Islamic Militants Now Migrating to Pakistan to Fight

Lawless northwest becomes haven for region's extremists
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2008 5:34 AM CDT
Pakistan's top Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud talks to the media in Kotkai, a village in the Pakistani tribal area South Waziristan along Afghan border, Saturday, May 24, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Pakistan, rather than Iraq, has become the preferred destination for foreign fighters looking to join Islamic militant organizations, reports the New York Times. Websites are increasingly encouraging migrating Sunni extremists to go to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they can join a "winning fight," rather than participate in the waning Iraqi insurgence, according to American intelligence officials.

Many of the fighters making their way to Pakistan, in particular to its lawless Northwest Frontier Province, come from Uzbekistan, North Africa and the Persian Gulf States. Although the numbers are unclear, Americans estimate that dozens of fighters are traveling to Pakistan every month. The flow of migrating extremists has accelerated "from a trickle to a steady stream," said a Defense Department official.