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Executive Summary
B Raman


The operation, code-named OP Anaconda by the US, in the Shah-e-Kot area (Arma mountains) near Gardez in the Paktia province of eastern Afghanistan involved a major confrontation between the allied forces led by the US and a mixed group of determined guerrilla fighters, operating from inside a cave complex in the area.

On the side of the international coalition were about 1,200 troops from the US and 200 from Australia, Canada, the UK and other West European countries, reportedly assisted by about 800 Pashtuns of the area. These were subsequently joined by about 1000 Tadjiks of the Northern Alliance rushed to the area from Kabul, resulting in a strong criticism by the local Pashtun warlords of the induction of the Tadjiks into a Pashtun area. They interpreted this as an insult to their fighting prowess.

Who were pitted against the coalition troops? The answer to this is not clear. American spokesmen have described them as a mix of the remnants of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. However, other reports, considered more independent, describe them as a moderate sized contingent of Pakistanis led by Arab instructors of the 055 Brigade of the Al Qaeda.

The Pakistanis involved in the fighting were the members of the Sunni extremist Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islami (HUJI), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). They had survived the US air strikes in Afghanistan and had managed to return to Pakistani territory. They had been re-grouped and re-trained by a team of retired officers of the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment and many of them re-inducted into eastern Afghanistan (Gardez, Wardak, Ghazni and Khost) to resume the fight against the US troops.

One of their major objectives was to show to the Afghan people as well as to the rest of the world that contrary to the American claims of having vanquished the Taliban and damaged the Al Qaeda-inspired terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan, they were still alive and kicking.

In a report carried on 13 March 2002, The News of Islamabad has quoted an Afghan commander in the area as saying that most of the guerrillas involved in the fighting were Pakistanis and Arabs. The fighting, often bitter, lasted 11 days at the end of which the Afghan troops claimed to have captured the area from the Pakistanis and Arabs on 12 March 2002. The News has quoted General Abdullah Joyenda, an Afghan commander assisting the US troops, as saying that most of the surviving Pakistanis and Arabs retreated towards the Pakistani border. The report does not say whether they have re-entered Pakistan.

For want of adequate information, it is difficult to find an acceptable answer to many questions such as: How did the fighting erupt? Did the Pakistanis and Arabs surprise the Americans or did the Americans surprise them in their hide-out? How was it that during the earlier electronic and ground sweep during and after the fighting in the Tora Bora area the presence of these remnants in this area (Shah-e-Kot) escaped notice? If they were not present in this area at that time, wherefrom did they infiltrate into this area now? From some other area of Afghanistan or from Pakistan?

There is a cloak of secrecy about the nature of the fighting and the ultimate results. From the details filtering out of Pakistan, one could assess, with some measure of conviction, that the Americans, who suffered fatal casualties of eight of their personnel due to enemy fire directed at their helicopters, relied as they have been doing since 7 October 2001, on air power, precision-guided fire power of tremendous destructive capability and long-range ground firing capability. They avoided any ground action, which might have brought their troops into close proximity of the guerrillas.

For close proximity action such as that undertaken on 12 March 2002, they depended on the Afghans in order to avoid heavy casualties for their own troops. After having softened the guerrilla position on the ground through air strikes and long-range firing, they used the Afghans for finally capturing the cave complex from the control of the jehadi guerillas and for the mopping-up operations.

Figures of the strength of the jehadi forces pitted against the Americans and of the casualties inflicted on them widely vary. The American claim of having killed over 500 fighters of the Al Qaeda and the Taliban during the 11-day action are not corroborated by the accounts of the Afghan allies of the US who put the number of dead bodies recovered during their mopping-up on 12 March at less than 50.

Despite the paucity of reliable information filtering across the curtain imposed by the Americans, it would appear till now that Anaconda was more an embarrassing surprise for the Americans than a famous victory.

Embarrassing surprise because it proved the earlier American belief or claims of having defeated the mix of the Taliban and the Al Qaeda to have been premature. Also because Anaconda has shown, if proof was needed, that the entire war against terrorism could come unstuck if they do not deal with the dregs of the present Afghan war, who are now operating from Pakistani territory.

