11 November 2012

General David Petraeus’s Rules for Living

Nov 5, 2012

Lessons on leadership from General David Petraeus. 

1. Lead by example from the front of the formation. Take your performance personally—if you are proud to be average, so too will be your troops. 

Pete Marovich / ZUMA Press 

2. A leader must provide a vision—clear and achievable “big ideas” combined in a strategic concept—and communicate those ideas throughout the entire organi­zation and to all other stakeholders. 

3. A leader needs to give energy; don’t be an oxygen thief. 

4. There is an exception to every rule, standard operating procedure, and poli­cy; it is up to leaders to determine when exceptions should be made and to ex­plain why they made them. 

5. We all will make mistakes. The key is to recognize them and admit them, to learn from them, and to take off the rear­ view mirrors—drive on and avoid making them again. 

6. Be humble. The people you’ll be lead­ing already have on-the-ground conflict experience. “Listen and learn.” 

7. Be a team player. “Your team’s triumphs and failures will, obviously, be yours.” Take ownership of both. 

8. Don’t rely on rank. If you rely on rank, rather than on the persuasiveness of your logic, the problem could be you and either your thinking or your com­munication skills. Likewise, sometimes the best ideas come from bottom-up information sharing (i.e., “Need to share” not “Need to know”). Use “direct­ed telescopes” to improve situational awareness. 

9. Leaders should be thoughtful but deci­sive. Listen to subordinates’ input, evaluate courses of action and second- and third-order effects, but be OK with an “80 per­cent solution.” “There will be many moments when all eyes turn to you for a decision. Be prepared for them. Don’t shrink from them. Embrace them.” Some­times the best move is the bold move. 

10. Stay fit to fight. Your body is your ulti­mate weapons system. Physical fitness for your body is essential for mental fitness. 

11. The only thing better than a little com­petition is a lot of competition. Set chal­lenges for your subordinates to encourage them to excel. 

12. Everyone on the team is mission criti­cal. Instill in your team members a sense of great self-worth—that each, at any given time, can be the most important on the battlefield.

A General Lesson

David Petraeus was a decorated leader and strategic thinker. Why did he risk everything on an affair? 

By Fred Kaplan|Posted Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012

David Petraeus in July 2011 

Photo by Barbara Sax/AFP/Getty Images. 

Among those who have long known Gen. David Petraeus, those who served under his command in wartime, sat with him in the White House Situation Room, or helped him rewrite Army doctrine at Fort Leavenworth, the most gnawing question about the scandalous affair that led to his resignation and doomed his career on Friday is this: How could he—this acclaimed leader and figure of rectitude—allow such a thing to happen? 

Seen in context, the mystery, while shocking, is not so unfathomable. 

Paula Broadwell, the woman with whom he had this affair, writes in her fawning biography of Petraeus that they first met when she was in graduate school at Harvard and he came to give a talk about counterinsurgency strategy. She approached him afterward and expressed interest in the subject; they exchanged cards. Soon, she decided to write a Ph.D. dissertation on his leadership style and, when he took command in Afghanistan, asked if she could come observe him in action. He agreed. 

The key to this initial attraction was probably not sexual but rather biographical. Broadwell had once been a West Point cadet, like Petraeus. Upon graduating, she’d joined the light infantry officers’ corps as a paratrooper, as had Petraeus in his youth. She was obsessed with physical fitness, especially running, as was Petraeus. In short, regardless of gender, Broadwell was exactly the sort of aspiring officer-intellectual that Petraeus was keen to mentor. 

The impulse was not unique to Petraeus. It grew out of the ethos of West Point’s social science department, where Petraeus had taught in the mid-1980s. The department, known as “Sosh,” was founded just after World War II by a visionary ex-cadet and Rhodes Scholar named George A. “Abe” Lincoln. Toward the end of the war, as the senior planning aide to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall, Lincoln realized that the Army needed to breed a new type of officer to help the nation meet its new global responsibilities in the postwar era. This new officer, he wrote to a colleague, should have “at least three heads—one political, one economic, and one military.” He took a demotion, from brigadier general to colonel, so he could return to West Point and create a curriculum “to improve the so-called Army mind” in just this way: a social science department, encouraging critical thinking, even occasionally dissent. 

Lincoln also set up a program allowing cadets with high scores in Sosh classes to go study at a civilian graduate school, with West Point paying the tuition. In exchange, the cadets, after earning their doctorates, would come back and teach for at least three years. Once they fulfilled that obligation, Lincoln would use his still-considerable connections in Washington to get them choice assignments in the Pentagon, the State Department, the White House, a foreign embassy, or a prestigious command post. 

He would later articulate a philosophy in personnel policy broadly: “Pick good people, pick them young before other pickers get into the competition, help them to grow, keep in touch, exploit excellence.” 

Over the decades, a network of Lincoln’s acolytes—and the acolytes of those acolytes—emerged and expanded. They called themselves the “Lincoln Brigade.” When these alumni-officers were appointed to high-level positions, they’d usually call Col. Lincoln—or, later, his successors—and ask for the new crop of top Sosh cadets, or the most promising junior faculty members, to come work as their assistants. 

In the course of his own career, Petraeus had mined this network assiduously. Many of the colleagues who helped him devise the “plot to change the American way of war” (as the subtitle of my forthcoming book about them puts it) came out of the Sosh program and referred to themselves proudly as members of the “Lincoln Brigade” or the “West Point mafia.” 

When Petraeus met Broadwell, he no doubt saw in her a promising new recruit for the network. 

Precisely what happened next, when this mentor-protégé relationship turned into something else, is not clear. Many of Petraeus’ associates in Kabul, Afghanistan, wondered at the time if something was going on. Petraeus got along famously well with writers and journalists; he cultivated their trust, in part because he liked talking with them, in part because he saw press relations as a key ingredient of “information operations”—a classic military technique to shape the message of a campaign to civilian populations, both in the war zone and on the home front. (I was one of those reporters.) But Broadwell was allowed unusually close access. She was given a room at headquarters. On most early mornings, the two went on 5-mile runs together. Some, including myself, reasoned that this didn’t necessarily imply anything hair-raising: Petraeus went on 5-mile runs with lots of reporters and other visitors. Still, at least one of his assistants warned him to be wary of “appearances.” 

Two other things about Broadwell that made her different from his usual crop of acolytes: She was very attractive, and, by all accounts, she went a bit ga-ga for the general. Her biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, is essentially a valentine to the man. In the process of courting him while writing it, she may have made herself irresistible. 

Still, it is likely that, at the outset, Petraeus was drawn more to her C.V. than to her glamour, more to her prospects as a protégé than as a mistress. Afghanistan proved to be a case study in the danger of placing too much faith in intellectual ideas—in this case, Petraeus’ ideas about counterinsurgency doctrine, which never had much chance of yielding fruit on that country’s harsh plains. Paula Broadwell may be, among other things, a case study in the danger of getting too close to the swooning sirens of would-be intellectual protégés.

E-Mails From Biographer to Other Woman Led to Petraeus

November 10, 2012 

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. investigation that led to the sudden resignation of David H. Petraeus as C.I.A. director on Friday began with a complaint several months ago about “harassing” e-mails sent by Paula Broadwell, Mr. Petraeus’s biographer, to another woman who knows both of them, two government officials briefed on the case said Saturday. 

When F.B.I. agents following up on the complaint began to examine Ms. Broadwell’s e-mails, they discovered exchanges between her and Mr. Petraeus that revealed that they were having an affair, said several officials who spoke of the investigation on the condition of anonymity. They also discovered that Ms. Broadwell possessed certain classified information, one official said, but apparently concluded that it was probably not Mr. Petraeus who had given it to her and that there had been no major breach of security. No leak charges are expected to be filed as a result of the investigation. 

