Sunday, May 29, 2011
"Our internet service has been down since 24 May," a senior official of an internet service provider, who requested anonymity, told IRIN on 26 May.
The official said many people's livelihoods depend on internet use; "for many businesses and journalists, the internet is their lifeline".
He said his company was trying to revive the service. "We depend on the telecoms companies and when they get hit we are also hit."
A local radio journalist told IRIN he was unable to send his reports to his station based outside the country. "It is very frustrating."
The three major telecommunications companies, Nationlink, Hormood and Olympic, have their most important equipment at Bakara market, which has been a flashpoint in the fighting between insurgents and government troops backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers in the past two weeks.
"When we were setting up, in the 1990s, Bakara market was the safest place but now it is the most dangerous," another official of a telecommunications company said.
The official told IRIN the headquarters of Hormood - the largest telecommunications firm in the country - in Bakara had been repeatedly hit by shells, killing and injuring staff and destroying equipment.
"It is not easy for us to move the equipment we have here, so we are caught in the middle of a war zone," the official said.
In the past eight days, government and AMISOM troops have intensified an offensive to dislodge Al-Shabab insurgents who control Bakara market and parts of the city.
AMISOM spokesman Maj Paddy Ankunda told IRIN on 27 May that the mission was urging civilians not to expose themselves to crossfire.
"We have secured the road nearest Bakara as well as the southern and western edges of the market; I cannot put a time tag on how long the fighting will go on but we are urging civilians to get out of entanglement [in the fighting] as they will become increasingly vulnerable," Ankunda said.
"About 80 percent of civilians [in Al-Shabab-held areas] have left for areas controlled by the government because of insecurity; if Al-Shabab chooses to continue fighting, they will bear the responsibility for the damage caused to Bakara market," Ankunda said
At the conclusion of an extra-ordinary summit in Addis Ababa on Thursday, the political executives, according to outgoing Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, condemned NATO members for exceeding the mandate given by UN Security Council resolution 1973.
- "The resolution authorised protection of civilians but due to indiscriminate bombing, civilians are now dying," Mr Kutesa said. "Africa takes the position that the only way we can go forward [in Libya] is to have a ceasefire, commence dialogue and an inclusive transitional mechanism emphasising necessary reforms to meet aspirations of the Libyan people."
Mr Kutesa, who accompanied President Museveni to the AU meeting, said they tasked Africa's representatives on the UN Security Council - Gabon, South Africa and Nigeria - to push for an audit of violations of resolution 1973. Mr Museveni returned from the summit on Thursday.
The summit did not say what would happen if such inquiry succeeded - and it is uncertain if their disparate position would influence the West's stand.
The unanimous AU resolutions came a day after President Obama and his host, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, announced in London on Wednesday that Col. Gaddafi must leave power before any meaningful dialogue.
Yesterday, Mr Kutesa said African leaders consider that talks that exempt the Libyan leader would not be "substantive" since Col. Gaddafi is party to the fighting.
"In our view, the talks should be without pre-conditions. Otherwise there will not be progress," he said by telephone. "Also the attempt to try to assassinate the leader of a sovereign country violates international law."
In the past three weeks, NATO bombs have fallen on Col. Gaddafi's compound and a missile that slammed into a house he was in killed one of his sons and two grandchildren, raising suspicion the West is targeting to kill him.
Amid allegations government forces were heading to annihilate residents of Benghazi, a stranglehold of the Transitional National Council, France and Britain under initial US command invoked UN Security Council resolution 1973 and in March imposed a no-fly zone over Libya and began bombing.
The allied forces report dismantling the capability of much of Col. Gaddafi's forces although experts warn of a stalemate in Libya unless Western powers deploy ground troops.
Yesterday, the leaders, aiming to keep foreign militaries out of African conflicts, agreed to fast-track the formation of the delayed AU Standby Brigade as a home-grown solution and they highlighted the need for early warning systems.
UK's The Independent reported yesterday that Libya's Prime Minister, Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, has, in a letter incorporating recommendations of the five-member AU High-Level Ad hoc Committee, asked foreign governments to support its proposals for an immediate ceasefire to be monitored by both UN and AU; unconditional talks with the opposition; amnesty for both sides in the conflict and drafting of a new Constitution.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon attended the Addis deliberations that tackled the fragile security situation in Somalia, Ivory Coast and Sudan
- The attackers were armed with explosives and automatic rifles, which they used to attack multiple targets in the Damboa district, said Mohammed Abubakar, the police commissioner in charge of the region.
- Four police officers and two civilians were killed in the attack, he said. The authorities in Nigeria’s north have blamed Boko Haram, a radical Islamic sect that draws inspiration from Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, for a spate of bomb attacks and killings aimed at government officials and the security forces since last year.
Friday, May 27, 2011
- cash gift card purchases
- Visa cards issued by jihad friendly banks, especially in South East Asia
- Planned captures of ships off the Somali coast
- Legal Hawalas
- Hawala house accounts in Banks in places like San Marino, Lichtenstein, the Bahamas etc.
- Multi-national Jihad-Friendly Muslim businesses in a variety of ways
- A law adopted in August 2003 making money laundering and terrorist financing criminal offenses.
- A ban on cash collections at mosques and on transfers abroad of charitable funds collected in Saudi Arabia, except with Foreign Ministry approval and subject to stringent reporting requirements.
- A requirement for charitable organizations to have single disbursement bank accounts and an approved official with signatory authority to facilitate tighter controls over such accounts.
- Closure of unlicensed money exchange houses and closer supervision of informal money transfer houses used to send funds abroad, known as hawalas.
- New rules governing the insurance sector and capital markets, and establishment of a financial intelligence unit (the SAFCU) to collect and share information on suspicious financial transactions.
- Vetting of religious clerics and supervision of money given to them by their congregations. The government suspended more than 1,000 clerics in 2003 and 900 clerics so far in 2004 supposedly “on the grounds of negligence.”
- Announcement in early December 2003 of a rewards program, ranging from $270,000 to $1.87 million, for information leading to the arrest of suspects or disruption of terrorist attacks.
- Announcement in late November 2004 that Saudi Arabia will participate in the newly established Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF).
- Membership in the regional body commits Saudi Arabia to implementing the internationally recognized anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing standards designed by FATF."
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Gaddafi worked closely with his neighbors to keep Islamists at bay. Now that he has fallen into tough times, AQIM Smuggling Routs in North Africa will be more active for the short term. Expect more arms, cash, drugs and people traffic to and from Europe in this window of opportunity.
