International Linkages of Islamist Terrorist outfits
Afghanistan continues to be a source of trained terrorists for campaigns in Mindanao in the Philippines, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Bosnia, Egypt, Algeria, Nagorno-Karabakh, Bahrain, Israel, Lebanon, Sudan and Turkey. Furthermore, it continues to be a major source of weapons for South Asian terrorist/insurgent groups. The LTTE in Sri Lanka as well as several Kashmiri terrorist outfits continue to benefit from the weapons pipeline of the anti-Soviet Afghan-Mujahideen campaign. A group of proficient LTTE terrorist trainers have trained Kashmiri and other foreign mercenaries in Kashmir in the various training camps located in Afghanistan.
Six persons with links to terrorism were deported from Australia during the year 2000. Two deportees were linked to Middle Eastern Islamist terrorist groups, and two more were linked to the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and one to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka. Prior to the Sydney Olympics, several Afghans were arrested in New Zealand for suspected involvement in a plot to blow up the Sydney nuclear reactor during the Olympic Games. A number of terrorist groups, both regional organizations such as the Abu Sayyaf Group and transnational groups such as Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network were under critical surveillance during the Sydney Olympics for possible acts of terrorism.
Among the more significant Islamist fundamentalist parties active in Bangladesh are the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), the Muslim League, Tabligh Jamaat, Jamaat-e-Tulba and the Jamaat-ul-Muderessin. These fundamentalist parties have undertaken intensive propagation activity in order to influence large sections of the populace. The JeI is the most influential and well-organized Islamist fundamentalist party in Bangladesh. Islamic countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, have provided catered to a major proportion of its financial resources. Pakistan utilises the erstwhile connection between the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI-Bangladesh) and the intelligence services of the two countries to support an Islamist subversive agenda in many regions of India, particularly in the areas bordering Bangladesh in the North Eastern States. Most of the Islamist fundamentalist groups including the JEI-Bangladesh, Tabligh Jamaat, Jamaat-e-Tulba and Jamaat-ul-Muderssin, long established linkages with fundamentalist organisations in Pakistan. Pakistan also substantially funds these organisations, including the JEI-Bangladesh and its student-front, the Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS). These fundamentalist organisations gained influence during the earlier reign of Begum Khaleda Zia when the citizenship of Professor Golam Azam, former Chief of JEI-Bangladesh, was restored. Professor Golam Azam is reported to have maintained close links with fundamentalist organisations in Pakistan.
Certain Indian radical Islamist outfits, including the Muslim Liberation Tigers of Assam (MLTA), headed by Mohammed Abdullah Hazarik, Adam Sena, headed by Farook Khan, All Assam Muslim Liberation Front (AAMLF), Muslim Liberation Army (MLA), Muslim Volunteer Force (MVF), and the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA), which have been formed in India’s North-East have developed links with the JEI-Bangladesh. Some of the cadres of these outfits routinely cross over to Bangladesh for receiving arms training at the ICS camps.
Consequent to the Awami League government of Sheikh Hasina Wajed coming to power in June 1996, the fundamentalists organised themselves under the banner of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Oikya Jote and Islami Sashantantra Andolan. The flows of financial assistance from countries like Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iran have given fillip to their activities. Several pro-Islamist relief organisations like the American Red Crescent, Association of Preaching Islam (Bangladesh), Benevolence Foundation (USA), etc, have been active in Bangladesh.
A number of transnational Islamist terrorist groups, including the Al-Qaeda of Osama bin Laden, have established a presence in Bangladesh in alliance with the various fundamentalist organisations in the country. Osma bin Laden donates funds to the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), which has contacts with the Dhaka-based Bangladesh Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJ). The HUJ was established with the aid of Osama Bin Laden in 1992. Imtiaz Quddus is the General Secretary of the outfit. It has an estimated strength of about 15000 cadres. It has established strong linkages with the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s external intelligence agency. The HUJ maintains several terrorist-training camps in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). The cadres of the outfit who style themselves as the ‘Bangladeshi Taliban’ infiltrate regularly into the eastern corridor of India to maintain contacts with terrorist and subversive outfits of the region. The covert activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda came to the fore during the visit of the then United States President, Bill Clinton, to Bangladesh in March 2000. One of the reasons for the cancellation of President Clinton's scheduled visit to Joypura village and the national memorial at Savan was due to the threats that emanated from the Al-Qaeda.
On January 9, 1999, police in Chittagong arrested Syed Muhammad Nurul Afsar, a man with Libyan links, on charges of smuggling firearms and explosives into Bangladesh. He had visited Czechoslovakia in June 1998 to purchase weapons and explosives, which were then shipped to Bangladesh. Afsar, a ‘high ranking terrorist’, belongs to an obscure outfit called ‘Freedom in Bangladesh’ dedicated to turning the country into an Islamist theocracy. Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HUJ) was assigned the task of recruiting Bangladeshi and Indian Muslims to fight in Jammu and Kashmir under the command of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. Reports in 1999 indicated that the HUJ planned to recruit 5,000 terrorists from the madrassas of Bangladesh. Another 10,000 were to be recruited from among the Muslim refugees at Rohingya, who fled the Arakan province of Myanmar and were staying at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. The Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami, also maintains six terrorist camps in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh, where the cadres are imparted arms training. Several hundred recruits have also been trained in Afghanistan. Harkat activists frequently cross over to India for terrorist activities.
The ISI is deeply involved with the Islamist terrorist outfits operating in Bangladesh. On June 2000, a radiogram intercept revealed that the ISI had set up a base in the Kurigram and Rangpur areas of Bangladesh near the Coochbihar border. The ISI, in collusion with the HUJ, is also imparting training in the use of sophisticated arms and in arranging blasts in camps set up in Rangmari, Sundermari, Masaldanga and other villages.
In January 1999, Delhi Police arrested a Bangladeshi national, Sayed Abu Nasir and charged him with planning bomb attacks on the US consulates in Chennai and Calcutta. Two kg of RDX explosive was also seized from him. Nasir is a member of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and had entered India in October 1998 along with six other terrorists. Three of his Indian contacts were arrested in Siliguri near the Bangladesh border, but the others believed to be four Egyptians, a Sudanese and a Myanmar national, are still to be traced. In the latter half of January 1999, police in Bangladesh arrested five persons suspected of plotting the January 18, 1999-assassination attempt on celebrated poet Shamsur Rahman. The arrested persons belonged to the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HUJ), which has been building up its operations in the country since the early 1990s. In the next few days, police picked up an interesting melange of people, who included apart from two more Bangladeshis, an Afghan, a Pakistani and two South Africans.
The build-up of new Islamist outfits was completed in Bosnia- Herzegovina in 1995. These forces are closely associated with the Armed Islamist Movement (AIM) and Islamist international terrorism. These new activities were conducted under the guidance of the new Islamist headquarters in Teheran and Karachi, decided upon during the Popular Arab Islamic Conference (PAIC) convened in Khartoum in the first days of April 1995.
An Algerian-Islamist militant cell, using Canada as its base, was ascertained after the December 1999-discovery of explosives in a rented car driven by Ahmed Ressam. Ressam, a 34-year-old Algerian, was convicted on April 6 for ferrying bomb-making material across the US-Canadian border two weeks before the massive Y2K New Year's celebrations. Ahmed Ressam, arrested while crossing the US border from Canada with explosives in December 1999 has been linked to the Al-Qaeda terror network. Available evidence has indicated that he illegally acquired a Canadian passport, as well as other identification, including a driver’s licence. In cooperation with an accomplice, he acquired and also partially assembled bomb-making components and planned to transport them to an unknown US destination.
On February 15, 1999, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was arrested in Kenya. The next day, violent PKK supporters rioted in Montreal, and a day later in Ottawa, injuring several police personnel.
On April 5, 1992, the Iranian Air Force conducted a bombing raid on an MeK base in Iraq. Hours later, forty Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK) supporters attacked the Iranian embassy in Ottawa, injuring several persons. Simultaneous attacks were also carried out on Iranian Embassies in thirteen other countries around the world. These incidents have indicated that MeK and PKK support networks in Canada are directly linked to their parent outfits abroad.
Hani al-Sayegh is a member of Saudi Hizballah and a suspect in the deaths of nineteen US soldiers during a June 1996 truck bombing at the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia. Consequent to the bombing, Sayegh fled Saudi Arabia and traveled through several countries before arriving in Canada in August 1996. Upon his arrival, al-Sayegh attempted to integrate into the community, studying English, and also working part-time. He was arrested in March 1997, deported to the US in June 1997 and finally deported to Saudi Arabia in October 1999 to face criminal charges.