The identity of the woman who complained about the harassing messages from Ms. Broadwell has not been disclosed. She was not a family member or in the government, the officials said, and the nature of her relationship with Mr. Petraeus was not immediately known. But they said the two women seemed be competing for Mr. Petraeus’s loyalty, if not his affection. 

One Congressional official who was briefed on the matter said senior intelligence officials explained that the F.B.I. investigation “started with two women” — evidently Ms. Broadwell and the woman who complained about her e-mails. “It didn’t start with Petraeus, but in the course of the investigation they stumbled across him,” said the Congressional official. “We were stunned.” 

Ms. Broadwell has made no statement since the affair became public on Friday, and attempts to reach her for comment have been unsuccessful. 

The circumstances surrounding the collapse of Mr. Petraeus’s career remain murky. It is not clear when Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. or Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the F.B.I., became aware that the F.B.I.’s investigation into Ms. Broadwell’s e-mails had brought to light compromising information about Mr. Petraeus. Tracy Schmaler, a spokeswoman for Mr. Holder, declined to comment Saturday. 

Neither the Congressional Intelligence Committees nor the White House learned of the investigation or the link to Mr. Petraeus until last week, officials said. Neither did Mr. Petraeus’s boss, James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence. 

A senior intelligence official said Saturday that Mr. Clapper had learned of Mr. Petraeus’s situation only when the F.B.I. notified him, about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, election night. That evening and the next day, the official said, the two men discussed the situation, and Mr. Clapper told Mr. Petraeus “that he thought the right thing to do would be to resign,” the intelligence official said. 

Mr. Clapper notified the president’s senior national security staff late Wednesday that Mr. Petraeus was considering resigning because of an extramarital affair, the official said. 

The decisions on when to notify various administration officials, including Mr. Clapper on Tuesday, were “a judgment call consistent with policies and procedures,” according to one of the government officials who had been briefed. 

If the investigation had uncovered serious security breaches or other grave problems, he said, the notifications would have been immediate. As it was, however, the matter seemed to involve private relationships with little implication for national security. 

Some Congressional staff members said they believed that the bureau should have informed at least the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about the unfolding inquiry. A spokesman for Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said the lawmaker had summoned Sean Joyce, the F.B.I.’s deputy director, and Michael J. Morrell, the deputy C.I.A. director, for closed briefings on Wednesday about the investigation. 

Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, said Saturday an F.B.I. employee whom his staff described as a whistle-blower told him about Mr. Petraeus’s affair and a possible security breach in late October, which was after the investigation had begun. 

“I was contacted by an F.B.I. employee concerned that sensitive, classified information may have been compromised and made certain Director Mueller was aware of these serious allegations and the potential risk to our national security,” Mr. Cantor said in a statement. 

Mr. Cantor talked to the person after being told by Representative Dave Reichert, Republican of Washington, that a whistle-blower wanted to speak to someone in the Congressional leadership about a national security concern. On Oct. 31, his chief of staff, Steve Stombres, called the F.B.I. to tell them about the call. 

“They took the information,” said Doug Heye, Mr. Cantor’s deputy chief of staff, “and gave the standard answer: they were not able to confirm or deny any investigation, but said that all necessary steps were being taken to make sure no confidential information was at risk.” 

White House officials said they were informed on Wednesday night that Mr. Petraeus was considering resigning because of an extramarital affair. On Thursday morning, just before a staff meeting at the White House, President Obama was told. 

That afternoon, Mr. Petraeus went to see him and informed him that he strongly believed he had to resign. Mr. Obama did not accept his resignation right away, but on Friday, he called Mr. Petraeus and accepted it. 

Mr. Petraeus, 60, said in a statement that he was resigning after 14 months as head of the Central Intelligence Agency because he had shown “extremely poor judgment” in engaging in the affair. He has been married for 38 years. 

Ms. Broadwell, 40, is also married. She and her husband have two children and live in Charlotte, N.C. 

On Saturday, the two government officials who had been briefed on the case dismissed a range of media speculation that the F.B.I. inquiry might have focused on leaks of classified information to the news media or even foreign spying. “People think that because it’s the C.I.A. director, it must involve bigger issues,” one official said. “Think of a small circle of people who know each other.” 

The F.B.I. investigators were not pursuing evidence of Mr. Petraeus’s marital infidelity, which would not be a criminal matter, the official said. But their examination of his e-mails, most or all of them sent from a personal account and not from his C.I.A. account, raised the possibility of security breaches that needed to be addressed directly with him. 

“Alarms went off on larger security issues,” the official said. As a result, F.B.I. agents spoke with the C.I.A. director about two weeks ago, and Mr. Petraeus learned in the discussion, if he was not already aware, that they knew of his affair with Ms. Broadwell, the official said. 

Michael D. Shear, Charlie Savage and Michael S. Schmidt contributed reporting.

Paula Broadwell: Is She Petraeus’s ‘Other Woman’?

 by Diane Dimond Nov 10, 2012

Now that CIA director David Petraeus has stepped down, citing an extramarital affair, his biographer is in the spotlight. Diane Dimond reports on what we know about Paula Broadwell. 

Paula Broadwell lives in the historic, upscale Dilworth neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., with her radiologist husband and two young boys. Their stately two-story brick home sits on a spacious corner lot where ancient old trees hang over the streets. The five-bedroom, four-bathroom home is listed on the tax rolls as being worth $908,000 and it is just three blocks from the city’s trendy uptown

Screengrab via You Tube 

It hardly looks like the place where a national political scandal might lead, but it is here that Broadwell, 39, may have been when she learned that Gen. David Petraeus, director of the CIA, had quit his post due to the revelation of an extramarital affair. 

A reporter’s drive-by on the evening the Petraeus scandal broke revealed two cars in the opened garage, a BMW and a Nissan Pathfinder, and the house completely dark except for the soft glow from the front porch light. (Ironically, this is also the neighborhood to which former senator John Edwards moved his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and their infant daughter.) 

Broadwell, the attractive brunette with the expressive green eyes, is reported to be the “other woman” in the Petraeus affair. His letter to the president read in part, “After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours." President Obama accepted the resignation. 

To say Paula Broadwell is an overachiever is an understatement. She grew up in North Dakota, graduated from West Point and worked in military intelligence. She studied Arabic in the Middle East—Jordan in particular—and specialized in counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, and geopolitical analysis. This is not a field that includes many women, so the stunning Broadwell likely stood out among her peers. 

As the story goes, Broadwell and Petraeus first laid eyes on each other in 2006. 

As the story goes Broadwell and Petraeus first laid eyes on each other in 2006 when she was a graduate student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. After she told him about her interests he reportedly handed her his card, offered his help and told her to stay in touch. As she told the Charlotte Observer earlier this year, “He really cares about mentoring.” Broadwell’s first child, a son named Landon, would be born shortly after that meeting. 

When it came time to write her doctoral dissertation Broadwell included a case study of Patraeus’s leadership techniques. She apparently did so with the general’s blessing and cooperation. 

Routine contact between the young woman and the older man seems evident. In June 2010, after the birth of her second son, Lucien, she learned that President Obama had put Petraeus in charge of events in Afghanistan. It was then Broadwell got the idea to morph her dissertation material into a book. 

Watch Paula Broadwell's "Daily Show" interview, in which she explains how she earned Petraeus' trust. 

Broadwell was determined to follow her mentor into the war zone to continue her research. She has said she enlisted the help of her husband, Scott, her mother, other relatives, and neighbors to take care of the boys while she spent time abroad. But first, Broadwell found a literary agent and a willing publisher at Penguin Press. This military-trained woman was not a tested author so she was teamed with veteran Washington Post journalist Vernon Loeb. 