A side note:
The Moor Next Door has consistently show deep cultural insight about Magreb over the last few years, so as soon as North Africa Lit up with the"arab Spring"I have been following closer than ever. I agree with the assessment that follows.
Increased AQIM activity in southern Tunisia is likely to be one consequence of the Libyan crisis although it will probably become more manageable in the next few months as the authorities adjust to its patterns of activity in an area with a relatively small population, generally qualified border security personnel and a largely unsympathetic host population.
RE: AQIM in Tunisia
A reader asked for comment on AQIM and Tunisia. At the moment only limited comment is possible given the lack of extensive public information, the difficulty in assessing the validity of confessions of individuals captured and claiming to be members of AQIM and the complexity of the group’s presence in Tunisia and Libya in light of the Libyan uprising and the NFZ there. Below are very brief thoughts attempting to integrate these problems taken form notes from the last two weeks on the Algerian position on Libya and the arrests of AQIM suspects in Tunisia. Readers with more information/knowledge on the issue are encouraged to comment and correct.
Algeria, Libya, Tunisia and AQIM.
- Algeria has strongly opposed the No Fly Zone in Libya decrying it publicly with Russia as well as other African and non-Allied states. This has been clear from the start; whether or to what extent Algiers has provided the Libyan government with material, financial or other support is less clear. The Libyan rebels have accused the Algerians of actively supported the Qadhafi regime by providing areal transport for mercenaries and providing money or even personnel. Most of these reports are unsubstantiated by conclusive evidence; the rebels claim to have captured Algerian mercenaries as well as Saharawis from the POLISARIO camps in Algeria. The Algerians cite fear of terrorists exploiting the implosion of the Libyan state as their main fear resulting from the intervention in Libya (they also fear the normalization of the “responsibility to protect” norm which they view as potentially destabilizing). Algerian officials have spoken (usually anonymously) to regional and international media on how AQIM might exploit Libya’s unrest to procure Libyan armaments and transport them to Mali or elsewhere. Algerian security sources have said AQIM has acquired weapons from Libyan stocks (Strelas, Duskas,) since the conflict began, and have warned that the fall of the Qadhafi regime would lead to regional chaos and allow AQIM to extend its reach farther north. Smuggling routes into Algeria via Tunisia and Libya have very probably become more active and lucrative in recent months (higher risk, less enforcement, etc.)
- According to the Tunisian authorities men linked to AQIM arrested on 11 and 14 May carried suicide belts, grenades, AK-47s all of which came from Libya. Recent clashes between the Tunisian military and AQIM fighters at Rouhia (18 May) have lent credence to some of these fears, though the extent of AQIM’s presence in northern Libya since the beginning of the uprising and the NFZ remains unclear. AQIM previously had only a light presence in both Tunisia and Libya. Continued erosion of the Libyan state as the Libyan conflict drags on will likely lead to greater proliferation of conventional arms out of the country and into the hands of smugglers and groups like AQIM. Tunisians and Libyans have been less well represented in AQIM than other North Africans but recent arrests have included them distinctly, likely due to geography and their increased activity. It is yet determined whether these men are new recruits or “sleepers” or long active militants. As more information becomes available so will more clarity. Increased AQIM activity in southern Tunisia is likely to be one consequence of the Libyan crisis although it will probably become more manageable in the next few months as the authorities adjust to its patterns of activity in an area with a relatively small population, generally qualified border security personnel and a largely unsympathetic host population. More attacks or arrests will alarm Tunisians and increase western interest in the country’s security but Tunisia is unlikely to become a problem area as far as AQIM is concerned, particularly if the border with Libya is effectively policed. Refugee flows will complicate this and a study of the phases of migration into southern Tunisia from Libya and of the geographic origins of known Tunisian AQIM members (in comparison with recent incidents involving the group in Tunisia) would help improve analysis of AQIM’s presence in Libya
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
May 22, 2011 (JUBA) – The Commonwealth nations have welcomed the would-be new born state of South Sudan in July at the organization's three-day conference in the Malaysian's capital, Kuala Lumpur, this week.
- GoSS VP Riek Machar speaking to press shortly after his arrival from Malaysia on 20 May 2011 (ST)
The people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly by over 98% in favour of secession from the rest of Sudan in an internationally monitored referendum on self-determination which was conducted in January 2011. The plebiscite came as a result of the 2005 peace deal which ended 21 years of civil war between North and South.
President Omer Hassan Al Bashir of Sudan accepted the outcome of the vote, saying it expressed the will of the people of the semi-autonomous region.
In a statement to the press at Juba International Airport on Saturday shortly after his arrival from Malaysia, the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Riek Machar, said the 54 nations of the Commonwealth have already taken for granted during the conference the recognition of the new state of South Sudan in July 2011.
Machar who participated in the Commonwealth conference added that the countries went further to discuss the possibility of South Sudan joining the organization as the 55th nation after declaration of its independence.
Established in 1931, the Commonwealth nations organization works to promote democracy, human rights, good governance and the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace.
The membership of the Commonwealth nations comprises 54 countries from the continents of North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia; most of which were former British colonies, or dependencies of these colonies. The organization is headed by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain.
South Sudan leadership has also been dispatching senior officials of the government to hand-deliver invitations to foreign dignitaries in Africa to attend the day of its independence proclamation. Over eighty per cent (80%) of the 53 countries in Africa have already accepted the invitations.
Machar also earlier revealed that his government will participate in the meeting of the United Nations Security Council scheduled to take place on July 13 in New York, during which the recognition of South Sudan's independence by the world body shall be on the agenda.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Recently reported by witnesses in the north-western Mali and in an area near the country of Mauritania, Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) seems rooted in the Sahara, even though some predict its weakening after the death of Osama bin Laden.
- These days, men posing as members of AQIM have landed on a market day at Tichist, which is located 100 km north of Timbuktu (northern Mali), witnesses said to an AFP journalist.
- Arrived in a dozen vehicles, they made purchases, distributed veils, clothes and food, asking people to pray for bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda killed in early May by the U.S. elite soldiers in Pakistan.
- "They told us that Bin Laden is now in paradise," they would avenge his death," said one such witness, a shopkeeper. They then left as they came.
- Same scene on May 17 in the market of Zouera, another desert town of Timbuktu region, where they came in some twenty vehicles containing heavy weapons.
