Pakistan’s Jihad


Terrorists train in Pakistan’s northwest.

Originally published in the Dec. 15 edition of The Weekly Standard magazine. By Bill Roggio & Thomas Joscelyn

Just two days after the gunmen’s siege in Mumbai ended, Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari went on CNN’s Larry King Live to plead his case. Even before the Indian authorities had brought the rampage to an end, they were laying blame on their neighbor to the north. And Zardari wanted the world to know they were wrong. “This is not the time to point fingers,” Zardari protested. “The state of Pakistan is in no way responsible.”

Instead, Zardari said, “I think these are stateless actors who have been operating all throughout the region. .”

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  • suresh says:

    This is an excellnt piece and delivered readers a lots of truth about the ISI and Pakistani government itslef. Every terrorism, in every parts of the world has roots in Pakistan and can not be easily denied by any intellectuals. The ISI has a strong financial support by virtually running most of the consumer goods manufacturing and selling in Pakistan while the Pakistan’s people and Government itself suffering economically looking for IMF assistance. Besides, ISI also gets money by acting as a conduit for smuggling Afghanistan drugs to other countries. The only way to eradicate Jihad terrorism in the world is by effectively dismandling ISI and all its operatives. This will happen only by attacking Pakistan’s Army and taking over the Pak Nukes. The world community should take courageous step to get the Pakistan under its civilian government. ISI is a very dangerous terror manufacturing factory, which should be wiped out at any cost, otherwise the world will have to pay its price continuously for this menace. The states that supports terrors and terror manufacturing states should also be punished. The UN should be revamped to add countries as permanent veto wielding members. Some of the present perm memebers are only looking at their own interest which is causing a great damange to other countries. World, wake up and act swiftly against terrorists and its sponsers.

  • AAndrew says:

    Just wanted to say BRAVO on this great article.

  • Geronimo says:

    This is an outstanding example of “real” journalism.
    Many thanks for your work.

  • Thanos says:

    A great article and compilation Bill, well done. I’m still holding out hope that this is just renegade elements within and without the ISI, but I’m an optimist, overly so at points.

  • amagi says:

    Just want to add my voice to the chorus. This is excellent journalism.

  • KW64 says:

    Bill does a very good job of describing the problem. The solution is not so clear.
    One can look at Zadari as a both a means to bring radical elements under control or as a rather powerless democratic shield that protects the radicals from effective outside intervention. Would even Kayani survive long if he attacked the LET operations directly to put them out of business? Will putting more US forces in Afghanistan at the end of a long Pakistani supply route give the US more influence over events or make NATO even more dependent on Pakistani good will and thus less likely to act decisively?
    I am glad David Petraeus is on his way. I wonder if he is.

  • Marlin says:

    It would seem that Pakistani forces are making at least a token effort to confront the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

    Pakistani security forces took over a camp used by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants in Pakistani Kashmir on Sunday, a witness and an official from a charity linked to Lashkar said.
    “This happened this afternoon, security forces took over the camp,” said an official with Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity.

    Reuters: Pakistani forces take over militant camp – witness

  • NS says:

    “It would seem that Pakistani forces are making at least a token effort to confront the Lashkar-e-Taiba”
    Unfortunately these stage managed efforts of tokenism only show the world how deep the problem is.
    For starters, why was’nt this LeT camp not “closed” before the Mumbai attacks? what ever happened to Musharaff’s “promise” not to allow terrorist groups operate in Pak territory – i am not sure if any one even remembers the enormous pressure that was put on Pakistan post 9/11.
    And yet a full 7 years later, here we are. it is pretty obvious that the Paki military/ISI are never going to give up on keeping Afghanistan their client state for “strategic depth” against India – such ambitions require the military establishment to continue supporting terror groups to operate freely in the state.
    This is an excellent article from Bill, but i am afraid that there are very few options for the US but to continue to work with the ISI and the military to get as much help as it possibly can.

  • Marlin says:

    Earlier I had read articles by journalists claiming they could not find any trace of the jihadist still alive from the Mumbai attacks, Ajmal Amir Kasab, in Faridkot. It would seem that facade is now starting to crumble.

    Finally one villager confirmed what was going on: ‘You’re being given misinformation. We’ve all known from the first day [of the news of the terrorist attack] that it was him, Ajmal Amir Kasab. His mother started crying when she saw his picture on the television.’
    Shown a picture of Ajmal, the villager confirmed that he was the former Faridkot resident, who had last visited the village a couple of months ago at the last festival of Eid.
    That appears to be the last piece of the jigsaw. A man called Amir and his wife, Noor, do live in Faridkot, official records show. They have a son called Ajmal.
    Following our last visit to Faridkot, the mayor, Wattoo, announced via the loudspeaker at the mosque that no one was to speak to any outsiders. By yesterday, Pakistani intelligence officials had descended in force on Faridkot. Locals, speaking by telephone, said a Pakistani TV crew and an American journalist had been roughed up and run out of town.

    Guardian: Revealed: home of Mumbai’s gunman in Pakistan village”

  • NS says:

    I really wouldnt put too much into the stories about where Kasab is originally from – btw, his last name is a well known name all over India – it denotes that he comes from a family of Muslim butchers. This is something that i completely missed until today.
    The even bigger issue than where Kasab is from is the fact that the Pakistani state has allowed terrorists to operate in its territory so that it can be instruments of its state policy. While Zardari and Gilani loudly complain that the Pakistani Government was not involved in the attacks, they are being oblivious to the facts that the Pakistani state was responsible for the emergence of Lashkar e Taiba – with the active help of the military and the ISI. And that these LeT terrorists have been the primary suspects behind the killings.
    The most dangerous part of the civilian Govt of Pakistan washing their hands off this attack is to blame this on “non state actors” – well, here is a news flash – non state actors can be used as an excuse for plausible deniability while carrying out instruments of state policy.
    Greg Sheridan in The Australian addresses this issue,25197,24757395-5013460,00.html
    Accusing “non state actors” is not enough and is empty rhetoric – when Pakistan refuses to hand ever the likes of terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim and ex ISI chief Hameed Gul, it shows that the Pakistani state is going to continue to harbor terrorists.
    The investigations are not complete yet- by the time it does get completed, i am afraid that there is going to be quite a lot of conclusive evidence pointing to the dirty hands of ISI in arming and training the terrorists.
    Perilous time ahead.

  • davidp says:

    Since the ISI is the coordinator and facilitator of so much terrorism, and the civilian Pakistani government is unable to control the ISI, why do I hear nothing about considerations of physical attacks on the ISI?
    Do they have headquarters that could be attacked by cruise missiles or bombers, or are they too dispersed? Is there no way to hurt the ISI’s people short of destruction of the whole Pakistan state?
    Is it really the ISI, or does the whole Pakistan military supporting the terrorists, with the ISI just as the visible focus?

  • Rosario says:

    Bill and Tom,
    Thanks for writing this article. It really puts into perspective for me that the war with al Qaeda and the Taliban is really a symptom of Pakistan’s regional ambitions. The Pakistani perpetrator’s of the Mumbai attacks have miscalculated as their actions have exposed themselves and amplified those facts to the world. We have to be hopeful that most Pakistani’s reject this ideology as indicated by their election of Zardari.
    While superbly insightful, the article sidesteps the issue of Pakistan’s WMDs. If the ISI is so powerful, why haven’t they got their hands on the WMD’s and delivered them to their proxy terror groups? Surely those groups would use them immediately on us if they possessed them.
    thank you

  • JusCruzn says:

    To all at LWJ who contributed to this article BRAVO WELL WRITTEN! I always knew the ISI was really corrupt after reading Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars. This article really reaffirmed that, and then some. What the ISI has done is akin to an act of war both against India and the US. It is long past time for not just India and the US but the entire freedom loving world to eliminate this threat.

  • rob says:

    A well written piece! Couple points, if I may:
    1. Based on what I have read, offshoots of groups such as the LeT perform social and charitable work, which expands their reach into the fabric of Pakistan.
    2. The money-mullah connection…..even if the Pakistan government manages a token crackdown on these groups, until the money pipelines are cut-off, it will be no more than a brief respite.

  • Rhyno327/lrsd says:

    I concur, great article, it really spells out wat the West-and India are up against. It is really scary to know Zadari really does not control his own intel. service, and his army is led by islamic fundamentalists. This is a global problem, and demanding the arrests of the likes of Hamid Gul is just one step. The ISI should be declared a terror org., and those involved must be named, or eliminated. This is the “clash of civilizations” the islamists want. Would the Dept. of Homeland Security stop all immigration from SW Asia? I would be very hesitant about letting ANY P-stani’s or Indians in this country.

  • Khalid Rehman says:

    Well I don’t agree with Author – This article have many false information.

