Tuesday, September 29, 2009



It is one year since the last reported terrorist attack (in New Delhi in September last year) by the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and its mentor the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Not only has there been no jihadi terrorist attack in Indian territory outside Jammu & Kashmir(J&K) attributable to the IM for a year now, there has been no propaganda offensive by the IM either during this period. There was no evidence of IM involvement in the spectacular terrorist attack launched by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) of Pakistan in Mumbai from November 26 to 29,2008. A message purporting to be from one Deccan Mujahideen claiming responsibility for the Mumbai attack had originated from Pakistan at the time of the attack, but it was believed to have been sent at the instance of the LET set-up in Pakistan to confuse the Indian security agencies.

2. The period between November 2007 and September,2008, saw repeated terrorist strikes with timed improvised explosive devices (IEDs)by a group of jihadis originally belonging to the SIMI, who claimed to be operating as the Indian Mujahideen. These explosions, with many human fatalities, took place in three cities of Uttar Pradesh on the same day in November,2007, in Jaipur in May,2008, in Bangalore andAhmedabad in July,2008 and in New Delhi in September,2008. Messages purporting to be from the IM received by some media outfits claimed responsibility not only for these explosions, but also for some others which had taken place before November,2007, such as the explosions targeting suburban train passengers in Mumbai in July,2006.

3.The attacks between November,2007, and September,2008, were well-planned, well-orchestrated and well-executed and involved the involvement in their planning and execution by some well-educated members of the Indian Muslim community, some of whom had attended so-called secular educational institutions. Some of the educated Muslims involved and arrested by the Mumbai police were adept in the use of information technology (IT). One of them was reportedly working for a reputed IT company.

4.The Indian intelligence agencies and the police of the affected States, which were taken by surprise by these attacks, mobilised their resources and succeeded in arresting many of those involved. The investrigation brought out that long before launching these attacks, the SIMI had been planning for them and holding training camps for those to be used for these attacks in different parts of Indian territory,including in Kerala and Gujarat. The investigation also brought out that prompt follow-up action by the police of different States on the revelations about these training activities contained in the reports of the Madhya Pradesh police on the interrogation of some SIMI cadress arrested by them in the beginning of 2008 might have prevented at least some of these attacks.Unfortunately, the interrogation reports were allegedly not widely disseminated and no alert was sounded. The details of the planning and training came to be known only after the Ahmedabad explosions.

5. The credit for the one-year lull since September,2008, should go to the Indian intelligence agencies and the police of all the states. They have not allowed their preoccupation with detecting and neutralising the cells of the LET, the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and other Pakistani organisations come in the way of their hunt for the remnants of the IM and the SIMI, which have escaped attention and arrest so far. Many suspected cells of the SIMI and the IM in Kerala, and other places have been detected and neutralised by them during the last one year.

6. The details out of these detections and arrests as reported by the media periodically indicate that the SIMI and the IM have been re-strategising their operations for the future and biding their time before striking again. The one-year lull in the terrorist strikes of the IM and the SIMI should not be interpreted as indicating any set-back suffered by them. The arrests made during this period of lull indicate continued planning and training for more attacks.

7. The IM and the SIMI continue to be as serious a threat to our internal security as they were in 2008. (30-9-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Sunday, September 20, 2009



Al Qaeda has reportedly warned of a terrorist strike in Germany, similar to the past strikes by pro-Al Qaeda elements in Madrid (March 2004),London (July 2005) and Mumbai, if the German voters do not vote against the present Government of Germany in the elections being held on September 27,2009.
2. The video message, the warning contained in it and the reference to Madrid are meant to influence the voting through intimidation and bring about a reversal of the German policy of participating in the NATO operations in Afghanistan. While the references to the Madrid and London attacks are clear, it is not clear from the message whether the reference to Mumbai seeks to recall the multiple explosions in suburban trains in July,2006, or the commando-style attacks with hand-held weapons and explosives by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) on multiple-targets in November,2008, or both.The responsibility for the July-2006 attacks has not been conclusively established so far.

3. The message seeks to give the impression of Al Qaeda being confident of carrying out its threat in reality if its warning is not heeded. A detailed analysis of the message by Nick Grace, an American counter-terrorism analyst, is available at the web site of the "Long WarJournal" of the US, which monitors systematically all developments bearing on international terrorism. It may be seen athttp://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/09/al_qaeda_warns_germa.php . The "Long War Journal" and its analyses enjoy a very high level of credibility in international counter-terrorism circles.

4. According to the analysis by Nick Grace, the warning message has been issued by Bekkay Harrach, alias Al Hafidh Abu Talha al Almani, a person of Moroccan origin, who grew up in Germany and then gravitated to Al Qaeda. He is presently believed to be somewhere in theAf-Pak region. Nick Grace points out in his analysis that this is the third warning issued by Harrach this year. Nick Grace says: "His previous warning to Germany, on Jan. 17, 2009, coincided with a massive car bomb attack on the heavily guarded German embassy in Kabul that was orchestrated by the notorious Haqqani Network. Four Afghan civilians and an American soldier died in the attack." His mention of the Haqqani network refers to Jalalludin Haqqani and his son Serajuddin Haqqani, who are reported to be operating from the North Waziristan area of Pakistan. While some sources attributed the huge explosion outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul in July last year to the LET, other sources suspected the Haqqani network to have been responsible. The Haqqani network is as close to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence as the LET.

5. To quote again from Nick Grace's analysis:Harrach has "warned that if Chancellor Angela Merkel is reelected on Sept. 27, Germany will be directly attacked." Nick Grace adds: "The latest video by Harrach is most striking because its themes and packaging are targeted almost exclusively for a Western audience. Speaking softly in fluent German, without the usual militant or religious props featured in past al Qaeda messages, he stares directly into the camera and only occasionally looks down to turn over the pages of his speech. He never wags his finger or raises his voice. The video carries no subtitling in Arabic. "

6. The picture of Harrach as he appears in the video message has been reproduced by the "Long War Journal" along with the analysis. He is clad in typical Western attire with a suit and a tie. His attire reminds one of the attire worn by the volunteers of the Hizbut Tehrir, which advises its followers to avoid dressing themselves in a manner typical of Muslims. It is likely that if Al Qaeda already has its volunteers in Germany to carry out the threat they may not be attired like Muslims and they may avoid going to mosques and other places frequented by Muslims in order not to draw suspicion upon themselves.

7. If Al Qaeda carries out the threat, will it be an attack with timed explosives as in Madrid and Mumbai--July 2006 or a suicide attack as in London or a commando-style attack with hand-held weapons as in Mumbai--26/11? Will it be an attack confined to public transportation systems as in Madrid, London and Mumbai-July 2006 or will it be in public places as in Mumbai--26/11? These are important questions, which would certainly be factored into by the German counter-terrorism authorities while planning their strategy to frustrate the plans of Al Qaeda.

8. The message, as analysed by Nick Grace, carries an implied assurance that the town of Kiel might not be attacked. This assurance is puzzling because on August 20,2006, the German police had arrested a Muslim from the Lebanon studying in the Kiel University on a charge of placing a timed explosive device (a suitcase bomb) on a commuter train in Dortmund on July 31,2006. It failed to explode. They managed to identify him through a closed circuit TV footage, which showed him placing the suitcase in a train. Another suitcase bomb,timed to explode at the same time, had been placed in a train at Koblenz. That too failed to explode. It is not known whether the police were able to identify and arrest the person who placed the second suit case bomb. The German media had reported that the identification of the first man was made possible by a tip-off from an unnamed foreign intelligence agency. These two incidents had indicated as early as 2006 that pro-Al Qaeda elements were wanting to target the public transportation system in Germany.

9. This is the second instance when there has been a reference to Mumbai in messages attributed to Al Qaeda.In a telephonic message to the British Broadcasting Corporation in the second week of February,2009,Mustafa Abu-al Yazid, who has been projected since 2007 as incharge of Al Qaeda operations in Afghanistan in liaison with the Neo Taliban of Mulla Mohammad Omar, warned India in the following words: “We send a short and succinct message to the Indian Government. The Mujahideen will never allow you to invade the Muslims and their lands in Pakistan. If you beguile yourselves into doing this, know well that you will pay a very heavy price, which you will regret much.We will call upon our whole Muslim nation, its Mujahideen and its martyrdom squads against you. We will strike your interests and your economic lifelines wherever they may be until you are demolished and bankrupt as America is being demolished and going bankrupt today.The Islamic nation which produced the audacious and heroic martyrs of Bombay, who struck you in the midst of your homes and humiliated you, is able to produce thousands more like them. You cannot be more powerful or have more ability than the Soviet Union which was destroyed on the rocks of the Afghanistan mountains nor Americans whose nose we rubbed in the dirt of Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.”The authenticity of the message could not be established. ( 20-9-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Saturday, September 19, 2009




In his latest message addressed to the Americam people, which was disseminated by pro-Al Qaeda web sites immediately after the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, Osama bin Laden has warned of a long war of attrition against the US. The final objective of the war would be not just the withdrawal of the US-led forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, but a withdrawal of US support to Israel and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine with East Jerusalem in which the sacred Al Aqsa mosque is located as its capital.

