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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 4, No. 43, May 8, 2006

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



J&K: Means and Ends - The Politics and Practice of Massacres
Guest Writer: Praveen Swami
Deputy Editor and Chief of Bureau, Frontline Magazine, New Delhi

For the most part, the war in the high mountains of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) remains invisible: it is war that seems to have neither perpetrators nor victims. But strung along the banks of the Tawi river in Jammu, if one cares to look, are the makeshift homes of hundreds of refugees, both Hindu and Muslim, who have fled the Islamist assault that has torn apart communities on the Pir Panjal range. Their stories, though, rarely figure outside of the antiseptic press releases issued by the J&K Police each evening.

Until, that is, there is a large enough massacre.

Last month, the invisible war once again made its way into newspaper headlines when thirty-two Hindu villagers were killed in two separate communal terror strikes in the Districts of Doda and Udhampur, north-east of Jammu. Nineteen residents of the mountain hamlets of Kulhand and Tharwa, including an eight year old girl, were shot dead outside their homes late in the night of April 30, 2006. A further thirteen shepherds were shot dead north of the Lalon Galla, a high-altitude meadow above the town of Basantgarh.

Witnesses say that a group of six terrorists arrived in Kulhand and Tharwa at around 11:00 PM on April 30. Men from some forty adjacent buildings were ordered to gather at the home of Gopi Chand, the village headman. Once there, the victims were made to form a queue, and then fired on with assault rifles at point-blank range. The terrorists continued to fire until their ammunition was exhausted. Ten people were seriously injured, and survived only because the bodies of others had fallen over them.

Hours before the killing began in Kulhand and Tharwa, a separate terrorist unit kidnapped two shepherds near Lalon Galla. Mohammad Siraj-ud-Din and his son Rukun-ud-Din were ordered to guide the terrorists to a nearby dhok, or meadow, on which Hindu herdsmen from the village of Basantgarh had set up camp for the summer. Once there, the terrorists marched the thirteen men they could find into the forest. Four of the victims were shot near the meadow where they were kidnapped; nine others a short distance away.

Neither set of villagers were expecting trouble. Kulhand residents, like many Hindus in Doda, had for long maintained a quiet peace with terrorists operating in the area. When Village Defence Committees were set up in the area after a series of massacres in 1998-1999, local residents refused weapons and training. A police post was set up in the village four years ago, but removed after villagers insisted that its presence was more likely to provoke terrorist retaliation than protect them from harm.

On the night of the massacre, Kulhand residents had not anticipated trouble. The men who were marched out of their homes thought the terrorists needed help hauling supplies up the mountains, a task for which they had used villagers at regular intervals. Many could have escaped into the darkness – but saw no reason to do so. The shepherds at Lalon Galla, too, marched willingly into the jungles with the terrorists, perhaps thinking that their labour was needed to build a hideout or bury weapons and ammunition.

What evidence is available so far suggests that the killings were the work of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) – the Pakistan-based terrorist group responsible for sixteen similar massacres in J&K since 1993, in which at least 150 civilians have been killed. Notably, Siraj-ud-Din and Rukun-ud-Din identified one of the terrorists who carried out the Lalon Galla killings as Aijaz Ahmad, a long-standing Lashkar operative who hails from the village of Raichak, near Basantgarh.

Both massacres are thought to have been executed on the orders of ‘Abu Talha,’ the Doda-area ‘divisional commander’ of the Lashkar who is so far known only by his nom de guerre. Of the six terrorists who actually carried out the killings, four have been identified – ‘Ashraf,’ who also uses the alias ‘Omar,’ ‘Doctor Shabbir’ alias Asghar, ‘Saifullah,’ and ‘Ahram’ alias ‘Abu Din.’ Investigators are also examining the role of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) commander Mohammad Asraruddin, who has often worked closely with ‘Abu Talha.’ Believed to be a Pakistani national, ‘Abu Talha’ narrowly escaped a May 5, 2006, encounter which claimed the life of his lieutenant, ‘Abu Akasha’. Police and army personnel also made fire-contact with the terrorist group thought to be responsible for the Udhampur killings the same day, but without success. While elements of both groups will more likely than not be eliminated in coming weeks, given the scale of operations directed at them, little is known about the motives behind the twin massacres or their timing.

