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Thread: Pakistan's Role in State Sponsored International Terrorism

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    Pakistan's Role in State Sponsored International Terrorism

    Pakistan's Jihad Culture

    http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~jstern/pakistan.htm

    By Jessica Stern

    Foreign Affairs (November/December 2000).


    FREE AGENTS

    This spring the U.S. State Department reported that South Asia has replaced the Middle East as the leading locus of terrorism in the world. Although much has been written about religious militants in the Middle East and Afghanistan, little is known in the West about those in Pakistan -- perhaps because they operate mainly in Kashmir and, for now at least, do not threaten security outside South Asia. General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's military ruler, calls them "freedom fighters" and admonishes the West not to confuse jihad with terrorism. Musharraf is right about the distinction -- the jihad doctrine delineates acceptable war behavior and explicitly outlaws terrorism -- but he is wrong about the militant groups' activities. Both sides of the war in Kashmir -- the Indian army and the Pakistani "mujahideen" -- are targeting and killing thousands of civilians, violating both the Islamic "just war" tradition and international law.

    Pakistan has two reasons to support the so-called mujahideen. First, the Pakistani military is determined to pay India back for allegedly fomenting separatism in what was once East Pakistan and in 1971 became Bangladesh. Second, India dwarfs Pakistan in population, economic strength, and military might. In 1998 India spent about two percent of its $469 billion GDP on defense, including an active armed force of more than 1.1 million personnel. In the same year, Pakistan spent about five percent of its $61 billion GDP on defense, yielding an active armed force only half the size of India's. The U.S. government estimates that India has 400,000 troops in Indian-held Kashmir -- a force more than two-thirds as large as Pakistan's entire active army. The Pakistani government thus supports the irregulars as a relatively cheap way to keep Indian forces tied down.

    What does such support entail? It includes, at a minimum, assisting the militants' passage into Indian-held Kashmir. This much Pakistani officials will admit, at least privately. The U.S. government believes that Pakistan also funds, trains, and equips the irregulars. Meanwhile, the Indian government claims that Pakistan uses them as an unofficial guerrilla force to carry out "dirty tricks," murders, and terrorism in India. Pakistan, in turn, accuses India's intelligence service of committing terrorism and killing hundreds of civilians in Pakistan.

    Pakistan now faces a typical principal-agent problem: the interests of Pakistan (the principal) and those of the militant groups (the agent) are not fully aligned. Although the irregulars may serve Pakistan's interests in Kashmir when they target the Indian army, they also kill civilians and perform terrorism in violation of international norms and law. These crimes damage Pakistan's already fragile international reputation. Finally, and most important for Pakistanis, the militant groups that Pakistan supports and the Sunni sectarian killers that Pakistan claims it wants to wipe out overlap significantly. By facilitating the activities of the irregulars in Kashmir, the Pakistani government is inadvertently promoting internal sectarianism, supporting international terrorists, weakening the prospect for peace in Kashmir, damaging Pakistan's international image, spreading a narrow and violent version of Islam throughout the region, and increasing tensions with India -- all against the interests of Pakistan as a whole.

    PAKISTAN, TALIBAN-STYLE?

    The war between India and Pakistan over the fate of Kashmir is as old as both states. When Pakistan was formally created in 1947, the rulers of Muslim-majority states that had existed within British India were given the option of joining India or Pakistan. The Hindu monarch of the predominantly Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir chose India, prompted partly by a tribal rebellion in the state. Pakistan responded by sending in troops. The resultant fighting ended with a 1949 cease-fire, but the Pakistani government continued covertly to support volunteer guerrilla fighters in Kashmir. Islamabad argued then, as it does now, that it could not control the volunteers, who as individuals were not bound by the cease-fire agreement. (On the other hand, Maulana Abul A'la Maududi, the late founder of the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, argued that as individuals, these "mujahideen" could not legitimately declare jihad, either.)

    Pakistani officials admit to having tried repeatedly to foment separatism in Kashmir in the decades following the 1948 cease-fire. These attempts were largely unsuccessful; when separatist violence broke out in the late 1980s, the movement was largely indigenous. For their part, Indian officials admit their own culpability in creating an intolerable situation in the region. They ignored Kashmir's significant economic troubles, rampant corruption, and rigged elections, and they intervened in Kashmiri politics in ways that contradicted India's own constitution. As American scholar Sumit Ganguly explains, the rigged 1987 state-assembly elections were the final straw in a series of insults, igniting, by 1989, widespread violent opposition. By 1992, Pakistani nationals and other graduates of the Afghan war were joining the fight in Kashmir.

    What began as an indigenous, secular movement for independence has become an increasingly Islamist crusade to bring all of Kashmir under Pakistani control. Pakistan-based Islamist groups (along with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, a Kashmir-based group created by Jamaat-e-Islami and partly funded by Pakistan) are now significantly more important than the secular Kashmir-based ones. The Indian government estimates that about 40 percent of the militants in Kashmir today are Pakistani or Afghan, and some 80 percent are teenagers. Although the exact size of the movement is unknown, the Indian government estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 "mujahideen" are in Kashmir at any given time.

    Whatever their exact numbers, these Pakistani militant groups -- among them, Lashkar-i-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen -- pose a long-term danger to international security, regional stability, and especially Pakistan itself. Although their current agenda is limited to "liberating" Kashmir, which they believe was annexed by India illegally, their next objective is to turn Pakistan into a truly Islamic state. Islamabad supports these volunteers as a cheap way to keep India off balance. In the process, however, it is creating a monster that threatens to devour Pakistani society.

    SCHOOLS OF HATE

    In Pakistan, as in many developing countries, education is not mandatory. The World Bank estimates that only 40 percent of Pakistanis are literate, and many rural areas lack public schools. Islamic religious schools -- madrasahs -- on the other hand, are located all over the country and provide not only free education, but also free food, housing, and clothing. In the poor areas of southern Punjab, madrasahs funded by the Sunni sectarian political party Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) reportedly even pay parents for sending them their children.

