terror in delhi 10/29
Monday, November 28, 2005
  U.S. News on organized criminals funding terrorists
David E. Kaplan writes in the latest U.S. News and World Report on how organized criminal groups such as Dawood Ibrahim through drug smuggling and extortion sponsor terror groups such as Al-Queda. He starts with deconstructing the myth about the 1993 Mumbai terror attacks as a vengence for communal riots.
But more than vengeance was at work in Bombay. Indian police later recovered an arsenal big enough to spark a civil war: nearly 4 tons of explosives, 1,100 detonators, nearly 500 grenades, 63 assault rifles, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Within days of the attacks, police had gotten their first break by tracing an abandoned van filled with a load of weapons. The trail soon led to a surprising suspect: not a terrorist but a gangster. And not just any gangster but an extraordinary crime boss, a man known as South Asia's Al Capone. Virtually unknown in the West, Dawood Ibrahim is a household name across the region, his exploits known by millions. He is, by all accounts, a world-class mobster, a soft-spoken, murderous businessman from Bombay who now lives in exile, sheltered by India's archenemy, Pakistan. He is India's godfather of godfathers, a larger-than-life figure alleged to run criminal gangs from Bangkok to Dubai. Strong-arm protection, drug trafficking, extortion, murder-for-hire--all are stock-in-trade rackets, police say, of Dawood Ibrahim's syndicate, the innocuously named D Company.
Indeed. Since 9.11. Dawood has been a designated by the United States and the Interpol as a wanted global terrorist. It is said that the slained Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl was investigating Dawood's hideout in Karachi and his protection cover by Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence.
Understanding Dawood's operations is important, experts say, because they show how growing numbers of terrorist groups have come to rely on the tactics--and profits--of organized criminal activity to finance their operations across the globe. An inquiry by U.S. News, based on interviews with counterterrorism and law enforcement officials from six countries, has found that terrorists worldwide are transforming their operating cells into criminal gangs
Why has the U.S. waken up to this now? After all, India has been making demand for Dawood's extradition from Dubai (initially) and Pakistan (his present residence). The reason is as follows:
The implications are troubling because organized crime offers a means for terrorist groups to increase their survivability. A Stanford University study conducted after the 9/11 attacks looked at why some conflicts last so much longer than others. One key factor: crime. Out of 128 conflicts, the 17 in which insurgents relied heavily on "contraband finances" lasted on average 48 years--over five times as long as the rest. "If the criminal underworld can keep terrorist coffers flush," says Charles, the former State Department official, "we will continue to face an enemy that would otherwise run out of oxygen."
It is clear that drug cartels and extortion rackets play a key role in financing the terrorists. Some of the terrorist groups provide "foot soldiers" to the mafia groups in return for financial assistance. We need to come heavy on these groups in order to eliminate terror. Read the whole thing.
 
Sunday, November 27, 2005
  Christopher Kremmer visits earthquake zone
Sydney Morning Herald's Christopher Kremmer whom we had admonished for his misreporting on the Delhi terror attacks now writes about his visit to Pakistan/POK accompanying the Australian Prime Minister John Howard:
Asked whether the money might win the hearts and minds of Pakistani Muslims, Howard said he'd never confronted suspicion in his dealings with Pakistanis. But he would have, had he walked up the hill to Qazi's place. The United States Air Force Blackhawk helicopter carrying Howard had barely left when the call to prayer echoed, and the mullah with the owlish spectacles expressed his admiration for the Islamic militants who for years have used the area as a launching pad for strikes on India, just five kilometres away across the disputed border in Kashmir.
That's the reality there. Mullahs preching hatred and violence.

However, the Interior Minister, Aftab Sherpao, who wears a blue pinstripe jacket over his salwar kameez, warns against unrealistic expectations. "You can't switch with the push of a button, change the mindset of a people. You have to deal with unemployment and illiteracy," he said.

"The Afghan jihad had the blessing of the West, and we are left with the aftermath in the form of this militancy. You can't lift people to a certain pitch of commitment and then just expect them to disappear. You also have to distinguish between a terrorist and someone fighting for self-determination."

Yeah, the brave people of Baloch and Sindh are also fighting for self-determination against a Pakjabi-dominated feudal system, military. There, the Pakistani Army has stationed 80,000 Pakistani Rangers and pounding them with aerial bombardment. What would Mr. Sherpao say about that?

When the extremist Jaish-e-Muhammad group - known for its role in the Kashmiri jihad and the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl - was banned, the authorities allowed its leader to register the group as a religious and social welfare organisation under the name of Khudamul Islam.

The Jaish produced the suicide bombers who twice tried to assassinate Musharraf in December 2003. Yet when Interpol, acting at US insistence, demanded that its leader be handed over, Pakistan pleaded it no longer knew his whereabouts.

"It shows he probably has a lot of secrets up his sleeve. The Government is willing to overlook his past, so long as he keeps quiet at this critical juncture," says Talat Massoud, a former general and respected analyst in Islamabad.

It is called duplicity. The statement "All this is for American consumption only" comes to mind.

Another prominent group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, known to have trained Australian Muslim converts and extremists in armed struggle, is also recovering ground through front organisations, including charitable ones involved in quake relief.

Sherpao shrugs when asked about their involvement. "From a humanist point of view we can't stop anyone helping helpless people," he says.

More on the Australian crackdown on LeT here. It will be interesting to what how NATO forces and the terrorists co-exist in Pakistani Kashmir in the coming months. Will NATO restrict themselves to humanitarian ops or will go after these terrorists as part of G.O.A.T. (Global Offensive Against Terrorism) ?

 
Thursday, November 24, 2005
  Pakistani madrassas - breeding ground for terror?
William Dalrymple writes in the the Asia Times about myths surrounding the madrassas in Pakistan. He starts pretty well on the empty promises by General Musharraf on shutting down those madrassas breeding terror. But his analysis falls short on certain counts. Read on:
Many of the Taliban leaders, including Mullah Omar, were trained at this institution. If its teachings have been blamed for inspiring the brutal, ultra-conservative incarnation of Islamic law that that regime presided over, there is no sign that the Haqqania is ashamed of its former pupils: instead, the madrassa's director, Maulana Sami ul-Haq, still proudly boasts that whenever the Taliban put out a call for fighters, he would simply close down the madrassa and send his students off to fight.
I remarked that there did not seem to be much evidence of the Haqqania suffering from the crackdown on centers of radicalism promised by President Pervez Musharraf. Sami's face lit up: "That is for American consumption only," he laughed cheerfully. "It is only statements to the newspapers. Nothing has happened." "So," I asked, "You are not finding the atmosphere difficult at the moment?" "We are in a good, strong position," replied Sami.
So much for General Musharraf's promise to do a U-Turn on supporting the Taliban.
An Interior Ministry report after September 11 revealed that there are now 27 times as many madrassas in the country as there were in 1947: from 245 at the time of independence, the number shot up to 6,870 in 2001. [1] A significant proportion of these are run by, or connected to, the radical Islamist political parties such as the MMM, which under Sami's vice presidency have just imposed a Taliban-like regime on Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, banning the public performance of music and depictions of the human form.
Indeed. It is not only the madrassas which are propogating intolerance and hate, but also the Pakistani mainstream education system. Recently, the American Congressional Research Service published a report on the state of the Pakistani education system which openly glorifies jihad and martyrism in the name of Islam. Then, Mr. Dalrymple asks an important question:
how much are these madrassas the source of the problems that culminated in the Islamist attacks of September 11? Are madrassas simply terrorist factories? Should the West be pressing US client states like Pakistan and Egypt simply to close them down? It is certainly true that many madrassas are fundamentalist and literalist in their approach to the scriptures and that many subscribe to the most hardline strains of Islamic thought. Few make any effort to prepare their students to function in a modern, plural society. It is also true that some madrassas can be directly linked to Islamic radicalism and occasionally to outright civil violence. ... it is estimated that as many as 15% of Pakistan's madrassas preach violent jihad, while a few have been said to provide covert military training. Madrassa students took part in the Afghan and Kashmir jihads, and have been repeatedly implicated in acts of sectarian violence, especially against the Shi'ite minority in Karachi. It is now becoming very clear, however, that producing cannon fodder for the Taliban and educating local sectarian thugs is not at all the same as producing the kind of technically literate al-Qaeda terrorist who carried out the horrifyingly sophisticated attacks on the USS Cole, the US embassies in East Africa, the World Trade Center and the London Underground.
Heh. How convenient. The author forgets that the mastermind of the 9.11. attacks Khalid Sheik Mohammed was caught in right near the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad on March 2003. Such a high-profile terrorist could'nt have escaped counter-terror police throughout the world for 2 years without an active support network in Pakistan. In addition, several "high-value targets" belonging to Al-Qaeda where caught in daylight in some of the biggest Pakistani cities.
It is true that there are several examples of radical madrassa graduates who have become involved with al-Qaeda: Maulana Masood Azhar, for example, leader of the jihadi group called Jaish-e-Muhammad and an associate of bin Laden, originally studied in the ultra-militant Binori Town madrassa in Karachi. ... By and large, however, madrassa students simply do not have the technical expertise necessary to carry out the kind of sophisticated attacks we have recently seen led by al-Qaeda. Instead the concerns of most madrassa graduates remain more traditional: the correct fulfillment of rituals, how to wash correctly before prayers, and the proper length to grow a beard.
Only partially correct. Without the sympathy of these madrassas, these terrorists could'nt have planned/funded these attacks. One source of funding is the Saudi Wahhabis. But since 9.11, there has been considerable crackdown on these sources. The truth is that there is a widespread sympathy for these Islamists among the rural, religious Pakistani public brainwashed by the madrassas and the mullahs. The confidence with which the chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba Hafeez Mohammed Saeed organized and collected aid money for the South Asia quake goes on to prove that these groups command great respect among the public. Ofcourse, the corrupt military establishment and the archaic feudal system of Pakistan only serves to give political space to these extremists.
However, the more extreme madrassas have been able to resist the enforcement of even these mild measures; recently, fewer than half of Pakistan's madrassas complied when asked to register as educational institutions with the authorities. To date, the Pakistani government, far from having found ways of curbing the excesses of the more radical madrassas, does not even possess exact statistics about the number of madrassas in the country. Moreover, the military government's close alliance with the Islamist parties, which now virtually control two of Pakistan's provinces, prevents Musharraf from acting more strongly against the extremist madrassas. As a result not even one militant madrassa has yet been closed.
Exactly. The relation between the Pakistani military establishment and the religious, extremist organizations is one of synergy. One needs the other inordr to survive and justify their power over the gullible public. Unless, this is realized and the nexus is cut, no amount of enticement (read American aid to reform the educational system) will help curb these terrorist nests.
 
