SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 10, No. 18, November 7, 2011
assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form
with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal
Network: Desperate Measures
Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management
4, 2011, Pentagon officials declared that "relentless
pursuit" of the Haqqani Network was the top priority
for American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, as this terrorist
formation continued to be a major threat to US and NATO
Forces in Afghanistan. Navy Captain John Kirby, Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defence for Media Operations, noted,
"The Haqqani Network is lethal, deadly and continues
to conduct operations inside Afghanistan and is a growing
concern for our commanders out there."
against the Haqqani Network have been intensified and,
according to the New American Foundation, at least
47 drone strikes have already been executed in the North
Waziristan Agency (NWA) of Federally Administered Tribal
Areas (FATA) in 2011 (data till October 31, 2011). 103
such attacks were executed in 2010, 23 in 2009, 19 in
2008, 3 in 2007, one in 2006 and two in 2005. The database
further indicates that 28 of the 198 drone attacks since
2005 specifically targeted the Haqqani Network – one in
2006, two in 2008, four in 2009, 16 in 2010 and five in
2011. In the first recorded offensive against the Haqqani
Network on November 2, 2007, a US strike on a housing
compound in Danda Darpakhel, near the Miranshah town of
NWA, killed at least five alleged militants and wounded
up to a dozen. On September 8, 2008, a major strike killed
23 persons, again in the Danda Darpakhel, including nine
militants and 14 civilians. Among the dead were many family
members of the group’s leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani, including
eight of his grandchildren, two wives, his elder sister,
his sister-in-law and other relatives. The New York
Times wrote about the incident, “The strike hit the
compound run by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who used the compound
as a guest house for militants arriving in the North Waziristan
to join the jihad forces of the Haqqani family...
The family runs training camps and facilities in the tribal
region and also has places to hide.” Sirajuddin Haqqani
is Jalaluddin’s son, and the present leader of the Network.
In a more
aggressive posture, the US, on October 17, 2011, moved
hundreds of new troops to the Afghan areas bordering NWA.
The US forces sealed the main road connecting the Agency’s
border town of Ghulam Khan and the Khost Province in Afghanistan,
since the overwhelming proportion of support for the Network
comes from Districts in the South-eastern Province of
this, US drones killed a senior ‘commander’ of the outfit,
Janbaz Zadran, along with two other militants on October
13, 2011, in NWA. On November 1, 2011, the US blacklisted
a Haqqani Network ‘commander’ Mali Khan, jailed in Afghanistan,
in a bid to block funds to suspected terrorists belonging
to the Network. "All property subject to US jurisdiction
in which Mali Khan has any interest is blocked and US
persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions
with him," the US State Department said.
has, however, avoided designating the Haqqani Network
as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO), since it is
currently engaged in efforts to bing the Haqqani Network
into peace talks, along with the Quetta Shura Taliban.
The US believes that designating the Haqqani Network as
an FTO would close the doors for any possible dialogue.
Network which primarily uses suicide bombings as a tactic
in Afghanistan, and constitutes a quintessential element
of the Kabul Attack Network (KAN), a group that carries
out operations in and around Kabul, the national capital.
KAN also includes militants belonging to the Quetta Shura
Taliban, run by Mullah Omar, and Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin
(HI-G) led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and co-operates with
other terrorist outfits including al
Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
Led by senior Haqqani leaders, Dawood and Taj Mir Jawad,
KAN has executed several attacks in Kabul. The major KAN
successes owe mainly to the Haqqani Network. Jeffrey A.
Dressler of the Institute for the Study of War notes,
“[a]s early as 2007, there were reports that insurgents
were establishing bases of operations in districts and
provinces in and around Kabul. These bases were established
in Kabul and Logar and resourced by suicide bombers who
could be assigned to strike targets in the nation’s capital”.
Dressler’s report goes on to note that KAN, with the Haqqani
Network playing a major role, divided the city of Kabul
into 15 zones, each of which was under the command of
a separate leader tasked with providing resources for
and coordinating attacks. The identity of each of the
15 zone commanders is kept secret even from the others,
and only a few high-ranking insurgent leaders in Pakistan
have comprehensive information relating to the KAN leadership.
Network has emerged as the most prominent among the three
main terrorist groups in Afghanistan working under common
strategic goals, and different strategic plans. Founded
by Jalaluddin Haqqani, an ethnic Pashtun belonging to
the Zadran tribe in the 1970’s, the Network is now led
by Jalaluddin’s son Sirajuddin. In his initial years as
a mujahid (holy warrior), Jalaluddin allied with
Hizb-e-Islami, then led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and which
had Younis Khalis and Burhanuddin Rabbani as its members.
