He was the first person in his family to attend university. But the call to jihad interrupted his studies. By , the Soviets had withdrawn from Afghanistan, but Al Qaeda was still fighting against the Communist Afghan government that the Soviets had installed. That December, shortly before his twentieth birthday, Salahi boarded a flight to Pakistan and crossed into Afghanistan, and although he never met bin Laden, he soon pledged his allegiance to the Al Qaeda leadership.
Walid, who was sixteen, stayed behind. But two months later, when Salahi returned to Mauritania and described his experience of the jihad, Walid resolved to set off on his own for Afghanistan. Walid was a prodigious poet—in Nouakchott, he had won several awards—and when bin Laden met him he was impressed by his eloquence and conviction. In the spring of , Salahi returned to Afghanistan. Because he had no experience with weapons, Al Qaeda personnel sent him to the Al Farouq training camp, near Khost, where he learned how to use a Kalashnikov rifle and launch rocket-propelled grenades. But by then the Soviet Union had collapsed, and, while Salahi was in training, the Afghan government lost its Russian support.
After three months, he left Afghanistan and returned to Duisburg, where he worked in a computer-repair shop while he finished his degree. Several Mauritanians had travelled to battlefields in Afghanistan and Bosnia, and Mahfouz Walid had become an important figure in Al Qaeda; he now went by the nom de guerre Abu Hafs al-Mauritani. In Nouakchott, Abdellahi and his subordinates began to map out the network, detaining people close to Abu Hafs and soliciting the names of other jihadis.
Several young men mentioned Salahi as a contact in Germany. How does he live? How does he behave? How does he react to world events? The cousins had married a pair of sisters, and so they were now also brothers-in-law. But, after Salahi returned to Germany, they had scarcely been in touch. Salahi agreed, and Abu Hafs wired around four thousand dollars to his German account. A similar phone call, followed by a second transaction, took place in December, So, when Abu Hafs called Salahi for assistance a third time, in early , Salahi refused, and hung up.
Al Qaeda had by this time transformed into an international terrorist organization that was launching attacks in East Africa and the Middle East. He escaped through a kitchen door. Over dinner, they explained that they were heading east, for the jihad. The men slept on his floor and left for Afghanistan at dawn. By now, Salahi was under surveillance by German intelligence. But the Germans saw no reason to detain or question him. But he did not consider himself a member of Al Qaeda, or a facilitator of its operations. When they asked whether Salahi was involved in any terrorist activities, the friend laughed.
But Salahi wanted to live free of surveillance, and he decided to leave the country. Salahi landed in Montreal on November 26, His wife returned to Nouakchott. His friend, Hosni Mohsen, introduced him to the imam at the Al Sunnah mosque. The mosque had thousands of attendees, a few of whom belonged to an Algerian jihadi group that had come to the attention of the French and Canadian intelligence services.
One of the Algerian jihadis was Ahmed Ressam, a serial thief who was living in Canada under a false identity. In , he had travelled to Afghanistan, and spent a year in Al Qaeda training camps, where he learned to handle weapons and explosives. A week after Salahi began leading prayers at the Al Sunnah mosque, Ressam drove a rental car onto a U. When the boat reached Port Angeles, near Seattle, customs officers found in the car more than a hundred pounds of explosives, along with four timed detonators, each fashioned from a nine-volt battery, a circuit board, and a Casio watch.
Ressam told investigators that he had planned to detonate suitcases in a crowded terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. After the failed attack, Canada began to aggressively investigate the Montreal cell.
One night, Salahi awoke to the sound of a tiny hole being drilled into his wall. The next morning, he found two pinhole cameras. Salahi called the police to report that his neighbors were spying on him, but they told him that he should just cover the cameras with glue. Soon afterward, Canadian investigators came to the apartment and questioned him about the Millennium Plot. He began to notice surveillance everywhere. But his family members were eager for Salahi to return, and so they told him that his mother was ill.