- "It's the return of the Islamists in the Sahara," while they had shown low profile since a few months following the intervention in July 2010, of the Mauritanian army in the area, says a regional elected on condition of anonymity. "Since the end of Mauritanian patrols, they come back, probably with ulterior motives," he added.
- AQIM, which has its roots in Algeria, has several bases in Mali where it operates in several Sahelian countries (Mauritania and Niger in particular), committing bombings, kidnappings and various illegal trades.
- The Rest @ ennhar online
According to Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia, all the land between the mosque in Mecca and Jerusalem is the heart of the Muslim nation and, thus, the presence of any foreign power in control of any part is a challenge to the Muslim nation (umma). Ghannouchi extolled the Tunisian revolution, describing it as a true popular revolution. He spoke also in favor of the revolutions in other Arab Muslim countries, including Egypt, Yemen and Syria and expressed his hope that the revolution in Libya would succeed.
Ghannouchi said that the revolution sweeping through the Arab world is a good omen for the Palestinians for it would bring Israel to an end. According to Ghannouchi, Arab regimes that have been supporting the West would all fall, and he quotes the prophecy of Sheikh Ahman Yassin that Israel will fall before 2027.
Reports identify Ghannouchi as a leader of the Islamist movement Al Nahda of Tunisia, in exile. Al Nahda has ties with the international Muslim Brotherhood.
Ghannouchi alleges that the "Jews everywhere are behind a worldwide campaign against Islam" and that Islam and the West could reach an accommodation "were it not for the worldwide machinations of the Jews."
On his return to Tunisia Ghannouchi is reported to have developed a new strategy for post-revolutionary Tunis which he calls "The Jurisprudence of building, economic growth and construction," which embraces a proposal for closer cooperation between different Islamic groups and the establishment of a democratic Tunisia.
The Rest @ (Ahlul Bayt News Agency)
*Ahlul Bayt News Agency, in the view of the editor, is a news agency that appears to discuss world wide news from a global shiite Islamic view point.
Rachid Ghannouchi is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood by his:
"Assuming a valid distinction can be made between Islamists who are 'extremist' and 'reformist,' Ghannouchi clearly belongs to the first category. Since his last visit to the United States, he has openly threatened U.S. interests, supported Iraq against the United States and campaigned against the Arab-Israeli peace process. Indeed, Ghannouchi in exile has personified the rejection of U.S. policies, even as he dispatches missives to the State Department."
-In 1994, scholar Martin Kramer University of Tel Aviv
Friday, May 20, 2011
-- saeed shah (email@example.com), March 08, 2005.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
(Reuters) - Men who opened fire on Tunisian officers in the north of the country on Wednesday were suspected members of Al Qaeda, a security source told Reuters.
The group of nine armed men killed four military and policemen at a checkpoint, the source said, revising an earlier figure. Three of the assailants were killed.
The men were thought to be members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM), the source said.
Intelligence analysts and document exploitation ("Doc X") specialists are reportedly already sifting through this intelligence treasure trove and have found evidence of notional al Qaeda plots, including aspirational plans to attack the U.S. train system, and more. In all likelihood, the files will include clues pointing to bin Laden's money trail as well.
This puts people like Abd al-Hamid al-Mujil in an uncomfortable position. Described by fellow jihadists as the "million-dollar man" for his successful fundraising on behalf of al Qaeda and other jihadi groups, Mujil directed the office of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), a charity in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Both he and the IIRO office he headed were designated as terrorist entities by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2006.
But even if being "named and shamed" forced Mujil out of the terror-finance business, there are many others just like him. Just this week,
David Cohen, the head of the Treasury Department's Terrorism and Financial Intelligence branch, told CNN that major donors from the Gulf states remain the key sources of funding for the al Qaeda core. There are no doubt dozens of radical funders now worrying that their names, bank accounts, or addresses will comes up in bin Laden's spreadsheets—or "pocket litter"—and for good reason.
It would not be the first time authorities have recovered revealing documents about al Qaeda's finances in a raid.
- In March 2002, Bosnian authorities raided the Sarajevo offices of the Benevolence International Foundation, a charity designated by the Treasury Department as an al Qaeda front. Among the material found on the seized computers was an al Qaeda memorandum from 1988 or 1989 listing 20 Saudi financial backers described by bin Laden as the "Golden Chain," so named because they were a reliable source of funding for his organization. According to the 9/11 Commission report, the Golden Chain was put together mainly by bin Laden's financial backers in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
But even if the files seized in bin Laden's Abbottabad safe house do not include explicit references to the next "million-dollar man" or "golden chain," they will likely contain information that could help expose the money trail sustaining the al Qaeda core.
- First, they may point to who covered bin Laden's personal expenses, which could have added up quickly. Think of the 500 euros sown into his clothes, the costs of feeding his 18-person entourage, the salaries of his bodyguards and couriers, the expense of building and renovating his compound, and the cash that may have been needed to bribe Pakistani authorities not to look too closely at his fortified three-story villa.
- The files may even reveal information about the current balance sheets of al Qaeda, which, as of October 2009, was said to be "in its weakest financial condition in several years."
Even then, though, U.S. authorities were quick to add they were not "taking any victory laps," because there were still likely new donors willing to step in. At the time, Cohen warned that the international community's success in disrupting al Qaeda's finances might only be temporary, because "we have not yet dissuaded nearly enough donors from wanting to give in the first place."
News of the Abbottabad raid alone may dissuade many of those donors in the near term, and the intelligence windfall from the raid may lead to more tangible disruptions of some donor channels. That could place the al Qaeda core under still further financial strain, but it would have little if any impact on the funding of key al Qaeda franchises such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), affiliated groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, foreign-directed al Qaeda networks like those recently arrested in Germany, or the homegrown violent extremists like Maj. Nidal Hassan, who present the most immediate terrorist threats to the United States and its allies.
Whereas al Qaeda directly funded and controlled operations from its base in Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks, today al Qaeda franchises and homegrown extremists are self-financed. We know that al Qaeda provided funding for the East Africa embassy bombings in 1998, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, and the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. Even after 9/11, al Qaeda continued to provide money for operations, such as the $20,000 it furnished for the 2002 Bali bombings.
The terrorist threat is far more decentralized today, and al Qaeda's central command is not funding operations as it once did.
- To help finance the Bali bombings, Jemaah Islamiyah operatives had to resort to robbing jewelry stores because the al Qaeda core's contribution was not enough to foot the bill.
- Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the group's North African branch, raises significant funds through kidnapping and other types of organized crime.