Aynur Saygili, a PKK member, entered Canada under a false name in May 1996 and became involved in the Kurdish Cultural Association of Montreal. She was arrested under a Canadian Immigration Security Certificate in November 1996 for being part of the PKK, and that similar to another PKK member arrested in 1994, Hanan Ahmed Osman, she had been sent to Canada to gain control of the Kurdish community for the PKK’s own financial and strategic operations.
Mahnaz Samadi, identified as an MeK leader, was responsible for directing certain MeK operations from Iraq. She is reported to have been sent to the US, and later to Canada to act in an organizational capacity. Samadi was arrested in December 1999, and in February lied to the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board regarding her membership in the MeK in order to be released from custody. She was finally deported to the US in April 2000.
Many other terrorist outfits like the Hizballah, Hamas and PKK have established a presence in Canada.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a coalition of Islamist terrorists from Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states opposing Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov's secular regime, is linked to the Taliban and has over a thousand terrorists near the borders of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. With bases in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, the IMU’s area of operation also includes Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. It receives support from other Islamist extremist groups in Central and South Asia. IMU leadership often broadcasts its statements over the Iranian radio. Channels for trafficking drugs from Afghanistan to the Central Asian countries are, for the present, reported to be controlled by terrorists of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Terrorists led by IMU's Dzhuma Namangani control the northern section of the narcotics traffic from Afghanistan. Apart from trafficking drugs, they also sell them in Kirghizia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Reports also indicate that the IMU uses bases in Tajikistan's eastern mountains to launch some of its attacks. Aside linkages with the Chechen terrorists, the IMU also maintains links with Muslim Uighur separatists in China’s western Xinjiang province, bordering Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. According to recent reports, the newly renamed movement (The IMU recently broadened its aims and declared itself to be the Islamic Party of Turkestan) currently brings together Islamist terrorists in the Xinjiang Province and Jammu and Kashmir in a much-expanded network. While harbouring pan-Central Asian ambitions, their ‘goal’ is said to be an Islamist state stretching from western China to the Caspian Sea. Reports have also indicated that IMU is currently fighting alongside troops of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan’s northern Takhar Province.
Shamil Basayev, one of the leading ‘commanders’ of the Chechen terrorists, Ameer Khattab, ‘commander’ of the Islamist Army (Foreign Mujahideen Forces) and Abu Daba, Khattab's closest aide and the envoy of the Saudi Arabian Al Haramein, a religious extremist organization, have sustained their sophisticated political-military campaigns against Russian authorities primarily through complex financial, logistical and operational linkages developed with various Wahhabi extremists from West Asia, as also Afghan mercenaries.
Their financial support is derived from several sources. Some Chechen terrorist outfits are reported to siphon oil from the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline, which traverses their territory. Abduction and narcotic trafficking also provide them with additional revenues. Furthermore, the large Chechen Diaspora has also provided financial support to them. Islamist terrorist outfits from the Middle East have provided training and significant financial resources to the Chechen and Dagestan terrorists. Many mercenaries and volunteers from Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan are in these regions indulging in terrorist violence alongside the Chechen and Dagestan terrorists. Moreover, the Chechen terrorists have received some support from foreign Mujahideen with extensive links to Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Central Asian Islamist extremists as well as Osama bin Laden. The Chechen emigrant community in Jordan, particularly strong with approximately 10,000 members, has also provided considerable material and ideological support.
An international charitable Islamist organization, the Al-Haramein (Al-Haramein Islamist Foundation) was set up to provide support for the terrorist movement in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It currently renders financial assistance to many Islamist terrorists worldwide. The Foundation has representative offices in Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, Kosovo, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, Somalia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Over the past few years, it has been also been operating illegally in Russia, particularly in the Chechen Republic where, under the guise of an international charitable organization, it has been carrying out anti-Russian subversive activities. Sheikh Akil ben Abdul Aziz al-Akil heads the Al-Haramein Foundation as its general director. The Foundation’s headquarters is in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Al-Haramein is also providing strong financial support for religious groups of Wahhabi extremists in Dagestan. Through its branch in Baku, the Al-Haramein has transferred large sums of money to the primary centres of Wahhabism in Dagestan stationed in the Republic’s capital Makhachkala and in the village of Karamakhi in Buinaksk district.
The Al-Haramein has set up a fund in support of Chechen terrorists, titled as "Foundation Regarding Chechnya," a branch of which opened in Azerbaijan at the end of 1999. The new fund is financed through the Al-Barak bank. The fund sent 25 special ‘operations’ to the regions bordering Chechnya. The ‘operations’ are charged with the task of establishing secure supply routes for the terrorists’ military units in Chechnya. The transnational corporation Dailah Al-Baraka Group comprises the aforesaid bank and a host of companies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey, Malaysia, South Africa, Tunisia and other countries. The corporation’s Chief, Hafez Abu Bakr Mohammed was one of the main sponsors of ‘President’ Aslan Maskhadov’s (‘chief of staff’ of the Chechen armed forces) visit to Washington in 1998. The Saudi financial syndicate, the Al Baraka Investment and Development is involved in engineering channels for funding the Chechen separatists. In 1999, experts of the US-based Islamist Al-Baraka bank visited Chechnya.
Al-Haramein emissaries have also established links with the Taliban regime as also with Pakistan for acquisition of large units of heavy weaponry for the Chechen terrorists. Middle Eastern terrorist leader Abu Said paid a special visit to Pakistan in order to arrange deliveries of armaments to Chechnya and also to recruit Pakistani mercenaries and qualified sappers. The weaponry, money and combat gear was to be dispatched to Chechnya via Turkey and Georgia. The Al-Haramein’s emissaries are also engaged in extensive espionage activities in Chechnya in order to assist the terrorists in the region.
The Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, has certain Islamist extremists, some of who have links with Islamist terrorist outfits in Afghanistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Turkey, the Middle East, and many of the Central Asian republics. There are linkages between the Uighurs and Osama bin Laden and Pakistani terrorists. Islamist militancy from Southeast Asia has links with certain groups in the southern Yunnan province. There have also been instances of civil violence by the ethnic Hui Muslims from nearby Hebei province in the eastern Shandong province. Chinese authorities in Xinjiang have discovered a large cache of explosive material including a large number of detonators, firearms and ammunition in June 1997. These seizures were later linked to the existence of the Party of Allah (Hezbollah), a fundamentalist Muslim party fighting for independence with about 1,600 members. Similarly, the Xinjiang Liberation Front, another Islamist radical outfit, is mobilising Uighurs from all over Central Asia. Chinese officials believe that these terrorists are being trained in Afghanistan and use money from the Afghan heroin trade to fund their activities. All these developments led to the revival of the demand for Eastern Turkestan. Some of the supporters of the Eastern Turkestan Movement (ETM) can be found in the rank and file of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based outfit operating mostly in Jammu and Kashmir. Some of these Uighurs are also getting their religious education in seminaries of Pakistan and Egypt.
Islamist terrorist and fundamentalist outfits are currently active in Hyderabad, Warangal, Nalagonda and Mahboobnagar districts of Andhra Pradesh. As a part of a larger design to construct an network in India for spreading terror and violence in the country, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, has begun to utilize various Muslim dominated regions (Hyderabad in southern India is a significant place in the ISI schema) as their operational base. On February 6, 2000, at the end of its three day annual conference at Muridke near Lahore, one of the prominent ideologues of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Abdul Rahman Makki announced that the outfit had a new unit functioning in Hyderabad, which would soon be liberated from ‘Indian rule’.
Reports indicate that various Islamist terror and fundamentalist outfits have successfully penetrated the approximately 20-lakh Muslim populace that reside in the old city in Hyderabad. In January 1992, a leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) had disclosed that the outfit had set up a base in Hyderabad primarily due to its large Muslim populace. In July 1993, police arrested two ISI agents in Hyderabad. One of them was the ‘resident’ ISI agent for Andhra Pradesh. He confessed that he had been working for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and had been entrusted with the task of recruiting Indian Muslim youth, sending them for training and bringing them back. In July 1998, four LeT terrorists were arrested in Hyderabad. In August 1999, interrogation of the 11 arrested LeT terrorists revealed that one of them was assigned with the task of building of bases in Hyderabad. He was asked to recruit Indians whose family members were killed in communal violence.
On February 29, 2000, a press release in Hyderabad claimed the formation of Indian Muslim Mohammadi Mujahideen (IMMM). The organisation, the release said, was "committed to eradicate the western culture from India". It claimed that cinemas which ran pornographic films had been bombed as a first part of this campaign. Azam Ghauri, the leader of a LeT cell in Andhra Pradesh and a native of Warangal, was the ‘commander’ of the IMMM. He was later killed in an encounter in Karimnagar on April 6, 2000.
