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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 1, No. 9, September 16, 2002

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


Jammu & Kashmir
Terrorist-related electoral violence from August 1 to September 15, 2002

Civilian casualties 161
Political activists killed 29
Candidates killed 3
Infiltration* 159
Arms recoveries*
  Wireless 60
  RDX 100 Kgs
  IED 160 Kgs
  Rockets 55
  Grenades 612
  AK/Assault/Sniper rifles 210
  Grenade launcher 15
  Rocket launcher 18

* Data till September 11, 2002
Computed from official sources and English language media..



Championing Islamist Extremism
Guest Writer: Bertil Lintner at Chiang Mai, Thailand
Senior Writer, Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER)

Among the more than 60 video tapes that the American cable television network CNN obtained from the Al Qaeda's archives in Afghanistan in August this year, one is marked 'Burma' (Myanmar), and purports to show Muslim 'allies' training in that country. While the group shown, the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO), was founded by Rohingya Muslim's from Myanmar's Rakhine State and claims to be fighting for autonomy or independence for its people, the tape was, in fact, shot in Bangladesh. The RSO, and other Rohingya factions, have never had any camps inside Myanmar, only across the border in Bangladesh. The camp in the video is located near the town of Ukhia, southeast of Cox's Bazaar, and not all of the RSO's "fighters" are Rohingyas from Myanmar.

The Rohingyas, who are Muslims and speak the same language as the population in the Chittagong area of Bangladesh, are not regarded by the government in Yangon as an indigenous race. Hundreds of thousands of them fled across the border to Bangladesh during a crackdown in 1978, and militant groups soon emerged among the refugees. The UN eventually intervened, and most of the Rohingyas were repatriated to Myanmar. However, in 1991/1992, another wave of 250,000 refugees came across the border, and while most of them have also been repatriated, more than 20,000 remain in United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) supervised camps southeast of Cox's Bazaar. An estimated 100,000 Rohingyas live outside the UNHCR's camps, and it is among these destitute and stateless people that various Islamist militant groups have found fertile ground for recruitment.

The RSO was set up in the early 1980s when radical elements among the Rohingyas broke away from the more moderate, main grouping, the Rohingya Patriotic Front (RPF). Led by a medical doctor from Arakan, Muhammad Yunus, it soon became the main and most militant faction among the Rohingyas in Bangladesh and on the border. Given its more rigid religious stand, the RSO soon secured the support of like-minded groups in the Muslim world. These included the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh and Pakistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami in Afghanistan, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) in Jammu and Kashmir, and Angkatan Belia Islam sa-Malaysia (ABIM) - the Islamic Youth Organization of Malaysia. Afghan instructors have been seen in some of the RSO camps along the Bangladesh-Burma border, while nearly 100 RSO rebels were reported to have undergone training in the Afghan province of Khost with Hizb-e-Islami Mujahideen.

The RSO's main military camp was located near the hospital that the Rabitat-al-Aalam-al-Islami had built at Ukhia. At this stage, the RSO acquired a substantial number of Chinese-made RPG-2 rocket launchers, light machine-guns, AK-47 assault rifles, claymore mines and explosives from private arms dealers in the Thai town of Aranyaprathet near Thailand's border with Cambodia, which in the 1980s emerged as a major arms bazaar for guerrilla movements in the region. These weapons were siphoned off from Chinese arms shipments to the resistance battling the Vietnamese army in Cambodia, and sold to any one who wanted, and could afford, to buy them.

The Bangladeshi media gave extensive coverage to the RSO buildup along the border, but it soon became clear that it was not only Rohingyas who were undergoing training in its camps. Many, it turned out, were members of the Islami Chhatra Shibir (ICS), the youth organisation of Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami, and came from the University of Chittagong, where a 'campus war' was being fought between Islamist militants and more moderate student groups. The RSO was, in fact, engaged in little or no fighting inside Burma.

