United States' Nepal Report 2006 on Terrorism
Killings are significantly lower in Nepal, but this year saw the beginning of a disturbing new trend in the Terai, reads the US report.
Despite the cease-fire, Maoist rebels continued to conduct abductions, extortion, and violence, the report says. It adds: At the end of 2006, the United States was the only country to maintain its designation of the Maoist insurgency as a terrorist organization.
What follows is an overview of South and Central Asia, followed in turn by a brief report on Nepal:
Country Reports on Terrorism
Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism
April 30, 2007
Chapter 2 -- Country Reports: South and Central Asia Overview
"We must look beyond Afghanistan to the sources of terrorism. We must destroy terrorist sanctuaries beyond Afghanistan, dismantle the elaborate networks in the region that recruit, indoctrinate, train, finance, arm, and deploy terrorists. We must ensure that political currents and entities in the region are not allowed to use extremism as an instrument of policy."
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Statement, 61st UN General Assembly
New York, September 20, 2006
Terrorism remained a problem in the region, directly and indirectly threatening American interests and lives. To varying degrees, U.S. cooperation with regional partners on counterterrorism issues continued to increase, but much is left to be accomplished.
Despite considerable progress in Afghanistan, the Taliban-led insurgency remained strong and resilient, particularly in the Pashtun south and east. Although the insurgency absorbed heavy combat losses, its ability to recruit foot soldiers from its core base of rural Pashtuns remains undiminished.
Pakistan executed effective counterterrorism cooperation and captured or killed many terrorists. In August, close cooperation between Pakistani, British, and American law enforcement agencies exposed the London-Heathrow bomb plot, leading to the arrest in Pakistan of Rashid Rauf and other conspirators believed to be connected to the case. However, the United States remained concerned that the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan are a safe haven for al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other militants.
Terrorists staged numerous attacks in India, including a series of commuter train bomb attacks in Mumbai which killed over 200 people and injured more than 700. Despite challenges associated with its law enforcement and judicial systems, India achieved major successes this year, including numerous arrests and the confiscation of explosives and firearms. Neighboring Bangladesh continued to arrest extremists, but the deteriorating political situation in Bangladesh may increase the opportunity for terrorists to find refuge or transit.
In Nepal and Sri Lanka, terrorism carried out by the Maoists and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) posed a severe challenge to those governments. On an encouraging note, in November, the Maoists signed a peace agreement with the Government of Nepal that provided, under certain disarmament conditions, that the Maoists could be admitted into an interim government. In Sri Lanka, the LTTE continued attacks including targeted assassinations against political and military opponents.
A sustained commitment to counterterrorism by Central Asian states resulted in relatively few terrorist attacks. Yet terrorism and the underlying conditions and porous borders it exploits still pose a significant threat to the region. In May, terrorists attacked border posts in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan but were subsequently killed and captured by joint operations in the Ferghana Valley. With U.S. support, Central Asian states have undertaken to improve the capabilities of their border forces and build new border posts to impede terrorist movements and interdict drug smuggling, some of which financed terrorism in the region. The sheer length of the border and local corruption remained obstacles in Central Asia's efforts to control its borders. More widely, popular grievances over governance and poor economic growth enhance conditions terrorists and other extremists could exploit to recruit and operate in the region.
Central Asia's most notorious terrorists are the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and a splinter group, the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU ). However, radical extremist groups such as Hizbut-Tahrir (HT) may also present a danger to the region. HT, an extremist political movement advocating the establishment of a borderless, theocratic Islamic state throughout the entire Muslim world, has followers in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the Middle East. The United States has no evidence that HT has committed any acts of international terrorism, but the group's radical anti-American and anti-Semitic ideology is sympathetic to acts of violence against the United States and its allies. HT has publicly called on Muslims to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight Coalition Forces.
The following is the portion on Nepal:
Through April 2006, Nepal's primary counterterrorism focus remained the Maoist insurgency but the focus shifted dramatically after Nepal's political parties, the Maoists, and civil society led a popular uprising against the King. King Gyanendra was compelled to restore parliament and cede his authoritarian powers to a government run by an alliance of the seven main political parties. The Maoists declared a unilateral cease-fire on April 27. The government followed suit on May 3, formally lifting its designation of the Maoists as a terrorist organization. Months of negotiations resulted in a comprehensive peace agreement on November 21 that formally ended the insurgency. The agreement also provided that the Maoists would be admitted into an interim government once Maoist combatants were in camps and relinquished their weapons under UN monitoring.
From January to November, Maoist rebels were responsible for the deaths of 165 security personnel and 46 civilians. During the same time period, the government killed 182 suspected Maoist militants. Nepal's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) reported that murders by Maoists lessened after the cease-fire in April, but still totaled 28 from May until November. Security force killings of Maoist insurgents were also significantly lower after the cease-fire, totaling nine during the same period.
Despite the cease-fire, Maoist rebels continued to conduct abductions, extortion, and violence. In the Kathmandu Valley, Maoists took advantage of their dramatically increased presence and the government's reluctance to upset the peace process to expand their use of extortion and efforts to undermine trade unions and student groups affiliated with the political parties. They also continued forced recruitment of schoolchildren, with thousands targeted after the signing of the initial November 8 peace accord. On September 20, and again on December 19, the Maoists declared nationwide transportation strikes. Both events were accompanied by the stoning of vehicles, and each lasted only for the declared period, demonstrating Maoist command and control.
This year also saw the beginning of a disturbing new trend with the activation of the separatist Maoist-splinter terrorist group called the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM), which aimed to bring about the secession of the southern Terai plains from the rest of Nepal. This group was responsible for the assassination of a Nepali Member of Parliament in September.
"Imperialist" United States and "expansionist" India were the targets of considerable Maoist venom, especially in the period leading up to the April uprising. A trip by Maoist Supremo Prachanda to New Delhi on November 18, however, seemed to mark the culmination of a shift in the Maoist view of Nepal's large neighbor to the south. At the end of the year, the United States was the only country to maintain its designation of the Maoist insurgency as a terrorist organization. Several countries, including India, were waiting for the Maoist entry into government to authorize open contacts at all levels.
The United States provided substantial antiterrorism assistance and training to Nepal's security forces, including courses on crisis management and critical incident management.
To read the full Overview on South and Central Asia, click here.
Posted by Editor on May 1, 2007 8:45 AM