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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 3, No. 20, November 29, 2004

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal



Terror Speaks
Saji Cherian
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

On November 27 each year, the cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as well as the whole of Sri Lanka listens with bated breath as the country's most wanted terrorist, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, delivers his annual 'Mahaveerar Thinam' (Heroes Day) speech. Each year the 'leader' spells out the broad policy to be followed by the rebel group, based on the prevailing political and military equations in the island nation. Since the Ceasefire Agreement signed by the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE in February 2002, Prabhakaran has now delivered three Heroes Day speeches. In 2002, he declared that he would consider 'favourably' a political framework that offers substantial regional autonomy and self-government to the Tamil people on the basis of their right to internal self-determination. The following year, he rejected President Chandrika Kumaratunga's accusations that his organisation was strengthening its military power and preparing for war. This year, the portents are more ominous, as Prabhakaran pointed to the "division, discord, confusion and contradiction within the Sinhala political leadership on the Tamil issue," and sounded the warning that "if the government rejects our urgent appeal, adopts delaying tactics perpetuating the suffering of our people, we have no alternative other than to advance the freedom struggle of our nation." The threat implicit in the statement goes well beyond the necessary rhetoric of a Heroes Day address.

Prabhakaran is, of course, quite right about the 'confusion' within the Sinhalese leadership with regard to the LTTE and the peace process. President Kumaratunga, for instance, in an interview to The Hindu, on November 14, asserted that the LTTE had not given up on its plans to assassinate her. Referring to Prabhakaran she said that "he is still thinking of getting me, while holding talks with us." At the same time, however, she added that the "LTTE had changed a lot", and "they are willing to explore some solution other than (an independent Tamil) Eelam."

Conversely, such 'confusion' is altogether absent in the rebel group's orientation. In October 2004, Anton Balasingham, LTTE 'ideologue' and chief negotiator, pointed out that the Tamil Tigers had not abandoned their 'right to secede', despite agreeing to explore a 'federal solution'. Further, Kumaratunga and other Sri Lankan leaders have, on various occasions, alternately praised the Norwegian mediators and accused them of siding with the LTTE and overlooking rebel ceasefire violations. The LTTE, on the other hand, has at no time derided the Norwegians, but has very clear notions of what the limits of the facilitators' and the donors' jurisdictions are. On November 3, Balasingham, stated that "the donor conferences held in Oslo on 25 November 2002 and in Tokyo on 10 June 2003 and the resolutions adopted at these meetings cannot bind our liberation organisation to a particular framework of a final political settlement."

With the negotiations between the two sides currently hitting rock bottom, the Government has realised that, in spite of the ceasefire agreement, the chances of war are mounting. The recent endeavour to acquire support from India through the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) is essentially a response to these apprehensions. On the contrary, for the LTTE, achieving peace has never been the ultimate goal and, consequently, it has never abandoned its policy of recruitment, assassination, fundraising and military build-up.

In January 2004, President Kumaratunga had alleged, on the basis of intelligence reports, that the LTTE had increased its military strength during the truce period by recruiting over 11,000 cadres. "The LTTE has increased its cadre by three times from around seven thousand to over 18,000. Quite a few of them are small children and forcible recruitment was going on," she said. Adding substance to this statement the New York-based Human Rights Watch, in its report in November, accused the LTTE of continuing to enlist boys and girls below the age of 18 years, since the Oslo-brokered truce went into effect. "The ceasefire has brought an end to the fighting but not to the Tamil Tigers' use of children as soldiers," said Jo Becker, Children's Rights Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch and a co-author of the report. The report, 'Living in Fear: Child Soldiers and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka,' included firsthand testimonies from dozens of children from north-eastern Sri Lanka who had been recruited since the cease-fire came into effect. Children described rigorous and sometimes brutal military training, including training with heavy weapons, bombs and landmines. The LTTE used intimidation and threats to pressure Tamil families in the island's North and the East to provide sons and daughters for military service, the report said. When families refused, their children were sometimes abducted from their homes at night or forcibly recruited while walking to school. Parents who resisted recruitment faced violence or detention.

A spokesperson of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said on October 9, that the LTTE has recruited 1,424 children, out of whom 45 had been abducted during the 28-months of truce ending August 31, while 359 adults were abducted during the same period. Also from a total of 4,903 complaints against the LTTE and 961 against the Government, 2,439 violations against the LTTE and 111 against the Government of Sri Lanka had been confirmed on the record, the SLMM spokesperson added.