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
  Don't touch my SOB!
We don't care if he's an SOB, as long as he's our SOB. - U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson
Peter Chalk and Christine Fair writes in the latest Terrorism Monitor published by The Jamestown Foundation which exactly symbolizes the American attitude towards their present SOB - Pakistani-based terror groups and their military masters.
Second is what Pakistan-based analysts describe as the GOP’s adoption of a “moderated jihad” strategy, which has involved the imposition of tighter limits upon Islamists seeking to operate in J&K and the Indian hinterland. In large part, pursuit of this calibrated approach stems from external compulsions that became increasingly prominent in the wake of the JeM- (and possibly LeT-) backed assault on the Indian National Parliament (Lok Sabba) in December 2001. Prompting a yearlong standoff with Delhi, this attack brought Pakistan’s policy of proxy warfare under renewed scrutiny
WTF is a "moderated jihad"? Does it mean daily limits of number of innocent civilians underwritten by Washington?
According to commentators in Islamabad, the strategy of a moderated jihad approach has acted as a double-edged sword for Pakistan. On the positive side, it has significantly reduced international pressure on the GOP as well as allowed Musharraf to continue the peace process with Delhi while simultaneously giving him the option of resuming militant activities should negotiations collapse or fail to produce tangible results.
Let's do some very brief selective timeline on Musharraf's moves: September 2001: Musharraf does a U-turn and supposedly stops supporting the Taliban regime, vows crackdown on terrorists/training camps operating in Pakistan. Dec 13 2001: Suicide attack on Indian parliament by JeM and LeT terrorists. Fast forward. Nov 2004-Feb 2005: Mohammad Sidique Khan in a posthumusly released video taped when he was actively collaborating with Al-Queda in Pakistan. Feb 2005: Shehzhad Tanweer still attends terror camp in Pakistan before blowing up himself in a London tube. Jul 7 2005: London tube attacks. Musharraf vows to crack down on terror training madrassahs. Oct 29 2005: Delhi market attacks. Musharraf voews to crack down if given proof.
Analysts within Pakistan similarly reject the notion of a globalized LeT, noting that Lashkar is one of the more ideologically unified groups that has fought in J&K, and is therefore not as prone to the type of wider, non-Kashmiri metastasization that JeM and HuJI have undergone. They also point out that there is currently no evidence to substantiate claims about LeT’s supposed internationalist activities, further arguing that anti-Western rhetoric is nothing new and certainly not something that has translated into assaults outside J&K and India. Yet it is important to stress that LeT does not have to be global to be of great significance for South Asia and beyond.
First of all it is sickening to note that this analysis condones the attack of LeT in Jammu and Kashmir and India. Further more, it conveniently ignores the arrest of LeT terror suspects in the Virgiania paint ball case, Australian nuclear installation case, links to Jema Islamiayaa, among other things. This is nothing but dishonest journalism. Are they appeasing LeT so as not to attack American interests?
Beyond these national considerations, the various machinations of JeM, HuJI and LeT have significantly complicated Islamabad’s external relations. This is particularly the case in relation to India, which has repeatedly portrayed Pakistan as a bastion of Islamist extremism that poses a fundamental threat to the stability of South Asia and even the world.
The United States started the Global Offense Against Terror (aka G.O.A.T.) after the 9/11 attacks. It attacked Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban regime for harboring the Al-Queda leadership. Further, it initiated Operation Iraqi Liberation (aka O.I.L.) on the pretext of WMDs and Saddam's links to Al-Queda. But the terror groups operating out of Pakistan responsible for the death of countless Indian citizens should be considered merely as an embarrasement for the Pakistani military government. Why this double standard? Answer: The SOB theory. The Pakistani government has been designatd by the United States as a Major Non-NATO Ally (aka M.u.N.N.A ) with offers of advanced weapns system. This article highlights the attitude of the United States towards Pakistani terror clearly.
 