    In the 1980s, Pakistani dictator General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq promoted the madrasahs as a way to garner the religious parties' support for his rule and to recruit troops for the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan. At the time, many madrasahs were financed by the zakat (the Islamic tithe collected by the state), giving the government at least a modicum of control. But now, more and more religious schools are funded privately -- by wealthy Pakistani industrialists at home or abroad, by private and government-funded nongovernmental organizations in the Persian Gulf states and Saudi Arabia, and by Iran. Without state supervision, these madrasahs are free to preach a narrow and violent version of Islam.

    Most madrasahs offer only religious instruction, ignoring math, science, and other secular subjects important for functioning in modern society. As Maududi warned in his 1960 book, First Principles of the Islamic State, "those who choose the theological branch of learning generally keep themselves utterly ignorant of [secular subjects, thereby remaining] incapable of giving any lead to the people regarding modern political problems."

    Even worse, some extremist madrasahs preach jihad without understanding the concept: They equate jihad -- which most Islamic scholars interpret as the striving for justice (and principally an inner striving to purify the self) -- with guerrilla warfare. These schools encourage their graduates, who often cannot find work because of their lack of practical education, to fulfill their "spiritual obligations" by fighting against Hindus in Kashmir or against Muslims of other sects in Pakistan. Pakistani officials estimate that 10 to 15 percent of the country's tens of thousands of madrasahs espouse such extremist ideologies.

    Pakistan's interior minister Moinuddin Haider, for one, recognizes these problems. "The brand of Islam they are teaching is not good for Pakistan," he says. "Some, in the garb of religious training, are busy fanning sectarian violence, poisoning people's minds." In June, Haider announced a reform plan that would require all madrasahs to register with the government, expand their curricula, disclose their financial resources, seek permission for admitting foreign students, and stop sending students to militant training camps.

    This is not the first time the Pakistani government has announced such plans. And Haider's reforms so far seem to have failed, whether because of the regime's negligence or the madrasahs' refusal to be regulated, or both. Only about 4,350 of the estimated 40,000 to 50,000 madrasahs in Pakistan have registered with the government. Some are still sending students to training camps despite parents' instructions not to do so. Moreover, some chancellors are unwilling to expand their curricula, arguing that madrasahs are older than Pakistan itself -- having been "designed 1,200 years ago in Iraq," according to the chancellor of the Khudamudeen madrasah. The chancellor of Darul Uloom Haqqania objects to what he calls the government's attempt to "destroy the spirit of the madrasahs under the cover of broadening their curriculum."

    Mujibur Rehman Inqalabi, the SSP's second in command, told me that Haider's reform plan is "against Islam" and complains that where states have taken control of madrasahs, such as in Jordan and Egypt, "the engine of jihad is extinguished." America is right, he said: "Madrasahs are the supply line for jihad."

    JIHAD INTERNATIONAL, INC.

    If madrasahs supply the labor for "jihad," then wealthy Pakistanis and Arabs around the world supply the capital. On Eid-ul-Azha, the second most important Muslim holiday of the year, anyone who can afford to sacrifices an animal and gives the hide to charity. Pakistani militant groups solicit such hide donations, which they describe as a significant source of funding for their activities in Kashmir.

    Most of the militant groups' funding, however, comes in the form of anonymous donations sent directly to their bank accounts. Lashkar-i-Taiba ("Army of the Pure"), a rapidly growing Ahle Hadith (Wahhabi) group, raises funds on the Internet. Lashkar and its parent organization, Markaz ad-Da'wa Wal Irshad (Center for Islamic Invitation and Guidance), have raised so much money, mostly from sympathetic Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, that they are reportedly planning to open their own bank.

    Individual "mujahideen" also benefit financially from this generous funding. They are in this for the loot, explains Ahmed Rashid, a prominent Pakistani journalist. One mid-level manager of Lashkar told me he earns 15,000 rupees a month -- more than seven times what the average Pakistani makes, according to the World Bank. Top leaders of militant groups earn much more; one leader took me to see his mansion, which was staffed by servants and filled with expensive furniture. Operatives receive smaller salaries but win bonuses for successful missions. Such earnings are particularly attractive in a country with a 40 percent official poverty rate, according to Pakistani government statistics.

    The United States and Saudi Arabia funneled some $3.5 billion into Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Afghan war, according to Milt Bearden, CIA station chief in Pakistan from 1986 to 1989. "Jihad," along with guns and drugs, became the most important business in the region. The business of "jihad" -- what the late scholar Eqbal Ahmad dubbed "Jihad International, Inc." -- continues to attract foreign investors, mostly wealthy Arabs in the Persian Gulf region and members of the Pakistani diaspora. (As World Bank economist Paul Collier observes, diaspora populations often prolong ethnic and religious conflicts by contributing not only capital but also extremist rhetoric, since the fervor of the locals is undoubtedly held in check by the prospect of losing their own sons.)

    As the so-called jihad movement continues to acquire its own financial momentum, it will become increasingly difficult for Pakistan to shut down, if and when it tries. As long as "Jihad International, Inc." is profitable, those with financial interests in the war will work to prolong it. And the longer the war in Kashmir lasts, the more entrenched these interests will become.

    ADDICTED TO JIHAD

    As some irregulars are financially dependent on what they consider jihad, others are spiritually and psychologically so. Many irregulars who fought in Afghanistan are now fighting in Kashmir and are likely to continue looking for new "jihads" to fight -- even against Pakistan itself. Khalil, who has been a "mujahid" for 19 years and can no longer imagine another life, told me, "A person addicted to heroin can get off it if he really tries, but a mujahid cannot leave the jihad. I am spiritually addicted to jihad." Another Harkat operative told me,

    We won't stop -- even if India gave us Kashmir. ... We'll [also] bring jihad here. There is already a movement here to make Pakistan a pure Islamic state. Many preach Islam, but most of them don't know what it means. We want to see a Taliban-style regime here.

