From Balochistan Into The United States, The 1993 WTC Terrorist Attack
Balochistan, Pakistan….It is the largest province which forms Southwest of the country. With Quetta as it’s main capitol. Islam is the predominant religion here, at a 99% rate per capita, even thou it has a minority of Pashtuns and Pakistani Christians. Balochistan is indeed a thoroughfare between Afghanistan and India. According to very “sparse” information it is here where Abdul Basit Mahmoud Abdul Karim would begin his childhood although he was born in Kuwait, his family would move back to Pakistan in the mid 1980’s. Abdul Karim’s father, Mohammed Abdul Karim, would be considered an “Ajam”, meaning Arabic would not be his mother tongue, he was an illiterate.
Very little information exists regarding Abdul Basit’s childhood and his family, from what is known while living in Pakistan, he was sent to the United Kingdom to further his education and escape the dirt-roads of Balochistan….which was in the 1980’s a neighborhood which catered to Mujaheddin fighters arriving to train and become a mujahid in the Afghan war against the Soviet invaders. It is also “rumored” here that Yousef would join the Muslim Brotherhood as well. Other notable family members would include Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, whose family was not as obscure as Basit’s however.
Basit’s maternal uncle however, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (KSM), would claim Balochistan as the birthplace. KSM father, Sheikh Mohammed Ali Doustin Baluchi, was a Deobandi imam, who moved the family to Kuwait from Balochistan in the 1960’s. His mother’s name is Halema Mohammed. It is not know at what date KSM was born, some say March 1, 1964, others, April 14, 1965. In time Abdul Basit Karim would use an alias, one that would be known to everyone in the world, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef.
There are rumors during this period of Yousef’s life that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had recruited Yousef as part of it’s Operation Cyclone operation. Where the CIA had helped Afghan and Islamic Mujahid fighters in training camps located in Peshawar and Islamabad, Pakistan against the Soviets. According to a 1995 Newsday article (now defunct but quoted from History Commons):
“FBI officials also are considering a probe of whether the CIA had any relationship with Yousef, who fought with the CIA-financed mujaheddin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.”
Yousef went to study electrical engineering while at the Swansea Institute in Wales. While on a semester break in 1988, Yousef arrived in Peshawar and began training in “computer aided electrical engineering. In 1989, he once again returned to Peshawar and began training at the Sadda training camp for Afghan mujahideen fighters, there he learned how to manufacture explosives devices from Abu Jaffar al-Qandahari, who was an explosives expert from the Jihad Wal training camp, which was located in Khost, Afghanistan. Jaffar also trained another fellow Mujahid, who just arrived in 1989, Ahmed Ajaj. Yousef graduated from Swansea in 1989, just before he began training at the Sadda camp (operated under Afghan warlord and de facto head of the Northern Alliance, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf).
Meanwhile Khalid Sheikh Muhammad had begun his fascination with the Afghan-Soviet War while listening to a speech given by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf in 1982. Sayyaf had declared a “global jihad” against the Soviet invaders, in which, much like his nephew Yousef, KSM joined the Muslim Brotherhood. He was 16 at the time in 1983. In 1984 after graduating high school, KSM would travel to North Carolina to begin his studies for electrical engineering at North Carolina A & T.
While at the university, KSM would be subjected to humiliating prejudices by fellow students. During morning and evening prayers , shoes and sandals belonging to Muslims would be thrown in a nearby lake. Almost a weekly barrage of racial epithets and discrimination would enrage KSM from within, he despised Americans because of these daily tortures. In 1986 KSM received his Bachelors and would relocate back to Peshawar, but with a newfound zeal for revenge against his Western adversaries where before his arrival to the United States, none existed.
While in Peshawar he would reunited with his older brother, Zahid al-Sheikh, who was fully involved in the Afghan-Soviet War. Zahid would introduce KSM to Abdullah Azzam, who would be known to almost everyone in the Middle East as the “godfather” of modern day Jihad. KSM would begin working out of the Sada training camp, operated by Azzam, Immediately afterwards, KSM would begin working for Abdul Rasul Sayyaf’s magazine, al-Bunyan al-Marsous.
According to accounts from, Counter-terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna, KSM would travel to the Philippines in 1991 at the behest of Saudi national and Soviet-Afghan hero, Osama Bin Laden, to train members of the militant groups Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in bomb making and assassination. He works with bin Laden’s brother-in-law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa to establish an operational base there and also in Malaysia. Khalifa is Bin Laden’s brother-in-law and has numerous businesses in the Philippines. It is here that KSM would be considered a valuable asset to Bin Laden personally. By 1993 KSM would marry and relocate to Qatar.
Ramzi Yousef would then complete his training from Abu Jaffar al-Qandahari at the Sadda training camp, even thou according to Jaffar, Yousef was not that “impressionable” in bomb making, Ajaj was however better suited at it. Ajaj along with Yousef would then travel to the mountainous Paktia province near Tora Bora, Afghanistan to train in explosives at the Khalden camp.The camp was run by a Saudi, Khalid Sulayman Jaydh Al Hubayshi.
The camp was at odds with Al Qaeda however, which differed in the religious ideology and was at odds with Osama Bin Laden due to Al Hubayshi’s insistence that Bin Laden not kill civilians during his jihad against the West, The Taliban would notice the division between the two and force the camp to shut down by summer of 2000. Meanwhile a local imam at the Al-Farouq mosque located in Brooklyn , New York City, Omar Abdel Rahman, would begin planning to bomb Jewish neighborhoods and other high valued American targets. Rahman was also known to others as the “Blind Sheikh”.