It is unclear when the now-famous videotape was shot, but it presumably dates from the early 1990s, since, by the late 1990s, the RSO's training camps southeast of Cox's Bazaar were taken over by Bangladeshi Islamist militants. Bangladesh's main militant outfit, the Hakrat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), was formed in 1992, allegedly with financial support from Osama bin Laden himself. HuJI now has an estimated strength of 15,000 followers and is led by Shawkat Osman aka Maulana or Sheikh Farid in Chittagong. Its members are recruited mainly from students of Bangladesh's more than 60,000 madrassahs (seminaries), and year 2001, they called themselves the 'Bangladeshi Taliban.' The group has become notorious for masterminding violent attacks on Bangladesh's Hindu minority, as well as on moderate Bangladeshi Muslims. In a statement released by the US State Department on May 21, 2002, HuJI was described as a terrorist organisation with ties to Islamist militants in Pakistan.

The existence of firm links between the new Bangladeshi militants and Al Qaeda is established through Fazlul Rahman, leader of the 'Jihad Movement in Bangladesh' (to which HuJI belongs), when he signed the official declaration of 'holy war' against the United States on February 23, 1998. Other signatories included bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri (leader of the Jihad Group in Egypt), Rifa'i Ahmad Taha aka Abu-Yasir (Egyptian Islamic Group), and Sheikh Mir Hamzah (secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan).

HuJI sent its own people, as well as Rohingya recruits, to Afghanistan to fight for the Taleban and Al Qaeda. The Rohingyas, especially, were given the most dangerous tasks in the battlefield, clearing mines and portering. According to intelligence sources, Rohingya recruits were paid 30,000 Bangladeshi taka ($525) on joining and then 10,000 ($175) per month. The families of recruits killed in action were offered 100,000 taka ($1,750). [Ed.: While these appear to be small sums in dollar terms, they are princely amounts in a country where the annual per capita income works out to a bare US $ 380]. Recruits were taken mostly via Nepal to Pakistan, where they were trained and send on to military camps in Afghanistan. It is not known how many people from this part of Bangladesh - Rohingyas and others - fought in Afghanistan, but the number is believed to be quite substantial. Others have gone to Kashmir and even Chechnya to join forces with Islamist militants there.

In an interview with the CNN in December 2001, American 'Taliban' fighter, John Walker Lindh, relates that the Al-Qaeda-directed ansar (companions of the Prophet) brigades, to which he had belonged in Afghanistan, were divided along linguistic lines: "Bengali, Pakistani (Urdu) and Arabic," which suggests that the Bengali-speaking component - Bangladeshi and Rohingya - must have been significant. It is now also becoming clear that some militants fleeing the American strikes in Afghanistan in late 2001 have ended up in Bangladesh. With the heavy American presence in Pakistan, many militants who fled Afghanistan in October and November 2001 have found it safer to hide in third countries. In early 2002, a ship reportedly sailed from Karachi to Chittagong carrying assorted militants from Afghanistan.

On May 10-11, 2002, nine Islamist fundamentalist groups, including HuJI, met at a camp near Ukhia South and formed the Bangladesh Islamic Manch (Association). The new umbrella organisation includes groups purporting to represent the Rohingyas and the Muslim Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA), a small group operating in India's northeast. By June, Bangladeshi veterans of the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan were reported to be training members of the new alliance in at least two camps in southern Bangladesh.

An internal document from HuJI lists no less than 19 'training establishments' all over Bangladesh, but it is uncertain how many of them actually offer military training. What is certain, however, is that since a new coalition government led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) took over in October 2001, Bangladesh's Islamist militants have become more vocal and active. The coalition includes, for the first time, two ministers from the Jamaat. The four-party electoral alliance that brought the new coalition government to power also includes a smaller Islamic party, the Islamic Oikya Jote, whose chairman, Azizul Huq, is a member of HuJI's advisory council.

The Bangladeshi authorities have shown no sign of being willing to crack down on these groups and their activities. On the contrary, after some adverse international publicity about the rise of Islamist fundamentalism in Bangladesh earlier this year, the government cracked down on the most moderate of the Rohingya factions, the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO; Arakan is another name for Myanmar's Rakhine State), in Chittagong and Cox's Bazaar. ARNO has no known links to Al Qaeda or any of Bangladesh's groups of Islamist militants. It issued a strong statement condemning the crackdown and disassociating itself from the militants. The RSO, on the other hand, was not targeted by the Bangladeshi authorities.

