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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 14, No. 12, September 21, 2015

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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TTP: Enduring Shadows
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

At least 43 persons, including 14 terrorists, were killed as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base at Inqalab Road in Badaber area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, came under attack by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the early morning of September 18, 2015. The Badaber camp used to be an operational Air Force base, but is now a PAF training centre.

Fourteen terrorists in the uniforms of the Constabulary stormed the mosque at the Airbase at 05:00 and dispersed into two groups, one of which went towards the administrative area, while the other headed for the technical section of the airbase. The Director-General (DG) Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa disclosed, “Terrorists busted the main gate with grenades and split into two groups. One group then targeted worshipers during morning prayers. The commandos and other security personnel surrounded the terrorists, contained them within 50 meters of the infiltration and killed 14 militants.”

As they entered the Base, the militants killed three PAF technicians in the Guard Room, and then went on to kill 16 PAF soldiers who were praying at a mosque. Another seven PAF soldiers were killed in a barrack near the mosque. Army Captain Asfand Yar and two soldiers were killed in the counter-attack against the raiders. 10 soldiers were injured during exchange of fire with the terrorists, of whom two were officers. Some 15 persons were arrested during subsequent search operations.

DG Bajwa alleged, "The attackers came from Afghanistan and the whole foul play was planned in the neighbouring country. This attack was being executed through direct coordination from Afghanistan as well.”

Meanwhile, TTP spokesperson Muhammad Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack in an email sent to journalists.

The Badaber PAF base attack has several major precedents. Just a year earlier, on August 14, 2015, at least 12 terrorists wearing suicide vests and armed with RPGs and automatic weapons were killed, and 11 Security Force (SF) personnel were injured in an 11-hour gun battle near Khalid Aviation Airbase and Samungli Airbase in Quetta, The provincial capital of Balochistan. The TTP Ghalib Mehsud faction claimed responsibility for the attack on the Airbases in Quetta. Ghalib Mehsud is the leader of Fidayeen-e-Islam, TTP’s suicide wing. TTP spokesperson Azam Tariq had announced that the attack was in retaliation for Operation Zarb-e-Azb in the North Waziristan Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

On September 6, 2014, terrorists planned to hijack Navy frigate PNS Zulfiqar at the West Wharf of the Karachi Dockyard. Naval Commandos of PNS Iqbal rushed to the scene and a gun battle ensued. One Naval officer was killed and seven were injured. Two attackers, including Owais Jakherani, a former Navy sailor, were killed, and four were captured alive.

August 16, 2012: Nine terrorists and two security personnel were killed when SFs foiled an attack on the Minhas PAF base at Kamra in the Attock District of Punjab. The Minhas Air Force base is believed to be one of the centres where Pakistan has stockpiled its nuclear arsenal. TTP ‘spokesperson’ Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed that four suicide bombers had carried out the attack to take revenge for the killings of the then TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud, and al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

May 22, 2011: At least 10 SF personnel and five TTP militants were killed while nine SF personnel were injured in a TTP attack on the Pakistan Naval Station (PNS) Mehran within the Faisal Naval Airbase in Karachi. Two US made surveillance aircraft were damaged in the attack. Claiming responsibility for the attack, TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan declared, "We had already warned after Osama's martyrdom that we will carry out even bigger attacks".

October 10, 2009: Twelve Army personnel, including a Brigadier and a Lieutenant Colonel, were killed and five others were seriously injured when militants clad in Army uniforms attacked the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Army in Rawalpindi. A splinter faction of the TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.

Despite the Government’s claims of success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan, the campaign is far from finished. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched on June 15, 2014, in the aftermath of the attack at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, on June 8-9, 2014. At least 33 persons, including all 10 attackers, were killed in the attack.

According to partial data (Data till September 20, 2015) compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), Operation Zarb-e-Azb has, thus far, killed more than 2,130 ‘terrorists’ and 226 soldiers (no independent verification of fatalities or identities of those killed is available, as media access to the areas of conflict is severely limited).

Significantly, on June 12, 2015, Major General Bajwa claimed that 347 officers and soldiers of the Pakistan Army had lost their lives, and 2,763 terrorists had been killed in the Operation. Up to 90 per cent of the North Waziristan was declared ‘free from terrorists’, while their central command and control apparatus, along with their communication systems, had been ‘destroyed’. 9,000 intelligence operations had been conducted, as a result of which 218 wanted terrorists were killed, while thousands of extremists were taken for interrogation. 837 terrorist hideouts had been destroyed, while 253 tons of explosives were recovered during the ongoing operation. The Badaber base attack, however, demonstrates the audacity of the terrorist formations, despite numerous reverses.

Further, the National Action Plan (NAP) is making very slow progress. NAP was initiated on December 24, 2014, in the aftermath of the Peshawar Army Public School attack in which 148 persons, including 135 children, were killed. The ‘20-point Plan’ on counter-terrorism was announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a televised address to the nation in the night of December 24, 2014, and incorporated in the Constitution by the 21st Constitutional Amendment on January 7, 2015. A handout issued by the Federal Ministry of Interior on July 4, 2015, claimed that some 54,376 ‘combing operations’ had been carried out under NAP, which came into effect on January 7, 2015, resulting in 60,420 arrests. 3,019 intelligence-based operations were also carried out, while 1,388 pieces of intelligence were shared. Some 97.9 million mobile SIM cards have been verified using bio-metric technology, while 5.1 million SIM cards have been blocked, under NAP.

Astonishingly, documents obtained by The News and reported on July 30, 2015, claimed that more than 20,000 terrorists had been killed by July 13, 2015, under NAP, an incredible number that does not reconcile with any estimates by official or non-Governmental monitoring agencies. Further, if such a large number has been killed, and terrorism still flourishes, what is the total strength of the terrorists in Pakistan? The documents also claimed that 3,148 terrorists had been apprehended across Pakistan while 1,799 persons had also been held under charges for ‘hate speech’. 3,446 persons were identified as having links with banned outfits, and more than 100 madrassahs had been shut down, the documents claimed.

However, on September 10, 2015, Prime Minister Sharif lamented that provincial administrations were yet to implement a major portion of NAP to counter terrorism and extremism in the country. While some elements had been implemented, Sharif argued, it was necessary that each and every aspect of the anti-terrorism plan be implemented.

There is a visible element of deception here, as Pakistan projects its counter-terrorism ‘successes’ to secure as much as possible from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) of United States in the name of Operations in its tribal areas. On September 13, 2015, Jonathan Carpenter, Special Representative of the US for Afghanistan and Pakistan, while appreciating Pakistan's war against terrorism, had thus observed that, as a result of Zarb-e-Azb, Waziristan and the Khyber Agency had become safer. Carpenter also confirmed that provision of CSF to Pakistan would continue for the current fiscal. Carpenter justified this decision on the basis of his talks with Prime Minister Sharif and the Government of Pakistan, who had assured him that an indiscriminate operation against all terrorist groups was under way.

The continued and free operation of a large number of ‘friendly’ terrorist formations in and from Pakistan – most prominently including the (Afghan) Taliban and a multiplicity of India-directed groups including the Lashkar-e-Taiba – gives the lie to Pakistan’s claims of such an ‘indiscriminate’ operation. Indeed, it remains the case that anti-state formations such as TTP continue to flourish in Pakistan precisely because the state continues to provide spaces to a number of its own terrorist ‘assets’, as well as to the entire spectrum of Islamist extremist and sectarian political formations.

Pakistan continues on its trajectory to ruin, even as the ‘international community’, led by the US, continues to subsidize its many derelictions and to reward its enduring malfeasance. The terrorist attack at Badaber is just another reminder, the latest in an unending succession of disasters, that Pakistan’s duplicity will eventually inflict a cost on the country itself, far beyond any calculus of gain its current masters may imagine.

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Making History
Fakir Mohan Pradhan
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

In a historical step forward, Nepal’s second Constituent Assembly (CA) endorsed “Nepal’s Constitution” with overwhelming two-thirds majority on September 16, 2015. The Constitution came into effect after President Ram Baran Yadav announced its commencement at 17:00 hrs on September 20, 2015, during the last meeting of the CA.

Of 598 existing CA members in the 601-member Assembly, 532 took part in the voting; of those present, 507 voted in support of the Constitution, while 25 members from the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal voted against it. The Chairman of the CA, Subash Chandra Nembang announcing the result of the voting, stated, “I declare that Nepal’s Constitution has been endorsed by two-thirds majority.”

