Pakistan opens new terror camps after Mumbai assault

Ten new terror training camps have been opened inside Pakistan since the November 2008 terror assault in Mumbai, India, which was launched from Pakistani soil.

The 10 additional camps raise the total number to 62, according to Indian intelligence agencies. The report, which was first noted in the Hindustan Times, was confirmed by US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal.

P. Chidambaram, Indian’s Home Minister, “shared details of the camps, along with maps and intercepts of conversations between terrorists and their Pakistani handlers, with the US government” during a visit to the US in early September.

The number of jihadi camps used to target India has fluctuated over the years. In 2005, it was estimated that there were 55 jihadi camps in Kashmir and Pakistan, but 15 were thought to have been wiped out during a deadly earthquake that struck Muzafarrabad and the surrounding areas in Pakistan-held Kashmir.

The 62 camps tallied by India’s Multi-Agency Centre, the country’s national intelligence coordination agency, are the ones that are directly aimed at India and India-held Kashmir, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

“These are the camps that are set up specifically to churn out fighters assigned to strike in Kashmir and India,” the official said. The official warned, however, that narrowly viewing the camps as being used to training fighters for either India or Afghanistan is a flawed way to look at the issue, as there is a wide amount of cooperation between the groups.

“The Indian number doesn’t include camps in the NWFP [Northwest Frontier Province], FATA [the Federally Administered Tribal Areas], Baluchistan, and in Punjab that are tasked with aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas.”

The exact number of terror camps in Pakistan is not publicly available. Last summer, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal that there were 157 al Qaeda and Taliban camps in Pakistan’s tribal agencies and the Northwest Frontier Province. The number of camps in Baluchistan and Punjab has not been disclosed.

But a recent report in Newsline provided a disturbing glimpse into the extent of the jihadi network in South Punjab. The region is dotted with more than 3,000 madrassas, or religious schools, with many of them used to radicalize students and recruit fighters. The region is fertile recruiting grounds for the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (the radical offshoot of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan), Jaish-e-Mohammad, and Lashkar-e-Taiba. These groups have all struck alliances with al Qaeda and the Taliban.

According to the Newsline report, the Bahawalpur division, a region in South Punjab, “could boast of approximately 15,000-20,000 trained militants.” An estimated 5,000 to 9,000 young men from South Punjab are thought to be fighting in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The Quetta Shura, the governing body for the Afghan Taliban, led by Mullah Omar, is based in the capital of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, while scores of camps are known to operate in the province. The border city of Chaman serves as a forward command post for the Afghan Taliban and the Quetta Shura.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Spooky says:

    How lovely.
    The military is cooperating with Zardari because they know that, in the end, his regime will be holding the bag.

  • Zeissa says:

    If you were willing to sacrifice today’s status quo for the way hostile regimes were dealt with 64 years ago by the west, one’s actions become quite different and also moral due to self defense.
    Just because one is strong enough to endure such attacks does not mean one should.
    Furthermore you asked (which I answered in this thread) how America and other nations that would want to can do such things.
    Truthfully even the Korean war was not fought with full might. And half the Chinese government quaked across the border.
    India should reply with war. She is only being held back by the consequences of nuclear missiles, massive warfare, recalcitrant partners and cowardice.
    But such challenges that have existed to India for a thousand years.
    Blood, sweat and tears in large amounts would rejuvenate India – and militant Islam would be banned and the people rehabilitated.

  • Zeissa says:

    (correction) … and such challenges should be overcome…

  • gerry says:

    Still be leive its best for the west to leave Afganistan and let Pakistan collapse. It would eventually lead to war with India and pakistan. But would settle many age old problems that are of no concern to the west. And be the end of much tribal, miscreant,(Taliban, Al Qaeda) warfare.

  • My2cents says:

    India is not held back by cowardness, but the lack an acceptable effective strategy. Launch attacks against the terrorist bases and they will just evade and leave the Indian and Pakistani armies to fight. If India were to occupy part or all of Pakistan all they would accomplish is putting their troops in easy access range for the terrorists.
    The only solution that might work is to massacre every male in eastern Pakistan between 8 and 80. Thankfully, the Indians will not engage in an ethnic cleansing campaign of this scale unless they are deliberately attacked with WMD’s.

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/28/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • webster says:

    Fascism vs. freedom. Same old theme as WWll ect. Human nature always will find a way to formulate some sort of regime to threaten the rest of humanity. I think that eventually the India Pakistan thing will result in at least a limited WMD exchange. Maybe several nuclear bombs; like Hiroshima and Nagasaki The rest of the world will be so shocked with the horror of it there will be real nuclear dis-armament, and a period of “peace”.

  • T Ruth says:

    JUNE 2009
    U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen encouraged stronger military ties between India and the United States and said that “India has emerged as an increasingly important strategic partner [of the U.S.]”.
    JULY 2009
    Calling India a “key partner” of the United States, Clinton said that the United States wants India “to to succeed as an anchor for regional and global security”. She also mentioned four platforms for building future U.S.-India relationship – “global security, human development, economic activity, science and technology”.
    If this is not just rhetoric, now is the time to trigger activation of this partnership with India. (The US and India have conducted joint military exercises in recent years–i remember reading somewhere that maybe as many as 13 such exercises have been held, much to the Chinese chagrin.)
    In the short and long-term, this will be cheaper, faster and eventually more viable.
    Its a win-win for all except AQAM and the ISI. In the long term its a win for pakistan too for they can start with a clean slate, minus all the corruption which has made the whole state rotten, irresponsible, violent and unviable. And therefore a burden to the whole world.
    There is absolutely no point in throwing good money after bad through Kerry-Lugar.
    For America trying to convince the Pakistanis to cooperate is akin to arguing with a drunkard, say, do what you will. America should stop lowering her dignity in seeking the cooperation of this Pathetikstan. Bonafide territories are sovereign. Terroritories are not.

