international terrorism.

"It looks believable to me," says Moniquet after seeing the report. Moniquet says that the background and the montage don't give the impression that it's set up.

"It's also remarkable that the interviewed terrorist and his armed bodyguard are clearly Europeans. You see it in the eyes behind the ski-mask of the bodyguard and also in the accent of the terrorist. When he says that he's from Ghent, he pronounces the name of the city with a Dutch accent. And he's also speaking of Dilbeek. All details that a French journalist and an al-Qaeda fighter couldn't just feign."

Q: Is it unique that a White Belgian would convert to Islam to fight for al-Qaeda?

Claude Moniquet: "As far as I know it's the second known case after Murielle Degauque (the woman from Charleroi who blew herself up in Iraq on November 2005). Such converts form a grater danger. Whites with blue eyes rise less suspicion at border and in airports than people who also look Muslim."

The question is why the terrorist would show himself. "Indeed. It can be a type of propaganda for Belgian youth, Muslims or not, to show that it's possible to fight in Pakistan for a holy cause."

Do you believe that the interviewed terrorist is a leader of a group who killed American soldiers in Pakistan in order to capture their weapons? "I do have my doubts about that. But that can also be part of his propaganda. It's the ultimate fantasy of Muslim extremists to subdue the great American enemy with violence. In this context their exploits are rather adorned or exaggerated."

Sources: De Standaard, nieuwsblad (Dutch)

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