Monday, November 21, 2005
  LeT links to Jemaah Islamiyaah and Al-Queda
Asia One published from Singapore has the story about a Jemaah Islamiyaah cadre trained in LeT camps in Pakistan.

IT'S hard to imagine that Muzzafarabad, which lies in the strikingly beautiful Neelam valley of rugged Kashmir, once housed a terror camp.

Singaporean Mohammad Sharif Rahmat, 35, a Jemaah Islamiyaah (JI) member since 1990, journeyed here to receive training in the 1990s.

Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based guerilla outfit fighting India for control over Kashmir, operated a training camp out of Muzzafarabad in the 1990s.

After the 11 Sep attacks in the US, LeT was shut down by General Pervez Musharraf, under pressure from the Americans.

There is no need for any surprise. Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir still houses many terror camps. And to correct another MSM error: LeT's ambition goes beyond Kashmir to install an Islamic Caliphate over the entire Indian subcontinent.

Mr Noor Ahmad, 21, was at one such camp for two years. He became a mujahideen six years ago when he joined the LeT.

He said: 'There were 70 people in my camp and 200 in the next camp. They were all from Pakistan and Kashmir.'

He was then only 15 but had to perform night guard duty to keep intruders out.

Mr Mohammad Farooq, 28, a soldier with the Pakistani army, recalled seeing many Muslim visitors from Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Malaysia.

It is clear that LeT has a vast network of operatives from different countries. This is not a hallmark of an organization fighting for 'freedom' from 'oppression' but a rather vicious organization with very sinister aims ranging from the United States (the Virginia paintball case) to Australia (plot to attack nuclear power station).

'Lashkar is very popular here,' Mr Farooq said. 'They fought for the common man.'

It is not hard to see how Lashkar draws such affection, even today. Just across the valley, it is operating a medical camp.

Mr Salman Shahid, the group's spokesman, leads us into a tent and sits us down with packets of fruit juice.

LeT operates here under a different name - Jamat ud Dawa.

When asked about the name change, Mr Shahid said: 'There is no explanation for it. Our leader just wanted to change the name.'

Indeed. This is what we noted while posting the organizational chart of LeT/JuD. The Lashkar group has been very active in mobilizing relief in Pakistani Kashmir after the earthquake. General Musharraf had to bite the bullet and had to admit this. But the aid money collected by them will obviously be used for terrorist activities and certainly against Indian interests. Read the related posts by Atanu Dey here and here.

LeT, or Army of the Pure, has been fighting a bloody battle with Indian forces in the Kashmir-Jammu region since 1989.

It is based in Muzaffarabad and Muridke, near Lahore, and has mobile training camps. Pakistan banned the group in 2002.

The group's link with Al-Qaeda was confirmed when Abu Zubaydah, a senior Al-Qaeda member, was captured at an LeT safehouse in Faisalabad, Pakistan, in March 2002.

Graduates of LeT are known to have fought alongside Taliban forces during their five-year rule and some have even met Osama bin Laden.

LeT's founder kept a high profile by touring the country and exhorting crowds to wage jihad against Indian forces in Kashmir. He officially quit the group before it was outlawed.

LeT was blamed by the Indian government for the December 2001 attack on the Indian parliament in New Delhi in which 14 people died, including the five gunmen.

Well said.

