Usman Khan among 20,000 Jihadi suspects on police radar

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Agencies and BBC report

Usman Khan, a Briton of AJK origin who lived in Stock on Trent and was shot dead on the London Bridge after he stabbed two persons and injured more three weeks before, could be one of the “20,000 Jihadi suspects in the UK on the radar of police and MI5,” according to The New York Times.

Colonel Richard Kemp, ex-COBRA security committee chief, said: “If he turns out to be an Islamic terrorist, he was likely inspired by Islamic State. “It is even possible his action was in revenge for al-Baghdadi’s death. Usman Khan comes in a long line of Pakistani expatriates in the US and Europe who have been under the lens, both before and after they committed violence. It is widely claimed that many Pakistanis are involved in terror-related violence. A Dutch court last month sentenced a Pakistani of threat to kill lawmaker Gert Wilders.

Faisal Shahzad, son of a Pakistan Air Force officer, a Pakistani-American citizen, was arrested for the attempted May 1, 2010, Times Square car bombing. Britain goes to the polls later this month and the London Bridge incident has triggered debate and a blame-game among the political parties on who was responsible for Khan’s premature release last December when he, a convict, was serving a sentence.   

According to a 2009 study by The Heritage Foundation, there is a reportedly terror connection between Pakistan and Great Britain. It is alleged that the people involved in many of the planned or successful attacks in Britain have been linked directly or indirectly to Pakistan. British authorities have acknowledged that the al-Qaeda network which western media believe based in Pakistan poses the greatest terrorist threat to Britain. This threat includes both terrorist attacks and the financial and ideological networks that support and inspire attacks. “Breaking this terror connection between Pakistan and Britain is central to winning the war on terrorism.  According to media reports, of the 87 individuals convicted or punished in Britain for involvement in major Islamist terrorist plots between September 10, 2001, and August 14, 2009, at least 61 were affiliated with al-Qaeda, and 27 were claimed to be trained in Pakistan or Afghanistan — more than in any other country in the world.

West blame but Islamabad denies that the problem is closely related to the continued existence of terrorist training camps and Pakistan’s failure to break up terrorist networks on its own soil, and its ambivalence toward cracking down on Islamist extremists, who have served as assets in pursuing its regional security goals. “Because Kashmir-focused militant groups, which have some sorts of association and cooperation with al-Qaeda, in Pakistan. This ambivalence has damaged international efforts to combat terrorism and is needed to be eliminated, the international observers use to say.

Referring to the Mumbai terror attack by LeT cadres, the study says “the terrorist plot shows that the LeT is closely connected to al-Qaeda and is part of a global terrorist syndicate that threatens not only India, but also Western democracies in general.”

Police investigation

Meanwhile, according to a BBC report, a police force is being investigated for its role in the management of London Bridge attacker Usman Khan after his release from jail. The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) had already begun an inquiry into the fatal shooting of Khan, from Stoke, by Metropolitan and City of London Police officers.

It will now investigate Staffordshire Police after a referral from the force.The probe is in its “very early stages”, the IOPC added. The watchdog’s separate investigation will examine Staffordshire Police’s contact with the convicted terrorist, 28, who was living in Stafford, prior to the attack on 29 November.

Usman Khan was released from prison on licence in December 2018, less than halfway through a 16-year jail term following his conviction for terror offences in February 2012.

“Our separate investigation into the decisions and actions of Staffordshire Police has just begun and will be conducted alongside the investigation into the shooting,” said Sal Naseem from the IOPC.

Staffordshire Police said it is “continuing to support counter terrorism police colleagues in London with their investigation.”

Cambridge University graduates Saskia Jones, 23, from Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and Jack Merritt, 25, from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, were killed by Usman Khan and three others were injured during a prisoner rehabilitation event at Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge.

Usman Khan, who was armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police. Reformed prisoner John Crilly, who fought the knifeman, said he was “prepared to die” to protect others.

Speaking to the BBC in 2008, Usman Khan complained about being under suspicion, saying: “I’ve been born and bred in England, in Stoke-on-Trent in Cobridge.” He said “all the community knows me” and that “I ain’t no terrorist”.

Earlier, BBC reported that Usman Khan attended two counter-terrorism programmes that had not been fully tested to see if they were effective, BBC News has discovered.

He was convicted of a terrorism offence in 2012. He had completed two rehabilitation schemes during the eight years he spent in prison and following his release. The government says such programmes are kept “under constant review”.

During his time in prison, Khan completed a course for people convicted of extremism offences and after his release went on a scheme to address the root causes of terrorism. The first course Khan went on, the Healthy Identity Intervention Programme, was piloted from 2010 and is now the main rehabilitation scheme for prisoners convicted of offences linked to extremism.