German Islamists Attacked in Pakistan

Spiegel Online International reported on 11 October that the victims of a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan earlier this month have been identified.

The group of men targeted by U.S. forces included German citizens that were believed to have ties with the Hamburg cell of the 9/11 hijackers.

The incident coincided with a travel alert issued by the U.S., warning its citizens of the risk of terrorist attacks in Europe carried out by militant Islamists.

The German government reacted cautiously to the alert.

“There are currently no concrete indications of imminent attacks in Germany. However, there is a high level of abstract threat, with German interests at home and abroad having been a target of international terrorism for some time. We take all indications very seriously and investigate them very carefully”, Thomas de Mazière, the Federal Minister of the Interior, said in a press conference on 4 October.

Presumably, the German government is not happy with the recent warning issued by U.S. authorities. Being well aware that radical Islamists of German origin are involved in jihad fighting and are planning attacks in Germany and Europe, the government however tries to not to become alarmist on the issue.

Furthermore, the warning from Washington might be seen as a way to legitimize the contentious drone attacks that the U.S. military has increased over the last months.

Lastly, the link between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a conventional wisdom in the United States’ security community, has not been discussed much in Germany. If the U.S. army increasingly focuses its attention to Pakistan, using Afghanistan as a base, what does this mean for the German armed forces in Afghanistan? Will Germany wake up one day and find itself in a war in Pakistan too?

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