  • Spooky says:

    Okay, to whoever suggested it’d be wonderful to just let it collapse and make it someone else’s problem, thats probably the height of irresponsibility right there, and was that kind of thinking that led us here in the first place.
    War on the scale being suggested isn’t the solution. The cost-benefit analysis would be too much for even the government and military, nevermind the political will of the people in the countries involved.
    Honestly, the best way to go about this (because Pakistan MUST ultimately be taken care of, that much most would agree with) is through a slow break up of the state. America should offer to assist Pakistan in their dealing with the Baloch, and through that legitimize Balochistan’s wish for independance.
    Later on, if we can get Afghanistan to settle down long enough for anyone to put any focus on it, America should back Afghanistan’s claims to NWFP/FATA (which they used to get in diplomatic tussles with the Pakistanis over before they fell into civil war), which may put us in a bit of a positive light with the very people who are fighting us, and thats Pashtun nationalists, thus weakening the Taliban of that particular portion of their coalition.
    With America actively backing a side, other countries (though not all obviously) would follow.
    Now as to what that would mean practically for how Pakistan deals with us, yeah they would be mad, but we could offer to back off for more cooperation from the army. And if they don’t, the more we back the Afghans and the Baloch, until such a point as we wouldn’t need Pakistan permission. Indeed, with Afghanistan controlling the Peshawar region, it makes it easier for us to take care of the Taliban because we’d be able to have troops on the ground. Same thing in Balochistan.

  • bard207 says:

    Pakistan still grouses about the Bangladesh Liberation War (1971) and that is slowly closing in on four decades ago.
    A dismemberment of Pakistan by severing Balochistan and the Pashtun areas of NWFP and FATA would be met with stiff opposition from the predominately Punjabi Military. Sindh would also want to be liberated instead of being attached to the remaining Punjabi dominated Pakistan.
    After the Sindh breakaway, that would leave the Punjab landlocked and beholden to Sindh and/or India for sea access. That scenario wouldn’t be palatable to the Punjabis.
    Overall, your plan would not be as easy to implement as you think it would be.

  • Spooky says:

    Oh, I never said it’d be easy, just that it would be a better alternative to all out war. Because in a war, Pakistan would be broken up anyway (as we all know, its Punjabi military is all that keeps the state in one piece), except we’d pay in more blood, treasure, and prestige for doing it. The only real drawback to my proposed alternative is that it would possibly take more time than a war.
    The way the operation would be set up is that the more Pakistan cooperates, the less we nag them about Balochistan et al. The less they do, the further their control slips from the non-Punjabi provinces. It would be their own leadership who would be blamed for losing the country rather than America, because America would blatantly offer an alternative.
    Yes, its blackmail, yes Pakistani nationalists would hate us all the more, but thats whats happening now anyway to little effect. And anything less than a break up of the state will eventually lead to the same problems again, due to regional political realities.

  • Long War Review says:

    The Drudge Retort has linked to this post in the blog post // .

  • Jayant says:

    What else was expected? a spectacular attack was bound to embolden LET/ISI and draw huge funds and recruits to its ranks.
    but then this – leaps and bounds expansion of this nexus, numbers and capabilities – has been going on for years now.
    and why should they not? what cost have ever brought to bear on the jihadist, the pak army, the isi or the paki govt for them to atleast limit their hostilities on us?
    this is going to go on till we exact a reasonable toll on them by multiple means……no eternally trying to convince the world powers of the paki perfidy is not ‘means of containing’…..
    It always amuses me how so many people think india should not be going to war with pakistan.
    By any fair floating estimates, india has lost 40,000 lives, including its forces and its citizens ( kashimiri’s are indian citizens). The official or unofficial death figures of all the three india-pak war together would run probably 10-15 % of this figure at best. So if people are reluctant to go to war due to prevent loss of indian lives then that is utter rubbish. it basically amounts to saying we are willing to loose lives in 1s, 2s and 10s for eternity but not ready to loose to try and eliminate or atleast contain the problem.
    Two, we keep hearing paki army is no pushover. so what are we saying, we want to fight only pushover armys? by the way which single war has this not-so-pushover army has won in its entire history? in the last two wars with india how many days did it take for it to start begging for a cease fire?
    forget about conventional battles, every moderately serious attack on taliban has only resulted in abject deal making within a few weeks of the ‘attack beginning’. paki army can only do what it does best, use militant proxies to wage terrorism on its enemies. so we are just hyping its abilities and foolishly doubtful about our own capabilities. the simple problem is we indians just don’t like conflicts and we are willing to suffer continuous bleed on us as long as we don’t have to come around to fighting a full blown war.
    third ‘the nuclear factor’: since when has a nuclear weapon been a ‘weapon’ against another ( especially bigger) nuclear nation? Paki’s are great in bleeding you till no one is hitting them back hard.
    every time they have been serious bitten back they have surrendered, softened, atleast for an extended period of time.
    much against the popular beliefs they are not such bad, crazy mullahs – as is popularly promoted even by themselves -willingly accepting their annhilation just to hit india with a nuclear weapon
    no they ain’t that over the hill. they have always known how to fold up when hit credibly.
    better sense is never going to start prevailing on pakis, just hope indian start responding back more realistically than they are willing to allow themselves.
    imagine we would have done the world, apart from ourselves, some favour.

  • Abheek says:

    Very well put Jayant. It is long overdue for India to start talking in Pak language – thats what they understand … Its our problem and we ought to solve it ourselevs – stop thinking of peace with someone who is hell bent on destroying you – after all it is our people who get killed – time to get the missiles and nukes ready ….


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