Pakistan and state-sponsored terrorism
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In 2009, Pakistani President Asif Zardari admitted at a conference in Islamabad that Pakistan had, in the past created terrorist groups as a tool for its geostrategic agenda. Pakistan had long been accused by neighbour India, and western nations like the United States, and the United Kingdom of its involvement in terrorist activities in India and Afghanistan. Pakistan's tribal region along the border of Afghanistan has been claimed to be a "haven for terrorists" by western media and the United States Defense Secretary.[by whom?] According to an analysis published by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institution in 2008, Pakistan was, "with the possible exception of Iran, perhaps the world’s most active sponsor of terrorist groups... aiding groups that pose a direct threat to the United States." Daniel Byman, an author, also writes that, "Pakistan is probably today's most active sponsor of terrorism".
The Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence(ISI), is believed to be aiding these organisations in eradicating perceived enemies or those opposed to their cause, including India, Russia, China, Israel, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and other members of NATO. Satellite imagery from the FBI suggest the existence of several terrorist camps in Pakistan, with at least one militant admitting to being trained in the country as part of the going Kashmir Dispute, Pakistan is alleged to be supporting separatist militias Many nonpartisan sources believe that officials within Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sympathise with and aid Islamic terrorists, saying that the "ISI has provided covert but well-documented support to terrorist groups active in Kashmir, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jaish-e-Mohammed".
Pakistan denied involvement in militant activities in Kashmir, though President Asif Ali Zardari admitted in July 2010 that militants had been "deliberately created and nurtured" by past governments "as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives" stating that they were "heroes" until 9/11.
In October 2010, former Pakistan President and former head of the Pakistan Army, Pervez Musharraf revealed that Pakistani armed forces trained militant groups to fight Indian forces in Kashmir. Many Kashmiri militant groups designated as terrorist organisations by the US still maintain their headquarters in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. This is cited by the Indian government as further proof that Pakistan supports terrorism. Many of the terrorist organisations are banned by the UN, but continue to operate under different names. Even the normally reticent United Nations Organization (UNO) has also publicly increased pressure on Pakistan on its inability to control its Afghanistan border and not restricting the activities of Taliban leaders who have been declared by the UN as terrorists. Both the federal and state governments in India continue to accuse Pakistan of helping several banned terrorist organisations, including the Indian organisations unhappy with their own Government, like the ULFA in Assam.
Until Pakistan became a key ally in the War on Terrorism, the US Secretary of State included Pakistan on the 1993 list of countries which repeatedly provide support for acts of international terrorism. In fact, many consider that Pakistan has been playing both sides in the fight against terror, on the one hand, pretending to help curtail terrorist activities while on the other, stoking it. Even the noted Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid has accused Pakistan's ISI of providing help to the Taliban, a statement echoed by many, including author Ted Galen Carpenter, who states that Pakistan has "assisted rebel forces in Kashmir even though those groups have committed terrorist acts against civilians".
Allegations of state-sponsored terrorism
Author Gordon Thomas states that whilst aiding in the capture of Al Qaeda members, Pakistan "still sponsored terrorist groups in the disputed state of Kashmir, funding, training and arming them in their war of attrition against India". Journalist Stephen Schwartz notes that several terrorist and criminal groups are "backed by senior officers in the Pakistani army, the country's ISI intelligence establishment and other armed bodies of the state".
According to the author Daniel Byman, "Pakistan is probably today's most active sponsor of terrorism." writing in an article published by The Australian stated, "following the terror massacres in Mumbai, Pakistan may now be the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism, beyond even Iran, yet it has never been listed by the US State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism".
Former Pakistan Ruler Pervez Musharraf has conceded that his forces trained militant groups to fight India in Indian-administered Kashmir. He confessed that the government ″turned a blind eye″ because it wanted to force India to enter negotiations besides raising the issue internationally.
Inter-Services Intelligence and terrorism
The ISI, has often been accused of playing a role in major terrorist attacks across the world including
- terrorism in Kashmir,
- the July 2006 Mumbai Train Bombings,
- the 2001 Indian Parliament attack,
- the 2006 Varanasi bombings,
- the August 2007 Hyderabad bombings and
- the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
The ISI is also accused of supporting Taliban forces and recruiting and training mujahideen to fight in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Based on communication intercepts, US intelligence agencies concluded Pakistan's ISI was behind the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul on 7 July 2008, a charge that the governments of India and Afghanistan had laid previously.
The Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has regularly reiterated allegations that militants operating training camps in Pakistan have used it as a launch platform to attack targets in Afghanistan, urged Western military allies to target extremist hideouts in neighbouring Pakistan. In response to the millants from Afghanistan hiding in the mountainous tribal region of Pakistan . The US and Pakistan agreed to allow US Drone Strikes in Pakistan.
Several detainees at the Guantanamo Bay facility told US interrogators that they were aided by the ISI for attacks in the disputed Kashmir Region.