Gujarat has currently become a significant centre for subversive activities by various Islamist fundamentalist organisations and Pakistan-sponsored terrorist outfits. Since 1992, the State’s borders with Pakistan, including the 1600 km long coastline, has been subjected to an incessant subversive activity by these outfits who are utilizing the State as a launch pad for various terrorist operations in the rest of India. Particularly, the Kutch region, Saurashtra and Junagarh have witnessed growing incidents of smuggling of arms and ammunition as also narcotics and fake currency. The marshy area of the Rann – the 512 km border with Pakistan - comprising of several hundred smaller channels that merge into the three large creeks: Sir Creek, Kori and Mainwari. Kutch render themselves efficaciously for smuggling with the help of small fishing boats called hodas. Smugglers and gunrunners from Mumbai and Dubai are reported to frequent this area. In the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992, the smuggling of RDX and other explosives began to be routed increasingly through the Gujarat coast to Porbander in the Saurashtra region. Indeed, a large cache that arrived through the border reached Bulsar in south Gujarat was consequently transshipped to Mumbai where they were used to engineer the serial blasts that killed more than 200 people and left thousands injured.
In August 1995, security force personnel arrested 10 Pakistani nationals in the Kutch region. Six AK-47 rifles were also seized from their possession. The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, has been able to set up well-organised bases in the State. For example, Abdul Ghani alias Abdullah, a Kashmiri terrorist collected RDX from Nepal and set up bases in Ahmedabad. He also supplied RDX for the Delhi and Dausa blasts of May 1996. He was later arrested by the Gujarat police in June 1996. On May 24, 1996, the State police arrested four Jammu and Kashmir-based terrorists who consequently confessed that they had been sent by Colonel Farooq of the ISI to set up a base in Ahmedabad. They also revealed that they had been asked to recruit the youth in Gujarat and Maharashra for terrorist training in Pakistan. In March 1998, police killed six criminals allegedly belonging to Dawood Ibrahim gang (who is reported to have escaped to Karachi following the Mumbai serial blasts which he is alleged to have masterminded with the able assistance of the ISI) in the walled area of Ahmedabad and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition including 10 kgs of RDX. On March 24, 1998 a huge cache of arms, ammunition was recovered from the Gandhinagar and Daryapur areas of Ahmedabad. The weapons were reportedly supplied by the ISI for subversive activities. In July 1999, six terrorists arrested in Ahmedabad confessed during their interrogation that the ISI had trained them in explosives in Pakistan. In the same month, two suspected ISI agents were arrested in Bhuj and 24 kg of RDX and two Chinese made pistols were seized from their possession.
On July 24, 2000, five suspected ISI agents were arrested in Sarwej. 25 Chinese made mousers, 5 magazines, 200 rounds of ammunition and 6 kg of heroin and six AK-47 rifles were recovered from their possession. On April 2001, seven persons, including four arms-dealers allegedly having links with the ISI were arrested from various parts of the capital city Ahmedabad. On May 27, 2001, a Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist was arrested with an AK-56 rifle at the Hajipir area of Rann of Kutch. During the course of interrogation, he is reported to have said that he had acquired training in terrorist activities at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PcK) and had ‘sneaked into India for a special task'. This was the third case since March 2001 when the ISI sent armed terrorists into the Kutch region.
The ISI is also trying to create communal tension with the help of the recently proscribed fundamentalist outfit like the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). There has also been a proliferation of madrassas (religious seminaries) in the border areas of the State. These madrassas are reportedly securing funds from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan as also from certain gulf countries. Available evidence suggests that the ISI is also using the Gujarat border to revive terrorism in Punjab. Official sources have indicated that the ISI had reportedly asked the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorists Wadhawa Singh and Mehal Singh, both believed to be in Pakistan, to revive terrorism in Punjab. In January 2000, five terrorists of the BKI with alleged links to the ISI, who were planning to launch major countrywide terrorist activities by making Gujarat their base, were arrested from the Narol area of Ahmedabad. Furthermore, the underworld criminal networks have been activated for this endeavour. In February 2000, the Gujarat police unearthed a nexus between Punjab terrorists and the underworld with the arrest of Ibrahim Khan alias Chacha Hasankhan Bhati who was the contact between the BKI and the Thailand-based Chhota Rajan gang. Police also arrested seven terrorists of the BKI and three criminals of the Chhota Rajan gang. Reports indicate that outfits like the Khalistan Zindabad Force, (Punjwar faction), based in Sialkot have also been instructed by the ISI to exploit the porous Gujarat border. In August 1999, Chhota Shakil of the Karachi-based Dawood Ibrahim gang is reported to have visited Kabul twice in order to place orders for arms and ammunition as also to meet Osama bin Laden. Consequently, a red-alert was sounded in the border areas, especially in the Rann of Kutch, which is considered to be a critical route for the Dawood gang's arms traffickers. The carriers coming from Karachi cross the Kutch border into Gujarat and make their way to Ahmedabad, Dawood's biggest base in India after Mumbai, from where they are distributed throughout the country.
The ISI is also involved in circulating fake Indian currency through this porous border. They are reported to have set up a printing press in Sukkur from where fake currency notes are to be circulated in the country via the Shahgarh Budge near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan through Gujarat. On April 9, 1997, a person with counterfeit currency was arrested in Bhuj. He admitted that he received this currency from Pakistan. On November 3, 1998 police seized ‘Rs’. 27,49,700 worth of counterfeit currency from an aircraft coming from Sharjah to Jamnagar. Furthermore, the operational ISI units at Sialkot and Karachi were coordinating the attempts of various terrorist outfits - Khalistani and Kashmiri - to breach the western coast of the country. At least three Islamist terrorist outfits -- Lashkar-e-Toiba, Ahl-e-Hadis and Tablighi Jamat -- were active in Kutch. Of late, the Jamaat-e-Islami's student wing has also become active in this thinly populated district.
Mumbai, the capital of the State of Maharashtra, is increasingly being used by Islamist subversive outfits to consolidate their base in India. In Mumbai, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, operates through local gangsters, underworld criminals, smugglers as also fundamentalist outfits. The nexus between the underworld criminals and the ISI came to light after the March 12, 1993-bomb blasts in which more than 200 persons were killed and over 700 injured. Investigations have revealed that underworld criminal Dawood Ibrahim with the assistance of the ISI had engineered the blast. On January 13 1994, police arrested a terrorist of the ‘Crush India Movement’. Reports have indicated that he had links with terrorist outfits like the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and the Allah Tigers. He was planning to engineer bomb blasts in Gurudwaras (Sikh religious shrines) in Mumbai. On February 22, 1998 there were three bomb blasts in Mumbai in which four persons were killed. Ten persons, including a Pakistani national, were arrested in this connection.
Terrorist operations in India’s North East are orchestrated in good measure by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. The ISI led Pakistani network supplies arms to Bangladeshi refugees. Dhubri and Nalbari districts in Assam, and Tura in Meghalaya, have been identified as important areas of ISI activities. The Muslim-dominated villages in these districts are the focal points. A number of sophisticated arms, including light machine guns, have already reached the Muslim immigrants. The transit zones for supply of arms are Mancachar, Mahendraganj and Fakirganj ghat in Dhubri district.
Some of the 20 terrorists involved in the Coimbatore blasts of February 1998 have admitted that they had undergone training in Bangladesh.
Abu Nasir, a Bangladeshi Laskar who was arrested in West Bengal revealed names of many Laskars who were operating in the country. The Siliguri corridor has been targeted by the ISI through the Laskars for establishing bases. The Chief of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Saeed visited Bangladesh in 1998 and managed to recruit Bengali Laskars. Bangladesh has been a shelter for ISI operatives, United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) activists and other militants of the northeast.
Top United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leadership has been in close touch with certain officers of the Pakistani High Commission in Bangladesh, who arranged for their passport in various names and sent them to Karachi.
In September 1999 it was revealed that the ISI had prepared a blueprint to form a Muslim State in the North-Eastern region. In Manipur, four Muslim militant outfits have been active. These are: People's United Liberation Front (PULF), North East Minority Front (NEMF), Islamic National Front (INF), Kanglei Yaol Kanba Lup (KYNL-Muslim Wing).
