Kosovo and Metohija are an important place on the map of the international Islamist extremism. The southern Serbian province is seen as a recruiting ground for terrorists.
In the context of this fact, according to intelligence in the Balkans, one should observe the news that photographs and plans of Kosovska Mitrovica (Temple of St. Dimitrius), as well as the maps of Kosovo, were stored in the computer of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, killed in 2011.
That the Serbian province was in the focus of the leader of Al-Qaeda, is not a sensation for those familiar with security in this part of Europe. Files from Bin Laden’s computer, however, confirm the link between extreme Islamism, world terrorists and the birth of the so-called statehood of Kosovo.
The Albanian authorities that co-operated with the CIA, as published in November 1998 by the British “Sunday Times”, uncovered the network led by Osama bin Laden. He, as stated, established a network of his people in Albania. Fatos Kloshi, the then head of the Albanian intelligence service, claimed that Bin Laden moved in Albania and that he organized the sending of fundamentalists from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan and Kuwait to fight in Kosovo. Interpol believes that more than 100,000 blank Albanian passports were stolen so terrorists would get “legal” papers.
A Frenchman who confessed that he is Bin Laden’s activist, Klod Kader (27), arrested in Albania for the murder of an interpreter, claimed during the trial that he visited the country to mobilize and arm fighters for Kosovo. Al-Qaeda leader is believed to have established operations in Albania in 1994, after he persuaded the authorities that he represents a rich Saudi humanitarian agency helping the poorest European nations. Salji Berisha, the then President of Albania, had links with groups that later turned out to be related to extreme fundamentalism.
In the book “Transition of Rubicon – the Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Oil Age” author Michael Rupert claims that links between Osama bin Laden and the CIA were not interrupted after the Russians left Afghanistan and that US support for the KLA proves it. It is also alleged that Professor Michael Chosudovski of the University of Ottawa has discovered as many as 21 sources, including congress notes in the United States, showing that Bin Laden had “sophisticated” connections with the CIA, while the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus, under control of the US intelligence agency, served as a catalyst for the destruction of the USSR and the rise of new Muslim republics in Central Asia. The same model was used in the Balkans for arming of the mujaheddin fighters in BiH.
Chosudovski claims that Afghan mujahedin secretly arrived in Ploce, Croatia, with the aim of training and arming of the KLA:
“The KLA was basically an Albanian army through whose hands went Afghan heroin used to finance many Islamic terrorist organizations throughout Europe and Asia,” says the book.
Chosudovsky also documented that the brother of the leader of Osama bin Laden’s Egyptian Jihadist organization and military commander, was the leader of the elite KLA unit during the conflict in Kosovo, and that Al Qaeda trained and financially supported the KLA.
The links between the Albanian leaders from Kosovo and the leaders of worldwide terrorists in the past years were written about in Western and regional newspapers. These contacts were most often associated with the sending of fighters into the ranks of the Islamic State, but also its predecessor Al Qaeda.
There are strong indications that the brother of the current Kosovo Prime Minister Daut Haradinaj was in Sofia in 2001, where he met with the then world terrorist number two – Muhammad al-Zavahiri. Al Qaeda’s infrastructure, according to security experts in the region, was succeeded by caliphate agitators, thanks to which more than a hundred Albanian fighters from Kosovo fought on the fronts of Syria and Iraq.
“Extreme Islamists have been in Kosovo since 1992, when they established their network for the first time,” says Zoran Dragisic from the Faculty of Security in Belgrade.
“Islamic militants participated in conflicts in 1998 and 1999, and their activity in the province was particularly developed after the withdrawal of Serbian army and police. In recent years it has been dedicated to recruiting fighters for the Islamic state.”
Dragisic recalls the recent arrests in Kosovo due to links with the Islamic State, but also notes that southern province is still a base for recruiting militants and religious fundamentalists.