For many years, Bangladesh was seen as a moderate, even liberal, Muslim country. This is evidently changing, and the formation of the Bangladesh Islamic Manch in May this year clearly indicates that co-operation between the country's Islamist militants is becoming closer. The presence of trainers from Afghanistan and the arrival of more militants with Al Qaeda connections, demonstrate their participation in an international terrorist network.



J&K: The Election Body-count Begins
Guest Writer: Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Ashok K. Mehta
Military and Strategic Affairs commentator; former GoC Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) South in Sri Lanka and founder member of the Defence Planning Staff (now Integrated Defence Staff).

With elections in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) on his mind, Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah recently told the visiting US chief of military intelligence, Admiral Thomas Wilson, Director, US Defence Intelligence Agency, at Srinagar, something that Abdullah alone could say: "After this you will go to Pakistan. Tell General Musharraf that he can get Kashmir over my dead body." Abdullah's resolve to hold credible elections in J&K stands firm, despite the brutal spurt of election related violence - including the killing of State Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone on September 11. Equally unshaken is his determination to defeat the anti-election alliance between Pakistan and terrorist groups inside and outside J&K.

With an Army of 3,000 battle-hardened foreign and local terrorists present in the State, the latest political assassination has put the State and national security forces in J&K in a tizzy. Questions are being asked about holes in the security of a State Minister. Soon after the incident, the Army reported that the political rally where it occurred was impromptu, and the late minister, on an unannounced visit to the area, simply asked people to assemble. There was no flushing of the area or frisking of the assembly. Whatever the facts, everyone is wiser after the event. Abdullah announced a meeting of the unified command - or is it unified headquarters (both of which are misnomers). Defence Minister George Fernandes rushed to Srinagar to revalidate the internal security grid. The fact is, no matter how tight the security, determined terrorists will get through.

The government has been armed with assessments and information that the 2002 Assembly Elections in J&K will be the most violent ever, never mind the pro forma warnings from the US to Pakistan. The US is both unable and unwilling to push Musharraf beyond a point in reining in the jehadis. The US also takes India's self-certified restraint with utmost seriousness and consequently lets the General get away with blue murder. India, on the other hand, is stuck in the groove of crying foul without breaking its sickening record of turning the other cheek. After 55 years and four wars, the fear of the Pakistani gun still haunts the people of J&K. The bulk of 35,000 persons killed after the start of proxy war are civilians.

The killing of yet another Lone ('moderate' Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone was killed on May 21, 2002) will certainly spruce up the election security grid without substantially reducing violence and fatalities. India wants the election to be credible, transparent and with maximum voter turnout. Nearly two thirds of the Army is operationally deployed on the Line of Control (LoC) and international border. The other two services - the police and the para-military - are also partially deployed in a state of high alert. Much of the country's paramilitary forces and police units are being employed in election duties, with polling spread over four phases between September 16 and October 8. The inadequacy is not in numbers of personnel but of appropriate intelligence and counter terrorism equipment like sensors and anti-IED weapons.

The role of the Army is to create an environment conducive for elections, which includes sanitisation and cordoning of specific areas so that the electoral process can be carried out without fear of the terrorist guns. This means keeping the terror groups on the run and off the backs of the people. The Army cannot and will not be seen to be directly involved in the elections, though the propaganda mill will, in any case, churn out stories that the Army forced people to vote. Such reports, though inevitable, are less credible if the Army stays in the background. There are a host of subsidiary tasks the Army will perform to assist the State and Central Election Commission and paramilitary forces - such as logistics, communication, specialised equipment and quick reaction teams. Further, the state has to launch an extensive public relations and psy-war campaign to expose Pakistan's hand in disrupting election in particular and destablisation of J&K in general.

