Tentacles of Terror: Al Qaeda's Southeast Asian Network

by Zachary Abuza
Contemporary Southeast Asia
December 1, 2002


Jamal Mohammed Khalifa and the Origins of the Southeast Asian Al Qaeda Connection

Bin Laden already had some ties with the Philippines. In 1988, he dispatched his brother-in-law Mohammed Jammal Khalifa (23) to the Philippines to recruit fighters for the war in Afghanistan. Khalifa was already engaged in radical Muslim politics and was a very senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood in his native Lebanon.

Bin Laden clearly saw the potential of the Philippines and he was alarmed at the Moro National Liberation Front's (MNLF's) ongoing peace negotiations with the Philippine Government. In his eyes, the MNLF was selling out and abandoning the goal of establishing an Islamic state. Khalifa travelled throughout the Moro region to recruit and facilitate the jihadis' travels to Pakistan. He left the Philippines in either 1989 or 1990, but he returned in 1991 to establish a permanent Al Qaeda network. (24)

At the time, he was officially the regional director for the Saudi-based charity, the Islamic International Relief Organization (IIRO), responsible not just for projects in the Philippines but also in Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan. (25) Later, the IIRO decided to have separate directors for each of the countries, and Khalifa became the IIRO head for the Philippines. The IIRO claims to have begun charitable work in the Philippines in 1988, (26) but according to documents registered at the Philippine Securities Exchange Commission, the IIRO was legally incorporated in the Philippines on 20 September 1991 with offices in Makati and in several cities in Mindanao. Khalifa was listed as the IIRO's president and chairman of the board of trustees. (27)

Khalifa set out to establish a thorough network. According to interviews with Philippine intelligence officials, Khalifa developed his network very slowly and carefully. In their eyes, he did a meticulous and professional job. Although Philippine authorities had some concerns about Khalifa, the fact is that they had no idea of the extent of his operation. (28) He was well respected in the local community, and included members of the Philippine elite to sit on his board of directors. He was able to get the Saudi Arabian Embassy to assist his charities.

The MILF-Al Qaeda Connection

Established in the Philippines, Khalifa began to provide covert assistance to the MILF in two ways--financially, and through training. In addition, he provided overt assistance by funding development projects in zones under MILF control, or to areas that constituted core constituencies of MILF supporters. Khalifa began to covertly channel money to the MILF, starting in the early 1990s. In a 1998 interview, Al Haj Murad, the MILF Vice-Chairman for Military Affairs, admitted that bin Laden and Khalifa provided "help and assistance" to MILF cadres who volunteered in the 1980s to help the Taliban struggle against the Soviet-backed Afghan regime (29). On 7 February 1999, Salamat Hashim admitted in a BBC interview to receiving aid from bin Laden, although again stating that it was humanitarian aid for mosque construction and social welfare. This new source of assistance was imperative to the MILF, as its traditional supporter, Libya, was reducing military assistance to both the MILF and the MNLF as it was trying to broker a peace agreement with the Philippine Government. Libya, hoping to get sanctions lifted, imposed after the Lockerbie bombing (where its involvement had been proven), used its leverage to get the MNLF to sign an autonomy accord with the government. To that end, Libya had to reduce the amount of armaments entering the Philippines. However, there is ample evidence that the Libyans are still "in the game". A military intelligence officer has stated that many of the MILE weapons the military continues to seize are of Libyan origin. (30) However, Libya has had to be careful: it cannot be seen as a supporter and a key negotiator in the conflict while still arming one faction.

The MILF denies all links to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Although the MILE admits having a relationship with Khalifa, it argues that Khalifa was simply a philanthropist engaged in social work. An MILE spokesman has asserted that "Khalifa was cleared by the U.S. government. [It] found he had no links to bin Laden." (31) When asked to respond to the 1998 comments by Al Haj Murad, the MILF's Vice-Chairman of Military Affairs, that the MILE did indeed receive aid and funding from bin Laden's Al Qaeda network, the MILE spokesman said that the statement "was taken out of context". (32)

The second type of assistance that the MILE has received from Al Qaeda has been in the form of training, both in Mindanao and abroad. For example, Al Haj Murad admitted to receiving "substantial help and assistance from bin Laden, including the training of his fighters in bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan". In September 2001, a Philippine senator asserted that bin Laden had attempted to recruit some seventy MILE fighters, who had applied for employment in a Saudi company allegedly owned by bin Laden. (33) This fits in with the MILF exfiltrating its fighters out of the Philippines into Pakistani and Afghan training camps.