During the 1980s, the Pakistani territory in Baluchistan, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) functioned effectively and devastatingly as the rear base for the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign, essentially Arab, mercenary groups which made the Soviet troops bleed. The very same Pakistani sanctuaries are now sought to be used by the surviving dregs of the Taliban, the Al Qaeda and the Pakistani jehadi conglomerate to frustrate the US-led campaign in the Pashtun areas of southern and eastern Afghanistan.

Instead of focussing on this, the Bush Administration is letting its attention and that of its allies be diverted to the more alluring task of turning the guns on President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. ‘If not bin Laden, let us at least get the head of Saddam Hussein as our trophy.’ That seems to be the cry in Washington DC.

They may be able to get the head of Saddam, but that would not be the end of the terrorism directed against homeland America. The key to the end of the Al Qaeda-inspired terrorism against homeland America and the rest of the international community lies in the Pakistan-southern/eastern Afghanistan region and not in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Georgia or southern Philippines. Till the Pakistan/Afghanistan region is totally cleared of, and sanitised against, the terrorist infection, more September 11s are likely.

The warning signs are there, loud and clear, for the Americans to read if only they open their eyes fully instead of fighting the war against terrorism with their eyes half open/half closed as they have been doing now, lest, if they open them fully, they see Pakistan for what it really is, the snake pit of international terrorism.

Shah-e-Kot was only one of these warning signs, but not the first. There were others before it:

l The kidnapping and brutal murder of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist.

l Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s suspension of his actions against the terrorist groups after the kidnapping.

l The release of 600 of the 2,000 arrested extremists by him on the ground that there was no evidence of their involvement in terrorism.

l The offer of an amnesty by Lieutenant General (retd) Moinuddin Haider, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, to the remaining 1,400 if they give in writing that they would not re-join the banned terrorist organisations - the easiest thing for them to do.

l The revival of sectarian violence in different cities of Pakistan despite Musharraf’s ban on the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah Mohammad on 14 August 2001, and on five other terrorist organisations on 15 January 2002, including the Sunni extremist SSP and the Shia extremist Tehrik Jaffria Pakistan.

l The continuing collusion of Pakistan’s military intelligence establishment with terrorists of various hues so vividly brought out by the Daniel Pearl case, the arrest of Omar Shaikh and Musharraf’s pussy-footing on the question of his extradition, the failure to act effectively against the dregs from Afghanistan re-grouping in Pakistani sanctuaries etc.

If these warning signs are not heeded, another terrorist Pearl Harbour is likely - sooner than later.

14 March 2002


On 12 March 2002, a court in Karachi extended the police remand of Omar Shaikh, the British terrorist of Pakistani origin, who is believed to have masterminded the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist. Pearl was subsequently reported to have been brutally murdered and beheaded, most probably by the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) headed by Qazi Saifullah Akhtar, which has always been close to the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment and General Pervez Musharraf.

As already repeatedly pointed out by this writer, the Pakistani authorities have been trying hard to steer the investigation away from the HUJI and to project it as the work of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), one of the five terrorist organisations banned by Musharraf on
15 January 2002. They are afraid that if the HUJI’s involvement became public knowledge there could be US demands for banning it.

An interesting thing happened in the court on 12 March. When the Karachi Police moved the application for the extension of his Police remand on the ground that his interrogation was incomplete, Omar Shaikh reportedly remarked: "What do they mean by saying the interrogation is incomplete? They stopped interrogating me more than a fortnight ago. I am prepared to talk to them, but they are afraid of my talking."

In fact, reports from independent and usually reliable sources in the Karachi Police say that in the beginning of March, Musharraf ordered the stopping of all interrogation of Omar Shaikh in connection with his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Pearl and other terrorist incidents.

When the Karachi Police took custody of Omar Shaikh from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on
12 February he started talking to them freely and voluntarily about his activities since he was released by India in the last week of December, 1999, to terminate the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar by the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM). He said that:

l He had since then been functioning from Lahore with the knowledge and permission of the ISI. At Lahore, he was in regular touch with General Mohammad Aziz Khan, who was a Corps Commander there, till his appointment as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee on 8 October 2001.

l He was frequently travelling to Kandahar to meet Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban, and Osama bin Laden and also to Dubai.

l He had personally met Mohammad Atta, the mastermind of the 11 September terrorist strikes on the World Trade Centre in New York, during one of his visits to Kandahar and knew of the plans for the
11 September strikes. He had told Lieutenant General Ehsanul-Haq, the present DG of the ISI, who was then a Corps Commander at Peshawar, and General Aziz Khan about it.