Some of these motives, however, appear obvious. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was scheduled to meet with the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq less than forty-eight hours after the killings. Prime Minister Singh is also to hold a round-table conference involving all major political parties at Srinagar on May 25, 2006. Jihadi organisatiowns, ho do not wish to join in the dialogue process have no interest in its perpetuation.

Terrorist groups have long used death as an instrument to derail efforts towards détente. In August, 2000, a month after the pro-dialogue HM ‘commander’ Abdul Majid Dar declared a unilateral ceasefire, cadre from his organisation and the Lashkar carried out a series of communal massacres in an effort to sabotage the movement towards peace. In less than 48 hours, starting with the massacre of 30 pilgrims near the shrine of Amarnath, six strikes were carried out in the districts of Anantnag, Doda and Kupwara.

Such a direct link may, however, be simplistic. Communal massacres long predate peace efforts in J&K. After targeting prominent members of the State’s Pandit minority for assassination and intimidation in the first phase of jihadi violence, terrorists began executing large-scale killings from August 1993, when thirteen Hindus were massacred at Sarthal, in Doda. Three years later, sixteen Hindus were again executed in the Doda village of Barshalla. Local feuds over grazing rights often facilitated the violence.

From 1998, communal massacres gathered momentum and scale. In 1998, 132 civilians died in six massacres conducted across the State and in adjoining Himachal Pradesh. After a lull in 1999, the massacres resumed in 2000. In 2001, 108 people were killed in 11 major incidents, while 83 people were killed in five incidents in 2002. Most of these killings targeted desperately poor communities in the State’s more remote mountain regions: the bridegroom whose wedding procession was targeted in Chapnari did not even possess sandals.

Although the scale of communal terror strikes diminished after 2002 – a fact Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh omitted to mention when he called for the imposition of Governor’s rule after the killings – periodic attacks continue. Just in October 2005, a unit of the HM’s ‘Pir Panjal Regiment’ targeted two hamlets in Rajouri’s Budhal area for such attacks. While women in the village were ordered to prepare food for the terrorists, eleven Hindu men aged between 18 and 57 had their throats slit one by one.

One motivation for this gruesome campaign has been to bring about large-scale migrations of Hindus from Muslim-majority areas north of the Chenab river. Jihadi groups hope that mass killings and communal terrorism directed at Hindus would help realise a sundering of J&K along ethnic-religious lines. As such, communal massacres are an instrument to replicate the communal logic on which the Partition of India was based – Pakistan’s long-standing aspiration.

Partition-based ideas have emanated, in recent years, from the United States of America-based Kashmir Study Group and Pakistan’s back-channel negotiator during the Kargil war, Niaz Naik. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s calls for a division of J&K into seven separate provinces, although couched in language based on geography rather than religion, would have much same effect if implemented. Mirwaiz Farooq of the APHC, interestingly, presented all these ideas to the Prime Minister during their meeting.

Notably, however, Muslim villagers opposed to Islamist terror groups have also faced savage assault. In 2001, for example, fifteen Muslim villagers, including seven children, were executed at the village of Kot Charwal in Rajouri, for having set up a self-defence group to keep Islamist terrorists out of the area. Muslim Village Defence Committee (VDC) members and others hostile to the jihad have regularly been targeted since. In January 2006, Rashid Begum and two members of her family were killed in Arnas for campaigning against the Hizb.

Despite the high media impact of communal killings of Hindus, internal Union Home Ministry data makes clear that Muslims are the principal victims of the jihad that Islamist groups are fighting in their name. In 2005, for example, just 54 of the 489 civilians killed by terrorists were Hindu. In most years since 1989, less than 15 per cent of overall civilian fatalities have been Hindu. Only in 1990 did that figure cross 20 per cent, a figure considerably lower than Hindu representation in the State’s population.

