Skip to comments.Al Qaeda's shadows on India and SE Asia (long and detailed but interesting
Posted on 04/11/2002 11:11:58 AM PDT by swarthyguy
South Asia Analysis Group
Paper no. 439 08. 04. 2002
AL QAEDA'S SHADOWS ON INDIA & S.E. ASIA
There are indications that to avoid detection of their presence in Pakistani territory by the US intelligence agencies and possible cross border (Pakistan-Afghan border) punitive strikes by the US forces operating in Afghanistan, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan has started shifting important elements of the Al Qaeda, including surviving leaders of its brains trust, to Pakistani Punjab and the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), including the Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan).
Since December, 2001, sections of the Pakistani media have been reporting about the movement of the Al Qaeda survivors towards Punjab as well as the POK by the ISI-supported Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). This movement has continued, despite the ostensible ban on the LET imposed by Gen.Pervez Musharraf on January 15, 2002, under US pressure.
The role played by the LET's headquarters at Muridke, near Lahore, in facilitating the movement of Al Qaeda cadres to and from Afghanistan had been highlighted by the prestigious "Friday Times" of Lahore in its issue for the week from December 14 to 20, 2001. It wrote: "Muridke, a city within a city, was built with Arab (author's comment: bin Laden's) money.....Its (the LET's) contact with the Wahabi camps in Kunnar in Afghanistan has never been disowned although Muridke carefully mutes its obvious connections with the Arab warriors in Afghanistan. Its connections with Osama bin Laden have also been carefully hidden although news appearing in the national press have linked the two....Lashkar's office in Muridke used to receive a large number of Arabs on a daily basis and was a transit camp for those leaving for Afghanistan and Central Asia."
When Musharraf banned the LET on January 15, 2002, and detained its leader, Prof. Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, a Punjabi Gujjar, (since released), he refrained from extending the ban order to the POK, including the Northern Areas, and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He had the offices of the LET in the small towns raided to satisfy the US that he was acting against the terrorists, but did not raid the LET headquarters at Muridke, which had sheltered a large number of Al Qaeda survivors, who had fled from Afghanistan.
With the complicity of the ISI, the LET started moving the Al Qaeda survivors to private homes in different towns in Punjab as well as to its camps in the POK. The "Friday Times" reported in its issue for February 1 to 7, 2002: "Sources say that when Dawatul Irshad (Markaz Dawa Al Irshad since re-named as Jamaat al-Dawa), parent organisation of the now banned Lashkar Tayyaba, shifted its activities to Azad Kashmir (POK), it took with it many non-Pakistanis suspected of links to Al Qaeda. All these organisations were loosely affiliated and their activists moved across organisations and cells with a great degree of ease, an intelligence source said."
The "Friday Times" added: " Just before the Musharraf Government took action against the organisation, there were quite a few foreigners residing at Dawa's headquarters in Muridke. Most of these people had infiltrated into Pakistan in the initial stages of the war, says an insider. Some of these people shifted along with other Lashkar cadres to Azad Kashmir (POK) after Hafiz Mohammed Saeed resigned under pressure from the Government. After his resignation, he also constituted another jehadi group called Jamaat al-Dawa while the supreme council nominated Abdul Wahid Kashmiri, another senior member of the Dawatul Irshad, as its new Amir. Insiders say some of these foreigners are also said to be linked to Hezbul Tehreer and work under the supervision of Abdul Qadeem Zaloom, a Saudi-based person with links to the Al Qaeda," it concluded.
The raids conducted by the Pakistani Police and security agencies, under the prodding of the CIA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the USA, at Faislabad, Lahore and Multan on March 28 and 29, 2002, which led to the arrest and detention of 20 Al Qaeda activists, including Abu Zubaida, reportedly No. 3 in bin Laden's set-up, and 10 of their Pakistani supporters, many of them from the LET, brought to light the fact that even after the shifting of many of the Al Qaeda dregs to POK by the LET, with the connivance of the ISI, many continue to operate from Punjab.
During his visit to Kabul on April 2, 2002, Musharraf himself admitted that the intelligence regarding the presence of these Al Qaeda elements came from the US agencies while follow-up action on the intelligence was taken by the Pakistani agencies.
It is difficult to accept that the Punjab Police and the agencies of the Federal Government such as the ISI and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) would not have been aware of the shifting of the Al Qaeda dregs, including members of its brains trust, by organisations such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islami (HUJI), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the LET away from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border towards the Indian border in order to protect them from any hot pursuit raids by the US forces operating from Afghan territory across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
According to the "Friday Times", after his release by the Government of India, Sheikh Omar had opened an office of the Al Qaeda in Lahore. He was operating from Lahore---on behalf of Al Qaeda as well as the HUM. It is learnt that after his surrender to the Pakistani authorities on February 5, 2002, Sheikh Omar had been voluntarily telling the Karachi Police not only about his terrorist activities in India, but also about his activities on behalf of bin Laden and that he had told the Karachi Police about the presence of Abu Zubaida in Faislabad.
Hence, it is not as if the presence of the Al Qaeda dregs in Faislabad and other strongholds of the LET was not known to the ISI and Musharraf. It is reported that the FBI, fearing that the Punjab Police may not successfully execute the raids due to its complicity with the LET, wanted that the personnel of the raiding parties should be from Islamabad or Sindh and that they should not inform the Punjab Police about the raids. Islamabad Police officers were, therefore, specially deputed for the raids by Musharraf and Lt.Gen.(retd) Moinuddin Haider, the Interior Minister.