- AQAP, now based in Yemen, has worked hard to develop its own network of major donors. For example, in September 2009, Saudi security forces found a video clip of AQAP leader and former Guantanamo detainee Saeed al-Shihri making a pitch for money to help "jihad to keep going," calling the need for funding "the core of life and the core jihad."
- a unifying figurehead, Zawahiri is a divisive figure whose presumed accession to the top spot in the al Qaeda hierarchy may well rekindle simmering tensions between the organization's Egyptian and Yemeni factions. Moreover, the al Qaeda core—lacking the power of the purse and stripped of its founding icon—may find itself less able to exert authority over its self-financed franchises. The death of bin Laden does not mark the end of al Qaeda, but it may mark the beginning of the end of its core—and the rise of al Qaeda affiliates and homegrown violent extremists.
Matthew Levitt is director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute, from where this article is adapted.
Monday, May 16, 2011
May 15, 2011
al Shabaab taxing business people in Afgoye, L0wer Shabelle
Afgoye — Al shabaab, which is in fighting in several frontlines in Mogadishu, southern and central Somalia, on Saturday, imposed strict financial orders on the businessmen in Afgoye town in Lower Shabelle region in south of the country.
Witnesses said that the officials of the group held a meeting local traders discussing to support their battles against Somali government and AMISOM forces.
After the meeting, the traders of small business stalls were ordered to pay amounts ranging between 20 and 40 $.
The officials of Al shabaab also ordered the businessmen with big stories and big businesses to pay 200 or 100 $.
Also, the IDPs, who live in the former government building in Afgoye town, about 30 km southwest of Mogadishu, have to give 10 up to 20 US $.
Al-Rashid Trust (ART) is a logistics and funding organization posing as a Charity. It works mostly in Pakiistan and Afghanistan. It is one of the significant funders of al Qaeda networks, and possibly the Haggani Network as well.
The Interesting note is that it has a South African Network.
The Karachi based Al-Rashid Trust (ART) is one of the 27 groups and organisations listed by the US State Department on September 22, 2001, for involvement in financing and supporting a network of international Islamist terrorist groups. In response, the trust, on October 4, 2001, said that it would challenge the US decision in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague.
Mufti Mohammed Rashid founded the Al-Rashid Trust (ART) on February 13, 1996, in Karachi. The Trust gradually grew to operate 21 branches across Pakistan. A day after the US announcement of the ban on the outfit, the State Bank of Pakistan issued a circular asking banks to freeze the accounts of Al-Rashid Trust.
Described as a ‘welfare organisation’, one of its original charters was to carry out welfare projects within Pakistan, with financial resources provided by public donations. Overtime, the ART expanded its mandate to carry out ‘relief activities’ for Muslims in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan. The ART perceives the various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) currently working in Afghanistan as ‘enemies of the Muslims’ and media reports have indicated that one of the other significant objectives of the ART is to reportedly push Western NGOs out of Afghanistan. The ART subscribes to the Deobandi school of thought, a trait it shares with the Taliban. The trust also promotes the concept of Jehad among Muslims, especially at times and in places where it perceives the community of faithful is being ‘oppressed’. One of the numerous ART booklets states, "the holy war is an essential element of Islam." "Any Moslem must carry the weapons, even with the mosque, if the need would be felt to make fire on a not-Moslem", states another work written by Mufti Rashid Ahmed. ART literature also denounces the United States for its policies toward Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia and praises Islamist terrorists. Among the other ART objectives is providing assistance to ‘illegally jailed’ Muslim prisoners, ‘cleansing’ the media of pornography and creating books "to promote in the people and the elite the fear of the Last [Judgment] Day."
Leadership and Structure
Headquartered at Karachi, the ART has 21 branches in Pakistan. Mufti (religious leader) Mohammed Rashid is the amir (leader) of the trust. Rashid Ahmed teaches at a madrassa (religious seminary) – Darul Ifta-e-Wal Irshad - that he also runs. Maulvi Suleyman, an important functionary, is reported to be actually managing the ART affairs. Mufti Abu Lubaba is the ideologue, while Maulvi Sibghatullah of the Dar-ul-Uloom (religious school) in Karachi is the Director of ART in Kandahar, the southern Afghan city that served as the headquarters for the erstwhile Taliban regime. Only Mufti Rashid and Lubaba are reported to have had direct access to Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Abdul Hadi Mullakhel is the ART representative in Kabul.
It publishes an Urdu newspaper Zarb-e-Momin as well as an English paper, Dharb-e-Momin, and also runs a radio station out of Kabul. They carry reports on the Jehadi activities of the Taliban and the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). Considered as one of the sectarian publications in Pakistan, Dharb-e-Momin is reported to contain anti-American and anti-Western propaganda. The newspaper has a web-site, which specifically endorses the Taliban’s style of governance and is widely considered to be the mouthpiece of the Taliban. During his detention in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar is reported to have sent articles clandestinely to the Al Rashid Trust and these were published in the Dharb-e-Momin. In one of these articles published on October 31,1999, Azhar praised the services of Mufti Rashid Ahmed, opining that due to his services, "the Taliban gained strength and the long porous border of Pakistan became so safe that not a single army guard is needed there. If instead of the Taliban, Ahmad Shah Masood who is the enemy of Pakistan and ally of India had been the ruler of Afghanistan, Pakistan would have been surrounded by enemies on all four sides."
Among others, its offices in Pakistan are located at Lahore, Mansehra, Peshawar, Rawalpindi, and Mingora. ART operations in Afghanistan are located at Jalalabad, Kabul, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif.
Al-Rashid documents indicate that the Trust secures most of its finances from zakat (annual alms) and overseas donations. However, the sources of donation are kept secret.
The Al-Rashid Trust is reported to be one of Osama bin Laden’s many sources of income. It is closely linked with the Taliban as also with Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other terrorist outfits active in India’s J&K. The trust’s formation coincided with the Taliban capture of Afghanistan in 1996. Some of its members are alleged to have secured military training in Afghanistan. The ART and JeM are reported to share office spaces across Pakistan with a certain overlapping of cadre strength. Maulana Masood Azhar, JeM chief is a regular writer in the Zarb-e-Momin. The trust is reportedly incharge of the foreign funds of JeM. Mufti Rashid Ahmed is also reported to have appointed Masood Azhar as the Amir of Taliban in Jammu and Kashmir. Mufti Rashid was also instrumental in setting up JeM’s office near Usmani Masjid in Lahore and other places in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). The ART was initially linked with the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) before the formation of JeM. It is also reported to be linked to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Al-Rashid is also suspected to have provided logistical support to the Taliban and the foreign mercenaries in Afghanistan.