More common, however, has been the infiltration of Middle Eastern trainers into MILE camps. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Pakistan began to clamp down on foreign jihadis entering the country. To that end, a steady flow of trainers began to arrive in the Philippines to train MILF and Abu Sayyaf guerillas. Perhaps the most important Al Qaeda trainer was al Mughiri al Gaza'iri, a commander of an Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan and a very close associate of Abu Zubaydah. Al Gaza'iri came to the Philippines in 1995 and taught in the MILF's Camp Abu Bakar. The MILE denies that there has ever been foreign trainers, and asserts that this is government propaganda to tarnish it as a legitimate freedom-fighting force, as against a terrorist organization. (34) Several military intelligence personnel have told the author that they have found individuals wearing turbans in MILE camps that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (APP) has overrun, and men with very thick beards, uncharacteristic of Filipinos. In mid-2000, the APP f ound the bodies of several Middle Eastern and Pakistani "trainers" at an MILE base they captured. An Arab Mujaheddin fighter was monitored visiting the MILE's Camp Abu Bakar from May to June 2000. (35) In addition to foreign trainers, APP personnel have recovered considerable amounts of documentation, such as visas and passports. Following the Philippine Government's capture of the main MILE base, Camp Abu Bakar, in 2001, intelligence personnel discovered a cantonment within the camp specifically for foreign trainers and trainees. More recently, the MILE established a camp near Cotabato City for foreign trainers. Philippine military intelligence believes that the MILE has played host to several hundred trainers from the Middle East. (36)

Al Qaeda has placed a large number of instructors in MILE camps since the mid-1990s, not just to assist the MILE, but also for other jihadis in the region, such as the Malaysian Kumpulan Mujaheddin, Jemaah Islamiah, and Laskar Jundullah. With their secure base areas, geographic proximity, and porous borders, it has been far easier and more cost-effective for Al Qaeda to bring its trainers to the region, than bringing hundreds of Southeast Asian militants to Pakistan and Afghanistan. A senior MILE cadre, Sulaiman, who himself had trained in Afghanistan, has become an important trainer in MILE camps and is a key liaison between the MILF and foreign militants, including Al Qaeda operatives in Southeast Asia who train in MILE camps. JI members not only trained at MILE camps, but were also active fund-raisers for the MILE. Of the thirty-six people detained in an anti-terrorist sweep in Singapore in 2002, four were not found to be JI members but active supporters and fund-raisers for the MILE.

The role of foreign trainers was manifest in another way--a suicide attack on 14 October 1997. At the time, morale in the MILF was quite low. Its sister organization, the MNLF, had just signed an autonomy agreement with the Philippine Government and the MILF had suffered a series of battlefield defeats. In order to raise morale and demonstrate how committed they were to the Islamic cause, MILF soldiers together with two foreign trainers--an Egyptian, Mohammed Gharib Ibrahimi Sayed Ahmed, and a Saudi Arabian, Al Maki Ragab--carried out a suicide attack on the headquarters of the AFP's VI Infantry near Cotabato City, killing six. (37) The MILF denied it was involved in the attack. AFP officials admitted that the suicide attack did have the desired effect and that afterwards the MILF's morale went up dramatically.

On 1 August 2000, there was a bomb attack on the Jakarta residence of the Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia. This bombing cum assassination attempt was seen by many analysts as a "thank you note" to the MILF. The bombing was carried out by an Indonesian JI operative, Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, who had trained JI personnel in bomb-making at MILF camps, and who, with Muklis Yunos, the head of the MILF's special operations division, had detonated a series of bombs in Manila in December 2000. There are also growing linkages to extremist Muslim groups in Indonesia. Indonesian passports have been found at a Mindanao camp overrun by Philippine forces, and other Indonesian extremists were trained in the Philippines by the MILF. One military intelligence officer told the author that most likely the training of Indonesians by the MILF was not conducted in their main base area of Camp Abu Bakar but in one of their smaller and more remote bases on Tawi-Tawi. (38)

The links between the MILF and Al Qaeda are well established. There is ample evidence that during the 1990s the MILF received funding and training from Al Qaeda operatives. For the most part, this money came through the Al Qaeda network established by Jamal Mohammed Khalifa, in particular the IIRO. The linkages were both ideological and personal. The MILF, in bin Laden's eyes, was worthy of funding. The relationship between the MILF and Al Qaeda was significant, and Philippine intelligence intercepted regular telephone calls between Abu Zubaydah, a senior Al Qaeda operations officer, now in U.S. custody, and Salamat Hashim, Yusof Alongon (the head of the MILF Finance Committee) and Abdu Nasser Nooh (the MILF's liaison officer in Manila). (39)