On January 21, , Salahi boarded a flight to Senegal. It was cheaper to fly to Dakar than to Nouakchott, and his brothers drove three hundred miles to meet him there. Before dawn, Salahi was taken to an interrogation room. An American woman, who he assumed was an intelligence officer, entered the room, and stood by as a Senegalese officer questioned him about the Millennium Plot. By the following day, the lead Senegalese officer was convinced that there was no reason to hold Salahi.
They were told not to wait for Salahi. Several more days of interrogation followed. The Senegalese did the talking, but the Americans provided the questions and reported back to D. Eventually, one of the interrogators told Salahi that he was going to be sent to Mauritania for more questioning. He was terrified—he wanted to go back to Canada, where interrogators behaved within the bounds of the law.
Salahi was led to a small private aircraft. The journey to Nouakchott took roughly an hour, tracing the Mauritanian coast—to the left the Atlantic, to the right the Sahara. The plane landed at sunset. A security guard handed him a filthy black turban, to hide his face during the drive to the secret-police headquarters.
He tried to sleep, but his mind was racing with the expectation of torture at dawn. The next morning, Salahi was led to the office of the Mauritanian intelligence chief, Deddahi Ould Abdellahi.
The men never abused Salahi, but, as the days became weeks, he wished that they would just turn him over to the United States, where, he assumed, he could at least challenge the legal grounds of his detention. After roughly three weeks, F. On February 19, , Abdellahi let him go home. But a friend helped him find work installing Internet routers for a telecommunications company.enter site
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So far, so good. Abu Hafs was back in Afghanistan, living with his family in Kandahar. It had been five years since the Taliban had taken over most of the country, and televisions were banned. He grabbed his shortwave radio. In the U. He knew what he expected to hear. In that meeting, Abu Hafs challenged bin Laden on Quranic grounds, arguing that the scale of civilian casualties could not be justified in Islam. Later that summer, Abu Hafs wrote a twelve-page dissent, but bin Laden bristled at his defiance, and the objections of other Al Qaeda leaders, and moved forward.
For the next two months, Abu Hafs taught jihadi recruits at a madrassa. After the attacks, Cofer Black, the head of the C. On September 26th, Schroen and six other officers loaded an aging Soviet helicopter with weapons, tactical gear, and three million dollars in used, nonconsecutive bills. They took off from Uzbekistan and flew into northern Afghanistan, over the snow-capped mountains of the Hindu Kush.
There, Schroen contacted the leaders of the Northern Alliance, an armed group that had spent years fighting the Taliban, with little external support. Salahi had deleted the contents of his phone. A couple of weeks into his detention, two F. How could he possibly know? The interrogations always circled back to the Millennium Plot. Salahi came to think of his interrogators as acting out a Mauritanian folktale in which a blind man is given the gift of a single, fleeting glimpse of the world.
One of the F. That is not appropriate language, man. He was very silly.
He told me he hated Jews also. I told him I have no problem with the Jews, either, man. A few days later, Salahi was released. While in custody, Salahi had befriended Yacoub, the intelligence officer who had been one of his guards. Yacoub had a large family and a small salary, so, when Salahi was released, he started paying Yacoub to do occasional tasks.
Though Salahi was a skilled electrician, he hired Yacoub to fix his TV. Two intelligence officers, including Yacoub, arrived and said that Abdellahi needed to see him again. One of the arresting agents suggested that Salahi drive his own car to the station, so that he could drive himself home afterward. Yacoub climbed into the passenger seat. Abdellahi had bought him a new outfit, but Salahi had refused to eat, and the fabric was loose on his shoulders. I was an agent of the state. I executed orders.
And I knew that the request was justified, because he had connections in this milieu, these Islamo-terrorist circles, and he might be able to give his captors some ideas of how to improve security. That was my thinking—that he was sufficiently intelligent and well informed to help any intelligence service that might ask him for help. It was Ramadan again. He and Abdellahi knelt on the runway, and prayed together. A private jet landed, and out climbed a Jordanian rendition team. Salahi was terrified.
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You very much become a child again. The Americans supplied the questions, and the Jordanians extracted the responses, often through coercive means. Salahi was asked about innocuous exchanges from intercepted e-mails and phone calls, as if they had been conducted in code.
