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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
1995 APRIL: PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM, 1994

Department of State Publication 10239

Office of the Secretary
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Philip C. Wilcox, Jr.


ASIAN OVERVIEW


CONTENTS


Introduction

Ethnic tensions continued to pose serious terrorism concerns in South Asia in 1994. The Sri Lankan separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is widely believed to have been behind an October suicide bombing attack that killed a leading presidential candidate and 56 other people. Pakistan continued to provide support to some of the insurgents fighting in Indian-controlled Kashmir. Targeting of foreigners by Kashmiri militants resulted in several high-profile kidnappings in 1994, including the abduction of British and American hostages in October and the abduction of British hikers near Srinigar, Kashmir, in June. Pakistan continued to claim that India supported separatists in Sindh Province.

Instability in Afghanistan occasionally spilled over into Pakistan. Afghan mujahedin kidnapped 81 Pakistanis on a schoolbus in Peshawar in February. Pakistani soldiers stormed the bus and killed the three Afghan gunmen. More than 20 camps in Afghanistan that once trained mujahedin to fight the Soviets are now being used to train militant Arabs, Kashmiris, Tajiks, and Muslims for new areas of conflict. Several hundred veterans of the Afghan war have been implicated in the violence that has wracked Algeria and Egypt during the last several years. Many of the supporters of the blind Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, several of whom were convicted of the bombing of the World Trade Center, fought with or actively supported the Afghan mujahedin.

There were no attacks against US facilities in the Philippines in 1994. Muslim extremist guerrillas -- probably from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) -- kidnapped an American priest in July. He was rescued by Philippine Marines and members of another Muslim group. On 11 December a Philippine Airlines 747 en route from Manila to Tokyo was bombed, killing one person and injuring at least 10. Khmer Rouge insurgents posed a growing threat to travelers in Cambodia. Over the course of the year, the group kidnapped and killed at least six Westerners. An American was freed in May after one and one-half months in captivity. In Thailand, in March, police discovered a truck loaded with explosives in downtown Bangkok near the Israeli Embassy, which was probably the target of an attack that was aborted when the truck became involved in an accident, causing the driver to flee. One Iranian has been put on trial in the incident.


Afghanistan

Afghanistan, which lacks a functioning government, remains a training ground for Islamic militants committed to overthrowing regimes that maintain strong ties to Western governments. More than 20 camps in Afghanistan that once trained mujahedin to fight the Soviets are now being used to train militant Arabs, Kashmiris, Tajiks, and others for new areas of conflict. Most of these facilities -- located south and east of Kabul -- are overseen by the nominal Afghan Prime Minister, Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, or by one of his domestic rivals -- Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the leader of a small militant Afghan Wahhabi party, who is backed by several affluent foreign benefactors. Training in these camps focuses on tactics and techniques for conducting terrorist and insurgent operations, such as instruction on the use of sophisticated weapons, improvised explosives, boobytraps, and timing devices for bombs. The camps allow militants from throughout the world to train together, meet with new benefactors, and help foster relationships between otherwise disparate extremist groups.

Although only a few thousand veterans of the Afghan Jihad, along with a few hundred newly trained militants, are actively engaged in insurgent or terrorist activity worldwide, they are often responsible for raising the level of sophistication and destructiveness of extremist operations. Several hundred veterans of the Afghan war have been implicated in the violence that has wracked Algeria and Egypt during the last several years. Two of the leading Algerian extremists, Kamreddine Kherbane and Boudjemma Bounoua, participated in the Afghan Jihad. Many of the supporters of the blind Egyptian cleric, Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, several of whom were convicted of the bombing of the World Trade Center, fought with or actively supported the Afghan mujahedin. Many Islamists active in Egypt's two most violent extremist groups -- al-Gama'a al- Islamiyya and al-Jihad -- received training in Afghanistan.

The current Afghan regime -- deeply embroiled in its own struggle for survival -- has been unable to control or eliminate the training of extremists on its territory or terrorist use of the camps as safehavens. Some local Afghan leaders have taken some steps against the militants, but their efforts are limited by bickering, greed, and the militants' military and financial strength.


Cambodia

Diminished by defections and a declining support base, the Khmer Rouge increasingly turned toward banditry and terror in 1994. Khmer Rouge radio commentaries on several occasions threatened physical harm to Americans and other foreign nationals living in Cambodia. Travelers in some areas outside Phnom Penh, particularly remote rural districts, faced security threats from the Khmer Rouge and from bandits. An American was taken hostage and held by Khmer Rouge elements for one and one-half months but was eventually released unharmed. Many other civilians, however, were killed by the Khmer Rouge in 1994. The victims were mainly ordinary Cambodian villagers, but foreigners, including Thais, Vietnamese, and six Western tourists (three from Britain, two from Australia, and one from France), were killed by the Khmer Rouge in 1994.

India

India continues to face significant security problems as a result of insurgencies in Kashmir and the northeast. Targeting of foreigners by Kashmiri militants resulted in several high-profile kidnappings in 1994, including the abduction of British and American hostages in October and the abduction of British hikers near Srinagar, Kashmir, in June. There are credible reports of support by the Government of Pakistan for Kashmiri militants. The Government of India has been largely successful in controlling the Sikh separatist movement in Punjab State, and Sikh militants now only rarely stage attacks in India.

The Indian Government proceeded with the investigation and trial of suspects in the series of blasts that struck Bombay on 12 March 1993. On 5 August 1994, the government arrested a key suspect in the case, Yaqub Memon. The Memon family allegedly perpetrated the Bombay attack. The Government of India has claimed that Memon was carrying documents that incriminated Pakistan.


Pakistan

Pakistan continues to experience occasional violence as a result of instability in Afghanistan. Much of this violence occurs in Pakistan's northwest border region. On 20 February, Afghan mujahedin kidnapped 81 Pakistanis on a schoolbus in Peshawar. The hijackers ordered the busdriver to proceed to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's residence in Islamabad. Following extensive negotiations, Pakistani soldiers stormed the bus and killed the three Afghan gunmen. Some regions of Pakistan also suffer from heavy sectarian, political, and criminal violence, particularly Sindh Province and its capital, Karachi, and the Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

Pakistan recognizes the problems posed by Afghan mujahedin and sympathetic Arabs in the Pakistani regions that border Afghanistan. In 1994, Islamabad refused to extend the visas of many Arabs who had fought in the Afghan war and who had taken refuge in Pakistan's tribal areas and the North West Frontier Province. Pakistan also closed several nongovernmental organizations it suspected were being used as cover agencies for Islamic militants from the Middle East. Pakistan concluded an extradition treaty with Egypt in late 1994 with the express purpose of extraditing "Arab mujahedin" operating in Peshawar.

The Government of Pakistan acknowledges that it continues to give moral, political, and diplomatic support to Kashmiri militants but denies allegations of other assistance. There were credible reports in 1994, however, of official Pakistani support to Kashmiri militants. Some support came from private organizations such as the Jamaat-i-Islami, Pakistan's largest Islamic party. Pakistan condemned the kidnappings in June and October 1994 of foreign tourists by Kashmiri militants in India. Pakistan has claimed that India provides support for separatists in Sindh Province.


Philippines

There were no attacks against official US facilities in the Philippines in 1994, but Muslim extremist guerrillas -- probably from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) -- kidnapped an American priest, Clarence William Bertelsman, on 31 July. He was held for several hours before being rescued by Philippine Marines and members of the largest Muslim separatist group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). On 11 December a Philippine Airlines 747 en route from Manila to Tokyo was bombed, killing one person and injuring at least 10 others, mostly Japanese citizens. The Philippine Government has been trying to reach a negotiated settlement to both Communist and Muslim insurgencies and currently observes a cease-fire with the MNLF as talks continue.

Sri Lanka

The separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to plague the government in 1994, with insurgency and terrorism directed against senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders in the countryside and in Colombo as well. Despite the beginning of peace negotiations between the government and the LTTE, the Tigers continued to pose a significant terrorist threat. The Tigers are widely believed to be behind an October suicide bombing attack that killed a leading presidential candidate and 56 other people.

The LTTE has refrained from targeting Western tourists out of fear that foreign governments would crack down on Tamil expatriates involved in fundraising activities abroad. However, in April 1994 the Ellalan Force, an LTTE front group, claimed credit for bombing several major tourist hotels in Colombo. The blasts, which caused only minor damage and two injuries, probably were intended to damage Colombo's tourist industry rather than to harm Westerners. The Ellalan Force also claimed in August to have poisoned tea -- Sri Lanka's primary export -- with arsenic, although none was ever found. Threatening Sri Lanka's two leading economic activities demonstrates the Tigers' interest in economic terrorism. The Tigers possess the infrastructure to make good on most of their recent threats should the current peace talks with the government fail.


Thailand

Thai police discovered a truck loaded with an ammonium nitrate mixture and about 6 pounds of plastic explosives in downtown Bangkok on 17 March. The driver abandoned the truck after hitting another vehicle near the Israeli Embassy, which was probably the intended target. The Thai Government is prosecuting one Iranian in connection with the attempted bombing but concluded it does not have enough evidence to charge two other suspects. In southern Thailand, Muslim separatists, such as the Pattani United Liberation Front, continued to engage in low-level violence against the government.
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