The Abu Sayyaf Group and the Afghan Connection

Of greater public interest than the MILF is the small but very violent Abu Sayyaf. The origins of the Abu Sayyaf can be traced to Afghanistan. In the early 1980s, between 300 and 500 Moro fundamentalists arrived in Peshawar, Pakistan, to serve with the Mujaheddin. One of them, Ustadz Abdurajak Janjalani, emerged as their leader. (40) Janjalani was the son of a local ulama. (41) A fiery Islamic orator, he had attended Islamic universities in Libya and Saudi Arabia before joining the Mujaheddin and fighting the Soviets for several years. Philippine National Police (PNP) intelligence documents indicate that Janjalani's studies in Syria and Libya were financed by Khalifa. (42)

In Peshawar, Janjalani befriended Osama bin Laden. Janjalani and his younger brother Khaddaffy Janjalani received training in the late 1980s and into the 1990s at a training camp near Khost, Afghanistan, that was run by a scholar of Islam, Abdur Rab Rasul Sayyaf, whose belief in the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam found him favour with many wealthy Saudis, including Osama bin Laden.

Janjalani was committed to waging a jihad back in his native Philippines to create a pure Islamic state in the Moro islands based on Salafi Wahhabism. Following the Soviet Union's withdrawal from Afghanistan, Janjalani began making frequent trips between his home in Basilan and the Peshawar-Afghan border region recruiting supporters. Ten leading MNLF officials joined Janjalani, including Ustadz Wahab Akbar and Abdul Ashmad. When Osama bin Laden wanted to expand his Al Qaeda network, he turned to Janjalani to establish a cell in Southeast Asia. According to Simon Reeve, bin Laden was looking to expand his global network and was looking for new cells to support; Janjalani was looking for money to expand his movement; and, Ramzi Yousef was looking for a new mission. "It all came together" in Peshawar in 1991. (43) PNP intelligence documents suggest that it was Ramzi Yousef who had encouraged the formation of the Abu Sayyaf group to serve as his contact and support group in the Philippines. At the time, Ramzi You sef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was teaching at the Khost camp. Yousef and Janjalani struck up a close friendship in early 1991. (44) Yousef travelled with Janjalani to the Philippines from December 1991 to May 1992 at bin Laden's request, where he trained Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) members in bomb-making in their camp on Basilan island. When Yousef was introduced to Janjalani's assistant and a leader of the Abu Sayyaf, Edwin Angeles, (45) he was introduced as an "emissary from bin Laden", and referred to as "the Chemist", owing to his proficiency in bomb-making.

In 1991, the ASG received some P12 million in grants from foreign sources, mainly from Al Qaeda, but also from Libya. (46) On 29 January 1992, the ASG received some P160,000 from Khalifa. The ASG began to receive large deliveries of weapons from Victor Blout, a Tajik arms dealer who was later linked to both the Taliban regime and Al Qaeda. (47)

Very quickly, the ASG made its mark. It began its terrorist attacks in the Philippines in 1991 when it killed two American evangelists in a grenade blast in Zamboanga city. The ASG attacked Ipil in April 1995, and in February 1997 assassinated a Catholic bishop. Between 1991 and 1996, the ASG was responsible for sixty-seven terrorist attacks, more than half of which were indiscriminate bombings. All led to the death of 58 people, with another 398 injured.

Through his sermons and notoriety following a series of kidnappings and massacres, other gangs of Moro brigands in the Sulu islands began to accept Janjalani as their chief. (48) Abu Sayyaf grew in strength when it began receiving more Al Qaeda funding.

The Bojinka Plot

Although the Abu Sayyaf's scope primarily focused on their domestic grievances, they had linkages to the broader AL Qaeda network. As mentioned above, while in Khost, Janjalani came into contact with Ramzi Yousef, who had moved to the Philippines in mid-1994 following the December 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Using the Philippines as his base of operations, Yousef planned a series of spectacular terrorist plots. The Bojinka plots included attempts to bomb eleven U.S. airliners and to assassinate the Pope, who visited the Philippines in early 1995. Philippine police believed that Yousef relied on Abu Sayyaf contacts and intended to recruit Abu Sayyaf operatives to help carry out his plan. Although there is no direct evidence linking Abu Sayyaf to these failed plots, the Abu Sayyaf claimed credit for the June 1995 bombing of a Tokyo-bound Philippine Airlines flight, which Philippine police believe was a dry-run for Yousef's plan to down the eleven U.S. airliners.

