Pakistan: State Sponsored Terrorism


Senior Member
Mar 10, 2009
I am opening this thread to collect Quality Research and Reports on Pakistan's long record of State Terrorism.

This thread is NOT FOR GENERAL DISCUSSION, but will serve as a source of information regarding the topic. Any short/one liner comments or low-quality posts will be deleted.


Senior Member
Mar 10, 2009
Antecedents and Implications of the November 2008 Lashkare-Taiba (LeT) Attack Upon Several Targets in the Indian Mega-City of Mumbai


RAND | Testimonies | Antecedents and Implications of the November 2008 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Attack Upon Several Targets in the Indian Mega-City of Mumbai


On November 23, 2008 ten Pakistani terrorists associated with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)/Jamaat ul Dawa (JuD), operating in four attack teams, rampaged across some ten different targets in the Indian port city of Mumbai. In part due to the complexities of the counterterrorist operations, the tenacity and training of the attackers, and the inadequate capabilities of the Indian security forces, iit took some four days to end the terrorist campaign which claimed the lives of at least 172 victims. In this testimony, I have been asked to focus upon four specific concerns emerging from this attack and its perpetrators. First, I contextualize LeT among the proliferating expanse of militant
groups operating in and from Pakistan. Second, I provide specific information about LeT, the militant group responsible for this and many other attacks within India. Third, I draw out both the antecedents and innovations of the 2008 Mumbai attack. I conclude with a discussion of some of
the important implications that emerge from this and other LeT activities for regional and international security generally and U.S. security in particular.
While LeT was banned in 2002, the LeT began operating under the banner of JuD, which was overtly operational until the Pakistan government formally banned it following immense international pressure in late 2008, including a resolution in the U.N. Security Council that JuD is a terrorist organization. In the service of brevity, I use LeT and JuD somewhat synonymously even though there are a few important technical differences.4

Pakistan’s Myriad Militants: Situating Lashkar-e-Taiba

Pakistan has given rise to numerous militant groups in recent decades that operate to secure Pakistan’s state interests in India and Afghanistan. In addition, Pakistan has sustained numerous covert operations campaigns in Indian-administered Kashmir since 1947.5 Many—if not most—of
these militant groups have enjoyed the specific patronage of the Pakistani state intelligence and military agencies to prosecute Islamabad’s interests in India (with particular focus upon Kashmir) and Afghanistan.6 These varied militant groups, until circa 2002, could largely be disaggregated
according to religious ideology (school of Islamic thought) and operational goals.7
Among Pakistan’s various Islamic interpretative schools, the Deobandi school of thought claims the most militant groups. Key Deobandi militant groups include the Taliban (Afghan and the Pakistani), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JM), Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HUJI), Harkat-ul-Ansar/Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUA/HUM), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Sahaba-e-Pakistan (SSP) among
numerous offshoots. The Deobandi tradition emerged as a puritanical movement to uplift Muslims by purifying Islamic practice through discouraging mystical beliefs such as intercession by saints and veneration of graves and shrines. Deobandi institutions, notably a burgeoning archipelago of
Deobandi madaris across the Pashtun belt and beyond, received support from the Pakistani government and others to produce mujahideen for Afghanistan both in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods.8 These Deobandi militant groups also have enjoyed both close connections to and overlapping membership with Deobandi political organizations including personalized factions of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). Until the February 2008 elections, JUI factions comprised important partners in the Islamist coalition (Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal or MMA) that formed the provincial government in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), a coalition government with President Musharraf’s political ally (the Pakistan Muslim League-Q) in Balochistan, and the loyal opposition in the national parliament. A second important school of thought that animates militancy in Pakistan is the Ahl-e-Hadith interpretative tradition. The most prominent Ahl-e-Hadith militant group is the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Ahl-e-Hadith is a Sunni interpretative tradition associated with Hanbali school of
jurisprudence, which in Pakistan is sometimes called Salafist or derogatorily “Wahabbist.” The Ahl-e-Hadith tradition is the South Asian variant of the theological tradition motivating core al-Qaeda ideologues. While LeT is most known for its militant activities, one of the organization’s crucial functions is the expansion of the market share of Ahl-e-Hadith adherents in Pakistan. For
this reason, LeT trains many more potential militants than it will ever deploy for operations. LeT expects these recruits to return to their localities and continue propounding support for LeT and its creed.9
Several groups operating in Kashmir (e.g. Hizbul Mujahideen and related factions such as Al Badr) are associated with Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which is a supra-sectarian school of thought and Islamist political party in Pakistan. Jamaat-e-Islami, while formally a political party, espouses the ideological leanings of its founder Maulana Maududi. Jamaat-e-Islami is similar in goals and
outlook to the Muslim Brotherhood. JI was, until the 2008 elections, a member of the Islamist bloc (the MMA) despite growing differences between JI and the Musharraf government and with otherIslamist leaders within the MMA who continued to support Musharraf. JI boycotted the 2008 elections.
In addition to these schisms across interpretative traditions, Pakistan’s militant groups can in some measure be distinguished by their historical and current goals. As will be discussed herein some of these goals have changed or have not always been stable. For example, groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammad (JM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) have traditionally
focused upon the Kashmir issue. Only the HM and other JI-related groups have limited their operations to Indian-administered Kashmir.10 From 1999 if not earlier, LeT and JM began operations in the Indian hinterland both in the name of “liberating Kashmir” but also in the name of a wider jihad in India and exacerbating Hindu-Muslim discord within India to undermine India’s claims to be a diverse democracy that accommodates the aspirations of its varied religious and ethnic groups.11
In addition, Pakistan hosts a number of sectarian groups such as the Deobandi Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Sahaba-e-Pakistan (SSP) which traditionally focused upon anti-Shia targets. These groups have also had a historical presence in Afghanistan as well. In the past, Iranian-backed Shia militias such as the Tehreek-e-Jafria and the Sipah- e- Muhammad have targeted Sunnis, especially those propounding an explicit anti-Shia agenda. These groups were
particularly active throughout the 1990s. While the Deobandi-Shia axis garners the most attention with respect to sectarian violence, it should be noted that considerable violence and discord exists among Pakistan’s various Sunni traditions (maslaks). From as early as 2002, some elements of Pakistan’s varied Deobandi groups (e.g. JM, HUJI, LeJ, SSP) began targeting the Pakistan state as evidenced by the attacks on then President Musharraf, various civilian leaders including the Ministry of Interior and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and numerous military, police and intelligence individuals and organizations.Analysts believe that these groups disagreed with President Musharraf’s policies of supporting the United States and its military campaign in Afghanistan as well as Musharraf’s policy of “moderated jihad” in Kashmir. Musharraf adopted this approach due to, inter alia, increased
international pressure in the wake of the Indian Parliament attack in December 2001 by Pakistanbased militants. That attack triggered the largest amassing of Indian and Pakistani troops and stoked international fears of an Indo-Pakistan war. Indian diplomatic fortitude was again tested when the LeT massacred wives and children of army personnel in Kaluchak. The United States
engaged in vigorous diplomacy to dampen the compound crisis and avert conflict. In response to the Indian mobilization, Pakistani troops swung from the west to the east which compromised U.S.operations in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s various Deobandi groups have also been responsible for numerous attacks against international targets such as the various attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, the suicide attack against numerous French naval engineers working in Karachi, a church in Islamabad frequented by foreigners, among numerous others.12 Notable among these groups attacking
Pakistani and international targets within Pakistan are JM, HUJI, and LeJ/SSP.
Following Pakistan’s military operations in the Pashtun belt and U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, a series of Pashtun-led militant commanders emerged that began targeting the Pakistani security forces including the regular army, paramilitary organizations such as the Frontier Corps and police. In late 2007, many of these commanders coalesced under the banner
of the “Pakistani Taliban” (e.g. Tehreek-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan) under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsood based in South Waziristan in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Mehsood claims many allies all of whom to seek to establish in various degrees sharia (Islamic governance) across the Pashtun belt in Pakistan including the FATA and settled areas such as Swat.13 In late February 2008, two dissident commanders (Mullah Nazir of South Waziristan and Gul Bahadur of North Waziristan) set aside their differences with Baitullah Mehsood and forged the Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden.14 In addition to the above noted Pakistani groups, Pakistan also hosts elements of the Afghan Taliban, with leadership committees (shuras) in Quetta, Peshawar, and Karachi.15 The Afghan Taliban remains focused upon ousting foreign forces in Afghanistan, overthrowing the Karzai
regime, and restoring their role in governing Afghanistan. As is well known, Pakistani territory is also used by al Qaeda. Al Qaeda operatives are known to reside in North and South Waziristan and Bajaur among other areas in the Pashtun belt. Moreover, many al Qaeda operatives (such as
Abu Zubaidah, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad among numerous others) have been arrested in Pakistani cities.16
Pakistan has rightly noted that it is a victim of sanguinary terrorist violence that has escalated since joining the U.S.-led war on terror. Indeed, the TTP and other sectarian and ethno-nationalist militants in Pakistan have wreaked considerable havoc in Pakistan with 63 suicide attacks and an
astonishing 2,148 attacks or clashes with security forces in 2008 alone.17
Howsoever horrific these facts are, the LeT has never targeted the Pakistani state or international targets within Pakistan. This has led many analysts within and without the region to intuit that LeT continues to enjoy special relations with Pakistan’s intelligence and military agencies notwithstanding much-touted Pakistani efforts to proscribe LeT’s activities and those of its cover
organization, the Jamaat ul Dawa (JuD). The March 2, 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore may signal an important shift in LeT operations and its ties to the state. In that incident, several heavily armed men viciously assaulted the team, umpires, and related officials as well as their police escort in the Punjabi city of Lahore, killing six police officers and two civilians. Speculation is rife that the commando operation may have been the handiwork of the LeT. If so, this attack will be the first LeT attack on Pakistani soil. At the time of writing, it is too early to inveigh upon the evidence for or against these allegations of LeT involvement. While the verdict is out on perpetrators of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers, few analysts and journalists interviewed during my recent trip to Pakistan believed that Pakistan could or would
decisively eliminate JuD despite its late 2008 ban on the organization. This is both because JuD/LeT is still considered to be an important asset in Pakistan’s quest to secure its regional objectives and because it, unlike the proliferating morass of Deobandi groups, has never targeted the state. However, even if Pakistan were to resolve to eliminate JuD/LeT, few believe that Pakistan has the ability to do so.