What is Pakistan's grand design? The Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and its terrorist groups would like to delegitimise the elections by creating fear to ensure low turnout. To this end, they will maximise violence, targeting the election staff, candidates, political parties and civilians. Radio intercepts over the last two weeks in the run up to the elections reflect a clear shift in strategy. The ISI and the Pakistan-based United Jehad Council (UJC) have issued clear instructions - break up elections. This is to be done through assassination, intimidation and random violence. The local Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) leader has acknowledged receipt of an extraordinary infusion of funds to boost the morale of his cadres. The ISI believes that creating general panic and mayhem will force the Indian Army to divert some of its forces along the LoC to the hinterland, which in turn will ease pressure on Pakistan forces so that some troops can be redeployed on the West to monitor the situation along the Afghanistan border.

Pakistan remains the biggest beneficiary of the US global war against terrorism. It has not only become a 'stalwart ally' of the US, but has also gained enormously in financial terms. The US has rewritten its $ 1 billion debt and given aid worth $ 600 million together with at least $ 300 million as payment for the use of airbases in Pakistan. A $ 73 million military hardware package, consisting of five helicopters and border surveillance equipment, has been given to keep vigil in the West. This can always be redeployed in the East.

Beginning July, Pakistan raised the ante astride the LoC, when its Army crossed the LoC and occupied a crucial height, Point 3260 (Lunda), in the Machal Sector [SAIR 1.6], in what some US experts described as Kargil II. When asked by Indian soldiers what Pakistani troops were doing at Lunda, they coolly replied: "We've been sitting here for 55 years. You may not have noticed." For the first time after Kargil, Mirage 2000 aircraft were employed to evict the intrusion with the use of standoff laser guided bombs. The cost of vacation was Rs. 10 million, but no soldier was lost in the fire assault, which reflects a new trend in mountain fighting. The message was clear - India would not hesitate to use whatever it takes to defend the LoC.

A second incident drummed up by Pakistan was a non-event. On August 23, Maj. Gen. Rashid Qureshi, military regime spokesperson, helped BBC in breaking news, accusing the Indian Army of launching an 'unprovoked attack' on Pakistan-held Point 5353, bang on the LoC in the Dras-Gultari sectors [SAIR 1.6]. This was pure fiction and staged for the benefit of US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage. After Kargil, Point 5353 was turned into a raging controversy in Delhi by the political opposition. Last week, Pakistani guns spewed 4,500 shells in Dras and Kargil in response to imaginary firing by Indian guns elsewhere. Pakistan's purpose is to keep the LoC alive during what it calls 'mock elections'.

Unsurprisingly, infiltration is continuing, though levels remain substantially lower than those prevailing last year [SAIR 1.1]:

Infiltration Attempts
Terrorists Killed
Terrorist Infiltrated
Till Sept. 12

The last attempt at infiltration at the time of writing was made in Gurez and intercepted on September 10. One terrorist was killed and five got away; six rucksacks and weapons were recovered. The Kill Ratio of all security forces to militants is around 1:4.5 while, for the Army alone, the ratio is 1:7. These figures reflect a relatively higher attrition of security forces vis-à-vis terrorists. The decline in infiltration and cross border support to terrorists is not due to Musharraf's magnanimity, but on account increased troop density on the LoC. In any event, with 3,000 veterans of terrorism ensconced inside J&K, 50 per cent and more of these foreigners, no more are needed.

Kashmiris, unfortunately, have always been counting their dead. Let no one be under any illusion about Pakistan's motives. With Musharraf facing an election next month, assembly elections in J&K will be immensely violent. The Americans have told both sides, Pakistan and India, that they expect a comparatively violence free election which could unlock the impasse over de-escalation and dialogue. Which world is the US living in?




Maoist Sting in the Tail
Guest Writer: Deepak Thapa
Kathmandu-based Journalist and Editor

By the time the State of Emergency in place in Nepal since November 2001 lapsed on August 25, 2002, the government as well as the security forces were confident that their policy of active confrontation with the Maoist rebels was paying off. At one of its rare press conferences called days before the emergency was to end, the Royal Nepal Army detailed its successes against the insurgents over the period of nine months of deployment: possessed of about the Maoists' intelligence network; weakened the rebels' 'command control network'; recovered arms looted from the army; and so on. It just so happened that the Press briefing coincided with the public disavowal of the Maoist movement by a prominent member of the United Revolutionary People's Council, which had been formed last November by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) apparently as a precursor to a future 'people's government'.