On the run from the law for his role in the World Trade Center bombings, Yousef fled to Pakistan, and then travelled to the Philippines via Malaysia. He spent a short period of time in the southern island of Basilan where he trained approximately twenty Abu Sayyaf militants in the art of bomb-making. At this point, the Philippine authorities had no idea that one of America's most wanted men was on their territory. They began to increase surveillance of the ASG in June 1994, after a series of bombs went off in Zamboanga, attributed to the ASG, and which killed more than seventy people. The first tip-off that there were connections to international terrorist groups was that a leading suspect was carrying a letter claiming responsibility for the bombings, signed by the Al Harakat Al Islamiah, the same group that had claimed responsibility for the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center. The suspect detained, Abdul Asmad, was believed to be the international liaison officer of the ASG. (49) Yet, they were still un aware of Yousef's presence in the country. The police began to increase surveillance of foreign nationals from the Middle East and to scrutinize phone records. In September 1994 in Zamboanga, as a result of increased surveillance, six ASG members were arrested and a cache of weapons was seized. Interrogation of the suspects directed the police to Manila, where they began td increase surveillance on the IIRO.

The Ramzi Yousef Cell

The Ramzi Yousef terrorist cell in Manila centred around Khalifa, Ramzi Yousef, and two key individuals, and approximately fifteen others with limited knowledge of the operation. Everyone in the cell had very specific functions, and in many cases, once that function was completed, they left the country (50) Perhaps the most important person in the cell was Khalid Sheik Mohammad, also known as Salem Ali, who came to the Philippines in early 1994 and posed as a Qatari plywood exporter. Mohammad was thought to be a major operational planner for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) also named him as a key planner of the 11 September 2001 attacks. Within Al Qaeda, he is known as "the Brain", owing to his operational knowledge and key role in the planning of Al Qaeda attacks.

The second most important individual was Wali Khan Amin Shah, a close associate of Osama bin Laden and Ramzi Yousef Bin Laden spoke highly of Wali Khan, referring to him as the "Lion", but had "no comment" as to whether the latter worked for him. (51) He had previously worked for the IIRO in Peshawar, Pakistan, and was carrying IIRO identity documents when arrested. (52) Wali Khan travelled extensively to the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Thailand. Abu Omar admits to knowing Wali Khan in the Philippines as early as 1993. Wali Khan was associated with a Khalifa-run company in Malaysia. Intelligence reports make clear that they believed he was in overall charge of financial logistics for the Yousef cell.

Bojinka Unfolds

On 10 December 1994, Philippine Airlines 747-200 Flight 434, carrying 273 passengers and 20 crew, en route from Cebu to Tokyo, was forced to make an emergency landing after a bomb went off in the cabin, killing a Japanese businessman. This bombing, though claimed to be the work of the ASG, was a dry-run to test Yousef's plan to bomb eleven U.S. airliners in "48 hours of terror". (53) Yousef planted the bomb during the trip's first leg from Manila to Cebu where he disembarked. This bomb was Yousef's trademark: a small nitro-glycerine bomb set off by a Casio watch. His plan was that five individuals, including himself, were all to depart from different Asian cities, each placing a timed bomb on a flight during its first leg of a trans-Pacific flight. They would ten transfer to anoter flight to place a second bomb. The bombs were to detonate simultaneously over the Pacific. (54)

Yousef's Al Qaeda cell was initially broken up by accident, and ten by good police work. (55) The planning and scope of the Yousef cell was staggering. Bin Laden proved that he could establish an autonomous cell impervious to detection, which could plan and execute deadly attacks.

Despite the links between the ASG and Al Qaeda, Yousef really did not trust the ASG or think it capable enough to carry out serious terrorist acts. He used his own men, all flown in from the Middle East. Yousef and Wali Khan were willing to train members of the ASG, but they did not rely on tern to the degree that observers have indicated. At most, members of the ASG provided logistical support and assisted Yousef and Wali Khan in exfiltrating the country. Thus, the Bush Administration's assertions of the ASG's connection to Al Qaeda is rather tenuous.

