Taliban planned to use Americans in Pakistan attacks

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Taliban planned to use Americans in Pakistan attacks

26 Dec 2009 12:20:25 GMT
Source: Reuters

* Contacts with Taliban insurgents
* Plans to visit nuclear power plant
* Internet provides safer channels to militants
* Commander of anti-Taliban militia beheaded

(Adds beheading of anti-Taliban militia leader, background) By Kamran Haider

ISLAMABAD, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Taliban insurgents had planned to use five Americans detained in Pakistan, who had contacted the militant group through the Internet, to carry out attacks inside the U.S. ally, a police official said on Saturday.

Usman Anwar, police chief in Sargodha, where the men were arrested this month, said emails revealed plans for the young men from Virginia to travel to a Pakistani nuclear power plant.

"We believe that they were supposed to be used inside Pakistan," Anwar told Reuters by telephone. "In their last email to the Taliban, we found they mentioned the Chashma Nuclear Plant and that's why they were going to Mianwali (district)."

Anwar declined to give details of the case because police were still interrogating the suspects.

Washington is pressuring Pakistan to root out militants in lawless tribal areas who cross the border to attack Western forces in Afghanistan.

But the matter is politically sensitive. Pilotless U.S. drone aircraft attacks on suspected militants on Pakistani soil have infuriated many Pakistanis.

The possibility of militants attempting to attack Pakistan's nuclear weapons alarms Western powers, although analysts say it is highly unlikely.

Militants have struck back with bombings that have killed hundreds of people in response to a major security offensive in one of their strongholds in October.
Article continued at Reuters AlertNet - Taliban planned to use Americans in Pakistan attacks
 

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