l He had personally accompanied Musharraf and Aziz to the headquarters of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), at Muridke, near Lahore, when they had gone there before Musharraf’s India visit in July last to appeal to the LET not to oppose his visit to New Delhi.

l He had orchestrated the attacks on the Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly on 1 October 2001, and on the Indian Parliament at New Delhi on 13 December 2001, and the firing incident outside the American Centre in Kolkata on 22 January 2002. He knew Aftab Ansari, the mafia leader, who is presently under interrogation in India in connection with the Kolkata incident. All these attacks were organised with the knowledge and approval of the ISI.

l Pearl was kidnapped and murdered because he was making enquiries about the links of the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment with bin Laden and wanted to meet people who would have knowledge of the present whereabouts of bin Laden. They suspected that Pearl was being used by the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to recruit people who might be prepared to betray bin Laden and help in his capture.

l More spectacular terrorist acts against the US were in the offing.

Sindhi Officers of the Karachi Police, who had been extremely resentful of the manner in which Musharraf, a Mohajir, had made them work under the supervision of Army monitors much junior to them in rank, leaked to the media what Omar Shaikh told them about his involvement in the terrorist attacks in India.

Kamran Khan of The News of Islamabad reported about this in his periodic column. This set off a wave of panic in the GHQ at Rawalpindi and in the ISI headquarters, who tried to discredit Kamran Khan’s story by saying that Omar Shaikh had been tutored to say all this about his involvement in the terrorist attacks in India. Though they did not specify who had tutored him, the insinuation was that India had tutored him to discredit Pakistan and Musharraf.

They then pressured the owner of The News to sack the Editor of the paper and three of his journalists, including Kamran Khan, who had been publishing a lot of reports on the Pearl case which cast doubts on Musharraf’s sincerity.

Musharraf spoke to the father of Omar Shaikh and requested him to persuade his son not to make such statements which harmed Pakistan’s supreme national interest. The father was allowed to talk to his son over phone and, on his appeal, Omar Shaikh agreed to retract his earlier statements and deny ever having said these things.

In fact, in keeping with his promise to his father, he did retract, but subsequently, he again started saying that he stood by whatever he had stated earlier.

Musharraf then ordered the Karachi Police not to interrogate him any longer and to treat him well. The military-intelligence establishment is in a dilemma. It is determined not to  extradite him to the USA lest he repeat before the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) what he had told the Karachi Police. At the same time, they don’t want to try him in Pakistan either.

Amongst the various options reportedly being considered are to have him declared insane and unfit for trial and extradition or, if need be, to eliminate him and show him as having been killed when an attempt was made to free him by the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, the banned Sunni extremist organisation, which has recently stepped up its anti-Shia activities in Karachi.

13 March 2002


General Retreat has retreated again. In the face of mounting pressure from Pakistan’s clandestine Army of Islam, headed by General Mohammad Aziz Khan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and mounting terrorist violence in different parts of the country, climaxed by the grenade attack on a group of American and other foreign Christian worshippers in a church in a high security Islamabad area on 17 March 2002, General Pervez Musharraf has called off the implementation of all the measures which he had ostensibly taken against the extremist/terrorist elements operating from Pakistani territory against India and the US.

Even before the Islamabad attack, which led to the deaths of five innocent Christians, two of them the wife and daughter of a member of the staff of the US Embassy in Islamabad, Musharraf, after the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, who was brutally killed by components of the Army of Islam, had totally suspended the implementation of all the anti-extremist and anti-terrorist measures which he had announced in his televised address of 12 January 2002, much to the applause of the US and other Western countries.

The retreat, which then started, is now threatening to become a rout. Not only the leaders of the mainstream Islamic parties, who were detained after the beginning of the US-led war in Afghanistan on 7 October 2001, but also the leaders and cadres of the various components of the Army of Islam and other sectarian and jehadi groups, who were detained  before and after 12 January 2002, are being released post-haste.

Assurances have been conveyed to them through intermediaries such as General Mohammad Aziz and Lieutenant General Ehsanul-Haq, the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), that under no account would Musharraf betray these jehadi-terrorists and weaken their capability to carry on their jehad directed against India and the USA.