2. He has cited the pro-Israel policies of successive US administrations as the principal cause for the 9/11 terrorist strikes and warned that the war thus launched would continue till the US gives up its pro-Israel policies and gives satisfaction to the Palestinians. His message is remarkably free of expressions such as jihad against the crusaders, recovery of legitimate Muslim territories etc. Just as President Barack Obama has reduced the objective of the military campaign in Afghanistan to one of preventing any more 9/11s in the US homeland mounted from the Af-Pak region, bin Laden has reduced the objective of Al Qaeda and his International Islamic Front to one of helping the Palestinians achieve an independent State and recover East Jerusalem from the control of Israel.

3. The war for such a purpose will be fought wherever possible and wherever opportunities for actions exist. It will not be confined only to the West Asian region. For him, not only the US, but any State, which supports Israel, could be a legitimate target of attacks---against its nationals and interests and against Israeli nationals in its territory.

4. It is in the light of this interpretation of his message that one has to assess India's vulnerabilities and the threats that India could face. As a country perceived by Al Qaeda and its associates in the Af-Pak region as close to Israel, India would continue to be vulnerable to terrorist strikes by Al Qaeda and its Pakistani associates as well as by our own jihadi groups, which share the perceptions of Al Qaeda. Their attacks against Indian nationals and interests or against Israeli and other pro-Israel foreign nationals in Indian territory would have two components--- a reprisal component and an attrition component.

5. Al Qaeda and sub-continental jihadi organisations have been looking for opportunities to target Israelis in Indian territory since 1991. The Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) targeted a group of young Israeli tourists in Srinagar in 1991. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who reportedly orchestrated the 9/11 strikes in the US, is reported to have told the US authorities during his interrogation that Al Qaeda wanted to target an Israeli diplomatic mission in India. For the last three or four years, there have been periodic reports of Indian and Pakistani organisations wanting to target Israeli tourists in Goa. And we had the targeted attack by Pakistani members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) on a Jewish cultural-cum-religious centre at the Narriman House in Mumbai and its Jewish inmates in November last year. The brutality exhibited by them towards the Jewish inmates was unparalleled in the history of jihadi terrorism in the Indian territory outside J&K. Other LET terrorists also targeted other foreigners in two hotels---many of them from countries involved in the operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

6. Not only the LET terrorists, but also their associates in other jihadi organisations in Pakistan and India must have been gratified by the ease with which the LET commandoes from Pakistan managed to hoodwink the Indian security agencies, hold them at bay for nearly 60 hours and receive the kind of prolonged global live publcity the like of which no other terrorist strike has achieved in recent years.

7. Just as we allegedly covered up our nuclear failure in 1998, we have covered up our counter-terrorism failures of November,2008.It has been an inadequately investigated terrorist conspiracy. Our euphoria over catching one terrorist alive has clouded our vision.Our over-focus on his version of the conspiracy has come in the way of our probing into other angles not possibly revealed by the captured terrorist or not within his knowledge. Every clued-up terrorist organisation strictly follows the principle of restrictive security. Every participant in a terrorist operation does not know all the details relating to that operation. That is where the importance of a satisfactory reconstruction of a terrorist operation arises. Without a satisfactory reconstruction, our ability to prevent similar strikes in future would be reduced. One is not certain there has been such a reconstruction. This would have been noticed by the terrorists too just as it has been noticed by the intelligence agencies of other countries.

8. The inadequate manner in which we have handled the sequel to Mumbai-26/11 is likely to have given cause for hope to the LET and other organisations that they can again successfully launch a major strike in Indian territory----even in Mumbai. It is also likely to have given cause for concern to the intelligence agencies of other countries about our ability to thwart a repeat of 26/11 by the LET or other organisations.

9. It is this concern which is reflected in the precautionary advisories issued by the counter-terrorism authorities of the US and Israel to their citizens planning to travel to India either for business or on holiday in the coming festive weeks when some important Hindu festivals and Christmas could provide an opportunity for fresh attacks on soft targets.

10. Damaging our growing economy and shaking the confidence of foreign businessmen about the security of life and property in India have been important objectives of the sub-continental jihadi organisations. The forthcoming Commonwealth Games in India next year could provide an opportunity to the terrorists to damage India's reputation in the eyes of the world by disrupting the preparations for the Games through terrorist attacks against the proposed venues for the Games as they are getting ready. A drill for effective physical security in connection with the Games has to be in position right from now. (19-9-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Friday, September 18, 2009


In a despatch dated September 17,2009,from Washington, the Agence France Press (AFP) has reported as follows:"One drone attack Monday ( September 14,2009) is believed to have killed the leader of the Islamic Jihad Union, Najmiddin Kamolitdinovich Jalolov, an Uzbek native implicated in terrorist plots and attacks in Germany and Uzbekistan. Officials said they are almost certain he was killed, though a DNA test hasn't yet been performed. A drone attack on Sept. 7 appeared to have killed another prominent Islamic militant, Ilyas Kashmiri,who had been briefly detained in Pakistan for alleged involvement in a 2003 assassination attempt against then-Pakistani President PervezMusharraf. There is less certainty about his death, however." Both the Drone strikes are reported to have taken place in North Waziristan in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan (FATA). Further details are not yet available.

2. In the past there were conflicting versions of the organisational affiliation of Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri. While some reports described him as the Amir of the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) branch of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), other reports described him as the head of a splinter group of the HUJI of Pakistan headed by its Amir Qari Saifullah Akhtar, which had split from it and was operating independently in Jammu & Kashmir of India from sanctuaries in the POK.

3. Ilyas Kashmiri was among those arrested by the Pakistani authorities in January,2004, in connection with the investigation into the two unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi in December,2003. While some of the others arrested, including some junior Air Force officers, were prosecuted and convicted, Ilyas Kashmiri himself was released for want of evidence of his involvement. It was claimed by sections of the Pakistani media at that time that Ilyas was released on the intervention of Syed Salauddin, the Amir of theHizbul Mujahideen and the head of the United Jihad Council for Kashmir, who reportedly managed to convince the Police that Ilyas had nothing to do with the two attempts to kill Musharraf.

4. Ilyas was subsequently reported to have closed down the camp of his set-up in the POK and shifted to North Waziristan from where he was operating in the non-tribal belt of Pakistan. In a despatch of May 24,2009, Amir Mir, the well-informed Pakistani journalist, who writes for the "News" and other papers said: "Commander Ilyas Kashmiri was recently named in a charge sheet filed by the Islamabad police in the November 2008 gruesome murder of Major General (retd) Amir Faisal Alvi, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite Special Services Group (SSG). The 12-page charge sheet submitted by the Rawalpindi police in an anti-terrorism court on May 12, 2009 stated that the former SSG commanding officer was killed to avenge the role he had played in the fight against Taliban linked militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The charge-sheet prepared by the Koral police station states that those involved and already arrested in the murder included Major (retd) Haroon Rasheed, a resident of Azad Kashmir; Mohammad Nawaz Khan of Peshawar and Ashfaq Ahmed of Okara. The charge sheet says the murder of Major General Amir Faisal Alvi was carried out on the instructions of Commander Ilyas Kashmiri who had provided funds and weapons.The charge sheet pointed out that Ilyas Kashmiri had already been named by the intelligence agencies for involvement in the October 2008 kidnapping for ransom of Satish Anand, a Karachi-based renowned film producer and distributor and the real uncle of Juhi Chawla, a well known Bollywood actress. After Satish Anand was recovered in the last week of April 2009 and the kidnappers arrested, it transpired during interrogations that one of them - Major Haroon Rasheed alias Abu Khattab – was a former Pakistani Army officer and involved in the murder of General Alvi. According to the murder charge sheet, the three accused – Haroon, Ashfaq and Nawaz--- followed Alvi when he left his residence in Bharia Town in Rawalpindi for his private office in Islamabad and killed him and his driver near the PWD Colony. Once considered close to General Pervez Musharraf, Amir Faisal Alvi was the first General Officer Commanding of the elite Special Services Group, and had also commanded the elite Group as a Brigadier. The first Pakistani Major General to have captained the Armed Forces Skydiving Team (AFST) as a GOC, Faisal Alvi was forcibly retired from the Army on disciplinary grounds ‘for conduct unbecoming’ by then Army Chief General Musharraf in August 2005."

