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Proxistan – Pakistan waging proxy wars on both flanks

July 21, 2010

Two American civilian military trainers were shot dead by a renegade Afghan trainee in Mazar e-Sharif. Five British soldiers were again killed by a disgruntled 21 year old Afghan who after the carnage joined the Taliban. Here in Indiam, we are fighting an unending battle with Pakistan sponsored terror outfits. Today there were two terrorists from HuM killed by security forces in Kashmir. Indian forces are fighting this proxy war waged by Pakistan through the various terror outfits that they sponsor. Young lives have been lost and soldiers and officers have been killed in the bloody battles that Indian security forces have to fight every day. The influx of these terrorists is unending. These are young boys out to wage a jihad and have allegiance to one or the other terror group.

Pakistan is fighting this proxy war for decades now. This is a part of Pakistan’s state policy. Being controlled by the army, this terror infested state has been nurturing these terror outfits since long. Their intelligence wing – the ISI is actively involved in nurturing these terror groups. While they extend a hand of friendship to India and Indian politicians reach out to Pakistan for ‘peace talks’ these terror attacks continue.

Similarly, the Pakistan establishment says that they are with the west in their fight against terror but Islamabad keeps on feeding the terror outfits like TTP, Haqqanis, Hekmatyar, Mullah Omar and others and these outfits have made progress in Afghanistan for the ISAF almost impossible. Following are some of the groups on both sides of the border.

I begin with some of the terror groups that are actively involved on the Indian side of the border, mainly in Kashmir.


The HM came into being in the Kashmir Valley in September 1989 with Master Ahsan Dar as its chief. Dar was later arrested by security forces in mid-December 1993. It was reportedly formed as the militant wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), an Islamist organization. The Jamaat-e-Islami is reported to have set up the Hizb at the behest of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, to counter the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which had advocated complete independence of the State. Many of the early Hizb cadres were former JKLF members.

In June 1990, the HM ‘Constitution’ was approved and Mohammed Yusuf Shah, popularly known as Syed Salahuddin, was appointed Patron and Hilal Ahmed Mir as Amir (chief). Apparently, differences between JeI elements and the non-JeI faction started developing within the HM which led to a split with one faction being led by Salahuddin whereas the other was led by Hilal Ahmed Mir (killed in 1993).

The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen stands for the integration of J&K with Pakistan. Since its inception, the HM has also campaigned for the Islamisation of Kashmir.

Headquartered at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen with an estimated cadre strength of at least 1500, is presently headed by Syed Salahuddin. The patron of HM in PoK is Ghulam Nabi Nausheri.


The Harkat ul-Ansar was formed by the merger of two Pakistani groups, Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami and Harkat ul-Mujahedin, and led by Maulana Saadatullah Khan. The merger of these two political groups and its transformation into a militant group came about as part of the Afghan jihad.

With a pan-Islamic ideology, the outfit strove to achieve the secession of Jammu and Kashmir from India through violent means and its eventual merger with Pakistan. About 60 per cent of its estimated 1000 strong cadre were Pakistanis and Afghans.

The Harkat-ul-Ansar was termed a terrorist organization by the US due to its association with the exiled Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden in 1997. To avoid the repercussions of the US ban, the group was recast as the Harkat ul-Mujahideen in 1998.

Based in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan controlled Kashmir, the Harkat ul-Ansar has participated in insurgent and terrorist operations in Kashmir, Myanmar, Tajikistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Kashmir, the outfit had carried out several operations against Indian troops besides attacks on civilian targets. In the process, several of its top leaders including Masood Azhar (General Secretary and top idologue), Sajjad Afghani (Commander of the Harkat ul-Ansar in Jammu and Kashmir) and Nasarullah Manzoor Langaryal (commander of the erstwhile Harkat-ul Mujahedin) were captured by Indian security forces.


Formed in 1990 in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (also known as Jama’at-ud-Da’awa) is based in Muridke near Lahore in Pakistan and is headed by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.

Its first presence in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was recorded in 1993 when 12 Pakistani and Afghan mercenaries infiltrated across the Line of Control (LoC) in tandem with the Islami Inquilabi Mahaz, a terrorist outfit then active in the Poonch district of J&K.