The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) is one of the more active Islamist terrorist groups in Assam. It is also involved in trying to integrate the Islamist militant outfits operating in Assam, including the Muslim United Liberation Front of Assam (MULFA), which is active in the districts of Nagaon and Morigaon and the Peoples United Liberation Front (PULF), active in the areas bordering Manipur and in Barpeta district. The HUM has a base at the Nurani Madrassa in the Yatriari area of Bangladesh and transport newly recruited HuM men from India to Khaka through the Assam- border. The recruits are then taken to Pakistan for training. Several youths from Assam are trained in camps in Pakistan and the Amir (chief) of the HuM in Assam is Mohammed Fakurddin alias Akram Master, who now lives in Pakistan, while the Naib Amir (deputy chief) Muslim Ali was from the Krishnai area of Goalpara district.
There are linkages between powerful terrorist outfits in the North East and the ISI. The ISI is known to have provided training to the ULFA militants, especially in terrorist tactics, counter intelligence, disinformation and use of weapons. Pakistan issued Paresh Baruah and a few others for their visit to Singapore, Thailand and other countries. Through these links the ISI is able to funnel money to the ULFA. Several madrassas/mosques sponsored by the ISI in the Sylhet and Cox's Bazar areas are being utilised to cache arms procured from Thailand and Myanmar by ULFA. At least 14 Muslim fundamentalist organisations are now working actively in Assam.
The task of cutting off the Chicken’s Neck portion, which joins the North East to the rest of India, was assigned to the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and was planned along the lines of the Kargil operation. It was fully supported, covertly though, by the Pakistani Army. To execute the operation, about 24 active Islamist fundamentalist groups have been formed in Bangladesh, Nepal and India. These groups have been trained on the pattern of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Taliban militia.
These include groups such as the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA), the Muslim United Liberation Front of Assam (MULFA), the People’s Liberation Front (PLF), the International Liberation Army (ILA), the Muslim Security Force (MSF), the Liberation of Islamic Tiger Force (LITF), the Muslim Security Council of Assam (MSCA), the United Liberation Militia of Assam (ULMA), the Minority Peoples Action Committee (MPAC), the Muslim Volunteers Force (MVF), the Mujahid Vahini and Jubo Command.
Approximately 5,000 Bangladeshi youth have been trained by the ISI for executing a Kargil-type operation again. Some youths among these have also been trained in guerrilla warfare. The training was imparted by the Mujahid Vahini in the Bangladesh under the patronage and instructions of the ISI. Training camps were organised with support from Gajir Dargah Madrasa and Alima Madrasa. In addition, camps were also organised in the Galamari area of Khulna district and Bagchara and Salim Bila areas of Jessore district with support from Bangladesh’s secret agency, the DGFI, and the Jamat-e-Islami Hind. To oversee the entire operation, Pakistan had appointed retired Major Rustam Ali in Bangladesh.
Laskar Jihad (LJ - Jihad Troopers or the Militia of the Holy War), with its headquarters at Degolan, north of Yogyakarta in Indonesia, has linkages with many Islamist terror outfits and radical groups. Chief of LJ, Ustad Ja'far Umar Thalib, spent two years of his early life fighting along with the Mujahideen against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in 1988-89. Ja'far had joined the Mujahideen after dropping out of the Mawdudi Institute in Lahore, Pakistan, from where he acquired ‘knowledge’ in advanced Islamist studies. LJ is the military wing of the Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama'ah (Sunni Communication Forum) or FKAWJ, an outfit formed by a group of fundamentalist Muslim leaders in early 1998 to promote 'true Islamist values'. Laskar Jihad was formally established on January 30, 2000 in Yogyakarta in response to what FKAWJ perceived as the deliberate persecution of Muslims in Maluku. Its total membership is now estimated to be approximately 10,000. Its cadres receive training at a camp in Munjul village near Bogor-on-Java, where the Laskar Jihad is based. It has links with many terrorist outfits and Islamist fundamentalist organizations based in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Jordan. The LJ supports acts of terrorism against ‘strategic facilities’, including the World Trade Center in New York. It has also developed links with bin Laden's Al Qaeda global terrorist network in the past two years. Not long ago, LJ Chief Ja'far said, bin Laden had sent an emissary to the Moluccas to invite the LJ to join his terrorist network. The outfit also has ties with the Malaysian Moujahedeen Group, also known as the KMM Jihad, a terrorist outfit in neighbouring Malaysia. LJ also maintains links with the Abu Sayyaf group. Of late, many Afghan mercenaries have joined the LJ forces in the Moluccas. Some LJ ‘commanders’ have trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The cadres also comprise mercenaries from countries like Yemen. There are also striking similarities between LJ's Web site and those of Islamist outfits operating as far away as in Chechnya. The LJ's strongest foreign link is with Muslim Moro terrorists fighting the Philippine government. Ja'far has opined that the LJ opposes the use of suicide bombers but believed that the September 11-attack on US was justified because of what he perceived as Washington's ‘double standard’ of protecting Jews in Israel while ignoring the interests of Muslims around the world.
Money and weapons flow to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) from Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria to Mindanao, with Malaysia acting as the middleman.
Both MNLF and MILF have strong contacts with radical Muslim groups, particularly in the Middle East and Malaysia. Some of their cadres have trained with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Members of all Moro groups, among them Abdur Rajak and Abubakar Jan Jalani (founder and the leader of Abu Sayyaf until 1998), participated in the Afghan war against the Russians. Contacts once established have been maintained after the Russians left Afghanistan and the brigade returned home. In this manner, connections were also established with Osama bin Laden and with those responsible for the World Trade Center bombing. Support also comes from countries that had formerly supported the MNLF as well: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Certain cadres of the Kosovo Liberation Army (Ushtria Clirimatare e Kosoves), which has financed its war effort through the sale of heroin, were trained in terrorist camps run by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere. Laden's Al Qaeda has both trained and financially supported the KLA. The KLA's is also involved in narcotic smuggling, as a means of raising funds for weapons. The KLA is linked with an extensive organized crime network in Albania, which smuggles heroin to prospective clients in Western Europe and the United States. Narcotics is smuggled over land and sea routes from Turkey through Bulgaria, Greece and Yugoslavia to Western Europe and elsewhere in a circuit now referred to as the ‘Balkan Route’.
Hizballah (Party of God)
The Lebanon-based Hizballah has built a support network in Brazil, at the triborder area with neighboring Argentina and Paraguay. In May 1999, Argentina’s Supreme Court, after an official investigation, formally blamed Hizballah for the March 17, 1992 bombing of Israel's embassy in Buenos Aires. Hizballah also has a terrorism infrastructure in Europe, Africa and North America. Hizballah maintains an active link with the various terrorist groups in the Middle East. In October 1997, it admitted to training Hamas terrorists in Lebanon. Local chapters of the Hizballah consisting primarily of radical Shiite Muslims, many of who are products of Iran’s theological seminaries, have received terrorist training there, and in Lebanon, exist in Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Hizballah receives a substantial amount of financial assistance, weapons, political and organisational support from both Syria and Iran.
Hamas receives funding from Iran, from wealthy Muslim citizens in the Persian Gulf countries and, in recent times, from many wealthy Muslim citizens of the United States and Western Europe. In recent times, Hamas has also developed linkages with the transnational network of Islamist terror, of which the Osama bin Laden’s group Al Qaeda is the nodal point. Hamas is reported to have developed extensive fundraising and political networks in the United States, working primarily through religious and research institutions as also investment companies.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
PIJ possesses a close linkage with Iran and also derives most of its funding from state sponsors, especially Iran. It has its headquarters in Syria and receives some logistical support from that country.
The Islamic Group and Al-Jihad
Iran, Sudan and Islamist terrorist outfits in Afghanistan (allied to bin Laden) provide financial and logistical support to the two Egypt-based groups. In recent times, the top leadership of the Islamic Group and Al-Jihad has also become part of Laden’s Al Qaeda.
The Armed Islamic Group (GIA)
Certain GIA cadres in exile have now joined the Al Qaeda network of bin Laden. The organization receives financial and logistical aid from Algerian expatriates, many of who reside in Western Europe and Canada. Algerian security forces had arrested many Sudanese and Pakistanis from a mosque in the Algiers suburb of Harrach in June 1991 during the anti-government riots.
Popular Front For The Liberation Of Palestine (PFLP)
It receives logistical assistance from and has safe havens in Syria. The PFLP is based in Damascus and it has training facilities in the Syrian-controlled areas of Lebanon.
Democratic Front For The Liberation Of Palestine (DFLP)
The DFLP receives some financial assistance from Syria, where it has its headquarters.
Many terror groups, particularly the Kachin Independent Organisation and its military wing, the Kachin Independent Army, have links with several South Asian terrorist/insurgent outfits for training and procurement of arms. In addition, the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) have trained the Myanmar Muslims on the Bangladesh border.
