‘Pakistan must close Taliban bases that train anti-India militants’

3 02 2009

31 Jan 2009, 1240 hrs IST, IANS

WASHINGTON: Getting Islamabad’s cooperation to close Taliban sanctuaries in its tribal areas may be Washington’s single hardest challenge as Pakistan has always used them to train people to operate in Kashmir or India, says a leading US expert.
Bruce O. Riedel, an expert on South Asia who has worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Pentagon and National Security Council, says new special envoy Richard Holbrooke needs to reverse the negative momentum in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Taliban’s military successes in Afghanistan have to be reversed and Islamabad must help close their sanctuaries on Pakistani territory, he said in an interview at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Washington think tank.
But Riedel says “trying to get that cooperation out of the Pakistani government in my judgment will be the single hardest test that Ambassador Holbrooke faces and in fact may be the single hardest foreign policy challenge President (Barack) Obama faces”. The Pakistani military is of two minds about the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan, he said.
It has always used FATA “as the place where it could create groups like the Taliban, or encourage the development of the Taliban, where it could train people to operate in Kashmir or to operate in India”.
“But now that it sees that it’s losing control of that area, it’s increasingly concerned about the future,” Riedel added.
US Predator attacks on al-Qaida targets in that area had scored some important successes, but they had also helped further the alienation of the Pakistani people away from the US and badly eroded American brand image, Riedel said.
“Polling in Pakistan shows that a majority of Pakistanis blame America for the country’s internal violence. India comes in second place, and the al-Qaida and militancy comes in third place,” he said. “Any time that you are outpolling India as the bad guy in Pakistan, you’re in deep, deep trouble.”
Pakistan’s concerns in Afghanistan derive in large part from its concerns about India, the expert said.
“It can’t try to deal with these problems in isolation. But you also have to deal with them with a great degree of subtlety and sophistication, because there are decades-old fears among all the parties about American intentions,” Riedel said.

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9 factors which make a Lashkar terrorist

31 01 2009

Source: Rediff

January 30, 2009When Ajmal Kasab and his co-murderers were handpicked for the Mumbai [Images] terror operation nine factors were taken into consideration. An Intelligence Bureau officer told rediff.com that these factors are abided by when a terrorist is being recruited.
Arrested terrorists, Sabahuddin and Fahim Ansari have confirmed during their interrogation that a strict procedure is followed while recruiting likely terrorists into the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
The most important factor is commitment to the Lashkar’s ideology. When the Lashkar recruits youth the latter are told they will undertake a military operation and there is absolute need to be committed to the organisation’s ideology in order to succeed.
The second factor is, obviously, that the recruit is Muslim.
The third factor is the maturity of the recruit. The IB says the recruitment process begins at the age of 10. However when it comes to waging war the Lashkar ensures that the minimum age of the terrorist is at least 15. The Lashkar gives priority to hard work, mental and physical fitness over age.
The next aspect deals with sacrifice; the recruit should be willing to give up his life in order to achieve his goal.
Another important aspect which the Lashkar takes into consideration is concealing information. Talkative recruits are dumped. Likely terrorists are told they should not discuss the mission even with their closest friends or family. If a Lashkar commander discovers that the mission is being discussed, the recruit runs the risk of losing his life.
The Lashkar lays a lot of emphasis on obedience. This aspect has been picked up from the Pakistani military. During the training programmes recruits are told not to ask questions and only to follow orders.
While being recruited, the recruits undergo regular medical check-ups to establish that they are physically and mentally fit. Should any recruit not fulfill these conditions, he is dropped from the terror programme.
Finally, the recruit should be patient by nature and more important, be able to endure psychological trauma.
Likely terrorists are told over and over again that they should be patient and fight till the end, and not abandon their path even if they are overwhelmed by the enemy.
Overcoming psychological trauma is most important. The terrorists are expected to remain calm when they witness bloodshed, when they are arrested or even when they are about to be overwhelmed by their adversaries.





How LeT conceals its terror training camps :Vicky Nanjappa

29 01 2009

January 28, 2009 15:44 IST
Source: rediff

The Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images], which was responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks [Images], goes to extreme lengths to conceal the identity of terrorists while carrying out an attack in India, according to Intelligence Bureau sources.

The interrogation conducted on Ajmal Kasab [Images], Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin have helped the IB piece together details of the things the LeT does to ensure that the identity of the terrorists is concealed at all times.

An IB source told rediff.com that extreme caution is taken while training terrorists and the levels of security are such that none of the security agencies are able to get a wind of what is happening.

The fidayeens are trained in an area which is at least 20 kilometres away from a populated area. Moreover there should be no army camp or a police station anywhere in a 30-km radius.

While earmarking the area, the LeT ensures that there is enough land to train at least 50 men in shooting and physical training. Apart from this the LeT also ensures that there is a medical facility close by.

The LeT takes a lot of precaution in ensuring that the location is kept a secret. Only the top commander and his second in command apart from the trainers are aware of the location. What is interesting is that once the training programme is completed then the place is not used for at least another year and all traces of the camp are immediately wiped out.

Further the LeT also ensures that the area has several exit points. Once training for the day is complete no one is allowed to hang on there and all trainees return to base camp.

The trainees too are strictly vetted before being admitted. Also care is taken to ensure that the trainees don’t know each other. This is done to ensure that there is no bonding between them.