Suicide Attack in Kashmir - Rejuvenation amongst Terrorist Organisations of the World Post-Legitimising the Taliban
Col Shubhankar Basu, SM, VSM, Senior Fellow, VIF

The suicide bombing attack on the CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir on 14 Feb 19 is possibly one of the worst terrorist attacks in the country in recent times. The casualty figures being quoted by various news channels and newspapers vary from 39 to 45. Many others have been seriously injured and are being treated at 192 Base Hospital in Srinagar.

The tactics of Fedayeen using a vehicle loaded with explosive as a weapon to hit the convoy of security forces is something new, possibly being used for the first time. There have been incidences of explosives being placed in vehicles which were static. The attacks on convoys of security forces earlier have been by Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) or standoff fire or a combination of both. The act by Fedayeen to use a vehicle to carry larger quantity of explosives and be able to attack a moving target shows their increasing confidence, improved tactics, and influence of terror tactics being used in Afghanistan or Iraq by the Taliban and the Islamic State or ISIS.

This argument does not indicate the presence of these groups in Kashmir, but there are many more indicators from recent happenings in our neighbourhood, that need to be connected and this incident cannot be seen in isolation. This may be one of such terror strike wherein India is the target, but in the days to come, we will see many more, not only in India but all over the world.

Indicators. The recent peace process in Afghanistan headed by the US and also by Russia and mutely supported by China in total disregard to fundamentals of democracy has created a new norm, i.e. to legitimise a terrorist organisation. This initiative will have long term consequences and will affect the world. Following indicators need to be studied:

  • Recognition of Taliban from being one of the most dreaded-terrorist organisation to a revolutionary or rather as a ‘nationalist’organisation.
  • Negotiating with a non-state actor bypassing democratically elected government without ascertaining the popular will.
  • Taliban is a Sunni terrorist group and a product of Deobandi ideology. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) again a Sunni group, is today one of the most active terrorist organisations in Jammu and Kashmir also follows Deobandi ideology. Hence, there is a convergence in ideology. The origin of JeM is attributed to Taliban, which is a direct outcome of successful hijacking of the IC 814 and being taken to Kandahar.
  • Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT) is a Sunni group known to follow AhleHadees ideology.
  • All these groups have their bases in Pakistan and have one common master, the Pakistan Army’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) -the deep state in Pakistan - which is not under control of the Pakistan Government.

Recognition to Taliban. Taliban being recognised by the super power and seen to be negotiating not only as an equal stake holder, but from a position of strength will be seen by all the terrorist organisations as a victory. Negotiating with Taliban may suit the limited aim of the US or fit into the geopolitical calculus of Russia and China, but it is setting a very dangerous precedent. Terrorist groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shaabab in Somalia, LeT and JeM in India, groups in Chechnya or all others such groups will get a new lease of life and motivation to continue with their acts of terror.

Chinese Deception. TheChinese have been playing a double game all along. They have stymied all efforts to India and the international community to declare Pakistan-based JeM Chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN, in total disregard to the declaration signed by them during BRICS summit held in China in 2018.

Challenges Specific to India. LeT, JeM and other active groups are mostly Sunni and share the common ideology with Taliban. They have a common master the ISI, which has raised them, funded them, and provided all the logistical and training support. Taliban coming into power will in all possibility will push Afghanistan back to 1996 era. The terrorist groups with similar ideology and having a common master will find a safe haven in Afghanistan. Currently, the terrorist groups active in Jammu and Kashmir will find larger ideological support, better training and easy access to resources. The recruitment base will increase substantially. The motivation of the new recruits will be much higher. The recent attack in Kashmir, carries the signature of terror tactics being followed by the Taliban and the ISIS. As per video of confession by the Fedayeen uploaded on Times of India website, the act was inspired by “Taliban’s victory over the US”1. While neither Islamic State in Kashmir (ISIK) or Al Qayeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has been able to achieve any success in recruiting in India or have been able to establish a worthwhile presence, the recognition to Taliban will rejuvenate the efforts by such groups. Their social media campaign will now be more motivating with victory of Taliban.

“I was inspired by the Taliban’s victory over the US ….”
- Confession made by Adil Ahamed Darr, the Fedayeen who carried out the terrorist attack.

Prognosis

The terrorist attack on the convoy security forces should not be seen as terror attack against India only. India is the largest democracy with one of the largest professional security forces and is a responsible country. Unlike Pakistan, Russia or China, it has never targeted its citizen in response to a terror strike. So, the response by Government of India is not the issue.

The issue is much larger, the double standards of China need to be exposed. China needs to make its stand clear on JeM and its leader Masood Azhar. Pakistan needs to answer why Hafiz Saeed is roaming freely in Pakistan. The US needs to contemplate the consequences likely to accrue as they legitimise Taliban as a nationalist force. This Fedayeen attack on security convoy is an indicator of how the terrorist organisations are likely to intensify their activities in the days to come.

End notes
  1. Confession made by Adil Ahamed Darr, the Fedayeen who carried out the terrorist attack reported at Times of India dt 15 Feb 19, available at As shown in the confession video available at https://youtu.be/ahEYdafKaq0 accessed on 15 Feb 19.

Image Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/resizer/kq5P1UmH4MFwYWjpuh6gKlh5qrs=/1484x0/arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/XQ54XNUVAEI6RJTZWCJBF63JYI.jpg

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A very well written article.

 

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