The biggest source of funds for the Al-Rashid Trust is the Middle East and Pakistan. It also has a network in South Africa. Pakistani banks – consequent to the September 22, US State Department listing of ART as being involved in financing and supporting a network of international Islamist terrorist groups – froze Al-Rashid's bank accounts. In response, the Al Rashid Trust has said that that its activities, which include providing financial and legal support to jailed Muslim militants around the world, are purely humanitarian.
In year 2000, according to Pakistani media reports, Al-Rashid sent US $750,000 in cash to Chechnya after alleging that aid sent to Chechnya through the UN never reached the Chechen Muslims. The amount was reportedly handed over to the head of an unidentified religious party of Chechnya, headed by Sheikh Omer Bin Ismail Dawood and Zelim Khan, the former Chechen President. Al-Rashid is also reported to have sent Rs 20 million in cash to the Taliban and Rs 2.1 million to Kosovo.
With charity and relief work as its professed goals, the Al-Rashid Trust says that its activities include providing financial and legal support to jailed Muslim militants around the world, and that all of its actions are purely humanitarian. Its most recent project was one to provide food for the poor in Afghanistan. The project was conceived following a conflict between the United Nations and the Taliban over the running of bakeries. Consequently, the ART set up its own bakeries in Kabul, Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif. The trust also took over 155 bakeries vacated by the UN's World Food Program (WFP) when it pulled out following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US. The annual budget for this program is approximately US$4 million. The ART plans to provide bread to 25,000 people, and it aims to set up bakeries in another 14 provinces in the near future. ART’s Afghanistan operations became prominent when it began to operate a subsidised bakery project in Kabul, after that project was abandoned by the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) over differences with the Taliban on employment of women for a survey.
The ART is reported to have many other functioning projects in Afghanistan. It reportedly sent 1,000 sewing machines to the country in June 2001 to help the ‘widows of war’, and it is scheduled to send another 1,000 for the same purpose.
According to ART sources, it sends more than US$1 million worth of goods, food, medicine and other relief items into Afghanistan on a weekly basis. It is reported to have sent more than 70 truckloads of relief goods up to November 2001. Al-Rashid also recently opened clinics in Kandahar, Kabul and Ghazni.
Al-Rashid Trust has been involved in the establishment of a network of madrassas in Afghanistan. It has also built many mosques across the country. Media reports indicated that prior to the US bombing of Afghanistan, it was building 20 mosques along the Kabul-Kandahar highway, and five mosques on the Kandahar-Chaman highway.
The trust runs many madrassas and mosques in Pakistan including the largest Arabia-Islamia, on the Karakoram Highway in Mansehra. The network of ART aided Deobandi madrassas in Pakistan reportedly act as recruiting centres for Jehadis. It also runs a hospital in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) for the treatment of injured terrorists.
In Afghanistan, the Al-Rashid Trust coordinates its activities with an Arab NGO, Wafa Khairia, which was formed by Osama bin Laden and other Arab-Afghans as a reciprocal gesture for being provided hospitality in Afghanistan. The Wafa Khairia is reported to be largely funded by bin Laden.
The Al-Rashid Trust claims to be the first Muslim organisation in the world to send aid to the refugees and war-hit people of Chechnya. Furthermore, it is also reported to be carrying out ‘welfare work’ in Kashmir, Kosovo and the Central Asian states besides Afghanistan. It also accepts ‘donations’ for Kashmir Jehad and the mujahideen of Kashmir. It publishes advertisements in the Pakistani press soliciting funds for ‘welfare work' in Kashmir, Chechnya, Kosovo etc, and also informs prospective donors that it will decide on the means of spending the money. Its advertisements reportedly list all its accounts with Karachi's Habib Bank, providing separate account numbers for donations received in dollars or pounds sterling.
The Al Rashid Trust said on October 4, 2001 that it would challenge the US decision in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at Hague. Claiming that it has "no links with any sort of terrorism," the ART in-charge in Islamabad, Mohammed Arshad, said that his organisation has appealed to the Pakistan government to de-freeze its accounts and added that it planned to go to the ICJ to contest the US proscription. Despite the ban, media reports have indicated that it was still operating in Pakistan and all its offices were open. Pakistan's Foreign Office Spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan said on October 3 that Islamabad would ask the US government to furnish details of the Trust's involvement in terrorist activities.
Note: April 15: The United States Treasury said it had imposed sanctions on two "high-profile" Pakistani trust fund chiefs allegedly linked to terrorism. The Treasury identified the trust fund chiefs as Muhammed Mazhar, director of Al-Akhtar Trust, and Mufti Abdul Rahim, leader of Al-Rashid Trust, and said both Pakistani charities’ assets under US jurisdiction were frozen. Americans have also been prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them. Mazhar was accused of supporting al Qaeda and the Taliban, while Rahim was charged with funding the Taliban. "Today’s designation of these two high-profile financiers of al Qaeda and the Taliban, who are also leaders of Al-Akhtar Trust and Al-Rashid Trust, further exposes those organisations’ continuing support for terrorism under the guise of charitable activity," said the Treasury.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Hammami, who is also known as Abu Mansoor al Amriki ("the American"), spoke at a public rally in Afgoye, an area south of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
Hammani is seen with other top Shabaab leaders, including Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour and Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys. Hammami and the other top Shabaab leaders are seen sitting in the open, unafraid of being targeted by Somali or African Union forces.
"We are all Osama," Hammami told the crowd as he spoke at a podium, according to a translation of the speech, a portion of which was published by National Post. He also said that Shabaab and al Qaeda would continue their jihad to establish a global Islamic caliphate.
"Today, we remind the Muslims that the caliphate [Islamic rule] shall soon be reborn," Hammani said. "May Allah accept our dear beloved sheikh [Osama bin Laden] and cause our swords to become instruments of his avenging."
"We announce to America and to the world that Sheikh Osama bin Laden kindled the fire of jihad decades ago and in effect resistance is now of little value," Hammami continued.
Hammami's appearance in Afgoye has ended all questions of whether he was killed by Somali troops, as had been claimed by Somalia's defense minister on March 8.
Omar Hammami and Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour, at the rally in Afgoye.