5. Ilyas Kashmiri reportedly had his own training camp in the Razmak area of North (?) Waziristan and was collaborating with theTehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

6.The name of Jalolov, 37 years old, had figured in 2007 as a suspected ring leader of a plot to attack several targets in Germany, and in 2006 as a suspected ring leader of plots targeting hotels catering to Western visitors in Central Asia. None of these attacks materialised,though. U.S. officials alleged he was an organizer of the 2004 terrorist attacks in Uzbekistan that killed at least 47 people. In this connection, reference is invited to my article of September 6,2007, titled "Global Jihad: Uzbeks To The Fore" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/common/uploaded_files/paper2360.html . The article is annexed for easy reference

7.Human intelligence of good quality from Pakistan's tribal belt continues to flow to the US intelligence agencies despite action taken by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to identify and execute suspected agents of the US who have been feeding intelligence to the US forces.Such executions, confined mostly to members of the Pashtun community, have not come in the way of successful strikes by theCIA-operated Drone (pilotless) planes on targets in the two Waziristans.

8. The success rate of the Drone strikes has gone up after Punjabi jihadis belonging to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), the Jaish-e-Mohammad(JEM) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) moved to the Pashtun belt from their traditional sanctuaries in Pakistan's Punjab province and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to help Al Qaeda, the TTP, the Afghan Taliban, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic JihadUnion (IJU), a splinter group from the IMU, in their operations in Pakistani and Afghan territories. This would indicate that the US intelligence has had better luck in penetrating Punjabi jihadi organisations than in penetrating Pashtun organisations, Al Qaeda and its associates.

9. Rashid Rauf, a Mirpuri from the UK, who was wanted by the British authorities in connection with their investigation of a plot to blow up a number of US-bound planes, was reported to have been killed in a Drone strike last year. He was related by marriage to Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the JEM, and was associated with the JEM, which has been operating in the Swat Valley along with theTehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM). (18-9-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )


Global Jihad: Uzbeks To The Fore - International Terrorism Monitor---Paper No. 273 of 6-9-07 http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/common/uploaded_files/paper2360.html
By B. Raman

After the Arabs and the Pakistanis, the Uzbeks have come to the forefront of Al Qaeda-inspired global jihad.

2. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan ( IMU) led by Tahir Yuldeshev now co-ordinates the training of volunteers from different jihadi terrorist organisations of Pakistan as well as from other countries of the world. Till last year, its training infrastructure was located in SouthWaziristan, but after clashes with some sections of the local tribals, it has shifted its infrastructure to North Waziristan. It enjoys the support of the Mehsud sub-tribe of the Pashtuns led by Baitullah Mehsud and of the former students of the two madrasas run by the Lal Masjid of Islamabad. Reliable police and tribal sources in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan say that many, if not most, of the acts of suicide terrorism and attacks on the Pakistani Armed Forces since the Pakistan Army's commando action in the Lal Masjid between July10 and 13, 2007, including the killing of three Chinese nationals in Peshawar, were carried out by angry tribals motivated and trained by the IMU. The IMU consists of Uzbeks recruited from Uzbekistan as well as Afghanistan and has a small number of Chechens, Uighurs and Tajiksin its ranks. Till now, the IMU's acts of terrorism have been confined to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. It has not come to notice for any jihadi activities in other countries.

3. A second Uzbek group operating from North Waziristan, which calls itself the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) or the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG),came into being in Pakistani territory post 9/11 as a result of a split in the IMU following the US military strikes in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It describes Osama bin Laden, Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Neo Taliban, and Maulana Samiul Haq, the Amir of a faction of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam Pakistan, as its mentors. It focusses on training volunteers from the Western countries as well as from Uzbekistan.

4. It came to notice for the first time in April 2004 when it claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings around Tashkent and Bukharo in Uzbekistan which killed 47 people. The attacks targeted local government offices, as well as a crowded market. On July 30,2004, it carried out simultaneous bombing attacks on the US Embassy, the Israeli Embassy, and the office of the Uzbek Prosecutor General,killing at least two people and wounding many others.

5. A statement purported to have been disseminated by it said: A group of young Muslims executed martyrdom operations that put fear in the apostate government and its infidel allies, the Americans and Jews. The mujahidin belonging to Islamic Jihad Group attacked both the American and Israeli embassies as well as the court building where the trials of a large number of the brothers from the Group had begun.These martyrdom operations that the group is executing will not stop, God willing. It is for the purpose of repelling the injustice of the apostate government and supporting the jihad of our Muslim brothers in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, the Hijaz, and in other Muslim countries ruled by infidels and apostates.

6. On May 26, 2005, the US State Department issued the following statement: "The Department of State on May 25 announced the designation of the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224. This designation blocks all property, and interests in property, of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the control of U. S. persons. The Secretary of State took this action in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury,and the Department of Homeland Security. The Islamic Jihad Group, active in Central Asia, broke away from the Islamic Movement ofUzbekistan (IMU), a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization that is listed by the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee. On July 30, 2004,the Islamic Jihad Group conducted coordinated bombing attacks in Tashkent against the U.S. and Israeli Embassies, and the office of theUzbek Prosecutor General, killing at least two people and wounding nine. The Islamic Jihad Group claimed responsibility for these attacks and indicated that future attacks are planned. The Islamic Jihad Group continues to target Americans and U.S. facilities overseas and is a dangerous threat to U.S. interests. After an explosion at a safehouse in Bukharo, Uzbekistan, IJG suicide bombers attacked a popular bazaar and other locations in Tashkent in March and April 2004, resulting in the deaths of more than a dozen police officers and innocent bystanders and dozens of injuries. The attackers in the March and April 2004 attacks, some of whom were female suicide bombers, targeted the local government offices of the Uzbekistani and Bukharo police, killing approximately 47 people, including 33 terrorists. These attacks marked the first use of female suicide bombers in Central Asia. Those arrested in connection with the attacks in Bukharo have testified to the close ties between the IJG leaders and Usama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Kazakhstani authorities have declared that IJG members were taught by al-Qaida instructors to handle explosives and to organize intelligence work and subversive activities. Kazakhstan has arrested several IJG members and put them on trial."

7. In October, 2005, the British Government declared it as a terrorist organisation despite strong opposition from human rights groups,which alleged that the Uzbek Government was projecting political dissidents opposed to it as pro-Al Qaeda terrorists.

8.The IJG, which was formed in 2002 to oppose the co-operation extended by the Government of Islam Karimov to the US in its operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, projects the US and Israel as the main enemies of Islam and all Muslim countries co-operating with the US as apostates, which need to be opposed. The stated political objective of the IMU is to rid the Central Asian Republics (CAR) and the Xinjiang region of China of the lingering influence of Communism and make them part of an Islamic Caliphate. The IJG, which also has the over-all objective of a global Islamic Caliphate, projects itself as a global jihadi organisation and not a basically Uzbek organisation. It says that since Islam does not recognise nationalities or ethnicities, any Muslim can become its member irrespective of where he or she lives. Since it describes the US and Israel as its principal enemies, it welcomes volunteers from countries where the US and Israel have a large presence.

9. In an interview on May 31, 2007, Ebu Yahya Muhammed Fatih, who describes himself as the Commander of the Islamic Jihad Union, stated as follows:

"After the fall of the Afganistan Islamic Administration,we who shared the same opinions came together and decided to organize groups which will conduct jihad operations against the infidel constitution of cruel Karimov in Uzbekistan. The sole aim of all these migrant-mujahedeen brothers was to find war-like solutions against the infidel constitution of cruel Karimov. For this aim our Union was established in 2002.

"Our Union's aim is, under the flag of justice and Islam Dominancy, to save our Mslim brothers who have been suffering from the cruelty of pre-Soviet period and Uzbekistan, and to take them out of the swamp of cruelty an infidelity, as well as to help other Mslim brothers all around the world as per God and his Prophet's orders.

