They both grew into hardened young men with strong beliefs during their remaining time in Afghanistan. During visits to the mosque, they listened to the preaching of the imam reading from the Qur’an, and the wise words of an educated mullah, who quoted political leaders from Washington and Tel Aviv telling of their plans to bring democracy to the Middle East. Both now devout Muslims, such a prospect filled the radical young men with fury. They knew that the prime foundation of democracy was to separate the state from religion. However, to them and most Muslims, religion was the state. The mullah had explained that the only reason the infidels would advocate such a campaign would be to divide and conquer, destroying their Arab world as they knew it. Something, the Viper reflected, they had being doing for more than a thousand years, since the start of the Crusades.
Nevertheless, he knew that the Arab world was fighting back for violent jihadism was spreading without hindrance, like a cancerous growth, crossing borders and infecting most, if not all European countries. The control of immigration was even more of a joke than the relaxed border controls. Once you had made it in and abided by the rules, you could stay as long as you wanted, getting menial but well paid jobs and every few years an amnesty was offered to get permanent residence. The facts of the matter spoke for themselves as the most common name for a baby boy in Belgium was Mohammad, over three million Muslim Turks now lived in Germany and almost a tenth of the population of France were followers of Islam. The incredible thing was that the stupid infidels had not expected that all these migrants would bring the Qur’an, their holy book, with them and build their mosques, cutting huge swathes through the cultures of their host countries.
The hunt for bin Laden continued throughout the first decade of the new century, reaching a milestone in 2011 when U.S. forces attacked a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where they found and killed the al-Qaida leader. With the capture and execution of bin Laden, although other leaders stepped into his footsteps, the western alliance seemed to be winning the war against terrorism. With the demise of al-Qaeda, The Viper began to despair, as his whole life revolved around avenging the deaths of his beloved family and he would not rest until he had achieved this. Then, a new militant Islamist extremist group, ISIS, far more cruel and sinister than even Al-Qaida, began the takeover of Syria and Iraq. Its main aim being to establish the Caliphate, an Islamic state, ruled by one supreme leader. Although limited to Iraq and Syria, ISIS promised to break down the borders of Jordan and Lebanon to free Palestine and to extend the fight to Europe and the hated United States.
Using brotherhood friends in the battered remnants of al-Qaida who nurtured links with members of ISIS, The Viper, together with his friend Kazim Khan, made the long journey on foot from Afghanistan, passing through Iran and into Iraq. At the end of their dusty, foot-worn passage, following the directions given to them, they arrived at the small village of Muhaam al Khaasa. Exchanging greetings with the headman of the village, he invited them into his house and over tea, they were soon in deep discussion with fellow jihadis. On hearing of the their heroic actions in Afghanistan, they were welcomed like brothers and taken under the wing of Abdul Bakr, one of the local ISIS leaders. Both young men felt an infinity with their new comrades, happy and content in the belief they would soon be back in the fight, albeit now as ISIS warriors but fighting the same cause.
When the local leader found out they both held UK passports and had grown up in London, with astute foresight, Abdul realised that with their intimate knowledge of the capital and command of the English language, they would be ideal candidates for an important mission he knew was being planned. The high-ranking ISIS leader in charge of the project confirmed his suggestion about using the young Afghans and in the blink of an eye, the Viper and Kazim found themselves on their way to a very secret training camp in Syria. They began intense training with a very select team planning the ultimate terror attack on the infidels.