    For e.g. how is this possible :
    ” The jihadist hydra nearly killed Zardari on September 20, when a truck bomb leveled the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad. Zardari had stopped off to chat with an old friend, narrowly avoiding death

    How can Zardari just stop somewhere, just for saying Hello to someone ? He is President of Pakistand … Please Grow Up….

    From this i can understand how true the rest of the information would be.

    Why not India considers other factors when it comes to Terrorist acts. Why do they blame Pakistan straight away, is this easy for them to run away from investigations ?

    I am sure even if there is no LET, ISI even then if there is any thing wrong in Indian they will blame Pakistan for this, because this is very easy for their government to hide other facts.
    Just an example, there were a disease (epidemic fever) in India district because of RATS, and its been said that ISI left thousands of sick RATS here.

    So you can imagine the mentallity.

    And when it comes to Mullah Omer or Osama Bin Ladin, then why can’t US use their spy plane on Chitral or Quetta where Mulla Omer and Osama Bin Ladin is staying. IF Karzai have their GPS location why don’t he give that to US to attack that particular location ??

    And what is RAW doing in Balochistan (Pakistan) ? Nobody knows, Musharraf said once that i am not 100% but 200% sure that INDIA (RAW) is involved there, and do you know how many Indian consulates opened at Pak-Afghan Border and what they are doing ? They are helping the helpless people over there ?

    I have many more questions on this article but will leave with these as of now.

  • younis says:

    Good article but only one sided.
    Please for God’s sake see the whole picture.
    I REALLY condemn the mumbai attacks, its really shame to see all those innocent people die. Although there is no justification of such an coward act and there is no religion in the world that allow such a ridiculous act.
    But are we going towards stopping any future acts?
    Are we even going towards right direction to curb this evil?
    Are we going towards solution or explosion?
    to get to solution one must see the root causes. There is poverty and injustice in all those area where this sort of events happening. In one part of world where every citizen is becoming aware of its rights but in other its different story all together. Bigs gun are forming alliance against weak opponents just to ate their resources. First these big guns use some body(like Mullah Omer or Osama Bin Ladin) and then left them without having exit strategy then what should we expect from them. they are trained and they need people blood for their thirst. And in return innocent people like in mumbai paid the price of sins of other

  • jayant says:

    Well, bill and tom, good to see things put in as they have always been. It has taken years for what has really been going on to be put in such clear and square terms. But then moving on beyond what the realities have been and continue to be ( this has been true for almost a decade and half now, even if people are only coming around to putting it in black and white now) where exactly is this going??
    Americans are too struck with their dependency on paki military and in effect its intelligence/active arm the ISI to be able to really think of taking on the ISI. They are forced to eat from what bites them too, too bad, but then the objective right now is to somehow get some control over afganistan to be able to exit honorably ( a la iraq), get bin laden or his 2nd or 3rd in command to say that they have debilitated al qaeda and supposing they do achieve these two goals what next? Exit out of afpak, like they did after soviet expulsion from afganistan? Most likely. And yes, ISI and its surrogates will survive, they have always, and not just survive they will keep continuing their ways through the paki govt front to keep getting huge funds in the name of regional stability, in the name of containing terrorism, etc, etc. I would go so far as to say that pakistan has gone much past the stage that it can revert itself back into some constructive governance or stablity. What makes the problem so much more worse is the kind of stupified denial of everything that the pakistani public is struck up in. My prognosis would be this:
    Somewhere down the line the paki nukes/wmd are going to atleast come to be in imminent threat of falling into the terrorist hands, somewhere down the line an international force is going to have to come down to invading pakistan if for nothing but to secure nukes/wmds, and contain its intelligence-terrorism nexus, somewhere down the line indians are going to get forced to hit back at pakistan pretty heavily.
    Hope some sembalence of stability might result out of it all. or we just get another terminal case country(?) hanging out there in south asia being no good to itself and no good to anyone.

  • Dan says:

    Well Mr Khalid Rehman look at your comment you made on December 11, 2008, when you claimed that Pakistanis were not behind Mumbai attack and India just blame Pakistan for all acts of terrorism. Since you made that comment, subsequest investigations made it crystal clear who was responsible for this attack and how it was carried out. Even Pakistani Authorities had nowhere to hide and had to arrest and charge those who were responsible. Is there no directives/guidance in Islam for being truthful? if yes will you at least try to be truthful in rest of your life ?? least you could do is apolizise to the relatives of those killed including 9 pakistani young men who carried out the attack and lost thier lives for misguided conflict.


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