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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 12, No. 38, March 24, 2014

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


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Critical Cusp
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

With less than a fortnight to go for the all important Presidential Elections scheduled to be held on April 5, 2014, a wave of terror strikes has enveloped the length and breadth of Afghanistan. In the most recent of major incidents (each resulting in three or more fatalities) at least nine persons, including four foreigners and five Afghans (including two children and two women), were shot dead by Taliban terrorists inside the luxurious Serena Hotel complex in national capital Kabul, in the night of March 20, 2014. The attackers managed to smuggle pistols past security checkpoints and then hid in a bathroom, eventually springing out and opening fire on guests and hotel guards. All the four terrorists were killed in the subsequent operation by the Security Forces (SFs). The attack took place despite recent security reports rating Serena Hotel, guarded round the clock by dozens of security guards armed with assault weapons, among the highest-risk locales in the city. The hotel is frequented by foreign officials and the Afghan elite.

In another incident earlier in the day, Taliban terrorists killed at least 11 people, including the Police Chief of Jalalabad District, and wounded another 22, in a suicide bomb attack and gun battle at a Police Station in Jalalabad city, Nangarhar Province. The assault began with two explosions just before dawn targeting the Police Station and a nearby square, close to compounds used by international organizations, including the United Nations. The initial attack was carried out by two suicide bombers, one of them driving a three-wheeler vehicle. Afghan SF personnel, with the help of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) helicopter gunships, launched retaliatory fire. The ensuing gun battle lasted for over three hours, at the end of which six Taliban terrorists, all of them wearing suicide vests, were killed.

On March 18, 2014, a suicide bomber riding a rickshaw blew himself up outside a checkpoint near a market in Maymana, the capital of Faryab Province, killing at least 15 civilians and injuring another 46. The explosion took place some 200 metres away from the Provincial Governor’s residential compound.

On January 17, 2014, at least 21 persons, including 13 foreigners and eight Afghans, were killed in a suicide bombing by the Taliban, at a Lebanese restaurant, Taverna Du Liban, in Kabul. Wabel Abdallah, the International Monetary Fund’s Resident Representative in Afghanistan, was among the dead. Three attackers were also killed. The restaurant, popular among foreigners and wealthy locals, is located in an area that houses several diplomatic missions.

According to partial data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management’s (ICM's) South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), since the beginning of 2014, a total of 682 persons, including 141 civilians, 101 SF personnel and 440 terrorists, have been killed in terrorism-related incidents across Afghanistan (data till March 23, 2014). The country has recorded at least 45 major incidents in 321 deaths during this period. More worryingly, 21 out of these 45 incidents were suicide attacks, accounting for 132 killings.

Violence recorded a significant escalation through 2013. SATP data indicates that at least 6,363 fatalities were recorded through 2012, including of 2,754 civilians, 893 SF personnel and 2,716 terrorists, rising to 7,074 fatalities in 2013, including 2,959 civilians, 1,413 SF personnel and 2,702 terrorists - an increase of 11.17 percent in overall fatalities.

More worryingly, civilians continued to face the brunt, with civilian fatalities increasing by 7.44 percent in 2013. According to United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the number of civilians killed through 2013 surpassed civilian fatalities in all the previous years since the beginning of war in 2001, barring 2011, when the civilian fatalities stood at 3,021. UNAMA, however, started compiling data only from 2007, in which year 1,523 civilian deaths were documented across Afghanistan.

Other parameters of violence, includng suicide attacks and improvised explosive device (IED) attacks also witnessed an increase in 2013, as compared to the previous year. As against 101 suicide attacks in 2012, year 2013 recorded 107 such attacks, according to UNAMA. 73 of 107 suicide attacks in 2013 targeted civilians, killing 255. Throughout 2013, the use of IEDs remained the leading cause of civilian deaths and injuries. 962 civilian deaths and 1,928 injuries occurred in 2013 due to IED explosions, as compared to 868 civilian deaths and 1,663 injuries in 2012.