In 1979, a split in Hizb-e-Islami took Jalaluddin into
the Hizb-e-Islami-Khalis (HI-K) group, while Hekmatyar
came to control the Hizb-e-Islami (Gulbuddin, HI-G). The
same year, Jalaluddin became the key HI-K ‘commander’
in the south eastern region of Afghanistan. In 1986, Jalaluddin
walked out of the HI-K, to form his own group.
Haqqani and then al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden forged
a relationship with an explicit understanding against
the anti-Soviet resistance. Receiving weapons and funds
from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Saudi
Arabia, and training from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence
the Network fought against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
to the al Qaeda nexus, the Haqqani Network allied with
the Taliban just before the Taliban consolidated power
in Kabul. Jalaluddin served both as a military commander
and a Minister of Border and Tribal Affairs in Mullah
Omar’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Praveen Swami notes,
further, “Bin Laden's declaration of jihad against
the West — his most sweeping manifesto and ideological
keystone of the 9/11 attacks – was critically issued from
a Haqqani camp in the Zhawara valley.” In 1986, bin Laden
constructed an elaborate cave, the ‘Lion’s Den’ in the
Haqqani-controlled territory of Jaji in Paktia Province,
to train Arab volunteers to fight in Afghanistan.
the most prominent among recent attacks carried out by
the Haqqani Network include:
3, 2011: A suicide attack conducted by five suicide bombers
on a security contractor’s compound in Guzra District
of Herat Province killed two Afghan guards working for
NATO-led troops, and wounded five people, including one
29, 2011: A suicide bomber killed 13 foreigners, most
of them Americans, and at least four Afghans in Kabul.
Though the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack,
Afghan and American officials suspect involvement of Haqqani
13, 2011: A 20 hour siege co-ordinated with three suicide
attacks in Kabul killed 14 Afghan civilians and Police
and injured 28 others.
11, 2011: Two Afghan civilians were killed and 80 US troops
injured by a suicide truck bomber on the US military base
in Bagram city of Wardak Province.
2011: Eight militants attacked the Inter-Continental Hotel
in Kabul, killing 11 Afghan civilians and two Policemen
and injuring 13 others. After hours of retaliatory firing
by Afghan and NATO forces, four bombers blew themselves
up bringing an end to the cross fire.
19, 2010: Four suicide bombers dressed in Afghan
Army uniforms killed five Afghan soldiers and three Policemen,
and wounded 20 others at an Army recruitment centre in
19, 2010: Two armed KAN members opened fire
on a bus carrying recruits near the main training facility
outside Kabul. One suicide bomber detonated his bomb killing
five Afghan soldiers.
2010: The Haqqani led KAN conducted a suicide attack near
a medical clinic in Kabul, killing four Afghan civilians.
2010: A suicide attack in Kabul killed 18 people, including
a US colonel, a Canadian colonel, two lieutenant colonels,
two US soldiers, and 12 Afghan civilians.
11, 2009: At least 21 persons were killed and 57 injured
as militants carried a series of strikes against Afghan
Government targets in Kabul.
2008: A suicide attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul
killed 41 persons and injured over 140. The dead included
two senior diplomats, Political Counsellor V. Venkateswara
Rao and Defence Adviser Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta.
2008: Sirajuddin Haqqani, the commander of the Haqqani
Network, claimed responsibility for the Sabari District
Centre suicide bombing which killed two International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members and wounded
dozens of Afghan civilians, and promised more suicide
bombings in the Khost Province.
working under the leadership and command of Sirajuddin
Haqqani, the most wanted man in Afghanistan, with a USD
5 million bounty on his head, the outfit maintains a strong
power base in Pakistan’s NWA.
comprising a group of around 15,000 fighters, the Haqqani
Network, has expanded its base and leadership. Maintaining
a strong power base in NWA, the Network operates in Afghanistan,
mainly in the Loya Paktia region, which includes Paktia,
Paktika and Khost; Ghazni, Wardack and Kabul Provinces.
