Pakistan Supports Terrorists
Rebels in Kashmir
Hon. Bill McCollum of Florida
in the House of Representatives
Wednesday, June 22, 1994
Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of the House a very important
matter. The role of Pakistan in aiding and abetting terrorism in Kashmir is well
documented, so much so that the administration almost placed the Pakistani
regime on the 1993 list of state sponsors of terrorism. However, the
administration did not take such action because it was assured by Pakistan that
Islamabad was taking credible steps to disassociate itself from the militants in
Recent reports however, suggest
that Pakistan never stopped its aid to the terrorists in Kashmir. A report in
the Washington Post dated, May 16, 1994, titled, "Pakistan Aiding Rebels in
Kashmir: Muslims Reportedly Armed and Trained," by John Ward Anderson,
datelined Muzzabarabad, gives a first-hand account of such assistance by
Pakistan to terrorists in Kashmir.
The State Department has also
confirmed this fact in its annual report titled, Patterns of Global
Terrorism" I quote, "...there were credible reports in 1993 of
official Pakistani support to Kashmiri militants ..."
This fact is further confirmed from
a study conducted by The Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare
titled, "The Kashmir Connection," which I would like to place on the
RECORD, immediately following these remarks which details the Pakistani
involvement in aiding the terrorism in Kashmir.
This house should take cognizance
of this serious issue particularly as some of those who have been indicted in
the bombing of the World Trade Center had also received training in Pakistan.
THE KASHMIR CONNECTION
Bodansky and Vaughan S. Forrest]
Chief of Staff note: The following
paper was prepared in light of the publication in the Monday, May 16 issue of
The Washington Post of an article discussing Pakistan's extensive involvement in
rendering support to terrorist elements in Kashmir. That piece revealed the fact
of Pakistani involvement, but not the extent. In this paper, and future papers,
the Task Force will seek to explore
in-depth Pakistani role in
international terrorism and its profound ramifications for the Central Asian
region in general, and India in particular.
As the rivalry between India and
Pakistan has intensified, perhaps no other region has taken on the significance
of Kashmir. That province is unique among all the crisis points along the Indo-
Pakistani border in that it is not just an area of strategic and economic
importance, it is also the object of the ideological passions of the various
states in the region. Thus, the following paper will briefly summarize the
ongoing rivalry in Kashmir, focussing on Pakistan, Iran, the various Islamist
movements, and the military/terrorist dimension of the conflict.
For Islamabad, the liberation of
Kashmir is a sacred mission, the only task unfulfilled since the days of the
Pakistan's founder, Muhammad Ali Jinah. However, Kashmir is equally important in
that it serves the domestic interests of the Pakistani government in in three
crucial respects. First, tension over Kashmir creates a division from
frustration at home. Second, the Kashmir cause allowes Islamabad to rally the
support of Pakistan's Islamist parties and their loyalists in the military and
the ISI, and third, it serves the regime as an important access point to the
markets of Central Asia.
Similarity, Iran considers an
escalation of the Jihad for the liberation of Kashmir a key to the assertion of
its own strategic importance, particularly under the auspices of its own Islamic
block. Indeed, Iran sees Kashmir, because it is the land of the Ayatollah
Khomeni's roots, as sacred ground and is using that fact to instill ideological
zeal in the various nationals who make up Tehrn's terrorist infrastructure. Not
surprisingly, having taken the proverbial tiger by the tail and invested such
prestige in the "Islamization" of Kashmir, Tehran now finds itself
committed to fighting for it.
Additionally, beyond Iran and
Pakistan, the Armed Islamic Movement, as well as several Saudi, Gulf Arab, and
other supporters of Islamist causes, put Kashmir high on their list of jihads to
be fought. This is not only because of Kashmir's aforementioned material and
"spiritual" importance, but also because it is seen as a relatively
easy target. Being geographically isolated and chocked full of weapons and
terrorist cells, many Islamist groups believe that the wrestling of Kashmir from
India would be a great prize at minimal cost and would inspire their followers
and further the cause.