The LeT is outlawed in India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

It was included in the Terrorist Exclusion List by the US Government on December 5, 2001. The US administration designated the Lashkar-e-Toiba as a FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) on December 26, 2001. It is also a banned organization in Britain since March 30, 2001.

The group was proscribed by the United Nations in May 2005.

The military regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf banned the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan on January 12, 2002.

The LeT’s professed ideology goes beyond merely challenging India’s sovereignty over the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Lashkar’s ‘agenda’, as outlined in a pamphlet titled Why are we waging jihad includes the restoration of Islamic rule over all parts of India. Further, the outfit seeks to bring about a union of all Muslim majority regions in countries that surround Pakistan. Towards that end, it is active in J&K, Chechnya and other parts of Central Asia.

Hafiz Saeed, a scholar of Islam, has said that the purpose of Jihad is to carry out a sustained struggle for the dominance of Islam in the entire world and to eliminate the evil forces and the ignorant. He considers India, Israel and US to be his prime enemies and has threatened to launch Fidayeen (suicide squad) attacks on American interests too.

The Lashkar-e-Toiba does not believe in democracy and nationalism. According to its ideology, it is the duty of every ‘Momin’ to protect and defend the interests of Muslims all over the world where Muslims are under the rule of non-Muslim in the democratic system. It has, thus chosen the path of Jihad as the suited means to achieve its goal. Cadres are drawn from the Wahabi school of thought.

It may be added here that the Mumbai attacks were also carried out by the LeT.


Like the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), the JeM too is an outfit formed, controlled and manned by Pakistan. The outfit was launched on January 31, 2000, by Maulana Masood Azhar in Karachi after he was released from an Indian jail during the terrorists for hostage swap of December 31, 1999, following the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Flight IC 814.

The formation of the outfit was endorsed by three religious school chiefs, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai of the Majlis-e-Tawan-e-Islami (MT), Maulana Mufti Rashid Ahmed of the Dar-ul Ifta-e-wal-Irshad and Maulana Sher Ali of the Sheikh-ul-Hadith Dar-ul Haqqania.

The outfit’s creation can be linked to the popularity surrounding Masood Azhar after his release from India. Maulana Masood Azhar was the general secretary of the newly established Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA) in 1994 and was on a ‘mission’ in J&K when he was arrested on February 11. When he was released, the HuA had been included in the US list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations which had compelled the outfit to rename itself as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). However, Masood Azhar decided to float the new outfit JeM rather than rejoin his old outfit. He was also reported to have received assistance in setting up the JeM from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the then Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and several Sunni sectarian outfits of Pakistan.


The HuA was categorised as a terrorist outfit by the US in 1997 following reports that it was linked withOsama bin Laden, and his Al Qaeda, a global terrorist network that has struck at several US targets around the world. The outfit immediately adopted the name of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen to escape the ramifications of the proscription. Despite public knowledge that the HuM was a recast version of the HuA, the US had refused to categorise the outfit as a terrorist outfit. However, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in the US, the outfit came under scrutiny of the US government for its extensive links with Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the terrorist attacks. On September 25, US President George W. Bush signed an order officially banning the outfit.

The HuM was originally formed in 1985, to participate in the Jehad against Soviet forces protecting the Communist regime in Afghanistan. It was a formed by a group that walked out of another jehadi group, the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI). With the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the outfit turned its attention to J&K, where terrorist violence had been unleashed by Pakistan supported outfits in 1988.

There are other outfits working against India. Following are the terror outfits working on the western front under the aegis of Pakistan.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan

In 2007 several tribal chiefs came together. The shura was made up of Taliban representatives from the seven tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan, Khyber, Orakazi, Bajaur, Mohmand, and Kurram, as well as the settled districts of Swat, Bannu, Tank, Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohistan, Buner, and the Malakand division.

The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan demanded the Pakistani military halt operations in Taliban territory and release of their members. The Taliban also stated it would continue the fight against Coalition forces in Afghanistan.

“The meeting participants have demanded an immediate end of the military operation being carried out in Swat, and given a 10-day ultimatum to the government to pullout troops from the area,” the Nation reported. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan also demanded “the closure of the military checkposts in North and South Waziristan and release of all Taliban activists including former Lal Masjid Khateeb Maulana Abul Aziz.”