    Aspirations like these are common among the irregulars I have interviewed over the last couple of years.

    The "jihad" movement is also developing a spiritual momentum linked to its financial one. Madrasahs often teach their students that jihad -- or, in the extremist schools, terrorism under the guise of jihad -- is a spiritual duty. Whereas wealthy Pakistanis would rather donate their money than their sons to the cause, families in poor, rural areas are likely to send their sons to "jihad" under the belief that doing so is the only way to fulfill this spiritual duty. One mother whose son recently died fighting in Kashmir told me she would be happy if her six remaining sons were martyred. "They will help me in the next life, which is the real life," she said.

    When a boy becomes a martyr, thousands of people attend his funeral. Poor families become celebrities. Everyone treats them with more respect after they lose a son, a martyr's father said. "And when there is a martyr in the village, it encourages more children to join the jihad. It raises the spirit of the entire village," he continued. In poor families with large numbers of children, a mother can assume that some of her children will die of disease if not in war. This apparently makes it easier to donate a son to what she feels is a just and holy cause.

    Many of these families receive financial assistance from the militant groups. The Shuhda-e-Islam Foundation, founded in 1995 by Jamaat-e-Islami, claims to have dispensed 13 million rupees to the families of martyrs. It also claims to provide financial support to some 364 families by paying off loans, setting them up in businesses, or helping them with housing. Moreover, the foundation provides emotional and spiritual support by constantly reminding the families that they did the right thing by donating their children to assist their Muslim brethren in Kashmir. Both Lashkar-i-Taiba and Harkat have also established charitable organizations that reward the families of martyrs -- a practice common to gangs in inner-city Los Angeles and terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and Hamas. Although these foundations provide a service to families in need, they also perpetuate a culture of violence.

    BAD BOYS

    The comparison to gangs and terrorist groups is particularly apt because the irregulars often hire criminals to do their dirty work -- and sometimes turn to petty or organized crime themselves. Criminals are typically hired to "drop" weapons and explosives or to carry out extreme acts of violence that a typical irregular is reluctant or unable to perform. For example, members of the Dubai-based crime ring that bombed the Bombay stock exchange in March 1993 later confessed that they had been in Islamabad the previous month, where Pakistani irregulars had allegedly trained them to throw hand grenades and fire Kalashnikov assault rifles. Law-enforcement authorities noted that the operatives' passports contained no Pakistani stamps, suggesting the complicity of the Pakistani government.

    Criminals joining supposed jihad movements tend to be less committed to the group's purported goals and more committed to violence for its own sake -- or for the money. When criminals join private armies, therefore, the political and moral constraints that often inhibit mass-casualty, random attacks are likely to break down. Criminal involvement in the movement also worsens the principal-agent problem for Pakistan: pure mercenaries are even harder to control than individuals whose goals are at least partly aligned with those of the state.

    EXPORTING HOLY WAR

    Exacerbating the principal-agent problem, Pakistani militant groups are now exporting their version of jihad all over the world. The Khudamudeen madrasah, according to its chancellor, is training students from Burma, Nepal, Chechnya, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mongolia, and Kuwait. Out of the 700 students at the madrasah, 127 are foreigners. Nearly half the student body at Darul Uloom Haqqania, the madrasah that created the Taliban, is from Afghanistan. It also trains students from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Russia, and Turkey, and is currently expanding its capacity to house foreign students from 100 to 500, its chancellor said. A Chechen student at the school told me his goal when he returned home was to fight Russians. And according to the U.S. State Department, Pakistani groups and individuals also help finance and train the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a terrorist organization that aims to overthrow secular governments in Central Asia.

    Many of the militant groups associated with radical madrasahs regularly proclaim their plans to bring "jihad" to India proper as well as to the West, which they believe is run by Jews. Lashkar-i-Taiba has announced its plans to "plant Islamic flags in Delhi, Tel Aviv, and Washington." One of Lashkar's Web sites includes a list of purported Jews working for the Clinton administration, including director of presidential personnel Robert Nash (an African American from Arkansas) and CIA director George Tenet (a Greek American). The group also accuses Israel of assisting India in Kashmir. Asked for a list of his favorite books, a leader of Harkat recommended the history of Hitler, who he said understood that "Jews and peace are incompatible." Several militant groups boast pictures of burning American flags on their calendars and posters.

    INTERNAL JIHAD

    The "jihad" against the West may be rhetorical (at least for now), but the ten-year-old sectarian war between Pakistan's Shi'a and Sunni is real and deadly. The Tehrik-e-Jafariya-e-Pakistan (TJP) was formed to protect the interests of Pakistan's Shi'a Muslims, who felt discriminated against by Zia's implementation of Sunni laws governing the inheritance and collection of zakat. Iran helped fund the TJP, probably in hopes of using it as a vehicle for an Iranian-style revolution in Pakistan. Five years later, Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, a Jamaat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) cleric, established the SSP to offset the TJP and to promote the interests of Sunni Muslims. The SSP was funded by both Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Since then, violent gangs have formed on both sides.

    After Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni sectarian gang, attempted to assassinate then Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in early 1999, Sharif proposed to expand the special military courts that try terrorist crimes from Karachi to the rest of the country. Pakistan's Supreme Court later deemed the special courts unconstitutional. Musharraf has continued Sharif's attempt to rein in the terrorist groups by implementing, among other things, a "deweaponization" plan to reduce the availability of guns to sectarian gangs and criminals.