The Long War Journal reported on March 15 that Hammami had not been killed in recent fighting in Mogadishu. And in early April, Hammami released a nasheed, or Islamic song, on the Al Qimmah Islamic Network, a propaganda outlet for the al Qaeda-linked Shabaab, which mocked reports of his death. On that tape, Hammami said he desired to die in a US strike, like other top al Qaeda leaders.
"Send me a cruise like Maa'lam Adam al Ansari, And send me a couple of tons like Zarqawi, And send me a drone like Abu Laith al Libi, And Special Forces like Saleh Ali Nabhan," the opening chorus of Hammami's clumsy rap-nasheed begins.
Hammami has released similar propaganda in the past. In May 2010, Hammami appeared in another awkward rap-nasheed, titled "First Stop Addis." In that rap, Hammami also claimed he sought to die a martyr.
"My number one goal... die a shaheed," or martyr, he repeated constantly in his May 2010 rap.
Background on Omar Hammami
Hammami is a US citizen from Alabama who converted to Islam and then traveled to Somalia in 2006. Once in Somalia, he quickly rose through the ranks, and now serves as a military commander.
He is one of the many foreign commanders who hold senior leadership positions in Shabaab, which is al Qaeda's affiliate in East Africa. Hammami is one of 14 people indicted by the US Justice Department in August 2010 for providing material support to Shabaab.
Hammami also began appearing in Shabaab propaganda tapes. In a tape released in May 2010, Hammami stressed that Shabaab's war is not confined to Somalia but is global in nature. "From Somalia and Shiishaan (Chechnya), from Iraq and Afghanistan, gonna meet up in the Holy Lands, establishing Allah's Law on the land," Hammami says in a chorus repeated throughout the song. In the tape, Hammami and others identify their enemy as the "salib," or crusaders.
In February this year, the Somali government, backed by Ugandan and Burundian forces in the African Union, as well as Ethiopia, launched an offensive against Shabaab. Somalia's President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, claimed on March 7 that Shabaab "is on the verge of collapse" after the terror group was driven out of several strongholds in the capital of Mogadishu as well as in the Gedo region on the Kenyan border.
The government claimed that Shabaab lost more than 500 fighters during the offensive. But the African Union has suppressed information about heavy casualties to its own forces.
On Mar. 4, it was reported that 53 African Union troops had been killed during the fighting. Although no estimates on the number of Somali troops killed have been released, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal that Somali forces have suffered heavy casualties during the current fighting.
The Rest @ The Long War Journal
The six people have been identified as
- Hafiz Muhammed
- Sher Ali Khan; his two sons, Irfan and Izhar;
- Ifran Ali Khan
- Izar Ali Khan
- Amina Ali Khanand her son Zeb; and another man known as
- Faisal Ali Rehman.
Hafiz and Izhar were arrested in Florida today, while Irfan was arrested in Los Angeles. Amina, Zeb, and Rehman are currently in Pakistan, beyond the reach of US officials.
Both Hafiz and Izhar are imams at mosques in southern Florida. Hafiz is the imam at the Miami Mosque, which is also known as the Flagler Mosque. Izhar is the imam at the Jamaat Al-Mu'mineen Mosque in Margate.
The six Pakistani Americans have been charged with "conspiring to provide, and providing, material support to a conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap persons overseas, as well as conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically, the Pakistani Taliban," the Department of Justice said in a press release issued today. In addition to the conspiracy charges, Hafiz, Rehman, and Zeb have also been charged with "providing material support to the Pakistani Taliban."
The men were carrying Afghan identity papers and were of Libyan and Algerian origin, the source said, adding that they were also connected to two men arrested in Tunisia last week.
- Arab and Western officials have said that al Qaeda could be exploiting the Libyan conflict to acquire weapons and smuggle them into other countries.
- A senior security official in Algeria told Reuters last month there were signs al Qaeda was working to acquire arms to smuggle them to a stronghold in northern Mali.
Tunisian authorities have called on the public to report any suspect activity and warned them not to shelter any foreigners who might threaten national security.
The North African country, which is an important destination for Libyan migrants fleeing the conflict, has tightened security along its border with Libya since the start of the unrest, searching cars and questioning people trying to cross.
7023 Calvert St | Philadelphia, PA 19149
4133 N 18th Dr | Phoenix, AZ 85015
18340 NE 8th Ave | Miami, FL 33179
Faisal A Elhassan
13390 NE 7th Ave, Apt 209 | Miami, FL 3316
Faisal A Elhassan
13390 NE 7th Ave, Apt 209 | Miami, FL 3316
Faisal Habiealla Elhassan Atlanta, GA
Dahabshiil Telecom. International Somalia based IP address 126.96.36.199 demonstrates frequent intelligence gathering-like searches at times that demonstrate early knowledge of
Recently, users of this IP address went on the Google Botswana search page in search of the Golis telecom database
Saturday, May 14, 2011
LeT: Spreading Menace
By Ajit Kumar Singh/ South Asia Intelligence Review,The Pakistani American Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley reportedly disclosed to his National Investigation Agency (NIA) interrogators that the LeT continued to actively execute surveys of major targets in India.
These surveys were principally carried out by visiting agents and not by activating sleeper cells.
According to Headley, at least 100 targets in India had been identified, listed, surveyed and photographed by different LeT agents. Headley, who was one of such agents, said he was not aware of the identities and nationalities of the others, as his Pakistani 'handlers' were careful not to reveal details. He further indicated that he had videographed and photographed some 30 targets in several Indian cities.
These included the targets of the November 26, 2008, (also known as 26/11) terrorist attacks in Mumbai (Maharashtra), for which he had conducted detailed surveys during his nine visits to India between 2006 and 2008.
The NIA team had interrogated Headley over seven days [June 3-10] in what the US described as unrestricted "direct access", as part of the cooperation and partnership between the US and India in the fight against international terrorism.
Headley, who had changed his given name of Daood Gilani in 2006 to scout targets in Mumbai, had pleaded guilty on March 18, 2010, in a Chicago Court, to 12 Federal terrorism charges. He admitted that he participated in planning the 26/11 terrorist attacks, as well as later planning to attack a Danish newspaper.
Headley's disclosures corroborate the constant warnings by both the Indian as well as foreign intelligence agencies of impending LeT attacks in India. Intelligence reports in the recent past have indicated that the LeT was planning to abduct key political leaders, target helicopters carrying VIPs, strike public functions with explosives-laden trucks, hire or hijack aircraft or helicopters to carry out 9/11-type attacks, target scientists working in sensitive areas such as defence and space, among several other plots.