“Our main aim is to target the US allies in Afghanistan but the government of Pakistan’s ill-strategy has made us to launch a defensive Jihad in Pakistan,” spokesman Maulvi Omar stated. “The government of Pakistan would be paid in the same coin now,” Mehsud said.

The consolidation of the disparate “local Taliban” movement is a logical step in the Taliban’s insurgency campaign in northwestern Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban, while allied with al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, has operated as local groups. The creation of a unified Taliban movement in Pakistan will allow them to better coordinate both military and political operations inside Pakistan, as well as with the Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda.

Since, Baitullah Mehsud has been killed in a drone strike. This has not diminished TTP’s power to attack the allied forces and is on the forefront in the jihad against infidels.

The Haqqani Network

Jalaluddin and Sirajuddin Haqqani: Sirajuddin Haqqani is a top Taliban commander in the North Waziristan tribal area of Pakistan. Jalaluddin Haqqani is the father of Sirajuddin.

Mr. Haqqani, 36, took over major responsibilities for his family’s militant network in recent years from his father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, who has been reported to be ill. American forces blame the Haqqani network for helping plan the suicide bombing against the C.I.A. base in Afghanistan in December in which C.I.A. operatives and a Jordanian intelligence officer were killed. Americans believe that the younger Haqqani is closely affiliated with Al Qaeda and that his network is the most potent one working against international forces in eastern and central Afghanistan.

The Haqqani network has long been an asset in Pakistan’s proxy war against India, and has remained virtually untouched by Pakistani forces in their redoubt inside Pakistan, even as the Americans have pressed Pakistan for an offensive against it.

The network may be one element of a Pakistani plan to exploit the troubled United States military effort in Afghanistan. Including the Haqqani network in a power-sharing agreement would drive home a political settlement with Afghanistan that would give Pakistan important influence there but would likely undermine United States interests, according to Pakistani and American officials.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, originally from Baghlan, is the head and founder of Hezbi Islami. Hekmatyar, who is now in his late forties, first studied at the military academy; then in 1968, he switched to the engineering department of Kabul University. Although Hekmatyar is sometimes referred to as “Engineer Hekmatyar”, he never graduated from Kabul University with a degree in engineering. Nevertheless, he is more outspoken than any other figure in Afghan politics. Before becoming a “devout” Muslim and getting into Islamic politics, Hekmatyar spent four years in the PDPA (People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan). The PDPA was the Afghan communist party comprising both Parchami and Khalqi groups. In 1972, Hekmatyar was put in prison for killing a Maoist student. He then fled to Pakistan and founded Hezbi Islami. Historians claim that in 1975, Hekmatyar instigated the anti-Daoud insurrection in Panjshir. Hezb members and Hekmatyar refute his Communist background, and they consider it an insult.

Hekmatyar has been accused by almost every other political party of being a puppet of Pakistan and the United States. The truth is that while he has received numerous aid from the Pakistanis and the Americans, he was always working for himself. He used the Pakistanis and the Americans as they used him. It is also true that he had close connections with the ISI of Pakistan, and that he was extensively trained by them.

Mullah Omar

Mullah Omar was the secretive leader of the Taliban, the Islamic puritan militia that nearly conquered Afghanistan. An Islamic studies teacher from a poor rural area near Kandahar, he was propelled to leadership by accident and was simply not equipped to make a success of it. His movement was savage, ignorant, and chose its friends unwisely, but Omar was not a terrorist.

By 1992, 20 years of civil war had replaced many of the old Khan families with warlords who abused the peasantry. When Mullah Omar heard about one of these cases, a local warlord who had kidnapped children for sex, he was moved to action. He gathered a troop of old mujahideen buddies and Islamic students, attacked the warlord’s compound, freed the children, and hanged the warlord up high for all to see. This kind of celebratory lynching would become a Taliban signature.

The Pakistani intelligence service decided to back the new militia because they had integrity and popular support. Saudi money and pickup trucks, weapons from Pakistan, and thousands of fanatic teenage students from Islamic schools fueled a clumsy and high-casualty conquest of 90% of Afghanistan. The Taliban overcame powerful militias and famous commanders. Ismail Khan,Hekmatyar, and General Dostum were all defeated and driven out of the country. By 2001, they held all four major cities and only the unconquerable Masud in his Panjishir fortress held them off.