Musharraf’s post-September volte face vis-a-vis the Taliban and the Al Qaeda and post-12 January steps vis-a-vis the jehadi-terrorists operating from Pakistan are being projected in realpolitik terms, as meant to get over Pakistan’s serious economic difficulties and to break out of its diplomatic isolation and not as a reversal of his past policy of building up strength  and capability of the Army of Islam.

The serious difficulties faced by Musharraf, so dramatically illustrated by the grenade attack on the worshippers in the church of Islamabad on 17 March 2002, could be attributed to the following:

l The re-assertion by the Army of Islam elements in the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment of their influence and power under the leadership of General Mohammad Aziz Khan and Musharraf’s increasing inability to control them. He was their principal creator before he seized power on 12 October 1999, and they are now threatening to devour him if he went ahead with his measures against them.

l The incompetence and ineffectiveness of the Interior Minister, Lieutenant General (retd) Moinuddin Haider, a Mohajir like Musharraf, and his inability to make the civilian bureaucracy in general and the police in particular carry out his orders.

l Seething resentment against Musharraf in the Police, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and other sections of the civilian security bureaucracy. They are not doing the job for which they are meant - namely, enforcement of law and order and internal security. "Serves him (Musharraf) right," is their refrain as they have been dragging their feet in the investigation of cases such as the murder of Danial Pearl, and in controlling  the increasing attacks on the Shias. They have also been  inspiring leaks to the public about what Omar Shaikh, whose extradition the US has demanded in connection with the Pearl case and another kidnapping case of 1994 in India in which an American national was involved, has been telling the police about the involvement of not only the ISI, but even Musharraf and Mohammad Aziz with the terrorist elements.

Pakistan’s previous military rulers - particularly Zia-ul-Haq - had at least some humility to realise that the military-intelligence establishment, however powerful, could not effectively govern the country without the willing cooperation of the civilian bureaucracy. Zia  took care to keep the civilian bureaucrats in good humour.

In marked contrast, Musharraf, known for his arrogance and over-estimation of his own capabilities, has gone out of his way ever since the day he seized power to marginalise and humiliate not only the mainstream political leadership in general, Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML),  and Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), in particular, but also the civilian bureaucracy.

He has inducted serving and retired officers of the Army as "performance monitors" not only in all ministries of the Federal Government, but also at all levels of the provincial administration. Officers of the traditionally civilian IB and of the Police have been forced to work under military monitors, who are much below them in rank and status and take their approval for every action. Abdul Sattar, the Foreign Minister, cannot post even a minor Ambassador without the approval of an Army Brigadier sitting in the Foreign Office as "performance monitor".

The bureaucracy in general and the Police in particular have started hitting back at Musharraf - by not passing on to him the correct information; by not giving him the correct advice; by not enforcing law and order; by not vigorously investigating criminal cases; by instigating the extremist and terrorist elements to hit back at him; and by leaking stories to the media and public about Musharraf’s past links with bin Laden and other terrorists.

The time has come for the US to realise that in its war against terrorism Musharraf is not an asset, but a liability and to work determinedly for:

l The replacement of Mohammad Aziz Khan and Moinuddin Haider by more reliable officers with a clean record.

l The restoration of the morale and authority of the civilian bureaucracy in general and the Police and the IB in particular.

l The withdrawal of the military officers inducted into the IB by Musharraf and the establishment of the civilian IB’s primacy in Pakistan’s intelligence community.

l The removal of the ban on political activities and on the return of Sharif and Benazir to Pakistan so that they could again play their due role in national politics.

l The withdrawal of the military to the barracks and the joint formation of a government of national unity by Sharif and Benazir as a prelude to the holding of genuinely free elections.

l The retirement of Musharraf and all others involved with the terrorists in the past.

Unless and until this is done, the situation in the epicentre of terrorism constituted by Pakistan and southern Afghanistan would continue to deteriorate from bad to worse.

20 March 2002


There are indications that to avoid detection of their presence in Pakistani territory by the US intelligence agencies and possible cross border (Pakistan-Afghan border) punitive strikes by the US forces operating in Afghanistan, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan has started shifting important elements of the Al Qaeda, including surviving leaders of its brains trust, to Pakistani Punjab and the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), including the Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan).