 
Friday, November 18, 2005
  More from Atanu Dey
Indian blogger Atanu Dey has a follow-up post on Indian quake aid funding Pakistani jihadists. Earlier, we had linked his post on the same subject mentiong the continuing purchase of advanced weapons by the Pakistani military. Now, Human Rights Watch has a scathing report on serious human rights abuse by the Pakistani miltary and the complete lack of transperancy on the aid money sent to help the earthquake survivors:
A recent attack by Pakistani police on a camp of earthquake survivors highlights why international donors must insist on human rights protection in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Human Rights Watch said today. International donors are gathering in Islamabad on Friday to discuss aid for victims of the October 8 earthquake.
See our photo essay on the shameful treatment of earthquake survivors by the Pakistani police.
In the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir, an internationally disputed territory, the military essentially runs the region as its own fiefdom. The Pakistani government does not tolerate dissent in Kashmir, and the authorities ban or harass opposition political parties. Human Rights Watch called on the international community to ensure that there is greater civilian oversight of relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. So far, there has been little sign of any civilian oversight of aid inflows. Aid should be handled through a process that involves the Pakistan-administered Kashmir government, political parties in Pakistan-administered Kashmir as well as local, national and international non-governmental organizations, and civil society groups, particularly those working in the field. In addition, Human Rights Watch called for independent auditing of relief funds and materials to ensure transparency and accountability. Contracts for reconstruction should be handled through proper procurement procedures that allow bidding by private agencies, and not just military entities. “Given its record of abuse and corruption, the Pakistani military should not be given carte blanche in the relief efforts,” said Adams. “To keep the process honest, civil society must be given a significant role both in delivery and oversight.”
The Pakistani bloggers who defended the need for aid so well in Atanu's blog, should realize that it is in their own interest to be critical of their military government. If there is an entity called as the Pakistani civil society still exists, it should make sure that the funds donated should be under civilian audit and prevent it from being diverted to the Pakistani military elites lavish life-style and the jihadi group's terror acitivities.
 
  Praveen Swami on Lashkar
Praveen Swami one of India's topmost terror analyst has an excellent analysis in Frontline on the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Some excerpts.
TO his neighbours in the lower-middle-class neighbourhood of Solina in southern Srinagar, Tariq Ahmad Dar must have seemed a remarkable young man. Unlike most other young people in the area, 31-year-old Dar had done well. After obtaining a Master's degree in chemistry from Kashmir University, he found work as a local representative for the pharmaceutical firm Johnson and Johnson. Within a few years, this son of a mason had a three-storey house built, where he lived with his extended family. He acquired all the emblems of a successful middle-class existence: a car, a house, a wife, and enough money for a Haj pilgrimage.

In April, Dar was detained by the Jammu and Kashmir Police on charges of having acted as a courier for funds sent from Saudi Arabia to terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. However, he obtained bail soon after. While some of his neighbours began to mutter darkly about Dar's sources of income, there were plenty of people willing to believe the cash the police had found was intended, as he claimed, to set up a business. Dar just did not seem like the kind of person who would play a key role in a terror bombing which would claim 71 lives, many of them of women and children.

Intelligence Bureau personnel who listened in to Dar's cell phone conversations after the October 29 serial bombings of New Delhi came to discover a very different person: a key figure, they say, in one of the several Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) cells engaged in extending the jehad in Jammu and Kashmir to all of India.
Indeed. Even in the Delhi terror attacks, previous reports mentioned an unnamed Middle East country as the source of funding. We would'nt be surprised if it is Saudi Arabia this time too. In this post, we linked to the inner organization of the Lashkar, particularly its fearsome chief Hafeez Mohammad Saeed. Mr. Swami gives more insights on this deadly group:
Understanding the Lashkar position requires an engagement with its core position: that the jehad in Jammu and Kashmir is not a battle over territory, but a part of an irreducible conflict between Islam and unbelief. Committed to the eventual creation of a caliphate to rule over all the world's Muslims, the Lashkar asserts that the jehad must continue "until Islam, as a way of life, dominates the whole world and until Allah's law is enforced everywhere in the world". As the noted scholar of Islam Yoginder Sikand perceptively pointed out, the Lashkar's vision of Islam is one that leads it to represent the Koran itself as a manifesto for jehad. Indian rule in Jammu and Kashmir is, in this construction, necessarily evil and oppressive, because "the Hindus have no compassion in their religion". "In fact," Saeed had declared some years ago, "the Hindu is a mean enemy and the proper way to deal with him is the one adopted by our forefathers, who crushed them by force."
In our very post on Lashkar, we noted that Lashkar's aim is much beyond fighting for Kashmir. It is driven by a radical Islamist ideology which longs to see the imposition of Muslim rule over the whole of the Indian subcontinent. No amount of perceived injustice at the hands of Indian State/Armed Forces can justify such virulent hate.
Lashkar cadre have fought in Iraq; cells have also operated in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. Despite considerable global pressure on Pakistan to dismantle the Lashkar, its infrastructure is largely intact. After British investigators found that terrorists involved in the recent bombings of the London underground had visited Lashkar facilities, there was little doubt that its activities posed a global threat. Australia and the U.S., too, have demanded of Pakistan that it act against the Lashkar. Yet, the organisation's fund-raising activities, as well as recruitment of personnel and the military training of cadre, continue apace.
Yep, as we write this, the Aussies are busy arresting Lashkar operatives plotting to attack nuclear installations among other things. After all this, the reader is wondering why has the Pakistani regime not done anything significant to crackdown this group. Mr. Swami proposes two possible explanations for it.
One explanation, favoured by many Western commentators, is that the tail wags the dog. In this analysis, Pakistan's President simply does not have enough support within his military to act against those it gave birth to during the Afghan jehad and remains tied to by links of ideology and faith. Another plausible theory, advocated among others by the scholar and academic Husain Haqqani, is that continued jehadi activity actually suits Musharraf. Maintaining a covert alliance with jehadis while publicly railing against them allows Musharraf to represent himself to the Western regimes, which finance his continued rule, as the dam that blocks an Islamist deluge.
Though we are more convinced on the second theory, we are not satisfied with this. The problem with most analysts is that they see the terrorist groups such as Lashkar and the Pakistani military regime as separate entities. This is a misplaced assumption. Until recently, there have been documented proof of the Inter Service Intelligence overt role in training and arming these groups. Now, even as the ISI claims to have disassociated itself with these groups under pressure from the United States, there is no proof that this nexus has been cut-off. We would like to go one step further. As Mr. Haqqani points out, the continual operation of terror groups in Pakistani soil is a clever ploy by General Musharraf to gain legitimacy in the eyes of Western governments, without making an inch of democratic reforms. By propping up these groups covertly, the General can have all the aid dollars directed to procure shiny new toys (Eyerie military radars, P3-C Orion naval surveillance aircraft, etc. ) for his boys. Serious policy makers and counter-terror officials should put an end this farce. The Pakistani military regime and the terror groups are like parasites living off each other while also sucking the blood of its host, in this case the United States and wrecking havoc in India. Until, this relationship is cut, sadly more Indian blood is going to be spilled.
 
