Ilyas Kashmiri, whose death in a 2011 U.S. missile attack still remains to be confirmed, founded Brigade 313, later an operational arm of al-Qaeda, within his jihadist organisation Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI). After the killing of Osama bin Laden, Ilyas Kashmiri formed a new terror group called Lashkar-e-Osama to avenge the death of the al-Qaeda leader. Ilyas Kashmiri was a commando of Pakistan’s Special Service Group (SSG) and was once rewarded by General Pervez Musharraf as a hero for a terror attack in Indian Kashmir.
“¦a couple of Pakistan army officers, including a major general and a brigadier, were arrested for planning a takeover of army headquarters and the civilian government to establish a strict Islamic political system in Pakistan”¦
In October 2006, the Pakistan military foiled a coup attempt against Pakistani president and army chief General Pervez Musharraf, resulting in the arrest of 40 people. Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad reported: “Most of those arrested are mid-ranking Pakistan Air Force officers, while civilian arrests include the son of a serving brigadier in the army. All of those arrested are Islamists . . .”
In August 2003, a Lahore-based newspaper revealed that 12 Pakistan army officers and lower-ranked noncommissioned personnel were detained for their links with the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami militants. Those arrested while waging jihad in Afghanistan included a Pakistan army major and his three subordinates. The Pakistani soldiers were arrested in 2003 in Afghanistan’s Zabul province, a hub of terror activities by the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami. Following their arrests, they were handed over to the FBI in the United States. The FBI officers later brought them to the Shahbaz airbase in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, where the Pakistani soldiers were handed over to the Pakistan army.
In September 2006, a full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld the death sentence for 12 people found guilty of involvement in two assassination attempts on Pervez Musharraf in 2003. The 12 convicts were Khalid Mehmood, Nawazish Ali, Niaz Muhammad and Adnan Rasheed (personnel of the PAF); Arshad Hussain (lance naik); and Rashid Qureshi, Ikhlas Ahmad, Ghulam Sarwar Bhatti, Zubair Ahmad, Rana Naveed Ahmad, Aamir Suhail and Mushtaq Ahmad (civilians).
On November 19, 2008, Major General (retd.) Ameer Faisal Alavi, who had served in the SSG of the Pakistan army, was shot dead in Islamabad by unidentified gunmen for opposing the Pakistan army’s peace agreements with the Taliban.
Major Haroon Ashiq also developed a silencer for the AK-47, which “became an essential component of Al-Qaedas special guerrilla operations.”
British journalist Carey Schofield reported: “The brother-in-law [Ameer Faisal Alavi] of VS Naipaul, the British novelist and Nobel laureate, was murdered . . . after threatening to expose Pakistani army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants. Major General Faisal Alavi, a former head of Pakistan’s Special Forces, whose sister Nadira is Lady Naipaul, named two generals in a letter to the head of the army. He warned that he would ‘furnish all relevant proof.’ Aware that he was risking his life, he gave a copy to me and asked me to publish it if he was killed.”
In 2011, Syed Saleem Shahzad’s book Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 investigated the penetration of al-Qaeda inside the Pakistan military, noting that Captain Khurram Ashiq of the Pakistan army and his brother Major Haroon Ashiq and their special forces colleague Major Abdul Rahman were key al-Qaeda players. Captain Khurram Ashiq, who was an assault commander of the SSG, his brother Major Haroon Ashiq and later Major Abdul Rahman quit service and joined LeT.
The book by Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was later picked up allegedly by Pakistani intelligence agents and killed, also revealed that Major Haroon Ashiq developed a “mortar gun of a type available only to some of the world’s most advanced military forces” when fighting alongside the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the Pakistani tribal region. He also developed a silencer for the AK-47, which “became an essential component of Al-Qaeda’s special guerrilla operations.”
“¦a Pakistan army officer took leave and went to wage jihad in Afghanistan according to a Pakistani media report. The Friday Times (Lahore) reported “the case of a serving officer who had taken leave and gone to Afghanistan to fight the jihad.”
According to the book, Major Haroon Ashiq later visited China to procure night-vision goggles. Shahzad writes: “The biggest task was to clear them through the customs in Pakistan. Haroon called on his friend Captain Farooq, who was President Musharraf’s security officer. Farooq went to the airport in the president’s official car and received Haroon at the immigration counter. In the presence of Farooq, nobody dared touch Haroon’s luggage, and the night vision glasses arrived in Pakistan without any hassle.” Captain Farooq was a member of Hizbut Tahrir, a fact discovered by Pakistani intelligence nine months after his posting as General Musharraf’s security officer, the book notes.
A report dated 28 January 2002 and written by American investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh, noted that Pakistani soldiers were detained in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province while waging jihad against U.S. troops. On 25 November 2001, when Kunduz fell to the anti-Taliban forces, nearly 4,000 militants were captured, among them Pakistan army officers, intelligence advisers and volunteers who were fighting alongside the Taliban. According to the report, the White House authorised the U.S. military to establish air corridors at the request of the Pakistan military for Pakistani aircraft to rescue the soldiers, among them two Pakistani generals.