"Members of our Union are not members of a specific tribe or a nation. As there is no nationalism and tribalism in Islam, our Union is formed of the believers from all over the world and multi-national emigrants travelling to praise the religion.

"Today we proceed according to our targeted goals with all our means. Muslim youth in the republics of former Soviet Union who found the path of Allah and are ready to fight for their religion have been trained in various fields in the training facilities of the Union. One of the armed forces of the Union is active in Afghanistan. Besides, we have been in contact and also been working on our common targets together with Caucasian mujahedeens. We have also been working together on plans and aims against the infidel regime of Uzbekistan which is one of our major targets."

10. In April, 2007, the US Embassy in Berlin announced that it was strengthening security at US facilities in Germany in response to what it described as an increased threat of terrorism. Mr. August Hanning, a former head of Germany's foreign intelligence agency known as the Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND), who is now Deputy Interior Minister, said in an interview that 14 German Islamists had gone to Pakistan for training. He also said that in recent months the Pakistani authorities had detained at least seven German Islamists who could have been involved in planning attacks.

11. On September 5, 2007, German Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms announced the arrest of three persons and the recovery from them of 700 kilos of chemicals capable of being converted into explosives. German media reports said that they were planning attacks against a US military base in Ramstein and the Frankfurt airport. Two of the arrested persons have been described as white converts to Islam, both German nationals, and the third as of Turkish origin. The Federal Prosecutor named the three persons aged 22,28 and 29 as belonging to the German cell of the Islamic Jihad Union. It has been reported that seven more members of the cell are still at large.

Sunday, September 6, 2009




Despite attrition in its ranks and lower and middle-level leadership, Al Qaeda remains as elusive, as innovative and as homing-pigeon like as ever. That is the assessment that one could draw 11 years after its terrorist strikes in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam and eight years after its9/11 strikes in the US Homeland.

2.Despite the most sophisticated search for eight years with the help of modern gadgetry and some of the sharpest minds in the US counter-terrorism community, the US has not been able to pin-point the location of Osama bin Laden and his No.2 Ayman-al Zawahiri.The supposition ---this is strongly denied by Pakistan---is that they are somewhere in the North Waziristan or Chitral area of the Pashtun tribal belt of Pakistan.There has been no confirmation of this supposition. Neither human nor technical intelligence regarding their exact whereabouts has been forthcoming.

3. The flow of human and technical intelligence regarding the Pakistani Taliban has improved considerably resulting in some very successful operations by the US. The most spectacular in recent months was the elimination of Baitullah Mehsud, the Amir of the Pakistani Taliban, through a Predator strike on the house of his father-in-law in South Waziristan, where he was resting, on August 5,2009.

4. There have been no similar operations against OBL and Zawahiri since January 2006 when the US narrowly missed killing Zawahiri in the Bajaur Agency through a Predator strike on the house of one of his friends with whom he was reportedly planning to eat. He did not turn up at the last minute. The US strike killed a large number of civilians, but not Zawahiri.

5.Offers of millions of dollars in reward for information leading to OBL and Zawahiri have not helped. There are Pashtuns who are prepared to betray the leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, but not OBL or Zawahiri.Is the absence of even scanty information regarding their whereabouts due to the devotion and loyalty of the Pashtuns to OBL and Zawahiri, whom they regard as their honoured guests or is it due to the fact that neither of them is in the Pashtun belt, where the US has been looking for them?

6.Some middle-level leaders of Al Qaeda, who had taken shelter in the Pashtun belt, were killed by Predator strikes. Abu Faraj al-Libi,another middle-level leader, was arrested in the Pashtun belt in May, 2005 and flown to the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba . All other Al Qaeda leaders caught in Pakistan since 9/11 were found in non-tribal areas and arrested in places such as Faislabad, Karachi,Rawalpindi etc. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM), the most important Al Qaeda leader arrested in Pakistan, was reportedly found in the house of a women's wing leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Rawalpindi. Is it necessary for the US to revisit its supposition that OBL andZawahiri must be in the tribal belt----most probably in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)? Which are the other areas where they could hide as effectively as in the Pashtun belt? These questions must be already engaging the attention of the US intelligence.

7.OBL and Zawahiri have not been seen by anyone outside Al Qaeda since 2002, but they are heard from time to time through their messages disseminated by As-Sahab, the propaganda wing of Al Qaeda. The US has not even been able to track their message trail back to their hide-outs. It seems to be clueless as to how and where these messages are being recorded and how they are disseminated.

8. The relentless US hunt for OBL and Zawahiri and the constant fear of their being killed or captured have not come in the way of Al Qaeda continuing to organise, guide or inspire terrorist strikes in different parts of the world. It may not have succeeded in carrying out another 9/11 in the US homeland, but its record in terms of terrorist strikes right across the world organised ,guided or inspired by it has been impressive. Bali (2002 and 2005), Mombasa ( 2002), Madrid ( 2004), Jakarta (2003,2004 and 2009),London (2005), Mumbai (2006 by theLashkar-e-Toiba), Islamabad (Marriott Hotel explosion in September 2008), Mumbai ( November,2008 again by the LET) and Jeddah (August 2009) are the notable examples. There are many other examples from Algeria, Somalia, Iraq, Egypt,Morocco, Turkey and Yemen.

9. Al Qaeda's leaders are widely scattered. They do not live and operate from the same place. That is why whenever an Al Qaeda leader was killed or captured he was found alone. No other leader was found with him. They maintain communication and restrictive security effectively. That is why whenever an Al Qaeda leader was captured, his interrogation did not lead to the hide-outs of OBL, Zawahiri or others. From this it should be evident that the Shura of Al Qaeda is no longer able to operate as a shura with all members meeting at one place and taking joint decisions. Despite this, new ideas have been flowing back and forth and innovative modus operandi ----new ones or old ones with new gadgetry to increase their destruction-multiplier effect---are being tried by Al Qaeda and its associates such as the LET.

10.Among the innovative MOs seen since 9/11 of 2008, one could mention the commando-style attacks with hand-held weapons on multiple targets mounted from the sea in Mumbai in November,2008 by the LET, terrorists checking into hotels as normal guests and the explosive material being reached to them separately for mounting a suicide attack as was seen in Jakarta in July,2009, and a terrorist posing as a deserter from Al Qaeda and wanting to surrender in order to gain access to an important, well-protected leader as was seen during the failed attempt to kill the Saudi Deputy Minister of the Interior, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, at Jeddah on August 27,2009. According to unconfirmed reports, the suicide terrorist, who was accidentally blown up before he could come close to the VIP, was wearing a suicide under-wear and not a vest as used to be normally done.

11. There has been no degradation of Al Qaeda's ability to think and innovate and to take the intelligence and security agencies by surprise.Al Qaeda derives its ability to surprise from the fact that it continues to be the least penetrated of the jihadi terrorist organisations of the world. Neither the strengthening of national intelligence capabilities nor the development of international intelligence co-operation has succeeded in penetrating it. There have been tactical successes scored by the intelligence agencies of the US, the UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia and India in thwarting terrorist operations by identifying and neutralising the cells constituted by Al Qaeda and its associates for carrying out terrorist strikes, but the neutralisation of such cells has not yet led to a withering away of the organisation. Al Qaeda continuesto think globally and operate globally.

12.Al Qaeda's principal adversaries remain the same---the US and Israel. Its subsidiary national targets keep changing depending on the policies of different States towards the US and Israel. Spain and Italy, which were among its important national targets immediately after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, no longer seem to receive the same attention in its planning. Among its new targets post-2003 are Pakistan and India---- Pakistan because of its alleged co-operation with the US in its anti-Al Qaeda and anti-Taliban operations and India because of its developing strategic relationships with the US and Israel.In Europe it pays more attention to the UK and Germany as possible targets because of their active role in helping the US in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia's importance in the eyes of Al Qaeda remains undiminished----not only because the holy places of Islam are located there, but also because its oil wealth could be used to economically damage the West. Its presence in South-East Asia and Central Asia is important for it to project itself as a global force defending the interests and honour ofIslam.

13. Al Qaeda continues to view its battle against the US as being fought on many fronts----Algeria, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. In its view,the ultimate defeat or victory will come in the battlefields of the Af-Pak region. Afghanisation of Pakistan is one of its important objectives----that is, making Pakistan as unstable and as ungovernable as Afghanistan and as receptive to the jihadis of the world. It originally thought it would engage the US in a two-front war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Iraq things have not developed the way it hoped they would. Iraq has not been a success story for Al Qaeda.

