Sunday, August 07, 2005

From Afghanistan To The Internet: Jihadist Training in the 21st Century

Fascinating piece in the Washington Post on the increasingly large role the Internet plays in providing training and communications to an al Qaeda that no longers has its (relatively) comfortable training area in Afghanistan. I recommend the entire (somewhat chilling) piece, but I offer one little taste for those lunatic fringers who still think Osama wasn't responsible for 9/11 (and I've met a couple, so I know they're out there):
In the snow-draped mountains near Jalalabad in November 2001, as the Taliban collapsed and al Qaeda lost its Afghan sanctuary, Osama bin Laden biographer Hamid Mir watched "every second al Qaeda member carrying a laptop computer along with a Kalashnikov" as they prepared to scatter into hiding and exile. On the screens were photographs of Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta.
The size of the problem is daunting:
The number of active jihadist-related Web sites has metastasized since Sept. 11, 2001. When Gabriel Weimann, a professor at the University of Haifa in Israel, began tracking terrorist-related Web sites eight years ago, he found 12; today, he tracks more than 4,500. Hundreds of them celebrate al Qaeda or its ideas, he said.
Further proof, if it is needed, that Juan Cole is completely wrong in painting a picture of homegrown terrorism without any organizational connections.

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