Finally, it seems that by 1996, bin Laden had lessened his interest in the Philippines, determined instead to take his jihad to the Holy Land, from where he would drive out both the Americans and their secular puppet regimes. Bin Laden's operation had moved to Khartoum, Sudan, and, after 1996, to Afghanistan, where lie became intent on creating an international network and a business empire to fund it. Cells continued to be developed in the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, but the region became secondary to Al Qaeda.


The Ramzi Yousef case was always portrayed as a Philippine problem, but this is a naive proposition. The cell leaders made extensive use of the wider Southeast Asian region and, in particular, Malaysia. Malaysia was an alternative base of operations, a transit point, and an important place to establish front companies. Yousef and Wali Khan both fled the Philippines to Malaysia for a reason: they hoped to rely on an existing Al Qaeda network to protect them and facilitate their further travels. In January 2002, the FBI said--tough later it retracted--that Malaysia was a key springboard state for Al Qaeda operations, including the 11 September attacks on the United States.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has repeatedly said that there are no Al Qaeda cells in Malaysia, although that is belied by the number of arrests by Malaysian authorities during 2002 of local affiliates of Al Qaeda. In 1998-99, top aides to two of the most senior Algerian terrorists, Antar Zouabri and Hassan Hattab, moved to Malaysia. (56) By virtue of being a predominantly Muslim country, it is relatively easy for Muslim radicals to fit into Malaysian society. As an Islamic banking and financial centre, not to mention having been one of the world's hottest economies during the 1980s and 1990s, Malaysia was a natural place to establish front companies from the Middle East. There are also significant movements of peoples between the Middle East and Malaysia.

Most alarming was the fact that on 5 January 2000 there was a major meeting in Malaysia of key bin Laden lieutenants (including Tawfiq bin Atash), top suspects in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen on 12 October 2000, (57) two of the 11 September hijackers, Khalid al-Mindhar and Nawaq (Salem) al-Hazmi; and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a close associate of Mohammed Atta. The FBI described Tawfiq as: "The intermediary between bin Laden himself and the [USS Cole] attack planners."

For many years, Malaysian authorities publicly downplayed the threat posed by radical Islamists. Much of the reason for this is that the Malaysian Government has always portrayed Malaysia as a progressive, modern, and tolerant Muslim state. Therefore, any talk of Islamic radicalism and/or terrorism emanating from the country was seen by the government as an attempt to brand Malaysia (and all Muslims) as extremists--a way for the West to hold Malaysia back, so it was argued by the government. The fact is, since the early 1990s, Al Qaeda has found Malaysia to be a convenient base of operations. Moreover, it has been able to graft onto a small but growing community of Islamic radicals.

Establishing Roots

In 1988, when Jamal Mohammed Khalifa first came to Southeast Asia, he had arrived under the cover of being the IIRO's regional director. The organization subsequently decided to have individual country directors, and Khalifa took over as the head of operations in the Philippines. In 1994, Khalifa was forced out of the Philippines, and in 2000 the IIRO was also forced to shut down its Philippine office. This was a blow to the Al Qaeda network in Southeast Asia. Khalifa had spent years establishing a regional network. In the mid-1990s, there seemed to be a lull in Al Qaeda operations in Southeast Asia, but in the late-1990s, Al Qaeda appointed Ahmad Fauzi, also known as Abdul al Hakim, to co-ordinate Al Qaeda operations in Southeast Asia. Fauzi based his operations in Malaysia, while another Al Qaeda operative, Omar Al-Faruq, was first dispatched to the Philippines and then to Indonesia in 2000. In a familiar pattern, Fauzi set about establishing independent Al Qaeda cells, while at the same time grafting onto existing radical movements and fringe groups. Malaysia has been one of the banking centres utilized by Al Qaeda. Operationally and logistically, Malaysia is very important to the network.

Here are the fotnotes:
23.) The second of Khalifa's four wives is the older sister of bin Laden.

(24.) Department of National Defense, The Philippine Campaign Against Terrorism (Quezon City: Camp Aguinaldo, 2001).

(25.) The Philippine National Police intelligence report does not mention Malaysia, which is surprising. It may be an oversight. See PNP, "After Intelligence Operations Report", Camp Crame, Quezon City, Philippines, 27 February 1995.

(26.) Dr Adnan Khalil Basha, "Largest Islamic Relief Organization Maligned," Letter to the Editor, Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), August 2000.

