Homeland Security

How Pakistan's Proxy War Began - II
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By B Raman

HUM office-bearers also claimed that amongst the foreign volunteers trained by them were 16 Afro-American Muslims from the US. They also claimed that since the demolition of the Babri Masjid in India in December 1992, the HUM had been receiving funds from some members of the Indian Muslim community in the UK.

The News further reported on March 27, 1995 as follows: “Official investigation has revealed that dozens of Saudis committed to jehad all over the world have been visiting the military training camps inside Afghanistan. Sources estimated that at least 2,000 persons, mostly Pakistanis and Arabs of different nationalities, are currently engaged in military training in these camps for jehad in Kashmir and elsewhere in the world.”

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It added: “These sources estimated that since the expulsion of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, at least 10,000 Pakistanis belonging to Islamic parties such as the Jamaat Islami, the HUA, the Markaz Dawa Al Irshad and the Jamiat Ulema Islam have acquired training in making bombs, hurling grenades, firing from light and heavy weapons and in laying mines… The Harkat and all other militant organisations committed to Islamic jehad all over the world have acknowledged sending their guerrillas to Tajikistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, the Philippines, Burma and Kashmir.”

Sources estimated that at least 2,000 persons, mostly Pakistanis and Arabs of different nationalities, are currently engaged in military training in these camps for jehad in Kashmir and elsewhere in the world.

The paper concluded: ‘The Jamaat Islami, the Harkat and other organisations have never been challenged by the Government in their campaign to recruit committed Muslims to commit jehad anywhere in the world. These organisations are also permitted to collect jehad funds anywhere in the country.”

In an investigative report on the activities of the Abu Sayaff (meaning Sword-bearer) group, which has been fighting for the independence of the Muslim-inhabited areas of the southern Philippines, the Far Eastern Economic Review of Hong Kong stated as follows on March 9, 1995: “The Tabligi Jamaat movement in the Philippines has registered a phenomenal growth. Philippine military intelligence sources claim it has as many as 300,000 members in the Muslim areas of Mindanao. A military intelligence document on Islamic fundamentalism further claims that Ramzi Ahmed Yousef was helped by Abu Sayaff’s network to move in and out of the Philippines. Military intelligence sources say that the Abu Sayaff group has bought high-powered arms and that Pakistani veterans of the war in Afghanistan are helping to train its fighters. Sayaff’s lieutenants are composed mainly of Filipino Muslim volunteers, who joined the international Islamic Brigade which fought the Soviets in Afghanistan, the military intelligence document asserts.” (Author’s note: Ramzi Yousef was extradited from Pakistan to the US in March 1995 on charges of complicity in the World Trade Centre bombing in February, 1993, and has since been convicted.)

Book_a_terrorist_stateEarlier (February 23, 1995), the same journal had reported as follows: “Since 1985, groups of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), the armed wing of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), have gained combat experience in Afghanistan. The MILF has tried to shun publicity as it quietly I built up its forces, but some national media attention came its way last year with reports that it had smuggled in a large shipment of high-powered weapons. The Government’s National Intelligence Coordinating Agency reported that the weapons included hundreds of Russian-made rocket-propelled RPG-2 grenades. Also brought in were six 75 mm anti-aircraft guns, American-made B-40 anti-tank rockets and 81 mm mortars.”The report of the US State Department on “Patterns of Global Terrorism” during 1994, submitted to the US Congress in April 1995, for the first time took note of the activities of the HUM (HUA) in the following words: “The HUA raised its visibility (during 1994) by kidnapping two British citizens (in India) in June. This group has recently carried out a number of operations against Indian groups and civilian targets in Kashmir.

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The HUA captured Lt Col Bhupinder Singh in January and demanded that Indian forces turn over an HUA commander in return for Singh’s release. When the Indian authorities refused, the militants killed Singh. In mid-May, HUA militants conducted two attacks in Doda district in which they stopped buses, forced the passengers off, then singled out individuals for execution – the last victim was a 14-year-old Muslim boy.”

This group has recently carried out a number of operations against Indian groups and civilian targets in Kashmir.

The report added: “The HUA has several thousand armed members located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in the southern Kashmir Valley and Doda regions of India. The HUA uses light and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, mortars, explosives and rockets. Membership is open to all who support the HUA’s objectives and are willing to take the group’s 40-day training course. It has a core militant group of about 300, mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris, but includes Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan War. The HUA is based in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, but its members have participated in insurgent and terrorist operations in Kashmir, Burma, Tajikistan and Bosnia. The HUA’s Burma branch, located in the Arakans, trains local Muslims in weapons handling and guerrilla warfare. In Tajikistan, HUA members have served with and trained Tajik resistance elements. The first group of HUA militants entered Bosnia in 1992. The source and amount of HUA’s military funding are unknown, but are believed to come from sympathetic Arab countries and wealthy Pakistanis and Kashmiris.”

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

B Raman

Former, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai & Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat. He is the author of The Kaoboys of R&AW, A Terrorist State as a Frontline Ally,  INTELLIGENCE, PAST, PRESENT & FUTUREMumbai 26/11: A Day of Infamy and Terrorism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

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