Date: May 01 2012
WESTERN security officials are worried about a wave of ''fast turnaround'' volunteers who travel to Pakistan and obtain training from militant groups so quickly they escape detection before returning to their home countries to launch attacks.
Fears have been reinforced by a recent episode when British volunteers arrived in the Pakistani city of Karachi, found their way to a religious school with a reputation as a gateway to militant groups and were within days in a training course run by al-Qaeda or a linked organisation in the tribal areas along the Afghan border.
Previously volunteers would have had to travel with references from people known and trusted by militant groups in Pakistan and spend weeks ''in quarantine'' before acceptance.
Richard Barrett, head of the expert committee established by the UN Security Council to oversee sanctions against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, said: ''People are going in for a shorter time and are much harder to spot.''
Mr Barrett said some intelligence indicated Mohamed Merah, the 23-year-old gunman who killed seven people in France in March, had spent less than a day with a group known as Jund al-Khalifa in Pakistan.
European officials have also circulated a document found on two militants detained in Germany last year on their return from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Thought to have been authored by a senior figure in al-Qaeda, it recommends Westerners who seek out the group should be trained quickly and sent home as soon as possible.
■A US drone strike killed three suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal belt on Sunday in the first such attack since Pakistan's parliament demanded an end to them just over two weeks ago.
The drone struck an abandoned school building in the central bazaar of Miran Shah, the capital of the North Waziristan tribal agency.
The suspected militants were believed to be with the Haqqani network, which carried out deadly attacks in Kabul and two other Afghan cities on April 15.
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