Heroin from the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle feeds South Asia, which is a region abundant in major transit routes to the West. Approximately 80 per cent of the heroin stocks found in the US originate from Myanmar, a state sharing a common border with India. Furthermore, narcotic trafficking is a significant source of revenue for South Asian terrorist outfits with trans-state reach. Afghanistan produces three times more opium than the rest of the world put together. 90 per cent of it is cultivated in Taliban controlled areas, thus making the Taliban the largest heroin producer in the world. The regime also collects a 20 per cent tax from opium dealers and transporters—money that goes into the Taliban’s war chest. Whereas Afghan opium was exported to the West through Pakistan in the 1980s, there are now multiple export routes through Iran, the Persian Gulf states and Central Asia. As these routes expand, so do the beneficiaries. With most of his bank accounts frozen, bin Laden currently finances his operations primarily through dealing in opium. Drug smuggling from Afghanistan also finances the Uighur terrorists in China. There is also a direct drug-smuggling link between Afghanistan and the Ferghana Valley, where the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is based. The civil war in Tajikistan was partly financed by Afghan drugs.
There has been a consistent growth of Islamist activity in the Terai area (Muslim pockets in the Terai are located in Bardiya, Banke, Rupendehi and a belt stretching from Parsa to Morang. Besides Muslims of Indian origin, a fair number of Hill Muslims is based at Gorkha and Syanja). It has primarily been in the shape of construction of mosques and madrassas (religious schools) which are aimed at ‘enhancing’ Islamist awareness amongst the Nepalese Muslim population. Pakistan, with active financial support from Saudi Arabia and some Pan-Islamist organizations, has been closely involved in increasing the number of mosques/madrassas in Nepal. In the last 20 years, approximately 275 mosques and madrassas have emerged in the districts of Rupandehi, Banke, Kapilvastu and Bardiya (bordering the Uttar Pradesh State of Northern India) of which 50 mosques and madrassas were constructed during 1991-95, primarily with financial help from Saudi Arabia.
Certain Jammu and Kashmir terrorist outfits have found safe havens in Nepal for their clandestine meetings and subversive activities. A prominent trans-border criminal nexus had operated under the guidance of the late Mirza Dilshad Beg, who maintained active links with the Pakistani Embassy at Kathmandu.
Various Nepal- based Muslims organisations have begun to receive more funds from Pakistan and other Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia as also pan-Islamist organisations. Furthermore, the Muslim Jan Kalyan Samiti is engaged in converting poor Hindus to Islam by giving them financial inducements. The Nepal Islamic Yuva Sangh (NIYS) plays an increasingly significant role along the Indo-Nepal border. Some of the significant Islamist groups that are under Pakistani influence are as follows:
The other Islamist outfits involved in fundamentalist/terrorist activity are the All-Nepal Anjuman Islah Samiti, Nepal Muslim Seva Samiti, Jam Serajul Alam, All-Nepal Muslim Sudhar Samiti, Nepal Muslim League, Muslim Jan Kalyan Samiti, Millat-e-Islamia, Nepal Muslim Sangh (NMS), and the Bazm-e-Adab.
Pakistan’s former Premier Benazir Bhutto, during a visit in 1994 to Nepal, donated Rs. 10 lakhs in Nepalese currency (NC) from the Prime Minister’s Fund for Development of the Narayanghat mosque, Rauhat mosque, Nepalganj Jama Masjid, Kathmandu Kuleswore Masjid, Janakpur madrassa and Sunsari madrassa. The Pakistani Embassy in Kathmandu in the same year donated Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 1.47 lakhs (NC), for the construction of Madrassa Islamia School, Kathmandu, and a madrassa in Mahottari respectively. Towards end to 1995, one Mohammed Parvez, brother of the former Anchaladhish of Biratnagar, received a sum of Rs. 14 crore (NC) from Pakistan through the Rashtriya Vanijya Bank (RVB), for the purchase of land in areas adjacent to the Indo-Nepal border for construction of mosques and madrassas.
Osama Bin Laden
While residing in Sudan, Osama Bin Laden financed and assisted in setting up at least three terrorist training camps in cooperation with the National Islamic Front of Hassan al-Turabi, and his construction company is reported to have worked directly with certain Sudanese military officials to transport and supply terrorists to such camps. He is also reported to have evinced keen interest at one time in acquiring nuclear and chemical weapons. Laden has been provided shelter by the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for several years and the Taliban have refused repeated US and United Nations requests for his extradition. Bin Laden is reported to be operating several terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, where Islamist terrorists prepare for Jehad in places like Central Asia, Jammu and Kashmir, West Asia as also southeast Asia. Osama bin Laden maintains extensive links with a number of international terror outfits in Egypt, India, the Philippines and elsewhere. These outfits enjoy the use of bin Laden's funding network and training camps.
Laden’s Al Qaeda serves as a focal point or as an umbrella outfit for a global network that includes terrorist cells in various countries. It has evolved considerably to have now emerged as a primary umbrella outfit, which funds and carries out Islamist terrorist activity worldwide. The Al Qaeda has a global reach with presence in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Jordan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Xinjiang in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Mindanao in the Philippines, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Dagestan, Jammu and Kashmir, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Azerbaijan, Eritrea, Uganda, Ethiopia, as also in parts of the West Bank and Gaza. The dispersed nature of Al Qaeda cadre around the globe provides Osama bin Laden the command over a global terror network and to carry out lethal terrorist attacks across the world. Al Qaeda has forged alliances with like-minded fundamentalist groups such as Egypt's Al Jihad, Iran's Hezbollah, Sudan's National Islamic Front, as also terrorist outfits in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia. Al Qaida also has ties to the "Islamic Group," led at one time by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian cleric serving a life sentence since his 1995 conviction for a thwarted attempt to blow up various New York landmarks. Two of Sheik Rahman's sons joined forces with bin Laden in the late 1990s.
Osama bin Laden reportedly utilizes an estimated $300 million in financial assets to fund his Al-Qaida network consisting of approximately 3,000 Islamist terrorists. Among the various commercial undertakings that are owned and managed by his associates and front organizations include ostrich raising in Kenya, forestry interests in Turkey, diamond trading in Africa, bridge construction in Sudan as also agricultural holdings in Tajikistan. Another source of funding is the millions of dollars in the form of donations from wealthy Muslim individuals. Osama is also reported to have succeeded in persuading the Muslim clergy in various Arab countries to issue a religious edict that would render it legal for Muslims to offer their Zakat (alms) given annually to the poor and to the erstwhile Arab militia who fought the Afghan war. According to news reports, various Saudi Arabia-based individuals were allegedly donating $1 million to $2 million a month through mosques and other fund-raising avenues to assist bin Laden. Media reports have also indicated that various mosques, Islamist charities and other non-governmental organizations have diverted money raised in the United States, Europe and other parts of the world to the Al-Qaida. In addition to these investments, bin Laden had also inherited a huge fortune from his father, a construction business magnate in Saudi Arabia. The dispersed transnational financial activity of bin Laden's Al Qaida is essentially aimed at providing him with a way to transfer and receive large sums of money around the globe as also avoid detection by nations and law enforcing authorities seeking to arrest him and destroy his vast terror network. Media reports citing accounts of witnesses during the trail of suspects charged in the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa, Osama bin Laden’s commercial undertakings manufacture goods that reportedly are carried through other countries, including Cyprus, to evade international sanctions against Sudan as also to secure more profits through sale in Europe and America.
The earliest version of an Islamist terrorist coalition led by Osama bin Laden was the International Islamic Front, a loose coalition founded in Saudi Arabia in August 1990, which included Egypt's Jihad and Jamaa Islamiya armed outfits, Jordan's Mohammad's Army, Jammu and Kashmir's Ansar Movement and several other factions, including the AI-Muhajirun. On February 22, 1998, Osama bin Laden issued an fatwa (edict) calling for attacks on all Americans, including civilians, and announced the creation of the International Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders, in association with extremist groups from Egypt, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The organizations whose membership in the International Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders was announced are the
Signatories to the February statement, other than Osama bin Laden, were Ayman al-Zawahri, leader of Egypt's Jihad group, Rifai Taha, head of Egypt's Gama'a al-Islamiya, Mir Hamza, secretary general of Pakistan's Ulema Society, Fazlul Rahman Khalil, Chief of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) in Pakistan, and Abdel Salam Mohammed, head of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh.