Indeed, varying media sources estimate that the Taliban, which lost power in 2001 as the US and its allies launched Operation Enduring Freedom in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, has regrouped and now dominates an estimated 40 to 60 per cent of Afghanistan.

More than 50,000 ISAF combat troops who are still in Afghanistan are due to leave by the end of the year. Afghan Forces now control almost 93 per cent of their territory and lead 97 per cent of all security operations across the country. They are also responsible for over 90 per cent of their own training activities. Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) troops have demonstrated their capabilities in a number of successful operations, but difficulties persist, as is evident in the failure to stall the rise in violence. US Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, thus told the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 11, 2014, that, on the battlefield, Afghan Forces often score tactical victories against Taliban insurgents, but had difficulties holding cleared territory, particularly when Police units were involved. Clapper also observed that the Afghan National Army (ANA) had, improved but still suffered from “extensive desertion problems”. About 30,000 Afghans deserted from the ANA in 2013, out of a total strength of 185,000, Clapper disclosed. The head of the US Defence Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, added, at the same forum, that Afghan troops had made “modest progress”, but still needed international assistance with logistics, air transport and intelligence.

Clearly, the current situation demonstrates tremendous vulnerabilities in the ANSF, and the need for a continued and significant presence of ISAF troops, if the state is to retain its structure and dominance in future engagements. Nevertheless, the process of the premature drawdown of ISAF Forces continues to accelerate. On March 16, 2014, the United Kingdom (UK) handed over another two bases to Afghan Forces. From 137 UK bases in the country, there now remain just two bases - Camp Bastion, which is the main base for UK personnel, and observation post Sterga 2, both of which are in Helmand Province.

On February 25, 2014, the White House announced that US President Barack Obama had ordered the Pentagon to prepare for a possible complete withdrawal of troops, following Afghan President Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US, despite the US and Afghanistan agreeing to details of the BSA and the agreement being endorsed by a council of 3,000 Afghan tribal elders, the Loya Jirga. Karzai has stated that he will only sign the BSA if the US publicly starts a peace process with the Taliban and ensures transparent elections this year. Indeed, according to a February 3, 2014, media report, President Karzai has been engaged in secret contacts with the Taliban. Aimal Faizi, Karzai's spokesman, characterized the contacts as among the 'most serious' the presidential palace had with the Taliban since the war, adding, “The last two months have been very positive. These parties were encouraged by the President’s stance on the bilateral security agreement and his speeches afterwards.” Despite coalition reservations, the Karzai Government has also gone ahead with its decision to release detainees at Bagram Prison in Bagram District, Parwan Province. It has so far released 120 detainees – 55 on March 20, 2014, and 65 on February 13, 2014. The US Forces had handed over the prison at Bagram Air Base to full Afghan control on March 25, 2013.

The final word on the BSA, however, will only be heard after the Presidential Elections of April 2014. Indeed, soon after Obama’s telephonic conversation with Hamid Karzai on February 25, 2014, the White House issued a statement noting, “We will leave open the possibility of concluding a (security agreement) with Afghanistan later this year. However, the longer we go without a (deal), the more challenging it will be to plan and execute any U.S. mission.” Crucially, all the nine candidates who are in fray for the President's post have supported the signing of the BSA, though none of them have stated this openly, with the exception of Abdullah Abdullah, who was the runner up to Karzai in the disputed 2009 elections. Abudllah observed, “It is in the interest of Afghanistan to sign the BSA.” The pact would allow the US to keep as many as 10,000 troops in the country to focus on counterterrorism and the training of Afghan security forces.

The BSA alone, however, cannot ensure peace in Afghanistan. Unless the Taliban's safe sanctuaries and infrastructure of support in Pakistan are dismantled, Pakistan-backed Islamist extremists will continue to wreak havoc in Afghanistan. In his final address to Afghanistan’s Parliament on March 15, 2014, Karzai declared, in an obvious reference to Pakistan, that the US could bring peace to Afghanistan if it went after terrorist sanctuaries and countries that supported terrorism. Similarly, Major General Stephen Townsend, who commands US and NATO Forces in eastern Afghanistan, noted, "Until the Pakistanis do something about the safe havens, that's going to be a problem. (Terrorists) can recruit and train and equip and prepare to launch in Pakistan."

The most immediate concern is, of course, conducting a free and fair Presidential election. Indeed, in 2004, the fatalities during the campaign period (September 7 to October 7) stood at 196. The elections, which were conducted on October 9, 2004, were by and large fair. As a result, violence in the post-election period remained low. On the other hand, in 2009, a total of 1,173 persons were killed during the campaign period (June 16 to August 18), and the elections, which were held on August 20, 2009, were marred with controversy so much so that a runoff election was declared on November 7, 2009, which was finally called off on November 2, when second runner up Abdullah Abdullah decided, on November 1, not to contest, citing the “inappropriate actions of the Government and the election commission”. The violence and lack of transparency in the elections catalyzed the growth of the Taliban. Present developments indicate that this process might well be repeated in the present round of polls. Since the beginning of the campaign on February 2, 2014, 534 persons have already been killed in Afghanistan, till March 23. The campaign will last till April 2. Unless this rising violence is contained at the earliest and an environment where free and fair elections can be conducted can be established, the outcome could bode ill for the future of Afghanistan.

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Northeast: Uncertain Relief
Veronica Khangchian
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

India’s troubled Northeast continues to witness varying levels of insurgency related violence, as well as tensions between various ethnic groups, with troubles further compounded by external agencies and a proliferation of new rebel formations. Nevertheless, insurgency-related fatalities in the region have seen sustained and dramatic improvements, from a recent peak of 1,051 in 2008, collapsing to 246 fatalities in 2011. Though 2012 saw a reversal of this trend, with 316 killed, the region saw a significant improvement in 2013, with 252 killed. A multiplicity of enduring insurgencies has weakened considerably, either disintegrating or seeking peace through negotiated settlements with the Government. However, the mushrooming of new militant outfits and splinter groups in the region, the worst of which is witnessed in Garo Hills of Meghalaya, continues to renew the menace in the region.

Fatalities in Militants Violence in India's Northeast 2005-2014*
























Source: SATP, *Data till March 23, 2014

The two States worst afflicted by insurgency in 2012, Nagaland and Manipur, recorded dramatic declines in insurgency related fatalities. According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal database, Nagaland dropped dramatically from 61 [six civilians and 55 militants] in 2012 to just 32 [11 civilians and 21 militants] in 2013. Internecine clashes within the State also declined from 43 incidents in 2012, resulting in 53 persons killed and 23 injured, to 18 incidents in 2013, resulting in 12 killed and 11 injured. 2012 had witnessed intense factional killing between Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland–Khaplang (NSCN-K) and NSCN-Khole-Kitovi (NSCN-KK), which visibly slowed down in 2013. Factional killings amongst the Nagas had spiked after the formation of NSCN-KK on June 7, 2011, and the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF), a Manipur based outfit, on February 25, 2011. Further, seven incidents of fratricidal clashes [resulting in nine killed and two injured] between Naga militant groups were recorded outside Nagaland in 2013, as against such 13 such incidents [resulting in 27 killed and 10 injured] in 2012. Fatalities in Nagaland had registered an upward trend, till they peaked at 145 in 2008, but fell drastically in 2009 and 2010, in the aftermath of the signing of the Covenant of Reconciliation in mid-2009. However, this emerging trend saw a reversal after the emergence of ZUF and NSCN-KK in 2011. Nagaland faces fresh challenges in 2014, carrying forward tensions from the December 2013 incidents between the Rengma Nagas and Karbis of Assam. 2014 has already recorded 11 fatalities, including 10 civilians and one militant.

In Manipur, according to the SATP database, total fatalities, at 110 [25 civilians, 12 Security Forces-SFs, 73 militants] in 2012, reduced to just half, at 55 in 2013 [21 civilians, six SFs and 28 militants killed in 10 incidents]. 2013 recorded 76 incidents of bomb blast, in which 24 people were killed and 103 were injured; 107 incidents of explosion had been recorded in 2012, though the total fatalities were nine, and 90 persons were injured. Of the 107 blasts in 2012, Corcom (the Coordination Committee of six Valley-based groups) was responsible for 33; 28 of the 76 incidents in 2013 were attributed to CorCom. 2013 data also demonstrates the greater lethality of bomb attacks, despite the reduction in incidence. Fratricidal clashes between Naga militants also declined in frequency. There were at least 10 clashes between the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) – at times a combined force of ZUF and NSCN-K – and the NSCN-Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM), which resulted in 25 fatalities in 2012. There were just seven such incidents and nine fatalities through 2013. 2014 has already recorded 10 fatalities [two civilians, three SFs and five militants]. The People's Liberation Army (PLA), a member of Corcom, was involved in the three SF killings.

According to SATP, 101 persons, including 60 militants, 35 civilians and six Security Force (SF) personnel, were killed in 71 incidents of killing through 2013 in Assam. There were 91 killings in 2012, including 45 militants, 31 civilians and 15 SF personnel, in 64 incidents of killing. This marginally reversed  a continuously declining trend since 2009, when fatalities were 392 (158 in 2010, 94 in 2011). The current scale of violence is far below its peak in 1998, when the State recorded 783 terrorism-related fatalities. Ingti Kathar Songbijit faction of National democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-IKS) emerged as the most lethal group in the State, with a confirmed involvement in 19 fatal incidents, resulting in 25 deaths; followed by Karbi People's Liberation Tiger (KPLT), involved in 11 incidents of killing, resulting in 16 fatalities. The Anti-Talks faction of ULFA (ULFA-ATF), which rechristened itself ULFA-Independent (ULFA-I) continued to maintain its strike capability, and was involved in at least 12 killing incidents resulting in 14 deaths. On March 16, 2014 [the party's 'Army Day'], ULFA-I asked its members to re-strengthen the outfit, fearing that certain members had a nexus with the SFs. At least eight ULFA-I cadres, including its 'operational commander' Pramod Gogoi alias Partha Pratim Asom, were executed on the instructions of the ULFA-I's 'commander-in-chief', Paresh Baruah, for 'conspiring with Police and Security Forces to engineer a mass surrender of cadres over the past four months. Seven cadres were executed in December, 2013, while they were trying to flee the Myanmar base to surrender to police. 'Operational commander' Partha Pratim Asom was executed on January 15, 2014 in Mon district of Nagaland. The State has already recorded a total of 38 fatalities in 2014 [15 civilians, one SF, 22 militants]. NDFB-IKS was involved in 11 of the 14 civilians killed and in the killing of SF personnel. Of the 22 militants killed, five were known to belong to NDFB-IKS, three ULFA-I and three KPLT. Worryingly, on March 13, 2014, NDFB-IKS released a video-clipping to announce the launch of an 'operation' to assassinate State politicians, Director General of Police (DGP) and Superintendents of Police (SPs). The video-clipping revealed that NDFB-IKS has sent its 35-member "Iragdao Brigade" to launch the "2nd Urailang Operation." Sources said the militants have been asked to sacrifice their lives if need be to accomplish the mission. A March 17, 2014, report observed that, according to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) the NDFB has killed as many as 70 people in Assam during through 2010-14. In January 2014, State Police Headquarters declared 15 members of the NDFB-IKS, including its chief Songbijit Ingti Kathar (IK Songbijit), as 'most wanted'. Assam Police said valuable information leading to the arrest of these 15 NDFB-IKS militants would be worth INR 9.5 million. In a significant development, 2,009 cadres of the Dilip Nunisa faction of Dima Halam Daogah (DHD-N), surrendered en masse on March 9, 2013. The outfit had signed a Memorandum of Settlement [MoS] with the Government on October 8, 2012. In another positive development, a six months long tripartite Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement was signed between the Ranjan Daimary faction of NDFB (NDFB-RD), the Central Government and the State Government, on November 29, 2013.

In Meghalaya, according to the SATP database, insurgency related fatalities increased from 48 in 2012, to 60 in 2013. After dramatic declines between 2004 and 2008, there has been a continuous year on year increase in fatalities in the State. Worryingly, SF fatalities have spiked from just two in 2012 to nine in 2013. 2013 also recorded six major incidents (each resulting in 3 or more fatalities) in which 22 persons were killed [9 militants, 5 SF personnel and 8 civilians].Insurgent violence had declined after the signing of a ceasefire agreement with Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) on July 23, 2004, but resurfaced again with the formation of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), followed by the emergence of various new and splinter groups. The GNLA continues to be responsible for the largest proportion of violent activities in the State. On January 5, 2013, a draft agreement was signed between the ANVC and ANVC-B with the government. During 2013, the State also saw several agitations relating to demands relating to statehood and Inner Line Permit (ILP) arrangements. 2014 has already recorded 15 fatalities [six civilians and nine militants].

In Arunachal Pradesh, at least four militants [three from NSCN and one from ULFA-I)] were killed in the State in three encounters through 2013. Three militants [two from NSCN-K and one from NSCN-IM] were killed in 2012 in factional clashes between NSCN-IM and NSCN-K.  Significantly, there were no civilian or SF fatalities, and no factional killings, in 2013. Worryingly, however, 2014 has already recorded five fatalities in the State, with two civilians and three militants killed. Outgoing Arunachal Pradesh Governor, General (Retired) J.J. Singh, on May 23, 2013, observed that the insurgency in the eastern Arunachal Districts -Tirap, Changlang and Longding - could be solved only after a permanent solution to the vexed Naga issue was reached.

The stabilisation process in Tripura gained further momentum through 2013, without a single terrorism-related fatality through the year - a signal achievement secured for the first time since 1992. 2012 had recorded two fatalities, both militants, in two separate incidents. Significantly, at its peak in 2004, the militancy had claimed as many as 514 lives, including 453 civilians, 45 militants and 16 SF personnel. Of all the factions of the NLFT, Biswamohan Debbarma faction of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT-BM) alone remains active, though mounting pressure by the SFs resulted in the surrender of 14 of its cadres in 2013 alone. In a further setback, NLFT-BM 'Chief of Army Staff', Pasaram Tripura alias Parshuram alias T. Thomas alias Wathak (51) surrendered in Agartala in West Tripura District on January 10, 2014. Further, NLFT-BM 'second-in-command' Panther Debbarma alias Pandit surrendered before the Police along with his wife and an associate at Kanchanpur under North Tripura District on March 13, 2014, after they escaped from the NLFT’s base camp in the Jupui area of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh. Debbarma disclosed that NLFT had few weapons and the outfit had been marginalised due to continuous surrenders and desertions among members over the past three years.

In Mizoram, unresolved challenges including talks between the Mizoram Government and the insurgent Hmar People's Convention - Democracy (HPC-D), as well as the unfinished repatriation of Bru (Reang) refugees from neighbouring Tripura were further compounded by occasional activities of militant groups from adjoining States engaging in abduction and arms smuggling. Despite an enduring peace after an agonizing twenty years of insurgency, a variety of issues, principally the result of ethnic tensions and overflows of insurgency from the neighbourhood, continue to rankle in Mizoram.

The Northeast had also witnessed several agitations demanding the creation of new States through 2013, particularly following the resolution of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), on July 30, 2013, to sanction statehood to Telengana by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh in South India. In Assam, statehood demands include agitations by the Bodos for Bodoland; Koch-Rajbongshis for Kamatapur; Karbis and the Dimasas for an autonomous or full-fledged State. In Meghalaya, the Garos renewed their stir for Garoland; and tribals in Tripura, under the banner of the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), demanded a separate state. In Manipur, the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) revived its demand for a ‘Kuki State’, even as the Eastern Naga Peoples Organization (ENPO) in Nagaland resumed its demands for a ‘Frontier Nagaland’ State.

Other concerns also persisted. According to April 18, 2013 report, the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) was planning to strengthen its base in the Northeast. A six page letter sent to 13 States, by the UMHA on CPI-Maoist efforts to expand to new areas, noted that the Maoists planned to strengthen their Eastern Regional Bureau: "The North-East is another region where the CPI (Maoist) is trying to spread its wings … with the objectives that include strengthening the outfit's Eastern Regional Bureau, procurement of arms/ammunition/communication equipment." The Maoist efforts to increase bases in the North East region are now directly supervised by Prashant Bose, Politburo Member and 'second in command' of the CPI-Maoist.

In November 2013 UMHA declared Assam a Maoist afflicted State, with the Joint Secretary (Northeast) Shambhu Singh noting that a review of law and order indicated that "Maoist presence in Assam and border areas of Arunachal Pradesh has been noticed and hence their activities were noticed in Golaghat, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur and Tinsukia Districts of Assam and Namsai area of Lohit District in Arunachal Pradesh." Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while addressing a conference of State Governors in New Delhi on February 12, 2013, noted that Left Wing Extremism’s (LWE) geographical spread in the country was showing a shrinking trend, though it was expanding in Assam, which was "worrisome". On February 5, 2014, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi disclosed that CPI-Maoist had entered into an understanding with militants based in the Northeastern region as well as with Pakistan's external intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to spread its network in his State.

Meanwhile, on March 14, 2014, the Revolutionary People's Front (RPF), the political body of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which had signed an agreement with the CPI-Maoist in 2008, congratulated CPI-Maoist for their successful strike against Security Forces (SFs) in Sukma District of Chhattisgarh on March 11, and declared that RPF and CPI-Maoist were 'strategic partners'.

There were also reports of Northeast militant groups forming a common platform to fight the ‘enemy’. This was disclosed by Paresh Baruah, ‘commander in chief’ of ULFA-I, who declared that all the groups have realized the fact that there is need for fighting the “common enemy” together and after a series of talks among the various outfits, the decision was taken to form the proposed common platform.  He said that the move in this regard started three to four years earlier and final shape had been given recently: “More than 90 per cent of the work of forming the common platform has been completed and only the name of the platform has to be declared... Though the name of the platform is yet to be announced, the words ‘west-south east Asia’ would be included in the name.” Baruah added that outfits that had started “so-called talks” with the Government would not be included in the platform.

Significantly, on January 19, 2014, Assam DGP, Khagen Sarma stated that the ISI was behind the unification bid of Northeastern militants: “It is the Pakistani ISI and other external forces that are behind the fresh initiative taken by ‘commander in chief’ of ULFA-I to form a common force on all the insurgent groups based in Northeast to fight Indian security forces.”  Earlier, in 2012, there had also been reports of China encouraging the CPI-Maoist, militant groups from Jammu & Kashmir and from the North East region to unite to form a single 'united strategic front' against the Indian State.

In March 2013, Minister of State for Home Affairs M. Ramachandran stated that insurgent groups in the Northeastern region were getting arms and ammunition from China. Subsequently, Union Home Minister (UHM) Sushilkumar Shinde disclosed, "There are reports that the insurgent groups operating in the north eastern states of India have been augmenting their armoury by acquiring arms from China and Sino-Myanmar border towns and routing them through Myanmar. Significantly, India and Myanmar have agreed to cooperate to prevent cross border movement of armed groups, share information on seizure of arms and check arms smuggling/drug trafficking". Shinde added that the agreement was reached during the 20th Sectoral Level (Joint Working Group) Meeting between Myanmar and India held in Bagan, Myanmar, from June 19-20, 2013.  The UMHA has described the 1,643-kilometre-long India-Myanmar border - the locus of cross-border movement of militants, illegal arms and drugs - as 'extremely porous'.

In a significant breakthrough, on August 30, 2013, the NSCN-IM arms supplier, identified as Wuthikorn Naruenartwanich alias Willy Narue, was arrested by Bangkok Police on India’s request. He had brokered a USD 1 million deal involving supply of some 1,000 firearms, including 600 AK-47s and ammunition, with Chinese arms dealers.

On March 7 and 8, 2013, in the biggest arms haul in Mizoram thus far and one of the biggest in the Northeast, Mizoram Police and Assam Rifles seized 31 AK-47 assault rifles, one Singapore-made Light Machine Gun (LMG), one US-made Browning automatic rifle, 809 rounds of ammunition, and 32 magazines, from a farmhouse near the Lengpui Airport, on the outskirts of State capital, Aizawl. The arms were smuggled from Myanmar and were meant to be delivered to the Parbotia Chatagram Jana Sangata Samiti (PCJSS), a group claiming to fight for the rights of the indigenous people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) tribes of Bangladesh.

Militant groups operating in Northeast continues to maintain camps in neighboring countries. Significantly, the Border Security Force (BSF) submitted a list of 66 militant camps operating from Bangladesh, to the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), during a three-day bi-annual border coordination meeting [March 7-9, 2014] between the BSF inspector-generals and BGB’s region commanders held in Shillong (Meghalaya). The Venkaiah Naidu-led department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee had recommended, in March 2013, increasing pressure on countries bordering the Northeastern region during trade discussions to close down Indian rebel training camps operating on their soil.

The North East Students Organisation (NESO), on March 25, 2013, asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to expedite the ongoing peace process with various rebel groups in India’s Northeastern states and reverse the “unabated influx of illegal migrants from neighbouring countries”, which had brought a serious demographic change in the North East. NESO urged the Prime Minister to extend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, to the entire Northeastern region. Worryingly, United Nation Department of Economic and Social Affairs data indicated that, in 2013, India was home to 3.2 million Bangladeshi residents. India remained the favourite destination for Bangladeshi migrants in 2013, the UN report added.

Delays in bringing negotiations with various militant formations to a conclusion, irreconcilable 'settlements' with different ethnic groupings, the mushrooming of splinter insurgent formations, a continuing politics relying excessively on ethnic identity mobilisation, and poor governance have combined to keep insurgencies and disorders alive across the Indian Northeast, with both the regional States and the Indian Government displaying little sagacity in their approach to the region's enduring problems. However, exhaustion, disintegration and the loss of ideological motivation have undermined most insurgent organisations in the Northeast, giving its people some relief, though the threat of insurgent violence remains a permanent sceptre hanging over their heads.


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
March 18-23, 2014



Security Force Personnel









Left-wing Extremism






Total (INDIA)








Khyber Pakhtunkhwa







Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


Dhaka Court indicts former Prime Minister and BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia in corruption charge: A Dhaka Court on March 19 indicted former Prime Minister and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson, Begum Khaleda Zia, in charge of corruption for allegedly using an illegal fund to buy land for a charity named after her late husband, Ziaur Rahman. The charge is that Zia had illegally collected more than USD 1 million in donations for the charity named after her husband. Times of India, March 20, 2014.


Centre deputes 70 IPS officials and 6,000 troops to assist the Election Commission in ensuring free and fair elections in insurgency prone areas of the country: The Centre has deputed 70 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers of Inspector General level and 6,000 troops to assist the Election Commission in ensuring free and fair elections in insurgency prone areas of the country. A majority of these IPS officers will be deputed in the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) affected regions of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. DNA, March 19, 2014.

New airstrip soon for reconnaissance in LWE-affected areas: The Central Government has expedited the process of shifting the airstrip for aerial reconnaissance Drones in Left-Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected areas. "The airstrip for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) is expected to be functional within three months. The new airstrip will enable effective reconnaissance of the Naxal-infested regions," said an official. The Hindu, March 22, 2014.

Four Northeast militant groups to participate in the deliberations for creation of an umbrella organisation in Myanmar: Representatives of Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland- Khaplang (NSCN-K), Independent faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA-I), IK Songbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-IKS) and the Manipur-based People's Liberation Army (PLA) will participate in the deliberations for creation of an umbrella organisation in Taga of Sagaing division in north-western Myanmar on March 20. The meeting is likely to be convened by NSCN-K 'chairman' S.S. Khaplang, an influential leader in parts of northern Myanmar. Telegraph India, March 20, 2014.

NGOs vulnerable to money laundering and terror financing, according to UMHA: With voluntary organisations receiving more than INR 115 billion of foreign funds annually, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) has warned that the Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in India were vulnerable to risks of money laundering and terror financing. "While it is not proper to make sweeping generalisations, it is necessary to note that the NGO sector in India is vulnerable to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing," its annual report said. Oman Tribune, March 20, 2014.


CPN-UML asks Government to declare local election date without further delay: The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) asked the Government to declare the date for local election without further delay. It said the delay in holding the overdue polls would largely undermine democracy and people's right to elect their representatives at the local bodies'. ekantipur, March 21, 2014.

Government launches CMP vowing to frame new constitution within a year: The coalition Government of Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) on March 19 launched its 13-page Common Minimum Programme (CMP) vowing to frame a new constitution within a year, complete the remaining tasks of peace process as soon as possible and immediately fill vacancies in the constitutional bodies. Unveiling the CMP, Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal said the Government would have zero tolerance against corruption. Himalayan Times, March 19, 2014.


ISI Chief General Ahmed Shuja Pasha knew whereabouts of Osama bin Laden's hideout, reveals The New York Times: According to The New York Times, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha knew where the slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was hiding. The Newspaper states that a Pakistani official stated that United States had direct evidence about the ISI Chief knowing Bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad at the time. Tribune, March 20, 2014.

Federal Government to lodge FIR against army officials in missing persons' case, Attorney General of Pakistan informs Supreme Court: The Federal Government on March 19 decided to register a case against Army officials allegedly involved in the illegal removal of 35 undeclared inmates from an internment centre in Malakand Agency of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt told this to a three-judge bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja which resumed the hearing. Tribune, March 20, 2014.

Five Pakistanis remain in detention in Guantanamo Bay prison, says Foreign Office: The Foreign Office on March 20 revealed that there were at least five Pakistanis who were being detained at US' Guantanamo Base in Cuba. The Foreign Office Spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam Khan, revealed that a two member delegation that had visited the facility in August 2006, had found six Pakistanis among the 164 people detained at the facility. One of the six detainees had been released, but five still remain in detention. Tribune, March 21, 2014.

No Pakistani 'boots on the ground' in other countries, says Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif: Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif on March 20 said that Pakistan was not sending its military troops to other countries. The PM dismissed the impression that some countries have asked Pakistan's Armed Forces for operations on their land. Daily Times, March 21, 2014.

Army is with us to make talks a success, claims TTP dialogue committee head Maulana Samiul Haq: Head of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) dialogue committee Maulana Samiul Haq on March 18 said "the Army is with us for the success of talks and the TTP have not yet put up their demands". He said both TTP and Government committees are in contact to mark out a "peace zone" for the sake of continuation of talks.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Government negotiators on March 22 agreed on an undisclosed location to hold direct peace talks with the Taliban soon to find a way to end the decade-long insurgency. "The process of talking directly to the Taliban will start in two to three days, both sides have agreed on the venue", Samiul Haq, a negotiator for the TTP, said, adding the location would be declared a "peace zone" but did not reveal what would be the exact venue of the shura or council meeting. The News, March 19, 2014; Business Standard, March 22, 2014.

The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs 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.

South Asia Intelligence Review [SAIR]

K. P. S. Gill

Dr. Ajai Sahni

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