The Emergency, imposed after first-time attacks on the Army that signaled the breakdown of peace talks between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Nepali government that had begun four months earlier, has to be renewed every three months by the Parliament. But, since May 2002 when Parliament was dissolved following internal differences within the ruling Nepali Congress party, the Emergency had been extended through an ordinance. Given that elections have been ordered for November 23, 2002, and the growing confidence of tackling the Maoists, the government believed that the Emergency would not have to be extended for the remaining period in order to allow for election campaigning.

These calculations began going awry in a matter of days. Soon after the Emergency ended, the Maoists stepped up their activities. This time they concentrated their actions on Kathmandu. The capital, which had thus far escaped any concerted campaign by the rebels, suddenly became the focus of bomb blasts. Almost every day a bombing incident either took place or was foiled by the security forces. The government took the stand that the Maoists had been emboldened by the lifting of the Emergency and began making noises that the Emergency may be clamped again. The opposition parties disagreed with that assessment even as they remained firmly committed to the November elections.

Things changed in the first week of September. The Maoists decimated a police post in East Nepal on September 8 and the very next day overran a district headquarters in the western part of the country. More than a hundred people, including soldiers, armed police, civil police and civilians were killed, while the Maoists also suffered casualties believed to have been equal if not higher in number.

The attacks were totally unexpected by the political establishment in Kathmandu. It had been four months since the last major attack; the Army continued to notch a daily toll of 'Maoist terrorists'; reports came in of surrenders by Maoists and their sympathisers; India had begun moving towards ensuring that its territory could not be used openly as a safe haven - all seemingly indications that the Maoists were on the run.

There is no doubt that the Maoist attacks were meant to send a message to the government not to underestimate their strength. A Press Release faxed to newspapers and signed by Prachanda, the chairman of the CPN-Maoist, after the two incidents begins with a denunciation of the 'feudal establishment' which has 'rejected the repeated calls by our party to end the present situation of civil war through a peaceful and positive political solution' and goes on to state that since the attacks 'prove that the terror campaign of the Royal Army will not affect the country or the people, we will continue with our political and armed programmes'.

The consecutive Maoist strikes seem to have had the desired effect in more than one way. For one, the present spree of violence has again had the government begin warning about re-imposing the state of Emergency. This could work to the benefit of the Maoists who have been dead-set against elections. On the other hand, a government elected under a vitiated political atmosphere may not have the legitimacy of a popular government. Worse, with the entire Opposition against the Emergency, were the government re-impose it, it could be politically even more isolated than it is today. Each of these outcomes appears to suit the Maoists.

On the other hand, there is a growing demand that the conflict be resolved through talks. In a recent development, Girija Prasad Koirala, former prime minister and president of the Nepali Congress (which itself has split into two factions since May, when he and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba expelled each other), has publicly called for talks. The significance of Koirala's present stance is that he has long been a proponent of a hard line against the Maoists while, until November last year, Deuba was a champion of peace talks. They changed roles with the emergency and the subsequent perception that the Army, and by default, the Palace, had arrogated to itself a larger role in affairs of the state. (In fact, the division within the Congress resulted from a party directive given to Deuba not to press for a second extension; Deuba, who was under considerable pressure from the security agencies, reacted by dissolving Parliament and call for fresh polls.)

With the fresh bout of violence, even the main Opposition, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML), which was getting ready for the battle of the ballot, is having second thoughts. The focus of the political parties has presently shifted to dialogue, especially after Prachanda's latest offer, although there is consensus that the first move has to be made by the Maoists, since they were the ones who backed out from talks last November.