Senior Member
Mar 10, 2009

Lashkar-e-Taiba: Origins, Operatives and Operations

The LeT has focused the attention of policy makers in recent months because it perpetrated the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. As this section narrates, the LeT has a long-standing presence in Pakistan and South Asia. Since 2001, it has increasingly established a presence well beyond the region. LeT emerged as the military wing of the Markaz Daawat ul Irshad (MDI),
headquartered in Muridke near the Punjabi city of Lahore. MDI was founded in 1986 by two Pakistani Engineering professors, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Zafar Iqbal. Abdullah Azzam, a close of associate of Bin Laden who was affiliated with the Islamic University of Islamabad and the Maktab ul Khadamat (Bureau of Services for Arab mujahideen), also provided assistance. He
was killed in Peshawar two years after the Markaz was founded. MDI, along with numerous other militant groups, was involved in Afghanistan from 1986 onwards and established militant training camps for this purpose. One camp was known as Muaskar-e-Taiba in Paktia (in Afghanistan bordering Pakistan) and a second known as Muaskar-e-Aqsa in the Kunar province of Afghanistan. 18 (Kunar is known to be home to numerous Ahl-e-Hadith adherents in Afghanistan, which overall has few followers in that country. For this reason, Kunar has been an attractive safe-haven for Arabs in Afghanistan.) Pakistan-based analysts note that MDI/LeT’s training camps were always separate from those of the Taliban, which hosted Deobandi militant groups
such as HUJI and Harkat ul Mujahideen. This has led some analysts to contend that LeT has not had the sustained and organic connections to Al Qaeda as enjoyed by the Deobandi groups, many of which became “out sourcers” for al Qaeda in Pakistan.19
In 1993, MDI divided its activities into two related but separate organizations: MDI continued the mission of proselytization and education while LeT emerged as the militant wing. The ISI is believed to have funded the organization and analysts continue to believe that LeT is a close proxy of Pakistani intelligence agencies.20 After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, LeT/MDI
shifted focus to Indian-administered Kashmir. It staged its first attack (against a jeep carrying Indian air force personnel) in Kashmir in 1990. The vast majority of LeT operatives are Pakistanis (often Punjabis) and the organization has spawned a vast training infrastructure throughout the country to support its dual mission of training militants and converting Pakistanis to the Ahl-e-
Hadith interpretative tradition. For much of the 1990s (with few exceptions), LeT operations were restricted to Indian administered Kashmir. A perusal of LeT literature demonstrates a commitment to targeting Indian Hindus, Jews,
Americans and other infidels and apostate Muslims; stoking larger Hindu-Muslim discord in India; and liberating all of India and establishing a caliphate.21 MDI claims that it has had a leading role in armed struggles across the Muslim world, first in Afghanistan, then in Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, the Philippines, and Kashmir among other venues.22 While there is no independent verification of these claims, as discussed herein, many LeT-associated individuals and cells have appeared in Iraq, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and several European countries.
LeT has a hallmark modus operandi which has often been misconstrued as “suicide operations.” In fact, LeT does not do suicide operations per se in which the goal of the attacker is to die in the execution of the attack. Rather, LeT’s “fidayeen” missions are more akin to high-risk missions in which well-trained commandos engage in fierce combat during which dying is preferable to being captured. While martyrdom is in some sense the ultimate objective of LeT operatives, the LeT selects missions where there is a possibility (howsoever slim) of living to kill more of the enemy. The goal of LeT commandos therefore is not to commit suicide in the execution of an attack.
Rather, they seek to kill as many as possible until they either succumb to enemy operations or manage to survive, perhaps by decisively eliminating the enemy in the battle. Zahab has described a typical LeT encounter in the following way “the fighters are well trained and highly motivated and they engage the enemy on its own territory. Small groups of fedayeen…storm a security force camp and kill as many soldiers as possible before taking
defensive positions within the camp and engaging security force personnel till they attain martyrdom. Battles often last twenty hours, if not more.”23 She further notes that these spectacular and well-planned attacks bring the LeT maximum publicity, expands recruiting and donations and demoralizes the enemy which must resort to heavy fire, which destroys their own
buildings and causes substantial collateral damage in the process. While LeT claims that it has only assaulted hard targets, their record demonstrates an absolute willingness to kill civilians in cinemas, hotels, tourist destinations, airports, etc. Consonant with the rigor of a typical LeT mission, LeT recruits do not predominantly draw from Pakistan’s madaris (pl. madrassah). Rather LeT recruits are generally in their late teens or early twenties and they tend to be better educated than Pakistanis on average or even other militant
groups such as the Deobandi SSP or JM. A majority of LeT recruits have completed secondary school with good grades and some have even attended college. This reflects both the background of LeT’s founding fathers who were engineering professors and their commitment to technical and other education. Many LeT operatives likely came into contact with LeT through
proselytization programs on college campuses, which in turn lured the potential recruits to the large “ijtema” (congregation) held annually in Muridke. The fraction of madrassah-educated LeT operatives is believed to be as low as ten percent.24 Clearly not all LeT cadres are well-educated as attested by the lone surviving Mumbai gunman, Azam Amir Kasab, a Punjabi with only a fourth
