Saturday, August 23, 2003

In March, near the mountains which mark the border between Iraq and Iran, I watched as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters supported by US Special Forces "routed" Ansar Al-Islam, the militant group allegedly linked to al-Qaeda. At a press conference I attended in Halabja, a Special Forces spokesman said that "A terrorist organisation that has held grip on this region for the last several years was rooted out and neutralised." (Read more on the operation here).

Yet according to this week's Time magazine, Ansar elements are being linked to the Jordanian embassy bombing in Baghdad. The group was known for using car bombs which could suggest it also had a hand in the UN bombing (which happened after the Time article went to press.)

What's becoming clear is that the claims in March that Ansar had been "neutralised" were overly optimistic to say the least. We heard reports at the time that many Ansar fighters were slipping over the border into Iran and it would seem that they're now popping up again in Iraq.

Another hollow victory in the war against terror.



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