Militant training camps in a number of Bangladeshi Madrassas By Manoj Saxena

6 04 2009

According to press reports, more than 700 militant training camps are in operation within the 69,000 Koranic Madrassas in Bangladesh. Talibans, returned from Afghanistan battle field or Kashmir, Palestine and Chechen war fields are giving training to the young students of the Madrassas with the agenda of shifting Bangladesh from present democratic structure to Caliphate state.

Dhaka’s prominent Bengali newspaper The Janakantha published an opinion editorial on April 5, 2009, where columnist Laila Najnin Harun said, in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, a huge Madrassa cum militant training camp is openly operating at Kamrangirchar area, while law enforcing agencies are showing ignorance to this fact. She questioned the role of law enforcing agencies for such ignorance stating, this will allow the militants in further gaining strength.

Kamrangirchar’s Noria-Alia Madrassa was earlier used for militant training purpose by Harkajutl Mujahedin Bangladesh (HuJI) under the command of Mufti Abdul Hannan. Madrassas principal Moulana Ahmadullah Ashraf is the patron of such activities. During the Afghan war, Ashraf’s son took part in militancy with Talibans and died there.

Noria-Alia Madrassa in Kamrangirchar is the main base of Dhaka’s ultra radical group Bangladesh Khulafah Andolen (Caliphate Movement of Bangladesh). War criminal and Islamic terror mastermind Mufti Fazlul Haque Aminy is the advisor of this Madrassa. According to Bangladesh intelligence report, this Madrassa continues to receive large amount of money from different foreign donors on a regular basis.

According to expert reports there are more than 69,000 Madrassas in Bangladesh, mostly Koranic, which breeds militants. Bangladeshi law minister Barrister Shafiq Ahmed said, clerics in these Madrassas allure the students with the dream of heaven thus finally motivating them in Jihad against all non Muslims. Raping Hindu females are taught to be a sacred obligation of every Muslims. Madrassa students also consider all progressive people as ‘Murtads’ as well non-Muslims and consider killing them as holy task. These students attempted to assassin Bangladeshi progressive poet Shamsur Rehman in 1999. Same sects of people were behind the brutal attack of another progressive writer named Humayun Azad, who died in Germany while on treatment. Attackers injured Humayun Azad, a prominent writer and teacher of Dhaka University with sharp weapons.

Secularist forces are under attack in Bangladesh. When secularist and anti Jihad political party – Awami League (AL) won a landslide victory during December 29 election last year, anti secularist forces started conspiring to oust AL from power. With this agenda in mind, they plotted a bloody massacre inside BDR headquarters in Dhaka during February 25 this year. Several army officers were killed by the militants and their affiliates. While government started investigating the matter, some fanatic newspapers and forces in Dhaka became active in shifting the focus of the investigators to blank by pointing some secularist leaders as the ‘collaborators’ of this incident.

World renowned Bangladeshi peace worker and minority rights activist Shahriar Kabir in a commentary said, for the offense of only a few hundred BDR jawans, there is conspiracy of dismantling the entire para-military force. Referring to statement made by Col. Shams, who was saved from the mutiny, Shahriar Kabir said, outsiders were behind murders inside the BDR headquarters, and the investigators should find out these killers.

He vehemently opposed trying the BDR jawans and others related to the mutiny in Court Martial. Mr. Kabir referred statements by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which said, trial in Court Martial will be a great injustice. He appreciated the efforts taken by Awami League government in compensating and rehabilitating the families of killed army officers during the mutiny.

Shahriar Kabir has also rightly raised the illegal arrest, torture and murder of hundreds of people during ‘Operation Clean Heart’ conducted by Bangladesh Army under the command of Lt. Gen. Hassan Massud Chowdhury, who recently resigned from Anti Corruption Commission due to various allegations. He said, killer army officers and soldiers as well members of RAB and police, who took part in brutality during Operation Clean Heart were given impunity by BNP government.

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Andrew Buncombe: Well-trained, motivated and on the rise. But who are these militants?