It would be mistaken, therefore, to see communal massacres as a means to an end: in the Lashkar’s world view, they are the end. Lashkar ideologues see the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir as a consequence of the fact that, as one of the organisation’s articles suggests, “the Hindus have no compassion in their religion.” In the world of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the overall head of the Lashkar, “the Hindu is a mean enemy and the proper way to deal with him is the one adopted by our forefathers who crushed them by force.”

All who stand in the way of the creation of the Lashkar’s utopia are legitimate targets, simply by virtue of their existence. Part of the answer to this challenge lies within India, both through providing better security cover to remote mountain communities and, more important, in pushing political parties to work towards building a genuine consensus against communal chauvinism. As long as the Lashkar’s base camps in Pakistan remain active, though, both these measures will only be palliatives – and weak ones at that.



Hope is Not a Method
Guest Writer: Dr. Thomas A. Marks
Honolulu-based political risk consultant; author of a number of benchmark works on Maoist insurgency.

As Nepal moves towards a new order, its governing parliamentarians would do well to heed that most fundamental of maxims: hope is not a method.

To date, events have gone reasonably smoothly, but there continue to be ominous signs that a rougher road lies ahead. Not least of the elements for concern is what has been at the heart of the matter all along: the motives of the Maoist insurgents.

Contrary to much ill-considered opinion, the Maoists have not opted for peace in our time. Instead, their forces remain intact, even as they encourage the Government to dismantle the only surviving force that stands between the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (CPN-M), and its ability to work its will, the security forces.

Their grudging moves towards negotiations notwithstanding, the Maoists have been very consistent. In their verbiage, in their briefings to their cadres, and even in their interviews given to members of the international media, they make clear that they do not accept the present state of things and remain convinced that they are riding the “will of history” that will see the complete ouster of the old order.

The Maoists view the present course of the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) as an error of major proportions and are fearful that ‘the people’ will be ‘betrayed’. They certainly do not accept parliamentary democracy as the end-state, unless it emerges in a form of which they approve.

What stands behind their present tactical maneuvering is a willingness to go with the flow so long as the river does not leap its banks. If the SPA will do the work that armed rebellion could not accomplish – especially, dismantle the security forces and do away with even a figurehead monarchy – that is agreeable. But one cannot expect them, if things do not go their way, simply to shrug and say they had their moment.

There is a veritable cottage industry of historical falsification abounding, in Nepal and abroad, producing the fiction that the Maoists turned to insurgency only because they were not allowed to participate in 1991 parliamentary elections (as Masal). That is false. The machinations that led to one wing of Masal being allowed to run using party identification were an intra-Masal squabble, not something the system engineered.

Likewise, the outrageous claim that the monarchy is somehow responsible for the violence of the Maoists is as astonishing as it is absurd. The Maoists first systematically laid waste to Nepal and its weak democracy, then systematically carried out a campaign to claim the reigning monarch had killed his brother and engineered what they, the Maoists, had in fact done – destroy Nepal. Having turned to armed insurgency, CPN-M methodically destroyed the structure of the state, in the process eliminating all who opposed the local presence of the Maoists.

Having gained control of widespread areas, which they will continue to control during any proposed ‘elections’, they are not about to allow their rivals to freely contest within ‘liberated space’.

This is classic “machine politics”, as the Maoists claim the Nepal Congress (NC) and Communist Party of Nepal – United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML, or simply UML) have been playing all these years. Since UML buys into this logic, at least partially, it is willing to front for the Maoists. The extremist wing of the UML does more than front – it works with the Maoists.