At other times, the questions originated from material on his hard drive, which the F. Once, on a technical assignment, Salahi had been photographed near the President of Mauritania; now the lead interrogator accused Salahi of having plotted to kill him. Still, Salahi found his Jordanian interrogators to be highly knowledgeable, and they developed a kind of mutual respect. It was not every day, the torture—I would say maybe twice a week. The guards, who were officially prohibited from interacting with him, began asking questions.
Every other week, when Red Cross representatives visited the prison, Salahi and a handful of other C. In Nouakchott, Abdellahi waited for updates from the C. Abdellahi says that, after Salahi disappeared, the family never contacted him. In return, they passed along messages from Salahi, which they had invented, and assured the family that Salahi was well.
In Kandahar, Abu Hafs felt the Americans closing in. The Taliban was rapidly losing ground. By the second week of December, it was clear that Kandahar would fall. Bin Laden had fled to the mountains, and the remaining Al Qaeda leaders understood that, as Arabs and North Africans, they could never blend in with the locals, who spoke Dari, Pashto, Balochi, and other regional languages.
During the next several days, Abu Hafs travelled toward the Pakistani province of Balochistan. He slept in remote villages, and entrusted his life to Afghan sheepherders who were presumably unaware of the twenty-five-million-dollar bounty on his head. He wrote a letter to his wife and children, but there was no way to send it, and so he kept it in a pocket in his robes.
Abu Hafs, however, regarded the Pakistanis as duplicitous. The C. In deliberations with Al Qaeda leaders, he decided that the safest place was Iran. On December 19th, Abu Hafs boarded a bus in Quetta, carrying a fake passport and a suitcase full of cash. At a Pakistani Army checkpoint, he slipped a wad of bills into his passport, and went through unquestioned. A few weeks later, Iranian spies told Abu Hafs to call other Al Qaeda officials and inform them that they would be welcome in Iran—although, like him, they would live with their wives and children under a form of house arrest, sometimes in prisons, sometimes in lavish compounds and hotels, always in the company of the Revolutionary Guard.
Within a few months, dozens of Al Qaeda members were living in Tehran, undergoing occasional interrogations, aware that their Iranian hosts could betray them at any moment. The Pentagon had reported that he was dead. On the night of July 19, , the Jordanians transported Mohamedou Salahi, blindfolded and in chains, to the airport in Amman, where a new team took over. Instead, the men stripped him naked, strapped a diaper on him, and swapped out his shackles for a heavier set. Everyone on the team was dressed entirely in black, their faces obscured by balaclavas.
At sunrise, the plane landed at Bagram Airfield, the largest U. For the first time, Salahi was in the custody of uniformed American soldiers. Salahi had been living in a cell practically since the beginning of the invasion, nine months earlier. Military personnel took his biometric information, and logged his health problems—including a damaged sciatic nerve—then led him to a cell. The punishment for talking to another detainee was to be hung by the wrists, feet barely touching the ground. Salahi saw a mentally ill old man subjected to this method. During interrogations, an intelligence officer, known among the detainees as William the Torturer, forced Salahi into stress positions that exacerbated his sciatic-nerve issues.
Another officer tried to build rapport with Salahi by speaking to him in German. The men were dragged out of their cells.
Military police officers put blackout goggles over their eyes and mittens on their hands, then hooded them, lined them up, and tied each detainee to the one in front of him and the one behind him. Then the men were loaded onto an airplane. I had started to lose feeling and it would have made no difference anyway. For some thirty hours, Salahi was strapped to a board. Medical records indicate that he weighed a hundred and nine pounds—around thirty per cent less than his normal weight. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused anyone and I want to assure you that despite the Moan and Sibling Rivalry books being banned from most retailers, these series will continue on through Amazon.
Thank you all for your continued support of my work it is greatly appreciated. All the best, Terry. Add a reference: Book Author. Search for a book to add a reference. We take abuse seriously in our discussion boards. Only flag comments that clearly need our attention. Built to conquer it all with industry-leading mud performance, capability, durability and the toughness required to keep you mudding all day long. Mud-specific arched A-arms deliver an incredible This tricked out new look can't be ignored at the mud bogs.
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