Afghan soil for frustrated elite troops, gold for al qaeda

Two new chapters in the "fight against terror"

Summer is over, autumn is waiting in the wings. If you don’t have a book now, don’t bother buying one. For a long time now, international news channels have been performing a serialized novel that has all the ingredients of an adventure story set against an exotic backdrop: "The Hunt for Al Qaeda". The latest chapter headings on this are: " Bin Ladin Dead in Tora Bora?" and "The Gold of Al Quaida".

As the New York Times reported in its Monday edition, the most senior commanders of the best U.S. Special Forces are considering whether their troops should be freed from the fruitless and frustrating search for Osama Bin Ladin in order to use the elite gang for more rewarding tasks.

According to the report, in the circles of those (particularly credible) commanders who were involved in the frontline operation to find Bin Ladin and other leaders of the Al-Qaeda organization, it is increasingly claimed that Bin Ladin is dead. There are many indications that he died in the attacks on Tora Bora last December.

However: there is no certainty. These assertions are deductive conclusions, admit the commanders of the special forces, justified u.a. with the fact that Bin Ladin had not been seen for a long time and no sign of life could be picked up from him. Hard forensic facts, however, were not available.

Which is why there are fierce critics of this position, and the debate over the best use of best forces continues. Both President Bush and his Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld, publicly stated that they did not know whether Bin Ladin was still alive. Rumsfeld, however, wanted Special Forces to be deployed more aggressively outside Afghanistan to capture or kill terrorists.

Only as long as there was no proof of Bin Ladin’s death, could the highly specialized, clandestine, relatively small forces ? such as the "Delta Force" and the "Seal Team 6" ? from the low-yield bin Ladin mission in Afghanistan.

As long as there was no firm evidence, an Army spokesman is quoted as saying, "…the rule of thumb in the intelligence business applies, ie.h. unless you can produce a body, the claim is untenable ."

to be continued.

The Gold of Al Qaeda

In all its unceremoniousness and tranquility, centuries of cunning smuggling practice at its back, Al Qaeda and Taliban financiers have succeeded in shipping rough quantities of gold from Pakistan to Sudan. The valuable cargo passed through the United Emirates and Iran during these shipments. The gold is said to have been transported in several shipments, usually marked and declared as other goods, by smaller vessels from the Pakistani port of Karachi ("City of Despair") to either Iran or Dubai, and from there by charter to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

Although it is not known exactly how much gold was brought to Sudan, European and American circles are certain that the amount is "significant" and a sure sign that the Al Qaeda network and members of the Afghan Taliban militia still have access to large financial reserves (see: Latest on the financial war on terrorism).

As the Washington Post reported in yesterday’s edition, European and American intelligence agencies considered the gold shipments noteworthy in light of recent developments in the war on terrorism.

On the one hand, the transactions testify to the increasingly important role that Iranian intelligence units have recently amed in this game, especially in connection with the hardline clergy there who are said to sponsor and support al-Qaeda. On the other hand, the potential return of Sudan as a financial center for the organization became clear. And the gold shipments demonstrated.a. the terrorists’ ability to find new sources of income despite the global financial war against the Al-Qaeda organization.

It is believed that the banking and business connections that Bin Ladin established in Sudan still exist and that Sudan, unlike other "financial havens" such as Saudi Arabia or the United Emirates.

According to informed sources, the gold is believed to have come from opium trafficking, and some of the planes that transported it to Sudan had links to Iran and, according to European intelligence, to the world’s largest arms supplier, the mysterious "Embargo buster" Viktor Bout.

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