In January 2012 Broadwell’s book, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus was released to good reviews. Historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin called the biography “majestic.” 

During interviews with Charlie Rose, Sean Hannity, and Jon Stewart, Broadwell explained that she had made half a dozen trips to Afghanistan and had spent a total of three months there. She had embedded with combat troops and, she said, had interviewed General Petraeus a multitude of times, often for hours at a stretch and sometimes during runs they took together. In a photograph taken in June 2012, the pair exchange a glance during a flight to Helmand Province. 

To be sure, there has been no official confirmation from any quarter that the extramarital affair Petraeus wrote about in his resignation was with Paula Broadwell. To be sure, there has been no denial of that widely reported supposition either. There is also no telling how long an affair it might have been. 

Several media reports, including one in The Washington Post indicate that the Petraeus admission came after the FBI conducted an investigation into the possibility that the CIA director’s e-mail security had been breached. How the bureau may have been alerted to a possible security problem isn’t known. Whether Broadwell was under suspicion of reading Petraeus’s classified e-mails is also unknown. Neither the FBI nor the CIA has commented. 

“These are bad facts,” said Eric Dezenhall, a Washington, D.C.-based crisis manager. “It is very different if we’re talking about the CEO of Colgate Palmolive having an affair. He is head of the CIA and should never let anyone near who might be in a position to overhear a phone call or read an e-mail.” So is Patraeus’s career in Washington over? Dezenhall speculates: “His high-level civil service career is over. He’ll still have a lot of options but now he will have to realize what they are not.” David Howell Petraeus, 60, is a graduate of West Point and steeped in the academy’s honor code—which demands that “a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” His wife of nearly 40 years, Holly, also knows the code her husband lives by. When she first met the young Petraeus in 1973, he was a cadet at West Point where her father was superintendent.

Watch What the Woman Who Had an Affair With Petraeus Had to Say About Him on Her Book Tour

Posted Friday, Nov. 9, 2012

Screen grab from Paul Broadwell's interview with Charlie Rose

As Fred Kaplan just reported, the woman with whom Gen. David Petraeus was having an affair with was Paula Broadwell, the author of a recent hagiographic book about him, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus

Broadwell, who herself has a military background, made a number of media appearances earlier this year while promoting the release of her book. As you'll see in the clips below, she clearly thought very highly of the general.

Here she was back in January on The Daily Show: 

And on CBS News: 
And being interviewed by Arthur Kade for a Web video:
She also sat down with Charlie Rose in February, a clip of which you can find here

Only last week, Broadwell published her latest piece on the general, titled "David Petraeus’s Rules for Living," in The Daily Beast/Newsweek. Number five was this: 

We all will make mistakes. The key is to recognize them and admit them, to learn from them, and to take off the rear­ view mirrors—drive on and avoid making them again. 

Unsettled for a long time yet

India and China 

Fifty years after a nasty high-altitude war, a border dispute remains unresolved 


THE Venerable Lobsang Norbu, a 77-year-old monk who presides over one of several Tibetan Buddhist hilltop monasteries in Arunachal Pradesh, in north-eastern India, recalls the “very horrible” war that China launched 50 years ago this week. Flares lit up the night, then gunfire erupted. Terrified villagers and monks fled through the pine and rhododendron forests to nearby Bhutan. Many of India’s poorly led and outgunned soldiers panicked and ran just as quickly. 

Other residents remember the sudden appearance of Chinese soldiers, whom Mao Zedong had earlier deployed to put down a Tibetan uprising north of the border. The attackers swarmed over the disputed Himalayan border. They quickly overran Tawang, a monastery town wedged beside Tibet. 

Karma Wangchuk was then working for Indian intelligence. He says he hid in the long grass and counted in the tough young soldiers, “some in white hats”. When he got beyond 500 he was spotted and fired at. He fled to safety on the Indian plains far below. Other locals, ethnic Monpa, whose language is close to Tibetan, talk of how the Chinese soldiers behaved decently towards civilians. Yet they have no doubts about wanting to remain as part of India. 

Although the Indian press has made much of the anniversary this month, officials in Delhi, the capital, have studiously ignored the memory of the country’s swift and humiliating defeat in the war. There is, says Ajai Shukla, author of a forthcoming book on Tawang and the Sino-Indian border, “very little glory from 1962”. 

Tensions had risen in the late 1950s over the disputed border, 3,380km (2,100 miles) long, when India learnt of a new road the Chinese had built through the Aksai Chin at the border’s western end. The empty region was claimed by India as traditionally part of Ladakh, but to the Chinese it was (and still is) a strategic link between Tibet and Xinjiang. So confident were Indian generals that the Chinese had neither the will nor the ability to launch a war across the line of control that they established outposts behind the Chinese troops in Aksai Chin. China’s Communist leaders had other ideas. Among other things, they were angry at India for granting refuge to the Dalai Lama and other Tibetans who had fled south. They massed troops in Aksai Chin and north of Arunachal Pradesh. 

The invaders raced south, and the war claimed around 4,500 lives before China unilaterally declared it over and pulled out. The Chinese had exposed the weakness of India’s army. Relations between the Asian behemoths have been cagey, at best, ever since. No shot has been fired since 1993, yet the border disputes persist.

Our interactive map demonstrates how the territorial claims of India, Pakistan and China would change the shape of South Asia 

Ordinary Indians have paid a price for that, a senior politician in Arunachal Pradesh complains. He says anxiety over China is to blame for a shortage of central funds for hydropower stations, roads, bridges and railways. Other opportunities have also been missed. China, including Hong Kong, is now India’s largest trading partner, exchanging goods worth $74 billion last year. Yet nearly all of the trade takes place by sea, with only a trickle passing directly by land. As a result, India’s north-east lies moribund, forgotten between Bangladesh, Myanmar and a forbidding Chinese border. Street markets in Tawang are packed with Chinese crockery, toys and other small manufactures. Yet none have come through the nearby border post. (There had once been a time, even under the communists, when Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, was provisioned via Calcutta.) 

Instead of trade, the region is seeing a steady rise in military spending. Worried by China building a railway and all-weather road network on the Tibetan plateau over the past decade, India’s border force is upgrading the treacherous, zigzagging track up to Tawang. For the moment it is a two-day drive from the plain to the treeless border. By 2016 the track is due to become a sleek national highway, able to carry troops quickly up to the border. 

Indeed, India is raising four new divisions—70,000 soldiers—for the frontier, and establishing new, better-equipped bases. “Half a million men are eyeball to eyeball,” says Mohan Guruswamy, a China expert in Delhi. He sees diminishing prospects for settling the border dispute. Despite well-established routines between the two sides’ infantry patrols to avoid clashes, he worries about a persistent risk of accidental conflict. 

A deal over the border has for years been self-evident: China gets to keep Aksai Chin in the west and India gets to keep the 80,000 square kilometres of Arunachal Pradesh, which China informally calls “South Tibet”. In the past China has signalled a readiness to settle the dispute along just such lines. But Indian leaders and parliament have always balked, saying voters would not tolerate losing an inch of territory, even when no settled populations are involved. 

China can be capricious, too. It deliberately provoked tensions over the border when it issued visas to residents of Arunachal Pradesh only on stapled pieces of paper rather than in passports, a signal that the Chinese government does not recognise Indian authority over the state. Such steps look calculated to cause offence. 

Broader relations have improved over the past couple of years, though with no progress on the border. Occasional plans for joint military operations are announced and then quickly forgotten. Formal border talks exist—a 16th round is due between special representatives—but no one expects anything to follow from them. 

As the years slip by, China may grow less interested in a quiet border. Observers in India worry that if either China’s generals or its nationalist social-media activists and editors gained sway over border discussions, Chinese diplomats would struggle to propose compromises. 