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
  Inside Lashkar-e-Toiba
Rediff has put out two organizational charts of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. It is a Pakistan-based group closely linked with al-Queda and has been designated as a terrorist group both by the Indian Government and the United States Department of State.
The Delhi police is convinced that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation, is responsible for the multiple blasts in the capital on October 29, which killed 63 people and injurd hundreds more.

Delhi Police Commissioner Dr K K Paul alleges that Tariq Ahmad Dar, an executive at Johnson and Johnson, provided the funds for the operation. The Delhi police claims that two other Laskhar activists -- Abu Alqama and Abu Hafiza -- also played important roles in the dastardly conspiracy.

Counter terror officials further assert:

Shabtai Shavit, former director general of Israel's external intelligence agency Mossad, spoke recently about the linkages between Al Qaeda and the Lashkar in the context of the international fight against terrorism.

Pakistan expert and rediff.com columnist B Raman, who keeps a close watch on the Lashkar, feels, "It is as dangerous as Al Qaeda."

"It is a pan-Islamic terrorist organisation, which is the most important member of the International Islamic Front after Al Qaeda. It describes J&K as the gateway to India and after 'liberating' J&K, it wants to 'liberate' Muslims in the rest of India," adds Raman.

"It is under close surveillance by Western countries and Australia," says Raman, who has served at India's external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing. "Its involvement in the Delhi blasts, if proved, would be an indicator of its determination to spread jihadi activities in other parts of India."

More on LeT's chief Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and the 'charity' he runs which doubles up as the front organization of LeT:

The world knows him as one of the most dreaded jihadis. India wants him dead or alive. His name is on India's list of most 'wanted terrorists'. He is the architect of suicide attacks in Kashmir. At his call, women in Pakistan donate ornaments and men stack currency notes at his feet.

He is the founder of the largest jihadi network in Pakistan, currently known as Jamatud Dawa.

The Jamatud Dawa (the reincarnation of Markaz Dawatul Irshad whose armed brigade was the Lashkar-e-Tayiba) has emerged as the most organised and well-equipped outfit in far-flung areas, providing relief through motorboats and mules.
Related post on the recent massive crackdown of LeT operatives by Australian counter-terror police. Comprehensive information on LeT from the excellent South Asia Terrorism Portal.  
  Terror strikes Srinagar BBC: 5 dead and 60 injured in a car bomb attack by terrorist pigs.
Indian Kashmiri women wail over the death of a relative Nazir Ahmed, who was killed in a car bomb blast in Srinagar 16 November 2005. Four people were killed and more than 30 wounded in a powerful car bomb blast triggered by suspected Islamic rebels in the heart of Indian Kashmir's summer capital, police said. AFP PHOTO/TAUSEEF MUSTAFA (Photo credit should read TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian soldiers inspect the damaged car of former state deputy planning minister Usman Majid following a car bomb blast, in Srinagar. Five people were killed and 60 wounded in a suicide car bomb attack at a busy intersection in the main city of revolt-hit Indian Kashmir, police said.(AFP/Tauseef Mustafa) A relative of Nazir Ahmad, who died in a bomb blast, mourns during his funeral in Srinagar, India, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005. A car bomb exploded Wednesday in Kashmir's main city, killing at least three people and injuring more than 90 in an audacious terrorist strike that could set back India's efforts to bring peace in the insurgency-wracked Himalayan region. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan) An Indian Kashmiri man leaves a hospital in Srinagar after his wounds were treated following a car bomb blast. Five people were killed and 60 wounded in a suicide car bomb attack at a busy intersection in the main city of revolt-hit Indian Kashmir, police said.(AFP/Tauseef Mustafa)
 
