Homeland Security

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

Details of the HUM, JEM & LET

The report gave the following details of the HUM, the JEM and the LET.

The HUM

“Formerly known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar, the HUM is an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan that operates primarily in Kashmir. Long-time leader of the group, Fazlur Rahman Khalil, in mid-February stepped down as HUM Amir, turning the reins over to the popular Kashmiri commander and his second-in–command, Farooq Kashmiri.

Also read: How Pakistan’s Proxy War Began – I

Khalil, who has been linked to bin Laden and signed his fatwa in February 1998 calling for attacks on US and Western interests, assumed the position of HUM Secretary General. Continued to operate terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan.

Activities

“Has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir. Linked to the Kashmiri militant group Al-Faran that kidnapped five Western tourists in Kashmir in July 1995; one was killed in August 1995 and the other four reportedly were killed in December of the same year. The new millennium brought significant developments for Pakistani militant groups, particularly the HUM.

Click to buy: A Terrorist State as a Frontline Ally

Most of these sprang from the hijacking of an Indian airliner on December 24 by militants believed to be associated with the HUM. The hijackers negotiated the release of Masood Azhar, an important leader in the former Harkat-ul-Ansar imprisoned by the Indians in 1994.

The new millennium brought significant developments for Pakistani militant groups, particularly the HUM.

Azhar did not, however, return to the HUM, choosing instead to form the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), a rival militant group expressing a more radical line than the HUM.

Strength

“Has several thousand armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and India’s southern Kashmir and Dada regions. Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris and also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan War. Uses light and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, mortars, explosives, and rockets. HUM lost some of its membership in defections to the JEM.

Location/Area of Operation

“Based in Muzaffarabad, Rawalpindi, and several other towns in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but members conduct insurgent and terrorist activities primarily in Kashmir. The HUM trains its militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

External Aid

“Collects donations from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf and Islamic states and from Pakistanis and Kashmiris. The sources and amount of HUM’s military funding are unknown.”

The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) is an Islamist group based in Pakistan that has rapidly expanded in size and capability since Maulana Masood Azhar

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) (Army of Mohammed)

“The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) is an Islamist group based in Pakistan that has rapidly expanded in size and capability since Maulana Masood Azhar, a former ultra fundamentalist Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA) leader, announced its formation in February. The group’s aim is to unite Kashmir with Pakistan. It is politically aligned with the radical, pro-Taliban, political party, Jamiat-i Ulema-i Islam (JUI-F).

Activities

“The JEM’s leader, Masood Azhar, was released from Indian imprisonment in December 1999 in exchange for 155 hijacked Indian Airlines hostages in Afghanistan. The 1994 HUA kidnappings of US and British nationals in New Delhi and the July 1995 HUAIAI Faran kidnappings of Westerners in Kashmir were two of several previous HUA efforts to free Azhar. Azhar organised large rallies and recruitment drives across Pakistan throughout 2000.

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In July, a JEM rocket-grenade attack failed to injure the Chief Minister at his office in Srinagar, India, but wounded four other persons. In December, JEM militants launched grenade attacks at a bus stop in Kupwara, India, injuring 24 persons, and at a marketplace in Chadoura, India, injuring 16 persons. JEM militants also planted two bombs that killed 21 persons in Qamarwari and Srinagar.

Strength

“Has several hundred armed supporters located in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions. Following Maulana Masood Azhar’s release from detention in India, a reported three quarters of Harkat-ul–Mujahideen (HUM) members defected to the new organisation, which has managed to attract a large number of urban Kashmiri youth.

Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris and also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan War. Uses light and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, mortars, improvised explosive devices, and rocket grenades.

Supporters are mostly Pakistanis and Kashmiris and also include Afghans and Arab veterans of the Afghan War. Uses light and heavy machine guns, assault rifles, mortars, improvised explosive devices, and rocket grenades.

Location/Area of Operation

“Based in Peshawar and Muzaffarabad, but members conduct terrorist activities primarily in Kashmir. The JEM maintains training camps in Afghanistan.

External Aid

“Most of the JEM’s cadre and material resources have been drawn from the militant groups Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM). The JEM has close ties to Afghan Arabs and the Taliban. Osama bin Laden is suspected of giving funding to the JEM.”