The Madhesi parties from Nepal’s Tarai region, which boycotted the Constitution writing process a few weeks ago, did not participate in the voting. As the copies of the Constitution were kept in the CA for signing by the members, 537 members had already signed, including all the 532 members who participated in the process and the CA Chair Nembang, and later, four other members who were absent during the voting process. 61 members, including 58 from Tarai-based parties, two from the Nepali Congress, and one independent member, have not signed the historic document in protest.  

The final voting was preceded by clause-by-clause approvals, each by a two-thirds majority. As parties could not agree on many issues, the desired consensus process was given a go-by in favour of a majority voting process, as enshrined in the Interim Constitution.

The devastating earth-quake that visited Nepal in April 2015 seems to have played its part in bringing a sense of urgency among political parties to finish up the task, as delays in the process were hampering the reconstruction process. Significantly, this time around, three out of four major political forces in Nepal came on board, leaving the Tarai-based Madhesi parties in the cold, and passed the Constitution in the CA with overwhelming majority. In protest, the Tarai-based parties have declared September 20 a “Black Day”.

As new Constitution with 308 articles, 35 parts and nine schedules comes into force, the Constitution making function of the second CA will cease, and it will continue as the Legislature-Parliament for the remaining period of its original term of five years since its swearing-in on January 21, 2014. As the Legislature-Parliament has been prorogued, the new Prime Minister would be elected within seven days of the commencement of the session. Moreover, the Legislature-Parliament will have to elect the President and the Vice-President within 30 days and the Speaker and the Deputy-Speaker within 20 days of the start of the new House session.

It has been more than seven years since the Constitution drafting process started with the election of the first CA in May 2008, following a 10 year insurgency by the Maoists that ended with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2006. While the first CA failed to accomplish its task, the second has successfully delivered a Constitution.

As the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal gears up for a new dawn, it is suffering some painful birth pangs, with protests against the Constitution turning violent, and at least 40 persons, including 11 security personnel, killed in the weeks running up to the final endorsement. At heart of the conflict is the question of federalism that had, in fact, tripped up the first CA. This time around the deadlock was broken with the Maoists agreeing to a seven province model, with the names and boundaries to be decided later. The names will be decoded by the eventual provinces while the boundaries will be decided by a commission. The Madhesis and Tharus are highly dissatisfied with the seven province model, arguing that it would perpetuate existing fault-lines that marginalise the Madhesis and other minority communities.

Ethnic communities are also aggrieved that, under the new Constitution, a smaller percentage of lawmakers will now be elected by proportional representation – 45 per cent, as compared to 58 per cent under the Interim Constitution.

Some ethnic communities are also unhappy at the proposed boundaries of the new provinces, although these are subject to future amendment. In western Terai, the indigenous Tharus are chafing at the prospect of being split in two and forced to share their provinces with the Hill Districts that have historically dominated the country’s politics.

Another controversy relates to the provision in the new Constitution that if a Nepali woman marries a foreign man, their children cannot assume Nepali citizenship unless the man first does so; whereas if the father is Nepali, his children can also be Nepali regardless of the wife's nationality. The Madhesi communities, ethnically and socially close to Indians just across the border, say the new citizenship measures will disproportionately affect them because there are many cross-border marriages.

The Madhesis feel the Constitution has betrayed their aspirations, which had been taken note of by all parties during the Madhesi agitation of 2006-07, and argue that it was their agitation that ensured that Nepal would be a federal State. The Maoists had, at that juncture, strongly supported their position, endorsing the desires of the long-marginalised plains communities under the hegemony of the Hill elites. The shock of the breaking of ranks by the Maoists is yet to be absorbed by the plains’ communities.

Meanwhile, on September 19, 2015, the three principal parties jointly appealed to Madhes-centric political forces to stop their protests and join the Constitution commencement ceremony. Organising a press conference at the PM’s residence in Baluwatar in the afternoon, Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) Chairman K.P. Sharma Oli and Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal reasoned that protests were now unnecessary as the new Constitution has enough space for amendment to address their concerns. Speaking at the meet, Dahal contended that the Madhesi parties did not have any reason to continue their protests as the top leaders of three major parties had already pledged to delineate constituencies on the basis of population, and demarcate federal provinces on the basis of recommendation by a yet-to-be-formed Federal Commission. Dahal argued, “The issue of demarcation is never finalised at once everywhere... it is not good to object to the entire Constitution just because of demarcation.”