So far the government remains adamant about going for elections. Doubts about a free and fair poll have been expressed from various quarters, although the CPN-UML was initially quick to welcome elections for the obvious reason that it hoped to benefit from the split in the Nepali Congress. The situation in the countryside, where Maoist activity is strong, is not conducive to any kind of polling activity. The rural population is caught between a rebel group that forces itself upon the villagers and security forces that view them as potential collaborators with the enemy.

Current indications are that the government will go ahead with the election. Discussions are still on with the Election Commission, the security forces and other political parties on logistics and administration of the elections. The politicians would like to get it over with quickly, but the Army and the police want them phased out over a longer period, given the uncertainty of the situation and lack of adequate manpower to prevent disruption by the Maoists.

The unknown factor is the Maoists. Given their virulent opposition to the elections, the insurgents are likely to use any means to disrupt the polls. Given that they have succeeded in the past in creating obstacles to polls, violence is rather likely. Unless, of course, there is a breakthrough in the current deadlock and the country begins moving towards a peace process that is acceptable to all sides, including the Palace.


Weekly Fatalities: Major conflicts in South Asia
September 9-15, 2002

Security Force Personnel
Jammu & Kashmir
Left-wing extremism
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.



Cross border terrorism will be countered, says Prime Minister Vajpayee at UN: Speaking at the 57th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on September 13, 2002, Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee accused Pakistan of 'nuclear blackmail' following India's efforts to counter cross-border terrorism. He said succumbing to such 'blatant nuclear terrorism' would mean forgetting the bitter lessons of September 11, 2001. Commenting on Pakistan's involvement in cross-border terrorism, he said, "If Pakistan claims to be a crucial partner in the international coalition against terrorism, how can it continue to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy against India…? Those who speak of underlying or root causes of terrorism, offer alibis to the terrorists and absolve them of the responsibility for the heinous actions - such as the September 11 attacks on the US or the December 13 attack on our Parliament." He said the international community must ensure that the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Committee, under the framework of Resolution 1373, moved beyond "Information compilation and legal assistance to enforcing compliance by States known to be sponsoring, sheltering, funding, arming and training terrorists''. The Hindu, September 14, 2002.

28 diplomats to witness J&K elections: According to official sources, 28 diplomats from various countries, including four each from US and UK, have been issued special passes by the Election Commission of India for witnessing the Legislative Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir commencing on September 16, 2002. The special passes authorize the visiting diplomats to enter polling booths and other facilities for administration of the elections, though the Election Commission has not conferred any official status on the diplomatic delegations. Indian Express, September 14, 2002.

Minister assassinated during election rally in Kupwara, J&K: State Law Minister and a candidate of the ruling National Conference from Lolab constituency in Kupwara district, Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, was assassinated on September 11, 2002, while addressing an election meeting in Tikipora. Three security force (SF) personnel were also killed in the attack. Three different outfits have claimed responsibility for the attack. A terrorist belonging to the hitherto unknown 'Al-Aarifeen' group called up the local media to claim responsibility. An unidentified spokesperson of the Abu Qasim group of the Lashkar-e-Toiba also claimed that one of its cadres, Abu Veqas, had led the group that carried out the killings. The Al-Barq separately claimed responsibility in a message sent to a local news agency. Daily Excelsior, September 12, 2002.

10 SF personnel killed during attack on election rally in Surankote, J&K: 10 security force personnel (SF) and two civilians were killed and 22 others injured during a terrorist attack on an election rally of the Indian National Congress in Surankote on September 11, 2002. SF personnel killed two terrorists later in retaliatory firing. Daily Excelsior, September 12, 2002.

ANVC terrorists kill six police personnel in Meghalaya: Six police personnel, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police were killed in an ambush laid by the proscribed Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) terrorists at Chocpot, in the Garo hills of Meghalaya, on September 9, 2002, Northeast Tribune, September 10, 2002.

Pakistan using regular troops to disrupt J&K elections, says Defence Minister: Speaking to the media in New Delhi on September 10, 2002, Union Defence Minister George Fernandes accused Pakistan of using its regular troops to disrupt the Legislative Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). He said Pakistani forces were active in the sector between Drass and Kargil on the Line of Control (LoC). Elaborating on such moves, he referred to the heavy shelling in Kargil sector and said, "These are signs that even Pakistani forces are getting involved in moves to disrupt polls". Press Trust of India, September 10, 2002.


