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Forsyth. Frederick - The Afghan

Forsyth. Frederick - The Afghan - The Afghan Frederick...

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The Afghan Frederick Forsyth To my wife, Sandy, as ever
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PART ONE STINGRAY CHAPTER 1 If the young Talib bodyguard had known that making the cell phone call would kill him, he would not have done it. But he did not know, so he did, and it did. On the seventh of July 2005, four suicide bombers let off their haversack bombs in Central London. They killed fifty-two commuters and injured about seven hundred, at least one hundred crippled for life. Three of the four were British born and raised but of Pakistani immigrant parentage. The fourth was a Jamaican by birth, British by naturalization, and had converted to Islam. He and one other were still teenagers; the third was twenty-two and the group leader thirty. All had been radicalized, or brainwashed, into extreme fanaticism, not abroad but right in the heart of England after attending extremist mosques and listening to similar preachers. Within twenty-four hours of the explosion, they had been identified and traced to various residences in and around the northern city of Leeds; indeed, all had spoken with varying strengths of Yorkshire accent. The leader was a special-needs teacher called Mohammad Siddique Khan. During the scouring of their homes and possessions, the police discovered a small treasure trove that they chose not to reveal. There were four receipts showing that one of the senior two had bought cell phones of the buy-use-and-throw variety, tri-band versions usable almost anywhere in the world, and each containing a prepaid SIM card worth about twenty pounds sterling. The phones had all been bought for cash and all were missing. But the police traced their numbers and “red-flagged” them all in case they ever came on stream. It was also discovered that Siddique Khan and his closest intimate in the group, a young Punjabi called Shehzad Tanweer, had visited Pakistan the previous November and spent three months there. No trace was found of whom they had seen, but weeks after the explosions the Arab TV station Al Jazeera broadcast a defiant video made by Siddique Khan as he planned his death, and it was clear this video had been made during that visit to Islamabad. It was not until late 2006 that it also became clear that one of the bombers took one of the “lily-white” untraceable cell phones with him and presented it to his Al Qaeda organizer/instructor. (The British police had already established that none of the bombers had the technical skill to create the bombs themselves without instruction and help.) Whoever this AQ higher-up was, he seems to have passed on the gift as a token of respect to a member of the elite inner committee grouped around the person of Osama bin Laden in his invisible hideaway in the bleak mountains of South Waziristan that run along the Pakistani/Afghan border west of Peshawar. It would have been given for emergency purposes only, because all AQ operatives are extremely wary of cell phones, but the donor could not have known at the time that the British fanatic would be stupid enough to leave the receipt lying around his desk in Leeds.
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