14. What it failed to achieve in Iraq----the defeat and humiliating withdrawal of the US---- it hopes to achieve in the Af-Pak region. It is encouraged by what it perceives as the first signs of public fatigue in the US with its involvement in Afghanistan.Till some months ago,public support for the US operations in Afghanistan was high. The US public---like its political leadership---viewed continued US military operations in the Af-Pak region as important to prevent another 9/11 in the US homeland. But memories of 9/11 are fading. Fears of a catastrophic act of terrorism by Al Qaeda or its associates involving the use of weapons of mass destruction material no longer strengthen public support to the same extent as they did. The present visuals before the US public are of the Americans being killed in increasing numbers in Afghanistan and not of the hundreds of civilians killed on 9/11.

15. There has been no spectacular battle-field success of the US and other NATO troops against the Afghan Taliban or Al Qaeda. The US successes against the Pakistani Taliban are not exciting the American public. What it wants is signs of success against Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.

16. What stands in the way of the US ability to turn the tide of the campaign in the Af-Pak region in its favour decisively is its failure to realise that its continued pampering of Pakistan is the root cause of its difficulties in Afghanistan and of the lack of success against Al Qaeda. Without a more robust policy to make Pakistan act really and not seemingly against Al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and the Punjabi jihadi organisations, American difficulties will not end.

17. It is in the common interest of the international community to work in a co-ordinated and determined manner for making Al Qaeda and its associates wither way.They will not wither away so long as they find a fertile, well-irrigated soil in Pakistan. ( 6-9-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-Mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Saturday, September 5, 2009




A NATO air strike of September 4,2009, in the Kunduz province in Northern Afghanistan on two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban in order to prevent the Taliban from making use of the fuel has caused a tremendous controversy over the collateral damage caused by the air strike.

2. These tankers were reportedly bringing fuel for NATO use via Tajikistan. In view of the repeated disruptions of logistic supplies to the NATO troops via Pakistani territory due to attacks by the Pakistani Taliban called the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the NATO troops have developed an alternate route for logistic supplies via Russia and the Central Asian Republics (CAR). There have been indications that the Afghan Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan ( IMU) were planning to disrupt this alternative route too by stepping up their activities in Northern Afghanistan and the CARs. There have already been indications of a revival of acts of terrorism by pro-Al Qaeda organisations in the CARs.

3. Two of these fuel tankers coming from or via Tajikistan were reportedly hijacked by the Neo Taliban of Afghanistan. It is not clear from available reports whether the hijacking was done in Tajik or Afghan territory. The reports say that after hijacking the tankers, the Neo Taliban group responsible for the hijacking beheaded the drivers and started driving them to the area controlled by it. On the way one of the tankers developed some technical trouble and stalled. Some members of the local community gathered round it, reportedly to help themselves to some of the fuel.After assessing the situation and satisfying itself that any collateral damage to civilians will be minimal, a NATO air strike was ordered on the tankers. There are conflicting reports of the fatalities caused by the exploding fuel tankers as a result of the air strike---- varying between 60 and 90.

4. In an operation of this kind, there are bound to have been civilian casualties. It would be difficult to quantify how many of those killed were from the Neo Taliban and how many were civilians.Even though an enquiry has been ordered by the NATO officials, they would find it difficult to arrive at an acceptable figure of civilian fatalities.It would be impossible to prove or disprove the contention of either side. The NATO's contention is that even if there were civilian fatalities, their number would be small and that the majority of those killed were from the Neo Taliban. The contention of the Neo Taliban is that most of those killed were innocent civilians. In a situation such as this, the general population will always believe the insurgents and not the security forces. This is one of the inherent hazards in a counter-insurgency operation. The security forces have to live with it.

5. One could understand the factors which must have prompted the air strike. First, to prevent the Neo Taliban from using the fuel for adding to its capabilities. Second, to deter future attempts to disrupt supplies from or through the CARs. At the same time, air strikes on a fuel tanker----particularly if it is stationery--- carry with them the risk of unacceptable collateral damage, which would be exploited by the insurgents to the detriment of the security forces and their counter-insurgency operations.

6. One of the lessons from this incident could be to avoid air strikes on stationery fuel tankers. Air strikes on fuel tankers moving on country roads in an isolated or thinly-inhabited area normally will carry less danger of civilian fatalities. There are situations where the security forces should resist the urge to act. What happened on September 4 was one such situation. (5-9-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Thursday, September 3, 2009



Thousands of residents of Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang province of China----most of them Han Chinese but also including some Uighurs working for the Government--- took to the streets in different parts of the capital on September 3,2009, to protest against the failure of the security authorities to stop mysterious attacks with hypodermic syringe needles on the back which have been taking place in different parts of the city since August 17,2009, and arrest those responsible. Ultimately, the crowds dispersed when the local authorities appealed to them to go home.

2. There have so far been no reports of any fatalities due to these syringe attacks, which seem to have caused only minor injuries to the persons----some of them school-going Han children--- attacked. There is no reason to suspect the use of poison at the tip of the needles.

3. The repeated attacks with the syringe needles have been accompanied by isolated incidents of stabbing of Han Chinese as well as Uighurs working for the local Government. There is considerable panic in the city.

4. There is spreading anger amongst the Han residents of Urumqi not only against the local authorities, but also against Beijing for failing to ensure the securitry of the people since the anti-Han riots of July 5/6. They allege that there has been no improvement in the security situation even after the visit to Xinjiang towards the end of last month by President Hu Jintao to discuss with the local authorities measures for stepping up security and for protecting the Hans from attacks by the Uighurs.

5. Even though the local authorities claim to have arrested over 20 persons in connection with these mysterious incidents, the attacks continue to take place. Many parents have not been sending their children to schools due to fear of their being attacked.

6. While the authorities seem to be clueless as to who are behind these attacks, local sources suspect that the pro-Al Qaeda Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan (IMET), which operates from North Waziristan in Pakistan, is behind these attacks. This seems to be a new modus operandi being used by Al Qaeda elements in Xinjiang, which brings to mind a similar MO which was being used by the Bulgarian intelligence agencies, when Bulgaria was under communist rule, to get rid of anti-communist political dissidents, who had taken shelter in West Europe.

7. People are nervous that the persons behind these mysterious attacks might start using poison at the tip of the needles in order to cause fatalities. These attacks started a few days before the Muslim holy fasting period of Ramadan began and are continuing during the fasting period. (3-9-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai,. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Wednesday, September 2, 2009



( Valedictory address delivered on September 2,2009, at an international seminar at Mumbai on "Countering Terrorism in India---Challengeof the 21st Century" organised jointly by the SIES College of Arts, Science & Commerce and the American Centre, Mumbai )

For terrorists and counter-terrorism experts, September is an important month. The eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US Homeland, the seventh anniversary of the attack on the Aksherdam Temple in Ahmedabad on September 24,2002, and the first anniversaryof the terrorist strikes in New Delhi by the Indian Mujahideen (IM) on September 13 and 27,2008, all fall this month. It may be recalled that Amir Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), now facing trial for his involvement in the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai,had reportedly told the police that the LET had planned to carry out the strike on September 26, but postponed it. He could not say why. A suspected reason is that the Indian intelligence had come to know of a possible terrorist attack in September and the police and the security establishments of the hotels had gone on high alert during September.It also so happens that the Muslims' holy fasting period also falls in September this year. Jihadi terrorists often, though not always, try to proclaim their continued presence and enduring capability through high-profile strikes during the fasting period----particularly on the Fridays of the fasting period.One would recall that the Mumbai blasts of March,1993,which constituted the first Pakistan-sponsored jihadi terrorist strike in the Indian territory outside Jammu & Kashmir(J&K), took place on a Friday of the fasting period.

2. It should not, therefore, be a matter of surprise that our leaders, including the Prime Minister, and security agencies have recently alerted the public and the State police forces about the dangers of more terrorist strikes emanating from Pakistan. The 12-month lull in the activities of indigenous jihadi terrorists and the nine-month lull in the activities of Pakistani terrorists is continuing, but this lull should not make us complacent.

3. Such periods of lull after every series of spectacular strikes are a normal feature of jihadi terrorism--- whether of the indigenous or Pakistani kind. The surviving terrorists and their choreographers lie low in the weeks immediately following the strikes and resume their activities again when they feel that the pressure from the security agencies and their vigilance have lessened. They use such periods of lull for drawing lessons from their previous strikes, modifying the training where called for and drawing up plans for a new wave of strikes.

