ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani forces found a passport of an Islamist militant linked to two hijackers involved in the September 11 attacks during an offensive against Taliban strongholds near the Afghan border, a TV station said on Thursday.
The passport of Said Bahaji, a German of Moroccan origin, was among documents, weapons and jihadi literature seized by the government forces during their operation in South Waziristan and was shown to a group of journalists during an official trip.
“The passport shows he reached Karachi just days before 9/11,” DawnNews said, showing a passport purportedly belonging to Bahaji.
Military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas, who accompanied the reporters on the trip to South Waziristan had no comments to offer.
“I haven’t seen the passport. These reporters may have seen it.”
Bahaji’s name appeared in the 9/11 Commission Report.
The report said Bahaji spent eight months with hijackers Mohamed Atta and Ramzi Binalshibh between November 1998 and July 1999.
“Described as an insecure follower with no personality and with limited knowledge of Islam, Bahaji nonetheless professed his readiness to engage in violence,” it said.
Atta and Binalshibh used Bahaji’s computer for internet research as evidenced by documents and diskettes seized by German authorities after the 9/11 attacks, the Commission said. Binalshibh was arrested in Pakistan with the help of FBI and CIA in 2002.
Educated in Morocco, Bahaji returned to Germany to study electrical engineering at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg. He spent five months in the German army before obtaining a medical discharge, the Commission said.
Reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani