(Kaluchak) & After
many of them innocent civilians, including 11 children, were killed
in a savage suicide attack by a group of three terrorists at
Kaluchak near Jammu on May 14,2002. A hitherto unknown terrorist
organisation calling itself Al Mansooreen and the
Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen have claimed responsibility.
local Police have managed to identify the three terrorists as
Pakistani Punjabis. One of them hailed from Faislabad and the
other two from Gujranwala. Faislabad
is the place where 20 Al Qaeda terrorists, including Abu Zubaida,
stated to be No.3 in the Al Qaeda, were captured by the Pakistani
authorities, prodded by the USA's Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI), on March 28,2002, and handed over to the FBI for
interrogation. They had been given sanctuary in Faislabad by
the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), a Pakistani Punjabi organisation based at
Muridke , near Lahore, , which along with the Jaish-e- Mohammad (JEM),
another Pakistani Punjabi oprganisation based in Karachi's Binori
madrasa, has been responsible for 33 suicide attacks in Jammu &
Kashmir (J&K) and New Delhi since the middle of 1999, when the
Pakistani jihadi organisations, which are members of Osama bin
Laden's International Islamic Front For Jihad Against the US and
Israel, started emulating the Al Qaeda's suicide tactics.
on the presence of the Al Qaeda near the Indian border in Pakistani
Punjab as indicated by the capture of Abu Zubaida and 19 other Al
Qaeda members, this writer had stated on April 8,2002:
"The reported shifting of the Al Qaeda dregs by the ISI and the
LET to Punjab and the POK has serious security implications for
India since these trained terrorists may be infiltrated into J &
K after the snow melts in order to maintain the level of violence
and disrupt the forthcoming elections in the State."
pointed out by this writer in an earlier article of January
30,2002, the Afghan war of the 1980s against the Soviet troops gave
birth to what came to be known as a crop of Afghan
returnees----mainly Arabs, Pakistanis and others, who had fought in
Afghanistan. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, they
spread to other countries in the Islamic as well as the non-Islamic
world and created havoc through acts of terrorism.
present US-led war against terrorism in Afghanistan has given birth
to a new crop of Afghan returnees---consisting largely of trained
Pakistanis belonging to terrorist organisations such as the HUM, the
HUJI, the LET, the JEM, the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), the Al
Fuqra etc, who managed to survive the US air strikes and have
returned to Pakistan.
old wave of international terrorism, which culminated in the
terrorist strikes of September 11, 2001, in the US came largely from
this first crop of Afghan returnees. "A new wave of
international terrorism, of which the attack on the Indian
Parliament (December 13, 2001), the attack on the security personnel
outside the American Centre in Kolkata (January 22, 2002) and the
kidnapping of the WSJ journalist (January 23, 2002) are the
beginning, would largely come from this second and new crop of
Afghan returnees. The
international coalition against terrorism has to closely monitor and
neutralise the activities of the new crop".
is a connecting thread running through the attack on the Jammu &
Kashmir Legislative Assembly on October 1,2001, the attack on the
Indian Parliament at New Delhi on December 13,2001, the killing of
the security personnel guarding the American Centre at Kolkata
(Calcutta) on January 22,2002, the kidnapping on January 23, 2002,
of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist working for the "Wall
Street Journal" and his subsequent brutal murder, the grenade
attack on the worshippers in a church in Islamabad on March 17,2002,
in which five persons, two of them Americans, were killed, the
suicide explosion in Karachi on May 8,2002, in which 11 French
nationals working on a submarine project, who were possibly mistaken
for Americans, were killed and the Kaluchak incident of May
14,2002. All of them seem to have involved the dregs of the
current war in Afghanistan.
dregs belong to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI),
the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), the Sipah-e-
Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM)
and the Al Fuqra. They initially moved into the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Balochistan and the North-West
Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, but have since reportedly
spread across to other areas such as Sindh, Pakistani Punjab and the
Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), including the Northern Areas (NA--Gilgit
farce of a ban imposed on January 15,2002, by President Pervez
Musharraf on the LET, the JEM, the SSP and the TNSM is still in
force on paper, but most of those arrested under it have since been
released and many of the trained terrorist cadres of these
organisations have been moved to POK, including NA, to which
Musharraf has not extended the ban. Moreover, the ban does not
apply to the HUM, HUJI and the Al Fuqra.
new organisation calling itself the Lashkar-e-Omar (LEO), consisting
of these dregs, has come to notice since November 2001.