This dominance goes back to the period of the anti-Soviet
resistance when Jalaluddin Haqqani, along with al Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden, had solidified his position across
the Loya Paktia tribal complex, well beyond the traditional
Zadran tribal hold.
from Pakistan’s Forces. Though periodic military campaigns
have been launched in almost all the tribal areas of Pakistan,
there have been no such operations in NWA thus far, despite
repeated US demands. Pakistan has virtually declared the
Haqqani Network as its “strategic asset”. In May 2008,
a transcript given to Mike McConnell, the Director of
US National Intelligence, stated that Islamabad’s Chief
of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, referred
to Haqqani as a “strategic asset”. Further, stressing
Islamabad’s laxity in dealing with the terror nodes of
the Haqqani Network within Pakistan, former Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, on September
21, 2011, accused Pakistan of exporting violent extremism
in Afghanistan through proxies, and described the Haqqani
Network as a “veritable arm” of the ISI. Reconfirming
such linkages, on October 31, 2011, the US urged Islamabad
to ensure that “Intelligence information does not go to
the Haqqani Network”.
striking back at the US for accusing the ISI of supporting
the Haqqani Network, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina
Rabbani Khar, on September 27, 2011, observed, "The
deadly Haqqani Network was CIA's blue-eyed boy for many
years. If we talk about links, I am sure the CIA also
has links with many terrorist organisations around the
world, by which we mean intelligence links."
US pushes for a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan,
it is under tremendous pressure to neutralise the terrorist
groupings operating in Afghanistan lest the ‘drawdown’
leaves Kabul exposed to a Taliban takeover. Pakistan’s
continuing duplicity has forced the US to declare a new
and aggressive approach against the Haqqani Network. The
current US strategy, however and at best, takes on the
contours of a desperate rearguard action to force a reluctant
adversary to the negotiating table, even as it provides
incentives – through announcement of a timetable of withdrawal
– for him to persist in his violence. On September 23,
2011, Sirajuddin Haqqani warned Washington against any
military adventure in the NWA, declaring, “The US would
suffer more losses in the North Waziristan Agency than
they did in Afghanistan.”
an ISAF spokesman, Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson,
on October 10, 2011, stated that Afghan Army and the NATO-led
ISAF were keeping up pressure on the insurgents, "We
chase Haqqani in the field, killing and capturing more
than 100 last week alone, and more than 1,400 were captured
this year. We also have to break their financial trends."
with continuing support from, and safe havens in, Pakistan,
with the top leadership of the group intact, with a continuing
expansions of both its operational and recruitment base,
and with a visible wasting away of the Western will to
continue with present levels of military involvement in
Afghanistan, there is little possibility of neutralizing
the continuing and widening rampage of the Haqqani group,
even with continued successes of ongoing US drone operations.
Fakir Mohan Pradhan
Research Assistant, Institute for Conflict Management
absence of sustained armed violence - despite the
persistence of intimidation and sporadic incidents
of bloodshed - has itself transformed both politics
and the character of political parties in Nepal,
including, most significantly, the Maoists. Despite
intra- and inter-party friction, there is no reason
to believe that this process will not deepen, or
that there will be an abrupt regression to the more
atavistic politics of the past.
further deadline for the tenure of the Constituent Assembly
(CA) approaching at the end of November, and the Constitution
Drafting process deadlocked, a crisis appeared imminent
in Kathmandu. Political observers felt that a further
extension to the CA may have attracted a judicial challenge,
since no progress had been registered in its activities
for months. Such a crisis, however, now appears to have
been averted by an uncharacteristic display of extraordinary
flexibility and accommodation by the major political formations
in Nepal, expressed through a seven-point agreement
signed on November 1, 2011. The signatories to the agreement
– Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M)
Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda; Nepali
Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala; Communist Party
of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) Chairman Jhala
Nath Khanal; and Bijay Gachchhadar, as representative
of the United Democratic Madheshi Front (UDMF), a grouping
of five Madhesh-based parties – demonstrated tremendous
sense of purpose, to open a new window of opportunity
for the peace process that had stagnated since the CA
election in 2008.
deal prepares the basis for the conclusion of the peace
process, bringing divergent positions on some of the most
contentious issue to a workable closeness. The most significant
agreement in this context has been on the the fractious
issue of the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist
combatants. Out of up to 19,000 Maoist combatants in cantonments
(the exact number is to be determined after field verification),
a maximum of 6,500, willing combatants are to be integrated
with the Nepal Army as per standard norms of the Army,
though with some relaxation in age and educational qualifications.
Ranks of the enlisted soldiers will also be determined
based on the standards of the security body.
joining the Army will be brought under a separate directorate
within the Army, where their strength will be a maximum
of 35 per cent of the total strength of the directorate,
the remaining number being drawn from regular Army personnel.