The LeT's high profile targets include the National Defence Academy in Khadagwasla (Maharashtra), the National Defence College, Delhi, defence establishments in Pune (Maharashtra), and multinational corporation Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu's HITEC City offices in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh). On June 28, 2010, Indian intelligence officials have intercepted phone conversations between LeT 'commanders', which established that the group was planning fresh attacks at landmarks in different cities, including Srinagar, Jammu, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The conversations also discussed a strike against top politicians. Further, on June 30, intelligence agencies warned that Indian missions in Bangladesh and Nepal were under threat of a possible joint attack by the LeT and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI). Earlier, on April 7, the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College warned that India's transportation, economic infrastructure and political establishment were on the LeT's radar.
These threats have already materialized in the first major Islamist terrorist attack, outside Jammu and Kashmir (J and K), after the 26/11 carnage, in the German Bakery bomb blast in Pune's Koregaon Park, near the Osho Ashram, on February 13, 2010, in which nine persons, including four foreigners, were killed and over 40 were injured.
The attack came just days after an open threat by the LeT. Addressing a rally in Islamabad (Pakistan) on February 5, Abdur Rehman Makki, 'deputy' to Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, declared that, while the jihadis were earlier interested only in the liberation of Kashmir, the water issue had now ensured that "Delhi, Pune and Kanpur" were all fair targets.
Top LeT leaders Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Yousuf Muzammil, Ahmad Bhai and Zarar Shah are currently in custody on charges of involvement in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, and have been replaced by new 'commanders' to step up terrorist operations in J and K and other parts of India.
According to intelligence sources, these new 'commanders' include Raza Ahmed aka Shahji aka Abu Anas of Bahawalpur in the Punjab province of Pakistan, who had earlier operated as the 'divisional commander' for North Kashmir for almost a decade, before he was called back to Pakistan; Hyder Bhai aka Bilal aka Salahuddin, known for several fidayeen (suicide squad) attacks in J and K; Abdul Gaffar aka Huzefa aka Khalid, who was earlier active in Gandarbal in Central Kashmir; and Walid, who had been active in Lolab in North Kashmir.
According to sources, the initial focus of the four new 'commanders', all of whom are Pakistani nationals, was the Kashmir Valley and the Doda-Rajouri-Poonch belt in Jammu, besides metropolitan and other major cities of India.
The LeT's current objectives, described in a poster at a March 23, 2010, rally, in slogans superimposed over an image of the burning Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, are to "free Kashmir, Pakistan's lifeline, from the enemy"; work for the "freedom of the Muslims of Gujarat, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and the rest of India" ; and to "save Pakistan's parched rivers."
Maps posted on the JuD's Facebook page provide a graphic illustration of its ambitions. One map of India is emblazoned with Pakistan's crescent moon and star symbol and JuD flag flying on the Red Fort in New Delhi. In another, much of northern, north-eastern and central India are referred to as Pakistan. Nepal, Bangladesh and south India are marked "disputed territories."
The page also carries a facsimile of a Hadith — sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad — which purports to provide scriptural legitimacy to the JuD's jihad. "A King of the House of the Pious," it prophesies, "will send a Lashkar [army] towards India.
The mujahideen (holy warriors) will plunder the land of India, take over its treasures, and the King will use these treasures to honour the House of the Pious... The mujahideen of this Lashkar will conquer all territory between the east and west and will establish the Kingdom of the Pious."
The Facebook page also confirms LeT's close links with al-Qaeda, and contains several images of al-Qaeda chief Osama-bin-Laden. There is a low-resolution image of an individual, apparently Saeed, seated next to bin Laden. Such linkages are confirmed by US Defence Department report that states that the LeT has a "close relationship" with al Qaeda. Indian intelligence sources also indicate that a tie-up between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and LeT, for attacks aimed at India, has been established.
India's Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, disclosed, further, that LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM) and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) were earlier operating separately, but had now come together. The LeT has also linked up with the Indian Mujahedeen [IM], which is regarded as a potential resource base that the LeT hopes to use for identification and reconnaissance of targets and arranging logistics for terror attacks.
Despite purported 'restrictions' placed on it in Pakistan, the LeT remains flush with funds, collecting generous donations from the overseas Pakistani community in the Persian Gulf and the United Kingdom, Islamic non-Governmental organisations, Pakistani/Kashmiri business people and through its parent organisation JuD.
The terrorist group also counts on donations from sympathetic Saudis, Kuwaitis, and Islamist-leaning Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) officers. The US Defence Department report indicated, further, that, "In addition, LeT maintains relations with extremist and/ or terrorist groups across the globe ranging from the Philippines to the Middle East and Chechnya by means of the JuD network."
While much of state support to the LeT is covert, it is significant that the Government of Pakistan's Punjab Province, gave about USD one million to institutions linked with the JuD, in 2009. "At least 80 million rupees [USD 940,000] have been allocated for the institutions [linked to Jamaat-ud-Dawa] during the current fiscal year," Rana Sanaullah, a senior Punjab Minister told the BBC.
However, he maintained that the institutions - which include two schools and a hospital - were no longer attached to JuD. When asked why the Punjab Government had allotted money in the budget for institutions it managed, a spokesman for JuD, Hafiz Abdur Rehman, responded: "The truth is that we are ourselves astonished at this."
Meanwhile, despite it losing a total of 142 of its cadres, including top 'commanders', who have been killed by the Security Forces since 26/11, the LeT appears to have more of a say in the Kashmir Valley, including in the wave of what is being described as "agitational terrorism". India has blamed separatist elements linked to the LeT for stoking unrest in the Kashmir Valley.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram thus remarked, on June 30, "Anti-national elements are clearly linked to the LeT. We know that the Lashkar has been active in Sopore." Since the latter half of June 2010, major parts of Kashmir have repeatedly erupted in violent demonstrations, and a total of 11 'protesters' have already died in Police firing.
The Lashkar has created a significant base in South India as well. Reports indicate that LeT has two support groups in Kerala, and four Malayali (Keralite) LeT militants were killed in J and K on October 6, 2008.
On Jun 21, 2010, Kerala Police sources claimed that many boys from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, between the ages of 16 and 25, were being trained in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) under the supervision of LeT 'commanders'.