The origin of the name of LEO (the Army of Omar) is not
clear. Some reports say it is named after Mulla Mohammad Omar,
the Amir of the Taliban, and consists of the dregs of the Taliban,
the Al Qaeda, and the Pakistani jehadi organisations allied
with bin Laden in the International Islamic Front, who managed to
survive the US air strikes and crossed over into Pakistan.
According to other reports, it is named after Omar Sheikh and
consists of hand-picked cadres of the HUJI, the JEM and the LET.
to notice for the first time in November 2001, when it claimed
responsibility for an attack on a group of Pakistani Christians
praying in a church in Bhawalpur in Punjab, where Maulana Masood
Azhar of the JEM lives. Subsequently, it was suspected in
connection with the grenade attack on a group of Pakistani and
foreign Christians praying in a church in Islamabad on March 17,
2002,killing five persons, including the wife and daughter of an
official of the US Embassy in Islamabad. He escaped with
injuries. This attack was seen by many as targeted at him.
Sheikh, presently undergoing trial in Hyderabad, Sindh, for his
involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl and Amjad
Hussain Faruqui of the HUJI, an absconding accused in the case, were
both closely linked with the LEO, whose cadres were trained in
training camps in Taliban-controlled territory. Before his surrender
to a retired officer of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at
Lahore on February 5,2002, Omar Sheikh used to head the Lahore
office of the Al Qaeda and visit Kandahar to meet bin Laden.
"News" (February 18,2002), a prestigious daily of
Pakistan, reported that during his interrogation Omar Sheikh
admitted his involvement not only in the kidnapping of Pearl, but
also in the above-mentioned attacks in Srinagar, New Delhi and
Kolkata, but Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment denied
this report and had the Editor of the newspaper sacked for
anger of these dregs, as seen from their propaganda, has been mainly
directed against the USA, Israel and India. They are angry
against the USA for the casualties inflicted on them in Afghanistan.
Their anger against India is due to J & K as well as the Indian
assistance to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. While the
rest of the world abandoned the Northern Alliance after the capture
of Kabul by the Taliban in September, 1996, only India, Russia and
some of the Central Asian Republics (CARS) continued to stand by it
and assisted it in whatever way they could. Another reason for
their anger against India is its growing co-operation with the USA
in various fields, particularly the military field.
reasons for their anger against Israel are self-evident. These dregs
feel that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the Hamas and
the Hizbollah are quite capable of resisting Israel through their
own efforts and, therefore, see no need for any action by them
against Israeli nationals and interests. Moreover, the PLO,
the HAMAS and the Hizbollah themselves do not want to have anything
to do with bin Laden or these dregs.
they have been focussing their operations mainly against US and
Indian nationals and interests. Their attack on the French was
a surprise and the only way of explaining it is that they probably
mistook the French for Americans.
Pervez Musharraf has been following a two-pronged policy with regard
to these dregs. He has been taking advantage of their
redoubled anger against India for keeping Indian security forces and
civilian personnel bleeding in J&K and other parts of India.
