Posts Tagged ‘Badar Mansoor group’

centralasiaonline.com

by Zia Ur Rehman

Dec 15, 2011

http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/pakistan/main/2011/12/15/feature-01

KARACHI – As part of a crackdown against the Punjabi Taliban in Karachi, police said they arrested two group members December 13 and recovered a hit list with the names of more than 100 public figures.

“The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has arrested two members of the group and recovered a huge quantity of explosive materials and weapons,” Fayyaz Khan and Mazhar Mashwani, two CID senior officers, told a December 13 press conference. The Punjabi Taliban is a lesser-known militant group associated with the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

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Pakistani plain-clothes police display two men (under blanket) suspected of membership in the Punjabi Taliban at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Karachi December 13. Police arrested the men after they refused to stop and fired on police. Explosives and firearms were seized from the suspects, police official Mazhar Mashwani said. [REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Since the beginning of Muharram, more than a dozen raids have taken place in Karachi. At least five militants have been killed and more than two dozen suspects arrested, media reported.

CID police received reports that Punjabi Taliban militants were planning to transport some explosive materials on the M9 superhighway, a main thoroughfare leading into Karachi, Khan said.

Police, who were extra-vigilant after receiving that information, spotted some suspicious individuals in a car on the superhighway and signalled them to stop, but they fled and opened fire, Khan said. Police later arrested two suspects, identified as Muhammad Shakeel and Abdul Waheed (aka Lala).

The police seized 10kg of explosive material, three Kalashnikov rifles, two pistols with magazines and 200 bullets from the suspects, he added.

Police also recovered a hit list containing more than 100 names of influential leaders and scholars of the Shia community from the suspects, Khan said. Religious scholars, security personnel and intelligence officers were also on the hit list.

Punjabi Taliban network, mission : 

The detainees told interrogators that they had recently been directed by a man they identified as Qari Aslam to gather information about intelligence agencies and government buildings in Karachi, he said.

“There are about 15 to 20 terrorists who are still working under Aslam, a leader of the Punjabi Taliban group, who operates the group from Miranshah, North Waziristan,” Mashwani told Central Asia Online.

The suspects said important government buildings, security agency offices and Muharram processions were their primary targets, but they failed to carry out any subversive activities because of the high number of raids by police and upgraded security, Khan said.

Three Punjabi Taliban militants were killed December 5 when police raided a house during the successful rescue of kidnapped local industrialist Riaz Chinoy, media reported.

“The killed terrorists were identified as Qari Amir, Karachi head of the Punjabi Taliban, and two other members, Shahid Khan and Musa Khan,” Khalid Abbassi, a senior police officer at the Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC), told Central Asia Online.

The three had kidnapped Chinoy October 8 and demanded a Rs. 60m (US $668,322) ransom.

Police have also detained Sabiha Khatoon, wife of the slain Shahid, who said the Punjabi Taliban group was involved in four major attacks in Karachi including the May 22 attack on the Pakistan Naval Station Mehran, the November 11, 2010 CID attack, a December 28 bomb blast at Karachi University and the February Chelum blast, Express Tribune reported December 15.

TTP splinter groups carry out terror attacks : 

Central Asia Online reported June 24 that Karachi-based militant groups linked with the TTP are splintering into smaller cells because of successful efforts by law enforcement against the outlawed outfits.

Karachi police discovered the Badar Mansoor faction of the TTP May 12. Mansoor’s group, known as the Punjabi Mujahidin or Punjabi Taliban, is active in Karachi’s academic institutions, the report stated.

Four of its alleged members were planning to attack government installations and intelligence agency offices, then-Karachi Police Chief Saud Mirza said May 13. The group was involved in the December 28bombing at Karachi University that injured four students, he said.

Police arrested three Karachi University students January 12 in connection with the December 28 bombing.

The arrested suspects were former activists of Islami Jamiat Talaba, a sister organisation of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Raja Umar Khattab, a senior police official, said January 13. The suspects were among those who split off after feuding with JI and formed the Punjabi Taliban in 2007, he said.

Although authorities do not know the size of the group, some Punjabi Taliban members – including Zohair Imtiaz Kudwai, Omair Imtiaz Kudwai, Azib Imtiaz Kudwai, Misbah Usmani, Mohammad Shabbir, Imran Nazeer and Samiullah – have been killed in air strikes in Waziristan, he said.

Who are Punjabi Taliban? 

Analysts say that the term “Punjabi Taliban” is basically used for members of banned militant groups of Punjabi origin that are connected with the TTP, al-Qaeda and other militant outfits based in tribal areas and Afghanistan.

“The word ‘Punjabi Taliban’ first used by people of tribal areas for non-Pashtun militants belonging to different jihadi groups headquartered in Punjab who came there for either taking refuge or fighting the security forces by joining hands with local militants,” said Ahmed Wali, a senior journalist and analyst.

Such groups include Sipah Sahaba Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, he told Central Asia Online.

These banned jihadi groups are active in the Punjabi cities of Jhang, Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Khanewal, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rahimyar Khan, Muzaffergarh, Layyah, and Gujranwala, leaving the government with the difficult task of eliminating these groups with actions other than those already taken in the tribal areas, Mujahid Hussain, a security expert, writes in his book titled “Punjabi Taliban.”