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
  Musharraf's hypocrisy crushed
While General Musharraf boldly asserts:
Claiming that his government had broken most of the radical gangs and terrorist outfits, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said his grip on power was strong and moderate forces had reasserted themselves in the country.
Pakistani terrorists attack civilians in Srinagar yet again:

The gunbattle between terrorists and security forces at Lal Chowk in the heart of city ended after 25 hours this evening with the killing of a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist and arrest of his associate, a Pakistani national.

The operation at Lal Chowk ended this evening with the killing of the holed up terrorist in a hotel and arrest of his associate identified as Aijaz Ahmad Bhat codenamed Abu Sumna, Director General of State Police Gopal Sharma said.While the identity of the killed terrorist was yet to be established, Sharma said the arrested terrorist was between 18 and 19 years of age and a resident of the Pakistani city of Faislabad. He is understood to have infiltrated into Kashmir after the October 8 killer quake, Sharma added.

The wily General adds:

On being asked if he could guarantee that the Amman type of attack would not take place in Pakistan against the American facilities, he said "one cannot 100 per cent guarantee their safety, but I can be sure that in the last over one year, almost one and a half years, there hasn't been a terrorist attack in Pakistan because of the success of our anti-terrorist campaign," he claimed.
Further blow to the General's honor and dignity:

At least three people have been killed and 15 others wounded after a car bomb struck a fast-food restaurant in Karachi, southern Pakistan. Police said the blast ripped through the front of a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet and burned several vehicles.

Clearly, General Musharraf has utterly failed to keep his promise to crackdown on terrorist groups operating in Pakistani soil.

 
Friday, November 11, 2005
  The myth of people-to-people contact
Nitin Pai notes:
During preliminary interrogation, the police learnt that Khurram had come into the country around six months ago on the pretext of watching the Indo-Pakistan cricket series at Mohali and failed to return to his country. He was then involved in gathering information of military importance, an official release quoting the SSP said. Thirty-four Pakistanis disappeared in India after the cricket series. Incidents such as this one come as timely reminders for the exercise of caution and vigilence while handling the matter of movement of people from Pakistan.
It is with reason that India is careful about allowing people from the Pakistani side of the LoC to cross the border. Infact, India was extremely generous in opening the border for supplying relief aid to earthquake victim survivors even after the dastardly terror attacks on its soil. The Pakistani government should be grateful for this and should not make the childish demand for allowing movement of people at this time. It should rather accept aid (especially medicines and vaccines) and treat the earthquake survivors in a humane manner.
 
  Reuters: Irrelevant editorializing redux
As we noted here, there is more editorializing from Reuters on the post-quake opening of LoC. Our attempt at deconstructing this. Reuters Zeeshan Haider writes:
India said the crossing into Pakistan's hard-hit Neelum Valley, which it earlier said would open on Thursday, had been put off until Saturday because the Pakistani army had not finished work on a border bridge. But a Pakistani spokesman said his side was ready and frustration was growing with Indian "rigidity" over the border crossings.
Before blaming India for the delay, did Mr. Haider verify if things are hunky-dory on the Pakistani side. Nope. We have captured the gruesome treatment of the Pakistani police towards the earthquake survivors here and here.
Although two border crossings have opened, there have been only symbolic exchanges of relief goods and no civilians have yet been able to cross as paperwork that Pakistan says India is demanding for people to travel has yet to be completed.
Apparently for him 22 trucks of relief aid from India is symbolic.
The United Nations wants to see the ceasefire line opened to allow for movement of trucks it says could save thousands of lives in remote communities on the Pakistani side, but the two sides have yet to agree to this. "We are ready at Titwal. Our bridge is ready," said Pakistani military spokesman, Major-General Shaukat Sultan, referring to the crossing from the Indian village of Titwal into the Neelum valley.
Even the UN says it needs relief trucks and the Pakistani army says that it does not need any relief aid across the border. People need to be fed, clothed and treated for illness wherever they are. What is the need for people-to-people contact at this dire hour?
"I think the people are frustrated. The purpose was not really to exchange goods, the purpose wasn't symbolic. We don't want to get into this symbolism," he said. Sultan said there was an abundance of aid on the Pakistani side. The main point of the openings was to allow people to cross to meet and ensure families on the other side were all right.
India has already donated tons of medicines and vaccines. If there is really a abundance of aid in the Pakistani side, why are people falling sick of diarrhoea, cholera?
Funds are also running short while acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, dysentery and tetanus, are spreading. A World Health Organization (WHO) official said 200 cases of acute watery diarrhoea had been diagnosed at one of many tent camps in Muzaffarabad, the ruined capital of Pakistani Kashmir. "It is a situation we need to be concerned about," said the WHO official, Rachel Lavy. "These spontaneous camps which have spread all around the city are not ideally managed or set up, so it is almost inevitable that diarrhoea will develop."
But then the Pakistani authorities even refuse that such an epidemic exist.
Health Minister Mohammad Naseer Khan denied reports cholera had broken out and said there had been no outbreaks of any other epidemic. There was also no shortage of medicines, he said.
 