This directorate is to be exclusively committed to development
related activities, forest conservation, industrial security
and crisis management, and will not be part of the armed
Force of the military establishment.
combatants in the cantonments are to be rehabilitated
into civilian life, either through a voluntary retirement
programme or through a rehabilitation package that includes
education, training and vocational opportunities. The
cost of these packages varies between NPR 600,000 to NPR
900,000. Those opting for voluntary retirement would receive
between NPR 500,000 and NPR 800,000, depending on their
seniority within the Maoist organisation.
weapons stored in the cantonments are to automatically
come under the Government’s ownership once the process
of integration begins.
has fixed a deadline for completion of the task of dividing
the combatants opting for integration and rehabilitation,
respectively, for November 23, 2011.
significant issues of contention that appear to have been
settled were the dismantling of the Maoist’s Young Communist
and the return of seized properties by the UCPN-M. The
Maoists have agreed that “the paramilitary structure of
the YCL would be dismantled, while all the public and
private properties seized by the YCL would be returned
to the rightful organizations and individuals by November
23.” Further, the UCPN-M has also agreed to take an official
decision to return the private and public properties seized
by the party during the armed conflict to the rightful
owners for their use, again, by November 23. Due compensation
would be paid to the owners for the loss caused by the
seizure of properties. The rights of the peasants would
be guaranteed in accordance with the letter and spirit
of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2006, the Interim
Constitution of 2007, and “scientific land reforms”.
1 deal also provides for a Truth and Reconciliation (TRC)
Commission and a Commission to Investigate Forced Disappearances,
which are to be formed “within a month”. The Agreement
further provides that relief packages would be made available
for the victims of conflict.
to take the ongoing peace process to its logical culmination,
and to complete the task of the drafting of the Constitution,
the political parties have also agreed to set up a high
level political mechanism that will facilitate dialogue
among the political parties. Further, a team of experts
will be formed immediately, on the basis of consensus
in the CA, to make recommendations on state restructuring,
and to initiate the process of formulating a draft of
the new Constitution within one month.
sees these processes as a prelude to the establishment
of a national consensus government (NCG). A NCG has been
the objective of Nepali politics since the CA election
in 2008. Indeed, media reports suggest that an informal
understanding between the parties has already been hammered
out, paving the way for the present Maoist-led Government
to make way for an NC-lead NCG, which would oversee the
next elections, once Constitution drafting has been completed.
latest deal has been hailed as ‘historic’ in various quarters,
the hardliner faction of the UCPN-M, led by vice-chairman
Mohan Baidya aka Kiran, has opposed the Agreement,
terming it a ‘betrayal of the people and the country’.
Threatening to “revolt” against the Agreement, Baidya
and Maoist General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa have demanded
that the deal be scrapped. There is, however, growing
evidence that the hardliner faction is getting marginalised
within the party. Party Chairman Dahal has, moreover,
allayed apprehensions, arguing that such opposition can
exist within the party, and that such voices can be accommodated
within the party discourse.
after the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the General
Staff of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on
November 3, 2011, PLA chief Nanda Kishor Pun declared
that the PLA fighters were ‘fully committed’ to the 'historic'
deal and would support the Government in its prompt implementation.
The meeting directed all the commanders of the seven divisions
of the PLA to help implement the agreement.
has, of course, seen many agreements before this foundering
against the challenges of implementation. This time around,
however, there is greater optimism and a surprising consensus
across parties that have inclined to stubbornness and
confrontation in the past. Indeed, during the debate in
the CA on November 3, 2011, leaders of the major political
parties regretted ‘wasting three years’ in political wrangling.
The three fractious years following the election of the
CA in 2008 have seen four Prime Ministers and highly unstable
Governments. A sense of urgency appears, now, to have
gripped all major political formations in the country,
and the UCPN-M, NC and CPN-UML, on November 5, 2011, formed
a task force comprising Barshaman Pun from the Maoist
party, Krishna Prasad Sitaula from the NC and Bhim Rawal
from the CPN-UML, to monitor the peace and Constitution
drafting processes, even in the absence of Prachanda,
who was travelling to New York.
three years of a fractious competitive politics had established
a hurting stalemate, with none of the political parties
able to gain significant ground. With major issues remaining
undecided, and a turnstile for Governments established
at Kathmandu, the prevailing situation was clearly becoming
untenable. It was also becoming increasingly difficult
to keep restive PLA combatants indefinitely in the cantonments,
and an increasing loss of public faith was eroding support
across party lines. Nepal’s political parties appear,
now, to have realized the necessity of living with one
another, if the country is not to fall into an uncontrollable
downward spiral. The present agreement does create the
grounds to bring years of fruitless wrangling to an end.
