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Pak Army dismisses reports of Europe plots

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Editor’s note: Time and again, the western media keeps dragging Pakistan into matters that are speculative and most probably hoaxes. News of terrorism/plots of terrorism always tend to make headlines in any country. By labelling it as “Pakistan-based terror”, it seems some added credit points are awarded to the channel that reports it first – despite there being no evidence of any such threats. As to why the Indian and Western media has become so Pakistan-centric in the recent past is ofcourse not beyond comprehension. The US and its coalition (including India) are facing a hard time in Afghanistan, and now they’re trying to force the “Af & Pak” region into civil war so that they can have an honourable exit, blaming it on both the countries, by labelling them as “terrorists” or “rogue states”. Unfortunately for the Pentagon however, the situation is being rubbed in their face by their constant failure in Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army on Wednesday dismissed as “very speculative” media reports that this month’s  upsurge in US drone strikes on Islamist militants in the country’s northwest sought to disrupt attacks on European cities.

Sky News on Tuesday reported that militants based in Pakistan were planning simultaneous strikes in London akin to the 2008 militant assault on Mumbai as well as attacks on cities in France and Germany.

It said a month of strikes by pilotless drone aircraft focused on Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, in which more than 100 militants were killed, was intended to disrupt the plot.

Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told Reuters: “We don’t have any information or intelligence that militants had gathered there (in North Waziristan) and were plotting attacks. There is absolutely no intelligence on that.”

“Basically it’s very speculative,” he said of the Sky News report. “It’s a very speculative story. It does not quote any credible source.”

US security officials said they could not confirm that a plot had been disrupted. But they said they believed that the threat of a plot or plots remained.

While no senior-ranking militants were reported killed, Pakistani intelligence officials say a number of others of different nationalities are believed to have died.

On Sept 26, a senior al Qaeda leader, identified as Shaikh al-Fateh, also known as Shaikh Fateh al-Masri, was believed to have been killed, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

‘Not surprised at surge’

There have been 21 strikes carried out by the remotely piloted drones in September, the highest number in a single month.

Tehrik e Taliban(TTP) has made several threats against American and European targets, but has so far failed to carry out any overseas attacks.

US counter-terrorism agencies are poring over intelligence reports suggesting a major attack plot is currently in the works against unspecified targets in Western Europe or possibly the United States, US security officials said.

Four US security officials, who asked for anonymity, said that initial intelligence reports about the threat first surfaced two weeks ago, around the time of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

British security sources declined to comment on the Sky News report. Britain in January raised its international terrorism threat level to “severe” — the second highest level in the five-tier system.

In Germany, the interior ministry said that while Berlin had information on the alleged plots, there were no firm signs of an imminent attack.

“The current pointers do not warrant a change in the assessment of the danger level,” the ministry said in a statement.

A serious risk of attack

The head of Britain’s MI5 Security Service, Jonathan Evans, said on Sept. 16 there remained “a serious risk of a lethal attack taking place”.

“As we have repeatedly said, we know al Qaeda wants to attack Europe and the United States. We continue to work closely with our European allies on the threat from international terrorism, including al Qaeda,” US intelligence chief James Clapper said in a statement.

One US official said militants in Pakistan were “constantly” planning attacks in the region and beyond, and the United States would react to that.

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that links between plots and those who are orchestrating them lead to decisive American action. The terrorists who are involved are, as everyone should expect, going to be targets. That’s the whole point of all of this,” the official said.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/56186/pakistan-army-dismisses-reports-of-europe-plots/

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The strange case of Doctor CIA and Mister ISI

ANY guesses which intelligence agency is the most damned in the world today? The one that must bear the burden sitting heavy on every cumbersome moment of an indefatigable truth: that the US-led coalition is eons away from winning the war in Afghanistan.

The same that in partnership with the CIA and the Saudi Intelligence helped win the Afghan jihad and gave the Soviets that final push over the tottering edge of their crumbling edifice—the mighty USSR.  As with the law of nature all good things come to an end and thus we reach the happily-ever-after end of the intelligence world’s shortest lived honeymoon for Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency.  More reviled than the Soviet era KGB, the ISI is now the favourite whipping boy for every ill under the sun. From Secretary Clinton to Admiral Mike Mullen, everyone regularly raps it on the knuckles.

The US frustration is mounting by the day. Deeply ensnared in the morass in Afghanistan and clueless how to get out, it must blame somebody. So why not the Pakis? After all, aren’t they the troublemakers who break the bread with the Afghan insurgents telling them on how to launch offensives against the good ol’ coalition forces fighting the terrorists? Tell you what, not only are these treacherous sleuths indulging in a double game and ensuring the defeat of our forces, they are also harbouring the king of terrorists, yes, Osama bin Laden himself!

Wow, makes for an incredible storyline—but one that cannot help proclaim its grade B status. So if bin Laden is in Pakistan why are the US drones shying away from attacking his hideout? If these guys have “credible evidence” pointing to the ISI complicity in aiding the Afghans, why not sock one to ‘em and pull their strings—yes, those green ones hopping a merry little dance. Dear, dear, the truth is that facts speak louder than rhetoric. The blame game is fine but don’t insult your audience’s intelligence, for God’s sake.

The icing on the cake comes in the form of the Afghan War Diary, a trove of dirty secrets divulged by the WikiLeaks that has earned a reputation of sorts with its history of exposes. Apart from the damning evidence against US policies and military strategy not to forget the mind-boggling array of nuggets about the role being played by Afghan government, its allied warlords and national security forces, we come to the parallel narrative about ISI. Before launching into a diatribe against the injustice of it all, let me reflect on the western media’s take on the issue. The New York Times and the London Times have expressed doubts over the veracity of the reports concerning ISI since much of this was provided by the Afghan intelligence.

I guess once you’ve belled the cat, it is best to leave the rest unsaid. But here’s my two-bit. The incredible charges against a former ISI chief General Hameed Gul deserve a good laugh. Yes, the gentleman appears regularly on the television and all but only someone with zero IQ can conjure such a fantastical scenario whereby the ISI is fielding its former chief to represent its interests and help Afghan insurgents launch offensives across the border!

If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would have made a great joke. It is no laughing matter though. The same ISI has paid with its blood as has every other wing of the Pakistan military in helping fight terrorism. It is not ISI that invited bin Laden to come with his comrades to Afghanistan. Rather it was the Americans who are to blame for allowing him to leave Sudan to move to Afghanistan. The past few years have brought Pakistan nothing but terror and huge loss of lives and property. That is something the US cannot compensate with a paltry $7.5 million aid package. So please give the ISI a break, any bomb blast in Kabul or gun battle in Mumbai is visited upon its head like a crown of thorns. It is preposterous and it is time this ridiculous charade ended.

Having contacts with key players in the Afghan insurgency is not a crime and does not mean these contacts are being helped with weapons, funds and logistics to fight the international forces. If blaming a former ISI chief for having past contacts is the criterion then what is next? Who will stop the architects of these malicious rumours from laying the blame at the door of Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani? After all, he was also a former ISI chief from 2004-2007. Does it make sense that a sitting army chief who has earned the respect of every military commander in the coalition, would allow Pakistan’s counterterrorism doctrine to be thus jeopardised? Pakistan is waging its toughest battle against home-grown militants who have used the Afghan card to proliferate and promote their own vested interests. The neighbourhood conflict and the presence of foreign forces is the main reason for the mushrooming of extremism and not vice versa. Anyone with the slightest intelligence should be able to discern the changed environment and the dynamics at play.

To win this war against terrorism, the insurgency must be wrenched away from its embrace with every option available. It should not be too bitter a pill for after all Washington is an old hand at making deals with the unlikeliest of partners. As for Pakistan, the US needs to stop playing coy. Either it should make a break or forge ahead with mutual trust and respect. Wars are not won when allies mistrust and berate each other at every given opportunity.

While US officials have denounced the WikiLeaks report and have assured that cooperation with partners will not be affected, questions are already being raised about the US policy towards Pakistan.  This is why it is important for policy makers in Washington to decide on how to deal with Pakistan. The dual policy that has only created bad blood and affected US credibility needs a complete overhaul.

Faryal Leghari is Assistant Editor of Khaleej Times and can be reached at faryal@khaleejtimes.com

CIA and ISI Locked in Aggressive Spy Battles

WASHINGTON: A Pakistani man approached CIA officers in Islamabad last year, offering to give up secrets of his country’s closely guarded nuclear program. To prove he was a trustworthy source, he claimed he had spent nuclear fuel rods.

But the CIA had its doubts. Before long, the suspicious officers had concluded that Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, was trying to run a double agent against them.

CIA officers alerted their Pakistani counterparts. Pakistan promised to look into the matter and, with neither side acknowledging the man was a double agent, the affair came to a polite, quiet end.

The incident, recounted by former US officials, underscores the schizophrenic relationship with one of America’s most crucial counterterrorism allies. Publicly, officials credit Pakistani collaboration with helping kill and capture numerous al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Privately, that relationship is often marked by mistrust as the two countries wage an aggressive spy battle against each other.

The CIA has repeatedly tried to penetrate the ISI and learn more about Pakistan’s nuclear program; and the ISI has mounted its own operations to gather intelligence on the CIA’s counterterrorism activities in the tribal lands and figure out what the CIA knows about the nuclear program.

Bumping up against the ISI is a way of life for the CIA in Pakistan, the agency’s command centre for recruiting spies in the country’s lawless tribal regions. Officers there also coordinate Predator drone airstrikes, the CIA’s most successful and lethal counterterrorism program. The armed, unmanned planes take off from a base inside Pakistani Balochistan known as ”Rhine.”

”Pakistan would be exceptionally uncomfortable and even hostile to American efforts to muck about in their home turf,” said Graham Fuller, an expert on Islamic fundamentalism who spent 25 years with the CIA, including a stint as Kabul station chief.

That means incidents such as the one involving nuclear fuel rods must be resolved delicately and privately.

”It’s a crucial relationship,” CIA spokesman George Little said. ”We work closely with our Pakistani partners in fighting the common threat of terrorism. They’ve been vital to the victories achieved against al-Qaeda and its violent allies. And they’ve lost many people in the battle against extremism. No one should forget that.”

Details about the CIA’s relationship with Pakistan were recounted by nearly a dozen former and current US and Pakistani intelligence officials, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the matter.

An ISI official denied that the agency runs double agents to collect information about the CIA’s activities. He said the two agencies have a good working relationship and such allegations were meant to create friction between them.

But the CIA became so concerned by a rash of cases involving suspected double agents in 2009, it re-examined the spies it had on the payroll in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The internal investigation revealed about a dozen double agents, stretching back several years. Most of them were being run by Pakistan. Other cases were deemed suspicious. The CIA determined the efforts were part of an official offensive counterintelligence program being run by Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI’s spy chief.

Pakistan’s willingness to run double agents against the US is particularly troubling to some in the CIA because of the country’s ties to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and to the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based Taliban faction also linked to al-Qaeda.

In addition to its concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear program, the CIA continues to press the Pakistanis to step up their military efforts in North Waziristan, the tribal region where Hekmatyar and Haqqani are based.

CIA Director Leon Panetta talked with Pasha about ISI’s relationship with militants last year, reiterating the same talking points his predecessor, Gen. Michael Hayden, had delivered before him. Panetta told Pasha he had needed to take on militant groups, including those such as Hekmatyar and Haqqani, a former US intelligence official said.

But the US can only demand so much from an intelligence service it can’t live without.

Recruiting agents to track down and kill terrorists and militants is a top priority for the CIA, and one of the clandestine service’s greatest challenges. The drones can’t hit their targets without help finding them. Such efforts would be impossible without Pakistan’s blessing, and the US pays about $3 billion a year in military and economic aid to keep the country stable and cooperative.

”We need the ISI and they definitely know it,” said C. Christine Fair, an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Peace and Security Studies. ”They are really helping us in several critical areas and directly undermining us in others.”

Pakistan has its own worries about the Americans. During the first term of the Bush administration, Pakistan became enraged after it shared intelligence with the US, only to learn the CIA station chief passed that information to the British.

The incident caused a serious row, one that threatened the CIA’s relationship with the ISI and deepened the levels of distrust between the two sides. Pakistan almost threw the CIA station chief out of the country.

A British security official said the incident was “a matter between Pakistan and America.”

The spate of Pakistani double agents has raised alarm bells in some corners of the agency, while others merely say it’s the cost of doing business in Pakistan. They say double agents are as old as humanity and point to the old spy adage: “There are friendly nations but no friendly intelligence services.”

“The use of double agents is something skilled intelligence services and the better terrorists groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, provisional Irish Republican Army and the Tamil Tigers have regularly done. It’s not something that should be a surprise,” said Daniel Byman, a foreign policy expert at the Saban Center at Brookings Institution.

Nowhere is the tension greater than in the tribal areas, the lawless regions that have become the front line in what Panetta described on Sunday as “the most aggressive operations in the history of the CIA.”

The area has become what’s known in spy parlance as a wilderness of mirrors, where nothing is what it appears. The CIA recruits people to spy on al-Qaeda and militant groups. So does the ISI. Often, they recruit the same people. That means the CIA must constantly consider where a spy’s allegiance lies: With the US? With Pakistan? With the enemy?

Pakistan rarely — if at all — has used its double agents to feed the CIA bad information, the former US officials said. Rather, the agents were just gathering intelligence on American operations, seeing how the CIA responded and how information flowed.

Former CIA officials say youth and inexperience among a new generation of American officers may have contributed to the difficulties of operating in the tribal regions, where the US is spending a massive amount of money to cultivate sources.

After the 2001 terrorist attacks, the CIA dispatched many young officers to Pakistan and Afghanistan to recruit al-Qaeda spies. Young officers sometimes unwittingly recruited people who had been on Pakistan’s payroll for years, all but inviting Pakistan to use their longtime spies as double agents, former CIA officials said.

The Pakistanis “are steeped in that area,” Fuller said “They would be tripping over a lot of the same people.”

Many former CIA officials believe a lack of experience among agency officers led to the bombing in Khost, Afghanistan, last year that killed seven CIA employees. The CIA thought it had a source who could provide information about al-Qaeda’s No.2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was believed to be hiding in the tribal lands. But the person turned out to be a double agent wired with explosives.

Ironically, the CIA steered the source to Khost because officers were concerned ISI would spot him if they brought him to Islamabad for questioning or possibly even arrest him because he was an undocumented Arab.

But experience isn’t always the problem.

One example of how the suspicious relationship constrains operations was the CIA’s base in the remote town of Miramshah in North Waziristan. US military and CIA officers worked with the ISI together there, under the protection of the Pakistani army, which kept the base locked down.

The two intelligence agencies sometimes conducted joint operations against al-Qaeda but rarely shared information, a former CIA officer said. Haqqani spies were well aware the CIA was working there, and the base frequently took mortar and rocket fire.

Two former CIA officers familiar with the base said the Americans there mainly exercised and “twiddled their thumbs.” Just getting out of the base was so difficult, US personnel gave it the nickname “Shawshank” after the prison in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.”

The CIA closed the base last year for safety reasons. None of that tension ever spilled into the public eye. It’s the nature of intelligence-gathering.

DAWN

Iran and Pakistan sign gas export agreement

Iran and Pakistan formally signed yesterday an export deal which commits the Islamic republic to supplying its eastern neighbour with natural gas from 2014.

The contract is the latest step in completing a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline between Iran and Pakistan within the next four years.

“This is a happy day,” Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Javad Ouji told reporters at the contract signing ceremony in Tehran. “After decades of negotiations, we are witnessing today the execution of the agreement… to export more than 21 million cubic metres of natural gas daily from 2014 to Pakistan,” he added.

He said that from today, Iran will start building the next 300-kilometre leg of the pipeline from the southeastern city of Iranshahr to the Pakistani border, through the Iranian port of Chabahar.

Iran has already constructed 907km of the pipeline between Asalooyeh, in southern Iran, and Iranshahr, which will carry natural gas from Iran’s giant South Pars field. Pakistan’s Deputy Energy Minister Kamran Lashari, who was present at the signing ceremony, said Islamabad will conduct a one-year feasibility study for building its section of the pipeline.

It will then “take three years for constructing the 700km pipeline” from the Iranian border to the Pakistani city of Nawabshah, he added. The pipeline was originally planned between Iran, Pakistan and India, but the latter pulled out of the project last year. Pakistan plans to use the gas for its power sector.

Turkish Navy to escort next flotilla: PM Erdogan on board

Turkish Navy to escort next flotilla: PM Erdogan on board

ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was considering sailing to the Gaza Strip as part of an aid flotilla backed by the Turkish Navy.

Lebanese newspaper al Mustaqbal quoted security sources as saying that Mr Erdogan was pondering the move in order to break the barrier imposed against Gaza by Israel.

It said that “as part of the open conflict between Turkey and Israel following the massacre against the ‘freedom sail’ to Gaza and the protest sparked in the world, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is considering going to Gaza himself in order to break the blockade imposed on the Strip.”

The sources said Erdogan raised the option in discussions with associates.

The report added that the Turkish leader also told the U.S. that he planned to ask his navy to escort another aid flotilla – but officials in Washington asked him to delay the plan in order to look into the matter.

The move followed strong criticism of Israel by Erdogan after Israeli armed forces killed several people on board an aid flotilla Monday, sparking widespread international condemnation.

When the possibility of Erdogan joining a flotilla was posed to Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, he said such a move was not a “realistic scenario” and dismissed it outright.

“Some of these reports must be taken with a grain of salt … I am not sure that is a realistic scenario,” he told Sky News.

“I prefer that we sort these things out peacefully. Nobody wants any saber-rattling. It does not do any good,” said Regev.

Pakistan starts Domestic Production of Fighter Avionics

Pakistan starts Domestic Production of Fighter Avionics

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan said it has commenced domestic production of avionics for the Sino-Pak JF-17 Thunder combat aircraft.

The announcement came May 28 at a ceremony attended by Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman at the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in Kamra, just outside Islamabad.

To date, the majority of avionics produced in Pakistan have been manufactured under license from foreign companies, most notably Selex Galileo radars for the Air Force’s Mirage III and F-7P Fishbed fighters. However, this looks set to change.

During the May 28 ceremony, the PAC’s chairman, Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan, outlined the JF-17 avionics, in which he stated, “four indigenously designed and developed avionics systems were also being produced,” and that the “production scope would be progressively broadened to include the production of a complete JF-17 avionics suite at the complex.”

Officials at PAC could not provide any details on the announcement, and Air Force officials declined to answer any queries.

It is believed, however, that at least two of the domestically designed and produced systems include a head-up display and a weapons and mission management computer.

Past indigenous avionics projects have included a radar homing system in the 1960s for the F-104 fighter jet; an IRST pod and modifications to the GEC 956 HUD (Head Up Display); and the HUDWAC (HUD Weapon Aiming Computer) for the F-7P in the 1990s.

Efforts to sustain avionics design in Pakistan have not succeeded.

Retired Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail said he believes the reason is because it has “not been a viable proposition so far.”

However, large-scale indigenous production of the JF-17 and potential export sales mean such a move is now more economically viable, he said.

Tufai said the Air Force has the potential to succeed because it has “a very large pool of highly qualified avionics engineers at the bachelor’s, master’s and even doctorate level, both serving and retired.”

If that potential does result in a focused effort, “the next decade may well see Pakistan establish itself as one of the leading Asia-Pacific producers of avionics hardware and software,” he said. Pakistan Begins Domestic Fighter Avionics Production, By USMAN ANSARI, Published: 4 Jun 2010 18:01

Maoists winning the battle to control India

Friday’s train crash in India has been blamed on “sabotage” by Maoist rebels. It was the latest in a series of rebel attacks after the government launched an offensive against them. The BBC’s Soutik Biswas asks whether the rebels are gaining the upper hand.

It is not surprising that Maoist rebels are being blamed for the derailment of an express train in India’s West Bengal state, in which 71 passengers were killed.

The police claim they have found posters signed by a local Maoist militia claiming responsibility for removing part of the track, which led to the train skidding off and colliding with a freight train coming in the opposite direction.

West Midnapore district, where the incident happened, is the hotbed of Maoist rebellion in West Bengal, one of the states where the rebels have a presence.

Tribespeople dominate the district, especially the forested Junglemahal region bordering Jharkhand state.

They feel ignored and deprived by the Communist government which has been ruling the state since 1977. Most live in abject poverty. The only visible signs of “development” I spotted during a trip to the area some years ago were cheap liquor shops.

Strong support

Fed up with the state of affairs, Junglemahal’s tribespeople even agitated for a separate state.

When neighbouring Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state, their alienation grew and they were quick to welcome the Maoists, who wield most influence in areas which are poor and dominated by tribespeople.

The security forces are on the backfoot after a spree of rebel attacks
The Lalgarh area in Junglemahal is the rebels’ most formidable stronghold.
In February, they stormed a police camp in Lalgarh, killing 24 policemen.
Rebels love to describe Lalgarh as a “liberated zone” where the state has withered away – schools and medical centres have closed down because teachers and doctors are afraid to attend, and policemen are confined to the police stations fearing reprisals.

Friday’s incident in West Midnapore demonstrates how the rebels are taking the battle to their enemies ever since the federal government launched an offensive in what is known as India’s “red corridor” earlier this year.

This comprises 223 of India’s 636 districts in 20 states which the government says are “Maoist affected”, up from 55 districts in nine states six years ago.
Ninety of these affected districts, the government says, are experiencing “consistent violence.”

The rebels have been carrying out attacks with impunity in recent months – two major attacks Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state left more than 100 people dead, including 75 paramilitary troops.
But there are also theories that in this case the Maoist script went slightly awry.

Maoists frequently tamper with railway lines and often these lead to minor derailments; a number of such attempts have been caught well in time. There have been hijackings but no major attacks on civilian transport with such a death toll.

In the past year, Maoists have carried out 32 attacks on railways, mainly in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh – but no major casualties have been reported.

Support for the Maoist cause across India generally will be dented by such an attack, just as it was after the assault on troops in Dantewada.

Following the twin Dantewada attacks, the government said it was reviewing its strategy for fighting the rebels, who have refused to respond to repeated government offers for talks.

Analysts say that the strategy of “clearing, holding and developing” rebel-affected areas evidently inspired by the US strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not working.

‘Visible retreat’

One reason, they say, is that the surge of security forces and resources on the ground are not sufficient enough to take on the rebels who are spread over a vast swathe of remote mineral-rich forest lands.

Maoists call Lalgarh a “liberated zone”

The government is now in a “visible retreat” after a spree of rebel attacks, says security analyst Ajai Sahni.
He believes that a lack of adequate forces, training and intelligence is leading to these “disasters”.

“Unless local capacities for intelligence and operations are enormously augmented, this [offensive] can go nowhere, and lot of lives are going to be lost for no useful purpose,” Mr Sahni says.

But the under-equipped local police and intelligence-gathering networks remain Indian security’ s weakest link, and there no visible efforts to bolster them.

The government appears to be confused over how the rebels should be tackled – there are differences in the ruling Congress party itself on whether the state should strike hard against it’s own people.

Recently federal home minister P Chidambaram requested wider powers to deal with the rebels, saying that he had been given a “limited mandate.”
He said the chief ministers of some of the worst affected states have asked for air power to be used against the rebels – a measure that the government has refused to sanction.

Analysts believe that many states are not doing enough to take on the rebels, leading to a “centralisation” of the problem.

The train ‘”sabotage” was one of the biggest attacks launched by the rebels
“The principal responsibility for dealing with the Maoists remain that of the states; the first responders, the local police stations, have to be strengthened and equipped to deal with the task on their own.”

Till that happens, the rebels will be seen to have an upper hand in what promises to be long drawn out and bloody conflict, the like of which India has never seen.

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