LET Collects donations from the Pakistani community in the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen. The amount of LET funding is unknown. The LET maintains ties with religious/ military groups around the world

Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) (Army of the Righteous)

“The LET is the armed wing of the Pakistan-based religious organisation, Markaz-ud-Dawa-wal-Irshad (MOl) – a Sunni anti–US missionary organisation formed in 1989. One of the three largest and best-trained groups fighting in Kashmir against India, it is not connected to a political party. The LET leader is MOI chief, Professor Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.

Activities

“Has conducted a number of operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmrr since 1993. The LET is suspected of eight separate attacks in August that killed nearly 100, mostly Hindu Indians. LET militants are suspected of kidnapping six persons in Akhala, India, in November 2000 and killing five of them. The group also operates a chain of religious schools in the Punjab.

Strength

“Has several hundred members in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, and in India’s southern Kashmir and Doda regions. Almost all LET cadres are foreigners – mostly Pakistanis from seminaries across the country and Afghan veterans of the Afghan wars. Uses assault rifles, light and heavy machine guns, mortars, explosives, and rocket propelled grenades.

Location/Area of Operation

“Based in Muridke (near Lahore) and Muzaffarabad. The LET trains its militants in mobile training camps across Pakistan administered Kashmir and Afghanistan.

External Aid

“Collects donations from the Pakistani community in the Persian Gulf and United Kingdom, Islamic NGOs, and Pakistani and Kashmiri businessmen. The amount of LET funding is unknown. The LET maintains ties with religious/ military groups around the world, ranging from the Philippines to the Middle East and Chechnya through the MOI fraternal network.”

Most terrorists continued to rely on conventional tactics, such as bombing, shooting, and kidnapping, but some terrorists ““ such as Osama bin Laden and his associates -continued to seek CBRN capabilities

WMD and Cyber Terrorism

The report commented as follows on WMO and Cyber terrorism:

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Terrorism

At the dawn of a new millennium, the possibility of a terrorist attack involving WMO – chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN), or large explosive weapons – remained real. As of the end of 2000, however, the most notorious attack involving chemical weapons against a civilian target remained Aum Shinrikyo’s Sarin nerve agent attack against the Tokyo subway in March 1995.

“Most terrorists continued to rely on conventional tactics, such as bombing, shooting, and kidnapping, but some terrorists – such as Osama bin Laden and his associates -continued to seek CBRN capabilities.

“Popular literature and the public dialogue focused on the vulnerability of civilian targets to CBRN attacks. Such attacks could cause lasting disruption and generate significant psychological impact on a population and its infrastructure.

“A few groups, notably those driven by distorted religious and cultural ideologies, showed signs that they were willing to cause large numbers of casualties. Other potentially dangerous but less predictable groups had emerged, and those groups may not abide by traditional targetting constraints that would prohibit using indiscriminate violence or CBRN weapons.

“Some CBRN materials, technology, and especially information continued to be widely available, particularly from commercial sources and the Internet.”

Terrorist use of Information Technology

“Terrorists have seized upon the worldwide practice of using information technology (IT) in daily life. They embrace IT for several reasons: it improves communication and aids organisation, allows members to coordinate quickly with large numbers of followers, and provides a platform for propaganda. The Internet also allows terrorists to reach a wide audience of potential donors and recruits who may be located over a large geographic area.

It referred to the role of Pakistan vis-à-vis the Taliban, the ““ Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in much greater detail than any past reports of the previous US Administrations. Though it did not declare Pakistan a State-sponsor of international terrorism”¦

“In addition, terrorists are taking note of the proliferation of hacking and the use of the computer as a weapon. Extremists routinely post messages to widely accessible web sites that call for defacing Western Internet sites and disrupting online service, for example. The widespread availability of hacking software and its anonymous and increasingly automated design make it likely that terrorists will use them.”

This report for 2000 was initially drafted by the officials of the outgoing Clinton Administration, but revised and finalised by the officials of the Bush Administration and hence was the first important indicator of the Bush Administration’s counter-terrorism policy.

It referred to the role of Pakistan vis-à-vis the Taliban, the – Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in much greater detail than any past reports of the previous US Administrations. Though it did not declare Pakistan a State-sponsor of international terrorism, it discussed the role of Pakistan not only in the chapter on terrorism in South Asia, as was done in the past reports, but also in the chapter on State-sponsored terrorism.