Since December, 2001, sections of the Pakistani media have been reporting about the movement of the Al Qaeda survivors towards Punjab as well as the POK by the ISI-supported Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). This movement has continued, despite the ostensible ban on the LET imposed by General Pervez Musharraf on 15 January 2002, under US pressure.

The role played by the LET’s headquarters at Muridke, near Lahore, in facilitating the movement of Al Qaeda cadres to and from Afghanistan had been highlighted by the prestigious Friday Times of Lahore in its issue for the week from 14 to 20 December 2001. It wrote: "Muridke, a city within a city, was built with Arab (author’s comment: bin Laden’s) money.....Its (the LET’s) contact with the Wahabi camps in Kunnar in Afghanistan has never been disowned although Muridke carefully mutes its obvious connections with the Arab warriors in Afghanistan. Its connections with Osama bin Laden have also been carefully hidden although news appearing in the national press have linked the two....Lashkar’s office in Muridke used to receive a large number of Arabs on a daily basis and was a transit camp for those leaving for Afghanistan and Central Asia."

When Musharraf banned the LET on 15 January 2002, and detained its leader, Prof Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, a Punjabi Gujjar, (since released), he refrained from extending the ban order to the POK, including the Northern Areas, and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He had the offices of the LET in the small towns raided to satisfy the US that he was acting against the terrorists, but did not raid the LET headquarters at Muridke, which had sheltered a large number of Al Qaeda survivors, who had fled from Afghanistan.

With the complicity of the ISI, the LET started moving the Al Qaeda survivors to private homes in different towns in Punjab as well as to its camps in the POK. The Friday Times reported in its issue for 1 to 7 February 2002: "Sources say that when Dawatul Irshad (Markaz Dawa Al Irshad since re-named as Jamaat al-Dawa), parent organisation of the now banned Lashkar Tayyaba, shifted its activities to Azad Kashmir (POK), it took with it many non-Pakistanis suspected of links to Al Qaeda. All these organisations were loosely affiliated and their activists moved across organisations and cells with a great degree of ease, an intelligence source said."

The Friday Times added: "Just before the Musharraf Government took action against the organisation, there were quite a few foreigners residing at Dawa’s headquarters in Muridke. Most of these people had infiltrated into Pakistan in the initial stages of the war, says an insider. Some of these people shifted along with other Lashkar cadres to Azad Kashmir (POK) after Hafiz Mohammad Saeed resigned under pressure from the Government. After his resignation, he also constituted another jihadi group called Jamaat al-Dawa while the supreme council nominated Abdul Wahid Kashmiri, another senior member of the Dawatul Irshad, as its new Amir. Insiders say some of these foreigners are also said to be linked to Hezbul Tehreer and work under the supervision of Abdul Qadeem Zaloom, a Saudi-based person with links to the Al Qaeda," it concluded.

The raids conducted by the Pakistani Police and security agencies, under the prodding of the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the USA, at Faislabad, Lahore and Multan on 28 and 29 March 2002, which led to the arrest and detention of 20 Al  Qaeda activists, including Abu Zubaida, reportedly No. 3 in bin Laden’s set-up, and 10 of their Pakistani supporters, many of them from the LET, brought to light the fact that even after the shifting of many of the Al Qaeda dregs to POK by the LET, with the connivance of the ISI, many continue to operate from Punjab.

During his visit to Kabul on 2 April 2002, Musharraf himself admitted that the intelligence regarding the presence of these Al Qaeda elements came from the US agencies while follow-up action on the intelligence was taken by the Pakistani agencies.

It is difficult to accept that the Punjab Police and the agencies of the Federal Government such as the ISI and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) would not have been aware of the shifting of the Al Qaeda dregs, including members of its brains trust, by organisations such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islami (HUJI), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the LET away from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border towards the Indian border in order to protect them from any hot pursuit raids by the US forces operating from Afghan territory across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

According to the Friday Times, after his release by the Government of India, Sheikh Omar had opened an office of the Al Qaeda in Lahore. He was operating from Lahore - on behalf of  Al Qaeda as well as the HUM. It is learnt that after his surrender to the Pakistani authorities on 5 February 2002, Sheikh Omar had been voluntarily telling the Karachi Police not only about his terrorist activities in India, but also about his activities on behalf of bin Laden and that he had told the Karachi Police about the presence of Abu Zubaida in Faislabad.

