The Pakistani army has found the passports of Saïd Bahaji, wanted in connection with the September 11 attacks in New York and of Raquel Garcia Burgos, a Spanish woman married to an al Qaeda militant.
The discovery was made during Pakistan’s two-week old military offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan. Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said: “The operation is against a terrorist organisation which is holding this area and the people as hostage, which is responsible for conducting most of the terrorism acts against our people and against our country.” The fight in South Waziristan is seen as a major test of Pakistan’s will and ability to tackle the northwestern strongholds of extremists allied to al Qaeda. The army has deployed some 30,000 troops in the region against an estimated 12,000 militants. They include up to 1,500 foreign fighters, among them Uzbeks and Arabs. The Pentagon says military assistance to Pakistan has been put on a “wartime footing.”