Significantly, Prabhakaran did not mention the 'Colonel' Karuna rebellion in his speech, a deliberate ploy to undermine an event that shook the LTTE apparatus in March 2004 and threatened to split the outfit into two. Clearly, Prabhakaran did not want to divert the attention and focus of his Tamil listeners from the aim of 'Tamil Eelam', to an embarrassment which threatened the unity of the group. Moreover, with an annihilation campaign targeting the Karuna's rebel cadres underway in the north and the east, Prabhakaran considers the rebellion to have been 'dealt with'. The systematic and open character of the annihilation campaign can be gauged by the fact that, on October 31, the 'Batticaloa-Amparai Political Office' of the LTTE issued leaflets with photographs of known Karuna cadres, asking district residents to identify and provide information that could lead to their elimination. Apart from targeting the Karuna cadres, the LTTE has also targeted every dissenting Tamil political voice. As in the past, the LTTE has continued to assassinate a number of senior Tamil political leaders and their party workers in the Northern and Eastern part of the country, especially belonging to the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), throughout the period of the ceasefire. Significantly, annual fatalities have been rising continuously since the ceasefire, with a total of 15 persons killed in 2002; 59 in 2003; and 106 in 2004 (till November 28).

At no point of time through the ceasefire has the LTTE let its guard down and Prabhakaran's war machine has never been dormant, particularly its finance and military departments. Since June 2004, there have been reports indicating that the LTTE has started a special campaign to raise money in Europe and North America, saying they are sick and tired of the peace process. The Tamil diaspora in these countries, especially Canada, France and England, have been approached by LTTE functionaries, requesting them to donate for the cause. The LTTE has been very successful throughout the ceasefire in projecting two images, one for the international audience and another for its adherents. As an intelligence source notes, "the LTTE always speaks in two voices - one for the international community, preferably in English, and another for the Tamils living under its control, invariably in Tamil."

The Sri Lankan Army has also been alarmed by the LTTE military build-up, particularly around the Trincomalee harbour, and has been crying itself hoarse. A complaint was lodged with the SLMM, but the truce monitors have indicated that all the LTTE installations visited were located well within LTTE-controlled areas, and that they had found no indication of a LTTE military build-up around the harbour. However, on October 30, the SLMM's report was falsified, when the Sri Lankan Navy destroyed a LTTE camp in the Palampatar Santhiri jungles in Trincomalee, and a LTTE flag, two hand grenades, a VHF signalling antenna, a 30 metre antenna cable, notebooks with personal details and some weapons were recovered.

The LTTE and its 'chief' Prabhakaran are evidently not 'confused' as to where the peace process is headed: "Whatever the real reason, we can clearly and confidently say one thing; it is apparent from the inconsistent and contradictory statements made by President Kumaratunga that her Government is not going to offer the Tamil people either an interim administration or a permanent solution…..we cannot continue to be entrapped in a political vacuum without an interim solution or a permanent settlement, without a stable peace and without peace of mind."

The LTTE has systematically exploited this 'political vacuum' to stabilise and empower itself, both domestically and internationally, a reality that cannot be overlooked by the Sinhalese leadership, which would find itself on a relatively weaker footing, were war to break out again.


Summertime? Reflections on the Peace Process in J&K
Guest writer: Praveen Swami
New Delhi Chief of Bureau, Frontline Magazine; currently Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, Washington, DC.

Audiences schooled in Hindi film, if asked to watch current events in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), would have little doubt where the script was headed: the final scenes of tearful reconciliation, followed by an orgy of ecstatic dancing, could safely be predicted to be just a few minutes away.

Two summers ago, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee promised an audience at the Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium in Srinagar that his new peace initiative would soon bring peace to J&K. Eighteen months and a general election on, another Prime Minister seems to have set about the unusually munificent exercise of turning his predecessor into a prophet. Indian newspapers are full of news about troop withdrawals; dialogue with Pakistan, both back-channel and formal, is in full flow; violence has declined to levels which, though nowhere near what could be described as normal, are certainly a relief to all those who have had to live with one of the world's most brutal conflicts for a decade and a half.

Several elements of the current situation are indeed positive. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has contained the damage inflicted by Prime Minister Vajpayee's eminence grise, Brajesh Mishra, left some in Pakistan believing that India would consider territorial concessions. Then, General Pervez Musharraf's '7 regions' proposal suggests he may be preparing audiences in Pakistan for sub-optimal outcomes. Pakistan has been pushing variants of General Musharraf's proposals - which in their bare-bones form envision a sundering of J&K along its ethnic-communal fault lines - for years. As such, it is unlikely that India's out-of-hand rejection of the latest proposals would have been unanticipated in Pakistan. Nonetheless, the 'scheme' was articulated. Finally, violence has been in steady decline since 2001 [see data].