  More crackdown of Pakistani police of earthquake victims
Pakistani police strike earthquake survivors during a protest in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, Friday, Nov 11, 2005. Pakistani police using canes and rifle butts broke up a march Friday by earthquake survivors protesting their eviction from a makeshift refugee camp. Several demonstrators were injured and others arrested. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim) Pakistani police strike earthquake survivors during a protest in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, Friday, Nov 11, 2005. Pakistani police using canes and rifle butts broke up a march Friday by earthquake survivors protesting their eviction from a makeshift refugee camp. Several demonstrators were injured and others arrested. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim) Pakistani police officers detain an earthquake survivor during a protest rally in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, Friday, Nov. 11, 2005. Pakistani police using canes and rifle butts broke up a march Friday by earthquake survivors protesting what they said were orders to evict them from a makeshift refugee camp. Police denied, however, that they were forcing people to leave. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim) Related story from Reuters:
Abid and others said about 200 people took part in a peaceful demonstration at a park in the capital of Pakistani Kashmir, where families have been living in squalid conditions since the Oct. 8 quake. "They baton charged us indiscriminately. They didn't discriminate between women, children and men," he said.
 
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
  Possible breakthrough in terror case
As this report speculated, a terror suspect belonging to the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen has been apprehended by the Indian Army in Jammu & Kashmir. The Hindustan Times has more:

In what can lead to a major breakthrough to the pre-Diwali blasts in New Delhi, Army personnel in Doda district are believed to have acquired some vital clues from a "key suspect" who has been handed over to the Delhi Police after his arrest.

"The Army has picked up Ghulam Mohiuddin Lone of Banihal area in Doda district of Kashmir, who has confessed that he was involved in the Paharganj bomb blast in New Delhi," said Colonel DK Badola, spokesman for the Army in Jammu.

Lone was arrested following specific intelligence inputs and Rs 25,000 recovered from him, the official said on conditions of anonymity.

This guy apparently has committed previous terror attacks and the Lashkar link is there too.

Sources say Lone is believed to have been involved in the 1998 massacre at Chapnari in which 23 Hindus were killed and was also actively working as a "financial coordinator" of Lashkar-e-Taiba in the area.

Sources also said Lone was close to a self-styled Lashkar commander of Batmaloo, who is being named as the main accused in planning the Delhi blasts.

Praveen Swami who writes in The Hindu has more on the involvement of Lashkar operatives:

According to Mohiuddin's preliminary questioning, carried out at the Joint Interrogation Centre in Jammu, he was assigned to the New Delhi operation by a Banihal area Hizb ul-Mujahideen commander, Abdul Hamid. Mohiuddin told his interrogators that his services were requisitioned by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which said it needed someone familiar with the capital to aid an ongoing operation.

On the morning of October 29, Mohiuddin was contacted at Awantipura Transport's office by three Lashkar operatives. He told interrogators that two of the men he met appeared to be ethnic Kashmiri; the third individual was Urdu-speaking. According to Mohiuddin, the group scouted crowded markets in New Delhi in a hired auto-rickshaw before finally leaving an explosive device in the Paharganj market. Mohiuddin said he was then given Rs. 20,000 as a reward and told to hide out for several days. He therefore travelled to Jodhpur before returning home.

It is evident that the various terorrist groups are pooling together their resources in their terror attacks.
Investigators are pursuing several other leads of potential significance. Intelligence officials in New Delhi are said to be investigating the possible role of a city-based carpet merchant, who served time in jail between 1991 and 1997 on terrorism charges. Mohammad Abdul Bandey, a Lashkar hawala conduit who was arrested on November 4, is also being questioned in Jammu.

"Given that more than one cell seems to have executed the bombings," an official told The Hindu , "an enormous amount of investigative work remains."

If Mohiuddin's custodial account of the Delhi operation proves accurate, it would underline the growing evidence that major jihadist groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been pooling resources to carry out terrorist strikes.

While the Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for a recent car bombing in Srinagar, investigators have learned that the vehicle used in the strike was purchased by a Hizb operative. Several similar joint operations have been conducted since 2002.

 
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