Homeland Security

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

“Republicans endorse the four principles of US counter-terrorism policy that were laid down originally by Vice President George Bush’s Commission on Combating Terrorism in 1985. First, we will make no concessions to terrorists. Giving in simply encourages future terrorist actions and debases America’s power and moral authority. Second, we will isolate, pressure, and punish the state sponsors of terrorism. Third, we will bring individual terrorists to justice. Past and potential terrorists will know that America will never stop hunting them. Fourth, we will provide assistance to other governments combating terrorism. Fighting international terrorism requires international collaboration. Once again, allies matter.

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“Republicans in the Congress have led the way in building the domestic preparedness programmes to train and equip local, state, and federal response personnel to deal with terrorist dangers in America. The administration has not offered clear leadership over these programmes. They remain scattered across many agencies, uncoordinated and poorly managed. We will streamline and improve the federal coordination of the domestic emergency preparedness programmes.

“We will ensure that federal law enforcement agencies have every lawful resource and authority they require to combat international organised crime. A Republican administration will work to improve international cooperation against all forms of cross-border criminality, especially the burgeoning threat of cyber-crime that threatens the vitality of American industries as diverse as aerospace and entertainment.

“Enhance efforts to promote international cooperation against violent Islamist extremist networks. Take an active role in organising intelligence cooperation ““ if necessary, playing an intermediary role among countries that do not want to be seen openly sharing information.”

“Nowhere has the administration been more timid in protecting America’s national interests than in cyberspace. Americans have recently glimpsed the full vulnerability of their information systems to penetration and massive disruption by amateurs. A sophisticated terrorist or adversary government could potentially cripple a critical US infrastructure, such as the electrical grid or a military logistics system, in time of crisis. A new Republican government will work closely with our international partners and the private sector to conceive and implement a viable strategy for reducing America’s vulnerability to the spectrum of cyber threats, from the adolescent hacker launching a contagious computer virus to the most advanced threat of strategic information warfare.”

Christina Rocca, who has replaced Karl Inderfurth as the new US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia in the Bush Administration, was a member of a bipartisan group of Washington academics and former government officials constituted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which, in a report on West Asia submitted on January 16, 2001, advised the incoming Bush Administration on terrorism as follows:

“In recent years, state sponsorship of terrorism has become less prominent, just as the region has witnessed an increased threat from non-state actors. The new President should lend high-level encouragement to counter-terrorism cooperation among US allies and friends in order to deal with threats, new and old.

“Learn from anti-terrorism success stories. These include the successes of Turkey against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), Egypt against the Gama’a Islamiyya, and, to some extent, Algeria against the GIA (Groupe Islamique Armee).

“Insulate anti-terrorism efforts from peace process dynamics. Work to convince all parties in the peace process that anti-terrorism efforts should be delinked from the ups-and-downs of diplomacy. In this regard, Jordan presents a positive model, whereas the record of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been uneven. When lax on counter-terrorism, the PA needs to pay a price in terms of its relationship with the United States.

“Strengthen response to continuing challenges. Enhance efforts to promote international cooperation against violent Islamist extremist networks. Take an active role in organising intelligence cooperation – if necessary, playing an intermediary role among countries that do not want to be seen openly sharing information. Work with European and Middle Eastern countries to apply collective pressure on the few remaining states that provide refuge or turn a blind eye to such terrorists, ie Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“Make more effective use of existing US policy instruments. Follow through on official pledges to pursue terrorists for their crimes even when diplomatically inconvenient, for instance, the Khobar Towers bombing suspects in Iran. At the same time, be prepared to use military force against” countries that provide safe haven to terrorists.

Book_a_terrorist_state“The process of determining the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism has ossified. Consider defining road maps to removal from the list, and order a policy review to seek ways to make the list more effective against governments that do little to prosecute terrorists.”

Report for 2000

The report on the Patterns of Global Terrorism during 2000 prepared by the Counter-Terrorism Division of the State Department, which was released to the media on April 30, 2001, by General Colin Powell, Secretary of State, made the following salient points:

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“In 2000, South Asia remained a focal point for terrorism directed against the United States, further confirming the trend of terrorism shifting from the Middle East to South Asia. The Taliban continued to provide a safe haven for international terrorists, particularly Osama bin Laden and his network, in the portions of Afghanistan it controlled.

Islamic extremists from around the world continued to use Afghanistan as a training ground and a base for operations for their worldwide terrorist activities”¦

“The Government of Pakistan increased its support to the Taliban and continued its support to militant groups active in Indian held Kashmir, such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), some of which engaged in terrorism.

“Islamic extremists from around the world – including North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Central, South, and Southeast Asia – continued to use Afghanistan as a training ground and a base for operations for their worldwide terrorist activities in 2000. The Taliban, which controlled most Afghan territory, permitted the operation of training and indoctrination facilities for non-Afghans and provided logistics support to members of various terrorist organisations and Mujahideen, including those waging jehads (holy wars) in Central Asia, Chechnya, and Kashmir.

“Throughout 2000 the Taliban continued to host Osama bin Laden despite UN sanctions and international pressure to hand him over to stand trial in the United States or a third country. In a serious and ongoing dialogue with the Taliban, the United States repeatedly made clear to the Taliban that it would be held responsible for any terrorist attacks undertaken by bin Laden while he is in its territory.

“¦Pakistan Governments support of the Kashmir insurgency, and Kashmiri militant groups continued to operate in Pakistan, raising funds and recruiting new cadre. Several of these groups were responsible for attacks against civilians in Indian-held Kashmir”¦

“In October, a terrorist bomb attack against the USS Cole in Aden Harbour, Yemen, killed 17 US sailors and injured scores of others. Although no definitive link has been made to bin Laden’s organisation, Yemeni authorities have determined that some suspects in custody and at large are veterans of Afghan training camps.

“In August, Bangladesh authorities uncovered a bomb plot to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a public rally. Bangladesh police maintained that Islamic terrorists trained in Afghanistan planted the bomb.

“Massacres of civilians in Kashmir during March and August were attributed to LET and other militant groups.

“The Indian Government continued cooperative efforts with the United States against terrorism. During the year, the US -India Joint Counter-Terrorism Working Group – founded in November 1999 – met twice and agreed to increased cooperation on mutual counter-terrorism interests. New Delhi continued to cooperate with US officials to ascertain the fate of four Western hostages – including one US citizen -kidnapped in Indian-held Kashmir in 1995, although the hostages’ whereabouts remained unknown.

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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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