At the same time, Musharraf and Haider were reported to have instructed the raiding parties that they should ensure that Abu Zubaida was not caught alive. Even though he had only a knife and no firearm and resisted arrest only with the help of his knife, the Pakistani security personnel opened fire on him riddling his body with bullets, particularly in the abdominal region. A special team of US military doctors has been frantically trying to save his life in the naval hospital in Diego Garcia.
Pakistani sources say that while the Americans were aware of the presence of the Al Qaeda dregs in Faislabad, they were not aware that Abu Zubaida was one of them. It would seem that is why when the Pakistanis indiscriminately opened fire, the American officers accompanying them did not try to stop them.
Apart from being in charge of the Al Qaeda training camps till October 7, 2001, and of the special operations and personal security of bin Laden after the death of Mohammad Atef in November, 2001, Abu Zubaida, who is computer savvy, was also in charge of the computer network of the Al Qaeda and used to train the Al Qaeda cadres in the use of the Internet for clandestine communications and other operational purposes.
Where did he acquire his knowledge of computer technology? In India, according to accounts of his past life as published in the Pakistani media after his arrest. He is reported to have undergone a two-year computer course in a private institute of Pune. Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia , in March 1971 of Palestinian parents of Gaza origin, he travelled to Peshawar with an Egyptian passport in 1987 to join the CIA-sponsored jihad in Afghanistan. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, he reportedly came to India in 1990 and joined an institute in Pune to learn computer technology. After the course, he returned to Peshawar in 1992. He was arrested by the Peshawar Police following the recovery of a number of passports of different countries and US dollars 12,000 from him. The Peshawar Police registered a case against him under the Foreigners Act. After his release on bail, he fled to Afghanistan from where he returned later and applied to the UNHCR office in Peshawar for political refugee status. After bin Laden returned to Jalalabad from Khartoum, Sudan, in July,1996, he joined him and started assisting him in running his training camps. In 1999, he again took up residence in Peshawar under the cover of a trader in Afghan honey and ran a transit house for those going to bin Laden's training camps.
The reported shifting of the Al Qaeda dregs by the ISI and the LET to Punjab and the POK has serious security implications for India since these trained terrorists may be infiltrated into J & K after the snow melts in order to maintain the level of violence and disrupt the forthcoming elections in the State. It may be recalled that in 1999 too, Musharraf had shifted the trained terrorists of bin Laden's International Islamic Front to the Northern Areas. It was they, who initially occupied the Kargil heights and were later replaced by regular Pakistani troops. In 1988, Musharraf, under the orders of Zia-ul-Haq, had used bin Laden and his tribal hordes for ruthlessly suppressing a Shia revolt against Islamabad in Gilgit.
Reports of the recent fighting by the dregs of the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other components of the International Islamic Front against the US troops (Operation Anaconda) have brought to light the participation of trained Indonesian jihadis in the fight against the US troops. It is learnt that these jihadis were trained in the training camp of the LET in the Muridke area from where they were sent to Eastern Afghanistan to participate in the fighting against the US troops. According to the "News" of Islamabad (March 15,2002) one of the dead bodies recovered by the pro-US Afghan troops after the recent fighting in the Shahi Kot area had an Indonesian identity card.
Evidence available so far indicates that while recruits from Malaysia and possibly Singapore are trained in the headquarters of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) in the Binori madrasa complex in Karachi, those from Indonesia are trained in the Muridke complex of the LET, near Lahore. The HUM had always been training the recruits from Southern Philippines and Myanmar, in addition to those from Xinjiang, Chechnya, Dagestan and the Central Asian Republics. The HUJI trains those from Bangladesh. Before October 7, 2001, the training camps of the HUM and the HUJI were located in Eastern Afghanistan. It is not known where they have been shifted since then. However, it is known that in the past they had used the infrastructure of the Tablighi Jamaat in Raiwind in Punjab for training purposes.
The HUM and the HUJI specialise in kidnapping, but the LET and the JEM emulate the suicide terrorism of Al Qaeda, the Hamas and the Hizbollah. There is, therefore, a danger of suicide terrorism finding its way to South-East Asia in course of time.
(The writer is Additional Secretary(retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-Mail: email@example.com )
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Attempted doublecross by our friend musharrafat? Like how Raman keeps referring to al-qaeda dregs.... personally i prefer the Dixie Dregs.....
“ABU ZUBAIDAS CLEAR TIES TO AL-QAEDA”
April 19th, 2012 - by MATTHEW LEVITT
“Taking Exception: Abu Zubaida’s Clear Ties to al-Qaeda”
By Matthew Levitt
Washington Post, April 13, 2012
SNIPPET: “The profile of Abu Zubaida listed among detainee biographies on the Web sites of the Defense Department and the director of national intelligence says that his activities include organizing terror attacks, smuggling terrorist fugitives across state borders, procuring forged documents and funds for terrorists, and more. Zubaida is alleged to have operated guest houses in Peshawar and Islamabad that provided havens for militants traveling to the Khalden camp Zubaida ran in Afghanistan. There, militants received training in explosives, small arms and rocket launchers. According to a 2010 Canadian government account, “The combination of operating a guesthouse, a training camp and collecting passports makes him a participant into the cause of Islamist extremism.” In June 2010 the United Nations reviewed and decided to maintain its terrorist designation of Abu Zubaida, describing him as a “close associate” of Osama bin Laden.”
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