Links to terrorist groups
Pakistan is said to be a haven for terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Omar, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Sipah-e-Sahaba. Pakistan is accused of giving aid to the Taliban, "which include[s] soliciting funding for the Taliban, bankrolling Taliban operations, providing diplomatic support as the Taliban's virtual emissaries abroad, arranging training for Taliban fighters, recruiting skilled and unskilled manpower to serve in Taliban armies, planning and directing offensives, providing and facilitating shipments of ammunition and fuel, and on several occasions apparently directly providing combat support," as stated by the Human Rights Watch. In 2008, the US has stated that the next attack on the US could originate in Pakistan. In June 2009, India’s army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, used a meeting with US national security adviser Jim Jones to claim that Pakistan was home to 43 "terrorist camps", while rejecting suggestions of engaging in fresh peace talks. Another militant outfit, the JKLF, has openly admitted that more than 3,000 militants from various nationalities were still being trained. Other resources also concur, stating that Pakistan’s military and ISI both include personnel who sympathise with and help Islamic militants, adding that "ISI has provided covert but well-documented support to terrorist groups active in Kashmir, including the Jaish-e-Mohammed." Pakistan has denied any involvement in the terrorist activities in Kashmir, arguing that it only provides political and moral support to the so-called 'secessionist' groups. Many Kashmiri groups also maintain their headquarters in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which is cited as further proof by the Indian Government. The normally reticent United Nations Organization (UNO) has also publicly increased pressure on Pakistan on its inability to control its Afghanistan border and not restricting the activities of Taliban leaders who have been declared by the UN as terrorists.
Alleged Pakistani Army support of terrorists
The United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Pakistan was also responsible for the evacuation of about 5000 of the top leadership of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda who were encircled by Nato forces in the 2001 Invasion of Afghanistan. This event known as the Kunduz airlift, which is also popularly called the "Airlift of Evil", involved several Pakistani Air Force transport planes flying multiple sorties over a number of days.
According to Pervez Hoodhboy, "Bin Laden was the 'Golden Goose' that the army had kept under its watch but which, to its chagrin, has now been stolen from under its nose. Until then, the thinking had been to trade in the Goose at the right time for the right price, either in the form of dollars or political concessions".
According to a 2001 article titled "Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism" issued by the US Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, "In South Asia, the United States has been increasingly concerned about reports of Pakistani support to terrorist groups and elements active in Kashmir, as well as Pakistani support, especially military support, to the Taliban, which continues to harbor terrorist groups, including al-Qaida, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan."
In 2011, American troops reportedly recovered Pakistani military supplies from Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.
US National Security Advisor James L Jones sent a message in the past to Pakistan saying that double standards on terrorism were not acceptable. In July 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron accused the Pakistani government of double standards: "We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world." However, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was travelling with the prime minister Cameron, clarified Cameron's remarks: "He wasn't accusing anybody of double dealing. He was also saying that Pakistan's made great progress in tackling terrorism. Of course there have been many terrorism outrages in Pakistan itself." Cameron's remarks sparked a diplomatic row with Pakistan, where he came under attack by officials and politicians who strongly criticised his comments. In December 2010, he attempted to visit Pakistan while on a tour to Afghanistan in an effort to mend relations. However, his visit was refused by Pakistan, notably as a snub to his remarks.
US intelligence officials claim that Pakistan's ISI sponsored the 2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul. They say that the ISI officers who aided the attack were not renegades, indicating that their actions might have been authorised by superiors. The attack was carried out by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who runs a network that Western intelligence services say is responsible for a campaign of violence throughout Afghanistan, including the Indian Embassy bombing and the 2008 Kabul Serena Hotel attack.
The government of Pakistan has been accused of aiding terrorist organisations operating on their soil who have attacked neighbouring India. Pakistan denies all allegations, stating that these acts are committed by non-state actors.
India alleged that the recent 2008 Mumbai attacks originated in Pakistan, and that the attackers were in touch with a Pakistani colonel and other handlers in Pakistan. This led to a UN ban on one such organisation, the Jama'at-ud-Da'wah, which the Pakistani government is yet to enforce.
On 5 April 2006, the Indian police arrested six Islamic militants, including a cleric who helped plan bomb blasts in Varanasi. The cleric is believed to be a commander of a banned Bangladeshi Islamic militant group, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, and is linked to the ISI.
Al Qaeda leaders killed or captured in Pakistan
Critics have accused Pakistan's military and security establishment of protecting bin Laden, until he was found and killed by US forces. This issue is expected to worsen US ties with Pakistan. Bin Laden was killed in what most feel was his residence for at least three years, in Abbottabad, in Pakistan. It was an expensive compound, less than 100 kilometres' drive from the capital, Islamabad, probably built specifically for Bin Laden. The compound is 0.8 miles (1.3 km) southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), a prominent military academy that has been compared to Sandhurst in Britain and West Point in the United States. Pakistan's President Zardari has denied that his country's security forces may have sheltered Osama bin Laden.
In response to America's exposure of bin Laden's hiding place, Pakistan moved to shut down the informant network that lead the Americans there.
- State terrorism
- Persecution of Hazara people
- Inter-Services Intelligence activities in Afghanistan
- Inter-Services Intelligence activities in India
- State-sponsored terrorism
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