    The problem for Musharraf is that it is difficult to promote the "jihad" in Kashmir and the Taliban in Afghanistan without inadvertently promoting sectarianism in Pakistan. The movements share madrasahs, camps, bureaucracies, and operatives. The JUI, the SSP's founding party, also helped create both the Taliban and Harkat. Deobandi madrasahs issue anti-Shi'a fatwas (edicts), and boys trained to fight in Kashmir are also trained to call Shi'a kafirs (infidels). Jaesh-e-Mohammad, an offshoot of Harkat and the newest Pakistani militant group in Kashmir, reportedly used SSP personnel during a fundraising drive in early 2000. And the SSP's Inqalabi, who was recently released after four years in jail for his alleged involvement in sectarian killings, told me that whenever "one of our youngsters wants to do jihad," they join up with the Taliban, Harkat, or Jaesh-e-Mohammad -- all Deobandi groups that he claims are "close" to the SSP.

    Sectarian clashes have killed or injured thousands of Pakistanis since 1990. As the American scholar Vali Nasr explains, the largely theological differences between Shi'a and Sunni Muslims have been transformed into full-fledged political conflict, with broad ramifications for law and order, social cohesion, and government authority. The impotent Pakistani government has essentially allowed Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'a Iran to fight a proxy war on Pakistani soil, with devastating consequences for the Pakistani people.

    WHITHER PAKISTAN?

    Pakistan is a weak state, and government policies are making it weaker still. Its disastrous economy, exacerbated by a series of corrupt leaders, is at the root of many of its problems. Yet despite its poverty, Pakistan is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on weapons instead of schools and public health. Ironically, the government's "cost-saving" measures are even more troubling. In trying to save money in the short run by using irregulars in Kashmir and relying on madrasahs to educate its youth, Pakistan is pursuing a path that is likely to be disastrous in the long run, allowing a culture of violence to take root.

    The United States has asked Pakistan to crack down on the militant groups and to close certain madrasahs, but America must do more than just scold. After all, the United States, along with Saudi Arabia, helped create the first international "jihad" to fight the Soviet Union during the Afghan war. "Does America expect us to send in the troops and shut the madrasahs down?" one official asks. "Jihad is a mindset. It developed over many years during the Afghan war. You can't change a mindset in 24 hours."

    The most important contribution the United States can make, then, is to help strengthen Pakistan's secular education system. Because so much international aid to Pakistan has been diverted through corruption, both public and private assistance should come in the form of relatively nonfungible goods and services: books, buildings, teachers, and training, rather than money. Urdu-speaking teachers from around the world should be sent to Pakistan to help. And educational exchanges among students, scholars, journalists, and military officials should be encouraged and facilitated. Helping Pakistan educate its youth will not only cut off the culture of violence by reducing ignorance and poverty, it will also promote long-term economic development.

    Moreover, assisting Pakistan will make the world a safer place. As observers frequently note, conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is one of the most likely routes to nuclear war in the world today. The Pakistani militants' continued incursions into Indian-held Kashmir escalate the conflict, greatly increasing the risk of nuclear war between the two countries.

    Although the United States can help, Pakistan must make its own changes. It must stamp out corruption, strengthen democratic institutions, and make education a much higher priority. But none of this can happen if Pakistan continues to devote an estimated 30 percent of its national budget to defense.

    Most important, Pakistan must recognize the militant groups for what they are: dangerous gangs whose resources and reach continue to grow, threatening to destabilize the entire region. Pakistan's continued support of religious militant groups suggests that it does not recognize its own susceptibility to the culture of violence it has helped create. It should think again.

    Jessica Stern is a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and Adjunct Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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    Meeting with the Muj



    By Jessica Stern
    January/February 2001 pp. 42-50 (vol. 57, no. 01) 2001 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    ast June I visited Jamia Manzoor ul Islamiya, a radical religious school (madrisa) in Lahore, Pakistan. Pakistan is a poor country whose plight has been worsened by a series of corrupt regimes. In many rural areas free government schools are not available. By educating, clothing, housing, and feeding the poorest of the poor for free, the madrisas fill a desperate need.

    Pakistan has tens of thousands of madrisas. Often the students learn only the Koran. They will not be taught much math and probably no science or literature--or any other secular subject regarded in the West as important for functioning in modern society. Many of these schools preach jihad--holy war--with varying degrees of militancy. Pakistani officials estimate that 10 to 15 percent of the country's madrisas promote extremist ideologies.

    The principal of Jamia Manzoor ul Islamiya is Pir Said ulla Khalid. He met me in a large receiving room lined with bookshelves, but the shelves were devoid of books. Four hundred and fifty students lived at the school and another 100 were day students. Most of them, Pir Khalid said, came from families so poor they could not feed their children.

    I asked Pir Khalid how he had come to be the principal of a school. He had studied in a madrisa, he said. Did he have a favorite book? The Koran is the best novel, he replied.

    I mentioned a popular Sufi singer, Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan, and asked whether he knew of him. "I don't need music. Music is for those who have an addiction within them."

    We moved to science. Had he heard of Albert Einstein? No, he told me, he saw no need for science.

    "I want to talk to you as I would talk to my own daughter," he suddenly said. "You believe too much in science. Science turns a cheap thing like a piece of metal into something valuable, like an airplane.

    "Have you ever thought that you could become precious yourself? The way for a human being to become precious is to obey the principles of the one who created us. The way to become precious is through jihad. Nobody knows when he will die, so you must start the journey toward Islam," he told me kindly.

    I found two students at Pir Khalid's madrisa who wanted to be doctors rather than mujahideen. Pir Khalid was embarrassed. They had only been there a few months. "By the time I've worked on them for a year, they will want to be mujahideen too." I believed him; he was an intense man with near-hypnotic power. A poor child might do anything to please him.

    Although some madrisas claim to offer a broader curriculum than Jamia Manzoor ul Islamiya, the teachers are often barely educated. One teacher I interviewed at another school was able to add but unable to multiply seven times eight.