Islamic terrorist outfits active in Jammu and Kashmir, Central Asian Republics, Chechnya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Xinjiang province of China, as also in Southern Philippines, are linked to the terrorist outfits based in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), a member of Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front for Jihad against the United States and Israel, maintains several training camps in Pakistan, Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PcK) and Afghanistan, where several thousand terrorists are given military and religious training. The HuM primarily consists of Pakistani, Afghan and Arab mercenaries. Laden’s training infrastructure in Afghanistan consists of training camps of the HuM also. The HuM maintains close links with the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) of Pakistan in supporting Islamic terrorist movements in different countries, including amongst members of the Muslim community in the United States. During the Afghan war in the 1980s, the HUM is estimated to have recruited approximately 5,000 terrorists and sent them into Afghanistan in support of the Mujahideen. The finances for such terrorist operations is traced to Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia Subsequently, the HUM also recruited ‘volunteers’ from Muslim communities in other countries too. Approximately 6,000 ‘volunteers’ were recruited from Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Jammu & Kashmir, Bangladesh, Myanmar and the Philippines. It had its own training camps in Afghan territory near Miran Shah in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).
Consequent to the Taliban gaining control over most of Afghanistan, the HUM converted itself into an international network of terrorists and spread its activities to Jammu & Kashmir in India, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Myanmar and the Philippines. It is also active in Myanmar and trains local Muslims in Arakans in weapons handling and guerilla warfare. In Tajikistan, HuM terrorists have served with and trained the Tajik resistance elements. The HuM terrorists have also fought in Bosnia since 1992.
The Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) is the largest terrorist outfit based in Pakistan with 80 per cent of its cadre being Pakistani nationals. The LeT has also been part of the Bosnian campaign against the Serbs. Osama bin Laden is one of the primary financiers of the Lashkar. The Markaz campus at Muridke in Lahore, its headquarters, was used as a hide-out for Ramzi Yousef and Mir Aimal Kansi, who was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering two CIA officers outside the CIA’s headquarters in Washington in January 1993.
Pan-Islamic Organisations in Pakistan
A majority of the Islamist groups and outfits have established external linkages, primarily financial, on the pretext of sustaining religious activities. The Ikhwan-ul-Musalmeen possesses links with the Jamaat-e-Islami. During the Gulf War, Iraqi funds supported the pamphleteering and pro-Saddam demonstrations all over Pakistan. Iran has been assisting the Imamia Students Organization through cultural centres in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. It also has considerable levels of influence and sponsors the Tehreek-e-Nifaz Fiqh Jafferia (TNFJ).
Saudi Arabia has bank rolled groups like the Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Hadis, Jamaat-e-Mashaikh and some factions of the JUI-Darkhawasti (Samiul Haq) as also the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI). Foreign visits by various leaders of Islamist parties from Pakistan to Islamic countries in the Middle East have been constantly encouraged. Regular exchanges of visits also take place between Islamist scholars, especially from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran, to OIC-sponsored institutes of Islamist learning set up in Pakistan.
Pakistan had also provided extensive ideological succour as also military training to many Arab mercenaries during the Afghan War. Training camps and facilities have emerged between Pakistan’s tribal areas and the Afghan territory. Foreign mercenaries, as also Arab fundamentalist groups up to 500 individuals at a time, undergo training in arms at these camps. These camps reportedly produce not only terrorists, but also terror instructors, for their own respective countries.
In Peshawar, officers have been designated for coordinating the activities of external Islamist fundamentalist groups operating in Pakistan. The Al-Jihad office was established in 1984 under Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri; Talat Qaseem leads another, the Islamist Group office. It is from Peshawar that the Al Gama’a issued a warning through a fax message on March 5, 1993 to the USA against the latter’s alleged attempts to ‘implicate’ Rahman in the bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York. The message, sent to the office of Reuters in Cairo, also warned foreign investors to quit Egypt ‘as early as possible’. Talat Qaseem, after serving a 7-year sentence for his involvement in President Anwar Sadat’s assassination, arrived in Pakistan and took refuge there in early 1990. Mir Aimal Kansi, the Pakistani wanted in the US for killing two CIA officers in that country on January 25, 1993 also took refuge in Pakistan.
A large number of NGOs began functioning from Peshawar during the Afghan war to ‘assist’ Afghan refugees. Arab mercenaries from countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya came to work in this programme. Links were also established between the Ikhwan-ul-Musalmeen, the Afghan Mujahideen and the Jamaat-e-Islami. Camps run by the Hizb-e-Islami (Gulbuddin Heikmatyar) inside Afghan territory during the Afghan war were used to train terrorists in the early phase of terrorism in J&K. Two fundamentalist leaders from Egypt - Ayman El Zawahari and Talat Qaseem, both wanted in connection with political killings there, continue to remain in exile in Pakistan and are running training centres for Islamist terrorists in Peshawar. They are linked to the Egyptian Al Jihad movement. The Tunisian fundamentalist leader, Rachid Ghannouchi of the An Nahda movement, visited Peshawar and other areas bordering Afghanistan in November 1991.
Sudanese Islamist fundamentalists in Pakistan are being utilized to train inside Pakistan the Jamaat-e-Islami’s cadres, as well as foreign mercenaries. They first arrive in Lahore and undergo a first stage of training in Islamist ideology before proceeding to Peshawar for militray training. Pakistan has also assisted in the formation of the Islamic Jihad Movement led by Abboud Zomur in Egypt. A number of accused in the Al Mahgoub (Egypt's former Parliamentary Speaker) assassination case had reportedly obtained military training in Peshawar. Another terrorist, Magdi Safti, returned from Peshawar to plan the assassination of Hassan Abu Pasha (Chief Editor, Al Mussawar). A Pakistani national, Mohammed Ashiq Chaudari was arrested in Cairo in February 1993 for selling audiocassettes containing extremist religious propaganda. Pakistani terrorist instructors have also been at training camps in Sudan that were established by Osama bin Laden during his stay in that country. Talks were also held in 1991 between Zawahiri Qaseem, representatives of terrorist outfits from Syria, Algeria and Libya and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, currently one of the leaders of Northern Alliance opposing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, to set up an international Jehad organisation.
Pakistan had disclosed in April 1993 that 6,170 Arab Mujahideen were registered for stay in Pakistan. The breakup was as follows:
The Markaz-ud-Dawah-al-Irshad (MDI) with its headquarters in Muridke, Lahore, has been supported extensively with funding from many Islamist countries and preferential land allotment for its huge premises from the provincial government in Pakistan Punjab. It runs ideologically virulent training programmes for terrorists and has also provided military training programmes. As part of the programme, trainees are sent to the Afghan camps of Osama bin Laden. Its annual congregations have been patronized by many Federal Government Cabinet Ministers. Students from India, belonging to the Islamic Sevak Sangh, have visited Pakistan in collaboration with the ISI to certain training centres there.
Training was provided to approximately 700 Indonesian militants in Mindanao, an Island in southern Philippines, by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf group in the late 1990s. International terrorists have had long established links with Filipino rebels. Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law, Saudi businessman Mohamed Jamal Khalifa, financed a number of non-governmental organizations in Mindanao that are suspected of being used to channelise finances to rebel groups. Khalifa fled the country in 1996. Ramzi Yousef, jailed Pakistani mastermind of a 1993-attempt to blow up the World Trade Centre, has been linked to the Abu Sayyaf group vis-à-vis preparations for an aborted 1995-attempt to blow up 12 American airliners. In 1995, the Philippine police raided a Manila apartment that had been rented by Ramzi Yousef, an associate of bin Laden. Yousef was later convicted for the 1993-World Trade Center bombing incident. He apparently used the Manila flat as headquarters to orchestrate terrorist attacks in Asia, including a plan to blow up two planes over Hong Kong. Moreover, security forces have killed several Middle Eastern and Pakistani terrorist trainers and demolition experts when they ascertained the main MILF base on Mindanao in year 2000. There are critical links between Afghanistan and Muslims in southern Philippines, with Pakistan acting as the intermediary. In addition, strong links also emerge on account of the fact that many Muslim youths from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia were sent to Afghanistan between 1979 and 1992 for training and to participate in Afghan Mujahadeen combat operations.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)'s shadowy leader Salamat Hashim has been in exile for more than two decades in the Middle East. He has, thus, been able to establish strong links with terror outfits in that region and more importantly secure ideological support structure to increase the cadre strength of the MILF.
Abu Sayyaf, ("father of the sword"), founded in 1986 by an Afghan professor named Abdul Rasul Abu Sayyaf, has been operating since the 1980s from Egypt and the Philippines to Algeria and New York. Abu Sayyaf had also established a ‘university’, north of Peshawar in Pakistan, to train terrorists. There he is reported to have trained terrorists for the Philippines, the Middle East, North Africa and New York.