The de facto head of Gamma Islamiyyah in Egypt, Rahman had tapped a personal bodyguard of his to construct bombs due to the man’s previous experience in the Special Armed Forces while in Egypt, Emad Salem. Salem was working as an undercover informant for the New York JTTF Task Force and the FBI supervised by Nancy Floyd. But the FBI had pulled Salem out of the operation, it left a void for Rahman who called Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar. The recommendation for a replacement, Ramzi Yousef.
Both Yousef and Ajaj would then leave the country of Pakistan and on August 31st 1992, using the services of a local Pakistan travel agent, board Pakistan International Airlines Flight 703 to Karachi and then to JFK Airport in New York City. Ajaj and Yousef together had five passports and numerous documents supporting their aliases: a Saudi passport showing signs of alteration, an Iraqi passport bought from a Pakistani official, a photo-substituted Swedish passport, a photo-substituted British passport, a Jordanian passport, identification cards, bank records, education records, and medical record.
While awaiting at JFK’s secondary immigration inspection, Ajaj would produce a crudely made passport, in which he would state that he was Swedish. The passport was legitimate, belonging to a Swedish citizen who had attended a training camp in Pakistan and surrendered his identity cards to those who ran the camp, but Ajaj had used simple paste to plaster his own photograph over the legitimate owner. The inspectors noticed it right away and held Ajaj along with his belongings, that when inspectors found inside was quite revealing. While in an INS waiting room, inspectors Mark Cozine and Robert Malafronte, would look thru Ajaj’s suitcase in it they found:
Bomb-making manuals, videos and other materials on assemble weapons and explosives assembly
Letters referencing his attendance at terrorist training camps
Anti-American and anti-Israeli materials
Instructions on document forgery, and two rubber stamp devices to alter the seal on passports issued from Saudi Arabia
Included in one of the manuals was a very interesting document which was written in 1982. It had the title “Al Qaeda” which would mean that 7 years prior to the group’s formation, it was used in a context many years before it was even acknowledged as a group. INS immediately called the FBI’s Terrorism Task Force and the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms unit….both agencies declined to get involved in this incident. Ajaj would be held in a detention center pending his situation by NY courts on what to do with him. Yousef however saw what was happening with Ajaj, Yousef’s produces an Iraqi passport bearing a visa issued by the Pakistani embassy in Baghdad before an INS officer.
Yousef would request for political asylum, he would be held and questioned by INS for 3 days, the INS officer who inspected Yousef upon arrival requested he not enter the country but due to overcrowding on his detention cells he was given a future date for curt regarding his situation. To Yousef’s surprise, he was freed and although he had little to no money, he managed to pick up a taxi ride into New Jersey by a Pakistani taxi driver who showed pity to Yousef’s plight, the ride was free of charge. Yousef would arrive at the Al Farouq mosque in Brooklyn a short while later, he would sleep inside its makeshift rooms on a cot.
Ajaj meanwhile would be closely investigated while being held. According to Robert Friedman, Village Voice, whose article “Mossad linked to WTC bombing suspect”, Ajaj had been recruited by the Israeli Mossad.
“The FBI has identified Ajaj as a senior intifada activist in the occupied territories, having close ties to both El Fatah, a constituent group of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization. But according to Kol Ha’ir, a highly regarded Hebrew-language weekly in Jerusalem, Ajaj was never involved in intifada activities, or with the PLO, or Hamas. Citing court papers and other sources, Kol Ha’ir says that far from being a political activist, Ajaj was actually a small-time crook who was arrested in 1988 for counterfeiting U.S. dollars.
Ajaj and two other members of his counterfeiting ring ran a printing press in an Arab cemetery outside East Jerusalem, housing their equipment in the same building where religious Muslims wash corpses before burial. When Israeli police raided the cemetery, they arrested Ajaj, who was holding some $100,000 of bogus U.S. currency. Another gang member was carrying an antiquated pistol. Ajaj was convicted for counterfeiting and sentenced to two-and-one-half years. It was during his prison stay that Mossad, Israeli’s CIA, apparently recruited him, say Israeli intelligence sources. By the time he was released after having served just one year, he had seemingly undergone a radical transformation. The common crook had become a devout Muslim and hard-line nationalist. Soon after, he was arrested for smuggling weapons into the West Bank, allegedly for El Fatah.”
From September 1992 onward, Yousef would continue to remain in contact with Ajaj even thou he was incarcerated. Ajaj never contacted Yousef directly. Calls were patched through “Big 5 Hamburgers” in Dallas from associates Ajaj knew, as Ajaj once had residency in Houston working as a pizza delivery driver while he was living inside the United States after he was released from prison by Israeli authorities. Ajaj would remain busy assisting Yousef in constructing a bomb which would now be used in an attack inside the North Tower at the WTC, the operation would be known only to Ramzi Yousef and Omar Abdel Rahman.
Thru the “luck” that followed Yousef from inside an INS detention cell, it would follow him to Brooklyn by way of a cab ride to the Al Farouq mosque, where he would replace Emad Salem as the constructor of a bomb which would later be placed inside a Ryder truck on that cold morning of February 26th 1993. Ajaj was released from prison March 1st, 1993, just three days after the WTC bombing. Yousef would flee to Pakistan. KSM living in Qatar.
The citizens of New York City and elsewhere in the United States, wouldn’t be as “lucky” from here after…as the terrorist activities of Ramzi Yousef, Omar Abdel Rahman and Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, with the intelligence services as a watchful eye from near and far, would witness the complete and utter destruction of the World Trade Center towers. That would give the world a makeshift conversion into an “Orwellian” nightmare for all of time.