Berlin (Germany), Oct.19 (ANI): US and European counter-terrorism officials have said that a rising number of Western recruits-including Americans-are traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan to attend paramilitary training camps.
The Washington Post quoted them as saying that the flow of recruits has continued unabated in spite of an intensified campaign over the past year by the CIA to eliminate al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders in drone missile attacks.
Since January, at least 30 recruits from Germany have traveled to Pakistan for training, according to German security sources.
About 10 people-not necessarily the same individuals-have returned to Germany this year, fueling concerns that fresh plots are in the works against European targets.
"We think this is sufficient to show how serious the threat is," the paper quoted a senior German counter-terrorism official as saying on the condition of anonymity.
German security services have been on high alert since last month, when groups affiliated with the Taliban and al-Qaeda issued several videos warning that an attack on German targets was imminent if the government did not bring home its forces from Afghanistan.
There are about 3,800 German troops in the country, the third-largest NATO contingent after those of the United States and Britain. German officials say Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders are trying to exploit domestic opposition in Germany to the war; surveys show that a majority of German voters favor a withdrawal of their soldiers.
The videos all featured German speakers who urged Muslims to travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan to join their cause.
Last week, German officials disclosed that a 10-member cell from Hamburg had left for Pakistan earlier this year. The cell is allegedly led by a German of Syrian descent but also includes ethnic Turks, German converts to Islam and one member with Afghan roots.
Other European countries are also struggling to keep their citizens from going to Pakistan for paramilitary training.
European security officials have warned for many years of the threat posed by homegrown radicals who have gone to Afghanistan and Pakistan to wage jihad. (ANI)