grade education. By comparison, the mean years of schooling for males in the Punjab is 4.7 years.25 LeT also actively targets women both to expand their recruitment base of males and reportedly to recruit women for militant operations.26 In sharp contrast, many of the Deobandi groups including the Afghan Taliban rely upon madrassah and mosque-based networks.27
Since the late 1990s, LeT has cultivated significant operational reach beyond Kashmir and into India. While Indian citizens were always required for facilitating LeT and other militant groups’ actions within Indian-administered Kashmir and the Indian hinterland, LeT has successfully cultivated active cadres and figures preeminently in founding of the Indian Mujahideen. In 2002,
at least 14 young men from Hyderabad left for Pakistan for training, reportedly motivated by the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. (Praveen Swami reports that even as early as 1992 some Indian Muslims sought training in Pakistan in response to the demolition of the Babri Masjid by Hindu extremists.) The Hyderabad operatives received training in LeT and JM camps and enjoyed operational assistance from Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad-Bangladesh (HUJI-B). This cell was responsible for the May 18, 2007 terrorist attack in Hyderabad’s Toli Chowki area.28 LeT has moved Indian personnel into and out of Pakistan via Bangladesh and other countries through criminal syndicates as well as other Islamist and militant groups such as the Students
Islamist Movement of India (SIMI) and Harkat-ul-Jihad-Bangladesh (HUJI-B) among others.29 Despite the rhetoric surrounding the horrific events in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, there were important antecedents of that attack. Most recently, in July 2006, LeT working with local operatives, detonated seven explosions across Mumbai’s commuter rail system. That 2006
assault was even more lethal than the 2008 carnage, killing at least 187. While that attack focused the public’s attention upon LeT’s ability to strike deep within India, LeT had reportedly established networks in Mumbai as early as August 1999. India’s intelligence Bureau disrupted a pan-India network led by LeT-operative Amir Khan who was tasked with recruiting from India’s
communal-violence afflicted communities. In 2000, Indian authorities intercepted three Pakistani LeT cadres who had planned to kill Bal Thackeray, leader of a Hindu nationalist group called the Shiv Sena. 30 In 2004, another LeT cell was disrupted that aimed to attack the Bombay Stock Exchange. (The
Bombay Stock Exchange had been attacked previously in 1993. The then India-based Mafioso, Dawood Ibrahim, orchestrated that attack using Indian militants with Pakistani support.) In June 2006, the Maharashtra police arrested an 11-member LeT cell that shipped some 43 kilograms of explosives, assault rifles and grenades to India using sea routes. Several of those militants had
ties to SIMI. Indian analysts believe that LeT, working with SIMI and muggling rings, have been able to successively move large amounts of explosives and weapons by sea along the Gujarat coast.31 The movement of explosives through the Maharashtra and Gujarat coastlines was reminiscent of logistical routes used to supply explosives for the 1993 Bombay Stock Exchange.32
Needless to say, these are only illustrative—not exhaustive—examples of LeT’s penetration of India and cultivation of Indian networks to conduct terror operations. With respect to the November 2008 attack, at least two Indian operatives played critical roles: Fahim Arshad Ansari, a key LeT operative from Mumbai, and Sabahuddin Ahmad of Uttar Pradesh. Both men helped prepare maps and videotapes to guide LeT’s operatives to their targets. Their contributions— perhaps more so than the use of GPS devices—likely guided the terrorists’ movements through Mumbai.33 Finally, the early connections between MDI/LeT to Azam, along with the organization’s Salafijihadi outlook, fosters suspicion that LeT and al Qaeda enjoy tight linkages. These suspicions are buttressed by a number of developments and observations. First, al Qaeda operatives (e.g. Abu Zubaidah) have been arrested in LeT safe houses. In addition, LeT has been operating against U.S., NATO and Afghan forces in Kunar and Nuristan in close proximity to al Qaeda, which operates in the same region.34 Third, in recent years, LeT operatives have appeared in small numbers in other theatres. For example, British forces captured two Pakistani LeT operatives in Iraq and rendered them into U.S. custody.35 A number of Australians (including apparent converts to Islam) have been trained in LeT camps and have plotted to attack Australian targets, discomfiting Australian authorities.36 Reports persist that a wide array of American, Canadian and British nationals have trained in LeT camps.37 At least one of the bombers (Shahzad Tanveer) in London’s “7/7” subway attack is alleged to have contacted LeT officials while in Pakistan as well as those associated with JM. Apart from that incident, British officials contend that LeT has numerous links with many terror cells and plots disrupted in the United Kingdom. For example, Dhiren Barot, a Hindu convert to Islam and LeT activist was arrested in the U.K. and charged with planning several chemical and radiological attacks on financial offices in the United States. LeT is
also tied to Richard Reid (a.k.a. “the shoe bomber”) as well as a Virginia-based “paintball jihad" cell in which several Islamists, including an American Muslim convert named Randall "Ismail" Royer, trained to participate in LeT's campaign against India. Royer, who was convicted, dispatched recruits to an LeT camp in Pakistan where they learned to use small arms, rocket propelled grenades, among other military resources to fight in India.38 Pakistan-based analysts of LeT, among others, tend to discount the claims of explicit al Qaeda- LeT linkages and note that al Qaeda operatives have been arrested in Jamaat Islami safe houses as well and note that LeT infrastructure in Afghanistan, as described above, was separate from that of Al Qaeda and their patrons, the Taliban.39 Thus the actual degree to which LeT is allied to al Qaeda remains an important empirical question. However, LeT threatens U.S. interests
irrespective of its formal ties—or lack thereof—to al Qaeda. LeT has well-established linkages to international terrorism and it espouses goals that are similar to those of al Qaeda as the foregoing discussion illustrates.

Implications of the November 2008 Mumbai Attack: Antecedents and Innovations

The November 2008 attack bares many hallmarks of previous LeT attacks. The assault employed dedicated and well-trained commandos who used explosives, small arms and grenades—all but one of whom fought until their deaths. While the available evidence suggests that the main operators were Pakistani, the attack relied upon crucial domestic assistance. Like previous LeT
attacks in Mumbai and elsewhere, this assault involved exclusively soft targets with little or no defenses. Several of the targets (such as the Taj and Oberoi hotels) were Indian icons and reflected the opulence of India’s elite. They also attracted wealthy international visitors. Other targets such as the Chatrapati Shivaji Station rendered India’s middle and lower-middle classes vulnerable. (The train station was previously known as Victoria Terminus and was renamed after an important 17th century Hindu leader who re-established Hindu political dominance in the region after a long period of Muslim rule.) Other targets, such as the Chabad House, reflect an explicit expansion of LeT’s focus as described below. Most accounts of the attack dilate upon the daring infiltration of the attackers who traveled from Pakistan by sea. While the sea-based landing of the ten militants was exceptionally daunting, the concept was not entirely new even if the complexity of the movement was. As noted, mafia syndicates and Islamist militant groups have moved explosives, guns, grenades and other illicit cargo through similar routes since at least 1993. In the conduct of the 1993 Bombay Stock Exchange, mafia leader Dawood Ibrahim working with an associate named Tiger Memon, arranged for considerable illicit cargo to move into a small fishing village near Mumbai via a small motorboat. In one of the few comprehensive accounts of that conspiracy, S. Hussain Zaidi describes how Memon and his crew boarded a small motorboat which “sailed towards the open sea” where it “rendezvoused [sic] with a large red speedboat,” from which it loaded the weapons and other materials (including AK-47s, large quantities of a military grade explosive called RDX, pencil detonators, grenades, pistols) used for the attack. They then returned to the fishing village and offloaded the cargo. While the operatives of the 1993 blast exploited the widespread belief that that Mumbai security forces were inept, the locally recruited participants were ill-prepared for the operation and unfamiliar with the weapons to be used. Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon
arranged for their transportation to and from Pakistan where they were reportedly trained by Pakistani intelligence.40 However, other aspects of this attack were notable and distinctive. While LeT has been operating against .S., NATO and Afghan forces in Kunar and Nuristan41 and while LeT operatives went to fight allied forces in Iraq, this was the first known LeT assault upon American and international civilians. While it is now believed that LeT did not single out foreigners across the targets, one target in particular was distinctive: the Chabad Center. Mumbai, among other cities, hosts a historical albeit shrinking Jewish population and boasts many historical synagogues and Jewish
cultural facilities. Despite the decades of Islamist violence perpetrated by a range of groups espousing an anti-Semitic agenda, no Islamist militant group had ever targeted India’s Jewish community. Chabad was distinctive because it was not merely Jewish, but also associated with Israelis and other international Jewish visitors.42 This target is most curious of all as few from or familiar with Mumbai have ever heard of this institution.43 While LeT and other groups have often posited and resisted the “Brahmanic-Talmudic-Crusader” alliance, no militant group within South Asia violently operationalized this agenda until the
Mumbai 2008 attack. In the case of LeT, it is puzzling that despite advocating this agenda since the late 1980s, it took nearly two decades to act upon it. Possible explanations for the choice of that target include the growing Indo-Israeli military, counterterrorism and intelligence relationship which has long irritated Pakistan and animated the rhetoric of Islamist militants across the
region.44 Moreover, Israeli lobby apparatus in the U.S. has nurtured India’s own emergent lobbying organizations and is rightly or wrongly associated with helping India achieve the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal.45 Thus the selection of the Chabad center—rather than any of India’s domestic Jewish institutions—may have sought to undermine this important bilateral relationship. Transcripts of the phone intercepts of the attack at the Chabad house buttress this explanation. The Pakistan-based caller encouraged the attacker to kill the hostages arguing that “If the hostages are killed, it will spoil relations between India and Israel.”46 Another explanation may be that LeT was emboldened by its attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan and influenced by al Qaeda co-located with LeT in Afghanistan’s Kunar and Nuristan provinces. Of course, both may be valid.


Senior Member
Mar 10, 2009

Conclusions: Implications for U.S. Regional, and International Security

U.S. policymakers and analysts have pondered whether LeT could or would undertake such operations within the U.S. As the foregoing suggests, a number of individuals (including converts) who appear to have radicalized in the diaspora have traveled to Pakistan to train with the LeT and other militant groups (e.g. JM). LeT and other militant groups in the Punjab, comprise an
important link between those who have radicalized in the diaspora and Pakistan’s tribal areas where al Qaeda is ensconced. (In turn Pashtun militants from the tribal areas rely upon Pashtun networks as well as Punjabi networks to execute attacks throughout Pakistan.) During my recent trip to Pakistan, one interlocutor described these Punjab-based groups as the “escalator for
foreigners to get to FATA.”47 As FATA remains an important epicenter for international terrorism, the importance of groups like LeT (among others) cannot be understated and should motivate Washington to insist that Pakistan cease all forms of active and passive support for these groups and act decisively to eliminate them. A smaller number of Pakistani LeT operatives have found their way to other theatres such as Iraq. Given the tenacity of opposition to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, it is surprising that
only two LeT operatives made their way to Iraq suggesting limited capacity or will. Given the difficulty in Pakistan-based operatives to obtain a visa to visit western countries, the strategy of pulling in operatives from the west is likely to be the most productive strategy as these individuals speak English, have the appropriate passport, and are more likely to gain access to targeted countries. Thus even if LeT (and other such groups) may be less capable of dispatching
Pakistan-based militants outside of the South Asian theatre, LeT and other militant camps in Pakistan remain destinations for international jihadists who are not so restricted in reaching their desired theatre of operation. Given the terrorist cells that have been disrupted in the U.S., U.K.,Europe, and Australia (among other venues) and in light of the challenges posed by the visawaiver
program, one cannot rule out an LeT-facilitated attack within the United States. After Mumbai, one absolutely cannot rule out further attacks against U.S. citizens or interests abroad or those of U.S. allies.
Even if an LeT attack within the United States may be a low-probability event, LeT poses a number of concerns for the United States not the least of which include ongoing operations against U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, the likelihood of future attacks in India with the everpresent possibility of prompting yet another Indo-Pakistan military crises, and “copy cat” attacks in the United States or elsewhere. The challenges faced by the Indian security forces are also illuminating.48 First, the Indian authorities lacked basic information about the floor plan. Second, the Indian counterterrorism forces were undermined by the media coverage which televised in real time their efforts to eliminate the terrorists. The Pakistan-based handlers, during ongoing phone conversations with the militants, relayed critical information gleaned from the coverage, as the intercepted phone conversations attest. Third, given that many of these targets are deeply embedded within organic urban growth, even under the most optimistic assumptions, many of India’s numerous high-value civilian (e.g. tourism, commercial, industrial) targets will be difficult to secure. Finally the Mumbai attack and its sustained media coverage reminds one that militants need not use extravagant suicide bombs to wreak havoc. Rather militants waging coordinated attacks, against several, soft and poorly defended—if not utterly indefensible targets—targets using only small-arms can inflict considerable damage.49


On Vacation!
Super Mod
Apr 5, 2009
Inside Jihad

The militants fighting Pakistan's covert war with India train in spartan camps where they are schooled for battle and prepared for martyrdom

By GHULAM HASNAIN Islamabad and Muzaffarabad

After decades of conflict, thousands of sons murdered and a long-standing drought of hope in the disputed region, India and Pakistan are starting a hesitant peace process

Four bearded militants warm themselves at a gas heater in an Islamabad safe house. A wireless set suddenly crackles. "Our boys have entered Srinagar Airport," a grave, distant-sounding voice announces. "Pray for them. It has now been 15 minutes." The voice, speaking in Urdu and broadcasting from deep within India's part of Kashmir, is detailing the progress of a suicide mission by Lashkar-i-Taiba, a ruthless, Pakistan-based militant group waging war to wrest Kashmir from India. The four men in the safe house, also members of Lashkar-i-Taiba, immediately go into fervent prayer. They are not the only ones to receive the radio transmission. Other militant groups in Pakistan can tune into the same frequency. So can the Pakistani military. A phone in the house rings, and one of the militants answers. He is asked what's happening. His reply: "Why don't you find out from your side?" After hanging up, he explains the caller was a Pakistani army colonel.

That scene occurred in early January. Five Lashkar operatives disguised as police officers attempted to attack the Srinagar airport that day. But Indian army guards turned them away, and the operation was aborted. Two weeks ago, however, a second attempt succeeded. Six would-be martyrs, dressed in police uniforms and driving a stolen government jeep, reached the outer defense gate of the airport and indiscriminately tossed grenades and opened fire with rifles. Back in the Islamabad safe house, a coded message came through at 2:15 p.m. saying the men had reached their target. Abu Ammar, a 30-year-old Pakistani veteran of the Afghan war—his face is scarred from shrapnel and his right hand is mangled—knelt and touched his forehead to the floor in prayer. "I have learned that whenever you succeed in your mission, just bow down, thank God and hail his greatness," he said. After a three-hour gun battle at the airport's perimeter, all six of Abu Ammar's men were dead, along with four policemen. (Two civilians were killed and 12 injured.)

Since Kashmir erupted in 1989, India has pointed a blunt and unwavering finger at Pakistan, accusing its neighbor of fomenting the entire problem. It's a large and cynical exaggeration: anti-Indian sentiment runs high within Kashmir, and in the first half of the 1990s, Kashmiris themselves provided the steam in the anti-Indian militant movement. They were disorganized and willing to murder, but passionate and anxious to plead their nationalist cause with the outside world.

Today, however, India's charge rings a lot truer. Despite a decade of denials—Islamabad insists it provides only moral and political support, not training or tangible aid—Pakistan is fueling militant activity in Kashmir. Of the five main militant groups operating in Kashmir, four are based in Pakistan, where open recruiting and fundraising are commonplace. Training of militants is also done on Pakistani soil. The Pakistani military is deeply involved, especially in the smuggling of anti-Indian militants across the Line of Control.

Militant groups have roots all over Pakistan, from their well-equipped training centres in Muzaffarabad—the capital of Pakistan's slice of Kashmir—and the country's North-West Frontier province to the nice, middle-class houses in Lahore and Islamabad. Those houses may look no different from their neighbors at first glance, but what about the strange antennas on the roofs, the international phone lines and the transient occupants with unkempt hair, camouflage jackets and hiking boots? And what of those unmarked four-wheel-drive vehicles pulling up at dawn with clockwork precision? Here is an inside look at how Pakistan runs its covert war in Kashmir:

Recruiting and Training

There are thousands of young, motivated Pakistani men anxious to join the militancy in Kashmir, which they consider a holy war. They come from all walks of life: not merely from the religious schools known as madrassahs, or the far-flung, poverty-mired towns and villages, but also from Pakistan's educated and Westernized middle and upper classes. In the jihad they find brotherhood, a sense of mission and purpose. And for these highly religious volunteers, many of whom are still in their teens, there is nothing more sacred in life than achieving the status of a martyr. These are the grunts in the war. The leaders are Pakistani veterans of the Afghan war.

The largest training camp in Pakistan is run by Lashkar-i-Taiba, a wing of an Afghan mujahedin group known as Markaz Al Dawa Wal Irshad. It is set on a vast mountain clearing overlooking Muzaffarabad. (Training grounds for the other three militant groups are located in the North-West Frontier province.) Armed men guard the facility round-the-clock. There are only two structures, one an armory, the other a kitchen. Trainees live and sleep in the open, whether in the sweltering summer or the depth of winter. The field is dotted with installations used to teach the fervent young—some no older than 14—how to cross a river, climb a mountain or ambush a military convoy.

The day of a trainee begins at four in the morning. After offering prayers, the militants go for exercises. A breakfast of tea and bread is at eight, followed by a full day of rigorous drills, which are interrupted only for prayers and a simple lunch, usually rice and lentils. Coursework covers how to use sidearms, sniper rifles, grenades, rocket launchers and wireless radio sets, as well as the art of constructing bombs. The teachers are Lashkar veterans of action in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Sports, music and television are forbidden. Trainees are only allowed to read pre-screened newspaper articles.

Training is divided into two stages. The first three-week session gives religious education and basic knowledge of how to handle firearms. Once a volunteer has passed that course, which costs the organization about $330 per trainee, he is sent to a designated city or town, often near his birthplace, to work at the group's offices and become more involved with the organization.

When a volunteer proves himself capable, motivated and loyal, he is enrolled in a special three-month commando boot camp, which costs the group $1,700 per student. (The money is raised from overseas groups and the Pakistani public, often via open demonstrations in Pakistani cities of militants working out, scaling walls and showing other martial tricks. Generous donors are invited to visit the not-so-secret camps to see how their money is spent.) Phase two is designed to push each volunteer to his physical limit and cull the weak from the strong. In the final weeks, recruits use live ammunition, construct actual explosives and perfect ambush techniques. The final exam lasts three days. A group of trainees, sometimes as large as 100 individuals, hikes and climbs through high-altitude, wooded terrain for three days without food or sleep. They are not allowed to slow their pace except for a few naps. At the end the hungry and thirsty survivors are given a goat, a knife and a matchbox. That's their reward, and they have to cook and eat it in warlike conditions.

Going In

Only the fittest from each graduating group are given a chance at martyrdom across the border in Kashmir. The local commander makes his choice, and the fortunate few are dispatched to safe houses along the Line of Control known as "launching pads." (Parents' permission is technically required for anyone who opts for jihad. Many boys get it easily, but some who don't, fully submerged in the dream of martyrdom, pressure their parents into complying.) At the launching pad, while waiting for their marching orders, the boys write wills and what might be their last words to their families.

At this point, the Pakistani army plays a crucial role helping to arrange the infiltration of the militants across the Line of Control. Militants officially deny Pakistani army involvement, but those who fought in Kashmir tell Time that the wait at the launching pad is dictated by their leaders, who are in touch with the army. "Until an unmarked vehicle turns up at your safe house," says a veteran of Al-Badr, the first Pakistan-based militant organization to get members across the line, "you don't know when your number will come."

When it does, this is what happens: "The vehicle, covered from all sides, will pick up two, three or four militants according to the plan and dump them at one of the forward posts of the Pakistani army," the Al-Badr veteran says. "People in civvies give us arms, ammunition, food and money [Indian currency]. We are asked to check our weapons. After a day or two they give us the signal to go ahead." None of the boys is allowed to carry his own arms to the Line of Control, although sometimes an individual can choose a favorite AK-47 and find it waiting for him at the army camp along the line.

The next step is the most hazardous: from the Pakistani army post, the group embarks on a three-to-seven night journey into Indian-controlled Kashmir, traveling by night, hiding during the day. The group leader wears night-vision goggles. The rest follow blindly across the mountains. There are numerous obstacles: Indian mines, tracer flares, Indian border patrols anxious to shoot at them. "But whenever such a situation arises," says a Lashkar militant, "the Pakistani guns come to our rescue to provide cover."

Militants making the return trip go through a reverse route, ending up at a Pakistani army base—sometimes with souvenirs. Abu Haibatullah, 32, was sent across the Line of Control in the mid '90s with a particular mission: to bring back an Indian soldier for interrogation. He managed to ambush and disarm a soldier, but when the Indian tried to snatch Haibatullah's gun, he killed him. He then decided to return home with the soldier's head. "Lots of people came to see the head," he recalls proudly. "Some were from the Pakistani army and they praised me for my gallantry."

In the 1990s, the Pakistani militants hired local guides—ethnic Kashmiris—to help them get across the mountains and into India. "On a number of occasions," says Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, 42, the supreme commander of the Lashkar-i-Taiba militants, "they took the money and tipped off the Indians. So we trained our own manpower." In other words, the Pakistani militants don't always trust the Kashmiris on whose behalf they are waging this war. The Pakistani militancy, which had its roots in the Afghan war, is now an institution unto itself.


On Vacation!
Super Mod
Apr 5, 2009
Pakistan's Role in the Kashmir Insurgency

By Peter Chalk

This commentary appeared in Jane's Intelligence Review on September 1, 2001.
Reproduced with permission from Jane's Information Group.

Peter Chalk investigates the extent of Pakistan's support for groups in Kashmir and how this assistance has impacted on the course and development of the conflict.

Over the past two years, increased attention has focused on Pakistan as a significant force behind the growth of Islamic radicalism and extremism in Kashmir. The US State Department's most recent report on Patterns of Global Terrorism, released in April 2001, specifically identifies Islamabad as the chief sponsor of militant groups fighting in the disputed Indo-Pakistani region. The same conclusion was reached in an earlier report by the National Commission on Terrorism and reflects current thinking in most US and Western policy-making and intelligence circles.

Reasons for Pakistani backing

There are currently five main groups fighting in Kashmir, all of which benefit from Pakistani support:

- Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM);

- Laskhar-e-Tayyiba (LeT);

- al Badr;

- Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM); and

- Harakat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM).

Islamabad's backing for these groups revolves around the perennial conflict with India - a militarily, economically and demographically superior state viewed as posing a fundamental threat to Pakistan's long-term viability and integrity.

Sponsoring militancy in Kashmir is regarded as a relatively cheap and effective way of offsetting existing power symmetries (essentially through the philosophy of a 'war of a thousand cuts') while simultaneously creating a bulwark of instability along the country's vulnerable southern flank. Both are considered vital to ensuring that Pakistan has sufficient strategic depth to undertake a protracted conventional war on the sub-continent, should this ever become necessary.

Religious imperatives also come into play, particularly on the part of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate, which enjoys a high degree of autonomy and executive space within Pakistan. The agency has specifically sought to replicate and transplant the success of the anti-Soviet Afghan campaign in Kashmir, exhorting foreign militants to participate in the conflict as part of the wider moral duty owed to the jihad. The medium to long-term aim, according to intelligence sources in New Delhi and Srinagar, is to trigger a generalised Islamic revolution across the northeast and eventually India as a whole.

The nature of the support

Pakistani assistance to Kashmiri insurgents covers the ambit of training, logistical, financial and doctrinal support.

At least 91 insurgent training camps have been identified in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), the bulk of which lie contiguous to the Indian districts of Kupwara, Baramulla, Poonch, Rajauri and Jammu. Basic courses run for between three and four months, focusing on weapons handling, demolitions and urban sabotage. Training for the more able recruits lasts somewhat longer and typically emphasises additional, specialised skills in areas such as heavy arms, reconnaissance and sniper assaults.

Responsibility for managing these courses falls to the ISI's Operations Branch and tends to be conducted through two sub-divisions: Joint Intelligence Miscellaneous (JIM) and Joint Intelligence North (JIN). Islamist-oriented military officers are also believed to periodically 'moonlight' from their regular duties to supplement ISI instructors and help provide critical training in the fundamentals of guerrilla/jungle warfare and escape and evasion techniques.

Most of the camps are located near major military establishments (within 1-15km), which Indian intelligence maintains provide the bulk of military-related resources, including light weapons (assault rifles, carbines, pistols, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades/boosters), ammunition, explosives, binoculars and night vision devices, communications equipment and uniforms.

Financing the militants

Apart from military backing, Pakistan plays an important role in financing Kashmiri insurgents. According to India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), annual ISI expenditure to the main militant organisations runs to between US$125 and $250 million a year. These funds are used to cover salaries for fighters (which run from 5,000 to 10,000 rupees a month), support to next of kin, cash incentives for high-risk operations and retainers for guides, porters and informers.

In addition, the ISI helps to fund militant proxies through the circulation of counterfeit currency and by laundering profits derived from the heroin trade. The agency also handles foreign contributions and donations (most of which come from Saudi Arabia), funnelling these to Pakistani bank accounts that are opened under the auspices of insurgent political, religious or charitable fronts. Many of these payments are co-ordinated through Rahimyar Khan, a small town in the deserts of southern Punjab where every year thousands of wealthy Arabs come to hunt the region's wildlife.

Ideological indoctrination

Besides acting as a major source of military and financial assistance, Pakistan remains a pivotal centre of ideological indoctrination for the Kashmiri conflict, much of which is co-ordinated through the country's burgeoning network of theological madrasahs. Many of these schools equate the concept of the jihad - which most Islamic scholars interpret as 'striving for justice' - with guerrilla warfare and explicitly exhort their students to fulfil their 'spiritual obligations' by fighting in the name of the pan-Islamic cause.

The total number of existing madrasahs including satellite institutions in Pakistan is estimated at between 40,000 and 50,000. Of these, only about 4,350 are currently registered with the government. The most prominent extremist-oriented schools include the Dar-ul-Uloom Haqani at Akora Khattak; the Markaz-ad-Da'awa-wal-Irshad at Murdike; the Dar-ul-Loom at Pashtoonabad; the Dar ul-Iftah-ul-Irshad at Nazimabad; and the Ahle-Sunnat-wal Jammat at Rawalpindi.

All of these madrasahs are associated with the most extreme sections of the Pakistani politico-religious lobby, such as the Jamiat e Ulema Islam (JUI), and retain close links with openly terroristic organisations. The Markaz-ad-Da'awa-wal-Irshad madrasah, for instance, constitutes the main recruiting base for the LeT, one of the most violent and feared groups presently fighting in Kashmir.

Pakistan's impact

Pakistan has fundamentally altered the dimensions of the conflict in Kashmir. On one level, the provision of arms, training and finance has dramatically heightened the firepower and overall proficiency of the militants on the ground. This has been reflected by:

- the range and type of operations now carried out which include everything from improvised explosive attacks to suicide car bombings and full frontal assaults;

- the quantity of military hardware available to the insurgents; in 2000 alone Indian authorities recovered 482 AK47 assault rifles, 53 rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), 16 sniper rifles, 59 rocket launchers, 4,807 hand grenades, 292 anti-personnel mines, 555 rockets, 1,508kg of RDX explosive, 460 wireless sets and 20 night-vision binoculars; and

- the number of militant-inflicted casualties, which increased from an annual average of 608 deaths during the first five years of the insurgency to over 760 fatalities a year between 1996 and 2000.

More intrinsically, the nature of the Kashmir conflict has been transformed from what was originally a secular, locally- based struggle (conducted via the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front - JKLF) to one that is now largely carried out by foreign militants and rationalised in pan-Islamic religious terms.

With the exception of HM, all of the main organisations currently active in Kashmir are non-indigenous, composed mostly of Punjabi mercenaries from Pakistan. Indicative of this were the 1,102 foreign insurgents killed in Kashmir between 1998 and the end of January 2001 - 63% more than those slain in the eight years from 1990 to 1997. Most of those who come to fight define their objectives in both local and global terms, with the rhetorical enemy specified as any state perceived to be anti-Islamic.

A case in point is the LeT, whose annual diary specifically asserts its intention to bring the jihad to the USA, Israel, Russia, the UK and France, announcing plans to 'plant Islamic flags in Delhi, Tel Aviv, Washington, Paris and London'.

Risks for Pakistan

While Islamabad may view involvement in Kashmir as a viable way of provoking unrest in India, the policy carries definite risks. In fact, it is no longer apparent that the army or ISI exercise complete control over the proxies they have helped to create, some of which are now openly talking about fomenting a fundamentalist revolution in Pakistan itself.

Should the insurgency in Kashmir end, there is a perceptible risk that groups such as al Badr, LeT and JeM will re-direct their energies and attention to the pursuit of this very objective. Indeed this may now be the main reason why Islamabad continues to infiltrate militants across the disputed line of control: to keep them busy and, therefore, out of Pakistan.

Peter Chalk is an expert on transnational crime and terrorism at the RAND Corporation, Washington, USA.


Senior Member
Mar 10, 2009
Council on Foreign Relations - Backgrounder

Kashmir Militant Extremists

Author:Jamal Afridi


Militancy in the disputed region of Kashmir has been major fuel for discord between India and Pakistan since the 1980s. Attacks in the region began to increase in scale and intensity following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when foreign insurgents flooded the region to join the Afghan Mujahadeen. The majority Muslim region has its own local militant groups, but experts believe most of the recent Kashmir and Kashmir-based terrorism has been the work of foreign Islamists who seek to claim the region for Pakistan. A spate of Islamist cross-border attacks into Indian-held territory, the December 2001 storming of the Indian parliament in New Delhi, and the 2008 Mumbai attacks have all reinforced Kashmir's standing as the significant bone of contention between India and Pakistan. Both states have nuclear weapons, making Kashmir one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints.

Origins of the Conflict

Kashmir has been a constant source of tension since 1947, when the British partitioned their imperial holdings in South Asia into two new states, India and Pakistan. For Pakistan, incorporating the majority Muslim province of Kashmir is a basic national aspiration bound up in its identity as an Islamic state. Islamabad's official line on Kashmir, which the United States echoed as recently as June 2009, is that incorporation into either India or Pakistan must be determined by Kashmiris. Meanwhile, India sees the province as vital to its identity as a secular, multiethnic state. Movements for an independent Kashmiri state, such as the Kashmir Freedom Movement and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, also exist and have many supporters. India now holds about two-thirds of the disputed territory, which it calls Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan controls about one-third, which it calls Azad (meaning "free") Kashmir. China also controls two small sections of northern Kashmir. India and Pakistan fought two wars over the region in 1947 and 1965, and a limited conflict in 1999. At least fifty thousand people have died in political violence in Kashmir since 1989.

Though flare-ups have occurred on both sides of the line, violence in Kashmir has decreased dramatically. According to the Indian Home Ministry, the number of violent incidents in 2008 was the lowest in twenty years (AFP) at seven hundred, a 40 percent drop compared to the number of incidents reported in 2007. The South Asia Terrorism Portal reports that 2008 also marks the first time civilian casualties have been under one hundred since 1990.

Terrorist Groups

The U.S. State Department lists three Islamist groups active in Kashmir as foreign terrorist organizations: Harakat ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e-Taiba. The first group has been listed for years, and the other two were added after the December 2001 Indian parliament attack. All three groups have attracted Pakistani members as well as Afghan and Arab veterans who fought the 1980s Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

* Harakat ul-Mujahideen (HUM) was established in the mid-1980s. Based first in Pakistan and then in Afghanistan, it has several hundred armed supporters in Pakistan and Kashmir. The group is responsible for the December 1999 hijacking of an Indian airliner and numerous attacks on Indian troops and civilians in Kashmir. Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Harakat members have participated in insurgent and terrorist operations in Myanmar, Tajikistan, and Bosnia.

* Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) was founded in 2000 by Maulana Masood Azhar, a Pakistani cleric. The group seeks to incorporate Kashmir into the state of Pakistan and has openly declared war on the United States. JEM has carried out attacks on Indian targets, the Pakistani government, and various sectarian minority groups within Pakistan. Acts of terrorism attributed to the group include the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and a series of assaults in 2002 on Christian sites in Pakistan. The Pakistani government has also implicated JEM for the two assassination attempts on former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. According to the U.S. State Department, the group has at least several hundred armed supporters as well as tens of thousands of followers.

* Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), active since 1993, was formed as the military wing of the well-funded Pakistani Islamist organization Markaz-ad- Dawa-wal-Irshad. The group, one of the largest and most proficient of the Kashmir-based terrorist groups, has claimed responsibility for a number of high-profile attacks on Indian targets in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as within India. India says that over the last several years the group has split into two factions, al-Mansurin and al-Nasirin. There is wide speculation that LeT was responsible for the July 11, 2006 string of bombings on Mumbai's commuter railroad, though a spokesman for the group denied any involvement. The Indian government alleges that LeT was responsible for coordinating the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Since Pakistan outlawed these groups, attacks in Kashmir and Pakistan have been carried out under other guises as a tactic to avoid detection while still maintaining the same leadership and ideology. Often times these groups pose as charitable organizations to avoid government sanctions. One group calling itself al-Qanoon or Lashkar-e-Omar is thought to be a coalition of members of Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and other Pakistan-based Islamist groups, including the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi organization.

Links to the Pakistani State

India has long accused Pakistan's premier intelligence service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of arming, training, and providing logistical support to militants in Kashmir. Pakistan denies any ongoing collaboration between the ISI and militants, stressing a change of course after September 11, 2001. After the December 2001 attack on India's parliament, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf promised to crack down on terrorist groups active in Kashmir and purge ISI officials with ties to these groups. However, the Indian government implied the ISI's involvement in a July 2008 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, and again in the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai.

But as this Backgrounder points out, some experts believe the relationship between the Pakistani military and some Kashmiri groups has turned with the rise of militancy within Pakistan. Shuja Nawaz, author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within, says the ISI "has certainly lost control" of Kashmiri militant groups. According to Nawaz, some of the groups trained by the ISI to fuel insurgency in Kashmir have been implicated in bombings and attacks within Pakistan, therefore making them army targets.