It is said that Mullah Omar is now in the safe custody of the ISI and is living somewhere in Karachi. He headed the Quetta Shura which came under threat from American drones and therefore he was shifted to a safe house.

It may be added here that Hillary Clinton on her recent visit to Pakistan-Afghanistan has said that Osama bin-Laden is also hiding somewhere in Pakistan and suggested that it would be good if Pakistan was more forthcoming and cooperative in intelligence gathering and information about these terrorists. Pakistan prime minister rejected her claims and feigned ignorance about the whereabouts of Osama bin-Laden.

These are assets of Pakistan in its proxy war against the west in Afghanistan and in India. Suffice to say that Pakistan is a hotbed of terror outfits and it should therefore surprise no one when most terrorists caught have some links with Pakistan. The proxy war by Pakistan goes on unabated on both sides of the border. For Pakistan a strategic depth in Afghanistan is critical and they have not forgotten Bangladesh and want to dismember India by a thousand cuts. Therefore these militants are strategic assets for Pakistan in their fights against the infidels on both sides of the border. Increasingly, these terror outfits are converging and this can only be possible if there is an umbrella organization that is supporting them all. It will surprise no one when it is found that the Pakistan army and the ISI are behind all these organization covertly. It is true that some of them were at some point in time helped by the US when the Soviets were in Afghanistan, but that was a long time ago. Since then they have unleashed a reign of terror and are a threat to security and peace the world over. The only question that needs to be answered is – what do we do about this unending factory of terrorism?


Update 23.07.2010: Former American diplomat Nicholas Burns has said India and the United States face identical security threats, and so, that countries should be partners in counter-terrorism.

“India faces a pernicious terrorist threat inside the country, particularly from outside; some of them Pakistan-based, some of them based in other places. United States faces in some cases, an identical threat, in some cases one is a little bit different. We should be partners in counter-terrorism. We should be sympathetic to each other and understand the problems that each other faces in this region and around the world,” Burns told reporters here on Thursday.

He further said Washington has a different set of policies for India and Pakistan, and it should not be misconstrued.

“We will have separate relationships with India and Pakistan. The relationship that we are building with you is entirely different from the relationship that we have with Pakistan. Both are important,” he added. Source: ANI/ Yahoo News

Update 26.07.2010: Around 90,000 classified reports on NATO;s operations have been made public through WikiLeaks. There has been a furore. BBC has reported as follows:

Reports by the UK daily The Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel say the leaked papers reveal Nato concerns that neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are helping Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani ambassador in Washington said the “unprocessed” reports did “not reflect the current onground realities”.

“The United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan are strategic partners and are jointly endeavoring to defeat Al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies militarily and politically,” said Husain Haqqani.

The reports also suggest:

  • The Taliban has had access to portable heat-seeking missiles to shoot at aircraft.
  • A secret US unit of army and navy special forces has been engaged on missions to “capture or kill” top insurgents.
  • Many civilian casualties have gone unreported, both as a result of Taliban roadside bombs and Nato missions that went wrong. The White House has condemned the leaks as “irresponsible”. Source: BBC

    Update 26.07.2010: Dr. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former administation official, said Pakistanis have been ‘playing double and triple games’ as it sees Afghanistan as a strategic space for it to manipulate as part of its larger struggle against India.

    ‘Well, they were playing double and triple games long before the United States showed any signs of questioning its policy. That’s Pakistan,’ he said.

    ‘So long as the Taliban enjoy a sanctuary in Pakistan, so long as the Taliban continue to be the Taliban. The challenge of making enduring improvements in Afghanistan I actually think is a bridge too far,’ Haass said.

    ‘Pakistan is not a serious partner of the United States. They’re not a strategic partner,’ he said. ‘Pakistan sees Afghanistan as a strategic space for it to manipulate as part of its larger struggle against India,’ Haas said.

    Source: IANS

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2010 9:18 pm

    Great post! 😀



  1. Proxistan – Pakistan waging proxy wars on both flanks « Ullas Sharma’s Blog « Yahyasheikho786's Blog

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