    Decades ago, Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, Pakistan's most important Islamist and founder of the political party Jamaat i Islami, warned of the disadvantages of a system of education that focused exclusively on religious subjects. "Those who choose the theological branch of learning generally keep themselves utterly ignorant of [secular subjects, thereby remaining] incapable of giving any lead to the people regarding the modern political problems," he argued in First Principles of the Islamic State, published in 1960.

    Although Maududi's observations seemed sensible to me, several principals of madrisas scolded me for being so picky, for having an "obsession" with science and math. Sami ul-Haq, the chancellor of Darul Uloom Haqqania, said Pakistani critics of madrisas, who frequently call for a broadening of the curricula, were simply playing "a game of diplomacy with the West." Besides, the chancellor added, "America has assessed Pakistan's army wrongly. The army is now Islamic. It is committed to the madrisas."

    "This is the first time," he added giddily, "that I am revealing the truth to a foreigner."



    The supply line
    As part of a research project on violent religious extremism, I have been interviewing Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim militants around the world for the last two years. Last June I returned to South Asia to visit the Line of Control, the always tense and often bloody border between Indian-held and Pakistan-held Kashmir. I wanted to meet with mujahideen and to learn more about Pakistan's radical madrisas, which churn out so many of the mujahideen, boys who court death in the name of god.

    I also met with families of "martyrs," Pakistani boys who have lost their lives fighting in Kashmir. I had been communicating with a few mujahideen over the past two years, trying to understand what motivates them to become cannon fodder in what appears to be a losing battle.

    Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Inqalabi, a leader of Pakistan's Sunni sectarian party, Sipah e Sahaba Pakistan, told me that the United States had finally figured out that madrisas comprise the base for jihad. Because of that, the United States was pressuring Pakistan to shut them down. It won't work, he said.

    "Madrisas are the supply line for jihad. Where the state controls madrisas, as in Egypt and Jordan, the voices for jihad are shut down. Pakistan and Afghanistan are now the only countries where it is possible to preach jihad in the schools. The terrorist activities in America, like the World Trade Center bombing and Mir Amal Kansi's attack at the cia, are a reaction to the U.S. attempt to impose a new world order on the rest of the world.

    "America is trying to crush jihad, but this will only lead to more terrorism. We are also training foreigners to preach Islam and fight in jihad in their own countries. It would be against Islam for us not to teach them. We have no intention of giving in to the whims of the U.S. government by expanding our curricula."



    Donating sons
    What happens to families whose children become martyrs? Most of the mothers I interviewed said they were happy to have donated their sons to jihad because their sons could help them in the next life--the "real life."

    Syed Qurban Hussain, the father of a martyr, said, "Whoever gives his life in the way of Allah lives forever and earns a place in heaven for 70 members of his family, to be selected by the martyr."

    Families of martyrs become celebrities after their children die. "Everyone treats me with more respect now that I have a martyred son," Hussain added. "And when there is a martyr in the village, it encourages more children to join the jihad. It raises the spirit of the entire village."

    Foundations have been set up to help the families of martyrs. For example, the Shuhda-e-Islam Foundation, founded by Jamaat i Islami, claims to have disseminated 13 million rupees in Pakistan since 1995.

    One family I visited lived on a street lined with open sewers. But the house, which is made of unpainted concrete, was partly paid for by the foundation. It is a large improvement over their earlier home, a mud hut. After son Zafar Iqbal died in Kashmir, the foundation helped pay the family's substantial debts, and it helped Habeeb Iqbal, the martyr's father, to start a business. He now owns two shops in the village.

    When Zafar Iqbal died, 8,000 people attended his funeral in Kashmir, his mother told me. "God is helping us out a lot," she said, pointing to her home and smiling. They also plan to donate their youngest "to God," her husband added, pointing to their 10-year-old son.

    After completing fifth grade in a government school, the boy will study in a madrisa full time to prepare himself mentally and physically for jihad. I asked the boy what he wants to do when he grows up. "Be a mujahed," he said.



    Afghan roots
    A jihadi culture is forming in Pakistan, the roots of which are entangled in the Afghan civil war in the 1980s, when the United States set up camps in Pakistan to train mujahideen to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

    "The Soviet forces left Afghanistan in 1989 . . . but the idea of jihad--an armed struggle of Muslim believers that had all but died out by the twentieth century--had been fully resuscitated," the late Pakistani scholar Eqbal Ahmad explained.

    By financing and training the Afghan mujahideen, the United States created what it now regards as a major threat to its own security. "Sensing its enormous opportunity, traders in guns and drugs became linked to the phenomenon, creating an informal but extraordinary cartel of vested interests in guns, gold, and god," Ahmad wrote in 1999.

    Since the 1980s, jihad has become a way of life for unknown numbers of Pakistanis and Arab-Afghans. Smuggling weapons has become big business, now fueled largely by the war in Kashmir. Through negligence more than active intervention, the Pakistani government allows the jihadi culture to grow. Despite government warnings of the dangers of "religious exploitation" of public sentiment, Pakistan's Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf continues to allow the jihadi groups and madrisas to indoctrinate Pakistani youth, sending them to fight in a losing war in Kashmir (see "Moderate Jihad?" July/August 2000 Bulletin).

    It is not possible to promote jihad in Kashmir without inadvertently promoting sectarian violence within Pakistan, because the two movements--jihad against the Indians in Kashmir and jihad against the Shia in Pakistan--are inextricably linked. Sectarian terrorists have killed or injured thousands of Pakistanis over the last 10 years, even attempting to murder then--Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last year.

    Sipah e Sahaba Pakistan, the Sunni sectarian party, has a "profound influence on all Deobandi madrisas," according to Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Inqalabi, one of the party's leaders. Deobandi madrisas provide "mental training" to a significant fraction of the mujahideen in Kashmir.