The most significant organisations supported by Saudi Arabia and propagating Pan-Islamism are the Rabita al-Alam al-Islami – World Muslim League (MWL) and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). Other such organisations, which also coordinate their activity with the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), are the Supreme Council of Mosques; the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA).
The only organized opposition to the Saudi regime emerges from the London-based Committee for the Defence of Legitimate Rights (CDLR) led by Dr. Mohammed Masaari. The CDLR and its allies, including the Al-Mujahiroun led by Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Saudi-Afghan Mujahideen of Osama bin Laden’s outfit, and certain Islamist fundamentalist outfit, have succeeded in making coordinated efforts against the Saudi regime. In this context, they have been able to smuggle a considerable quantity of propaganda material, including audio and video tapes, inside Saudi Arabia in 1996-98.
Activists of the recently proscribed Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in Saudi Arabia are reported to be involved in the collection of funds and are also canvassing for the unity of the Islamic Ummah. A significant portion of these funds are collected during visits of the SIMI leadership to Saudi Arabia in connection with Haj and Umrah and subsequently remitted to India through hawala (illegal) channels. Certain SIMI activists in Jeddah are alleged to have established contacts with the erstwhile Afghan Mujahideen for securing assistance in imparting military training to their cadres. Attempts have also been made to recruit volunteers from amongst the Indian Muslim expatriate population originally hailing from the southern Indian State of Kerala.
A new organisation, Tanzeem-e-Muslim Musawara (TMM), has been launched recently in several countries including in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, under the patronage of the Mecca-based Muslim World League (MWL). The stated objectives of the TMM are the enhancing of Muslim activities as also education of masses regarding their religious "duties". In this context, a meeting of TMM activists hailing from Pakistan, India and Nepal was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in January 1998 under the chairmanship of Sheikh Alhad Iftal Hussain, Chief of the Bangladesh unit of the TMM.
Police in Madrid on September 25 arrested six Algerians allegedly linked to Osama bin Laden and to the Al Qaeda, suspected for planning terrorist attacks on US targets in Europe. The arrested are reported to belong to a dissident faction of the Armed Islamic Group, Algeria's most hard-line terrorist outfit.
Prominent Palestinian and Lebanese terrorist outfits groups have established Sudan as a base. These groups include the Abu Nidal Organisation, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine--General Command, headed by Ahmed Jibril, the Iranian-backed Islamist Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine; and the Lebanese Shiite group, Hezbollah. During his stay in Sudan, Osama bin Laden with the assistance of National Islamic Front (NIF) leader Hassan al-Turabi, and in concert with various NIF leaders, built a network of businesses, including an Islamic bank, an import-export firm, as also firms that exported agricultural products. Laden financed and assisted in setting up at least three terrorist training camps in cooperation with the NIF, and his construction company is reported to have worked directly with certain Sudanese military officials to transport and supply terrorists to such camps.
The business enterprises in Sudan, some of which are reported to be still operational, enabled him to offer safe haven as also employment in Sudan to Al Qaeda cadres promoting their involvement in radical Islamist movements in their countries of origin (especially Egypt) as well as in anti-US terrorist activities. He is reported to have paid $50 million for a part ownership of a bank in Khartoum. Reportedly, he ran Taba Investment Co., which invested in global stock markets. Laden also formed commercial ventures with members of Sudan's ruling NIF. Sudan has also provided sanctuaries for allies of bin Laden in outfits and groups such as the Islamist Jihad and Gamaa Islamiya from Egypt as well as Hamas and Palestinian Islamist Jihad. Hassan al-Turabi, who heads the NIF or the Popular Arab Islamic Conference, is a long-time member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Various regional Islamist opposition and insurgent groups in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda and Tunisia have reportedly been provided sanctuaries in Sudan. In 1995, three suspected cadres of the Egyptian terror outfit Gamaa Islamiya made an attempt to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia. Sudan has provided safe haven to the three suspects and has refused to extradite them to Ethiopia. Consequently, the United Nations imposed diplomatic sanctions on Sudan in 1996 for its failure to turn over the fugitives and also for general Sudanese support of international terrorism.
Taliban has developed extensive linkages with terrorist outfits and fundamentalist organisations operating in different countries. The emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan has offered terrorists from Jammu and Kashmir, Iran, Central Asian Republics and China’s predominantly Muslim Xinjiang province sanctuary, training camps and financial support. Terrorists in Chechnya include in their ranks Arabs, Afghans and Pakistanis, most of who had fought in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. The Uzbek and Tajik terrorists who took over parts of southern Kyrgyzstan in August 1999 also had similar Afghan connections. The Taliban is widely held to be a creature of Pakistan. It emerged in the year 1993-94 during Benazir Bhutto’s tenure as Prime Minister. The idea was a brainwave of Maj. Gen. (retd) Nasirullah Babar, the then Interior Minister, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who was then Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO), and Lt. Gen. Mohammad Aziz, who was then the Deputy Director-General of the ISI and in charge of the ISI's operations in India and Afghanistan.
The Jamaat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam (JuI), a Pakistani Deobandi party has set up hundreds of madrassas in Pakistan's Pushtun belt, offering Afghan refugees and young Pakistanis free education, food, shelter and military training. These madrassas became the main recruiters of Pakistani and foreign students to fight in Afghanistan. The camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan where they trained became sanctuaries for the promotion of a pan-Islamic radical agenda in Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Jordan, the Philippines and Bangladesh. Between 1994 and 1999, an estimated 80,000 to 1,00,000 terrorists were trained in these madrassas and they had fought in Afghanistan.
With their porous borders, the five former Soviet Central Asian republics - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan - have been affected by the growth of the Taliban regime. The threat includes spread of Islamist fundamentalism as also a massive flow of narcotics and small arms. In early 1999, Tahir Yuldashev, leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), fled to Afghanistan where the Taliban allowed him to set up a training camp. Yuldashev is one of the masterminds behind an assassination attempt on Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov in February 1999. He is currently training many Islamist terrorists from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan as well as the Uighur Muslims from Xinjiang province in China. In August 1999, Juma Namangani, another IMU leader, entered southern Kyrgyzstan with some 800 terrorists and attempted to invade Uzbekistan. The Taliban offers the IMU sanctuary from Karimov’s crackdown, weapons and also the means to finance themselves through the narcotics trade.
The Taliban also provides sanctuary to various Iranian dissidents. They have given sanctuary to the Ahl-e-Sunnah Wal Jamaat, which is made up of Sunni Iranians opposed to Tehran. And leaders of the principal Iranian opposition group, the Iraq-based Mujahideen-e-Khalq, frequently visit Kandahar and have also asked the Taliban for an operational base.
Afghan heroin has been flooding the Xinjiang province in China. The heroin is helping to fund Islamist and nationalist opposition to the state among the Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic groups. Uighur terrorists have also trained and fought with the Afghan Mujahideen since 1986 and arms and explosives used by the rebels against Chinese security forces are traced to Afghanistan. Some Uighur terrorists are involved with Yuldashev as also with bin Laden if not the Taliban itself.
International terrorists have been taking advantage of Bangkok's lax tourism-promoting immigration procedures. Islamist terrorists were linked to a failed truck-bomb attack against the Israeli embassy in 1994 there. Links with Middle Eastern terrorist outfits were ascertained when Ibrahim Ghosheh, leader of the Palestinian terrorist outfit Hamas, was deported in June 2000. A small number of terrorist operatives belonging to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda do live in Thailand.
There has been a revival of Islamist terrorism in four Muslim-dominated southern provinces of Thailand in the recent months. The Bersatu ("United" Malay) group was responsible for a bomb attack on the Hat Yai railway station as also a hotel in the Yala province in April 2001 and, more recently, has also indulged in abduction and extortion. Terrorist outfits, as also some of the countries in the Middle East, provide training, education, ideological succour and financial support for various Islamist fundamentalist groups in the southern provinces of Thailand.
United States of America
Many Islamist terrorist outfits are reported to have established more than 30 front organisations primarily in the form of religious entities, free from governmental control. Furthermore, donations to these organisations are tax deductible and large sums of such monies support the terror networks. Terrorist outfits like the Hezbollah, Palestine Islamist Jihad, Hamas and others are reportedly operating surreptitiously within US borders from New York to San Diego. Many such outfits collect US dollars to send to their terror cells overseas. They have also utilised US addresses to buy equipment, US Internet sites to communicate as also US universities and foundations to meet and plan their operations. To carry out terrorist attacks in the United States and elsewhere, Islamist terrorists reportedly utilise the US banking system and telecommunications as also take advantage of the freedom of assembly. In January 1995, the US administration froze $800,000 held in accounts allegedly controlled by terrorist outfits. Virginia-based businessman Mousier Abu Marzook, who was deported to Jordan in May 1997, has been accused of financing many Hamas terrorist cells. According to media reports, millions of dollars had passed through Marzook's accounts. Fraudulent commercial deals by many World Trade Center bombing suspects, the Abu Nidal group and others had allegedly sent approximately $100 million to finance Middle Eastern Islamist terror cells. Narcotics trafficking in the US has partly financed many Islamist terror outfits as also radical groups. Many Islamist foundations are alleged to have transferred money to Middle Eastern terrorist groups. Furthermore, information with regard to building weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, chemical and biological - is consistently being routed through the Internet. The group responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing included Islamist radicals from Palestine, Sudan and Egypt as well as U.S. converts. US-based Hamas activists arrested in Israel are reported to have indicated that they had attempted to attack prominent Jews living in Chicago.
Ali Mohammed, 48, an ex-US Army Sergeant of Egyptian origin pleaded guilty before a US District Judge in October 2000 to a charge of plotting with Osama bin Laden to kill Americans anywhere in the world. He also admitted that he had helped in secretly moving bin Laden from Pakistan to Sudan and trained members of his Al Qaeda outfit. Pakistan and Afghanistan-based Islamist terrorists have recruited members from the Muslim communities in North America as also the Caribbean Islands to utilise them for terrorist operations against US interests in West Asia and also for promoting Jehad in the US. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef of Pakistani origin and other US-based Muslim mercenaries of bin Laden were responsible for the explosion inside the World Trade Centre in February 1993. The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) are members of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front for Jihad Against the US and Israel.
Jamaat ul-Fuqra (JuF), a terrorist outfit operating in Pakistan and North America, was formed by a Pakistani cleric, Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, in the early 1980s. JF in its early phase sought to counter what is perceived as excessive Western influence on Islam It also concluded that violence was a significant aspect in its quest to purify Islam. JF is loosely structured with certain elements working openly through social service organisations to recruit members, raise money, organise activities and distribute propaganda. In the 1980s, they carried out various terrorist activities, including murders and fire-bombings, across the United States. Although Gilani, the chief of Fuqra resides in Pakistan, most of his group’s cells are located in North America. Fuqra members have purchased isolated rural properties in North America to live communally, practice their faith and insulate themselves from Western culture. A large segment of its members have been convicted of criminal acts, including murder and fraud. The Jamaat Ul-Fuqra supports various terrorist outfits operating in Pakistan and Kashmir. It has also converted a large number of Afro-Americans to Islam and brought some of them to Pakistan for training in the use of firearms and explosives. Although dormant in terms of real activity, it has an active link with terrorist groups in Pakistan and provides both moral and material assistance to these groups.
Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) of Pakistan, headed by Lt. Gen. (retd) Javed Nasir, former Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) have supported Islamist extremist movements in different countries, including amongst members of the Muslim community in the US. HuM terrorists have been active in Bosnia, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Burma, Philippines and Jammu and Kashmir. HuM terrorists maintain strong links with terrorist outfits based in countries like Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia and Jordan primarily following their mutual association during the Afghan war. Among the foreign terrorists trained by the HuM at its training camps in Pakistan, Pakistan controlled Kashmir (PcK) and Afghanistan were 16 African-American Muslims from various cities of the US. Funds for these activities were traced to Muslim businessmen of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UK. TJ had/has many offices in the US, Russia, the Central Asian Republics, South Africa, Australia and France. Amongst the organisations/outfits in the US with which the TJ is linked are the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA). A past president of ISNA is Sheikh Abdullah Idris Ali, an American immigrant of Sudanese origin, who also functioned as the Pesh Imam (chief priest) and Khatib of a mosque in New York. The annual convention of the ISNA held at Columbus, Ohio, from September 11,1995, was addressed amongst others, by Hamza Yusuf, an American citizen of Greek origin, who, consequent to embracing Islam, had lived for six years in Mauritania to study Islam and also work as a TJ preacher; Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, a famous pop singer, who embraced Islam after coming into contact with the TJ in Pakistan; Dr. Saghir of Algeria; and Dr. Israr Ahmed, the Amir of the Tanzeem Islami of Pakistan and a worker of the TJ. The convention observed that the ISNA had a US $ 100 million budget for spreading Islamic education in the US primarily through the publication of text-books, setting-up of week-end Islamic schools and also a weekly TV programme called "Onsight". Amongst the suspected members of the TJ in the Muslim community in the US is Louis Fara Khan, the Afro-American Muslim leader. The TJ operates in the US and the Caribbean islands directly through its own preachers deputed from Pakistan and also recruited from among the Pakistani immigrant community in the US, besides through front outfits such as the Jamaat-ul-Fuqra. The HuM, which works in close association with the TJ, has been training Afro-American Muslims from the US in its terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On December 28, 1998, following a call issued by Osama bin Laden to attack US and British targets consequent to US-UK aerial strikes on Iraq, an Islamist outfit called the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army supporting bin Laden’s anti-U.S. threats abducted 16 Western tourists, including two Americans. The southern province of Abyan had emerged as a base for the activities of Yemeni mercenaries belonging to a group called the Jaish-e-Mohammed (Mohammed's Army), which had been trained by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. A Yemeni associate of bin Laden, Tariq al-Fadhli, has/had established several terrorist training camps in Southern Yemen and some of mercenaries from these camps had bombed two hotels in Yemen, in 1992, where U.S. troops proceeding to Somalia were staying. Prior to 1998, Yemeni members of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) used to operate under the name of Islamist Jihad. The Aden-Abyan Islamic Army was suspected to be an offshoot of the Yemeni Islamic Jihad. The Islamic Jihad group of Yemen was formed during the pre-unification era when Aden was the capital of the pro-Soviet Socialist Republic of South Yemen to oppose the secular policies of the Communist regime in the South. On December 24, 1998, the Yemeni authorities had arrested five British nationals (all Muslims) and a Franco-Algerian on charges of planning a series of bombings in Aden during the Christmas-New Year's holiday. They were recruited, trained and armed by al-Mehdar in a plot to attack the British Consulate, the Christchurch Anglican Church as also two hotels used by Western tourists, in retaliation for the US-UK air strikes on Iraq. In January 1999, three Britons (all Muslims) and a Franco-Algerian were captured at a terrorist training camp in Shabwa, 240 miles northeast of Aden. These terrorists were recruited in Britain in July 1998 by a London-based Mullah called Abu Hamza al-Masri, an Afghanistan war veteran, who was also the leader of an Islamist outfit in London called the Supporters of Sharia (SOS).
In March 1991, Iran dispatched several terrorist squads to Canada for operations in the U.S., both independently and in support of local networks. One of these hit teams would assassinate Mrs. Rafizadeh, the wife of a senior intelligence official of the Shah's regime, in New Jersey on March 26, 1992. A milestone in the emergence of Islamist terrorism in the U.S. took place on October 18, 1991. The International Terrorist Summit convened in Tehran decided on a rejuvenated Jihad in the U.S. as part of the Iranian-led pan-Islamist strategy of confronting Pax-Americana.
From December 1992 through January 1993, Iran conducted a strategic test of the entire concept of a US operation. Former foreign minister Ibrahim Yazdi arrived on a secret mission with a reconciliation initiative at the same time that Tehran transmitted through back channels an explicit threat of "war between the SAVAMA and the CIA." Yazdi's initiative was rebuffed. On January 24, 1993, Mir Aimal Kansi, a Pakistani Iranian agent, killed several people at the entrance to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, demonstrating that Tehran was serious. From January 22-26, 1993, Tehran further tested the U.S. reaction system in the form of phone calls from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine threatening to blow up a skyscraper in New York. Since there was no special reaction from Washington, Tehran concluded that terrorist operations should proceed as planned.
In 1999, 50 Islamic Muslim organizations in America led by CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) threatened various American interests, e.g., Burger King, Sprint, and Disney World with boycotts and more. This was another indication of the scope of the Islamist threats being leveled at America and directed by Arab interests in the Middle East.
Islamist terrorist cells have infiltrated West European countries to prepare the ground for military operations together with fundamentalists and other extremists already present in these countries. Most of these cells/outfits function with the assistance of Iran. Some of the outfits are:
Germany is a significant base of Islamist fundamentalists and terrorists, including the Kurdish P.K.K., which is allied with Iran, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other fundamentalists - Turks, Pakistanis and Arabs - resident in Hamburg, Munich and Cologne.
The first attempt to export Islamist terrorism into France took place at Christmas 1994. Four terrorists of the GIA (Armed Islamic Group), armed with dynamite and AK47's, hijacked an Air France plane on the tarmac at the airport in Algiers.