There are, nevertheless, a number of sticking
points in the peace process that could
stall or jeopardize implementation again, and it remains
to be seen how long the newly discovered sagacity persists
among the country’s principal political players.
Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in
data compiled from English language media sources.
cadres involved in Madurai bomb case, says Police: Special
Task Force (STF) officials said that that two former cadres
of the banned terror outfit Al-Umma have been identified as
the masterminds behind the plot to target the convoy of BJP
leader L K Advani during his journey near Madurai in Tamil Nadu
and a manhunt is on to arrest them. The suspects, identified
as "Police" Fakruddin and Bilal Mallick, close associates of
slain terrorist Imam Ali, had started hatching the conspiracy
as the schedule of Advani's travel was announced last month,
officials said. Indian
Express, November 4, 2011.
Aware of Maoists
in northeast, says Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam
Raju: Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju on November
2 said the Government was aware of the Communist Party of India-Maoist
(CPI-Maoist) spreading their activities in the northeast and
was taking steps to contain them. "We are aware of its (Maoism)
spread in the northeast and we are taking all steps to contain
it," he stated. Hindustan
Times, November 3, 2011.
14 SFs and
eight militants among 26 persons killed during the week in FATA:
The leader of a tribal lashkar (tribal militia), Malak
Amanullah, and two other people were shot dead when suspected
militants opened fire in Azam Warsak bazaar, about 20 kilometres
west of Wana, in South Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered
Tribal Area (FATA) on November 6.
were killed and seven others injured in an ambush in Speen Mella
area of South Waziristan on November 5.
US drone strike
killed at least three suspected Haqqani network militants in
Darpakhel Sarai, just outside Miranshah, the main town of North
Waziristan Agency on November 3.
November 1 handed over dead bodies of three Security Force (SF)
personnel, who were abducted after the October 26 attack on
a check post in Mohmand Agency, to the political administration
in the agency headquarters in Ghalanai, after successful talks
with a tribal jirga in Atmarkhel area of Baizai tehsil
(revenue unit). Dawn;
November 1-7, 2011.
ISI was behind
26/11 attacks and bombing of Indian embassy in Kabul, claims
BBC report: Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was behind
the Mumbai attacks (November 26, 2008, also known as 26/11)
as well as the July 7, 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in
Kabul, a November 4 British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC) report claimed. In a new two-part series titled 'Secret
Pakistan', Bruce Riedel, the Central Intelligence Agency officer
who served as advisor to United States President Barack Obama,
said he had informed the then President-elect about 26/11. Indian
Express, November 5, 2011.
'hiding' nuclear bombs in civilian vans on congested roads,
claim media reports: Two US magazines on November 4 reported
that the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), in charge of the storage
and security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, has started moving
them in low-security vans on congested roads in order to hide
them from US spy agencies and Indian agents all the while making
the weapons vulnerable to theft by Islamist militants. The
Atlantic and The National Journal, in a joint report
citing unnamed sources, wrote that the US raid that killed al
Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden on May 1-2, 2011 at his compound
in Abbottabad, just a stone's throw from the military academy
of Kakul, reinforced Pakistan Army's longstanding fears that
Washington could try to dismantle the country's nuclear arsenal.
November 5, 2011.
Haqqani Network commander: United States on November 1 blacklisted
a jailed Haqqani Network Commander Mali Khan in a bid to block
funds to suspected terrorists. "All property subject to US jurisdiction
in which Mali Khan has any interest is blocked and US persons
are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him,"
the State Department said, adding, "This action will help stem
the flow of financial and other assistance to the Haqqani Network."
News, November 2, 2011.
of Interior releases new list of banned outfits: The Federal
Ministry of Interior released a list of 31 banned outfits on
November 5. Apart from those in the earlier list, name of People's
Aman Committee of Karachi, Shia Tulaba Action Committee, Markaz
Sabeel Organisation and Tanzeem-i-Naujawanan-i-Sunnat of Gilgit-Baltistan
have been added to the list. Dawn,
November 6, 2011.
CIA to curtail
drone attacks: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on
November 4 agreed to curtail drone strikes without consent of
Pakistan. The CIA had made a series of secret concessions in
its drone campaign after military and diplomatic officials complained
that large-level strikes were damaging the fragile US relationship
with Pakistan. Dawn,
November 5, 2011.
commission ready with report before deadline: The Lessons
Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) appointed by President
Mahinda Rajapaksa to study Sri Lanka's three-decade long war
is getting ready to present its final report to the President
during the second week of November, 2011. The LLRC was initially
scheduled to hand over its report to the President on November
Page, November 1, 2011.
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