Whatever the validity of such an
assumption, all of the states and organizations engaged in Kashmir have large,
highly trained and well equipped forces, and most have not been committed to
Kashmiri jihad yet. Thus, there exists an environment in which ideological zeal
and strategic and political considerations have coalesced. Specifically, as
already noted, Pakistan needs Kashmir as a distraction from its domestic
problems. Various "Afghan" groups are chomping at the bits to move,
awaiting only a wink and a nod from ISI, and Iran and various Arab states stand
willing to finance the effort.
Thus, it is safe to assume that
fighting in Kashmir will escalate significantly, with numerous additional highly
trained and well equipped mujahadeen, many of them professional special forces
and terrorists, joining the fight and expanding the struggle into the rest of
India. Indeed, they are already in place extensive stockpiles of weapons as well
as large sums of money to sustain and support such a conflict.
Consequently, apparently reassured
about the steadfastness of its Islamist support, Islamabad has acknowledged
openly the futility of its negotiations with India over the Kashmir issue. At
the same time, Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has begun to accede to
demands from her military leaders for further increases in the Pakistani defense
THE TERRORIST DIMENSION
In fact, the rising militancy of
Pakistani officials is far from empty rhetoric, for Islamabad has used the
increasing tension in Kashmir as pretext for expanding its terrorist training
and support system for operations in Central Asia and elsewhere in the world.
To that end, the ISI has
established the Markaz-Dawar, a center for worldwide Islamist activities. Mulavi
Zaki, the center's spiritual leader, has told the trainees that their destiny is
to fight and liberate "the land of Allaha from infidels wherever they might
be. The commanders and instructors at Markaz-Dawar are AIM members, primarily
Ikhwan from Algeria, Sudan and Egypt, and most of them have more than a decade
of combat experience in Afghanistan.
In early 1992, some of these
Afghans were transferred to Azad Kashmir where new camps were being built for
them by the Pakistani Army. By early 1993, there were over 1000
"afghan" mujahdeen in the Markaz-Dawar alone. Following the completion
of their advanced training, the Afghans were sent to Kashmir, Algeria and Egypt.
Furthermore, Islamabad's claim to the contrary notwithstanding, the main offices
of the Islamist terrorist organizations have remained functioning in Peshawar.
In addition to the transfer noted
above, a series of "raids" by police since October 1992 resulted in
the shifting of some 200 terrorist operatives, included some wanted by Western
police officials, to facilities near Jalalabad, just across the Afghan border.
Indeed, in the fall of 1993, an Arab Afghan with first hand knowledge of the
situation confirmed that Pakistan had "pushed them out of the door only to
open a window for them to return and they come and go as they wish in
In the meantime, in the summer of
1993, the ISI had in the Markaz-Dawar another force of some 200 Afghans - mainly
Jallaludin Haqqani's people from the Khowst area - operating under its direct
command and earmarked for special operations in Kashmir. According to Mohammad
Fazal al-Haji, a PFLF (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) terrorist
captured in southern Kashmir in the summer of 1993, additional
"Afghans" and Afghan nationals were being prepared by the ISI for a
forthcoming escalation in Kashmir. At least 400 "afghans" and Afghan
nationals were known to have been organized in one camp, where they were trained
by the ISI to augment and provide a leadership core for the Kashmiri Hizb-ul-
Mujahdeen. There was also a corresponding expansion of the preparation of
Islamist terrorists for operations in forward bases in Kashmir, with some 600
terrorists, about half of them veteran "afghans" and Afghans, already
at the final phase of their training.
Indeed, many Arab volunteers
continue to arrive in Peshawar almost every day. The preferred port of entry is
the Karachi airport. There a special department run by a Major Amir - an ISI
Major with Afghan experience "turned" director of Immigration at the
airport - oversees the volunteer's "proper" entry into Pakistan and
quick dispatch to Peshawar. The main Ikhwan facility is the Maktaba-a-Khidmat
(Services Offices), which was originally established by the late Shaykh Abd
Allah Azzam and is now run by his successor, Shaykh Mohammad Yousaf Abbas. The
Maktaba-i-Khidmat still processes volunteers for AIM, but at present many of the
volunteers are dispatched to the numerous training camps run by the Arab
"Afghan" militants inside Afghanistan. The ISI continues to provide
the weapons and experience necessary to support this operation.