Part of this de-escalation may be attributed to the success of Indian coercive diplomacy, and to the fencing of the border. Nevertheless, the remarkable drop this year in the numbers of foreign terrorists killed suggests that Musharraf has at least part-delivered on his 2002 promise to end cross-border terrorism. India, having ruled out solutions involving the redrawing of borders, will now seek to achieve two objectives: try and secure the actual dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan - the winding up of camps, stripping of assets and demobilisation of cadre; more important, search for partners among secessionists, with whom it can give form to its stated objective, a peace which involves greater federal autonomy in J&K.

Two questions are key to the success of these twin objectives. First, it is still far from clear just why Pakistan will be willing to go along with a scheme that gives it little - unless General Musharraf has, at last, come to believe that state support for jihad undermines his own country. Second, there appears to be no clear notion of what incentives there might be for secessionists within J&K to go along with the scheme - and, indeed, whether they can sell it to their constituents without seeing them defect en bloc to mainstream political parties. As such, the new order seems to have no more cogent a paradigm for peacemaking than existed in the mid-1990s: bringing the secessionists on board into mainstream politics, through a process of negotiation, wheedling, cajoling and the provision of incentives. History holds out some interesting lessons for the prospects of this line of engagement, which in times less polite than our own used to be called bribery, flattery and subornment.

Hours before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Cricket Stadium to deliver his first public address in Srinagar, security forces gunned down two terrorists just a few hundred metres from the venue. The man with overall responsibility for the counter-terrorist operation, Kashmir-range Inspector General of Police Javed Ahmed Makhdoomi, had reason to congratulate himself on the success of the forces under his command: armed with assault rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, the terrorists could conceivably have sparked off the next India-Pakistan war had their attack succeeded.

Not all that many years ago, Makhdoomi - and a welter of other establishment figures in J&K - were on the other end of the war. In 1966, Inspector General of Police Surendra Nath had authored a top-secret report on the Master Cell and its subsidiaries, a Pakistan-backed terrorist group that carried out an extensive campaign of sabotage in the build-up to the 1965 war. An encyclopaedic study of Pakistani sub-conventional warfare during the period, Nath's report named Makhdoomi, along with current J&K Law Minister Muzaffar Beigh, the late National Conference Cabinet Minister Bashir Kitchloo and senior secessionist politician Fazl-ul-Haq Qureshi, as low-level collaborators in the Master Cell's activities - along with several others, who acquired less eminence in public life.

Without addressing the question of whether or not the four men were actually guilty of the allegations levelled at them by Nath - who died in a 1994 air crash, while serving as Governor of Punjab - the fact is the group represents a remarkable segment of the political spectrum. All four, by Nath's account, were sympathetic to the secessionist position as young men; only Qureshi now stands on that end of the fence - and even he endorsed the abortive ceasefire between Indian forces and the Hizb-ul-Mujaheddin in 2000-2001. Both Kitchloo and Baig ended up as targets for terrorist attack; Makhdoomi now attempts to prevent such attacks, and to apprehend or kill their perpetrators. All were beneficiaries of a political system that sought rapprochement, rather than the perpetual exile or neutralisation of those who transgressed its limits.

Such journeys have been common in J&K - Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah himself, it may be recalled, was suspected of conspiring with Pakistan - and their trajectory has had a profound impact on official Indian thinking. "Pakistan's attempt to build up a movement of espionage and subversion inside the State of Jammu and Kashmir continues to be an unabated and undeterred menace," a senior politician wrote, in one of the most lucid expressions of official thinking, "While the administrative machinery in general and law and order machinery in particular have to continue to be vigilant and alert we also have to take an urgent political view of the situation. In Kashmir, we have to seek and strive for the emotional enlistment [sic] of the people with the rest of the country".

Either Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee could have written these words. Their author was, in fact, then J&K Home Minister D.P. Dhar, commenting on the covert cells Nath had uncovered over three decades ago. The journeys that key figures have taken since then also point to some of the limitations of a certain kind of peacemaking: in essence the search for accommodation of secessionists within the Indian political system. Past records show that such accommodation can indeed be brought about, but also underlines its limitations. The accommodation of elements of the 1965 terrorist cells did not, after all, stop the rise of al-Fateh in Kashmir in 1970, the subsequent rise of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), or the massive eruption of jihadi violence in the late 1980s.