Ironically, anti-communist India has ended up letting its own Marxists have their moment by unduly influencing New Delhi's Nepal policy. This should not surprise, given the realities of coalition politics. With its dependency on the Left Front, particularly the Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) in Parliament, compounded by divisions within its own ranks as to the proper policy towards Nepal, the Congress-led Government has acceded to the CPI-M demands. As a consequence, CPI-M figures such as Sitaram Yechury have become regular visitors to Kathmandu as they conduct the Indian Left’s ‘foreign policy within a foreign policy’.

The issue of Indian policy or intervention is not one that need detain any analysis at this moment. It will ultimately be decided, one way or another, as it was in Sri Lanka, by nationalism in the target state. Nepali nationalism, to be sure, is something which has rarely reared its head in anything save platitudes about “never having been a colony”. In fact, Nepal is as thorough a colony as ever there was (of India and of the international community through its utter dependence upon external aid).

Still, to be clear: first, India has no desire to become bogged down in the Nepalese quicksand, so having ‘democratic allies’ in power is the proper route to realization of its geo-strategic designs; second, there is a strong wing of Indian politics that sees the present policy towards Nepal as misguided, counterproductive, and downright dangerous, given India’s own Maoist threat. The claim that there are no connections between the Nepali and Indian Maoists is falsified by a wealth of evidence, not least the pronouncements and actions of the Nepali Maoists before they became more media savvy.

The threat to Nepali sovereignty, then, is not from India per se but from the present situation that India has ‘enabled’. Its view is that it can ‘handle’ the situation. This remains to be seen – just as India proved quite incapable of ‘handling’ the Tamil insurgents in Sri Lanka.

The most pressing danger, at this juncture, is that SPA, dominated by NC and UML, will revert to form (on full display during the dozen or so years of full democracy) and lead Nepal into a ‘Kerensky moment’ for the Maoists, as occurred with the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917-18. The Leninists were not the strongest party in post-Czarist Russia, only the party with a preponderance of force at the decisive point(s). This allowed them to gain control of the state and then to do what was necessary to consolidate their hold. This is also how Hitler consolidated his hold on Germany, despite having only one-third of the Parliament (Reichstag). It is what the Sandinistas did in post-Somoza Nicaragua. One already sees the Maoist thugs threatening even UML politicians (who, in any case, have always been on the cutting-edge as victims of the Maoists).

What all the preceding cases share is that the security forces had fallen apart. This is not yet the case in Nepal. The key, therefore, is to make the new-order understand that the security forces have every intention and desire to serve democracy – and that they will not stand by and see restored democracy and Nepali sovereignty compromised.

The Maoists, however, have stated repeatedly that they have other goals: trials for those central to the old-order, especially for the monarch and the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) officer corps (the Maoist leadership has asserted both of these goals in its less guarded moments). This is also what they have been saying to their cadres.

They have rejected integration into the RNA by any name and demanded a new National Army, which they will dominate by default. This is just how the scenario played itself out in Nicaragua, the result being the Sandinista dictatorship, which rapidly produced its own counterrevolutionary insurgency by abusing the people. (Contrary to the hoary left-wing myth, the CIA could not even arm all the contras, so abundant was the influx of peasant manpower demanding the right to resist the Managua Marxist-Leninist dictatorship).

In this situation, what is both puzzling and counterproductive is how little realistic consideration has emerged concerning the future of the security forces, of which the RNA is the dominant element. This is puzzling, because the security forces are quite intact and – contrary to yet another theme pushed by both activist elements of the new regime and their international activist backers – exercised remarkable restraint during the recent mass agitation. Lathi charges and rubber bullets are not semiautomatic volleys, and the latter did not occur.

There are at least 150,000 armed Government security forces in completely intact units. It is naïve to assume that they are going to march off to oblivion, surrender, or slaughter. The last two options are what the Maoists envisage, and what they expect to extract from the ruling SPA as their price for ‘nonviolent participation’ in the state. To judge that this inevitably will lead to confrontation requires no analytical acumen – simply looking at the Nepali security forces with clear eyes.