    Pakistan's most wanted sectarian terrorist, Riaz Bazra, spends at least part of his time hiding out at an Afghan camp that trains mujahideen for Kashmir, according to Pakistani officials. The sectarian terrorists arrested in connection with the plot to assassinate Sharif had reportedly been trained at a camp at Khost, which the jihadi group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen used to train mujahideen for Kashmir. In June, I met militants who had moved from Sipah e Sahaba Pakistan to groups fighting in Kashmir, without any apparent ideological or political difficulty.

    Estimates of the size of the jihadi groups vary widely, but most U.S., Pakistani, and Indian experts believe there are tens of thousands of trained mujahideen ready, if necessary, to go to Kashmir. Indian officials claim to have a slightly better handle on the number of trained mujahideen already inside Indian Kashmir: between 2,000 and 4,000.

    The Indian government claims that the jihadi groups have become more violent and more sophisticated in recent years. They have switched from guns and bullets to remotely detonated explosives. They communicate with encrypted wireless systems, changing signals and locations constantly. (I first learned of this system from the fathers of two mujahideen, who had to travel to Muzzaferabad to speak to their sons.)

    The sources of guns and explosives, which are smuggled in, are often unknowable, Indian officials say, because AK-47s are made in 19 different countries, and because there are no taggants in the explosives to identify their origin.

    A leader of one Pakistani group active in Kashmir told me how his organization recycles men from active fighting to undercover work.

    "Our troops swim across the river Ravi from Azad Jammu into Indian-held Jammu. A typical mujahed will kill nine or 10 Indian border policemen. Then we make him a 'sleeper.' He takes an apartment in a residential colony in Jammu, takes a job, and tries to disappear."

    After staying in Jammu for some time, my source said, the sleepers "often move to Delhi, where they try to pass as Punjabi Hindus." The number who actually make it to Delhi depends on how much help the Pakistani Interservice Intelligence Agency provides, he added. "The movement of our sleepers is so scientific that no Indian agency can even smell them."

    Once they get to Delhi, he said, "they seek out the poorest Kashmiri Muslims in India to teach them about their constitutional rights. Some laborers, for example, live in small rooms fitted with eight beds. Each tenant gets one eight-hour shift per day, so that 24 people sleep in each room.

    "My sleepers help these people. Some of them are ignorant of Urdu. Some of them were converted to Hinduism or Sikhism. We provide them with religious literature, we help them come back to Islam."

    It is a difficult process, he says, because worldly temptations are everywhere. "Young Rajasthani girls and alcohol are available [for small amounts of money]. They think they are in heaven. They don't want to go back to Kashmir and face the poverty there. We want them to support Kashmir, to earn money, and to send some of it back to help Kashmiris.

    "When [Hindu nationalist organizations] announced their plan to build a temple in place of the destroyed Babri Mosque, my sleepers were involved in organizing Muslims."



    Jihad or terrorism?
    Pakistani Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf's ambivalent attitude toward fundamentalism is nowhere more evident than in his government's relationship with the mujahideen. The Pakistani government denies supplying material support to the jihadi groups, a claim challenged by the U.S. State Department in its most recent annual report on terrorism.

    But Pakistani officials do admit, at least privately, to "facilitating" the activities of jihadi groups, including assisting them in crossing the Line of Control into Indian-held Kashmir. If Musharraf intends to ensure that a "moderate Islam" guides Pakistan's future, as he claimed in his first speech after coming to power last October (see "Moderate Jihad?"), he will have to start by ending this assistance.

    So far, there is little evidence that he plans to do so. He will also have to persuade the radical madrisas to change their curricula and stop preaching violent jihad. Although officials claim to be cracking down on the madrisas, especially when speaking to Western reporters, few of the radical principals I talked to had any intention of complying with the government's demands.

    More important, Pakistani officials admit privately that Pakistan needs the mujahideen to persuade the Indian government that a military solution to the Kashmiri conflict is impossible.

    Although India's conventional forces vastly outnumber those of Pakistan, Indian security forces "suffer from a siege mentality," according to a Pakistani commander at the Line of Control. That makes their spirit "weak."

    Meanwhile, the mujahideen, he says, have a just cause and a stronger spirit. Although they are far less numerous than the Indian Army at the Line of Control, man for man they are much stronger. The idea that the Indian Army fears the "muj" is common not only among boastful mujahideen, but also in Pakistani military circles.

    Musharraf calls the mujahideen "freedom fighters," not terrorists, castigating the West for confusing jihad with terrorism. But there are problems with this line of argument. To begin with, incursions by the mujahideen are not lessening India's determination to hold on to Kashmir. On the contrary, they have hardened India's views toward Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has repeatedly stressed his refusal to hold talks with Musharraf until Pakistan curbs the violence of the mujahideen.

    The jihad promoted by Pakistani radicals is a misinterpretation of the term, a senior Pakistani official conceded to me in June. Mainstream Islamic scholars interpret the Prophet Muhammad's teachings as emphasizing that spiritual jihad--the inner struggle to follow God's will--as the "greater jihad"; holy war is the "lesser" one. Islamic scholars argue further that the Koran prohibits killing civilians under any circumstances, including in a defensive jihad. Human rights organizations claim that both parties to the Kashmiri conflict--the Indian security forces and the mujahideen--have increasingly targeted civilians in random attacks since the early 1990s.

    Several Pakistani operatives, when captured, have confessed to carrying out operations inside India, according to Indian interrogation reports. Tufail Rashid Rajput was reportedly caught trying to explode a bomb at the Bombay Central Railway Station in 1993. Abdul Matin, captured in 1997, reportedly confessed to the bombing of the Jaipur Stadium in January 1996, as well as to the murder of a Swedish tourist at Agra at about the same time.

    Matin also disclosed a plot by Harkat-ul-Ansar, a mujahideen organization, to blow up the Taj Mahal to draw attention to the Kashmiri issue. Human rights organizations report that jihadi groups also carry out random attacks inside Kashmir, bombing buses, stores, and other public places.

    Is this terrorism? When jihadi groups attack noncombatants, the answer is "yes," according to both Islamic and Western just-war traditions. Under jus ad bellum criteria, war is permissible when there are no better means for securing the peace--if the cause is just and if the good achieved by the war would exceed the unavoidable harm caused by fighting it. Both Islamic and Western traditions also require decisions made by the right authority. Maulana Abul A la Maududi argued in the late 1940s that as individuals, mujahideen could not legitimately declare jihad.

    Similarly, jus in bello requires that the belligerents' methods be proportional to their ends and that they not directly target noncombatants. Islamic just-war theory implies similar requirements.

    The mujahideen have a far broader definition of legitimate targets. They consider Indian government officials to be combatants and they also target Kashmiris whom they consider to be "collaborators." This is clearly at odds with international law. Moreover, when alleged collaborators are attacked in markets or on buses, innocent bystanders often die in large numbers, a predictable outcome.

    The jus in bello criteria apply equally to Indian security forces, however. By these standards, terrorism is being perpetrated by both sides in Kashmir.



    Tragic cycle
    Terrorism thrives in much of the world--not only in lingering conflicts, but in areas where the state fails to provide basic services, especially education. Solving this problem will therefore require a lot more than resolving the conflict in Kashmir. It will require curbing the jihadi culture that took root in Afghanistan in the 1980s and is now spreading to Pakistan. That culture is fueled by money from all over the world.

    There are winners and losers in this jihad. For the winners--the gun-runners, the leaders of militant groups, and the managers of the training camps--jihad is, at least in part, a profit-making business.

    The mujahideen "believe their bosses are motivated by pure religious principles," a disillusioned mujahed explained to me. "They expect their followers to live by strict moral standards, but they have a different set of standards for their own behavior."

    The countries--particularly the United States--that planted the seeds of the jihadi culture in the 1980s ought to be thinking seriously about how to promote its end. Helping to educate Pakistani youth might turn out to be among the wisest investments the United States could make.

    Meanwhile, the Pakistani conflict with India continues, deepening an already tragic cycle. Pakistan feels it must spend more than a quarter of its budget on defense, leaving little money for educating the poor. The poor, in turn, send their children to the free madrisas, where they learn a dangerously virulent version of jihad.

    "The rich donate money," a disenchanted mujahed told me, "and the poor donate their sons."





    Jessica Stern is a lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and an adjunct fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of The Ultimate Terrorists (1999) and a Bulletin board member.

    January/February 2001 pp. 42-50 (vol. 57, no. 01) 2001 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists



    Sidebar: The players: Who's who in the world of jihad
    Last spring the U.S. State Department announced in its annual report on terrorism that South Asia had replaced the Middle East as the leading "locus of terrorism." Yet very little is known in the West about the Pakistani mujahideen, in part because many of the groups have only recently emerged and, in part, because attention has been focused elsewhere.

    Further, leadership crises, mergers, and splits are regular occurrences, making the accuracy of any typology short-lived. Even Pakistani intelligence officials have difficulty keeping the groups straight. Given those caveats, here is a brief description of the major groups.

    Deobandism arose in British India in 1867 as an anti-colonial, reformist, intellectual branch of Sunni Islam. Its aim was to harmonize classical texts with the demands of secular life in pre-partition India. It is now, Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid explains, the most orthodox branch of Sunnism.

    The movement has its own political party in Pakistan, the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). The party promotes the enforcement of Hanafi (Sunni) law under the guidance of the righteous ulama, religious scholars. Anti-Shia fatwas (religious decrees) and texts are promoted by Deobandi madrisas, and students coming out of Deobandi schools are often virulently sectarian. The sectarian party Sipah e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) is an offshoot of JUI.

    Personality clashes have split JUI into three camps: JUI-F, run by Fazlur Rahman; JUI-S, run by Sami ul-Haq; and JUI-Q, run by Ajmal Qadri. The rival camps now compete as to which is the most anti-Shia and anti-American.

    Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM)--the "Holy Warriors Movement"--is Deobandi, and it is currently the only Pakistani jihadi group listed by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization. The movement has been highly successful in guerrilla operations against Indian security forces in Kashmir, and it allegedly cooperated with the Pakistani Army in the 1999 Kargil incursion.

    Some of HUM's activities, including the training of militants in Afghanistan, are widely believed to be partly funded by Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born radical with whom the group maintains open ties. Fazlur Rahman Khalil, founder of the group--and until recently its leader--told me in June that he met bin Laden early in the Afghan war.

    At least seven HUM operatives died in August 1998, when U.S. cruise missiles and bombers struck bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan. Shortly after the attacks, Khalil said: "Osama's mission is our mission. It is the mission of the whole Islamic world."

    Khalil was a signatory to bin Laden's 1998 fatwa against the United States and a member of bin Laden's international network known as the "International Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders."

    Early this year, Farooq Kashmiri, formerly head of HUM's Kashmir operations, assumed leadership. Other militants told me that a Kashmiri was given the job because of pressure to look more like an indigenous group than a Pakistani-based organization. There is growing recognition that the Pakistani jihadi groups have usurped the indigenous movement which, in 1989, was both secular and Kashmir based. Some observers believe that the Kashmiris are victimized by aggression from both sides.

    Harkat-ul-Mujahideen claims to be active in Bosnia, Chechnya, India, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Tajikistan. U.S. government officials allege that HUM has targeted Western military officials in Bosnia, and India accuses HUM of carrying out "dirty tricks," including murders in India on behalf of Pakistan's Interservice Intelligence Agency (ISI). (In turn, the ISI accuses India's intelligence agency of similar activities in Pakistan, usually in connection with sectarian or ethnic violence.)

    Before 1997, HUM was known as Harkat-ul-Ansar or HUA, an organization formed in 1993 with the merger of two smaller groups. After the State Department listed HUA as a foreign terrorist organization, the group took the name of one of its earlier subsidiaries, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. One of HUM's predecessor organizations, Harkat ul Jihadi-I-Islami (HUJI), is reportedly still active and thought to be particularly violent.