Analysts have no concrete idea about strength of the Punjabi Taliban but an intelligence report recently prepared by the Punjab government’s Counter Terrorism Department revealed that 2,487 militants trained in Afghanistan and 556 militants released from Afghan prisons have surfaced in the province and are now active in the Punjabi Taliban Network, daily Express Tribune reported August 30.

By Zia Ur Rehman
For CentralAsiaOnline.com
2011-06-24

KARACHI – Security officials have made progress against extremists, forcing such groups as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al-Qaeda to splinter into smaller cells, an indication that their network is shattered, analysts and police say.

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Policemen search vehicles along a road in Karachi May 2. Security forces have forced militant groups in Karachi to split into small, more obscure groups, police say. [REUTERS/Athar Hussain

Having the factions split up is an end result that has been partially achieved by such things as the deaths of extremist leaders and the cultivation of informants among the public.

“The killing of Osama bin Laden, Baitullah Mehsud and other key leaders is the main factor shattering the TTP network across the country,” Brig. Shaukat Qadir, a security analyst, told Central Asia Online. Bin Laden’s May 2 death in Abbottabad was, at the time, predicted to be a test for the militant network.

Different militant outfits collaborating with the TTP and al-Qaeda are splitting up because al-Qaeda funding has dried up, Qadir said.

“This is indeed a success of security forces against the TTP, as a large number of TTP hardcore militants as well as some al-Qaeda operatives have been apprehended in Karachi,” he said.

Hundreds of suspects caught

Police have also been working to get information from citizens.

“We have developed a strong network of … informers in militant groups that help us track down the militant outfits,” Chaudry Aslam, senior superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh Police, told Central Asia Online.

That has helped with the fight.

“In 2010, we arrested 163 members of the TTP while more than 200 have been arrested from the beginning of this year,” Aslam said.

Law enforcement has hindered the activities of the Karachi TTP network by arresting three consecutive alleged amirs, or TTP heads, and dozens of members, Ikram Mehsud, a TTP leader in Karachi, admitted.

The suspected Karachi TTP chiefs whom police nabbed were Akhter Zaman Mehsud, Bahadur Khan Momand (aka Sadiq) and Maulvi Saeed Anwar, he said.

Such arrests have been “a blessing for the people” as they will slow terrorist activities in Karachi until newly appointed leaders can rebuild the network, Aslam said.

Many small terror cells discovered

But a new challenge has emerged. Every month, law enforcement agencies are uncovering new and little-known militant organisations, said Ahmed Wali, a Karachi-based senior journalist who covers militancy-related issues.

“We have developed a strong network of … informers in militant groups that help us track down the militant outfits,” Chaudry Aslam, senior superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh Police, told Central Asia Online.

Such groups include Jundullah, the Badar Mansoor group, Kharooj, the Al-Mukhtar group, Punjabi Mujahidin, Al-Furqan, Laskhar-e-Balochistan and Al-Qataal – all discovered within the past year, Wali said. Splinter groups typically arise in one of two ways.

“First, when some leaders form their own outfit, abandoning their jihadi group and forming direct links with the TTP and al-Qaeda,” said Muhammad Amir Rana, director of the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.

Second, forming a new and little-known operational cell comprising a few members who are responsible for carrying out activities in a specific geographic location,” he said, adding that this method allows the militants to dodge security officials longer.

Karachi police discovered the Badar Mansoor faction of the TTP May 12. It allegedly consists of students from Karachi academic institutions, including the University of Karachi. Four of its alleged members were planning to attack government installations and intelligence agency offices, Karachi Police Chief Saud Mirza said May 13.

The same group, operating under the name of Punjabi Mujahideen in Karachi’s colleges, was also involved in the December 28 bombing at the University of Karachi that injured four students, he added.

Karachi police discovered the Al-Mukhtar group by arresting one of its suspected key leaders in a raid April 26. Police accuse the Omar Baloch-led group of involvement in bombing a gambling den April 21. They have since learned it is a splinter group of Laskhar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) whose militants trained in South Waziristan, Fayyaz Khan, a senior CID official, told Central Asia Online.

Sindh Police’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) also arrested Abdul Qadir Kalmati (aka Rocket) April 4. They accuse of him belonging to Lashkar-e-Balochistan (LeB), a Baloch separatist group involved in attacking police stations and security installations. Kalmati has admitted under questioning that LeB is working with the TTP, said Raja Omar Khitab, the SIU’s senior superintendent of police.

Kharooj is another new and little-known militant organisation operating in Karachi that has been recruiting the young, especially students of academic institutions, the Daily Express reported May 11. The group’s leaders are hardcore militants who separated from the TTP and the LeJ after feuding with their leadership, the report added.

Dispersion may help militants

Jundullah, the Asian Tigers, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Alami, Jundul Hafsa and the Punjabi Taliban are the main groups that split off from the LeJ and are carrying out its subversive activities from Karachi to Waziristan, a report published last November in the Express Tribune stated.

The article stated that the LeJ is the biggest group operating in Karachi and that of 246 suspected terrorists arrested in the city since 2001, 94 belonged to the LeJ, according to a secret CID report.

However, some say breaking up and scattering the militants may improve their chances of survival.

The small cell strategy makes each cell responsible for carrying out activities in a specific geographic location, said Rana.

“And the main purpose is to divert the attention of security officers,” he said. Indeed, because so few people are in the cells and they are so scattered, their existence comes to light only “when law enforcement agencies arrest their members.”