Meanwhile, the government of
Pakistan has also increased its support for terrorist training and preparation.
This growing direct investment is important because the man operating bases for
the ISl's activities in Central Asia are in northern Afghanistan. The origins of
this arrangement run back to the aftermath of the fall of Kabul. At that time,
many Arab "Afghans" returned to Peshawar where they were organized by
the Pakistani government to support various Islamist causes in concert with Iran
and Sudan. Many of these fighters later returned to Afghanistan as quality
forces or to serve as personal guard details.
Subsequently, in early December
1993, during a state visit to Pakistan, Maulana Araslan Rahmani, elaborated on
Kabul's perception of the Islamist struggle worldwide, and especially in Central
and South Asia. He hailed Afghanistan's active support for Islamist armed causes
and stressed that "we don't consider this support as intervention in any
country's internal affairs." Maulana Araslan Rehmani also admitted that
Afghanistan was providing military assistance to various insurgencies because
"we cannot remain aloof from what is happening to the Muslims in occupied
Kashmir, Tajikistan, Bosnia, Somalia, Burma, Palestine and elsewhere ... We are
not terrorists but Mujahdeen fighting for resorting peace and preserving honor
Rehmani acknowledged that
Afghanistan has played a major role in a recent development among the Islamist
organizations fighting in Indian Kashmir, namely the merger of the Harakat ul-jihad
Islami and Harakat ul-Mujahdeen into the potent Harkat ul-Ansar group. This
support for the unification of the two movements, according to Rehmani, was but
part of the active support given by Afghanistan to the Islamist fighters in
Kashmir, Tajikstan, and Bosnia. "There are about 8.000 members of Harkat
ul-Ansar who are supporting the Kashmiri struggle against Indian
occupation," Rehmani stated.
OF MEN AND ARMS
The ISI also provides these and
other terrorists with new weapons. For example, in the summer of 1993, the
Kashmiri Mujahdeen were provide with powerful long-range missiles - called
"chemical missiles" by the Sikhs who had learned about them while in
training in Pakistan. At that time, the Kashmiri and ISI crews were being
trained in the use of these missiles in Pakistani Kashmir. In fact, these are
"saqr" missiles which were developed in the 1980 with help from the
United States for use by the mujahdeen in Afghanistan.
Subsequently, there has been a
significant expansion in the smuggling of quality weapons from Pakistan into
Kashmir and as of late 1993 there has been a corresponding change in the tactics
used by the terrorists, including the use of hit and run strikes by highly
trained and well-equipped detachments. Among the new weapons now used in Kashmir
are 1 07mm rockets, 60mm mortars, 40mm automatic grenade launchers (Soviet and
Chinese models), a modification of the 57mm helicopter rocket pods with
solar-powered timing devices for the deelayed firing of rockets and a LAW-type
tube-launched ATMs (Soviet and Chinese models).
In addition, the Kashmiri
terrorists have also begun using sophisticated communication systems including
small radios (systems with frequency hopping, selective broadcast, digital burst
communications, etc.) and collapsible solar-systems for reload systems, as well
as frequency scanning devices for detecting and homing in on military-type
broadcast. All the communication systems are of NATO/US origin, with some
components made in Japan. All of these systems have been used by the Mujahdeen
in Afghanistan, having been provided via the ISI.
On top of all this, there has been
a large increase in the quantities of small arms provided to the Kashmiris,
including Type 56 ARs (PRC AK-47s), several types of machine-guns, long-range
sniper rifles, pistols and RPGs, all of Soviet or Chinese manufacture. Also,
some of the Kashmiri terrorists have begun receiving highly specialized weapons
for assassination projects.
Given this obviously high level of
sophistication, it would seem safe to assume that the situation in Kashmir will
become increasingly ominous. As Pakistan and India eye each other with
suspicion, and as other powers come into play, the danger of outright war
becomes ever more real. In future reports, the Task Force will examine the full
extent of this danger and will explain its ramifications.