Over 150 Maoists killed in clashes with security forces: An estimated 1000 to 1100 Maoist insurgents stormed a police post at Bhiman, Sindhuli district, and killed approximately 49 police personnel and injured 21 more, a little after midnight on September 8, 2002. Unconfirmed reports indicated that approximately 70 Maoists were feared killed in the incident. Separately, on the night of September 8, Maoists attacked Sandhikharka, Arghakhachi district headquarters, 300km northwest of Kathmandu. In the attacks and clashes that spilled into the next day, all government offices had been razed to the ground and the communications tower destroyed. Heavy Maoist gunfire damaged military helicopters carrying reinforcements and forced them to land elsewhere. Estimates of security forces (SFs) killed varied between 59 and 125. Some reports also claimed that 25 civilians were killed. Maoists also reportedly abducted approximately 100 SF personnel, but later set free 77 of them., September 8, 2002; September 9, September 10.

Government rejects truce offer by Maoist insurgents: Maoist insurgents' chairman 'comrade' Prachanda, in a press release on September 12, 2002, offered a conditional cease-fire and said he was ready to negotiate "if the authorities are ready to find a peaceful and positive political passage to the existing crisis." However, Home Minister Kum Bahadur Khadka, while rejecting the offer, said, "The offer does not mention giving up weapons and the demand for election to the constituent assembly. There is no possibility of talks in such a condition." September 12, 2002.


9/11-terror suspect arrested in Karachi: Ramzi Binalshibh, a prime suspect in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, has been detained in Pakistan. A US official said Binalshibh, who is a Yemeni, was arrested in Karachi around the first anniversary of 9/11 by Pakistani authorities with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Binalshibh, wanted in Germany for his alleged role in planning and carrying out the 9/11 attacks, is one of the front-ranking Al Qaeda terrorists to be taken into custody over the past year. US officials have indicated that Binalshibh, also known as Ramzi bin al-Shaibah, was refused a visa to enter the US at least four times before 9/11. He was reportedly one of the roommates of Mohamed Atta - the suspected leader of the 9/11 hijackers - in Hamburg, Germany., September 14, 2002.

15 Pakistani Al Qaeda suspects arrested in Italy: Italian police working with US naval intelligence said, on September 12, 2002, that they had arrested 15 Pakistanis, suspected to be Al Qaeda members. They were reportedly taken into custody in August 2002 after arriving in the southern Sicilian port town of Gela on a merchant cargo ship from Morocco. They have been charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. Dawn, September 13, 2002.

India misusing rationale of war against terrorism, claims President Musharraf at UN: President Pervez Musharraf during his address at the 57th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 12, 2002, accused India of misusing the rationale of the war against terrorism. He claimed that India has sought to de-legitimize the "Kashmir freedom struggle, tarnish Pakistan with the brush of terrorism and drive a wedge between it and its coalition partners." Describing South Asia as "the most dangerous place on earth today", he added, "Peace in South Asia is hostage to one accident, one act of terrorism, one strategic miscalculation by India." Dawn, September 13, 2002.

Two Al Qaeda terrorists killed in Karachi encounter: Two suspected Al Qaeda terrorists were killed and seven security force personnel injured during an encounter at the Defence Housing Authority in Karachi, on September 11, 2002. The encounter followed a raid on an apartment where the terrorists had taken shelter. Five others, suspected to be associated with the Al Qaeda, were arrested from the encounter site. Dawn, September 12, 2002.


Government-LTTE peace talks commence in Thailand today: The Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are meeting for three days from September 16, 2002, at Sattahip, Thailand. On September 9, the facilitator in the peace talks, Norway, announced that the talks would be held at a hotel close to the Naval Base in Sattahip. While the opening ceremony would be open to the world media, the subsequent four sessions would be closed to the press. Daily News, September 10, 2002.

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

SAIR is a project of the Institute for Conflict Management and the South Asia Terrorism Portal.


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