What is now on the field is a force quite different from that which entered the conflict in November 2001, when the RNA was attacked by the Maoists. This is especially so in the key middle grades and extending even to the younger brigadiers. It is also true in the Armed Police Force (APF), perhaps to a lesser extent in the Nepal Police (NP). The RNA’s ‘field elements’ now accept parliamentary supremacy and seek a more professional, ‘21st Century military’. Officers know there are numerous friendly states with extensive experience in implementing and consolidating the proper mechanisms. Many of these younger RNA officers have even considered the passing of the monarchy, but they are worldly enough to see that this leaves open the question of what institution or figure would serve the referee's position. Hence, they believe it is preferable that a constitutional monarchy remain.

What they do not accept is the position demanded by the Maoists and their left wing allies: ‘replacing’ one force by another, or of ‘purging’ one force only to install the cadres of another. Reconciliation, to their mind, demands amalgamation, even if this is accompanied by reduction in overall numbers. Under no circumstances will any force accept being disbanded in favor of Maoist replacements. To do so would guarantee left-wing dictatorship.

For their part, APF and NP are critical to the normal law and order of the state. Ironically, whatever the precise manner in which events unfold, the sitting Government is bound to find, in the months ahead, normal policing and security duties will assume heightened importance. A clear understanding must be worked out by the Government as to what is expected to arrest a dangerous societal drift that has set in. Armed thugs, often claiming to be representing ‘the people’ but invariably cadres of Maoist front organizations, roam all major population centers in Nepal and must be brought within the normal rule of law.

This is a job particularly for the Police, supported by the APF, but it is inevitable that RNA will be involved. The present situation, including the widespread intimidation of individuals and institutions, cannot go unchecked.

Politically, RNA is confronted with a Faustian bargain: It must serve the state even with the knowledge that the unity of SPAM (Seven Party Alliance + the Maoists) depends upon the SPA placating the Maoists. The Maoists see the victory as theirs and see themselves as dictating the terms of surrender – and envisage only trials for those who have resisted them. Hence, the security forces must keep order even as they are plotted against (in certain circles) and held up as a bargaining chip (in others).

Their logical advocates, the Indians, who have the most to lose from a Maoist-dominated Nepal, remain very much an unknown element, given the array of actors waging mini-foreign policies. One factor has not changed as any perusal of large segments of the Indian press reveals: New Delhi has been ill-informed by a good fraction of its so-called ‘Nepal experts’, in just the manner it was led astray, two decades ago, by its ‘Sri Lanka experts’. It cannot be said that Indian analysts have developed much actual knowledge of the workings of Nepali Maoism. The dominant position is that the CPN-M can be bought off or simply directed – an astonishing position given what India seems to have realized quite belatedly the Stalinist, anti-democratic essence of its own Maoists.

The CPI-M, in particular, has little comprehension of Nepali insurgent ground realities. The Indian Left Wing political pilgrims to Nepal deal with their opposite numbers in the UML. If they meet a ‘Maoist’, they deal with personalities of their ‘own stratum’, who can be as engaging and sophisticated as any. They do not deal with what is in the hills, thus gaining no comprehension that there is an organization of LTTE clones, every bit as dogmatic and ruthless.

For those who have dealt with the Tamil insurgents, one conclusion is salient: the orientation of manpower is never the issue in a situation such as this. It is leaders who are the lynchpin, who produce the endless cycle of insurgent brutality in Sri Lanka, a struggle that has long since seen its original causes vanish. The situation in Nepal is similar. It is the Maoist leaders who are following an ideological play-book; their followers are thrown up by local grievances. Maoist manpower is just as eager for ‘peace’ as anyone else, but they expect to get something out of their campaign. They have been told consistently that the new order will belong to them and will bring justice and prosperity. There is no way to do that in the short term except by taking from the old and giving to the new.