5 03 2009

Source: The independent

The images are nothing short of terrifying. A dozen well-trained, well-armed men fanning out and taking up their positions with consummate ease and expertise. Nothing could be more different than the grainy CCTV footage of a single truck lurching up to the gate of a five-star hotel and its driver arguing with the security guards and, five minutes later, a massive bomb exploding.

Last night, as Pakistani police continued what increasingly seemed a hapless hunt for the perpetrators of the Lahore attack, a consensus was gathering that the ambush represented the emergence of a new and distressing terror threat for South Asia.

It is not that militant attacks are anything new for Pakistan. Since the summer of 2007, the country has been beset by about 120 suicide bomb attacks on police and civilian targets. But almost without exception, they have been largely crude, hit-or-miss strikes that depended on one or two attackers delivering a truck or car bomb. Tuesday’s highly-mobile, commando-style militants armed with grenade launchers and automatic weapons and who slipped away when they realised their objective was not obtainable, appeared anything but crude.

“These were definitely different tactics. They were like commandos and they were very clearly not on a suicide mission,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, an Islamabad-based analyst and author. “They had a particular intention – to either kidnap or attack the Sri Lankan team – but when they were not able to do that they fled and have not been seen.”

Many have likened the Lahore attacks to those in Mumbai last November when a similar number of well-trained, well-armed militants held off Indian counter-terrorism commandos for more than 60 hours. Those attacks were blamed by India and others on the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). It is too early to say whether the LeT was responsible for the Lahore attack and experts point out that, in its 20-year existence, the LeT has never attacked a target inside Pakistan. But clearly something very serious is happening in Pakistan; someone, somewhere is training groups of well-equipped, highly motivated militants who have the wherewithal and skills to challenge even the best of the region’s counter-terrorism forces. It raises all manner of questions; where are they being trained, who is supplying them with arms, who is supplying them with intelligence, why are the intelligence agencies such as Pakistan’s notorious ISI not aware of this group? More sinisterly, many will ask, are elements in the ISI linked to these militants.

Diving into the alphabet soup of potential suspects for Tuesday’s attack may be a futile task. Bahukutumbi Raman, an Indian security analyst and former intelligence official, said he believed a number of Pakistan-based militant groups had the potential to carry out that style of attack. They include the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), an offshoot of the HUM, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), an anti-Shia organisation, and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI).

Writing on his website, he adds: “Al-Qa’ida and the [Pakistan Taliban] have carried out a number of suicide bombings through individual suicide bombers and vehicle-borne bombers in many towns including Lahore but they have not so far carried out a frontal urban ambush … Since its formation in 1989, [the LeT] has never carried out any act of terrorism in Pakistani territory, against Pakistani or foreign nationals. All its acts of terrorism have been either in Indian or Afghan territory.”

Mr Raman says the HUM once had operational ties with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) the Sri Lankan rebel group.

The incident has also forced a rethink of what constitutes a target. Until this point, sportsmen and woman were believed to be largely insulated from the region’s extremism. But if cricketers are now considered fair game, it means, in effect, that no one is safe.

Asked how Pakistan can defend itself against this new threat, Talat Masood, a former Pakistani general, said: “You have to have a lot of good intelligence, the support of your people and a better police. You also have to have good governance, rather than growing opposition to everything that is happening.”





Police left us like sitting ducks, says referee

5 03 2009

Chris Broad, the ex-England batsman turned match referee who escaped injury in Tuesday’s attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers, castigated Pakistan yesterday for not providing the promised “presidential-style security” and accused the security services of fleeing the scene and leaving the visitors as “sitting ducks”.

As Pakistani police began investigating whether the gunmen were planning to take the whole squad hostage, Broad arrived at Manchester airport with scathing remarks about the way Pakistani police had handled the attack.

“After the incident there was not a sign of a policeman anywhere,” said Broad. “They had clearly gone, left the scene and left us to be sitting ducks. I am extremely angry that we were promised high-level security and in our hour of need that security vanished and we were left open to anything that the terrorists wanted.

“Questions need to be asked of Pakistan security. At every junction there are police with handguns controlling traffic, so how did the terrorists come to the roundabout and these guys do nothing about it?”