Nepal is an extraordinary example of transition, from an enveloping Maoist insurgency to a democratic Constitution, in the process demobilizing or absorbing the rebel fighters into the Nepal Army, and its leaders into democratic politics. The protests in the Tarai, however, have the potential to aggravate instability, though the Tarai-based parties have lost some of their popular base, as was evident in their poor performance in the second CA elections. Nevertheless, unless the perception of betrayal and a raw deal are dispelled, the temptation to radical politics and disruption will persist.


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
September 14-20, 2015



Security Force Personnel





Jammu and Kashmir


Left-Wing Extremism










Total (INDIA)













Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


PM Sheikh Hasina Wajed urge UK to do more to combat militancy, says report: On September 16, Bangladesh Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina Wajed urged the UK to do more to combat militancy. "The British government should take more steps on the ground," she stated. "Certainly we want cooperation from all other countries so that they should be very careful that no illegal money or arms or terrorists should take any chance to create any problem to any other country," Hasina said. Daily Star, September 17, 2015.


'Khaplang never wanted ceasefire', says NSCN-KK 'general secretary' Kitovi Zhimomi: The Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) leader, SS Khaplang never wanted ceasefire with the Indian Government and had agreed to it only because of pressure from the Naga civil society, according to the Khole-Khitovi faction of NSCN (NSCN-KK) 'general secretary' Kitovi Zhimomi. Kitovi Zhimomi, in an interview published in the latest issue of the North East Sun magazine, said "Actually, Khaplang was not in favour of ceasefire right from the beginning but could not resist the pressure of the civil society which was spearheaded by the NBCC (Nagaland Baptist Churches Council)." Assam Tribune, September 19, 2015.

Steady decline in violence in North East, says UMHA report: According to an estimate of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA), the Northeastern states have seen a steady decline in insurgency-related violence in the first eight months of this year (2015) in comparison to the corresponding period of last year (2014) but saw a three-fold increase in casualties of Security Forces (SFs) personnel. According to the report, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram saw a total of 418 incidents of insurgency violence from January 1 to September 15, 2015 during which 115 extremists were killed and 1,453 were arrested. During the same period in 2014, a total of 575 incidents were reported in the seven Northeastern states in which 128 militants were killed and 1,401 others were arrested. Shillong Times, September 19, 2015.

Indians can't be allowed to travel abroad to fight IS, according to UMHA: Allowing Indians to take part in the conflict in Iraq or Syria would "directly result in sectarian conflict" in the country and amount to promoting terrorism, the Indian Government stated. In an affidavit filed before the Delhi High Court, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (UMHA) stated, "allowing any sect to take part in the conflict in Iraq or Syria would have repercussions on other sects in India. This could directly result in sectarian conflict within India, which is not in the interest of the nation." Times of India, September 18, 2015.

FICN printed in Pakistan being pushed into country via Sri Lanka, according to CID: According to Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) sources, Fake Indian Currency Note (FICN) printed in Pakistan are now pushed into India via Sri Lanka and the route for the fake currency printed in Bangladesh is through Malda District in West Bengal. Police have arrested about 50 suspects till now in 2015 for circulating FICN in Tamil Nadu and Chennai. The Hindu, September 18, 2015.

795 mobile-phone towers set up in Maoist-affected areas: In the past three months, 795 mobile-phone towers have been set up in Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist)-affected districts of the country. The plan to provide a channel of communication in these remote areas has taken off after remaining on paper for the past five years. Chhattisgarh has installed 465 of the 497 towers proposed. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been asked to install 170 mobile towers in its camps. The Hindu, September 18, 2015.


New Constitution promulgated: President Ram Baran Yadav on September 20, announced the commencement of the new Constitution during the Constituent Assembly (CA) meeting-cum-special function organised at the CA's regular meeting venue. President Yadav proclaimed, "I announce, before Nepali people, that the Nepal's Constitution, endorsed by CA, authenticated by CA chairman and presented here, has commenced today - 20 September 2015." With the promulgation of the new constitution, the CA has transformed into legislature parliament. However, Madhes-based parties are protesting against the new constitution as observed September 20 as Black Day. Himlayan Times, September 20, 2015.


38 militants and nine civilians among 49 persons killed during the week in FATA: At least 15 suspected militants were killed and several others were injured as military planes pounded terrorist hideouts in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on September 19.

At least 13 militants were killed and eight others injured when military helicopters and planes pounded hideouts in Kundi Ghar in Sarwakai tehsil (revenue unit) areas of South Waziristan Agency (SWA) on September 18.

The house of a suspected militant Abdul Manan Mehsud was attacked during the area raid in Ziarat Zhay of Sarwakai tehsil in which three women, four girls and two boys were killed.

At least seven suspected militants were killed and two others injured in a US drone strike conducted in the Shunkrai Narai village of Ladha tehsil of SWA on September 18.

Army Major Ismail and five militants were killed in a terrorist attack on the Dandi Kuch security checkpost and the ensuing clash in the Kaka Ziarat area of Spin Warm area of North Waziristan Agency on September 14. Daily Times; Dawn; The News; Tribune; The Nation; The Frontier Post; Pakistan Today; Pakistan Observer, September 15-21, 2015.

Army captain among 43 persons killed in TTP attack on PAF camp in Peshawar: At least 43 persons, including 14 terrorists, were killed as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) camp at Inqalab road in Badaber area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, came under attack of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the early morning of September 18. The Badaber camp used to be an operational air force base. It is no longer an operational airbase but is still used as a PAF training centre. Director-General (DG) Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa said that 14 militants were killed during the operation. He said that out of the 29 dead, 16 PAF soldiers were killed in a mosque as they offered morning prayers. Seven other PAF soldiers were killed in a barrack near the mosque. Army Captain Asfand Yar died leading the counter-attack against raiders and two soldiers were also killed. Militants killed three PAF technicians in the guard room while they entered the Base. Dawn, September 19, 2015.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb targeting terrorists without discrimination, says President Mamnoon Hussain: President Mamnoon Hussain on September 16 said that Pakistan's policy on dealing with terrorist sanctuaries and militant organisations was very clear and the ongoing military Operation Zarb-e-Azb was targeting all terrorist outfits without discrimination. He said fighting terrorism was amongst Pakistan's top priorities and there was a national consensus and commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The News, September 17, 2015.

More than 8,000 suspected militants arrested during NAP, claims Home Secretary of Balochistan, Akbar Hussain Durrani: The Home Secretary of Balochistan, Akbar Hussain Durrani, on September 16 stated that provincial law enforcement agencies have arrested more than 8,000 suspected militants after the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP). "A total of 204 terrorists were killed by security forces during different operations and raids in the Province," said Durrani. He further added that out of the 204 terrorists killed, around 100 were high-profile terrorists. Dawn, September 17, 2015.

Federal Minister of Interior Affairs Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan asks security agencies to apprehend terrorists' financiers: Federal Minister of Interior Affairs Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on September 14 directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) to take immediate action against the financial sponsors of terrorists. Presiding over a meeting in Islamabad, he also directed both the institutions to take stringent measures in order to overcome financial assistance of the terrorists. He stressed the need for enhancing cooperation between the Federal Investigation Agency and the State Bank of Pakistan in this regard. Daily Times, September 15, 2015.


Sri Lankan government assures the UN report and its recommendations will receive due attention: The Sri Lankan government, acknowledging the receipt of an advanced copy of the United Nations (UN) report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) investigation on Sri Lanka, assured that the report and its recommendations will receive due attention of the relevant authorities including the new mechanisms that are envisaged to be set up. In response to the 261-page report, the Foreign Affairs Ministry in a letter to the office of the Rights Chief Zeid Ra''ad Al Hussein said the government takes note of the "Report of the OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka and recognizes fully that this Report represents a human rights investigation and not a criminal investigation." Colombo Page, September 17, 2015.

Sri Lanka's Tamils reject government's wartime truth commission: Sri Lanka's minority Tamils on September 15, rejected government plans for a truth commission to promote reconciliation after decades of ethnic war, insisting on an international inquiry. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera unveiled a range of reconciliation measures on September 14, at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, two days before the release of a long-awaited report on Sri Lanka's alleged war crimes. First Post, September 16, 2015.

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.

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