That this is playing a losing hand has been made clear in study after study, most recently by the simple but telling calculations of Dr. Steve Gorzula. As he notes: divide the arable land of Nepal (22,627 km2) by the population (28 million in July 2006 estimates), and the result is a society that has exceeded the carrying capacity of the land. Lip-serve is paid to the only real possibility – development of hydropower – and the result is a vacuum in which Maoist coercive utopian solutions have no competitors.

Lenin would certainly be proud of his Maoist pupils. On the side of democracy, however, there is little worthy of praise. The stormy course ahead will require more steady seamanship than has hitherto been demonstrated in the short history of Nepali democracy. More than ‘hope (it all works out)’ will be required.

The role of the security forces will be paramount, for they are the only guarantee that Maoist violence will not be the trump card. Thus normal functioning of those security forces will have to be maintained at all costs, so as to avoid demoralization and possible desertion. Clear explanations of what is happening are imperative, with the emphasis upon ‘transition to parliamentary supremacy’. Any impression of ‘defeat’ must be banished, despite the concerted efforts of the Left Wing to push this claim in the ongoing struggle for control of the narrative describing recent events. Already, the Maoists claim their revolutionary forces were the key in the recent agitation (their cadres did incite violence and cache explosives in urban areas).

‘Reform’, then, must be the order of the day, as has long been called for by all interested parties, but this word finds no place in the Maoist vocabulary. Consequently, forces of actual democracy (as opposed to ‘people’s democracy’) will be called upon to face the inevitable backlash. It is for the politicians to deal with this reality, and the security forces can be their shield.

It is possible that international mediation and even involvement may create new possibilities. For the moment, however, the Maoists have no intention of participating in a new version of the old-order. They are demanding and expecting that a constitutional convention will deliver a people’s republic in form if not in immediate practice. They are determined to exact vengeance.

They are not, in other words, seeking ‘democracy’ as we know the word. There is a strong thread of thought which claims the Maoists will choose the path trod by the ‘other’ insurgent groups in Sri Lanka (e.g., People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam, Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation, Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front), groups that agreed, with certain misgivings, to work within the system. More likely, the Maoists will go the way of the LTTE that, after each hopeful pause, resumed its revolutionary project.

It hardly needs highlighting that such a course of action by the Maoists would put them squarely at odds with the desires of the Nepali masses – just as LTTE cannot today be said to represent much more than the aspirations of its rump state. If the CPN-M is astute, it will realize this. Unfortunately, history does not provide grounds for optimism. There is no Maoist insurgency that has displayed such foresight. Neither do operational realities provide any more hope: the Maoists are not in any way standing down.

The up side? If the Maoists move as driven by their hate-filled ideology and resume their struggle, they will find themselves just where LTTE is – on the wrong side of history and facing a reasonably united, democratic society, amply assisted by friendly powers, including India.



Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
May 1 - 7, 2006

Security Force Personnel






     Jammu &


     Left-wing Extremism








Total (INDIA)



Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


Prime Minister holds talks with All Parties Hurriyat Conference: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 3, 2006, held the second rounds of talks with the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) during which both the sides reportedly discussed "sensitive and important" issues and agreed to evolve a mechanism to resolve the Kashmir issue amicably and peacefully. "The talks with the Prime Minister were frank and fruitful... And both sides agreed to evolve a mechanism and discuss specifics to ensure forward movement on the dialogue process," APHC Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq told reporters in New Delhi after almost two-hour-long talks with Dr. Singh. The Prime Minister described the discussion as "a meeting of minds" which augurs well for the future of Jammu and Kashmir and the South Asian region. "I am happy with the talks. It was a meeting of minds... This augurs well for Jammu and Kashmir, people of India and the region," the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru quoted Dr. Singh as having said. Daily Excelsior, May 4, 2006.


Government announces cease-fire with Maoists and lifts Red Corner Notices: Reciprocating the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist’s three-month-long unilateral truce, the Government announced a cease-fire on May 3, 2006, and also invited the Maoists for talks. Deputy Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli said, “We have taken a political decision according to the spirit of the jan andolan (mass uprising). That, of course, is ceasefire and removal of red corner notices issued against certain Maoist leaders.” Elaborating on the time period, Oli informed that “it will be in force until further decision on the issue.”