4. Since 2000, there have been 26 attacks of jihadi terrorism in the Indian territory outside Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) involving 900 fatalities.These attacks took place in two waves. In the first wave lasting four years from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2003, there were eight strikes involving 129 fatalities. Then there was a long lull between January 2004 and July 2005. A second wave started in July 2005 and continued till November 2008. During this period, there were 18 terrorist attacks involving 780 fatalities.

5.Since the Mumbai attack of November last year, there has again been a period of lull. A careful study of the wave of strikes and the periods of lull would indicate that the lulls start whenever the State of Pakistan is under pressure from India and the international community to end its sponsorsip of terrorism in Indian territory and the terrorist attacks resume again when the pressure on the state of Pakistan eases. The lull between January 2004 and July 2005, followed the meeting of Atal Behari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister, with Pervez Musharraf, the then Pakistani President. During this meeting, Musharraf gave a solemn commitment that he would not allowPakistani or Pakistan-controlled territory to be used for acts of terrorism in Indian territory.

6. Pakistan kept up this commitment till July 2005. That month, sensing that pressure on it has eased, it resumed the terrorist attacks once again.Similarly, due to Indian and international pressure, it has again been observing a lull since the Mumbai attack of November,2008. This lull is being observed not only by Pakistani organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), but also by the Indian jihadi organisations such as the Indian Mujahideen and the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). This is a clear indication that both the Pakistani and the indigenous organisations function under a common command and control located in Pakistan.

7. Recently, there is an unfortunate perception in Pakistan that as a result of the strong action taken by it against the terrorists in the Pashtun belt who pose a threat to Western lives and property in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the pressure for action against the LET and other anti-India terrorist groups has eased. This perception has led to the re-activation of the anti-India training camps in Pakistani territory and the hatching of fresh conspiracies for a new and third wave of terrorist strikes in Indian territory outside J&K. Hence, in my view, thePrime Minister's recent warning, which was timely and justified.

8.The LET attack in Mumbai from November 26 to 29, 2008, saw a mix of a commando style operation typical of Army special forces and terrorism directly targeting innocent civilians typical of the LET and other Pakistani jihadi organisations.The Mumbai attack has caused concern right across the international counter-terrorism community not because the terrorists used a new MO, which they had not used inthe past, but because they used an old MO with destruction multiplier effect provided by modern communications equipment and lessons drawn from the commando courses of regular armed forces.

9.There were 166 fatalities in the sea-borne commando-style attack. Only five of them were caused by explosives. The remaining 161 were caused by hand-held weapons (assault rifles and hand-grenades). There had been commando-style attacks with hand-held weapons by terrorists in the Indian territory even in the past, but most of those attacks were against static security guards outside important buildings such as the Parliament House in New Delhi, the US Consulate in Kolkata, a temple in Ahmedabad etc.

10.The Mumbai attack was the first act of mass casualty terrorism by the jihadi terrorists against innocent civilians using hand-heldweapons. The previous two acts of mass casualty terrorism with fatalities of more than 150 were carried out with timed improvised explosive devices (IEDs) ----- in March 1993 and in July 2006, both in Mumbai.

11.The increasing use of IEDs by the terrorists since 9/11 had led to strict anti-explosive checks even by private establishments. The killing with IEDs tends to be indiscriminate with no way of pre-determining who should be killed. Moreover, the publicity earned from IED attacks tends to be of short duration. As was seen during the attack on the Parliament House in December, 2001, the visual impact of TV-transmitted images of attacks with hand-held weapons as they are taking place tends to be more dramatic. In an attack with hand-heldweapons, the terrorists can pre-determine whom they want to kill.

12.In Mumbai, the attacks in the public places by two terrorists on the move lasted hardly a few hours, but caused more fatalities. The static armed confrontations in the hotels and the Nariman House lasted about 60 hours, but caused less fatalities. The static armed confrontations got the terrorists more publicity than the attacks by the two terrorists on the move in public places. By the time TV, radio and other media crew came to know what was happening in the public places and rushed there, the attacks were already over. In the hotels and the Nariman House, the media crew were able to provide a live coverage of almost the entire confrontation. Mrs.Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister, had once described undue publicity as the oxygen of terrorists. The terrorists in Mumbai had 60 hours of uninterrupted oxygen supply.

13.To deal with the jihadi terrorists from Pakistan, who are growing smarter and smarter, we need counter-terrorism agencies and police which can out-smart them.Smart counter-terrorism has four components----- prevention through timely and precise intelligence, prevention through effective physical security, crisis or consequence management to limit the damage if prevention fails and a capability for deniable retaliation if the terrorists operate from the territory of another State. In Mumbai, intelligence was available, but considered inadequate by the police and the Navy/Coast Guard, physical security by the police and the security establishments of the targeted places was deficient,coastal surveillance by the police and the Coast Guard was weak, the consequence management by the National Security Guards (NSG) and others was criticized as tardy and lacking in co-ordination and deniable retaliatory capability was not available. In their testimonies before the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security, non-Governmental US security experts said that the success of the terrorists in Mumbai demonstrated the weak state of India’s preventive capability and the non-existence of a retaliatory capability. Unless immediate action is taken to remove the deficiencies, more terrorist attacks of a serious nature cannot be avoided.

14.Before 1967, counter-terrorism was seen largely as the responsibility of the Police and the civilian intelligence agencies. After the terrorist organisations took to aviation terrorism involving aircraft hijackings and blowing up aircraft in mid-air as one of their modus operandi, the need for special intervention forces trained by the army was felt. After a surge in acts of terrorism against Israeli nationals and interests in Israel and outside after the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, counter-terrorism in Israel acquired an increasingly military dimension with the role of the police subordinated to that of the armed forces.

15.This trend towards the increasing militarization of counter-terrorism acquired a further momentum after vehicle-borne suicide bombers,suspected to be from the Hezbollah, blew themselves up outside the barracks of the US Marines and the French paratroopers then deployed as part of an international peace-keeping force in Beirut killing 241 US servicemen and 58 French Paratroopers on October23,1983. It was after this incident that the US started talking of a strategy to combat terrorism instead of a strategy to wage a campaign against terrorism. Al Qaeda’s attack against the US naval ship USS Cole in Aden in October, 2000, and the subsequent discovery of the plans of Al Qaeda to indulge in acts of maritime terrorism in ports and in choke points such as the Strait of Gibraltar and the Malacca Strait to disrupt international trade and the flow of energy supplies and to damage the global economy gave a naval dimension to counter-terrorism.

16.Even long before 9/11, counter-terrorism had acquired a scientific and technological dimension due to the increasing use by terrorists of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), but this dimension was restricted to detecting the presence of IEDs and neutralizing them. This S&Tdimension has since grown in importance due to the attempts of Al Qaeda to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) material and its proclaimed readiness to use them, if necessary, to protect Islam. This dimension has further expanded due to apprehended threats to critical information infrastructure that could arise from terrorists or hackers helping terrorists, who are adept in the use of information technology for destructive purposes.

17.Before 1967, terrorism was largely a uni-dimensional threat to individual lives and property. It has since evolved into a multi-dimensional threat to the lives of large numbers of people, to the economy and to the critical information infrastructure. It is no longer viewed as a purely police responsibility. It is the responsibility of the police, the armed forces, the scientific and technological community and the experts in consequence management such as psychologists, fire brigade and medical personnel and experts in disaster relief and rehabilitation. How to ensure co-ordinated and well-synchronised action by the different elements of the counter-terrorism community and what kind ofcounter-terrorism architecture is required is the question constantly engaging the attention of national security managers of countries affected by terrorism.

18.Combating terrorism military-style evolved into a war against terrorism after the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US Homeland. This had three implications. Firstly, a no-forces barred approach in combating terrorism----- whether it be the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the Police or the Special Forces; secondly, an enhanced leadership role for the armed forces in the war against terrorism; and thirdly, a new criminal justice system to deal with terrorists that not only provided for special laws and special courts, but also enabled the armed forces to deal with foreign terrorists operating against US nationals and interests as war criminals liable to be detained in special military camps such as the one in the Guantanamo Bay and to be tried by military tribunals and not by civil courts. President Barack Obama has been trying to reverse some of these practices and has initiated action to close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre within a year and to transfer theresponsibility for trial to normal courts from military tribunals.