Back in the Tawang valley, Dorjee Khandu Thongdok, a jovial politician, campaigns to raise awareness over the “agony and sufferings during the Chinese aggression” of 1962. Munching on roasted sweetcorn just harvested from nearby fields, he has no trust in talks with China. A military solution is certainly no answer, he insists. But he would, he says, not be surprised if the Chinese again invade Arunachal, just as they did half a century ago. The task of both Indian and Chinese leaders is to ensure that he is wrong.

A Dalai Lama dilemma


This small region may one day thrust itself back into the headlines 

Oct 20th 2012 

THE white-walled monastery above Tawang is an alluring spot. A tree-covered valley falls away to one side. Great peaks rise behind, marking the Chinese border. Prayer flags flutter. While Buddhist pilgrims sit under parasols, young monks wallop cricket balls on a patch of grass. 

Helicopters thumping by, however, are a reminder of India’s heavy military presence. China’s even heavier one lies unseen behind the escarpment. The small town of Tawang is enjoying a boom thanks to a spurt in national tourism, notably by Bengalis willing to brave the drive from the plains below. 

For centuries monks from the Gelugpa (“Yellow Hat”) sect of Buddhism dominant in Tibet and Mongolia presided over Tawang, levying taxes and ruling over the nearby villages. Their monastery is India’s largest and one of the most important outside Tibet. Its influence is the stronger for the late arrival of a modern government. Imperial Britain placed Tawang inside India’s borders only in 1914, at a conference in Simla (today, Shimla). Tibet, then enjoying independence, attended, and China—though it never signed the accord. Chinese newspapers still refer to Arunachal Pradesh as “South Tibet”. 

Tawang’s importance may grow. Mao Zedong’s suppression of a Tibetan uprising in 1959 drove the 14th, and current, Dalai Lama to seek refuge in India, first in Tawang monastery. Now he is 77, and Tibetan Buddhists discuss whether his next “reincarnation” may occur outside China’s borders—in which case, rival Dalai Lamas, one chosen under Chinese supervision, are all too likely. 

The Dalai Lama says he alone will determine the manner and place of his reincarnation, and certainly not the godless Chinese Communists. He says he may not reincarnate at all, if Tibetans do not want it. If they do, then Tawang might claim to have impeccable form: after all, the sixth Dalai Lama was born in one of its monasteries. The Tawang border may remain unsettled for a long while yet.

India's remote north-east 
The road to Tawang 

Oct 19th 2012

DRIVE from the Brahmaputra river, in the plains of north-eastern India, and towards the Himalayas to the north, and hefty obstacles lie in your path. The road up to Tawang, a Buddhist monastery-town near the border with China, takes two long days of travel. From the start you traverse a narrow and muddy track, often single-lane and scattered with rocks. Along this way plod army lorries, petrol tankers, jeeps crammed with passengers. Teams of labourers toil by the thousand along the length of the road. Some chip at stones, others lug rocks aside from the slow-moving traffic.

In time—supposedly another five years—this broken, narrow and vulnerable road will be upgraded to become a “national highway”. But even tarred and smooth, it will offer hazards aplenty. Heavy fog rolls in as the road climbs higher: shortly after a sign gives warning that you are entering a fog zone, the mist closes in and rain begins to patter. With visibility at just a few metres, and with the sound of a huge river rushing in the steep valley below, progress is reduced to a crawl.

There are excuses for the poor condition of the road. A century ago this territory—a stretch of remote land parallel to Bhutan and stretching up to the borders of Tibet—was hardly considered a part of India. The British, before a treaty in 1914 in Shimla, had broadly decided to leave the hill tribes of land now called Arunachal Pradesh to themselves. Tawang, and its surroundings, were administered only loosely, by Buddhist monks from Tibet who levied taxes but did not bring modern government, let alone build infrastructure such as decent roads.

The terrain, too, is hard going. The farther up the road you move, the more unstable the land becomes. Rockslides and landslips are common. Waterfalls thunder from the valley sides. When the rains are strong, these carve new cuts and ravines into the hillside. Much of the valley at lower altitudes is thickly jungled, but higher up trees have been stripped away, encouraging erosion. Heavy monsoon rains bring annual havoc. So steep are the valley edges that the road has to wind back and forth on itself, coiled snakelike up the sides of the mountain.

But there are rewards, too. The end of the first day of driving, past military camps and roadside villages, brings you to Bomdila, a monastery-town on a hillside. Next morning the evidence of Tibetan heritage is already clear: at the monastery, pristine in the morning sunshine, gardeners snip at grass with tiny shears and monks spin at prayer wheels. Soldiers from a nearby military camp walk to a dairy, clanking small, tin churns in their hands.

From here on there is also evidence of the valley’s most turbulent recent history: the invasion of 1962 by China’s army, which cascaded down from the Tibetan plateau high above. The war, 50 years ago, was the result in the short-term of Indian assertiveness, especially in the face of Chinese expansion farther to the west, in Kashmir. The mutual border was (and is) a disputed line drawn by colonial authorities with a thick nib, known as the McMahon line, after the Indian foreign secretary of 1914. China refused to recognise India’s sovereignty over the territory it drew in. Rather than assuage its northern neighbour, however, India chose to push soldiers—and frontier posts—farther and farther forward, even north of the McMahon border.

Yet the longer-term causes of the fighting were messier. China, in the 1950s, had quashed an uprising by Tibetans north of the border. It had also stolen into territory in Jammu and Kashmir state, which India’s considered to be its own land. In 1959 the Dalai Lama, Tibetans’ spiritual leader, fled into India, taking refuge at the monastery in Tawang. He was greeted warmly by India’s politicians and public. Many thousands of other Tibetans followed, forming a government in exile. Arguably the conflict of 1962 was in part a belated, vindictive, reaction by Mao to punish his neighbour for granting asylum to an internal opponent.

Signs of the war are mostly gone. But memorials exist, mostly Buddhist-inspired in their design. They bear plaques with lost lists of names of Indian soldiers (many of the fallen were Punjabi Sikhs, so long lines of “Singh” are carved into black marble) dot the roadside. At the locations of particularly fierce battles—which the Indians, without obvious exceptions, lost—the memorials include accounts of fierce rearguard fighting, in which heroic soldiers gave their lives so others could escape.

By the highest point of the journey, at Se-La pass, the wind is chilly and the air is thin. At 4,700 metres soldiers, road labourers, drivers and tourists alike feel the reduced oxygen. A Chinese-looking archway welcomes travellers to Tawang district, and from here on are views of snow-capped peaks and the Himalayas proper.

Tawang itself is breathtaking. Its white-walled monastery is strewn with colourful flags and banners. Autumn flowers, some wild, many in pots on houses, decorate the roadside. The people here have the look—high cheekbones, jet-black hair, round faces—of Tibetans, the more so as many are dressed in traditional red and purple clothes, some with yak-wool hats, as they gather to hear a visiting Buddhist leader at the monastery.

Yet it is impossible to forget the military presence. Helicopters lumber overhead with steady regularity—some moving to patrol the border with China, others delivering rations and materiel to forward bases, yet others bringing higher-ranking officers and dignitaries to work. Taking a morning walk I am accosted by a friendly man wearing the unmistakable uniform of a senior policeman the world over: an ill-fitting shiny suit and sunglasses. He quizzes me about my permit—all foreigners need a special pass to enter Arunachal Pradesh—and demands to know if I have yet registered at the local station.

For all that, Tawang is peopled by open, friendly and welcoming residents. By turns the elder ones tell stories of the war of 1962, of the sudden invasion, the panic among Indian forces, the burning of bridges and houses by the retreating army, the relative good behaviour of the invaders. Many interviews, conducted at the monastery, are done to the chime of spinning prayer wheels and the steady murmur of prayers being uttered.

That the border with China is no more firmly settled today than it was in 1962, or 1914, seems to worry only a few in Tawang. From the perspective of local people, the Indian army today looks far better equipped—far mightier—than ever before. Half a century ago the Assam Rifles and other frontier forces carried weapons dating from the first world war, and were dressed in thin cotton shirts suitable for the plains below, not the early winter of the Himalayas. They were easily swept aside by better-prepared Chinese rivals.

Today the army is growing fast. One China expert in Delhi describes half a million soldiers (both Chinese and Indian) camped along the sides of the McMahon line. India is raising four new divisions, some 70,000 additional soldiers in all, to be deployed in Arunachal Pradesh. India’s much expanded economy is providing huge resources for weapons, recruitment, and soldiers’ salaries, to fund its heavy army presence here.

Yet few have much conception of what lies over the border. On the Chinese side, in Tibet proper, the terrain is easier for a rival army. And being more skilled at building infrastructure, the Chinese now have both road and rail to supply their forces on the frontier. For now, nobody imagines that there could be a replay of the war of 1962 in Tawang. But if tensions were to flare again, it is a fair bet that, despite Indian gains in recent years, the forces from the north would be the better-equipped and prepared.

The drive back down from Tawang is no easier. It requires another two days, complete with delays as a bulldozer is dug out from a landslide. We wait too for an explosives expert to dynamite a huge, fallen rock. The route down is entertaining in its own way, punctuated with interviews of elderly politicians and monks, and another night at a monastery’s guesthouse. But the warmth of the Indian plains below is welcome.

Obama-II and the Af-Pak: Worst is Yet to Come?

D Suba Chandran

Immediately after his re-election, Obama was quoted saying the best is yet to come, during his second term as the President. Is it true, for the Af-Pak region? Or will it get worse, as the US is preparing for its exit from Afghanistan in 2014?

Exit Afghanistan 2014: Will Obama Relook?

While there were other pressing concerns – domestic and international in his re-election discourse, the exit strategy of Obama in Afghanistan was also designed to be a part of his election campaign. With 9/11 becoming history in the American public’s mind, only to be remembered in those emotional meetings that take place each year in September, Afghanistan elicits even lesser public interest amongst the common man. While the establishment led by the White House, Pentagon and the CIA perceive Afghanistan in the larger strategic calculus, neither the public nor the Congress are on the same page on what should be the End Game in Afghanistan.

Now that he has been re-elected for another four years, will Obama relook his exit strategy and ensure a stable government in Afghanistan and thereby, stability in the Af-Pak region?

Unlikely. Obama’s personal mission and rhetoric in the Af-Pak region will be hugely shaped by what the entire American security establishment would want, and not his personal road map. Exiting Afghanistan seems to be the End Game for the American security establishment, irrespective of what happens. Neither does Obama have a vision for a stable Afghanistan leading to a secure Af-Pak region, unless he has kept it as a secret to be pursued in his second term.

Pakistan Post 2014: Will the US exit?

There have been serious apprehensions and anger amongst the American public and in the US Congress on Pakistan’s duplicity in fighting the war against terrorism. Even within the American establishment, there have been multiple statements at the highest level, including the most damning one on the ISI, linking it with the Haqqani Network. Obama’s second term will be crucial for American engagement in Pakistan. With the likely exit of American troops in Afghanistan by 2014, will Obama redraw his foreign policy towards Pakistan?

Unlikely. In fact, the engagement between the US and Pakistan would deepen, despite reservations. Now that the public has re-elected Obama for another four years, he or his party would have to worry about their sentiments only by 2015, when they start preparing for the next elections. Though the establishment and the Congress have serious reservations regarding Pakistan’s role in the war against terrorism, they would use it as a bargaining strategy to pressurize Islamabad and Rawalpindi to do more in Afghanistan.

The US needs Pakistan more now, at least up to 2014, as it prepares for its exit. It cannot afford antagonizing Pakistan, except for using aid and assistance as a leverage. Else, the exit could not only be bloody for the US, but also ensure whatever little edifice that the international community has built over the last decade in Afghanistan collapses in a short period; certainly, before the next American Presidential elections. Obama would like to keep this in his mind carefully. And, obviously, like the other great democrats of South Asia (like Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh) and the not so democrat (like Musharraf), the rhetorically ever-sound Obama would also want to leave his legacy in this region.

But more than Afghanistan, what would play in Obama’s mind (and that of the entire security establishment including the US Congress) is what Musharraf has brilliantly sold very successfully to an entire generation of Americans cutting across the common man, analysts, media and think tanks: an unstable Pakistan with the dangers of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of radicals is not in the interest of the international community.

For Pakistan, nuclear weapons have become the biggest deterrence against any closure of economic aid by the international community. And obviously, as the custodians of nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s military should also expect an extension of this above aid and support from the US.

Obama is unlikely to dump Pakistan. And likely to exit from Afghanistan.

So, what does an American Exit (in Af) and Extension (in Pak) mean?

The American exit in Afghanistan means instability for the country and also for the region. Afghanistan is also facing two crucial elections before 2014 – the Presidential and Parliamentary. Both are likely to be controversial, if not bloody. The electoral reforms are not yet complete and voters’ registry is unlikely to be full and final before the next elections.

The idea of separation of powers between the leading institutions in Afghanistan is tilted towards Karzai; many would criticize that he has usurped the powers of other institutions – primarily the Parliament and to an extent, the judiciary. With no consensus or a schedule for the next Presidential elections, Karzai is likely to yield power, and the US will go along with him. Like Musharraf, Karzai also seems to have convinced the US that there is no alternative. While the nation building process in Afghanistan is incomplete, its military and policy are far from being effective instruments post 2014.

Obama would also like to strike an early deal with the Taliban, and ensure an ugly stability in Kabul before 2014. With his support for the establishment in Pakistan likely to continue, as they form the crucial link in the American exit, Obama would ignore Islamabad’s ingress into Afghanistan.

For Obama and the Af-Pak, the worst is yet to come.

The Judge, the General, and Pakistan’s Evolving Balance of Power

November 09, 2012

By Arif Rafiq

In various ways, in both public and private, Pakistan’s elites are delineating the distribution of power.

The tenuous nature of Pakistan’s democratic transition was put on display this Monday when the country’s army chief and Supreme Court chief justice appeared to warn one another to not transgress their constitutionally-defined roles. 

Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani decried what he claimed were attempts to create divisions between the Pakistani military and its people. And he said that no individual or institution has a monopoly on deciding what is in Pakistan’s national interest. Later that day, the Supreme Court released the text of a speech given by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in which he declared that the days of a military-dominated conception of national security are over.
An overt clash between the army and the Supreme Court is unlikely. Kayani is extremely cautious and has behaved with more restraint than his predecessors, who were far more intrusive in the political process. And though Chaudhry heads the most activist court in Pakistan’s history, he has been markedly less confrontational with the military since coming back into office in 2009, as compared to years before.
What we are witnessing is an indelicate — and, at times, unwieldy — process in which Pakistan’s elites are delineating the distribution of power and the rules of the game. This process is taking fold in multiple fora, both public and private, formal and informal, in parliamentary committees and via the television airwaves.
Kayani is seeking to establish red lines for the activist Supreme Court, which flexed its muscles this year when it disqualified a sitting prime minister from office. In multiple addresses this year, Kayani has warned of a clash of institutions, alluding to the conflict between the executive and the judiciary. Now, the army chief is concerned about whether the high court is setting its sights on the military. The Supreme Court ordered an investigation into whether former Chief of Army Staff. Gen. Aslam Beg and former Inter-Services Intelligence Director-General Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani manipulated elections in the early 1990s.
Kayani fears that the prosecution of retired senior army officers could dent the institution’s morale as it fights multiple insurgencies and seeks to rehabilitate its image in the year since the bin Laden raid. During Kayani’s five years in office, the army chief has assiduously worked to restore public confidence in the army which had eroded after years of military rule and an unpopular alliance with the United States. 

Kayani also seeks to preserve the army’s institutional autonomy and self-accorded privileges, including its vast economic holdings. The army opposes being held accountable by civilian forces. In September, the military announced that it would take over investigations of retired army officers in a million dollar corruption scandal that were being conducted by the civilian National Accountability Bureau. 

The army has historically seen itself as the guardian of Pakistan’s stability and as a cleansing force in politics. The Supreme Court has in many ways usurped that role, for example, by holding politicians accountable for corruption and pressing the military to present secretly detained prisoners. Despite Kayani having given almost unprecedented space for the political process to operate, he is still the product of a military ingrained with a caste-like group identity and sense of responsibility and privileges. Its corporate culture will need to evolve with the power shift in Pakistan. 

Pakistan’s balance of power has been significantly altered in the past five years. During the 1990s, Pakistan was dominated by its two largest political parties — the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan Peoples Party — and the military-intelligence establishment, which generally had a pliant president in place. In 2007, two new forces entered onto the scene: an activist Supreme Court and a vigilant private media, including scores of television news channels. Together with civil society activists, they paved the way for the restoration of Chaudhry to the Supreme Court (he was deposed by military ruler President Pervez Musharraf twice in 2007), and for the eventual downfall of the once invincible Musharraf. 

Following the 2008 elections, Pakistan’s parliament has been more proactive than ever. Bipartisan parliamentary committees have worked to produce three landmark constitutional amendments that have advanced political reform. The Parliamentary Committee on National Security produced a consensus-based roadmap on how to restore ties with the United States in the wake of last year’s deadly U.S. attack on a Pakistani military base. And with a hung parliament, smaller political parties have a disproportionate say in the political process given that they are essential coalition partners. The military no longer has its own man in the presidency. 

Despite the apparent acrimony between Pakistan’s various power brokers, all seem to be cognizant of the changes that have taken place. In their addresses on Monday, both Kayani and Chaudhry called for a redefinition of the concept of national security and said that no single institution can dominate this process. This overlap was noted by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who has had a tense relationship with the military over the past twenty years and has allied himself with Chaudhry in recent years. The prime minister-led Defense Cabinet Committee, which acts like a national security council, and a number of parliamentary foreign policy, defense, and national security committees have played a more visible role in discussing and shaping national security policy. 

Pakistan is possibly experiencing the end of military hegemony and the beginning of an era of consensus. But for these changes to crystilize, the country’s power brokers must purge themselves of hegemonic tendencies and a pathology of saviorhood. The army will have to concede that military officers can be as corrupt as civilian politicians. It will have to prepare itself for a time in which parliament will review its budget in detail. The Supreme Court will eventually have to temper its use of suo moto power and, for example refrain from determining the prices of compressed natural gas and sugar. And civilian politicians will have to recognize that corruption is bleeding an almost bankrupt Pakistan and empower an independent and competent accountability force. 

In 2013, Pakistan’s power shift will be on even more tenuous ground as it could have a new prime minister, president, army chief, and Supreme Court chief justice. All of their tenures will come to an end next year. And a potentially new cast of characters will have to earn the trust of one another and evolve formal and informal mechanisms of collaboration. Working through consensus and making compromises are key. Pakistan’s power brokers acknowledge this, but next year, it will become more clear whether they really mean it. 

Arif Rafiq is an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute and president of Vizier Consulting, LLC. He tweets at: @arifcrafiq.

War against Lashkar-e-Taiba

Issue Courtesy: Aakrosh | Date : 04 Sep , 2012 


If Pakistan does not take strong measures against the fundamentalist forces and terror groups and their influence and power grows, it may lead to the collapse of the state. Presently, Pakistan army does not seem inclined to take action against the terror groups based in Punjab and Sind, hoping to appease them, but the hardliners among them seem in no mood to relent and attacks on government establishment continue in various parts of the country. A collapsing economy and continued political uncertainty are leading to a situation in which radical extremists are gaining influence all over the country, giving them hope to acquire more political power and eventually finding access to the nuclear weapons. Pakistan is paying a high price for nurturing and training terror groups, which are threatening its very existence as a nation state. 

It is not clear whether Pakistan is allowing surprise attacks in eastern Afghanistan from its territory or is just a helpless spectator of the attacks being mounted by the Haqqani group across the borders to kill U.S. troops and Afghan forces. Most of these attacks are by car-borne suicide bombers who use well-rehearsed drills. They breach the perimeter security of the bases, and other insurgents waiting in the wings armed with suicide vests, rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns, and hand grenades storm the base. As attacks across the borders from Pakistan have killed and injured a large number of U.S.–NATO troops in the past few months, many U.S. commanders have considered launching joint U.S.–Afghan commando raids into Pakistan to hunt down the attackers. This idea according to U.S. officials comes up every couple of months but has been consistently rejected because chances of successfully rooting out the deadly Haqqani–al-Qaeda group are slim. On other hand, it will lead to an intense diplomatic blowback from Pakistan, inevitably creating more problems for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.1 

LeT has been banned as a terrorist organisation by India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia and Australia. Abu Jundal has made a startling revelation that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) continues to provide intelligence help and protection to LeT leaders despite the ban. 

Al-Qaeda–Haqqani terrorists have been targeted by U.S. drones successfully, but this group attacks targets in eastern Afghanistan from bases that are out of reach of drone attacks. Sending American and Afghan ground troops would be a violation of international laws and lead to serious escalation of tensions between the United States and Pakistan. The U.S. military and intelligence agencies have been urging the Pakistan army to attack the al-Qaeda–Haqqani group to hunt down the terrorists in their base areas, but the Pakistan army seems in no mood to oblige. 

The United States is the only country that is actually attacking Pakistan-based terrorists at their bases, but these drone attacks are focused on those terrorist groups that are operating from the frontier areas and targeting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The other terrorist groups spread across the length and breadth of the country have remained unscathed. The drone attacks kill terrorist leaders but do not destroy their networks or their bases inside Pakistan, and the kind of war on terrorism by the United States in Pakistan has proved ineffective in dismantling terrorist organisations entrenched in Pakistan. Any plan to place boots in the frontier areas of Pakistan faces serious diplomatic and political hurdles in the United States that seem insurmountable in present political environments. The recent gesture by the U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, of offering apology for the inadvertent killing of 24 Pakistan soldiers by NATO helicopters in the frontier area and the subsequent opening of the supply routes to Afghanistan by Pakistan have cooled tempers on both sides, and there is no immediate possibility of the United States using any other means than drone attacks to root out terrorist groups operating from the frontier areas of Pakistan.2 

After U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan pull out by 2014, the United States would want India to expand its role in the post-war stabilisation of the Af-Pak region, but this may not be possible as the aversion of Pakistan and the Taliban to the idea of an Indian military presence in Afghanistan remains very strong.3 The international community can, however, join forces to help in the stabilisation the Af-Pak region by helping the people to stand up and fight against the fundamentalist groups. 

After the death of Osama bin Laden, there may have been disruption in the centralised control arrangements of al-Qaeda, but this has not affected its ability to plan and launch catastrophic terrorist strikes in Europe or the United States. Its affiliates, Terhrik e Taliban of Pakistan; the Haqqani Network; the LeT; al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), based in Yemen; al-Qaeda based in Algeria and Mali; al Shabaab of Somalia; and Boko Haram, of Nigeria, still retain their capability to attack targets and cause mass casualties. 

The deportation of Abu Jundal (real name Zabiuddin Ansari) to India by Saudi Arabia opened a flood gate of information for Indian intelligence agencies as he was an important Indian link in the chain during the 26/11 LeT strike in Mumbai in 2008. He is reported to have revealed plans of LeT to resume terrorist strikes in India and the kind of network they have been able to set up within India for this purpose. Information of sleeper cells and those who are manning them has also been revealed by him, but the identity of the top LeT link in India and his counterpart in Pakistan is not yet known. LeT has been banned as a terrorist organisation by India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia and Australia. Abu Jundal has made a startling revelation that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) continues to provide intelligence help and protection to LeT leaders despite the ban. 

The United States is the only country that is actually attacking Pakistan-based terrorists at their bases, but these drone attacks are focused on those terrorist groups that are operating from the frontier areas and targeting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. 

Once more, detailed information about organisations like the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Indian Mujahidin is available. Indian intelligence agencies may be able to penetrate and destroy links with the LeT network. It is important to break the liaison between the LeT and Indian radical groups considering the objectives and ideology of LeT, which pose a manifest danger to India. 

Aims and Objectives of the LeT 

The LeT follows the radical Wahhabi ideology, which advocates global jihad against all infidels and moderate Muslims. Although the primary area of operations of the LeT in India is Kashmir, its main aim is the destabilisation of India and it has not confined its disruptive activities only to Jammu and Kashmir. The LeT has repeatedly claimed through its journals and websites that its main aim is to destroy the Indian republic and to annihilate Hinduism and Judaism. The LeT has declared the Hindus and the Jews to be the “enemies of Islam” and India and Israel to be the “enemies of Pakistan.” The group has defined its objectives in its manifesto, which maintains that jihad must be waged to attain its objectives, these are described as under: 

  • Restoring Islamic rule over all parts of India
  • Waging jihad against India, Israel and the United States as they are the existential enemies of Islam 
  • Waging violent jihad, which is the duty of all Muslims
  • Ending the persecution of Muslims
  • Establishing Islam as the dominant religion in the world 
  • Forcing infidels to pay jizya
  • Fighting for the weak and feeble against oppressors
  • Taking revenge for the killing of Muslims 
  • Punishing enemies for violating oaths and treaties
  • Defending all Muslim states and recapturing occupied Muslim territory4 

The LeT trains and indoctrinates many jihadi groups at its bases, where it is advocated that: 

  • A caliphate must be established with one flag, one army, where Islamic religious law shariah prevails; all of Allah’s dictates must be implemented; democracy contradicts Islam.

  • The caliphate may be established if possible by peaceful means; otherwise, recourse must be taken to violent means. 

  • All Muslims are obliged to join jihad to make Islam the world’s dominant religion.
  • Global jihad must be waged to overthrow the rule of infidels such as the United States, Jews, Hindus and Christians.

The leadership of the LeT 

  • Amin and supreme commander: Professor Hafiz Mohd Saeed, alias Tayazi
  • Chief: Abdul Wahid Kashmiri
  • Chief commander for J&K: Shahji of Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan, appointed in place of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, alias Chachaji 
  • Chief operational commander: Abdullah Shahad, alias Abu Anas
  • Chief of communication: Formerly Zarar Shah, now Shahji, entrusted with dual charge
  • Chief finance manager: Haji Mohammed Ashraf
  • Spokesperson: Abdul Muntazir, alias Abdullah Ghaznavi
  • Central information secretary: Yahya Mujahid 
Indian extremists have been roped in by Pakistan intelligence agencies to join the LeT to create an impression in international circles that the terrorism in India is a domestic affair for which Pakistan cannot be blamed. 

Action Commanders India 
  • Abu Muzammil
  • Azam Chima
  • Abu Al Qama
  • Abu Samas 
Policy towards India 

Hafiz Saeed has been in the forefront of jihad against India and had declared in an interview in 1999 that “the jihad is not about Kashmir only . . . fifteen years ago, people might have found it ridiculous if someone told them about the disintegration of the USSR . . . today, I announce the breakup of India. Inshallah, we will not rest until the whole (of) India is dissolved into Pakistan.” 

After the Mumbai 26/11 attack launched in 2008 by the LeT, it organised a joint meeting of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and the LeT in Muzaffarabad (POK) in 2009, where it was declared that jihad was the only solution to the Kashmir conflict. Later, the LeT held a “Kashmir rally” in Lahore under a new name, Tanzeem-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir.8 

The LeT poses a threat to the entire international community. It wants to “plant the flag of Islam in Washington, Tel Aviv, and New Delhi.”9 The LeT has intensified its global activities after the decentralisation of al-Qaeda. It cooperates with al-Qaeda and other militant groups in South Asia in recruiting drives, joint training programmes, tactical planning and financing for operations in Afghanistan.10 Senior al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah was captured in a LeT safe house in Faisalabad, Pakistan, exposing the close links between the two organisations.11 

The LeT has global ambitions and does not confine its activities only to South Asia. It has some unrealistic aims, like wanting to “plant the flag of Islam in Washington, Tel Aviv, and New Delhi.12 However, LeT operatives have been active in various in central, southeast and west Asian countries, providing assistance to terrorist groups in: 

The LeT is presently the main instrument of the ISI and the Pakistani army for waging a shadow war in India. 

  • Fundraising in the Middle East, Europe, Australia and the United States
  • Procurement of weapons, explosives and communications systems for terrorist operations from the international arms markets 
  • The recruiting of volunteers for suicide missions
  • The creation of sleeper cells for executing or supporting future terrorist acts in several parts of the world 
  • Fuelling armed conflicts in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan 

The LeT has established connections and ideological affiliations with many radical Sunni groups of the world. It provides financial and material support to these groups for mounting attacks on “enemies of Islam.” Intelligence reports suggest that the LeT has deployed its agents in several countries worldwide with the intention of supporting terror attacks on the “infidels.”14 Although the LeT helps terrorist organisations in many parts of the globe, its main focus is to assist terrorist operations in south Asia, which remains its primary theatre of war. 

The LeT is presently the main instrument of the ISI and the Pakistani army for waging a shadow war in India. Though its main battle ground is J&K, its target areas include the Indian heartland, in particular, in Delhi and Mumbai. Its target of influence is the entire Muslim community in India, and the LeT has been able to create a large number of sleeper cells in collaboration with indigenous groups, such as SIMI and the Indian Mujahedeen (IM). Most terror attacks in 2007 in India’s heartland were traced to the LeT from support bases within India, showing its extended reach in significant segments of Indian Muslims. 

Information obtained from Lashkar-sponsored terrorists in India points to a possibility of an arrangement between Maoists and the Lashkar to facilitate procurement of weapons and sharing of training facilities with the jihadi elements. A Kashmiri terrorist arrested in Delhi admitted that he had set up base in the Maoist stronghold of Hazaribagh in Jharkhand to coordinate matters with the Maoists. There are significant indicators of a nexus between the Maoists and jihadis affiliated with the LeT. 

Most terror attacks in 2007 in India’s heartland were traced to the LeT from support bases within India, showing its extended reach in significant segments of Indian Muslims. 

The Lashkar’s subversive activities in the Kashmir valley continue unabated, and it is reorganising and upgrading its facilities in POK to renew attacks on Kashmir. Till the early ‘90s, the Lashkar confined its activities to Kashmir, but later, it became a part of its policy to attack sensitive targets in the rest of India. The attack on the Red Fort in 2000, the strike on the Indian parliament in 2001 and the Mumbai attack in 2008 clearly showed the footprints of the Lashkar. 

It seems there has been a strategic shift in Pakistani policies after 26/11 to move its facilities for mounting terrorist attacks to several countries of south Asia. To avoid serious international repercussions and retaliation from India, the Lashkar was tasked to penetrate Indian terrorist outfits and expanded its base of operations in India. Presently, the Lashkar is using lone-wolf attacks in crowded areas through local groups but is reported to be planning to launch bigger attacks on India from its bases outside Pakistan. 

Things have been rather quiet in India on the surface, perhaps due to the process of relocation of bases, but the LeT is continuing recruitment, training and motivation of youth for terror strikes within India without let up. Selected groups are being trained to hit crowded areas in important towns, and specialised groups will be tasked to attack airports, transportation systems and vital installations. 

India has long been targeted by violent extremist groups from Pakistan with the help of various local communal, separatist and secessionist groups. India is yet to counter the activities of these groups; various incidents suggest all the counterterrorist forces in the country are not on the same page because of the fault lines in our security system. The threat from terrorism emanates from a wide spectrum from various quarters, ranging from external to indigenous radical grups to organisations and local groups affiliated to the LeT. Some Muslim groups have resorted to terrorism because of perceived wrongs done to them by the majority communities. 

Kashmir-related terrorist violence draws international concerns because of its possible links to transnational jihadi terrorists. Indian extremists have been roped in by Pakistan intelligence agencies to join the LeT to create an impression in international circles that the terrorism in India is a domestic affair for which Pakistan cannot be blamed. Indian nationals willing to join the jihad are being trained by LeT operatives in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal. India has yet to take effective measures to break the link between local organisations and the LeT. A more serious challenge to India will emerge if the LeT is allowed to spread its influence in India unchecked or is able to coordinate its plans of attacking targets in India with indigenous and foreign groups in India’s neighbourhood. 

There are significant indicators of a nexus between the Maoists and jihadis affiliated with the LeT. 

The LeT will continue to target India because it considers it an anti-Islamic Hindu state against which jihad must be waged. Its aim is to harm India as much as possible by causing mass casualties and attacking sensitive defence and economic infrastructure. In Kashmir, it has the capability to execute terrorist attacks independently and with the support of the separatist groups. 

There is an ever-increasing need to counter the designs and the activities of the LeT in India more vigorously right across the country. The 26/11 attacks in Mumbai showed the determination of the LeT to mount mass casualty attacks on India, and the information revealed by Abu Jundal has provided a glimpse of the local support available to it in India. In these circumstances, merely strengthening the apparatus of internal security and the anti-terror laws, revamping intelligence agencies and creating special anti-terror police forces will not do as all these are defensive measures that do no harm to the basic structure and organisation of the LeT within and outside India. 

In India, there are a large number of sensitive assets spread across the country that require protection against terrorist attacks. India has to deploy a massive force in a static role, just waiting to thwart any terrorist attack. The LeT, with the help of an elaborate network in India, has the capability to pose a simultaneous threat to multiple targets. Post 26/11, the domestic environments within Pakistan have given a fillip to the growth of fundamentalists and there is a need to start an offensive to deal directly with the LeT and its affiliates wherever they are rather than hoping that Pakistan will rein them in. 

The LeT and al-Qaeda have joined hands to pose a new threat to the United States and other Western nations, as evident from their joint plots to target airliners and the Olympic venue in London. Various attempts in Europe have focused the attention of the U.S. intelligence agencies on the activities of the LeT both in and outside south Asia. This may give an opportunity to India to combine its effort with the United States to target the LeT. The problem is that the LeT and its leaders are under the protective umbrella of the Pakistan army and it is not easy to target them. The LeT and affiliate groups are also operating from Nepal and Bangladesh, from where most targets in India are within striking range because of porous borders and sleeper cells located in India. 

Some strategic thinkers believe India should wait till the inevitable self-destruction of Pakistan, which may take place sooner than later. 

On a global level, the United States, its Western allies and the Jewish community are the main targets of the al-Qaeda–LeT combine. Most terrorist attacks carried out in the United States and Britain were planned in the LeT training facilities in Pakistan. The LeT is the main arm of al-Qaeda at the global level to attack U.S. assets and the countries that are U.S. allies.15 

War against the LeT 

With the United States having given a clear message to Pakistan to hand over all the terrorist leaders and deny bases to terrorist groups, it is time for India to forge a strategic alliance with the United States and help the United States attempt to contain terrorism in south Asia. The U.S. focus, however, is on those terrorist groups that are attacking U.S. forces in Afghanistan. India must convince the United States to join India in its fight against those terrorist groups that are targeting India. 

Pakistan is likely to remain in a denial mode and profess it does not shelter any terrorists in its territory, and the Pakistan army is no mood to give up its policy of using terrorism as a state policy. ISI help and protection to jihadi terrorism is continuing. Segments of Pakistani civil society against the ideology of jihadi terrorism are unable to challenge the radical groups or do not have the courage to become an instrument of fighting radical groups and their supporters. 

Although India is in a position to organise covert forces to infiltrate inside Pakistan and damage the infrastructure of terrorist forces, it is reluctant to take any such step. As there is no viable military option open to India, it needs to adopt other means to combat terrorist forces of Pakistan. We need a strong political leadership with steely determination to sanction covert action to confront the terrorists in their home bases. 

Segments of Pakistani civil society against the ideology of jihadi terrorism are unable to challenge the radical groups… 

Some strategic thinkers believe India should wait till the inevitable self-destruction of Pakistan, which may take place sooner than later. In the meanwhile, the best course open to India is to start an all-out offensive against all the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist cells and support bases in India and neighbouring countries, like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. India has to give enough incentives to these countries to earn their cooperation. Above all else, India must liquidate all LeT cells operating with the help of domestic groups in India—without local support or bases, the LeT cannot operate in India. To eliminate local support now available to the LeT, certain political initiatives to win over the disgruntled segments of our population must be taken expeditiously. 

Notes and References 

  1. Frontier Post. “US Mulling Joint Raids with Afghans on Pakistan.” 23 June 2012. <http://www.thefrontierpost.com/article/167993/>.
  2. Bruce Riedel (with Jayshree Bajoria). “US Options Limited in Pakistan.” Council on Foreign Relations, 11 May 2010. <www.cfr.org/pakistan/us-options-limited-pakistan/p22099>.
  3. Rama Lakshmi. “India Seeks Larger Role in Stabilizing Afghanistan After NATO Drawdown.” Asia and Pacific, 28 June 2012. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/india-seeks-larger-role-in-stabilizing-afghanistan-after-nato-drawdown/2012/06/28/gJQAsbJR9V_story.html>. 
  4. Wikipedia. Lashkar-e-Taiba. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lashkar-e-Taiba>.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Hafiz Saeed, quoted in Nida-e-Millat, 18 August 2004; as cited in “Jihadi Groups: Alive and Killing,” Hindu, 29 August 2004.
  8. BBC News. “Banned Pakistan Militants Gather.” 4 February 2009, <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7869697.stm>; John, n. 1. 
  9. S. Tephen Tankel. “Lashkar-e-Taiba: From 9/11 to Mumbai.” The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, April/May 2009. <http://www.icsr.info/news/attachments/1240846916ICSRTankelReport.pdf>. <http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-andMatrix/archives/2010/03/lashkaretaiba_bad_company.php>.
  10. Op cit not n.6.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid.
  15. South Asia Terrorism Portal. “Lashkar-e-Toiba; Army of the Pure.” <www.satp.org/tracking/Goto.asp?ID=18>; Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). “What Is Lashkar-e-Taiba?” <http://www.ps.au.dk/fileadmin/site_files/filer_statskundskab/subsites/cir/pdf-filer/what_is_lashkar_taiba_01.pdf>.