If, as some observers have suggested, the Government of India intends to begin a serious dialogue on widening federal autonomy for J&K in coming months or years, these simple realities must be borne in mind. If accommodation is reached with some centrist factions of secessionists, within or outside the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Islamists will, without doubt, reject it - and emerge with renewed legitimacy as the 'authentic' voices of the anti-India jihad. Terrorist groups and Pakistan, for their part, have no reason to accept a deal of the kind India has in mind; both know variants of the autonomy option have been on the table for over a decade. This is precisely why both the Islamist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the United Jihad Council have rubbished both Indian troop withdrawal and the dialogue process: confidence building is not a game they have any interest in playing.

Peacemaking in J&K, we must understand, is not just an abstract negotiation, with all parties committed to discovering a 'rational' outcome through a process of pure reason. It is about, among other things, fundamentally irreconcilable ideas of the basis of statehood and the still far-from-spent forces that led to India's Partition. It is, for jihadi formations and elements in Pakistan's establishment, merely part of a larger war between Islam and unbelief. And it is, for many actors, an enterprise: a tawdry business in which India's Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) plays Daddy, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) plays Mamma, mediators sing lullabies and the little baby just cries a little to get a great deal of attention. When called on to deliver, centrist secessionists can always claim either to be coerced by terrorists, or place impossible conditions on India - and thus seek further increments.

"Magic", said the illusionist P.C. Sorcar, "evolves in the mind of the spectators. When they fail to build a cognisable explanation of the secrets of magic, they submit themselves to the world of fantasy and sorcery." In truth, there is no such thing as 'the Kashmir problem'; there are, instead, a maze of Kashmir problems each of such complexity that magical solutions appear the only way forward. Dialogue, however, is a process; it guarantees no particular outcome; crucially, it can just as easily create crises as avert them. However well-intentioned either General Pervez Musharraf or Prime Minister Manmohan Singh might be - there is no-public domain material that gives insight into the inner recesses of their minds and hearts - each step forward towards peace might see the objective, ever elusive, recede that little bit further away.

None of this, of course, is reason not to walk the pathways to peace; just to step forward with the greatest possible caution.


Northeast: The Bargain Basement
Wasbir Hussain
Associate Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi; Consulting Editor, The Sentinel, Guwahati

Separatist rebel groups in India's Northeast, except for those in the state of Manipur, have generally entered the 'talk mode', keen or forced by circumstances to try and evolve acceptable solutions to their demands through political dialogue with New Delhi. The recent past has, in fact, seen something of a chain reaction, with one insurgent group after another expressing its willingness to talk peace, cornering other recalcitrant allies and foes, leading to snapping of strategic alliances among many militant groups, and even forcing several rebel armies onto the road to negotiation.

Within less than two months after it responded positively to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's call for a ceasefire ahead of possible peace talks, a group of top leaders belonging to the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) were reported to have traveled to New Delhi over the past few days, to hold talks with officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Reports indicate that these militant leaders were charting out the modalities of a formal ceasefire agreement between the rebel group and the Government, as well as other details, such as the setting up and location of designated camps where their cadres could be lodged safely till the time the talks lead to an acceptable solution.

Published reports on November 29, 2004, quoted NDFB 'president' Ranjan Daimary alias D.R. Nabla as saying his group was ready for unconditional talks with the Indian Government on the basis of their 'ideology and principles.' But, rebel groups are known for hard bargaining with Government negotiators, and the NDFB, too, won't be an exception. This was indicated by the NDFB chief when he said they were seeking a Bodoland which is going to be a 'heterogeneous State.'

Talks with the NDFB will lead to more problems than solutions, in the sense that New Delhi has already signed a deal with a rival Bodo rebel group, the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) in February 2003. According to the terms of that agreement, the Bodos were granted a Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), a politico-administrative structure with a 40-member elective body. What, now, could the NDFB get by way of concessions to persuade it to give up its demand for an independent homeland? Moroever, the chances of an open confrontation within the Bodo society are very significant, since both the NDFB and the 'disbanded' BLT would seek to occupy the same political space.

Within the theatre of insurgency in Assam, at least, the successful clinching of the agreement with the BLT in 2003 has led to a chain reaction. In addition to the NDFB, several rag-tag rebel groups active in the southern Assam hill districts of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills are currently holding formal or informal talks with the authorities. This has also impacted on the proscribed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) - by far the State's most powerful insurgent group with a huge fire-power and established trans-border linkages.

Developments over the past weeks indicate that ULFA is now looking for an honourable way to begin negotiations with New Delhi. The group began by withdrawing two of its three preconditions for peace talks with the Indian Government - talks outside India and talks under the supervision of the United Nations. The only condition that ULFA is still sticking to is that its core demand of 'sovereignty' must be on the agenda of discussions as and when the talks with New Delhi begin.

ULFA's decision to endorse popular Assamese novelist Dr. Indira Goswami's efforts to act as a peace facilitator also indicates that the rebel group has at last come around to the need for negotiations as a tool for a solution to their demands. This is the first time since its formation on April 7, 1979 - in a quest to establish a 'sovereign, Socialist Assam' - that ULFA has backed someone who has taken up the role of mediator. Dr. Goswami has already met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and handed him a written 'peace appeal'. A response from the Prime Minister is now awaited before the peace process could move further forward.

The ULFA has also demonstrated that it takes Dr. Goswami seriously and was even ready to put violent activities on hold to honour her call. On November 25, 2004, the ULFA carried out four separate grenade and bomb attacks in eastern Assam, injuring six people, blowing up a crude pipeline, and bringing down an abandoned security tower within an Indian Air Force complex at Jorhat. Within 48 hours, Dr. Goswami told the media that ULFA 'commander-in-chief' Paresh Baruah had telephoned her in connection with the peace effort, and that she had urged him to put a halt to all violent activities until a response from New Delhi is received. ULFA has marked November 28 as 'betrayal day', commemorating the launch of the first organized military offensive against them - Operation Bajrang in 1990 - with a string of violent attacks each year. This time round, there has been no violence till noon of November 29, 2004 in the wake of Dr Goswami's appeal to them to exercise restraint.

ULFA, of course, continues to jockey for a favourable negotiating position, and has sought to question and confront present Government responses. After the Prime Minister made it clear on November 22, 2004, that "Assam was an integral part of India and there can be no doubts on that," ULFA once again reiterated its demand for a plebiscite on the issue of a 'sovereign Assam'. "The Indian government has said it was not prepared to discuss our core demand for sovereignty during possible peace negotiations. Let them then hold a plebiscite in Assam and we shall abide by the verdict of the masses," ULFA 'Chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa said in a statement e-mailed to journalists in Guwahati on November 27. He added: "The solution to Assam's problem lies with the people. They should be allowed to decide whether they want an independent homeland or not."

If ULFA is trying to put pressure on New Delhi to come up with a more 'acceptable' set of alternatives which could constitute a basis for honourable engagement in a peace process with the Indian Government, the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) is also acting tough. The outfit, engaged in peace talks with New Delhi since August 1997, suddenly called off its scheduled visit to India beginning November 28, 2004, accusing Government agencies of arming one rival Naga group and trying to promote another. K. Padmanabhaiah, New Delhi's chief interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, however, denied these allegations and told this writer "We are neither arming any Naga rebel group opposed to the NSCN-IM nor showing any undue interest in any other Naga rebel outfit. These doubts need to be cleared through direct talks and we can investigate the charges if specific evidence is provided to us by the NSCN-IM."

The NSCN-IM came up with the charge that Government agencies had started arming the rival Naga National Council (NNC) with self-loading rifles, and airlifting leaders of the NSCN faction headed by S.S. Khaplang (NSCN-K) to New Delhi, within about a fortnight of New Delhi and the NSCN-IM issuing a joint statement in Bangkok regarding the India visit. This is certainly extraordinary, and it is difficult to see why the Government or a government agency would abruptly begin to arm or support rival groups, precisely at a time when top rebel leaders of the principal faction in negotiations with the Government were due to arrive at Delhi for talks. These talks, moreover, were to be held on the invitation of none less than the Prime Minister. This, perhaps, is the way insurgent politics moves.

There can, however, be no doubt that negotiations are increasingly coming centre-stage in the political strategy of the rebels in India's Northeast. A number of factors have contributed to this trend. The transformed global environment and declining international 'tolerance' for violent anti-state groups, particularly within democratic societies, has made insurgency more difficult to sustain. Cooperative action by at least some countries in the neighbourhood has denied the insurgents important safe havens - Bhutan expelled all militants of the ULFA, NDFB and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) in military operations in December 2003. Current reports now suggest that the Myanmar Army has launched coordinated operations with Indian Forces to clear insurgent camps on Myanmarese soil. This leaves Bangladesh as the only surviving safe haven in the region. Counter-terrorism operations in parts of the Northeast have also secured particular successes, even as Governments have framed liberal 'surrender policies' and vigorously promoted various peace initiatives. Moreover, as the NSCN case illustrates, a radical political agenda and sizeable armed forces can gainfully be sustained by insurgent groups even during peace talks. Negotiations, it seems, are a 'win-win' option for the beleaguered extremist factions in the Northeast.


