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Kabul attack: Did ISI exact revenge on Afghanistan in the aftermath of Mohmand?

A number of well coordinated attacks clearly targeting Shia Muslims in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar have killed at least 58 Shias in Afghanistan. A Pakistani anti-Shia group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has accepted the responsibility of the attacks. (Source)

A spokesman for an Pakistani extremist group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Almi claimed responsibility in a phone call to Radio Mashaal – a Pashto language radio station. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, (LeJ) is a murderous anti-Shia group founded which acts act as surrogate for Taliban and al-Qaida. The Pakistani Taliban has its roots in anti-Shia violence, and LeJ acted as the training ground for its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud. LeJ maintained training camps in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime but has not mounted attacks in Afghanistan in recent years. The group is believed to be supported by Pakistan’s spy agency, ISI. The group also claimed responsibility for the massacre of 29 Shia pilgrims on a bus in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province in September, and an attack on an Ashura procession in Karachi in 2009 which killed 30 people. Earlier this year, the Pakistani courts freed Malik Ishaq, one of LeJ’s founders. Ishaq had faced dozens of murder charges but the courts said there was lack of evidence – his group had allegedly killed numerous witnesses who may have testified against him. (Source)

LeJ is one of several aliases of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) or Ahl-e-Sunnat-Wal-Jamat (ASWJ), a group with known links with Pakistan’s military establishment. Recently, its chief Malik Ishaq, a confessed killer of more than 70 Shia Muslims, was released by Pakistan ISI-backed judiciary. According to a recent statement by Human Rights Watch “Some Sunni extremist groups are known to have links to the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies.” It is, however,  a fact that LeJ-SSP does not represent majority of moderate Sunni Muslims. In fact, it represents its Saudi-ISI masters.

The attacks on Afghanistan’s Shia Muslims mourning Imam Hussain highlight the terrifying vision of Pakistan’s foreign policy elite who favour a return to Taliban rule in Afghanistan,  as per the recommendations of the USIP-Jinnah Institute report.  Towards this end, the ISI has undermined the elected government by first entrapping Hussain Haqqani and forcing a replacement with the more plaint, Sherry Rehman of the Jinnah Institute.

The undermining of the PPP government by pro-Taliban policians like Imran Khan (PTI) and Nawaz Sharif (PML N) has been facilitated by a politically-biased Judiciary which has also done its best to release Lashkar-e-Jhangvi mass murderers.  These developments are carefully caliberated to ensure that the security establishment’s goal of “Strategic Depth” is revived and those who disagree with the Taliban are removed from the scene.  The recent boycott of the Bonn Conference (widely believed to have been dictated by the security establishment) is also linked to the attacks on Shia muslim mourners in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, contrary to Pakistan pro-establishment media, the mass murder of Shias is NOT a sectarian conflict. The tragic attacks on Shia mourners of Imam Hussain, the Holy Prophet’s grand-son, in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of an ideology whose manifesto is very clear as per this letter of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Operating under different names such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Taliban, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Jundullah, these terrorists share a common ideology as well as logistical patronage and financial support.  Mercenaries move freely from one group to another and this nexus is responsible for not just the mass murder of Shia muslims.  The same groups also target Ahmedi Muslims, Sunni Muslims (both Barelvis and anti-Taliban Deobandis) and Christains.

In the deadliest incident today (Ashura 2011), a suspected suicide bomb struck a shrine packed with Shia mourners of Ashura in the capital, Kabul, killing at least 54 people. Another blast struck near a Shia mosque the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif at about the same time, killing four. A third attack on Shia Muslims was reported in Kandahar in which five persons were injured.

Ashura is the climax of Muharram, the month of mourning for the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. The event is celebrated by Shia and Sunnis with respect and devotion to the family of the Prophet Muhammad. However, Saudi Salafis/ Wahhabis and the Saudi-ISI affected extremist Deobandis in Pakistan and elsewhere consider the Ashura event as un-Islamic.

Though Taliban have in the past massacred Afghan Shias in Mazar-e-Sharif and Bamiyan, there is not much precedence of such attack on Shia Muslims’ Ashura gathering in Afghanistan. Therefore, the current attack has all the hallmarks of similar attacks by ISI-SCP backed LeJ-SSP terrorists on Shia Muslims in Pakistan. Taliban’s Haqqani Network has close links with SSP-LeJ, both groups are currently besieging Toori Shias of Parachinar with the help of Pakistan’s ISI.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke of the unprecedented nature of the attack, saying it was “the first time that, on such an important religious day in Afghanistan, terrorism of that horrible nature is taking place”.

The near-simultaneous explosions happened at about midday (07:30 GMT). In Kabul, the bomb went off near a gathering of hundreds of Shias singing at the Abu Fazal shrine. Fifty-four people were killed in the blast, said health ministry spokesman Norughli Kargar, while 150 were injured. The bomb which exploded near the main mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif was apparently strapped to a bicycle, and went off shortly after the Kabul blast. Balkh province Deputy Police Chief Abdul Raouf Taj said the device exploded as a convoy of Shias, shouting in celebration of Ashura, passed by, AP reported. At least 4 Shias were killed and 20 were injured. Elsewhere, police said at least three people were wounded by a motorcycle bomb in the southern city of Kandahar, the Taliban’s heartland.

The attacks come a day after an international conference on Afghanistan’s future was held, in the German city of Bonn. Pakistan boycotted the conference, after a Nato attack killed 24 of its troops at a checkpoint near the Afghan border last month.

Grave of one of the Ashura attack victims in Kabul's Kart-e-Sakhi

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16046079

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/world/2011/12/111206_afghan_blast_ar.shtml

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/world/asia/suicide-bombers-attack-shiite-worshipers-in-afghanistan.html?_r=2&hp

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Jehangir Hafsi

12 Comments

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  • Let us take attacks clearly targeting Shia Muslims by ISI-backed LeJ-SSP terrorists as a reaction of bonn conference. You know we already said peace is not possible minus Pakistan.So we have proved our claim once again.

  • @JaredCohen Jared Cohen
    sectarian attack in Kabul today reinforces assumption that militants from #Pakistan playing heavy hand in support for terrorism(Via Twitter)

  • The unprecedented sectarian attack which killed 55 Shia worshippers in Kabul is likely to have been the work of al-Qaida or a group closely associated with it, security sources and analysts believe.

    A spokesman for an obscure Pakistani extremist group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Almi claimed responsibility in a phone call to Radio Mashaal – a Pashto language radio station.

    Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Almi is a small faction based in Pakistan’s tribal area and is considered an even more radical offshoot of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, (LeJ), a murderous anti-Shia group founded in 1996. Both groups act as surrogates for al-Qaida.

    The Pakistani Taliban has its roots in anti-Shia violence, and LeJ acted as the training ground for its leader, Hakimullah Mehsud.

    LeJ maintained training camps in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime but has not mounted attacks in Afghanistan in recent years. It is believed to have been behind some of the most audacious attacks in Pakistan, including the September 2008 bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad and the armed assault on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in March 2009.

    The group also claimed responsibility for the massacre of 29 Shia pilgrims on a bus in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province in September, and an attack on an Ashura procession in Karachi in 2009 which killed 30 people.

    Until now, the splinter group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Almi was best known for kidnapping two former Pakistani spies and a British journalist in the tribal area last year.

    The two former agents with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, Colonel Imam and Khalid Khawaja, were abducted in North Waziristan along with the British journalist Asad Qureshi, who was making a film for Channel 4.

    The kidnappers demanded a $25m (£16m) ransom for Imam, who was regarded as the godfather of the original Afghan Taliban for his undercover work in Afghanistan in the 1990s.

    Pleas from the leaders of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network of militants went unheeded by the group. Imam and Khawaja were executed. Qureshi was later freed.

    Earlier this year, the Pakistani courts freed Malik Ishaq, one of LeJ’s founders. Ishaq had faced dozens of murder charges but the courts said there was lack of evidence – his group had allegedly killed numerous witnesses who may have testified against him.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/06/al-qaida-kabul-attack-shia-pilgrims

  • Kabul – A Pakistan-based insurgent group took responsibility for Tuesday’s Kabul suicide bombing that left at least 58 Afghan civilians dead and more than 130 injured.
    Abu Bakar Mansur, a spokesman for Lashkar e-Jhangvi al-Alami, a Sunni extremist group, took responsibility for the suicide attack in a Shi’ite shrine where hundreds of worshippers had gathered to observe the last day of Muharram, a Shiite mourning procession.
    The group is responsible for dozens of attacks against Shi’ite minorities in Pakistan, where it is also banned. However, this is the first known attack by the group in Afghanistan.
    Long War Journal, a website that tracks terrorist networks and activities called the group ‘an anti-Shia terror group with an extensive network in Pakistan that has integrated with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan’s tribal areas’.

    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/southasia/news/article_1679255.php/Pakistan-based-group-take-responsibility-for-Kabul-blast

  • Shia Muslims of Pakistan and Afghanistan demand the world body (UN, USA, UK) to take notice of Pakistan army backed LeJ terrorists Jihad against innocent Shias.

  • A suicide attack here that left dozens of Shiite worshipers dead was apparently conducted by a militant group with a history of ties to Pakistan’s main intelligence service, a connection that threatened to escalate tensions in Afghanistan just as the United States plans its exit.

    The bombing and a second attack on Shiites in northern Afghanistan left at least 60 people dead, making Tuesday one of the deadliest days for civilians in the decade-long war. The strikes were highly unusual because they targeted members of Afghanistan’s Shiite minority, which was persecuted during the Taliban’s reign but which has not been a focus of insurgent bombings since the Taliban fell in 2001.

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    A suicide bombing tore through a crowd of Shiite worshippers marking a holy day Tuesday in Kabul in a rare burst of violence targeting the minority Islamic sect. (Dec. 6)

    The Taliban denied any role in Tuesday’s attacks. But a spokesman for the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi called a station operated by Radio Free Europe to assert responsibility. If the claim is true, it would mark the first time that the group, which has ties to al-Qaeda, has carried out a major attack in Afghanistan.

    Lashkar-i-Jhangvi militants have systematically assassinated Shiites and attacked their religious gatherings in Pakistan. If the group is extending operations into Afghanistan, it could add a highly destabilizing sectarian dimension to the costly and protracted Afghan war.

    The attack could also worsen the already thorny relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan government and U.S. officials have accused elements of Pakistan’s Inter-
    Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) of helping to execute attacks in Afghanistan, including several recent high-profile strikes in Kabul.

    The ISI has supported Lashkar-i-Jhangvi in the past, though it is not known whether the organizations maintain ties. Pakistan has denied any role in attacks in Afghanistan.

    Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been especially rocky in recent weeks, with Pakistan boycotting on Monday an international conference on the future of Afghanistan after a NATO airstrike last month killed 24 Pakistani troops.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/rare-attack-in-kabul-targets-shiite-mosque/2011/12/06/gIQAVnEkYO_story.html?tid=pm_pop

  • According to Arif Rafiq (of Pakistan Policy), a low level ISI operative and a struggling blogger:

    pakistanpolicy Arif Rafiq
    Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami is an al-Qaeda-linked LeJ splinter group responsible for attacks on mosques in Pakistan. It’s not ISI-backed.

  • Reaction from Twitter

    Thank you, ISI. RT @CBSNews Officials report blasts in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif & Kandahar as Afghan Shiites mark Ashura: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57337228/blast-kills-dozens-as-afghans-mark-holy-day/

    “Sectarianism” is the Saudi-ISI’s favourite discourse to cover up and justify Shia genocide. It is not Sunni vs Shia.

    Sectarianism and racism: The dishonest narratives on Bahrain http://criticalppp.com/archives/43444

    UN Security Council must summon General Kayani & CJP Iftikhar to explain ISI-backed Taliban- SSP-LeJ’s role in Shia massacre in Kabul

    Just because Taliban say they didn’t doesn’t change the fact that they’ve massacred countless Hazaras in the past, ruthlessly.

    Intellectual dishonesty in misrepresenting Shia massacres in Pakistan http://criticalppp.com/archives/57886

    Please don’t treat SSP-LeJ-TTP terrorists as representative of moderate, peaceful Sunni Muslims.

    Not just redolent, today’s Kabul attack is most likely to be a handiwork of ISI-backed TTP-SSP terrorists.

    Apparently, it is ISI’s revenge on Afghanistan/NATO in the aftermath of NATO’s attack on Pakistani soldiers.

    #Kabul shrine attack -Senior official traveling with #Karzai : Al- Qaeda&Haqqani wants toi create sectarian problems with help from ISI

    Sectarian attacks unknown in Afghanistan? Will Western media stop this non-sense? How can we forget Bamiyan & Mazar-e-Sharif? And Riaz Basra

    CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry and General Kayani’s joint gift to Afghanistan via SSP-LeJ-TTP operatives: http://yfrog.com/h367ylfj

    Congratulations to Sherry Rehman, Ejaz Haider and other Pakistani elites: your friends Taliban have slaughtered 30 infidel Shias in #Kabul

    After attack on Indian embassy & murder of Prez Rabbani, ISI-backed SSP-Taliban slaughter 30 Shia Muslims in Kabul. Revenge of NATO’s attack

    From Iraq to Afghanistan and from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia, Karbala has not ended for Shia Muslims. Yazid is alive and kicking!

    This is how Pakistan’s ISI-backed columnist #EjazHaider enabled slaughter of Shia Hazaras in #Kabul today: http://criticalppp.com/archives/54639

    Ejaz Haider has recently replaced rights champion Sherry Rehman as head of pro-ISI Jinnah Institute. Aim: to pave way for Taliban’s victory.

    Ejaz Haider is the same man who was promoted by Omar Waracih as anti-ISI hero, along with…Hamid Mir and Najam Sethi. http://pakistanblogzine.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/omar-waraich-presents-three-anti-isi-heroes-of-pakistani-media/

    Afghan Taliban, Pakistan TTP & SSP treat Shias as Iranian agents. This was exactly the message in Ejaz Haider’s article http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?277951

  • On the point of the writer that anti-Shia fanaticism or mania (whatever)I quite agree. But I totally disagree with the topical point that it was in vengeance of martyr of 24 Pakistani military men. These Pakistani jawans and officers as well met the eternity due to unilateral and uncalled for bombardment of NATO forces. And that is what is the saddest part of the story – if we cant kill you we can kill at least our own muslim bretherns. That is what is happening in Pakistan big time. Talibans and Alqaeda are killing countable Western persons but are killing uncountable muslim brothers. On top of this they claim they rule the world (with Western made second hand fire arms) May Allah save Pakistan and Muslim brothers.