Sri Lanka’s team captain, Mahela Jayawardene, appeared to side with Broad, saying that the gunmen fought a one-sided battle. “They were not under pressure … nobody was firing at them,” he said.

But Pakistani officials were aghast at the suggestion. Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan cricket board chief, said: “How can Chris Broad say this when six policemen were killed?”

The assailants were carrying enough arms, ammunition, food and medical supplies to hold out for a prolonged period, perhaps several days. Pakistani police believe they could have been planning to board the bus and then put on the suicide vests that some were carrying, which would have enabled them to hold the entire team captive.

It may just have been the quick wits of the driver, who managed to speed the bus away, that averted a dramatic hostage situation. “From the inventory we have recovered, it seems they did not just mean to ambush the cavalcade,” said Mushtaq Sukhera, the head of the investigations department of the Lahore police force, in an interview with the Guardian. “It all suggests that they had planned something else, otherwise why were they carrying all these things?”

Sukhera would not speculate on the hostage plan, but other police officers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said taking the bus seemed the most likely.

A huge quantity of firearms, grenades and other equipment was recovered from rucksacks dumped by the attackers, and from an abandoned car. There were also rocket-propelled grenade launchers, meaning that the terrorists were at least as heavily armed as the men who attacked Mumbai for three days in November.

The assailants carried significant quantities of food, bandages and antiseptic liquid. Each of the gunmen wore a bulky rucksack. Sukhera said each rucksack contained half a kilo of almonds, half a kilo of dried fruit, biscuits and water bottles, enough to keep them going for days.

Police yesterday made sweeping arrests, detaining some 50 people, though reports suggested none were the gunmen involved and they had only vague connections to the incident.

Sketches of four of the attackers were issued by the police. CCTV footage emerged showing how calmly the gunmen left the scene. The images showed the terrorists strolling through a nearby market after the attack, machine guns still in hand. The authorities for the first time admitted security lapses yesterday. The top official in the Lahore administration, Khusro Pervaiz, said the “security gaps are very vivid, very clear”. He said the outer cordon of the Sri Lankan team’s police escort was missing or did not respond. He also said the vehicles being used by the escort were inappropriate.





Lahore ‘Cricket’ attack may mark a shift in Pakistan

4 03 2009

Source: Asia Times

By Syed Saleem Shahzad, March 04, 2009.

KARACHI – Pakistan might recently have signed peace deals with militants in its tribal areas, including with vehement anti-establishment Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, but militants on Tuesday staged a brazen attack in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province and the second-largest city in the country.

The attack by 12 heavily armed gunmen on a convoy escorted by police transporting Sri Lankan cricketers to a match against Pakistan has set off alarm bells in the capital Islamabad that militants are now taking their battle into major urban centres.

At least five people died and six of the cricketers were injured in a 25-minute battle in which militants wearing backpacks and carrying AK-47s, rockets and grenades fought police. The assailants then all fled. The Sri Lankan cricketers have called off their tour and are heading home immediately.

The attack bore some similarity to that of 10 well-armed gunmen, also with backpacks, who rampaged through Mumbai in India last November, killing 140 people. They were later found to have connections to the banned Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“This was a planned terrorist attack. They had heavy weapons,” Salman Taseer, who heads the provincial government as governor of Punjab, was reported as saying. “These were the same methods and the same sort of people as hit Mumbai.”

Numerous Pakistani analysts have been quick to point a finger at India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for staging what they say is a tit-for-tat attack on Tuesday, although there is been no official announcement in this connection.

A press attache at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Islamabad thought it highly unlikely that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who a waging a bloody separatist war in Sri Lanka, had anything to do with Tuesday’s events.

Rather, judging by what was shown on Pakistani television, the attack is the hallmark of those that were waged by militants (many of them Punjabi) against Indian security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir up until a few years ago. They were trained by the Indian cell of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

In 2005-06, these militants joined forces with the Pakistani Taliban and the Afghan resistance after Pakistan closed down their training camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, a move that changed the dynamics of the war theater in the region. Beside the Mumbai attack, Tuesday’s assault was similar to the storming of the Serena Hotel in the Afghan capital of Kabul in January 2008 and the unsuccessful July 2008 attack on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul. In all of these incidents, the attackers abandoned their weapons and quickly melted into a thickly populated area of the city where, apparently, they were whisked away by waiting colleagues.