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
November 22-28, 2004

Security Force Personnel






     Jammu &








Total (INDIA)







 Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


India rules out Pakistan's proposal to redraw borders in Jammu and Kashmir: Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, on November 24, stated that India has conveyed to Pakistan its willingness to "look at various options based on ground realities" to resolve the Kashmir issue, but ruled out redrawing of the country's borders. The two neighbours, however, agreed to launch the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service "as early as possible" and take their composite dialogue process forward. At his maiden meeting with Pakistan Premier Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reassured him about India's commitment to resolve all outstanding issues with Islamabad, including Jammu and Kashmir, in a serious and sustained manner, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran added. The Hindu, November 25, 2004


Government's peace talks offer is a 'conspiracy', says CPN-M 'Chairman' Prachanda: In a statement issued on November 27, Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN -M) 'Chairman', Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, rejected the peace talks offered by the Government and said that the government's move looked something like a 'conspiracy'. He also alleged that the government had not yet created a favourable atmosphere for peace talks and setting deadline had further diminished the prospects of talks. However, Prachanda reiterated that his party was ready for peace talks with credible international mediation. Nepal News, November 28, 2004

Prime Minister Deuba issues deadline to Maoists for peace talks: On November 25, issuing a statement, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba asked the Communist Party of Nepal - Maoist (CPN -M) to agree for peace talks before January 13, 2005. The announcement came following a meeting of the Council of Ministers that endorsed the recommendation of the High-level Peace Committee (HPC). "The Government is eager to find a political way out through dialogues, but if the Maoists don't pay heed to our repeated calls for talks, the Government will move ahead with the election process," Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said in a press meet organized at Singhadurbar. Nepal News, November 26, 2004


Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain announces withdrawal of troops from Wana: Corps Commander Lt-General Safdar Hussain while speaking at a jirga of the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe at Governor House in Peshawar on November 26, announced the withdrawal of troops and removal of check posts from all parts of the Wana subdivision of the South Waziristan tribal region. According to an official handout, Governor Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah, Inspector General of the Frontier Corps (FC), Tariq Masood, and senior officials were present on the occasion, along with about 400 elders and maliks and three militants, Maulvi Abbas, Maulvi Javed and Maulvi Abdul Aziz, who recently accepted a Government amnesty. "Peace has been restored in Wana and now the military will not use force in any part of the area," Safdar Hussein declared. Dawn, The News, November 27, 2004

20 militants killed in South Waziristan: An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement issued on November 22 said that troops have killed 20 militants in raids on a seminary and a camp in South Waziristan as part of ongoing operations against Al Qaeda-linked fighters. Eight people were killed at the seminary in Lalejai area, a military spokesman said in the statement. "In the Lalejai area, Maulvi Bashir's Madrassah (seminary) had been serving as a hub of terrorist activities from where miscreants had been launching frequent attacks against security forces and the civil population." Also, 12 terrorists were killed in a 'hand-to-hand' fight with security forces in Karam-Manzai Chund Khel area, where terrorists had made the local population hostage, the statement added. The News, Dawn, November 23, 2004


LTTE will launch freedom struggle if peace talks are further delayed, says Vellupillai Prabhakaran: The 'Leader' of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Velupillai Prabhakaran, in a statement issued on the occasion of Heroes' Day on November 27, made an urgent appeal to the Government to resume peace negotiations based on the Interim Self Government Authority (ISGA) proposals. It warned the Government it would be compelled to advance the freedom struggle of their people, if the Government delayed negotiations. Referring to the ISGA proposals, he said: "If some elements of our proposals are deemed problematic or controversial, these issues can be resolved through discussions at the negotiating table. Once the interim administrative authority is institutionalised and becomes functional we are prepared to engage in negotiations for a permanent settlement to the ethnic problem". He added that "if the Government rejects our urgent appeal, adopts delaying tactics perpetuating the suffering of our people, we have no alternative other than to advance the freedom struggle of our nation." Tamil Net, November 28, 2004

The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs on terrorism, insurgencies and sub-conventional warfare, on counter-terrorism responses and policies, as well as on related economic, political, and social issues, in the South Asian region.

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