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Pakistan frees ‘al-Qaeda suspect’

In a move that has further shown the problems in terms of dealing with Pakistan as a state that can do the most against terrorists, and at the same time, being the state that is also the cause of many of the major terrorists scare, the Pakistani Government has released an Al-Qaeda computer expert after detaining him for 3 years. No case was made out against him, which would normally mean that he was innocent, and should not have been detained for 3 years. But as this news article makes clear, this guy had actual information, and would most likely have had information that was relevant even at the time he was arrested, and hence it is unclear as to why no case was made out against him, and furthermore, why he was set free to resume his terrorist activities:

The Americans declined to speak for the record about the release of the man, Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, apparently out of reluctance to criticize Pakistan, which has generally worked closely with the United States in counterterrorism efforts. “He most definitely had terrorist links,” an American intelligence official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the American case against Mr. Khan was classified.

Mr. Khan was arrested in Lahore in July 2004 during a joint Pakistani-British raid. Soon after his arrest, Pakistani and American authorities said they had found files on his computer that led to the raising of the terrorism alert level in the United States. The authorities said the files included surveillance information on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington, the Citigroup Tower and New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan and the Prudential Building in Newark.

It seems very strange that Pakistan can release a skilled terrorist to go out and wreak havoc again. Al-Qaeda uses the internet and other means of communications to coordinate many of its activities, and it is of the utmost importance that measures are taken to prevent such terrorists from going out into the community. It would be really horrific if this gentleman is later found to have been included in any kind of terrorist planning or activity.

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