Welcoming the Government cease-fire and the withdrawal of Red Corner Notices and the terrorist-tag, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda said on May 4 that his party would sit for talks with the Government. Prachanda also said his party has forwarded a draft of a code of conduct to be adhered to by both the sides during the period of talks. “I hope that the code will be implemented honestly,” he said in a statement. “We welcome the Government’s decision and the party decides to sit for talks to find a negotiated settlement keeping in mind the 12-point understanding and the spirit of the people’s historical movement,” Prachanda said. Nepal News, May 5, 2006.


Pakistan not doing enough on terrorism, says US: Pakistan is not doing enough to help neutralise the Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders who have found safe haven in its lawless tribal lands along the Afghan border, a senior US security official said on May 6, 2006. Most Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are in Pakistan, and while the United States did not know where Osama bin Laden was hiding, he was probably on the Pakistan side of the border, said Henry Crumpton, State Department coordinator for counter-terrorism. “Has Pakistan done enough? I think the answer is ‘no’,” Crumpton told a news briefing in the Afghan capital Kabul. “Not only Al Qaeda, but Taliban leadership are primarily in Pakistan, and the Pakistanis know that,” Crumpton added. Crumpton said eliminating terrorist safe havens in Pakistan’s tribal lands was crucial. “It’s something we have to help the Pakistanis work through because it cannot remain a safe haven for enemy forces… Right now, parts of Pakistan are, indeed, that”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army spokesperson dismissed as “absurd” the statement by Crumpton. “It is totally absurd,” Major General Shaukat Sultan, chief of the Inter-Services Public Relations, said on May 6 in Islamabad. “No one has conveyed this thing to Pakistan, and if someone claims so, it is absurd,” he said. Daily Times, May 7, 2006.

Message from Osama bin Laden circulating in North Waziristan: A message from Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was reportedly distributed in the Miranshah and Mir Ali bazaars of North Waziristan on May 6, 2006 calling on Pakistani Muslims to help “the oppressed people of Waziristan”. The message was printed on pamphlets which enjoined the receiver to print more copies and distribute them to everyone. The message reads: “Pakistani Muslims, May Allah reward you and bless you for what you did for your brothers affected in the October 8 earthquake. It is incumbent upon you to come forward and help the great sons of tribal Pakhtuns whose houses have been demolished by the Pakistani Army to please the US government… I pray to Allah Almighty to accept the martyrdom of those who laid down their lives in jihad and give health to the injured and bless their families. I also pray to Allah to punish Bush, Pervez Musharraf and their forces and give them the punishment that they deserve besides giving an opportunity to one of the lions of Islam to kill Bush’s slave in Pakistan.” Apart from the message, the pamphlet contains verses from the Holy Quran and the name of the militant outfit Mujahideen Amaraat Islamia Afghanistan. Daily Times, May 7, 2006.


LTTE vows to neutralise ‘Colonel’ Karuna faction: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have reportedly vowed to raid Government territory to kill former colleagues they claim are attacking their cadres with the help of the military, warning peace talks are off until those renegade attacks stop. "The Government's refusal to rein in armed groups as pledged at (talks in) Geneva has been the primary cause of intensified violence and the stalemate in the peace talks," London-based chief LTTE negotiator Anton Balasingham told Reuters in an email interview sent on May 7. "Since the Government has outrightly denied the very existence of Karuna group in Government controlled areas and refused to disarm them, the LTTE has no choice other than to take the responsibility on itself and neutralise Karuna's armed men," said Balasingham. He claimed that "The unbridled violence unleashed against the Tamil civilians by Tamil paramilitaries and the state's armed forces has now become the critical issue overshadowing the peace process." Reuters May 8, 2006.

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