19.Keeping pace with this evolution of a new strategy to combat terrorism, there has been a simultaneous evolution of the counter-terrorism architecture with the addition of many new elements to this architecture. The two most important elements in the US are the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Counter-Terrorism Centre. The DHS acts as the nodal point for co-ordinating all physical security measures against terrorism and all crisis management measures to deal with situations arising from successful acts of terrorism in US territory or on its borders as well as with natural disasters. While the Department of Defence created in 1947 is responsible for all policy-making and co-ordination relating to US military operations abroad, whether against a State or a non-State adversary, the DHS is responsible for all policy-making and inter-departmental co-ordination relating to internal security and natural disasters. A Homeland Security Council in the White House performs an advisory and policy-making role in respect of internal security and natural disasters.

20.The Homeland Security Council is structurally similar to the National Security Council, with a Secretariat of its own, which is headed by an official, who is designated as the Adviser to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism. Its meetings are chaired by the President and attended by various Cabinet members having responsibilities relating to internal security.

21.In August 2004,then President George Bush established the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) to serve as the primary organization for integrating and analyzing all intelligence pertaining to terrorism and counter-terrorism (CT) and to conduct strategic operational planning by integrating all instruments of national power. In December 2004, the Congress incorporated the NCTC in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) and placed the NCTC under the supervision of the Director of National Intelligence, a newly-created post to co-ordinate and supervise the functioning of all intelligence agencies of the US.

22.The disproportionate use of force against the terrorists in the name of waging a war against them and the consequent increase in civilian fatalities led to a hardening of the motivation of the terrorists, an increase in community support for them and a surge in the flow of new recruits to terrorist organisations . This has brought about a re-thinking and the results of this re-thinking are already reflected in the counter-terrorism doctrine of the administration of President Barack Obama, which is talking less and less of a war against terrorism and more and more of a campaign against terrorism as counter-terrorism experts used to do before 1983. The Obama Administration continues to use military force against Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups, but it now underlines that the use of military force alone would not be adequate without addressing the causes which lead to a surge in the flow of recruits to terrorist organisations. The new Af-Pak policyof the Obama Administration is a mix of the military and non-military approaches to terrorism and insurgency. It has sought to correct what it feels was an over-focus on the military approach under George Bush.

23. India, which has been the victim of insurgencies and terrorism of various hues since it became independent in 1947, has always had a more nuanced approach to terrorism.Even though we do not have a formally declared counter-terrorism doctrine, our counter-terrorism policies were based on two principles, to which all Governments have adhered. Firstly, while the Army has to have the leadership role in dealing with cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Myanmar, the Police has to be the weapon of first resort in other areas away from the international borders and the Army's help should be sought only when the Police is overwhelmed. Secondly, while the "hearts and minds" approach or "addressing the root causes" approach has no validity for the terrorists coming from Pakistan orBangladesh, these approaches will have an important role to play in dealing with purely indigenous groups with no external links orsponsorship.

24. These two principles led to a parallel evolution of two different counter-terrorism policies in India.The first is a counter-terrorist policy,which sees terrorists as a threat to national security and seeks to eradicate them whatever be the causes for their terrorism. This approach is applied to Pakistani, Pakistani-sponsored and Pakistani-aided terrorists. The second policy is the counter-terrorism policy, which is applied only to indigenous terrorists, whether jihadi or ethnic or separatist or left extremist. This views terrorism as a phenomenon with political, economic, social and other causes, which have to be addressed simultaneously with a campaign to neutralise the terrorists.

25. Unfortunately, in recent months, as a result of the increase in the activities of the Naxalites or Maoists and the spread of their areas of operation and control across the tribal belt in central India, this nuanced policy towards our own citizens who have taken to terrorism is showing signs of dilution. There is an undesirable trend towards the militarisation of counter-terrorism in the Maoist-affected areas and a growing lack of sensitivity to the grievances of the poor tribals, who are joining polically-motivated Maoist leaders in waging a violent struggle against the State.

26.India’s record in dealing with terrorism and insurgency is not as negative as it is often projected to be. We have had a successful record in Punjab, Nagaland (partial), Mizoram, Tripura and in Tamil Nadu in dealing with terrorism of Al Umma. Even in Jammu & Kashmir, the ground situation is showing signs of improvement.

27.However, there are two kinds of terrorism/insurgency where our record has been poor till now---- the jihadi kind, which is essentially an urban phenomenon outside J&K, and the Maoist (Naxalite) kind, which is essentially a rural phenomenon. We have succeeded where the terrorism or insurgency was a regional phenomenon and was confined to a narrow area. We have not succeeded where the threat was pan-Indian in nature with the network extending its presence to many States in the North and the South.

28.A pan-Indian threat requires a co-ordinated pan-Indian response at the political and professional levels. Unfortunately, the multiplicity of political parties, the era of coalition and the tendency in our country to over-politicise terrorism come in the way of a pan-Indian political response. The tendency of the intelligence agencies and the police of different States to keep each other in the dark about what they know and not to admit to each other as to what they do not know comes in the way of a pan-Indian professional response. There has been a plethora of reports and recommendations on the need for better sharing and co-ordination, but without any effect on our agencies and the police.

29.While the agencies and the Police are largely responsible for the absence of a co-ordinated professional response, the political leadership at the Centre and in different States cannot escape their share of responsibility. A determined political leader, who has the national interests in mind, can use a whip and make the agencies and the police co-operate. A political leader whose policies and actions are motivated by partisan and not national interests will come in the way of professional co-operation.

30.Any cure to the problem of jihadi and Maoist terrorism has to start at the political level. A political leader has to play a dual role. He has to help the professionals in taking firm action against the terrorists---whatever be their community and ideology. He has to give them whatever tools they need. At the same time, he has to identify the circumstances and perceptions which drive young Muslims to take to jihadi terrorism and young tribals to take to Maoist terrorism. Anger is one of the common root causes of all terrorism. Unless this anger is addressed, professional handling of the threat alone, however effective, cannot bring about an enduring end to this threat.

31.An effective political handling has to start with a detailed analysis of the causes of anger and action to deal with them. Our young Muslims, who are taking to jihadi terrorism, are not bothered by issues such as lack of education and unemployment, reservation for Muslims etc. They are angry at what they consider to be the unfairness to the Muslims, which, according to them, is widely prevalent in India. Unsatisfactory political handling of the Muslim youth by all political parties is an aggravating cause of the threat from jihadi terrorism.

32.Similarly, it is the absence of meaningful land reforms and perceptions of suppression of the tribals by the non-tribals and the administration, which are an important cause of the tribal anger in Central India. It is the responsibility of the political class and the society as a whole to address this. They do not do so and keep nursing an illusion that more and more money, men and equipment for the agencies and the police will end this problem. It won't.

33. The terrorism of the left extremist kind has been with us almost since we became independent, but we still do not have a workable strategy to deal with it. Before working out such a strategy, one has to understand the basic differences between Maoist insurgency/terrorism and jihadi terrorism. Firstly, the Maoist terrorism is an almost totally rural phenomenon,whereas jihadi terrorism is a largely urban phenomenon. Secondly, Maoist terrorism is a totally indigenous phenomenon motivated by domestic grievances and a domestic political agenda. Jihadi terrorism is externally sponsored or aided by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Bangladesh and is motivated by their strategic agenda. Jihadi terrorism is a cross border threat to national security. Maoist terrorism is not.

34.While the leaders of the Maoists are motivated largely by their desire to seek political power through a Maoist style People's War similar to the war waged by their counterparts in Nepal, their cadres and foot soldiers fighting for them are largely motivated by genuine grievances arising from the political, economic and social hardships faced by them. It is our long neglect to develop the tribal areas which has created large pockets of alienation against the Government and these pockets have become the spawning ground of Maoist terrorism.

35.We cannot have the same strategy for dealing with Maoist activities as we have for dealing with jihadi terrorism.We have to take note of the genuine grievances of the tribals and deal with them in a sympathetic manner. We should not dismiss summarily their allegations of police excesses. There has to be a machinery for a prompt enquiry into these allegations. Maoist terrorism cannot be effectively countered without modernising and strengthening our rural policing and the rural presence of the intelligence agencies. The tribal areas, which have not yet been affected by the Maoist virus, have to be developed on a crash basis in order to prevent the spread of the virus to them. The capabilities of the security agencies deployed for countering the Maoist activities have to be different from those of the urban counter-terrorism agencies. The emphasis has to be on greater mobility in the rural areas with very little road infrastructure at present and greater protection from landmines used extensively by the Maoists. Our failure to develop the road infrastructure in the rural areas has facilitated the spread of Maoist terrorism by taking advantage of the lack of mobility of the security forces.