The al-Qaeda Connection

Many terrorists active in Kashmir received training in the same madrasas, or Muslim seminaries, where Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters studied, and some received military training at camps in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Leaders of some of these terror groups also have al-Qaeda connections. The long-time leader of the Harakat ul-Mujahideen group, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, signed al-Qaeda's 1998 declaration of holy war, which called on Muslims to attack all Americans and their allies. Maulana Masood Azhar, who founded the Jaish-e-Mohammed organization, traveled to Afghanistan several times to meet Osama bin Laden. Azhar's group is suspected of receiving funding from al-Qaeda, U.S. and Indian officials say. In 2006, al-Qaeda claimed to have established a wing in Kashmir.

Obstacle to Peace

Despite a resumption of formal peace talks between India and Pakistan in 2004, militant attacks continue to hinder progress towards a sustainable deal on Kashmir. After New Delhi and Islamabad agreed to launch a landmark bus service in February 2005 across the cease-fire line, militants vowed to target the service. In April of the same year, one bus survived a grenade attack. In March 2008, seventeen were wounded when a bomb exploded on a highway overpass in Indian-controlled Kashmir. A week later a gun battle erupted between Indian security forces and militants during a search-and-cordon operation, killing five. Both India and Pakistan have been accused of committing human rights violations in Kashmir, exacerbating the antagonism and mutual distrust both states have for one another. Talks were effectively put on hold in 2008 after India accused the ISI and Pakistani authorities of being complicit in the Mumbai attacks.


On Vacation!
Super Mod
Apr 5, 2009
Famed French judge Bruguiere tells of a troubled Pakistan

In a new book, former investigative magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere says Pakistan has lost control of rogue military and intelligence officers, who are aiding militants.

By Sebastian Rotella

November 4, 2009

The Pakistani government has lost control of rogue military and intelligence officers who aid Al Qaeda and its allies and play a double game with the West, a renowned French judge asserts in an upcoming book.

For three decades, Jean-Louis Bruguiere was an investigative magistrate, a powerful role that combines the duties of prosecutor and judge and allowed him to cultivate high-level contacts from Algiers to Moscow. He stepped down from that post in 2007, and now serves as the European Union's envoy to Washington on issues related to the financing of terrorism.

His 481-page book, "What I Could Not Say," is to be published Monday in France.

An advance copy obtained by The Times bolsters the 66-year-old official's swashbuckling reputation with previously undisclosed witness testimony and intelligence documents from a trove of case files.

Pakistan's government has long faced criticism that elements of its security services have protected militant groups. The government says it is trying to purge them, and it has launched offensives this year against militants in the Swat Valley and South Waziristan, where its forces are currently battling entrenched Taliban fighters.

The book details French investigations of extremist activity in Pakistan, including a case in which officials went as far as hiding militants from CIA inspection teams at a training camp run by the Pakistani military. Military handlers then sent the trainees on terrorist missions to the West, Bruguiere asserts.

The United States made strategic errors in dealing with Pakistan, he says, adding that it might be too late to clear the security forces of those who sympathize with the extremists.

Islamic radicals seemed to benefit from "a certain sympathy, to say the least" within Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, he writes, citing one of his cases. "We did not have the impression that our interlocutors considered [Al Qaeda militants] to be terrorists."

Published as interviews with Jean-Marie Pontaut, an editor at L'Express magazine, the book is a portrait of one of Europe's best-known crime fighters. The stocky, square-jawed, restless Bruguiere comes from a line of judges dating back to Napoleonic times. He tells of interrogating fanatics and eating crocodile meat during a harrowing investigative trip to Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo. But he also writes about growing up among Surrealist painters, who were friends of his father, an art aficionado. And he participated in Paris' leftist student protests of May 1968.

Tracing a history of modern-day terrorism, the book describes the nine-year investigation of the 1989 bombing of a flight from Chad to Paris that killed 170 people. The global hunt culminated in the convictions, in absentia, of top Libyan officials. The judge also recounts the fight against far-left and Palestinian groups supported by the Soviet Union.

After terrorist attacks on France in the 1990s, Bruguiere became an expert on Al Qaeda and an early warning voice. Today, he says, errors by Washington contributed to the crisis in Pakistan.

"The situation in Pakistan is among the most worrisome," he writes. "The central government has lost control of certain elements of the army and the ISI, an intelligence service that no longer has the trust of its foreign partners."

The judge cites his investigation of Willie Brigitte, a Frenchman who was convicted of terrorism charges in 2007.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Al Qaeda militants helped Brigitte go to Pakistan to train with hundreds of Arabs and Westerners and several thousand Pakistanis and Afghans at a mountain complex in Punjab. Affiliated with Al Qaeda, the camp was run jointly by the Lashkar-e-Taiba extremist group and Pakistani security forces, which supplied arms and instructors, the book says.

CIA officers accompanied by Pakistani officials made four inspections of the camp, part of an agreement in which Pakistan had promised to prevent foreign militants from training with Lashkar, Bruguiere writes.

"But, since most of the officers of Lashkar belonged to the army, these inspections were doomed to draw a blank," the book says. "The foreign recruits were alerted on the eve of the arrival of the inspection teams by their instructors, military men informed by their hierarchy.

"The trainees then had to . . . erase any traces of their presence and head to an elevation of more than 13,000 feet while the inspection lasted."

The book says Brigitte testified that his handler was a Pakistani military officer, identified as Sajid, who sent the Frenchman to Australia to join a cell plotting bomb attacks on targets that included a nuclear plant. Alerted by French investigators on Brigitte's trail, Australian police arrested the group in 2003.

Sajid also dispatched militants for missions in Britain and in Virginia, where authorities later convicted Americans who were part of a group known as the "paintball jihadis" and who were fellow trainees of Brigitte, the book says. A French court convicted Brigitte on terrorism charges and sentenced him to nine years in prison.

In 2006, Bruguiere went to the Pakistani port city of Karachi to investigate a suicide bombing that had killed 11 French naval contractors three years earlier. Pakistani security officials were uncooperative and hostile, he asserts.

"French officials in Pakistan were the target of threats and physical intimidation: a way of dissuading us from returning," he writes.

The George W. Bush administration underestimated the threat in Pakistan largely because it was distracted by the war in Iraq, Bruguiere says. He says U.S.-French tensions over Iraq did not harm anti-terrorism cooperation, and he writes about his many friends and allies in U.S. law enforcement.

But Bruguiere says he warned U.S. officials that the war would worsen Islamic extremism. He dismisses former Vice President **** Cheney and former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz as "men who did not understand the Arab world" and "felt invested with a quasi-divine sense of mission."

At the same time, Bruguiere shares with U.S. conservatives a deep suspicion of Iran. Attacks by Iranian operatives in France and elsewhere show that Tehran's security apparatus is the "real heart of power," the book says.

Iran has used systematic deception to manipulate Western diplomats in talks about its nuclear program, while preparing a global terrorist infrastructure that could be used in a confrontation with the West, Bruguiere charges.

Iran also could strike in unexpected ways in remote places such as West Africa or Latin America, where Tehran's longtime ally Hezbollah has an entrenched presence, Bruguiere warns.

"These networks . . . are able to create circumstantial alliances with drug cartels operating in Colombia and Mexico," the book says, referring to the convergence of extremists and traffickers as "a complex configuration of threats directed at the United States."

Latest Replies

Global Defence

New threads