Retired Lieutenant General Hamid Nawaz, a former interim minister the Interior and a close aide of former president General Pervez Musharraf, commented to Asia Times Online, “This proves that striking peace deals [with militants] will not serve any purpose and there is a need to handle them with iron hands. I blame the government for negligence.

“Providing a single elite police commando bus was not enough. They should have been provided VIP [very important people] security like the state provides for governors and chief ministers. Traffic should have been blocked on their route,” Nawaz said.

Former Pakistani cricketer Zaheer Abbas said, “I am not a politician to comment on who was behind it, but it has damaged Pakistani cricket very badly. I don’t understand why anybody would target Sri Lankans because they don’t have any role in the region. There might be some forces who want to damage the cause of Pakistan and Pakistani cricket.”

Possible attackers

Pakistani analysts, including retired General Hamid Gul, who is a former head of the ISI, blame India’s RAW.

However, there is no precedence for RAW having the capability to carry out such attacks in Pakistan. Its operations in Pakistan have been of two kinds, according to the records of Pakistani security agencies, documented in files and books narrated by their retired officials:

Small bomb blasts in urban centres.

The use of Indophile political parties such as the Awami League in 1970, the Pashtun sub-nationalist Awami National Party, the Baloch separatist group the Baloch Libration Army and the Muttehida Quami Movement.

However, these parties were always used in a limited political context. For creating a law-and-order situation in the country, RAW has always used bomb blasts and other small-level sabotage activities. It has never had the capacity, like the ISI had in India, to use armed groups to carry out guerrilla activities in Pakistan.

More pertinent is to view Tuesday’s attack in the context of the peace deals in the Swat Valley and the tribal areas which have stopped the fighting between ethnic Pashtun-dominated militants and the Pakistani army.

Prior to the signing of the deals, the matter of the release of militants who did not belong to the Swat area was raised, that is, non-Pashtun militants. These included Maulana Abdul Aziz, who was apprehended while trying to flee the radical Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad in July 2007.

However, after deciding on the level of compensation packages for the families of militants killed or injured by the security forces and other matters related to Swat and the tribal areas, the matter of non-Pashtun militants was deferred and the peace agreements were signed.

In effect, non-Pashtun militants have been ignored and the attack in Lahore could be a bloody message to the government that the “Punjabi militants” have the capacity to cripple urban centres at any time and place of their choosing.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online’s Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at saleem_shahzad2002@yahoo.com






Terrorism Versus South Asian Trio

24 02 2009
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

A South Asian task force against terrorism – is this an idea whose time has come?

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed of Bangladesh seems to think it has. The task force was one of her election promises and, after winning a tidal vote to power, she has opened talks on it with two important visitors, India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher.

Few, however, can miss a familiar pattern in Dhaka’s moves in the matter. Election promises, as a rule, sound more enthusiastic than ensuing action on them. If Prime Minister Hasina is sounding far more cautious about the task force than during the poll campaign, official constraints are not the only obvious reason.

Even more obvious is an ironical fact that militates against formation of such a force by the South Asian countries concerned – India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (with the Himalayan states of Nepal and Bhutan figuring only as occasional havens of terrorists and Sri Lanka harboring a different species of terrorism). The fact is that the three countries cannot agree more on terrorism, but cannot act less together against the threat.

Theoretically, conditions cannot be more congenial for action on the idea. The people have pronounced their verdicts against terrorism in all three countries in unambiguous terms. A notable result of the Pakistan elections to decide on the post-Musharraf dispensation was the rout of religion-based parties with a record of relations with fundamentalists and extremists, especially in the frontier provinces. In Bangladesh, the landslide victory for Hasina and her Awami League (AL) came with a lethal electoral blow to the Jamat-e-Islami (JeI), an ally of Begam Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and an accomplice of terrorist outfits.