Previous US Administrations had considered only premeditated attacks on civilians as acts of terrorism, but not attacks on security forces. The latest report explained the circumstances under which the US would consider even attacks on security forces as terrorism.

It specified that the HUM is a member of Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front For Jehad Against the US and Israel and had signed his fatwa of February, 1998, calling for attacks against US and Israeli nationals/interests. Such a specific finding was not there in past reports.

While the UK has had no problem in banning the LET and the JEM under the new Terrorism Act of 2000, the US has not so far done”¦

The report had two Annexures – one on terrorist organisations, which have already been declared as international (foreign) terrorist organisations by the US and the other on terrorist organisations, which were active in 2000, but against which evidence was not adequate to warrant such a declaration. The HUM figured in the first list and the JEM and the LET in the second.

The Counter-Terrorism Division of the State Department submits two reports to the Congress every year – one in October on organisations, which need to be declared international terrorist organisations and the other in April on States, which need to be declared State-sponsors of international terrorism.

Though there is nothing to prevent the State Department from declaring an organisation as an international terrorist organisation even in April, generally this is not done. But, much to the disappointment of India, while the Bush Administration ordered the freezing of the accounts of the HUM and the JEM after the terrorist strikes in the US on September 11, 2001, it did not designate the LET and the JEM as international (foreign) terrorist organisations in its review of October, 2001.

While the UK has had no problem in banning the LET and the JEM under the new Terrorism Act of 2000, the US has not so far done so due to the following reasons:

US law-makers declare only those terrorist organisations, which are active in the territory or against the nationals/ interests of more than one country, as international terrorist organisations. Other organisations are treated as domestic terrorist organisations, which do not attract the penal provisions of the US law.

Book_a_terrorist_stateEven domestic terrorist organisations can be declared as international terrorist organisations if they operate from US territory. Both LET and JEM operate also from British, but not American territory.Despite this disappointment, the Government of India should persist with its efforts to have the LET and the JEM declared as international terrorist organisations under the US laws too by furnishing the US evidence on the following:

Click to buy: A Terrorist State as a Frontline Ally

The LET and the JEM are not Kashmiri terrorist organisations but Pakistani terrorist organisations operating in Indian territory. For their operations, they use recruits from the UK too whose are trained in Yemen and other places.

They both have links with the Taliban and bin Laden’s International Front. Even the latest report of the State Department refers to the LET as a largely foreign (Pakistani) organisation with international networking.

The LET and the JEM are not Kashmiri terrorist organisations but Pakistani terrorist organisations operating in Indian territory.

Just furnishing to the State Department details of their terrorist attacks in Indian territory would not suffice.

While the detailed attention paid to Pakistan in the report for 2000 was gratifying, it needs to be underlined that as in previous years, the latest report too focused mainly on terrorism threatening US nationals/interests and that, during a subsequent press briefing, a spokesman of the State Department sought to dilute the serious nature of the references to Pakistan by saying that the assessments incorporated in the report were largely those of the Clinton Administration and that the Bush Administration had not come across any fresh evidence bearing on this since coming to office on January 20, 2001.

Pakistani Nonchalance

Despite the strong references to Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism in the report for 2000, Musharraf continues to deny any links of the Pakistan Army and the ISI with the LET and other jehadis. What more, he denies their very presence in Pakistani territory.

On June 24, 2001, Major Gen Rashid Quereshi, the media spokesman of Musharraf, was asked about the activities of the LET and other jehadi organisations. He replied without batting an eye-lid: “No group operating in Kashmir has any base in Pakistan.” (The Hindu of June 25).

Despite the strong references to Pakistani sponsorship of terrorism in the report”¦ deny any links of the Pakistan Army and the ISI with the LET and other jehadis.

In the past, Musharraf had been saying that if there was progress on the Kashmir issue in the bilateral talks with India, he might appeal to the jehadis to deescalate their activities. Now, his spokesmen have been saying that since these are indigenous Kashmiri organisations, Pakistan has no influence over them just as they were telling the US before September 11, 2001, that Pakistan had no influence over the Taliban and bin Laden.

Pamela Constable of the Washington Post, who was one of the foreign correspondents briefed by Musharraf before his visit to India in July, 2001, for the summit with the Indian Prime Minister, AS Vajpayee, reported as follows: “Musharraf brushed aside questions about whether he would rein in armed Islamic groups that support fighters in Kashmir, insisting that the Kashmiri insurgency is ‘indigenous’.”

During his televised breakfast discussions with Indian editors at Agra on July 16, 2001, and his press conference at Islamabad on July 20, 2001, Musharraf described the terrorists operating in J&K as “indigenous freedom-fighters” and denied that they were based in Pakistan or that they were receiving any assistance from Pakistan. A similar stand was taken by Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, the Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi, during a TV interview on July 22, 2001, when he was asked about the post-summit massacre of some Hindu pilgrims going on their annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave by the Al Umar Mujahideen and the massacre of the Hindu residents, including women and children, of a village in the Doda district of Jammu by the LET on July 22, 2001.

“¦.spokesmen have been projecting the jehadi organisations as indigenous Kashmiri organisations with no base in Pakistani territory, the HUM and the LET, in their propaganda literature and official web sites, project themselves as Pakistan-based organisations

While Musharrafs spokesmen have been projecting the jehadi organisations as indigenous Kashmiri organisations with no base in Pakistani territory, the HUM and the LET, in their propaganda literature and official web sites, project themselves as Pakistan-based organisations. They give their addresses and telephone/fax numbers in Pakistan and particulars of the Pakistani banks in which their accounts are held to which their supporters should send their contributions. These details as given in their web sites are shown below:

• Harkat-ul-Mujahideen Head Office: House No. B-154/, Khayban-i-Sir Sayad, Near C.D.A. Bus Stop, Rawalpindi. Pakistan, Phone/Fax No. 4414810.

Account: Current Account No. 2758-9, Muslim Commercial Bank, Aabpara Branch, Islamabad. Pakistan.

Monthly Journal Sada-e-Mujahid Office: I-10 Markaz, Usman Plaza, Islamabad. Pakistan. Phone No. 051-431776.

Weekly Al-Hilal Newspaper Office: 6 Sumaira Apartment, 2nd Floor Block 13-B, Near K.D.A Bus Stop, Gulshan Iqbal, Karachi. Pakistan. Phone/Fax No. 021-4991819 .

• Markaz Dawa allrshad, the political wing of the LET: 5-Chamberlane Road, Lahore – Pakistan. Tel: (92-42) 7231106

The policy of “kabi naram, kabi garam” (sometimes soft, sometimes hard) doesnt pay against Pakistan. It will only confirm Musharraf in his perception that India is a soft State, which lends itself to easy manipulation”¦

It is, therefore, likely that whatever the outcome of the US-led ‘war’ against international terrorism, Pakistan will continue its proxy war against India through its jehadi surrogates even while denying any links with or control over them. Any optimism of a reduction in violence and cross-border terrorism as a result of the “war” would be misplaced.

Musharraf will continue to play his double game – overtly friendly, warm and seemingly accommodating and covertly continuing to make our security forces bleed. To expect anything different from him and to lower our guard against him could be suicidal. India will continue to pay a heavy price for its failure to evolve and implement consistently an effective counter proxy war policy. The policy of “kabi naram, kabi garam” (sometimes soft, sometimes hard) doesn’t pay against Pakistan. It will only confirm Musharraf in his perception that India is a soft State, which lends itself to easy manipulation.

State-sponsors of terrorism generally tend to project the terrorist groups backed by them as “freedom-fighters”, just as Musharraf has been doing since he captured power on October 12, 1999. How to differentiate between terrorists and freedom-fighters was one of the questions considered by President Reagan’s Special Task Force on Terrorism headed by George Bush (Sr), his Vice-President and the father of the present President. It said that while freedom-fighters confine their attacks only to security forces, who are in a position to defend themselves, terrorists are those who kill innocent civilians. It defined a State-sponsor of terrorism as a State “supplying money, weapons, training, identification documents, travel documents, or safe haven for terrorists.”

The USA’s Department of Defence Directive 2000.12 issued in 1996, fine-tuned the definition of terrorism in order to bring under its ambit acts directed against civilians as well as security forces. Its definition of terrorism is as follows: “Unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property, with the intention of coercing or intimidating governments or societies, often for political or ideological purposes.”

It laid down the following other definitions:

  • International (or Transnational) Terrorism. Terrorism in which planning and execution of the terrorist act transcends national boundaries. In defining international terrorism, the purpose of the act, the nationalities of the victims, or the resolution of the incident are considered. Those acts are usually planned to attract widespread publicity and are designed to focus attention on the existence, cause, or demands of the terrorists.
  • Non-State Supported Terrorism. Terrorist groups that operate autonomously, receiving no significant support from any government.
  • State-Directed Terrorism. Terrorist groups that operate as agents of a government, receiving substantial intelligence, logistical, and operational support from the sponsoring government.
  • State-Supported Terrorism. Terrorist groups that generally operate independently, but receive support from one or more governments.

The State Department’s report on the Patterns of Global Terrorism during 2000 has further expanded the definition of terrorism to bring under its ambit even attacks on military installations. It said: “We also consider as acts of terrorism attacks on military installations or on armed military personnel when a state of military hostilities does not exist at the site”.

A Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the UN approved by the UN General Assembly on October 24, 1970, has laid down that “every State has the duty to refrain from organising, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organised activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts.”

Subsequently, while speaking during a debate on another Declaration on the strengthening of International Security, which was passed as Resolution No 2734 on December 16, 1970, delegates from the USA, the UK, Canada, Italy, Australia, Japan and the then USSR described the sponsoring by a State of acts of terrorism another State as indirect aggression.

In a testimony on November 17, 1983, before the US Department of Defence Commission on the Beirut International Airport Terrorist Act of October 23, 1983, headed by Admiral Robert LJ Long (retd) of the US Navy, Brian Michael Jenkins, a counter-terrorism expert of the Rand Corporation, said:

“A growing number of governments themselves are using terrorist tactics, employing terrorist groups or exploiting terrorist incidents as a mode of surrogate warfare. These governments see in terrorism a useful capability, a weapons system, a cheap means of waging war…

“Terrorists offer a possible alternative to open armed conflict. For some nations unable to mount a conventional military challenge, terrorism is the only alternative, an equaliser.

Even though international law and practice thus give us the right of active defence against Pakistan, we have not exercised it even once. We do not have even after 20 years a credible counter proxy war policy to demonstrate to Pakistan that its proxy war will not be cost-free.

“If more governments begin not only to support terrorist tactics, but also to use them openly, and the international community fails to impose effective sanctions, military force may become the only means of combating terrorism.”

He listed the various retaliatory options available to the victim-State as a show or demonstration of force, selective targetting, lateral attacks (on terrorist training camps), support of dissidents in the territory of the State-sponsor and full-scale military operations, in very extreme cases, ranging from a naval blockade to invasion. The Long Commission report recommended that the Secretary of Defence should direct the development of a new doctrine to deal with State-sponsored terrorism.

The right of a victim-State to defend itself against such indirect aggression by the use of appropriate conventional as well as non-conventional means was underlined in an address delivered by George Shultz, the then US Secretary of State, after the signing on April 3, 1984, by President Reagan of a National Security Directive on this subject and again later in a foreword contributed by Bush Sr to a study on Terrorist Group Profiles in November, 1988.

Schultz described State-sponsored terrorism as a new form of warfare and said that the success of diplomatic options in dealing with State-sponsors of terrorism would depend on the readiness of the victim-State to hit back, through conventional military and non-conventional clandestine means if the diplomatic options failed. He, therefore, expressed the determination of the US to follow a strategy of active defence, that is, taking the counter-terrorism operations into the territory or against the interests of the State-sponsor of terrorism, if left with no other alternative.

In his Foreword, Bush Sr reiterated the determination of the US to demonstrate to State-sponsors of terrorism that their actions would not be cost-free.

Even though international law and practice thus give us the right of active defence against Pakistan, we have not exercised it even once. We do not have even after 20 years a credible counter proxy war policy to demonstrate to Pakistan that its proxy war will not be cost-free.

Book_a_terrorist_stateIs it any wonder that Musharraf behaves towards us with such impudence? There is not even a sense of outrage in us as was seen by the way we fell over each other in welcoming and lionising Musharraf in July, 2001.

Continued…: How Pakistan’s Proxy War Began – VIII 

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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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