The LeT is also using its operatives in Bangladesh and Nepal to try set up a 'buffer zone' in interior areas of Bihar to carry out terror attacks both within the State and elsewhere in the country, top intelligence sources said. Mohammad Omar Madni, a close aide of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and the LeT's point man in Nepal told interrogators he had already recruited men in Katihar, Madhubani, Siwan, Bhagalpur, Gopalganj, Motihari, Betia and Muzzaffarpur Districts of Bihar for LeT's hawala operations, fake currency syndicates and drug-running.
Madni, was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police near Qutb Minar in South Delhi on June 4, 2009. He reportedly disclosed that he had infiltrated into India on a 'talent hunt'. Madni was one among at least 18 LeT cadres arrested in India, outside J and K, since 26/11 (another 63 were arrested in J and K), blunting the outfits operations in the country.
One such arrest included the 'south India commander' of the LeT, identified as Shaik Abdul Khaja alias Amjad from Afzalgunj area of Hyderabad, on January 18, 2010. 24 ISI agents, with close ties to the LeT, have also been arrested in India since 26/11.
While the IM suffered a major reverse with the arrest of its senior cadres and elimination of others, including Atif Amin who was killed in the Batla House shootout on September 19, 2008, agencies feel that major leaders still at large - estimated to be over 20 - remain a threat and are crucial to the execution of the 'Karachi Project'.
The 'Karachi Project' is a 'joint venture' of the ISI and LeT, and involves serving and retired officers of the Pakistan Army and fugitive terrorists from India. The 'project', first revealed by Headley to his FBI interrogators, was designed to use Indians for setting off terror attacks in India. Headley indicated that five or six serving Pakistani officers were involved in the 'Karachi Project'. Meanwhile, on June 5, 2010, the Union Government declared the IM a terrorist outfit.
The LeT has now attacked Indian targets in Afghanistan as well. Though LeT's global presence is now widely acknowledged, the ISI had not previously used the group to target Indian establishments beyond Indian soil. The LeT's expansion into Afghanistan is believed to be directed against both international and Indian targets. A senior NATO intelligence official was quoted by The Times as saying , "The LeT is now active in six to eight provinces in Afghanistan, a big leap from hardly any presence five years ago."
Shaida Abdali, Afghanistan's deputy national security adviser referred to this more obliquely, stating, "Our concern is that there are still players involved that are trying to use Afghanistan's ground as a place for a proxy war. It is being carried out by certain state actors to fight their opponents." Several satellite phone conversations intercepted by Indian agencies in the past few months indicate that LeT is now deeply entrenched in Pakistani efforts to force India out of Afghanistan.
The location of the satellite phone in most of these conversations was established in areas adjoining the Kunar province along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Kunar is where LeT was first formed in the early 1990s. One such conversation, intercepted in the first week of February 2010 by the Research and Analysis Wing (R and AW), had terrorists talking about the need to hurt India in Kabul.
Meanwhile, LeT's expansion in Afghanistan has prompted suspicions in Washington that it is part of Pakistan's game plan to have proxy forces at hand when US troops begin their withdrawal in July 2011.
Significantly, India's Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken told Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) on April 27, 2010, that the LeT was also making concerted efforts to develop links in the Maldives and other neighbouring countries.
Similarly, Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the US Pacific Command in his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 27, 2010, stated that the LeT, predominately a threat to India, was fast expanding operations to other South Asian countries, including Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. On similar lines, US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, P. J. Crowley, asserted on April 23, 2010, "It (LeT) is a threat to our citizens.
It's a threat to Indian citizens. Next door, it's a threat to Pakistani citizens. And next door, it's a threat to Afghan citizens." A March 15, 2010, report had claimed that the LeT had identified as many as 320 targets across the globe, just 20 of which were in India.
At a Congressional hearing, US Congressman Gary Ackerman testified: "In the wake of the (26/11) Mumbai attack, investigators uncovered in controller records and e-mail accounts a list of 320 locations worldwide deemed by the LeT as possible targets for attack. Only 20 of the targets were located within India."
It is significant that the LeT has been banned in the UK since March 1, 2001. The US Department of State named the LeT as a foreign terrorist organisation on December 26, 2001. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) listed it as a terrorist organisation on May 2, 2005.
The US Department of Treasury named four of its leaders — Amir Hafiz Mohammed Saeed; Operations Commander Zaki-ur Rahman Lakhvi; Chief of Finance Haji Mohammad Ashraf; and fund collector Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq — under Executive Order 13224 which targets terrorists and those providing financial, technological or material support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.
Finally, in the aftermath of 26/11, the UNSC proscribed the JuD on December 10, 2008, listing it as an alias of the LeT, and designated Saeed, Lakhvi, Ashraf and Bahaziq as foreign terrorists.
None of these measures has had any impact on the Pakistani Government's attitude towards LeT. Despite volumes of evidence provided by India, progressive verification from a multiplicity of international sources, and Pakistan's own admission of LeT's involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Islamabad continues to support and protect its terrorist proxy, giving it full freedom of movement across Pakistan.
On February 4, 2010, the JuD and the Hizb-ul-Mujahiddeen (HM), held a Yakjaiti-e-Kashmir (Kashmir Solidarity) conference in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) capital Muzaffarabad, led by Syed Salahuddin, the chief of HM and chairman of the 16-party United Jihad Council (UJC). Another JuD rally, led by Hafiz Saeed, was organised at Lahore on February 5, 2010.
Each of these was a well attended mass rally, widely covered by the national and international media. State agencies made no effort to curtail the activities of these groups, despite the fact that several members of the UJC are designated international terrorist organisations.
Unsurprisingly, an April 16, 2010, UN report confirmed that the ISI continued to have close links with LeT and had used the terror group's services to foment anti-India passion in Kashmir and elsewhere. "The Pakistani military organised and supported the Taliban to take control of Afghanistan in 1996. Similar tactics were used in Kashmir against India after 1989," the report noted.
It is evident that LeT remains Pakistan's principal instrumentality in India. More significantly, its imprint is being steadily and systematically extended to wider theatres across the South Asian neighbourhood, to serve Pakistan's augmenting ambitions in anticipation of a Western withdrawal from Afghanistan.
US dependence on Pakistani 'cooperation' in the 'war on terror' has conferred near-complete impunity on Pakistani mischief in this region, and it is within the ambit of this latitude that Islamist extremist terrorism continues to thrive in Pakistan, to be exported into the neighbourhood and beyond.
(The writer is Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management)
(Credit to author and his organisation mandatory/The view expressed in the article is of the author and not India Blooms News Service)