The electorate in India won’t exactly spring a similar surprise with an anti-terrorist vote, though it has rejected the far right Bharatiya Janta Party’s anti-minority take on terrorism in a recent round of state-level elections. In the nearly three months since the terrorist strike in Mumbai, both the ruling Congress Party and the BJP have revealed an unstated bipartisan consensus on according prominence to such threats in their campaigns for the parliamentary elections due by May 2009.

Officially, too, the three countries profess anti-terrorist policies of a similarly high priority. Islamabad has repeatedly been at pains to remind the region and the world that the country’s democratic forces are a direct victim of terrorism, having lost Benazir Bhutto in a bomb blast. Dhaka makes a similar claim, with the grenade attack of 2004 on a Hasina rally among the oft-recalled instances of grisly terrorism. As for India, the Mumbai outrage of November 26, 2008, was only the latest in a long series of terrorist attacks on the nation and its successive governments.

The popular and official consensus among the three countries on terrorism, however, has not made coordinated action against it any easier in practice. On paper, India and Pakistan have in place a joint mechanism against terror, set up during the five-year old “peace process” as a response to past instances of extremist violence. Even a joint investigation of the Mumbai case, however, remains an impracticable idea, despite India’s “dossier” on the subject made available to Islamabad and Pakistan’s detailed response to it.

Domestic opposition would not allow further progress in the direction easily. Online tirades against “traitors” in the Islamabad establishment, who have reported findings of the official investigation about Pakistani links to Mumbai, represent only the tip of an iceberg. Experts on talk shows on Indian television channels compare cooperative investigation of the case with consultations over a house break-in with the burglar himself.

Pakistan’s investigators may not have pleased many in the Hasina dispensation by publicizing their finding about the possible involvement in Mumbai of the Harakat-ul-Jehad-al-Islam (HuJI) of Bangladesh. Dhaka, however, has concealed any displeasure over the finding. It has, actually, admitted the possibility. It is a safe bet, though, that this is going to be no prelude to any joint Pakistan-Bangladesh exercise on the issue.

Domestic political compulsions, again, are sure to derail any effort in this direction. The opposition BNP is not going to be a silent spectator of any investigation of India’s worst-ever terrorist strike involving Bangladesh. Nor is any Dhaka-Islamabad cooperation in the cards, even as the Hasina regime promises to hasten trials in cases of “war crimes,” committed during the Bangladesh war of 1971 by fundamentalist and other forces opposed to a break up of erstwhile Pakistan.

Hasina has, of course, discussed the task force with Mukherjee during his recent visit to Dhaka. Even before details of the proposal could be divulged, Khaleda and her party came out with strong disapproval of any arrangement that would let India use Bangladesh’s territory for fighting its own battles. The fear is that the task force may help India counter separatist movements on the border of Bangladesh in the name of fighting terrorism.

In theory again, all the three countries are anti-terror allies of the US. Richard Holbrooke, special US envoy for India and Pakistan, has stressed this in Islamabad and New Delhi, while Boucher has done so in Dhaka. The formulation, however, is extremely unlikely to help the speedy emergence of the proposed force. Experience has shown the extremely limited extent to which the alliance can be advanced in each of the three countries. Washington has not won the unqualified support of the allies for the main objective of its anti-terror war in the region.

Pakistan cannot possibly acquiesce on US drones’ attacks on Pashtun areas even if described as part of an all-out offensive against al-Qaeda. India cannot agree to any proposal for US peacemaking in Kashmir, peddled as a ploy to help Islamabad focus on the al-Qaeda terrain. And we do not quite know whether the Pentagon is really unhappy about a splinter of al-Qaeda shifting from the Pakistan-Afghan border to Bangladesh and surviving as the HuJI.

All told, the time for the task force may not be yet. The time will come only when the people of the three countries prevail over political forces with the stake in perpetuating regional tensions and conflicts. It will come only when South Asia chooses to counter terrorism for its own sake and not in the cause of a superpower as it is popularly perceived.

*************

A freelance journalist and a peace activist in India, J. Sri Raman is the author of “Flashpoint” (Common Courage Press, USA). He is a regular contributor to Truthout.





Militants marry Kashmiri girls on gunpoint

9 02 2009

Srinagar, Feb 07:

Source: Zeenews

Militants in Jammu and Kashmir have been forcing young girls to get married to them at gun-point only to abandon them later. Such an instance came to light when sixteen-year-old Fatima Bi of Kishtwar district gathered courage to narrate her misfortune.

Fatima said she was abducted by Sher Khan, the then divisional commander of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), a Pakistan militant group four years ago. Sher Khan and his associates tortured Fatima for eight days until she gave in to their demands and agreed to marry Hashim, a HuJI worker. She managed to run away and got a police complaint registered against Sher Khan, who was later arrested.

“There was this one Bilal, then another one named Ansari, there was a third man also, I don”t remember his name. They used to keep me in a room and beat me with iron rods. They used to tell me that if I don”t get married according to their will and wish, I would have to face dire consequences. I used to tell them I want to get married to a man I chose for myself. Sher Khan used to head these people,” said Fatima.

Fatima said that such horrendous abduction was still taking place, and authorities should put a check on them. “The girl has given a very different story and she has given a nerve shaking story in terms that she was forcibly married to a person against her will when she was a minor girl. It was done by a Sher khan and his associates who were running a HuJI organisation in this area,” said Haseeb Mughal, superintendent of police, Kishtawar district. Shehnaz of Doda district too was abducted just like Fatima.

“These militants they are dreadful people. They come to our village, sit and eat here, utter bad words for women, abuse them. But now the police is with us, I am sure we can also hit back at them,” said Shehnaz. Shehnaz felt that the future forced brides like her was dark. Many have to up bring their children alone, when their militant husbands get arrested. Society, too, sees them as an outcast. Police officials say that the militants get married in order to mingle with the locals and avoid any suspicious eyes on them. Though the authorities have been trying to tackle the issue but they express their helplessness, as such incidents come to light only when the forcibly married girls gather the strength to register a case.

ANI





Prophets of doom, Sandeep Unnithan, December 26, 2008

31 12 2008

Source: India today

LASHKAR-e-TOIBA (LeT)
Founded in 1986
Chief:
Hafiz M.Saeed
Attacks: Mumbai 26/11 and Akshardham in September 2002

Hafiz M.Saeed

Hafiz M.Saeed

The biggest and best organised of the anti-India terror groups and with a manifesto professing disintegration of the country, the LeT was founded to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan.

From the early 1990s, it began infiltrating hundreds of Pakistani fighters to shore up a flagging militant movement and post-Kargil it pioneered the concept of ‘fidayeen’ or suicide gunmen, engaging the security forces in firefights to draw media and world attention.

Closely allied with the Pakistani military and functioning under the guise of a now-banned social organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the LeT is the sword arm of the ISI’s operations in the Indian hinterland.

The LeT draws its cadre from Pakistan’s Punjab province and trains them in camps near Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, before infiltrating them across the Line of Control in Jammu and kashmir.

JAISH-e-MOHAMMAD (JeM)

Founded in 2000
Chief:
Maulana Masood Azhar
Attacks: Parliament in December 2001 and Ayodhya in July 2005

Maulana Masood Azhar

Maulana Masood Azhar

Founded by Maulana Masood Azhar a month after he was released for the passengers of the hijacked IC-814, the JeM is the newest terror organisation.

The Jaish and the LeT now form one of the two groups used by the ISI in its war against India. Its biggest operation outside the Kashmir Valley was the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001 which nearly triggered off war between the two countries.

Azhar operates out of a fortified compound in Bahawalpur in Punjab province of Pakistan and is one of the three people India wants from pakistan, along with Dawood and Tiger Memon. The group increasingly relies on surrogate bases within Nepal, Bangladesh and the Middle East to move cadres and finances.

HARKAT-ul-JIHADI-ISLAM (HuJi)

Founded in 1989
Chief:
Qari Saifullah Akhtar
Attacks: Assam 2008 blasts, Shramjeevi Express blasts

Another Pakistan-based terror group founded during the Afghan resistance of the Soviet occupation, the HUJI quickly transformed itself into yet another group targeting India in Jammu and Kashmir. Its eastern affiliate set up in 1992— the HUJI (Bangladesh) comprising Bangladeshi veterans of the Afghan war— was declared a foreign terrorist organisation by the US State Department this year.With its tentacles extending from Karachi, Dhaka and Saudi Arabia, HUJI involves the underworlds of Mumbai, Gujarat and West Bengal to supply men, material and finance using hawala channels. In recent years, the HUJI (B) has emerged as the ideal candidate for the ISI’s second front in the east and in its terror campaign against India. Its activists have coordinated their attacks with the LeT, SIMI and the JeM.

HIZBUL MUJAHIDEEN (HuM)

Founded in 1989
Chief:
Mohammed Yusuf Shah Aka Syed Salahuddin
Attacks: July 10 IED blast killing 10 soldiers outside Srinagar

The largest terrorist outfit operating in Jammu and Kashmir, the HuM was founded as the militant wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, reportedly at the behest of the ISI to counter the pro-independence stance of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front. The HuM favoured Islamisation of J&K and its integration with Pakistan. Its activities have so far remained confined to the Valley though the arrest of members from Kerala indicates that the group may be reaching out to the rest of India as well.

INDIAN MUJAHIDEEN (IM)

Founded in 2005
Chief:
Amir Raza Khan
Attacks: Varanasi, Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad in 2008

Mohd. Tauqir

Mohd. Tauqir

The first home-grown terror network not only carried out a string of attacks in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Delhi this year, killing over 100 persons but is believed to have been behind practically every other bomb attack since 2005, including the Mumbai train bombings and attacks in Hyderabad and Varanasi. It was founded by Amir Raza Khan, a mobster from Kolkata who shifted base to Karachi and shuttles between Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Middle East.

Khan founded the Asif Raza Commando Force which carried out the attack on the American Center in Kolkata in 2001 before founding the IM three years ago. The HUJI and LeT-affiliated group was divided into various modules—the Shahbuddin brigade for strikes in south India and the Ghori brigade for attacks in the north.

Key members like Atif Ameen were given training in weapons and explosives at LeT camps in Pakistan. One of the modules led by Ameen, executor of the Delhi blasts was neutralised in the Batla House encounter in Delhi while the media module which sent out detailed e-mails after each strike, was rounded up in Mumbai and Pune. But with key operative Abdus Subhan aka Tauqir on the loose along with a dozen other IM members, including Jaipur-Ahmedabad-Delhi plotters Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, the IM retains the potential to strike back at a place of its choosing.

STUDENTS ISLAMIC MOVEMENT OF INDIA (SIMI)

Founded in 1977
Chief:
Safdar Nagori
Attacks: Provided logistical support in 2006 Mumbai train blasts

Safdar Nagori

Safdar Nagori

When it was banned in 2002, SIMI was always thought of as a radical Islamic organisation.

However, in its years as an underground outfit, it had morphed into a movement which called for targeted killings of political leaders and had evolved a terror agenda.

In March this year, the capture of the ‘Nagori 13’, a group of nearly 50 welleducated, highly-motivated middle class youth led by Safdar Nagori, revealed a group which fed recruits into other outfits like the LeT and HuJI and provided logistics for attacks.

SIMI members also made up the Indian Mujahideen, showing just how amorphous the outfit had become.

THE UNITED LIBERATION FRONT OF ASSAM (ULFA)

Founded in 1979
Chief:
Paresh Barua
Attacks: Serial blasts in Assam, including the October 30 serial blasts which killed 89 people

Paresh Barua

Paresh Barua

ULFA is the classic case of an organisation that began to assert the rights of native Assamese playing into the hands of the ISI. A decade ago, ULFA members were already being trained in the ISI camps and were equipped by Pakistan to wage war against India.

The organisation now has close links with other Islamic militant groups including the HuJI (B) with whom it is believed to have carried out the October 30 blasts— worst terror strike in the North east.

In January 2007, the ULFA killed more than 60 Hindi-speaking migrant workers, of whom most were from Bihar. Currently, ULFA operates out of bases in Bangladesh and is hosted by its equivalent of the ISI—the Directorate-General of Forces Intelligence.