He has protected them against attacks by the US and British troops,
either by not sharing pin-point intelligence about their location
with the allied forces or by avoiding co-operation in joint
operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan. He has been acting
against them in Pakistani territory, only when forced by the US to
do so as it happened in Faislabad.
the same time, he has been embarrassed by their operations against
US nationals and interests in Pakistani territory and by their
attack on the French. His inability to persuade them to
concentrate their operations only against India and not to attack
Americans and other non-Indian targets could be partly attributed to
the encouragement received by them in their anti-American actions
from serving officers of the military-intelligence establishment
such as Gen. Mohammad Aziz, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Committee, and retired officers such as Lt.Gen. Hamid Gul,
Lt.Gen.Javed Nasir and Lt.Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, all former
Directors-General of the ISI. According to some reports from
Islamabad, even Gen. Mohammad Yusuf, the Vice-Chief of the Army
Staff, aggrieved by Musharraf's retaining the post of Chief of the
Army Staff, is now siding with Aziz. It is said that out of
about 30 Lt. Generals in the Pakistan Army, at least three (the
third one remains unidentified) have been critical of Musharraf's
sections of the senior and middle level officers of the ISI
(difficult to quantify their strength) also share this
anti-Americanism and have avoided any action to stop the anti-US
activities of these dregs in Pakistani territory. Thus, India
and the USA have a common interest in neutralising these dregs
through joint covert actions.
this connection, the following observations of this writer after the
December 13,2001, attack on the Indian Parliament remain as valid
today as they were at the time they were made:
air strikes and cross-border raids on training camps and safe havens
could effectively end terrorism, Israel should be free of
foreign-sponsored terrorism today. The fact that even after 30
years of a macho counter-terrorism policy, Israeli blood continues
to flow should show the ineffectiveness of its strategy"
far too long, India has reacted too passively to Pakistan's use of
terrorism as a low-cost covert weapon against us. We should
have gone into a counter proxy war mode months, if not years, ago.
Having failed to do so, in the moment of post-December 13
anger, we should not abruptly move from one extreme of passivity to
the other extreme of unthinking activism in the name of graduated
situation we face today is due to the long neglect of the need for a
carefully-worked out counter proxy war doctrine to be implemented
consistently, intelligently and with determination. Now is the
time for formulating such a doctrine and implementing it---more
covertly than overtly. A counter proxy war doctrine would
provide space for both overt, correct State-to-State relations and
simultaneously, covert undermining of the wielder of terrorism.
the December 13 incident, which is a challenge to the Indian State,
a graduated response to increase the pressure on Pakistan is
necessary, but in working out the basket of overt diplomatic and
economic options, we should avoid getting into a bind of exhausting all
non-military options too soon and unthinkingly and finding ourselves
facing a cruel choice of either the military option or a loss of
face if we don't militarily act "
is right in intensifying pressure on Pakistan and the international
community to put an end to Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism in
Indian Territory. Its campaign is already yielding some
results in the form of the US designation of the LET and the JEM as
foreign terrorist organisations, arrests of their leaders by
Pakistan, freezing of their accounts etc.
actions, however gratifying, are not going to end terrorism.
The JEM, the LET and the HUM have already enough Pakistani cadres
and weapons in India to be able to operate autonomously at
least for a couple of years more unless our internal security is
largely depend on clandestine money, mainly heroin money, for
keeping their operations sustained.
Even if the US-led allies manage to end once for all the
production and smuggling of fresh heroin from Afghanistan, there is
enough heroin in Pakistan from previous years' production to keep
terrorist activities sustained at least for two years.
very important aspect of identifying the many weak points in our
internal security apparatus and removing them in order to smoke out
the terrorists already in our midst is not receiving the attention
it urgently requires.
a stop to Pakistani sponsorship is important. Equally so is
setting matters right in our internal security apparatus. Unless and
until we do this effectively, more December 13s are likely'
in our internal security infrastructure as evidenced by the ease
with which the terrorists have been repeatedly breaching the
physical security arrangements by following the same modus operandi
of masquerading as officers of the security forces and the lack of a
counter-proxy war policy through covert actions continue to be our
weak points in dealing with Pakistan's proxy war.
writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of
India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,
special arrangement with South Asian Analysis Group, New Delhi