Hence, it is not as if the presence of the Al Qaeda dregs in Faislabad and other strongholds of the LET was not known to the ISI and Musharraf. It is reported that the FBI, fearing that the Punjab Police may not successfully execute the raids due to its complicity with the LET, wanted that the personnel of the raiding parties should be from Islamabad or Sindh and that they should not inform the Punjab Police about the raids. Islamabad Police officers were, therefore, specially deputed for the raids by Musharraf and Lt Gen (retd) Moinuddin Haider, the Interior Minister.

At the same time, Musharraf and Haider were reported to have instructed the raiding parties that they should ensure that Abu Zubaida was not caught alive. Even though he had only a knife and no firearm and resisted arrest only with the help of his knife, the Pakistani security personnel opened fire on him riddling his body with bullets, particularly in the abdominal region. A special team of US military doctors has been frantically trying to save his life in the naval hospital in Diego Garcia.

Pakistani sources say that while the Americans were aware of the presence of the Al Qaeda dregs in Faislabad, they were not aware that Abu Zubaida was one of them. It would seem that is why when the Pakistanis indiscriminately opened fire, the American officers accompanying them did not try to stop them.

Apart from being in charge of the Al Qaeda training camps till 7 October 2001, and of the special operations and personal security of bin Laden after the death of Mohammad Atef in November, 2001, Abu Zubaida, who is computer savvy, was also in charge of the computer network of the Al Qaeda and used to train the Al Qaeda cadres in the use of the Internet for clandestine communications and other operational purposes.

Where did he acquire his knowledge of computer technology? In India - according to accounts of his past life as published in the Pakistani media after his arrest. He is reported to have undergone a two-year computer course in a private institute of Pune. Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in March 1971 of Palestinian parents of Gaza origin, he traveled to Peshawar with an Egyptian passport in 1987 to join the CIA-sponsored jihad in Afghanistan. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, he reportedly came to India in 1990 and joined an institute in Pune to learn computer technology. After the course, he returned to Peshawar in 1992. He was arrested by the Peshawar Police following the recovery of a number of passports of different countries and US $ 12,000 from him. The Peshawar Police registered a case against him under the Foreigners Act. After his release on bail, he fled to Afghanistan from where he returned later and applied to the UNHCR office in Peshawar for political refugee status. After bin Laden returned to Jalalabad from Khartoum, Sudan, in July, 1996, he joined him and started assisting him in running his training camps. In 1999, he again took up residence in Peshawar under the cover of a trader in Afghan honey and ran a transit house for those going to bin Laden’s training camps.

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. It may be recalled that in 1999 too, Musharraf had shifted the trained terrorists of bin Laden’s International Islamic Front to the Northern Areas. It was they, who initially occupied the Kargil heights and were later replaced by regular Pakistani troops. In 1988, Musharraf, under the orders of Zia-ul-Haq, had used bin Laden and his tribal hordes for ruthlessly suppressing a Shia revolt against Islamabad in Gilgit.

Reports of the recent fighting by the dregs of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other components of the International Islamic Front against the US troops (Operation Anaconda) have brought to light the participation of trained Indonesian jihadis in the fight against the US troops. It is learnt that these jihadis were trained in the training camp of the LET in the Muridke area from where they were sent to Eastern Afghanistan to participate in the fighting against the US troops. According to The News of Islamabad (15 March 2002) one of the dead bodies recovered by the pro-US Afghan troops after the recent fighting in the Shahi Kot area had an Indonesian identity card.

Evidence available so far indicates that while recruits from Malaysia and possibly Singapore are trained in the headquarters of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) in the Binori madrasa complex in Karachi, those from Indonesia are trained in the Muridke complex of the LET, near Lahore. The HUM had always been training the recruits from Southern Philippines and Myanmar, in addition to those from Xinjiang, Chechnya, Dagestan and the Central Asian Republics. The HUJI trains those from Bangladesh. Before 7 October 2001, the training camps of the HUM and the HUJI were located in Eastern Afghanistan. It is not known where they have been shifted since then. However, it is known that in the past they had used the infrastructure of the Tablighi Jamaat in Raiwind in Punjab for training purposes.

The HUM and the HUJI specialise in kidnapping, but the LET and the JEM emulate the suicide terrorism of Al Qaeda, the Hamas and the Hizbollah. There is, therefore, a danger of suicide terrorism finding its way to South-East Asia in course of time.

7 April 2002





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