SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
November 30 –December 6, 2009
ULFA ‘chairman’ Arabinda Rajkhowa along with ‘deputy commander-in-chief’ Raju Baruah arrested in Dhaka: The ‘chairman’ of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) Arabinda Rajkhowa and ‘deputy commander-in-chief’ Raju Baruah, were arrested in Dhaka on December 2. Arabinda Rajkhowa and Raju Baruah were handed over to the Border Security Force (BSF) near Dawki sector of the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya in the morning of December 4, along with their family members. Official sources said that they were handed over to the Assam Police later. A team of the Assam Police brought them to Guwahati and they have been kept in the Assam Police’s Special Branch headquarters at Kahilipara area of Guwahati. Assam Tribune, December 3-5, 2009.
Country foiled 12 terror attacks, says Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram: India foiled 12 terror attacks in the last one year, but it cannot afford to lower its guard as Pakistan has not changed its approach, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said in Parliament on December 2. "There has been no terror attack in the last one year and two days. In fact, we have foiled a dozen terror attacks," Chidambaram said, while replying to a short duration discussion in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) on the internal security situation. "Against Pakistan, we have built capacity but we remain vulnerable as our adversary has not changed his approach," the Home Minister added. Chidambaram had referred to Pakistan during question hour too, saying the sub-continental peace process would not be resumed unless Islamabad took concrete action against the perpetrators of the November 26, 2008 (also known as 26/11) Mumbai attacks. Sify, December 4, 2009.
Infiltration on the rise in Jammu and Kashmir: The Union Government said on December 1 that there was increase in the number of infiltration cases along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir during 2009. According to the data furnished by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mullappally Ramachandran, in reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament), 395 cases of apprehension of infiltration were reported in 2009 as compared to 342 in 2008. There were 573 cases of apprehension of infiltration reported in 2006 and 535 in 2007 along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Minister said that Government has increased the budget for road construction and fencing on the India-Pakistan border by nearly 300 per cent. "Along Indo-Pakistan border, the Government has approved revision of cost estimates in fencing, floodlighting, roads and Border Outposts works from the earlier sanctioned Rs 380 crore to Rs 1,201 crore," he said. The Minister said 1,915 km of fencing and 1,861 km of floodlighting works had been completed on the India-Pakistan border, out of 2,043 km of fencing and 2,009 km of floodlighting sanctioned by the Government. "Out of 340 km of border roads sanctioned by the Government in Gujarat sector on the Indo-Pakistan border, the construction works of 219 km of border roads have been completed," he added.
Meanwhile, there was a decline in possible infiltration along the India-Bangladesh border with 2,098 cases reported in 2009, as against 3,175 in 2008. The Minister observed that "there is no specific input about nexus between insurgent groups and illegal Bangladeshi migrants in general." The strengthening of infrastructure on the India- Bangladesh border is also on the anvil with nearly 150 per cent hike in the budget to improve fencing, floodlights and roads. "The Government has approved the revision of targets of fencing and road works along the India-Bangladesh border from earlier sanctioned works of 2,429 km of fencing and 797 km of roads to 2,579 km and 1,422 km, respectively, under Phase-2," he said. "Out of 3,436 km of fencing and 4,326 km of border roads sanctioned by the Government on the Indo-Bangladesh border, the construction work of 2,677 km of fencing and 3,330 km of border roads has been completed," he disclosed. Daily Excelsior, December 2, 2009.
112 militants and 11 civilians among 125 persons killed during the week in FATA: Eight militants were killed and as many sustained injuries in attacks by fighter jets in lower parts of Orakzai Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on December 6. Also, two anti-Taliban tribal elders were killed and another two injured in a remote-controlled bomb blast in Malangi area, sources said. The bomb went off near a mosque, killing the two elders, Khan Wali and Rehmatullah, and injuring Abdul Wadud and Abdul Hadi.
Around 40 Taliban militants attacked an Army checkpoint at Wana in FATA, killing one Security Force (SF) trooper on December 5. Six Taliban militants were also killed in retaliatory firing. Taliban militants in Ladha area of South Waziristan also killed one soldier, as troops continued the ongoing military operation in the region.
Eight militants were killed and their three hideouts destroyed on December 4 in strikes carried out by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jets in Ferozkhel area of Orakzai Agency. The jets also destroyed a militant arms depot. Separately, six persons were killed and 13 injured when a bus carrying a marriage party hit a landmine in Safi sub-division of Mohmand Agency. In Bajaur Agency, militants attacked security checkpoints on the outskirts of the main town of Khar. "It was an organised attack. Troops effectively repulsed it, and five militants were killed in the retaliatory fire," Fazal Rabbi, deputy commander of the local tribal Police force, stated.
Planes bombed a number of areas in Warh Mamond and Nawagai sub-divisions of Bajaur Agency on December 2, killing four militants and injuring three. Official sources said the Security Forces targeted militant positions in the Kharkay, Anga, Almazo and Gotki areas in Mamond sub-division, and Sharif Khana and Shah Khana in Nawagai. Further, militant ‘commander’ Mulla Launcher and one of his accomplices were killed and six others sustained injuries in clashes with the SFs in various areas of Kurram Agency.
At least four militants were killed and seven sustained injuries when the SFs attacked the headquarters of the proscribed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the Dabori area of upper Orakzai Agency in the night of December 1. Separately, unidentified assailants killed three tribal leaders in Orakzai Agency, official sources said. The deceased, identified as Malik Gul Haider, Malik Sabz Ali and Malik Mir Aslam Khan, were killed in an ambush in the Oblan area. In addition, the SFs killed four militants in Bara sub-division of Khyber Agency.
The SFs killed 61 militants and arrested 85 others during the ongoing operation Khwakh Bad-e-Shum in Khyber Agency, security officials said on November 30. Briefing reporters at the Bara Fort, operation in-charge Brigadier Fayyaz Khan said 25 vehicles were also destroyed during the operation. Brigadier Khan said the SFs had captured several important areas and hideouts in Tirah Valley and had also destroyed several terrorist centres. He said the SFs discovered tunnels in Bara, where the terrorists used to keep abducted people. Brigadier Khan stated that the troops were advancing towards Gurgury and Shin Qamar areas, believed to be the strongholds of the outlawed Lashkar-e-Islam (LI). In addition, 10 militants were killed and 13 injured when the SFs raided militant training camps in Dhol Ragha area of Kurram Agency. Seven injured militants, including their commander, were arrested and three hideouts destroyed, officials said. Dawn; Daily Times; The News, December 1-7, 2009.
46 militants and 4 civilians among 50 persons killed during the week in NWFP: Five Taliban militants, including ‘local commander’ Gul Maula, were killed in a clash with the Security Forces (SFs) in Dangram area in suburbs of Mingora city in Swat District of North West Frontier Province (NWFP) on December 6. Sources said ‘commander’ Gul Maula and his four accomplices, identified as Tariq, Khadim Shah, Muhammad Ali and Ejaz, were killed during a gun battle with the SFs. Troops also arrested as many as 19 Taliban militants in the ongoing operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat and Malakand. In Lower Dir District, the SFs killed eight terrorists hiding in a house in Maidan area, Army spokesman Maj. Suleman Hanif disclosed. Police commandos acting on a tipoff killed one terrorist and arrested another five in a raid on a terrorist cell accused of orchestrating the recent attacks around Peshawar, authorities said.
The SFs killed a Taliban ‘commander’, Zahir Shah, during a military operation in Tal area of Hangu on December 5.
On December 3, SFs killed 13 militants during raids at two locations in Swat while two bullet-riddled bodies were found dumped elsewhere in the District. In the Hangu District, 10 militants were killed in a clash and 128 wanted criminals were arrested during a joint operation by the Police and the Frontier Constabulary.
Five militants were killed in an exchange of fire with the SFs in Palai area of Malakand Agency on December 2. Further, in Shangotai area of Matta sub-division in Swat District, the bodies of two persons, Shah Ji and his son Yaqub, were found. They were reported to have had links with the Taliban and were wanted in several militancy-related cases.
Dr. Shamsher Ali Khan, the Awami National Party legislator from Swat in the NWFP Assembly, was killed and 13 persons were injured in a suicide attack on his house in Dherai area of Kabal sub-division on December 1. A man with explosives strapped to his body walked unchallenged into the grounds of Khan’s house and blew himself up, killing the legislator, sources said. Meanwhile, unidentified assailants killed the chief of a local peace committee in the Swabi District, official sources said on December 1. Sources said that pro-Taliban militants killed Ambar Pakhpokha, head of a local peace committee. The Taliban have subsequently claimed responsibility for the killing. Dawn; Daily Times; The News, December 1-7, 2009.
40 persons killed in Rawalpindi: 40 persons, including 17 children, besides serving and retired Army officers and personnel, were killed and over 86 were injured, when a Friday congregation at the Parade Lanes mosque in Rawalpindi was attacked by a group of terrorists on December 4. The high number of casualties was caused by hurling of grenades and indiscriminate firing by the terrorists, reportedly numbering between six and eight. According to latest reports, two of the terrorists blew themselves up while two others were shot dead in an exchange of fire with the Security Forces (SFs). Exhaustive combing of the densely-populated locality was being carried out by the SFs to flush out the other terrorists, who reportedly managed to escape from the spot and took refuge in the vicinity. The mosque is predominantly frequented by serving and retired Army officers, soldiers and members of their families and is not open to civilians living in the area. A serving Major General, a Brigadier, one Colonel and two Lt-Colonels were among the officers killed in the attack. The Jang, December 5, 2009.