(27.) Christine Herrera, "Gemma Linked to Bin Laden Group Funding Sayyaf, MILF," PDI, 10 August 2000. Based on IIRO documents at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Khalifa was one of five incorporators who signed the documents of registration. Only one was a non-Muslim. One of the five was a Filipino named Alice "Jameelah" Yabo, believed to be Khalifa's wife.

(28.) Interview with a counter-intelligence official, Quezon City, 16 January 2002.

(29.) Christine Herrera, "Bin Laden Funds Abu Sayyaf Through Muslim Relief Group", Philippine Daily Inquirer.

(30.) Interview with a captain of the AFP intelligence, Marawi, Philippines, 11 January 2002.

(31.) Interview with Eid Kabalu, MILF spokesman, Cotabato, 9 January 2002.

(32.) Interview with Eid Kabalu, MILF spokesman, Cotabato, 9 January 2002.

(33.) Lira Lalangin, "Bin Laden Seen Recruiting Ex-MILF", PDL 24 October 2001.

(34.) Interview with Eid Kabalu, MILF spokesman, Cotabato, 9 January 2002. Asked to comment on the reports from the government that they found "foreigners" in camps that they had overtaken, Bid Kabalu stated that it was actually a mistake by President Estrada. Estrada, according to Kabalu, was trying to denigrate the MILF and said that they were "not even Filipinos." This actually pleased the MILF at the time, because they thought that Estrada had actually publicly acknowledged that the Bangsamoro people were their own nation.

(35.) Raymond Burgos, "FBI Seeks Philippine Help in Hunting Down Terrorists", PDI, 30 September 2001.

(36.) Luz Baguioro, "JI Militants May Have Links with Separatist Group," Straits Times, 18 September 2002.

(37.) Interview with a counter-intelligence official, Quezon City, 16 January 2002. This official stated that one was a Jordanian, the other a Palestinian.

(38.) Interview with a captain of the AFP intelligence, Marawi, Philippines, 11 January 2002.

(39.) Interview with a Colonel in the PNP intelligence, Manila, 27 June 2002.

(40.) Janjalani was born on Basilan island, and was encouraged to study Islamic law in Saudi Arabia. He emerged in Afghanistan.

(41.) One source called his father an ustadz, but that term was really reserved for the ulama who were trained abroad and returned to the Philippines. My source did not know if his father was an ustadz.

(42.) Department of the Interior and Local Government, "Country Report of the Republic of the Philippines", p. 6.

(43.) Reeve, op. cit., p. 156.

(44.) Ibid., p. 136.

(45.) Edwin Angeles, aka Yusuf Ibrahim, fought the Soviets in Afghanistan. Following his return to the Philippines in 1991, he was captured by PNP/AFP forces, and recruited to serve as a double agent for the government. He was released and rejoined the ASG, but was killed soon after (most likely by the ASG).

(46.) Rohan Gunaratna, "The Evolution and Tactics of the Abu Sayyaf Group", Jane's Intelligence Review (July 2001).

(47.) Donald C. McNeil, Jr., "Belgium Seeks Arms Deals With Suspected Qaeda Ties", New York Times, 27 February 2002.

(48.) Tim McGirk, "Perpetually Perilous," Time Asia, 18 June 2001.

(49.) PNP, After Intelligence Operations Report, Camp Crame, Quezon City, Philippines, 27 February 1995.

(50.) Interview with a Colonel in the PNP-PSG, Makati, 15 January 2002; PNP, After Intelligence Operations Report, Camp Crame, Quezon City, Philippines, 27 February 1995.

(51.) In the Miller interview, bin Laden stated "As to what you say about him working for me, I have nothing to say."

(52.) When arrested he was found with seven passports, most bearing the same picture of him, but only the Afghan passport had his real name, while the others used aliases. In the Philippines, he used the name Osama (Ausama) Asmorai.

(53.) On 1 December 1994, Wall Khan Amin Shah also tested one of the bombs in the Creenbelt Theatre in Manila. No one was killed in the blast, although several people were injured.

(54.) For details, see Reeve, op. cit., pp. 90-91.

(55.) Yossef Bodansky, Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War an America (New York: Forum, 1999), p. 114.

(56.) I would like to thank an unnamed friend for bringing this to my attention.

(57.) Tawfiq bin Attash, aka Khallad, was arrested in Yemen in 1996 on suspicion of terrorist connections, but was later released. A Yemeni by birth, he holds Saudi citizenship. Tawflq was the head of bin Laden's bodyguards and became one of his chief emissaries. His whereabouts now are unknown.


Copyright 2002 Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)

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