36. The jihadis increasingly attack soft targets. The Maoists don't. They mainly attack police stations, police lines, camps and arms storage depots of para-military forces in order to demoralise the security forces and capture their arms and ammunition. The repeated successes of the Maoists in mounting large-scale surprise attacks on such hard targets speaks of the poor state of rural policing and intelligence set-up and the equally poor state of physical security.

37. Unfortunately, instead of working out an appropriate strategy which will address these operational deficiencies and at the same time pay equal attention to the political handling of the problem, there is an unwise tendency to militarise the counter-Maoist insurgency management by adopting methods similar to those followed by the British in dealing with the Communist insurgency in Malaya after the Second World War. This will prove counter-productive.

38. The jihadi terrorists, as compared to the Maoists, have a greater flow of funds from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the so-called charity organisations in the Gulf. They have a greater access to modern weapons, explosives and communications equipment largely given by the ISI. They have the advantage of better training by Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment. They have access to sanctuaries in Pakistan and Bangladesh to escape capture by the Indian police. They are better trained and more adept in the use ofmodern technical innovations such as the Internet, the GPS sets, satellite phones and mobile telephones as facilitators of terrorism and as destruction multipliers. They understand better the power of the media and know how to manipulate the media as an unwitting aid to terrorism.

39.I do not agree with the Prime Minister that the Maoists pose a greater threat to our internal security than the jihadi terrorists.In the medium and long-term, jihadi terrorism will be a greater threat to our internal security than Maoist terrorism or insurgency. While there is considerable discussion in public as to how to deal with Maoist terrorism since it has no electoral impact, there is a reluctance to discuss in public our approaches to jihadi terrorism lest it has an adverse impact on Muslim votes.

40.Strategic threat analysis has undergone a significant change since 9/11. Before 9/11, analysis and assessment of threat perceptions were based on actual intelligence or information available with the intelligence and security agencies. 9/11 has brought home to policy-makers the difficulties faced by intelligence agencies, however well-endowed they might be, in penetrating terrorist organisations to find out details of their thinking and planning. This realisation has underlined the importance of analysts serving policy-makers constantly identifying national security vulnerabilities, which might attract the attention of terrorists, and suggesting options and actions to deny opportunities for attacks to the terrorists. Vulnerability analysis has become as important as threat analysis.

41.Strategic analysts can no longer confine themselves to an analysis and assessment of strategic developments of a conventional nature arising from State actors, but should pay equal attention to the strategic impact of non-State actors, such as international or trans-national terrorists, crime mafia groups and nuclear proliferators on global security in general and our own national security in particular..

42.Flow of human intelligence about jihadi terrorism is weak because of the post-9/11 phenomenon of global Islamic solidarity and the adversarial relationship between the agencies and the police on the one side and the Muslim community on the other. Feelings of Islamic solidarity prevent even law-abiding Muslims from volunteering to the agencies and the police information about their co-religionists, who have taken to terrorism and from assisting the police in their investigation. The adversarial relationship has resulted in mutual demonisation. How to come out of this syndrome is a matter for serious consideration not only by the police and the agencies, but also by the political class and the civil society, including the media.

43.Once we allow terrorism and insurgencies of different kinds to make their appearance in our society it takes a long time to deal with them. We took 19 years to deal with the Naga insurgency, another 19 years to deal with the Mizo insurgency, 14 years to deal with Khalistani terrorism and about 10 years to deal with Al Umma. The French took 19 years to deal with the terrorism of Carlos and his group.Even after 41 years of vigorous implementation of a no-holds-barred counter-terrorism strategy, Israel is still grappling with the terrorism of the Palestinians and the Hezbollah. The British took over 20 years to bring the Irish Republican Army under control.

44.The attitude of our political class to terrorism is ambivalent. On the one hand, it is worried---rightly---over this growing threat. On the other, it continues to view this as a vote-catcher. Every political party has been firm in demanding action against terrorism when it is out of power. It becomes soft when it comes to power. That is the bane of our counter-terrorism. Only voter pressure can force the political class to stop exploiting terrorism as an electoral weapon and to start dealing with it as a major threat to national security, which should unite thepolitical class and the civil society.

45.The jihadi terrorism in our territory has been able to thrive because of the support from the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Our anxiety for improved relations with them has been coming in the way of any deterrence to their continued use of terrorism against India. The deterrence has to be in the form of an effective covert action capability, which we should be prepared to use against the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani and Bangladeshi territories, if left with no other option. The covert action capability, which was reportedly wound up in 1997 out of a misplaced sense of generosity to Pakistan, has to be revived.

46. For many years, there has been an endless debate in the community of security analysts about the linkage between security and development in any counter-terrorism or counter-insurgency strategy. Without effective security, there cannot be satisfactory development.Without satisfactory development, there cannot be effective security. Hardline security analysts----who believe in the security first approach--- even argue that if large funds are sanctioned for development in the terrorism or insurgency affected areas much of the money might leak into the coffers of the terrorists or insurgents.

47. This is an unwise approach, which would be counter-productive. Fortunately, our political leaders have rejected the arguments of such hardline security experts. They have been trying to give simultaneous attention to requirements of security and development even at the risk of some of the funds allotted for development leaking to the terrorists or insurgents.

48. At the same time, the priorities tend to be misplaced. For example, in the Naxalism affected areas we tend to focus more on development packages for the affected areas. It is important to pay equal, if not more, attention to the development of the tribal areas not affected by Naxalism in order to demonstrate to people the dividends of observing law and order and keeping away from terrorists and insurgents.

49. In the North-East, there has been peace in Nagaland and Mizoram. Arunachal Pradesh has remained unaffected by insurgency. In Tripura, there has been a decrease in insurgency. We should have undertaken a crash programme for the economic development of these areas to provide a demonstration of a peace dividend for areas which have given up insurgency or for areas, which have remained away from insurgency. But the importance of this has not been realised by our policy-makers.

50.There is no copybook on counter-terrorism, which can apply to all situations and to all kinds of terrorism. Our strategies should be tailor-made to suit different situations and to deal with different kinds of terrorism. There should be a fair balance between the requirements of security and economic development and social justice in strategies dealing with indigenous terrorism.

51.Finally, some words about our intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies and the police . They are not as bad as they are projected or believed to be, but they are not as good as they project themselves to be. Despite 62 years of insurgency and terrorism by some organisation or the other in some part of the country or the other, our country has remained politically stable and economically vibrant and galloping. This is as much a tribute to our intelligence and security agencies as it is to our political class and civil society. One of the main aims of the terrorists is to intimidate. They have not been able to intimidate us as a people, as a Government, as a civil society.This is a quality which we share with the people of Israel. Israel is a thriving country despite 42 years of anti-Jewish terrorism of the most brutal kind,because the people of Israel have refused to be intimidated by the terrorists.

52.At the same time, the fact that there have been 26 terrorist attacks---some of them of a very serious nature--- since 2000 would show that there were 26 instances of intelligence failure or physical security failure or both. Why do we fail again and again? Various reasons have been cited--- lack of co-ordination, lack of joint action, lack of accountability etc. I would add one more reason. Our reluctance to admit deficiencies and to correct them. We saw this in Mumbai this year when the Government of Maharashtra covered up the report of the two-member enquiry committee set up by it to go into the Mumbai attack because it did not want the public to know the sins of commission and omission, which made the terrorist strike possible. The terrorists know our defiencies, but the public has no right to know. The relatives of the victims of the attacks should not accept this attempted cover-up.

53.Our Police, the National Security Guards and other agencies have been criticised for their deficiencies which contributed to the situation resulting from the terrorist attack.148 civilians were killed by the terrorist attack, but about 1,000 others were saved. By all means criticise them for not saving these 148 people, but to be fair to them, let us also praise and thank them for saving 1000 others at the cost of 18 security forces personnel killed.

54. How to deal with the media----particularly the electronic media---in a situation like this? In a democratic country like ours, we cannot ban the media from covering situations such as this. At the same time, the media has to admit that in the cut-throat competition for viewership they never kept in view the importance of protecting precious lives by not covering the deployments of the security forces, their actions etc.There is a need for a sincere interaction between the media and the counter-terrorism agencies on the role of the media in counter-terrorism. (2-9.09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt.of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai, E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )