Tuesday, October 19, 2010



Indo-US co-operation in counter-terrorism has the following components:
• Assistance in capacity building in traditional counter-terrorism: Started in the early 1980s during the administration of Ronald Reagan when some officers of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) were sent initially to the UK and then to the US for training in matters like dealing with hostage situations. Aviation security to prevent and deal with hijacking was an important initial area of US assistance in capacity-building. This has since expanded to cover other areas such as forensic examination of explosive devices.
• Assistance in capacity-building in non-traditional areas: Started in 2001 during the administration of George Bush at the initiative of Richard Armitage, the then US Deputy Secretary of State. Cyber security was the initial area of US assistance. This was extended to other areas such as maritime security in ports and container vessels, prevention of catastrophic acts of terrorism involving the use of weapons of mass destruction material etc.
• Assistance in strengthening the physical security of vulnerable establishments and sectors such as urban transport: Started during the administration of George Bush after the explosions in some Mumbai suburban trains in July,2006.
• Mutual legal assistance in the investigation and prosecution of terrorism cases: Started during the second term of Ronald Reagan when the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was sought by India for the investigation of the assassination of Gen.A.S.Vaidya, retired Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), by some Khalistani terrorists in Pune in 1985. The co-operation declined during the administration of Bill Clinton. The US agencies were only partly helpful when their assistance was sought in the investigation and prosecution of the Mumbai blasts of March,1993. The co-operation has improved under the George Bush and Barack Obama Administrations. Under the Obama Administration, the FBI was helpful in the forensic examination of the intercepts during the 26/11 terrorist strikes. For the first time, FBI officers testified before the trial court through video-conferencing. In the past, the FBI's policy was not to allow its officers to testify before an Indian court.
• Intelligence-sharing: This is the most unsatisfactory aspect of Indo-US counter-terrorism co-operation. Before 26/11, the US had hardly ever shared with India any worthwhile preventive intelligence. However, in 2008, during the Bush Administration, the FBI was reported to have passed on to Indian agencies three fairly specific bits of information about the plans of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) to launch a sea-borne attack on some seafront establishments in Mumbai including the Taj Mahal hotel. This information cannot by any means be described as vague or non-specific. If the Indian agencies had promptly acted in strengthening physical security as a follow-up to this, 26/11 might have been prevented. Despite this instance, intelligence-sharing from the US has generally been unsatisfactory due to the following reasons. Firstly, the large, prosperous and politically active Sikh community in the US prevented their Governments from co-operating fully with the Government of India in dealing with Khalistani terrorism. Secondly, all US administrations have as a matter of policy refrained from sharing with India intelligence relating to terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir. Thirdly, the US agencies are allowed to share with India only preventive intelligence relating to planned acts of terrorism by jihadi organisations in Indian territory outside J&K. Here too, the agencies are required to share the intelligence in such a manner as not to implicate Pakistan and not to add substance to India's case against Pakistan for the sponsorship of terrorism in Indian territory. There have been exceptions to this such as the reported US warning to India about a planned terrorist strike against the Indian Embassy in Kabul by terrorist elements instigated by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). So long as the US continues to attach importance to counter-terrorism co-operation from Pakistan for dealing with the situation in Afghanistan, its intelligence-sharing with India and co-operation with India against Pakistan will be half-hearted.
• Mutual assistance in the interrogation of arrested terrorist suspects, sharing of the produce of the interrogation and opportunities for the examination of captured documents: Another highly-unsatisfactory area of co-operation due to the US keenness to protect Pakistan from the consequences of its using terrorism against India. It was reported that after the US troops entered Kabul in 2001, the US response to Indian requests for the interrogation of some suspects and for the examination of some documents relating to the Kandahar hijacking of 1999 was unsatisfactory. So was its much-delayed response to Indian requests for the prompt interrogation of David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the LET who had visited India five times for collecting targeting information for the LET. While the FBI did share with India information relating to the planned terrorist strikes in Mumbai (the dates were not known), it did not share with India collateral information which might have enabled India to unearth the LET network in India. Fears that if it shared the collateral information with India, its agencies might arrest and interrogate Headley thereby exposing his links with the US agencies seem to have stood in the way of this sharing. The recently reported disclosures of two ex-wives of Headley----one living in the US and the other in Pakistan---about their alerting an FBI Task Force in New York and the US Embassy in Islamabad regarding Headley’s terrorist links with the LET could have embarrassing legal consequences for the US Government. The LET was designated by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) under US laws in 2000. It is criminal for any US national to maintain contacts with an FTO or to assist it in any way. The alerts of the two ex-wives showed that Headley had violated US laws relating to contacts with an FTO. He should have been immediately detained, investigated and prosecuted. The FBI did not do so. He continued to maintain his contacts with the LET and we have an instance of an American national helping an FTO in killing some US nationals in Mumbai without the FBI taking any action to stop this. If the relatives of the Americans killed in Mumbai take the State Department, the US Embassy in Islamabad and the FBI to court for this, they could face difficulty in defending themselves.

2. Before 2000, there was no institutional mechanism for facilitating and co-ordinating Indo-US co-operation. The co-operation was handled informally at the level of the intelligence and investigative agencies of the two countries. During their meeting in London in January 2000, Jaswant Singh, the then Indian Foreign Minister, and Strobe Talbot, the then US Deputy Secretary of State, agreed to set up an institutional mechanism in the form of the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism. This was followed by the setting up of an Indo-US Cyber Security Forum as suggested by Armitage in 2002. The Forum ran into controversy following Indian suspicions that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had misused it for penetrating the National Security Council Secretariat. During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington DC in November last year, the two countries launched what was described as a Joint Counter-Terrorism Initiative to strengthen counter-terrorism co-operation in different fields such as forensics, megacity policing etc. This was formalized into a Memo of Understanding in July,2010. It is not clear which institution co-ordinates and monitors its implementation. The Headley case illustrates deficiencies in its implementation.

3. After the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, India and the UK set up what was called Indo-UK Back Channel For Counter-Terrorism Co-operation, which at that time was mainly directed against Khalistani terrorists. This consisted of hot lines connecting the chiefs of the intelligence agencies of the two countries and periodic co-ordination meetings between the counter-terrorism experts of the countries. It worked very well because the trust level between the Indian and British agencies was high.

4. The trust level between the Indian and US agencies leaves much to be desired. The US anxiety to protect Pakistan adds to the distrust. How to improve the trust level and what should be the institutional mechanism for improving co-operation are important questions which should be discussed by our Prime Minister and President Obama during their forthcoming meeting in New Delhi next month. ( 20-10-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Sunday, October 17, 2010




More disclosures relating to David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) embarrassing to the USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been brought out in two detailed investigative reports by Sebastian Rotella of ProPublica, a public service web site which specializes in investigative reporting. These two reports titled “ FBI Was Warned Years in Advance of Mumbai Attacker’s Terror Ties’ and “Feds Confirm Mumbai Plotter Trained With Terrorists While Working for DEA”, which were published on the web site on October 15 and 16,2010, have also been used by the “Washington Post”, thereby adding to their credibility.

2. About three-fourths of these reports are based on a study of the court documents filed by the prosecution against Headley. The remaining is fresh information gathered from two ex-wives of Headley ---one an American based in the US and the other a Moroccan based in Pakistan--- and serving and retired officials of the FBI and other agencies whose identities have not been revealed for valid reasons.

3. The salient points in the investigative reports are:

• “In three interviews with federal agents, Headley’s wife (based in the US) said that he was an active militant in the terrorist group Lashkar-i-Taiba, had trained extensively in its Pakistani camps, and had shopped for night vision goggles and other equipment, according to officials and sources close to the case. The wife, whom ProPublica is not identifying to protect her safety, also told agents that Headley had bragged of working as a paid U.S. informant while he trained with the terrorists in Pakistan, according to a person close to the case. Federal officials say the FBI “looked into” the tip, but they declined to say what, if any, action was taken. Headley was jailed briefly in New York on charges of domestic assault, but was not prosecuted. He wasn’t captured until 11 months after the Mumbai attack, when British intelligence alerted U.S. authorities that he was in contact with al Qaeda operatives in Europe.”
• “On Saturday (October 16), the New York Times reported that another of Headley’s wives – he apparently was married to three women at the same time – had also warned U.S. officials about his terrorism involvement. In December 2007, the Moroccan woman met with officials at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan and told them about Headley’s friendship with Lashkar members, his hatred of India and her trips with him to the Taj Mahal Hotel, a prime target of the Mumbai attacks, the Times reported. On Saturday federal officials said the women’s tips lacked specificity. “U.S. authorities took seriously what Headley's former wives said,” a senior administration official said. “Their information was of a general nature and did not suggest any particular terrorist plot."
• “Headley’s relationship with the U.S. government is especially delicate because the investigation has shown that he also had contact with suspected Pakistani intelligence officials and a Pakistani militant named Ilyas Kashmiri, who has emerged as a top operational leader of al Qaeda.”

4. The following conclusions emerge from the two investigative reports :

• Firstly, Headley was initially an informant (source) of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He was being used for the collection of intelligence about the activities of the LET in Pakistan. For this purpose, he used to visit Pakistan.
• Secondly, in Auguat 2005, his US-based ex-wife had alerted an FBI task force about Headley’s links with the LET, his training by the LET in Pakistan and his helping the LET in the procurement of equipment like night-vision glasses. She had also told the FBI about his E-mail and other contacts in Pakistan. She had also complained that he was ill-treating her and beating her. The FBI questioned him about her allegations of ill-treatment, but did not seriously follow up her tips about his ties with the LET. ( My comment: The FBI probably did not question him about his links with the LET on the basis of her tips because it was already aware of the details since he was its source).
• Thirdly, in December 2007, his Moroccan ex-wife complained to the US Embassy in Islamabad about his links with the LET. (My comment: It is not clear what action the US Embassy took on her complaint )
• Fourthly, during 2008, the FBI came to know about the plans of the LET to launch a sea-borne terrorist strike on certain targets in the Mumbai sea-front, including the Taj Mahal Hotel. It promptly passed on the information to the Indian agencies. (My comment: The FBI could not have been expected to tell the Indian agencies that the information came from Headley. This was a specific piece of information complete in many respects except the date of the planned attacks. No intelligence or investigation agency would reveal the name of a source giving such specific information. )
• Fifthly, Headley had visited India five times on behalf of the LET to collect operational intelligence and to help the LET in the selection of targets and the landing point for the boat. ( My comment: Before starting his visits to India, he had taken a new passport under the name David Coleman Headley in place of his previous passport under the name Daood Gilani in order to conceal his Pakistani origin from the Indian consular and immigration authorities. The FBI would have been expected to share this information with the Indian authorities, but it did not do so. Had the FBI done so, the Indian authorities might have been able to establish the details of his Indian network, arrest and question him and pre-empt the attack ).
• Sixthly,he visited India once again after the terrorist strike under the name Headley. Even then, the FBI did not alert the Indian authorities.
• Seventhly, why did the FBI not arrest and interrogate him immediately after the Mumbai terrorist strikes? It seems to have arrested him only after it intercepted messages about his being used by the LET and Ilyas Kashmiri of the 313 Brigade for planning a terrorist strike in Copenhagen against a newspaper which had published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in 2005. The arrest was made actually after the British intelligence came to know of his contacts with some assets of Ilyas in Europe for planning the attack in Copenhagen. The FBI moved against him seriously only after coming to know of his role in the planned attack in Copenhagen. It did not show the same seriousness in respect of his role in the Mumbai attack.

5. How helpful was the FBI in helping the Indian agencies in this case? It would be difficult to answer this question unless one knows the following details:

• When did the FBI first take the initiative in informing the Indian agencies about the arrest of Headley and the information obtained from him?
• Why did the FBI delay its response to the Indian request for permission to interrogate him?
• Why did the FBI insist on his being interrogated in US custody in the presence of FBI officers and did not allow Indian officers to question him in their custody?

6. During the visit of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh to Washington DC, in November last year for talks with President Barack Obama, the two countries had reached what was described as a Joint Counter-Terrorism Initiative to promote counter-terrorism co-operation between the agencies of the two countries. The suspicious conduct of the FBI in keeping the Indian agencies in the dark about all relevant aspects of the involvement of Headley with the LET and his role in helping the LET in carrying out the terrorist strikes, delaying their interrogation of Headley and imposing conditions on the way he was interrogated would add to the suspicions of the Indian agencies that the Joint Counter-Terrorism Initiative was an eye-wash sold to India to cover up the sins of commission and omission of the FBI and to conceal from the American families whose members were killed by the LET in Mumbai the extent of the FBI’s knowledge which could have been used to prevent the strikes.

7.While this issue may not have any major impact on the forthcoming visit of Obama to India next month, it will definitely add to the traditional distrust nursed by the Indian agencies about their US counterparts. ( 17-10-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Friday, October 15, 2010


India wins gold in security

By Rory Medcalf - 15 October 2010 1:31PM

Whatever the mixed reviews of the management side of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India's security forces deserve praise for their exceptional success in preventing terrorism there.

At the start of the Games, I published a Lowy Institute Perspective explaining the risks and the wider context of terrorism in India. My assessment was that a major attack was unlikely, but that it would very difficult to prevent small attacks on soft targets distant from the Games venues, along the lines of the shootings of two Taiwanese tourists in Old Delhi on 19 September.

Yet preventing more such attacks was precisely what the massive Indian security blanket did. Who knows what scares or near misses we may never hear about, or what plots were thwarted at an early stage. And who knows whether this confirms that, when the military and intelligence powers-that-be in Pakistan do not want to see terrorism in India, suddenly there is a miraculous absence of violence.

Still, it would seem that reform of India's internal security apparatus has come a considerable distance since the disaster of Mumbai in November 2008. In any case, I am delighted if some of the more downbeat elements of my assessment now stand corrected.

India is a prominent target of terrorism — it shares with Israel, the US and its allies the honour of being on Osama Bin Laden's hate list. And it has internal political and security challenges that no other democracy — let alone an authoritarian state — could imagine. The presence of thousands of foreigners in New Delhi for two weeks — many of them from nations previously attacked by jihadis — must have been a tempting target.

India has protected its guests and itself, and on security grounds at least deserves a gold medal.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



More people were killed and more material damage was caused by the quake in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and some parts of the North-West Frontier Province ( now called Khyber Pakhtunkwa ) in 2005 than by the recent floods, but the fatalities and damages were confined to a small geographic area.Moreover, there was no long-term damage to Pakistan's economy. Gen.Pervez Musharraf, who was then in power, got over the initial bungling in disaster management and ensured that the Army and the civil administration worked together in dealing with the disaster. He did not have to worry much about the impact of the quake on the morale of the army since very few families of serving soldiers were affected.

2.The disaster caused by the recent floods in Pakistan was spread over a large geographic area extending right across Pakistan. It has caused severe damage to Pakistan's agricultural economy. Many of the strategically important and sensitive areas of Pakistan were affected----particularly in Punjab and in Khyber Pakhtunkwa. Those are the areas from which both the Pakistan Army and the so-called Pashtun and Punjabi Talibans make their recruitment.

3. The disaster has affected the Army and the Talibans in different ways. In the Army, the families of many soldiers have been affected. Their land holdings have been rendered unfit for cultivation for some months. The families need all the assistance they could get from the family members to put the land back to cultivation. Difficulties in obtaining leave have created pockets of unhappiness in the lower ranks of the Army. This unhappiness is directed against the senior military and political leadership. Fotunately, desertion rates and instances of unauthorised absence from duty have not gone up. At least, not yet, but they could as the soldiers face increasing pressure from the families to come home on leave to rapair the flood damages to the family land holdings.

4. Gen.Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), who used to be viewed as the soldiers' General has lost some of his shine. His recent stoppage of logistic supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan in retaliation for the deaths of two para-military soldiers in a NATO helicopter raid into Pakistani border areas was an attempt to regain his shine as the soldiers’ General. The soldiers, whose families have been affected by the floods, are unhappy with him for two reasons. Firstly, for failing to attend to their problems. Secondly, for failing to force the civil administration to help their families. The Army was active in rescue missions at the height of the floods thereby winning the praise of many civilians, but its role in rehabilitation measures has been very limited. Moreover, the Army is blamed for the inadequacies of the civilian adminstration. "Musharraf would have handled the situation differently", is the comment one often comes across among the lower ranks of the Army.

5. This seeping unhappiness is not only likely to affect its counter-insurgency performance, but it would also add to the sympathy for the Talibans in the lower ranks, thereby possibly sowing the seeds for the Talibanisation of the Army. Osama bin Laden, who has come out with an audio message on the flood situation, has sensed the jihadi opportunities in the country as a whole and in the army in particular as a result of the floods.

6. The impact of the floods on the jihadi organisations has been of a different character. They have stepped up the assistance for putting the rural economy back on its feet----- in the form of seeds and fertilisers and contribution of voluntary labour by their cadres and humanitarian workers to bring the damaged land holdings back under cultivation. They have allowed or even encouraged their trained jihadis to go back to their villages to help their families in coping with the situation. Hence, the drop in recruitment and in the number of terrorist attacks by these organisations since the floods. They are prepared to accept a slowing-down of their jihad in the interest of keeping up the morale of their cadres and winning more support from the rural areas.

7. The political leadership has failed to evaluate the strategic consequences of the floods from the point of view of damage to the rural agricultural economy and the fight against extremism and terrorism. There has been very little co-ordination between the Army and the civilian administration in dealing with the situation. The likely impact of the floods on military morale has not been properly analysed and corrective action has not been taken. The Government of Pakistan and its international backers have been behaving as if all that was needed was more and more money. Financial assistance has been plenty, but this assistance has not addressed the problems of the rural families, which are the mainstay of the Army as well as the Talibans.

8. The result: A situation which could lead to greater instability in Pakistan and provide a more fertile soil than in the past for the spread of jihadi terrorism. An unhappy soldier class could become a new factor in Pakistan's future woes. (13-10-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Wednesday, October 6, 2010




After the Arabs and the Pakistanis, the Uzbeks have come to the forefront of Al Qaeda-inspired global jihad.

---- From my article of September 6,2007, titled “Global Jihad: Uzbeks To The Fore - International Terrorism Monitor---Paper No. 273” at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers24%5Cpaper2360.html

On August 15,2007, the Pakistani authorities handed over to Germany Tolga Durbin, a German citizen of Turkish origin, who belonged to the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), an Uzbek terrorist organization, which claimed to represent the Muslims of the world and not merely the Uzbeks. It was closely aligned with Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban and drew its recruits from the non-Arab sections of the Islamic world, particularly the Uzbeks, the Turks who are ethnically close to the Uzbeks and European white converts to Islam.

2.After interrogating him, the German Police arrested on September 4, 2007, Fritz Martin Gelowicz, 28, a German convert to Islam, Daniel Martin Schneider, 21, another German convert to Islam, and Adem Yilmaz, 29 of Turkish origin on charges of their being members of the IJU. A fourth person Gofir Salimov, an Uzbek, who was also suspected to be a member of the IJU, managed to flee Germany before he could be arrested. The German authorities claimed that the arrested persons, who were led by Gelowicz, were planning to attack with massive car bombs the Ramstein military airbase, about 140 km South-West of Frankfurt, and the Frankfurt airport. The Ramstein airbase is the largest base used by the US army in Europe. The investigation brought out the name of another member of the IJU in Germany Attila Selek, also known as Muaz. He was also arrested.

3.It was reported that the objective of the planned attack on the Ramstein base was to force Germany to close down its air base in Termez, Uzbekistan, which was providing logistic support for some 3,000 German soldiers serving in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. During the searches undertaken by the German Police after the arrest of the four persons, they recovered a 35% solution of hydrogen peroxide, stored in a hideout, which could have been converted into an explosive device and 26 military detonators smuggled from Istanbul to Germany. The police filed a charge-sheet against the arrested persons on September 2,2008.

4. During the trial, Gelowicz and the three other defendants admitted that they were members of the IJU and that their planned attack, which could not be carried out due to their arrests before their plans could make progress, was timed to coincide with a vote in the German parliament on extending the country's military presence in Afghanistan. In their testimonies they also said that they went to Pakistan in 2006 to undergo training in a camp of the IJU.

5. All the four were found guilty by a Dusseldorf court on March 5,2010. Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider, the two German converts to Islam, were jailed for 12 years each and the two Germans of Turkish origin, Adem Yilmaz and Aytila Selek, received 11-year and five-year prison terms respectively.

6. During the investigation of this case, the German Police reportedly found that Eric Breininger, another white convert to Islam who changed his name after conversion as Abdul Ghafar, had escaped to Pakistan via Egypt and Iran and was operating from a camp of the IJU in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He was born in Neunkirchen in the Saarland region of Germany, in 1987. His parents divorced when he was a child. In 2006, he met some members of the IJU and embraced Islam. On May 23,2008, a web site associated with the IJU posted a video interview with Eric Breininger in which he warned that "Germany - along with every other nation taking part in the occupation of Afghanistan - should expect attacks by Muslims". On September 25, 2008, the German Police issued a look-out notice for Eric Breininger, and Houssain Al Malla, who were wanted for trial in the Ramstein plot case. On October 21,2008, another video message of Breininger was posted by the IJU in which he denied any plans for a terrorist attack in Germany. Elif Medya, a Turkish-language jihadi media outlet, released a video on September 11, 2009, showing Ramadan donations being given to the German and Turkish members of the IJU in which Breininger was shown along with another person who was described as the Turkish jihadi commander Abu Zarr (Ebu Zarr). It was stated that Abu Zarr had traveled from Chechnya to Afghanistan/Pakistan. On April 15, 2010, in another video message Breininger claimed that the “German Taliban Mujahideen” had carried out an attack against an American base in Paktika, East Afghanistan, between Kabul and Kandahar. He described it as the first operation of the German Taliban in Afghanistan. Subsequently, the Pakistani authorities claimed to have killed him in an encounter on April 30,2010.

7. While the Dusseldorf trial was on, the German Police arrested in February,2010, two persons of immigrant origin with German passports, one of whom, a woman, was described by the media as the wife of Gelowicz on a charge of collecting money for the IJU from the Muslim community in Germany and sending it to the IJU through an intermediary in Turkey. They said a third person of immigrant origin wanted in this case was absconding. The police did not give the full names of the three persons. They were merely identified as 21-year-old Alican T, 31-year-old Fatih K, and a woman, 28-year-old Filiz G. They were charged in a local court in August,2010, with supporting the IJU and an organization described as the German Taliban. They were also accused of recruiting members for Al Qaeda and spreading propaganda material online.

8. In July 2010, Ahmed Sidiqi, a German citizen of Afghan origin who had disappeared from Hamburg along with 11 other Muslims including his Indonesian wife in 2009, was arrested by a group of plain-clothed US soldiers in Kabul while he was going to the German embassy. Sidiqi went to Germany from Afghanistan in the early 1990s. He became a naturalised German citizen in 2001. He worked at Hamburg's airport as a cleaner. In March,2009, he and his wife flew to Peshawar, where they joined 10 others including a German of Syrian descent, Rami Makanesi, a German of Iranian origin, Shahab Dashti and Naamen Meziche, a French citizen of Algerian origin. According to the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Sidiqi told his US interrogators that after receiving training in Pakistan, he fought in Afghanistan and met Said Bahaji, who is wanted for involvement in 9/11. Sidiqi reportedly moved to Mir Ali, a border town in North Waziristan where he met Sheikh Younis al-Mauretani, who Sidiqi said had become Al Qaeda's third most senior leader. The Sheikh told him about plans for a series of attacks in several European countries, including the UK, Germany and France, according to Der Spiegel. Sidiqi claimed that Osama bin Laden had approved the plot and also provided some funding.

9. The claims made by Sidiqi seem to have triggered concerns in US and European security agencies about the likelihood of Mumbai-26/11 style terrorist strikes in the UK, France and Germany involving commando style attacks with mixed modus operandi combining the use of hand-held weapons and explosives. The objective will be to punish EU countries playing a prominent role in the operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Madrid terrorist strikes of March 2004 and the London terrorist strikes of July 2005 were directed against the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. The terrorist strikes planned now would seek to punish the West for its involvement in Afghanistan.

10 In the Madrid strikes, North African members of Al Qaeda played an active role. Pakistani suicide bombers played an active role in the London blasts. It is likely that a mix of jihadis of Pakistani (in UK), North African (in France) and Uzbek and Turkish origin (in Germany) could play a role in the Afghanistan-focused terrorist strikes now being planned. One found an Afghanistan focus even in the Mumbai—26/11 terrorist strikes by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) since many of the foreigners killed came from countries whose troops were fighting in Afghanistan.

11. Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban are looking for an Afghanistan-focused operation in Europe, but there are no indications that trained persons for such an operation might have already been dispatched to Europe. The current Drone strikes in North and South Waziristan, in which some persons of German origin had been killed, are intended to pre-empt any new terrorist strikes in Europe by killing those trained or being trained for this purpose before they could be dispatched to Europe. The security alerts and travel advisories issued by the US and others indicate that despite the success of the Drone strikes, there is a fear that some trained jihadis might have already reached Europe. Ziercke, the head of Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, reportedly said in a recent interview with the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel that there was evidence that at least 70 Islamic radicals from Germany had undergone military training in Pakistan, and that 40 of them are believed to have gone on to fight coalition forces in Afghanistan ( 6-10-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Monday, October 4, 2010




On December 5, 1988, an unidentified man with an Arabic accent telephoned the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, Finland, and warned of a plot by the Abu Nidal Organisation to blow up, within two weeks, a Pan Am flight from Frankfurt to the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US issued a security alert the same day to all US airline companies having flights to Europe. The US State Department forwarded the same day copies of the FAA alert to all US diplomatic and consular missions in Europe. On December 13,1988, the security officer of the US Embassy in Moscow posted the security alert received from Washington DC on the bulletin board for US citizens living in Moscow in the U.S. Embassy and also mailed copies to all US citizens living in the USSR.American nationals living in the USSR reportedly cancelled or changed their travel plans after seeing the travel advisory.

2.On December 21, 1988, a Pan Am aircraft flying from London to New York was blown up in mid-air near Lockerbie in Southern Scotland killing all the 259 persons on board. Eleven villagers on the ground were killed by the falling parts of the disintegrating plane.

3. During the subsequent enquiries, inconvenient questions were raised as to why the US nationals except in the USSR were not informed of this threat and why the security advisory was circulated only to the US missions in Europe and the US airline offices and not shared with the general public. The practice of issuing in a systematic manner travel advisories cautioning US nationals about likely threats to their security when they are abroad started after this incident. Many other countries started emulating the US practice. After 9/11, many private companies in the travel industry and many banks started issuing their own travel advisories to their customers travelling abroad. This caused some confusion.

4. At the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security held at Madrid from March 8 to 11,2005, I had raised during a panel discussion the tendency of the US and the UK to issue frequent travel advisories against travel to certain countries on the basis of weak intelligence or, in some instances, even rumours. I pointed out how this practice of these two countries often created problems for India and other countries in Asia. I also narrated an instance of November,2002, when an American private bank in Thailand issued its own terrorism alert to its customers visiting Thailand, the nervousness it caused amongst tourists of all nationalities and the strong protests it evoked from the Thai authorities.

5. While there was no response to my intervention from any of the American experts present in the Panel, a British expert clarified that following strong representations from the airline industry, the British authorities were much more careful before issuing such advisories. I also stressed that travel advisories, where really necessary, should be issued only by Governments on the basis of advice from their intelligence agencies and that the practice of private companies issuing their own advisories should be discouraged. In this connection, kindly refer to my article of April 7,2005, titled " MADRID IMPRESSIONS--II: Economic Impact of Terrorism "at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers14%5Cpaper1328.html .

6. Against this background, one cannot find fault with the travel advisories issued by the US, Japan and some other countries to their nationals after the receipt of some information regarding the alleged plans of Al Qaeda and its associates to organise Mumbai--26/11 like terrorist strikes in the UK, France and Germany and by the authorities of Australia regarding the likelihood of terrorist incidents during the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Admittedly, the information on the basis of which they had issued their security alert is weak and uncorrobated, but their Governments have an obligation to inform their citizens that they are in receipt of such information. Otherwise, if the information proves to be correct and there is a terrorist incident, their Governments may find themselves taken to court for not cautioning the travelling public.

7.In the Western countries, victim activism in taking their Governments to task for not protecting them from terrorism is very strong after the Lockerbie incident and 9/11. The Governments have, therefore, to be very careful and keep their public informed. In India, despite the fact that it is one of the worst victims of terrorism, there is no victim activism even today. As a result, our Governments are able to get away with any sins of commission and omission.We saw it in the case of Mumbai-26/11. None of the relatives of the 141 Indian nationals killed has taken the Government to task for failing to protect them despite the availability of intelligence regarding the plans of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) to attack some hotels on the sea-front.Not even the Bharatiya Janata Parrty (BJP), which talks loudly from the roof-top about its hard stance on terrorism, has ever fought for the principle of victim activism and for victims' rights. ( 5-10-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )




Reference is invited to my article of September 22,2010, titled "Use of Motor-Bikes for Terrorism" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers41%5Cpaper4055.html.

2. It is learnt that on the night of October 3,2010, eight unidentified persons riding four motor-cycles reached an open space adjacent to the Grand Trunk Road in Islamabad and the persons sitting on the pillion seats threw some inflammable liquid at the vehicles in a convoy hired by the NATO for carrying fuel to the NATO troops in Afghanistan and fired at the vehicles from firearms held by them. Twenty-eight vehicles were burnt to ashes and six persons were killed. The terrorists escaped on their motor-bikes. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is suspected. The convoy had halted in the open space for rest when it was attacked.

3. It may be recalled that on September 19 two persons riding a motor-bike opened fire and injured two Taiwanese tourists near the Jumma Masjid in Delhi. In a message subsequently received by some media offices, a claim of responsibility for the attack had been made on behalf of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and a threat held out for a terrorist attack during the currently on-going Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. There has been no further claim or threat by the IM. Despite this, the need for further strengthening precautions against motor-cycle riding terrorists needs to be emphasised. ( 4-10-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



The following are my replies to some questions posed to me by journalists regarding possible threats to the security of the Commonwealth Games (CWG).

Question: Now that the opening function has gone off well without any security-related problems, has the security threat perception diminished?

Answer: Not necessarily. It is very gratifying that the opening function was handled very well by the organising committee and those in charge of physical security. Generally, the security arrangements are very tight on the opening and closing days because of the presence of a large number of Very Important Persons and the crowd. The alert level is also very high. Since there is only one event on the opening and closing days concentrated in a single stadium, making tight security does not pose any major difficulty. No serious co-ordination problems arise. During subsequent days, the events will be scattered in a number of stadia and venue. Co-ordination and supervision of security arrangements will be more difficult. Moreover, since very few VIPS will attend, alert levels, in the absence of effective supervision, might get lowered. This could aggravate threat perceptions.

Question: Sections of the media have claimed that there has not been much of a chatter among terrorists indicating their plans to carry out any terrorist strike during the Games. Is this reassuring?

Answer: I would not agree. The Pakistan-based terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) etc indulge in chatter, but not the Indian Mujahideen (IM). The communications security of the IM is good.It generally sends out an E-mail message just before a terrorist strike materialises or immediately thereafter. Otherwise, its members avoid any tell-tale chatter either through phone or E-mails. ( 4-10-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Thursday, September 30, 2010



Mr.Leon Panetta, the Director of the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), arrived in Islamabad on September 29,2010, for talks with Lt.Gen.Shuja Pasha, the Director-General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He was also scheduled to meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani and Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff ( COAS).

2. Ever since he took over as the head of the CIA last year, Mr.Panetta had been periodically visiting Pakistan for talks with Pakistani leaders and officials on action against Al Qaeda, the Afghan and Pakistani Talibans and other affiliates of Al Qaeda operating from Pakistani territory. He has also been utilizing these visits for discussing with his own officers based in the Af-Pak area the operations of the Drones (pilotless planes), which are co-ordinated by the CIA.

3. His latest visit is, therefore, not a matter for surprise. However, it has assumed more than the usual significance because of indicators that the Jalaluddin Haqqani network, which has been the bete noire of the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, has been operating increasingly from new sanctuaries in the Kurram Agency of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This area, which has seen some bloody fighting between the Shias and the Sunnis during the last two years, has not been the focus of the intensified Drone strikes, which have been confined to North Waziristan ( an estimated 64 strikes this year) and South Waziristan (an estimated six).

4.Because of the sensitive Shia-Sunni angle in the Kurram Agency, the US has till now left the responsibility for action against the Taliban sanctuaries in the Agency to the Pakistan Army, which has been claiming to have mounted ground and air strikes against them. Despite the Pakistani claims, there has been no reduction in cross-border raids into Afghanistan by well-trained elements of the Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqani network, from sanctuaries in the Kurram Agency.

5. It is dissatisfaction with the operations which the Pakistan Army claims to have launched in the Agency which has resulted in the decision of the NATO forces in Afghanistan to exercise the right of hot pursuit against the Taliban and Haqqani network elements fleeing back into the Kurram Agency after ambushing/attacking the NATO forces in Afghanistan. This hot pursuit is being exercised in helicopters and not through ground operations. In one such hot pursuit this week, a Pakistani checkpost came under fire from a NATO helicopter resulting in the alleged death of three Pakistani security personnel.

6. According to well-informed Pakistani sources, one of the purposes of the latest visit of the CIA chief is to remonstrate with the ISI and Pakistani Army officials over their failure to act against the sanctuaries in the Kurram Agency and caution them that continued inaction or inadequate action by the Pakistan army could force the US to extend its Drone strikes to the Kurram Agency.

7.According to the same sources, the US continues to be unhappy with the Pakistani inaction in North Waziristan and inadequate action in South Waziristan. The stepped-up Drone strikes have disrupted the functioning of Al Qaeda from North Waziristan, but have not had much of an impact on the operations of the so-called 313 Brigade of Ilyas Kashmiri, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), another Uzbek group, which has been drawing followers from persons of Turkish origin, including Kurds, living in Germany.

8. Ever since the publication of some cartoons of the Prophet by a Danish paper in 2005, Al Qaeda and its associates based in Pakistan’s tribal belt have been exploring ways of mounting terrorist attacks in reprisal against Western targets in Europe. Ilyas Kashmiri has been playing an important role in this regard. Evidence of his role in looking for opportunistic attacks on behalf of Al Qaeda in Europe came from the interrogation of David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), who was arrested by the FBI in October last year.

9. His interrogation brought out that he had helped the LET in preparing the groundwork for the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai and was similarly helping Ilyas Kashmiri in preparing the groundwork for terrorist strikes in Denmark. In fact, Ilyas Kashmiri was reported to have told Headley that he controlled operational assets in Europe whom Headley could use without having to depend on the LET for the European operations.

10.A Press release issued on January 14,2010, by the Public Affairs Division of the US Justice Department had said as follows: “Headley allegedly traveled in January 2009, from Chicago to Copenhagen, Denmark, to conduct surveillance of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus and to videotape the surrounding areas In late January 2009, Headley traveled to Pakistan and met separately to discuss the planning with Abdur Rehman and Lashkar Member A. In February 2009, Abdur Rehman allegedly took Headley to meet with Kashmiri in the Waziristan region of Pakistan. During the meeting, Kashmiri allegedly indicated that he had reviewed the surveillance videos made by Headley and suggested using a truck bomb in the operation. Kashmiri further indicated that he could provide manpower for the operation and that Lashkar’s participation was not necessary, the indictment alleges. Subsequently, in March 2009, Lashkar Member A advised Headley that Lashkar put the newspaper attack on hold because of pressure in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, according to the charges. In May 2009, Headley and Abdur Rehman met again with Kashmiri in Waziristan and Kashmiri allegedly directed Headley to meet with his European contacts who could provide Headley with money, weapons, and manpower for the newspaper attack. In late July and early August 2009, Headley traveled from Chicago to various places in Europe, including Copenhagen, attempting to obtain assistance from Kashmiri’s contacts and, while there, made approximately 13 additional surveillance videos, according to the charges.” ( My comment: Abdur Rehman is a retired Major of the Pakistan Army, who was acting as a cut-out between Headley and Ilyas Kashmiri)

11.The Islamic Jihad Union or Group (IJU), an Uzbek group based in North Waziristan and closely allied to Al Qaeda, has some followers in Germany among persons of Turkish origin as well as white German converts to Islam. Some arrests were made in Germany in August-September 2007 in connection with investigations into the activities of the IJU and its suspected plots for terrorist strikes in Germany against German as well as American targets.

12. The Norwegian police announced on July 8,2010, the arrest of three men suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda on charges of preparing terrorist attacks. One of them is a Norwegian citizen of Uighur origin. The other two are permanent residents in Norway of Uzbek and Iraqi-Kurdish origin. Two of them (the Uzbek and the Uighur) are reported to have been arrested in Norway and the third (Iraqi-Kurd with a permanent residence permit of Norway) in Germany. The Norwegian police had been keeping them under surveillance for investigation for about a year. The arrests appear to have been made even though the investigation was incomplete because of the leakage of the news about the investigation against them to the media. They apparently decided to arrest them before the media came out with the news. Media reports indicated that the arrested persons were suspected of involvement in plots for terrorist strikes in Norway and of having links with some terrorist suspects under investigation in the US and the UK.

13. The latest reports emanating from the US and the UK about the alleged plans of Al Qaeda to mount Mumbai-style terrorist strikes in the UK, France and Germany have come in the wake of these developments relating to the use of Headley by Ilyas and the arrests in Norway and Germany. The same sources as mentioned above say that the US feels that the ISI has been dragging its feet in taking action against Ilyas and his contacts in the Pakistan Army. Sections of the Pakistani media have been alleging since 2008 that Ilyas had served for some time as a commando in the Special Services Group of the Pakistan Army before drifting into the world of terrorism. He, therefore, enjoys protection from the ISI. Like the Haqqanis father and son, Ilyas is another valued operational asset of the ISI, which uses the Haqqanis in Afghanistan and Ilyas against India.

14. Growing indicators of the role which Ilyas has been playing as facilitator for the Euopean operations of Al Qaeda and its Uzbek associates have made the US step up pressure on the ISI for neutralizing Ilyas and his 313 Brigade. The sources say that this is another important reason for the visit of the CIA chief to Pakistan.

15. This may please be read in continuation of my earlier articles cited below:
(a). Article of September 18,2010, titled HAQQANI NETWORK IN PARACHINAR at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers41%5Cpaper4047.html
(b).Article of July 9,2010, titled “Al Qaeda In Norway” at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers40%5Cpaper3915.html

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Tuesday, September 21, 2010




The use of motor-bikes for committing acts of terrorism, including suicide terrorism, is a modus-operandi that was first seen in Pakistan in the 1980s. This MO involves two terrorists sitting on a motor-bike approaching their target and the one in the pillion seat either firing at the target with a gun or throwing a hand-grenade and then getting away through small lanes where police patrol cars may not be able to enter. Targeted firing from a moving motor-bike is not easy. It requires some training and practice.

2. This MO was frequently used in Karachi in the 1980s and the early 1990s by the then Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) and its rival called the MQM (Haquiqi) against each other. It was also used by the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) to kill their Shia targets. The SSP and the LEJ continue to use this MO in addition to other MO. The Pakistani authorities have tried to deal with this by banning pillion-seat riding in some of their cities.

3.The MO varies depending on whether it is an act of non-suicide terrorism or suicide terrorism. For acts of non-suicide terrorism, two persons are used, with the person sitting at the back opening fire on the target. For acts of suicide terrorism, only one person will do. He will activate an explosive device while crossing the target.

4. The Haqqani network in Afghanistan has reportedly been using this MO.According to the “Guardian” of UK, one of the documents of 2007 recently leaked through Wikileaks claims that the Pakistani intelligence had given some motor-bikes to the Haqqani network for use in acts of terrorism.

5. From the Af-Pak region, this MO spread to Southern Thailand and Yemen. In Southern Thailand, Muslim separatists have been using this for killing government officials, security forces personnel and Muslims co-operating with the Government. In Yemen, this MO was used by Al Qaeda to kill public servants.

6. Benjamin Joffe-Walt of “The Media Line”, which disseminates news about the Middle East, had reported recently as follows: “Authorities in Yemen’s Abyan Governorate, a growing stronghold for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have banned motorcycles from cities in the region. “Using motorbikes in terrorist operations to assassinate intelligence officers and security personnel have been massively mounted over the past nine months in the province,” a Yemeni Interior Ministry official told the Xinhua news agency. The news, first reported in the pan-Arab London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, follows a series of recent assassinations by Al Qaeda militants throughout Abyan and will affect some 5,000 two-wheeled vehicles, according to local media. Militants on motorcycles have killed at least 30 Yemeni soldiers, intelligence officers and security personnel over the last three months alone, using the bikes to make a quick escape.”

7. The report added: “Motorcycles are typically used by terrorists and insurgents to deliver weapons directly if it is a suicide attack or to make a quick getaway,” Dr Theodore Karasik, director for Research and Development at the Institute for Near East Gulf Military Analysis told The Media Line. “The banning of motorcycles is indicative of how the government, with help from US officers, is trying to cut down on the movements of Al Qaeda members and tribal members who support them.”

8. It said further: “Brig Gen (Ret) Musa Qallab, the former programme manager of Gulf Defence Issues at the Gulf Research Centre, said motorcycles are the ideal tool for a terrorist attack. “They are easy to rent, easy to buy and easy to use,” he told The Media Line. “So many people drive motorcycles so it’s easy to hide, easy to cheat and more importantly very easy to escape from the scene through narrow passages. It’s very hard to stop them in a crowded area full of traffic.” Dr Stephen Steinbeiser, resident director of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies in Sanaa, said the move showed that the government was taking the threat seriously. “Motorcycles and scooters are easy to manoeuvre and to get around roadblocks, so I’m surprised they didn’t think of this earlier,” he told The Media Line. “I don’t think its a sign of desperation, I see it as a sign that the government is taking this seriously, doing anything it can to protect themselves, and is taking practical and creative ways to change the way they do business and tackle a rising threat.”

9.Two as yet unidentified assailants, allegedly belonging to the Indian Mujahideen (IM), used this MO near the Jamma Masjid in Delhi on September 19, and injured two Taiwanese tourists and got away. If it is established that they are from the IM, it is the first time it has used this MO. The use of motor-bikes by the IM could enable it to target the buses carrying the participants in the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. Pillion-riding needs to be banned at least in the core areas where the venues and the Games village are located till the Games are over and the participants leave India.

10. Indian intelligence and security officials should not fight shy of consulting their US counterparts on how they counter this MO. ( 22-9-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (red), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Monday, September 20, 2010



A major sports event that will be watched by million of persons provides theater for terrorist organizations. It is to be expected that many terrorist organizations would be tempted to explore the possibility of organizing terrorist strikes during the forthcoming Commonwealth Games (CWG) in New Delhi from October 3.

2. Organizations such as the Indian Mujahideen (IM), the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and others would have an anti-Indian motive. Others such as Al Qaeda, the Talibans and other affiliates of Al Qaeda would have an anti-West motive. Though the US and Germany are not participants, the UK, Canada and Australia are. They have incurred the anger of these organizations because of their role in the fighting against Al Qaeda brand terrorism and the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and would be tempting targets. Any nervousness in these countries about the state of physical security before and during the Games is natural and should be understood and appreciated by the Indian authorities.

3. What will give confidence to them is our seriousness in threat assessments, thoroughness in physical security and competence in investigation of threats. If they get an impression that we are trying to play down threats and cover up incidents which indicate security inadequacies, their confidence in us will be damaged. Keeping this in view, one has to deplore the seeming attempts of the Delhi Police to play down the seriousness of the incident of September 19,2010, in Delhi in which two Taiwanese tourists were injured by two assailants on a motor-bike. Instead of treating it as a possible terrorist incident which could have implications for physical security before and during the CWG unless and until proved otherwise, the Delhi Police have started projecting it as an ordinary criminal incident with no implications for the CWG even before any progress had been made in the investigation. This is totally unwise.

4. It is said that those in charge of physical security are fully prepared against possible acts of catastrophic or mass casualty terrorism involving weapons of great lethality, but they seem to be ill-organised to deal with small acts of terrorism where the objective is not mass casualties or catastrophic damages, but psychological consequences creating nervousness and panic. The attack on the Taiwanese tourists on September 19 has to be treated as one such incident with a psychological objective and not a catastrophic one.

5.The objective of any anti-India terrorist group targeting the CWG would be two-fold. Firstly, to embarrass the Government of India and its security agencies by disrupting the games through panic and loss of faith in the ability of the security agencies to protect the foreigners. Secondly, to highlight that the security conditions for major sports events in India are as bad as they are in Pakistan.

6. Pakistan has gone through a humiliating experience following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team last year. The anti-India, Pakistan-aided terrorists would want to make India go through a similar humiliating experience.

7. To achieve these objectives, the terrorists do not have to organise spectacular acts of mass casualty terrorism like 9/11 in the US or 26/11 in Mumbai. A series of small incidents with limited casualties, which show the Indian security agencies in a poor light and erode the confidence of foreigners in their ability to ensure effective security, would be adequate for this purpose. If they are able to repeat small acts similar to the one staged on September 19 it would have a ripple effect on the morale of the participating teams and other foreigners. It is, therefore, important to ensure that there would be no repetition of such acts.

8. The Government should immediately hold a brain-storming session of the security agencies and senior Police officers of all States to discuss what further steps to prevent a repetition need to be taken. Examples of such steps are a ban on pillion riding and repeated appeals to the public to report cases of theft of motor vehicles and follow-up action to trace those vehicles. All hotels and guest houses should be advised to keep the police informed of all suspicious-seeming persons staying in their establishments. The police should prepare a list of suspicious indicators and circulate it to them.

9.Any comprehensive security plan for an event like the CWG has to have three components covering the core area, the peripheral areas and measures to prevent diversionary attacks such as the hijacking of planes to divert the attention of the authorities. The Munich Olympics of 1972 saw a penetration of the core area (the games village).The Atlanta Olympics in the US in 1996 saw an explosion when the games were in progress in a park in a peripheral area. The Beijing Olympics of 2008 were preceded by diversionary attacks in Chinese-controlled Xinjiang, Yunnan and Shanghai.

10. The Delhi incident of September 19 show inadequacies in the peripheral areas. The manpower available to the Delhi Police would have to remain focused on the core area. They would need additional manpower for the peripheral areas from other States. They have to be drawn from the adjoining States and deployed immediately so that they become familiar with the topography.

11. Measures to prevent diversionary attacks have to be in place all over India. Steps to prevent an act of aviation terrorism should receive high priority. All the States should be in a high state of alert with effective co-ordination.

12. One can be certain that our intelligence and security agencies would have prepared comprehensive plans covering all these components. They would have been under constant pressure from their counterparts in the participating countries to do so. These plans need to be constantly revisited to identify and remove deficiencies.

13. We should not hesitate to seek the co-operation of Pakistan to detect and pre-empt any conspiracies hatched in the Af-Pak area to disrupt the CWG. We should not stand on false prestige or prejudices against Pakistan and avoid seeking the co-operation of Pakistan. It is not too late to invite Mr.Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, for a discussion on this subject. ( 21-9-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )




The statement purporting to be from the Indian Mujahideen (IM) disseminated by E-mail on September 19,2010, is shown as having been signed by one Al Arbi the same day. It refers to certain anti-Muslim incidents which allegedly took place in Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh on the day of Eid (September 11). It also refers to the day when the total number of people allegedly killed by the security forces in Jammu & Kashmir crossed 100 ( September 17). This would indicate that this message must have been drafted between September 17 and 19.

2. The statement is in good English with very few grammar or typing mistakes. It has been drafted by one well-versed in the Holy Koran. Many of the religious allusions have been taken from some past messages of Osama bin Laden, but bin Laden has not been mentioned anywhere by name. The last para of the message has been borrowed almost word for word from a message against Gen.Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani Army issued by bin Laden in September 2007 calling for the wrath of Allah on them for the raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July,2007. It reads: "O,Allah,deface them, break their backs and heads, split them up and destroy their unity; O, Allah, afflict them with the loss of their near and dear ones as they have afflicted us with the loss of our near and dear ones;O, Allah, we seek refuge in You from their evilness and we place You at their throats; O,Allah, make their plotting their destruction; O,Allah, suffice for us against them with whatever You wish; O,Allah, destroy them for they cannot escape You; O, Allah, count them, kill them and leave not even one of them. " There are only two minor changes. bin Laden had not said "deface them". He had also not said "and heads". One does not know wherefrom bin Laden had originally taken his curse against Musharraf and the Pakistani Army. bin Laden's curse against them has been converted by the IM into a curse against the Indian people and officials. I had referred to bin Laden's message of September 2007 in my book "Terrorism---Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow--Page 234.

3. The statement does not directly claim responsibility on behalf of the IM for the attack in Delhi on September 19 in which two Taiwanese tourists were injured. However, it indirectly hints at its responsibility by saying: "In the name of Allah we dedicate this attack of retribution...."

4. In its reference to the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, it says: "On the one hand Muslim blood is flowing like water, while on the other hand you are preparing for the festival of games. This is surely not a Child's play. Mind you this is the initiative from the Lions of Allah and we warn you to host the Commonwealth Games if you have a grain of salt. We know that the preparations for the Games are at its peak. Beware we too are preparing in full swing for a Great Surprise. The participants will be solely responsible for the outcome as our bands of Mujahideens love death more than you love life."

5. It has highlighted in red ink the following words: "Our bands of Mujahideen love death more than you love life." This could be a hint or threat that it is planning to commit an act of suicide or suicidal terrorism. The IM has not so far indulged in either.

6. While over 75 per cent of the statement is about alleged atrocities against Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir, there are also condemnatory references to the death of two IM suspects during a raid by the Delhi police on September 19,2008, to the arrests of some alleged members of the IM by the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Maharashtra Police in connection with the Pune Bakery blast of February 13 last and some alleged anti-Muslim incidents in Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh on Eid day. While the IM has threatened to launch a campaign of reprisals in solidarity with the Muslims of Kashmir, its initial attacks could be in Delhi, Mumbai and Ratlam. ( 20-9-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Two Taiwanese tourists are reported to have been injured outside the Jama Masjid in New Delhi on September 19,2010, when they were attacked with a hand-held gun by two unidentified persons on a motor-cycle.

2. The British Broadcasting Corporation has quoted an eye-witness as stating as follows: "The two terrorists came on a motorcycle and the man riding pillion first fired randomly at the mosque and then fired in the air and at the people, and then he fired on the bus in which the tourists had come.After emptying his gun, the terrorist replaced the magazine and began firing again."

3. The assailants then got away.It has been reported that the assailants dropped their gun on the road before fleeing.

4.A news channel is reported to have received an E-mail purporting to be from the Indian Mujahideen (IM) claiming responsibility for the attack. The mail had reportedly been sent from the address al-arbi999123@gmail.com .The word al-arbi had figured in the E-mail sent by the IM on July 26,2008, after the terrorist attacks in Ahmedabad.

5. The attack on the Taiwanese tourists took place on the second anniversary of an incident in which two suspects of the IM were killed in an exchange of fire during a raid by the Delhi police at a hide-out of the IM. A Police Inspector too died as a result of injuries sustained during the exchange of fire.

6. The E-mail received by the news channel tried to portray the shooting incident of September 19,2010, as in memory of the two IM suspects killed during the police raid of September 19,2008.

7. While the authenticity of the E-Mail is still to be established, some of these details would lend credence to the possibility of some still absconding members of the IM having been involved in the incident. However, the past incidents organised by the IM involved the use of improvised explosive devices (IED) against soft targets and not hand-held weapons. In the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, the LET had used explosives as well as hand-held weapons.

8. The modus operandi (MO) of two assailants approaching a target on a motor-cycle, with the man in the pillion seat opening fire is often followed by the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) of Pakistan and by jihadi terrorists in Southern Thailand. Some Khalistani terrorists in Punjab had used this MO in the 1980s. In Pakistan, there is a ban on pillion riding because of the use of this MO by the LEJ.

9. The LEJ is close to Ilyas Kashmiri of the so-called 313 Brigade based in North Waziristan in Pakistan, who had issued a threat earlier this year to disrupt the CWG (Commonwealth Games). According to the media, the E-mail warned the Government not to hold the Games and added: "We know the preparations are on in full swing. Be prepared, we are preparing a shocking event and those participating in the games will hold themselves responsible for the consequences."

10. The incident and the E-mail message should not be dismissed lightly until the assailants are arrested and interrogated. One should avoid over-confidence regarding the security arrangements and minutely re-visit the security drill to identify and remove any deficiencies. While there is no need for any panic, any casual approach to the incident would be unwise. ( 19-9-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



On Sun, Sep 19, 2010 at 11:18 AM, Dr. S. Chandrasekharan wrote:

Hello Raman,
Just wanted to share a few things with you.

For the last month and a half there is a sudden spurt in the number of hits. On some days, the figure goes beyond 20,000and on other days above 6to 7 thousand.

There had been an increasing attention of the Chinese- Our index page was hacked a few days ago and I managed to repair it myself.

I am looking for some technical hand to assist me in times of emergencies like these. I ahve not been successful so far.

The spurt I am told is patly due to the use by the civil service exam candidates using our site as a resource base! Most of the increase now is from India itslef!

The Pioneer regularly publishes your papers sometimes with a different heading. Have you given them the permission?

Many thanks to you and all the credit goes to you. I wish I have your stamina and the dedication.


Thanks. Gratifying. Many people re-produce my articles in India & abroad. I don't object since I write to educate. Regards. Raman

Saturday, September 18, 2010




According to the Ahlul Bayt News Agency of Iran, 25 Shias have been killed and 80 others injured In the Parachinar area in the Kurram Agency of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan during the last two weeks following attacks by members of the Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban on the Kheyvas village in the Shaluzan Mountains. It claimed that the Shias put up a fierce resistance to the attack and managed to kill 10 members of the Taliban, including two commanders of the Haqqani network. The news agency has alleged that the Pakistani Army, instead of helping the Shias beat back the Taliban attack, bombed the Shia positions from the air in order to help the Taliban. All shops in the area remained closed on September 18,2010, to protest against the Pakistan Government's failure to protect the Shias of the Kurram Agency from repeated attacks by the Taliban. The news agency said: " The Kurram Agency has been virtually cut off from the rest of Pakistan for the past two years due to intense clashes between Shiite and Talibani rebels."

2. On September 18,the "News" of Pakistan reported as follows: " Clashes triggered by a dispute over the ownership of a water channel between two rival groups a month ago came to an end on Friday ( September 17) after a peace Jirga convened by the political administration succeeded in effecting a ceasefire, official sources said. The sources said the clashes had erupted between the Mangal and Turi Bangash tribes over the ownership of a watercourse in Shalozan and Khewas areas near the Pak-Afghan border. The incessant fighting left 102 people dead and over 150 injured. The fighting took a sectarian colour as the Mangal tribe belongs to the Sunni sect while Turi and Bangash are Shias. Fresh clashes erupted on Thursday (September 16) and continued on Friday (September 17), leaving 48 persons dead and 71 others wounded. Four villages — Aqal Shah Killay, Sarang Killay, Qabli and Khewas Killay — were also torched amid the exchange of heavy fire. The rival groups also took several people hostage. Alarmed by the situation, the political administration of Kurram Agency called a peace Jirga comprising Shia and Sunni elders that brought the hostilities to an end. “The Jirga was called at a checkpost on the boundary of Sadda and Kurram. The members of the peace Jirga and political administration representatives held talks with the members of the Mangal and Turi Bangash tribes. The Jirga persuaded the rival groups to agree to a ceasefire,” said Political Agent Syed Musaddiq Shah while talking to The News by telephone. He said that it was agreed to hold regular sessions of the Jirga to ensure durable peace in the area and forestall such incidents in future."

3.The Iranian news agency and the "News" are apparently referring to the same series of clashes, but the estimate of fatalities given by the "News" is much higher than that given by the Iranian agency. However, the fatalities mentioned by the Iranian agency are only of Shias, whereas those mentioned by "News" seem to include the fatalities incurred by the Shias as well as the Sunnis. If the figures given by the "News" are to be believed, the Shias seemed to have inficted more casualties on the Sunnis than vice versa. It also needs to be noted that while the Iranian news agency talks of the involvement of the Haqqani network in the clashes, with the support of the Pakistan Army, the "News" makes no reference to it.

4.In a report published on September 16, the "Dawn" of Karachi refers to the presence of the Haqqani network in the Kurram Agency, but claims that the network is actually trying to bring about a reconciliation between the Shias and the Sunnis of the area. The "Dawn" reported as follows: “A Taliban faction fighting US forces in Afghanistan is trying to end a tribal dispute which has resulted in severe clashes in Kurram Agency. According to sources, Taliban of the Jalaluddin Haqqani group are in contact with elders of rival tribes and talks between the Haqqani group and elders from Upper and Lower Kurram were held before Eidul Fitr. “Two trustworthy people of Jalaluddin Haqqani took part in the talks,” they said, adding that the next round of talks was expected soon. They said elders of Turi and Bangash tribes had said that they would attend further talks only if nine people kidnapped after an attack on two vehicles in Lower Kurram in July were freed and safety of passengers travelling between Parachinar and Peshawar was guaranteed. “These measures are necessary to build confidence among the tribes and prepare the ground for future talks,” an elder said. He said the Taliban had told them that they wanted reconciliation among the tribes and had approached all groups to start negotiations."

5. The "Dawn" report added: "The sources said the Taliban had been in contact with local tribes for some time but the talks had not produced any result so far. The first round of talks was held in Balishkhel village in March last year and was attended also by Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud. Another team of Taliban visited the area in September last year. According to the sources, a relative of a former governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and his local business partner facilitated the talks which ended without achieving anything. It may be mentioned, Nato officials and the Afghan government made similar efforts and invited elders of various tribes to Paktia province of Afghanistan in May last year to urge them to resolve their disputes. Violent clashes have been taking place in the Kurram valley since November 2007 and thousands of people have been killed or injured and hundreds of families have been displaced. The area is cut off from the rest of the country and local people travel on the Thall-Parachinar road in convoys protected by security personnel. "

6. The "Dawn" further said: "The government brokered a peace deal and an agreement to end violence was signed in Murree in October 2008, but there has been no let-up in violence in the valley. Insiders said the aim behind Taliban’s reconciliation efforts was to secure the strategic region and turn it into a safe route to Afghanistan. Kurram valley borders Afghanistan from three sides, Paktia on its west, Nangarhar on the north and Khost on the south. When militant groups signed peace deals with the government in South and North Waziristan, some armed groups tried to use Kurram for their activities in Afghanistan. Under the agreements, the militant groups operating in Waziristan were required not to infiltrate into Afghanistan. Tension flared in the area when Baitullah Mehsud, the slain chief of the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, deputed Hakimullah as ‘commander’ for Kurram, Khyber and Orakzai agencies in 2008 and tribal people in Kurram opposed TTP’s activities. Local tribes blamed Taliban for violence and insecurity in their area. According to the sources, Taliban have told the elders that tension in Kurram has had an adverse effect on the ‘Jihad’ in Afghanistan and that they are interested in ending disputes among local groups. But several tribes are sceptical about the initiative and suspect that the Taliban are interested only in securing a safe passage for their cross-border movement. “Taliban are yet to show their cards, but we have already conveyed to the negotiators that people in Kurram are against the presence of outsiders in their area,” a source said. “

7. Apparently unconnected with the developments in the Kurram Agency, the "Dawn" also reported on September 16 a steep increase in US Drone (pilotless planes) strikes against the Haqqani network. It said: "“Apparently frustrated over Pakistan military’s inaction against the Haqqani network, the United States has this month unleashed a relentless wave of drone attacks in North Waziristan, hoping to downgrade the operational capabilities of the group it considers to be the most lethal militant outfit in Afghanistan. Since Sept 2, there have been 13 strikes by unmanned Predator drones in North Waziristan — the highest number in a month since the US began using them to hit targets in Pakistan in 2004. The number of drone attacks this year has already crossed 70 — the highest figure for a year. According to military sources, an operation in North Waziristan got delayed because the army was preoccupied with fighting militancy in other tribal areas and flood relief. This window was fully exploited by the group to intensify its activities, defence analysts believe.“The Americans want to check that freedom of space available to the Haqqanis through intensified drone attacks,” a source said.”

8.The “Dawn” added: “There are few takers for the Pakistani explanation in the US and many describe the delay as tactical. Besides, Pakistan had in June initiated efforts to secure a place for the Haqqanis in post-war Afghanistan by working out a rapprochement between the group and the Karzai government. US opposition to the initiative halted it. Sources suggest that Pakistan would make fresh moves to discuss peace with the Haqqanis, in the context of the overall reconciliation plan, during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s current visit to Pakistan. The pattern of the attacks this month shows that the primary target is the Haqqani network, even though his host Hafiz Gul Bahadar and foreign militants of Al Qaeda have also been targeted.”

9.It further said: “The strikes this month have predominantly been in Miramshah sub-division, where the Haqqani network’s headquarters are based and where the group carries out its financial dealings, acquisition of weapons and strategic planning. Five of the attacks occurred in Datakhel tehsil, which is home to Gul Bahadar’s clan Uthmanzai Wazir. Dandi Derpakhel, the scene of another attack in Miramshah, is where members of Jalaluddin Haqqani’s family live. Gul Bahadar, who leads the other major militant grouping in North Waziristan, is more than a host for the Haqqanis. He not only provides them with the tribal support the Haqqanis lack, but also gives them passage to the border. The only attack this month outside Miramshah was in Shawal, where foreign fighters loyal to Al Qaeda have sanctuaries.”

10.The “Dawn” added: “The US, while targeting the Haqqanis, is pursuing the ‘hammer and anvil approach’. Alongside the spike in the drone attacks, US Special Forces have launched an intense operation against the group in eastern Afghanistan, killing a number of its ‘commanders’. The Haqqani network has been the focus of US action for the past two years. However, after the Dec 2009 suicide attack on the Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, a key facility of the CIA, the network again came under renewed focus. In this unprecedented intense bombardment by drones, military officials see a shift in US policy in Afghanistan from counter-insurgency to counter-terrorism.” (18-9-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Saturday, September 11, 2010




Terry Jones, the US pastor, who had threatened to organize a campaign to burn the Holy Koran starting from the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, has since given up his plans. No Koran-burning incident took place anywhere in the world on the 9/11 anniversary.

2. Following the withdrawal of his threat, there have been no reports of an escalation of violent incidents in Afghanistan and protest demonstrations in Pakistan and other Muslim countries over his threat.

3. Normally, the Muslim anger over the pastor’s threat should subside in the wake of his withdrawal of the threat. However, attempts are being made by Muslim radical elements to keep the anger, particularly against the US, sustained even after the withdrawal of the threat by the pastor. They are trying to project the very fact that the pastor held out such a threat as an act of blasphemy and as an affront to Islam and calling for acts of retaliation by American Muslims.

4. Addressing an Eid prayer meeting in a Somali mosque on September 10,2010,Moalin Hashi, a senior Islamist cleric from the Hezbul Islam which is fighting against the Somali Government, is reported to have said: "These days senior infidels have been threatening to burn the holy Quran to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 incident, so we call on all Muslims in particular American Muslims to act against the pastor, to take tough action against the pastor."

5.After the prayer meeting, he is reported to have told local journalists as follows: "The wars going on in the world today are religious in nature but some think it is political but we can say it is religious considering what the pastors are saying and that they want to burn the Quran and that those before them used to insult our Prophet, so we want Muslims everywhere to rise up." ( 12-9-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Friday, September 10, 2010




India took 19 years to prevail over the Naga and Mizo insurgents, 14 years over the Khalistani terrorists in Punjab and about 10 years plus over Al Ummah of Tamil Nadu. It has been fighting against left-wing extremists in different incarnations for nearly 40 years with no end in sight, against different terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for 21 years and against indigenous and Pakistan-sponsored jihadi terrorist organizations in hinterland India outside J&K for 17 years.

2. The UK took about 35 years to prevail over terrorism in Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka 26 years to vanquish the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

3. Israel has been fighting against West Asian terrorist groups for 43 years and the US against Al Qaeda for 12 years plus and against the Taliban for nine years. The Russians have been fighting against the Chechens for 15 years. Pakistan has been fighting against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for three years now.

4. As I have been repeatedly saying, once terrorism or insurgency makes its appearance it takes years to prevail over it. One should not, therefore, be surprised that the end of the fighting against Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban is not yet in sight even nine years after the beginning of the sustained campaign against them under the US leadership in the Af-Pak region after the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US Homeland. In my assessment, it will take at least another eight to10 years for the international community to prevail over Al Qaeda and tame the Afghan Taliban.

5.The US-led campaign against the Al Qaeda brand of terrorism has had many tactical successes in eliminating a large number of its important leaders, in preventing many planned acts of terrorism and in thwarting an accretion in their capacity. It has kept Al Qaeda on the run to escape from the unrelenting drone ( unmanned planes) strikes in North and South Waziristan in Pakistan. It has prevented Al Qaeda and its affiliates from disrupting maritime trade, from threatening the world with weapons of mass destruction material and from turning the Internet into a weapon of mass disruption. These successes have come as a result of constant refining of the physical security techniques, US investments and innovations in the use of science and technology against global terrorism and making counter-terrorism an exercise in global partnership.

6. However, despite these tactical successes, Al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations have maintained a capability for repeatedly taking the international community by surprise as seen since 9/11 in Bali, Mombasa, Casablanca, Istanbul, Madrid, London, Sharm-el-Sheikh, Jakarta, twice in Mumbai and Islamabad. Al Qaeda has become a two-headed monster--- an insurgent organizations which seeks to overthrow Governments in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iraq, Algeria and Indonesia and a ruthless terrorist organization which seeks to keep the non-Muslim world bleeding.

7.It continues to pose a joint threat to the Islamic as well as non-Islamic countries. Unless the Islamic and non-Islamic countries join hands in countering it, a strategic neutralization of Al Qaeda will remain a distant goal. There is unfortunately an ambivalence in the attitude of the Islamic world to Al Qaeda. They want to protect themselves against it by whatever means possible, but are reluctant to co-operate sincerely with the non-Islamic world in neutralizing it. Al Qaeda is dangerous for the stability of the Islamic world, but its activities against the non-Islamic world are understandable. That seems to be their attitude, which could prove suicidal.

8.How to prevail over Al Qaeda and its affiliates-----with the co-operation of the Islamic world, if possible, and without it if the worst comes to the worst? That is the question facing all of us whether in India, the US or the rest of the world suffering the global jihadi depredations. In this endeavour, our primary aim should be the neutralization of Al Qaeda. Its neutralization will not eliminate global jihadi terrorism. It could make it less virulent and hopefully more manageable.

9. The recent indicators of the resurgence of Al Qaeda and its allied elements in Iraq show that the international community still does not have an answer as to how to deal effectively with global jihadi terrorism---- which has had a large geographical spread with the Af-Pak region, Yemen, Somalia and North Africa serving as its epi-centres. Unless there is a co-ordinated fight against the terrorists operating from all these areas, we will be fighting and fighting endlessly.

10. Al Qaeda has not only had a geographic spread. It has also had an ethnic spread by exploiting the feelings of Islamic solidarity and the victim complex of the Muslims of the world. By projecting the counter-terrorism campaigns of different countries as a war against Islam and not a fight against terrorism, it has been able to draw the support of Muslims belonging to different ethnic groups and of different nationalities. The international community has not been able to use effectively its soft power to convince the Muslim communities in different countries-----particularly the Muslim youth---- that it has been waging a counter-terrorism and not a counter-Islam campaign.

11. The over-focus on the use of hard power---- the heavily armed security forces and the civilian security agencies --- and the inability to use soft power to counter the ideological campaign of Al Qaeda, the Talibans and other allied organizations have resulted in a situation in which the word and example of the jihadists have a greater appeal in the Islamic world than the word and example of the States trying vainly till now to counter the terrorists.

12. The international community has not been able to isolate Al Qaeda and expose its pernicious ideology as likely to be detrimental to the interests of the Muslims themselves. The result: more and more jihadi organizations are joining the bandwagon of Al Qaeda and placing their cadres----many of them more volunteers to serve the perceived Islamic cause than recruits to act as Al Qaeda’s cannon-fodder---- at its disposal for being used in its fight against so-called infidels and apostates.

13. The fight against Al Qaeda and its associates has come to be seen as a war of attrition and not simultaneously as a campaign of decontamination too. The objectives of the war of attrition are the neutralization of the leadership, stopping the flow of funds and destroying their capabilities. These objectives are important, but they alone are not sufficient. Simultaneously, there has to be an intelligently waged decontamination campaign against pernicious ideas that seek to drive a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims.

14. In this decontamination campaign, elements of soft power such as the radio, the TV, the print media and the Internet are important. This campaign has to be waged with the help of Muslims of different ethnic groups and different nationalities. The fight against Al Qaeda and the Talibans cannot be won unless Muslims---particularly the youth---are persuaded to play a leading role in it.

15. The Muslim youth cannot be weaned away from the attraction of Al Qaeda unless and until its sense of anger over what it perceives as the injustices being committed against the Muslim community are taken note of and addressed where legitimate and possible. Closing our eyes and ears to their anger is proving counter-productive.

16. Anger is nothing unusual. It has always been there, but in the past the anger was due to feelings of poverty and deprivation and social discrimination. Now, the anger is increasingly due to the counter-terrorism methods adopted after 9/11----- profiling, special checks of Muslims, disproportionate use of force, air strikes in populated areas etc . There is a perception encouraged and exploited by Al Qaeda and its affiliates that Islam and Muslims as a religious group are targeted in the name of counter-terrorism. The feeling that what is being waged is not a counter-terrorism, but a counter-Islam campaign is spreading. Unwise measures such as banning the wearing of burqa by Muslim girls attending schools in countries such as France, not permitting the construction of minarets in some countries are strengthening this feeling.

17. How to convince the Muslim youth that we are seeking to counter terrorism and not Islam? That is a question which needs the serious attention of policy-makers and non-governmental experts.

18.In the months after 9/11, there was a recognition that the counter-terrorism campaign must be holistic paying equal attention to security measures and to rising the level of education and economic well-being of Muslims. Measures for reforming the madrasas and for making modern education easily affordable for Muslims received considerable attention.

19.Counter-terrorism as being waged today is no longer holistic. The need for the reform of the madrasas is no longer emphasized. Spread of modern education is receiving less attention and less funding than improving the communications infrastructure in areas affected by terrorism. Just because many of the cadres of Al Qaeda and its affiliates come from an affluent and educated background such measures are no longer receiving the required attention.

20.The time has come for us to go back to comprehensive counter-terrorism. ( 11-9-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )