Al Qaeda is global, fluid and unpredictable: Sherpao (former Interior Minister)

Al Qaeda is global, fluid and unpredictable: Sherpao
* Former interior minister says formation of tribal lashkars encouraging
* Hints at external forces’ involvement in FATA insurgency
By Khalid Hasan, Daily Times, October 20, 2008

WASHINGTON: Al Qaeda, which has mutated over the years, is now a loose network without a hierarchy, made up of groups that are global, fluid and unpredictable, former federal minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao told the US Institute of Peace on Friday.

He said Al Qaeda’s appeal is “inspirational” and it does not operate an integrated operational network, and that Al Qaeda wants to ride on the back of the resurgent Taliban movement in the region. He said one of the recruiting grounds Al Qaeda uses lies in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan that hold two million displaced people. Turning to FATA, he said the traditional tribal system, buttressed in place by the institution of the political agent, has been emasculated and needs to be rebuilt.

Lashkars: Sherpao found it encouraging that the local tribes were beginning to rise against terrorist groups, the formation of tribal lashkars being evidence of that. He called Bajaur the hub of the present insurgency, adding that the area was known for the presence of Arabs and Uzbeks. The recent fighting had displaced 250,000 locals. The Mehmand agency had also been affected by the insurgency, which had spread its tentacles to the Peshawar and Charsada districts, where the law and order situation had deteriorated.

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