    The various Harkat groups are suspected by the State Department of carrying out a series of kidnappings and killings of Western tourists in Kashmir, as well as killing two American diplomats in Karachi in 1995 and four American oil company workers in 1997, also in Karachi.

    The hijackers of Indian Airlines Flight IC814 in December 1999 demanded the release of the group's chief ideologue, Maulana Masood Azhar, who was being held in an Indian prison, in exchange for freeing the hostage passengers and crew.

    After his release, Azhar formed a new Deobandi group, Jaesh e Mohammad, which is more openly sectarian than HUM. Jaesh e Mohammad reportedly relies on the SSP party to assist it in raising money. It competes with HUM for operatives, funding, and official support. A leader of a rival group told me in June that the Interservice Intelligence Agency supports HUM, but Military Intelligence supports Jaesh e Mohammad.

    Other Deobandi groups include Tehriq e Jihad and Jamiat-ul-Ulema Mujahideen (JUM). Tehriq e Jihad was founded in 1997 by three small groups: Insar-ul-Islam, Hizb-ul-Jihad, the Muslim Mujahideen, as well as by disaffected members of HUA.

    Jamiat-ul-Ulema Mujahideen is reportedly less active than some of the other groups, although it is still training and launching mujahideen, according to its leader.

    Ahle Hadith is another branch of Sunni Islam. Ahle Hadith (Wahhabi) theology stresses literal belief in the Koran and the Hadith (traditional reports of the actions and beliefs of Muhammad). Like Deobandis, Wahhabis are highly conservative and deeply resentful of the "corrupting" influences of the Western world.

    Lashkar-e-Taiba ("Army of the Pure") was founded in 1993 from a small Afghan group as the militant wing of an Ahle Hadith organization known as Markaz-Dawa-Wal-Irshad (MDI). Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, a retired engineering professor, runs MDI.

    The Indian government views Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET) as the most important jihadi group because of its extraordinary growth in size, wealth, and popularity. Its annual convention, held every November at its headquarters in Muridke, attracts several hundred thousand visitors.

    LET claims to train 40,000 youth per year, many of whom do not become full-time mujahideen, and it boasts of having 2,500 recruiting offices throughout Pakistan. It has 125 of its own madrisas, a senior member told me. More than 80 percent of the graduates are sent to mujahideen training camps, he said.

    When I asked how LET manages to send such a high percentage of graduates to training camps, when JUI-Q, for example, sends only 10--15 percent, LET told me that funding is not a problem for them, unlike other militant groups. LET will train anyone who requests it.

    (Although many of the militant groups are heavily funded by individuals in the Persian Gulf, LET appears to be particularly successful at fundraising. LET and its parent organization have reportedly raised so much money they are planning to open their own bank.)

    Recently LET released this announcement: "In our jihad camp we impart training for three weeks in which newcomers are introduced to the Kalashnikov up to the missile. Then we train them for three weeks more for Da'wa, which is called 'Suffah Tour.' Following this there comes the 'Special Tour' comprising of three months in which they are trained for guerrilla war and mine blast, fighting, and firing the missiles and rockets. After the completion of guerrilla training, a man is enabled to be launched in Kashmir. . . . After this practice, some of the boys are selected for specialization in making remote control bombs and missiles. In the course of guerrilla war, weather as well as the Indian Army's move[ments] are also observed. There is no restriction to go for jihad training. We observe that a boy must possess strong muscles and body because the same are required [for] performing hard exercises. Presently boys of eight years of age are mostly taking part in jihad."

    Lashkar-e-Taiba literature encourages youth to fulfill their religious duty by becoming mujahideen in Burma, Chechnya, Kashmir, Kosovo, Palestine, and the Philippines, where Muslims are "not free." Defensive jihad is "obligatory" in all these countries, according to the literature. Women are also encouraged to go door-to-door to convince other women "to send their brothers and sons for the cause of jihad."

    The organization is also active on the Internet. Computer literacy is emphasized at its madrisas, although no other secular subjects are taught. (LET members have e-mailed me their press releases and other literature regularly over the past couple of years.) The group's bank account numbers are listed on its web sites, which has greatly enhanced its fundraising, a senior LET member told me.

    The organization advertises its high-tech prowess to attract youth to join the cause. "Mujahideen have got access to the Indian army web site where they worked against the Indian forces," says its literature. "Lashkar-e-Taiba also made a remote control airplane that was caught in Occupied Kashmir. We are developing the modern technology. We can make modern devices."

    Jamaat i Islami, led by Qazi Hussein Ahmad, is neither Wahhabi nor Deobandi. It is non-sectarian and the most mainstream Islamist party in Pakistan. According to Vali Nasr, an American political scientist who has studied the party extensively, Jamaat i Islami's militant wings were key players during the Afghan war. Money and guns were funneled into the wings, now known as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and al-Badr. An al-Badr member estimated that the two groups have a combined membership of about 10,000, only a fraction of which are active in Kashmir at any given time.

    Last July, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen announced a three-month cease-fire in Kashmir. But a few days later that cease-fire was broken, with a series of attacks that killed more than 80 people.

    Secular Kashmir-based groups, such as the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which promote Kashmiri independence rather than accession to Pakistan, are no longer as active in Kashmir as the Pakistan-based groups, according to the Indian government.

    One reason for this, explains prominent Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid, is that the Liberation Front is not supported by Pakistan's Interservice Intelligence Agency. But a Liberation Front splinter group known as al Umar Mujahideen is likely to reemerge now that its leader, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, has been released from prison.

    Zargar was one of three militants freed in exchange for the release of the hostages on the hijacked Indian airliner in December 1999. Indian government officials describe Zargar as unusually cruel, claiming he has been observed blowing up the bodies of men already killed by his group.

    J.S.
    Hala Madrid!!

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