U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
1996 APRIL: PATTERNS OF GLOBAL TERRORISM, 1995
Office of the Secretary
Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Philip C. Wilcox, Jr.
The most serious terrorist attack in Asia in 1995 was the nerve gas
attack on the Tokyo subway system in March carried out by the religious
cult Aum Shinrikyo. The attack - the first large-scale use of chemical
agents by terrorists - apparently was meant to destabilize Japan and pave
the way for the cult to seize control of the nation. The attack killed
12, injured thousands, and damaged Japan's sense of security. Japanese
authorities have since arrested the leaders of Aum Shinrikyo and
suppressed the organization. The Khmer Rouge murdered a US tourist in
Cambodia in January, the only terrorist-related death of a US citizen in
East Asia last year.
The East Asia/Pacific region was also the locale of a plot, discovered
by the Philippine Government, by Ramzi Ahmed Yousef and his accomplices
to assassinate the Pope and plant bombs on US airliners flying over the
In the South Asia region, the continued presence of Islamic militant
training camps in Afghanistan contributed to terrorist incidents in
Europe, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and South Asia. Camps are
supported by nearly all Afghan factions, and the nominal Rabbani
government does not exercise control or authority over much of
Afghanistan. The Rabbani regime has been accused by the Government of
Pakistan of sponsoring a spate of bombings and assassinations in the
Peshawar area in late October and early November.
A group of Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri terrorists kidnapped six Westerners
in Indian-held Kashmir in July, demanding the release of militants
belonging to the Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA), a militant group based in
Pakistan. One hostage was killed and another escaped. Other Kashmiri
groups claimed responsibility for bombings at Republic Day celebrations
in Kashmir in January and at the office of the BBC correspondant in
Kashmir in September. Credible reports continue to indicate official
Pakistani support for militant groups fighting in Kashmir, including
some groups that engage in terrorism, such as the HUA. The Sikh
terrorist group, Babbar Khalsa, assassinated the Punjab Chief Minister
Two US Consulate employees were assassinated in Karachi in March. The
Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad was destroyed by a bomb in November, and
three Egyptian groups claimed responsibility. In February, Pakistan
extradited Ramzi Yousef, alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center
bombing, to the United States.
Afghanistan, which lacks an effective or recognized central government,
remained a training ground for Islamic militants and terrorists in 1995.
Nearly all of the factions competing for political power, including the
nominal government in Kabul led by Burhanuddin Rabbani, are involved to
some extent in harboring or facilitating camps that have trained
terrorists from many nations who have been active in worldwide terrorist
activity. Terrorists who trained in camps in Afghanistan perpetrated
attacks in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, and South Asia,
including the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the attempted
assassination of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Ethiopia in June,
bombings in France by Algerian militants, and the Manila-based plot to
attack Western interests. Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, suspected of involvement
in this plot as well as the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, is
linked to Afghan training. The group that claimed responsibility for the
bombing in November of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, also
has extensive ties to the Afghan network.
Individuals who trained in Afghanistan in 1995 were involved in wars or
insurgencies in Kashmir, Tajikistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, and the
Philippines. In Tajikistan, the government claimed in May to have
arrested a group of Afghan-trained Tajiks who were responsible for
attacking a bus carrying Russian border guards in Dushanbe in February.
Manila claims that veterans of Afghan camps are working with Philippine
opposition groups that attacked and destroyed a village in April.
The Rabbani regime in Kabul has done little to curb the training of
foreign militants. Indeed, one regime backer, Abd al-Rasul Sayyaf,
continues to harbor and train potential terrorists in his camps in
Afghanistan and Pakistan; the Government of Pakistan raided his
facilities near Peshawar in November after the bombing of the Egyptian
Embassy in Islamabad. The Rabbani regime did arrest foreign militants
from camps run by other factions. Many remain in jail in Kabul, but some
have been released.
Kabul has been accused by Islamabad of sponsoring a spate of bombings in
the Peshawar area in late October and early November. Pakistani
authorities claim to have arrested one Afghan in connection with the
first bombing incident. The Taliban, an Afghan opposition movement that
Kabul has accused Islamabad of supporting, forced a privately chartered
Russian-flagged transport aircraft from Tatarstan to land on 3 August,
and the seven-man crew was still held hostage in Qandahar at year's end.
The Taliban has claimed that the crew members are prisoners of war,
since the aircraft was carrying munitions for the Kabul regime. The
group has demanded that, in exchange for the crew, Russia cease its aid
to Kabul and provide information on thousands of Afghans who the Taliban
claim have been missing since the Afghan-Soviet war.
The Khmer Rouge (KR) continued to decline in strength, relying on rural
banditry and terror to support its policy of undermining the duly
elected government. The KR threat was strongest in the north and west,
particularly along the Thai border. However, in this region there is no
official US presence and only a small number of US citizens or other
Westerners, who work mostly with the UN and NGOs. Nevertheless, on 15
January a group of bandits, believed to have included Khmer Rouge,
killed a US citizen, Susan Ginsburg Hadden, wounded her husband, and
killed her Cambodian guide while the victims were touring temple areas
near Angkor Wat. Several people were tried and sentenced to 15-to-20-
year prison terms in connection with the killings. The government also
followed up on past KR atrocoties; six Khmer Rouge were sentenced to 15-
year terms (five in absentia) for the murders of two Britons and an
Australian in April 1994.
India continues to face significant security problems as a result of
insurgencies in Kashmir and the northeast. A group of Kashmiri and non-
Kashmiri terrorists kidnapped six Westerners - two US citizens, two
Britons, a German, and a Norwegian - hiking near Srinagar, Kashmir, in
July. The Norwegian hostage was beheaded, one US citizen escaped, and
the others - still held captive at year's end - have been threatened with
execution if India does not release several prisoners belonging to the
Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA), a militant group headquartered in Pakistan.
Bombings claimed by Kashmiri groups occurred throughout the year,
including explosions in a stadium in Kashmir during Republic Day
festivities on 26 January. The targets were primarily Indian Government
officials, military offices, and infrastructure facilities, but most of
those killed and wounded were civilians. Kashmiri terrorists also
targeted journalists in Srinagar. An AFP correspondent in Srinagar was
killed on 7 September by a package bomb intended for the BBC
correspondent. There are credible reports of official Pakistani support
for militants fighting in Kashmir, including for the groups that claimed
responsibility for the bombings.
In October, India signed an intelligence-sharing agreement with Egypt to
combat international terrorism and organized crime.
The Government of India has been largely successful in controlling the
Sikh separatist movement in Punjab State, but Sikh groups committed
several acts of terrorism in India in 1995. The Babbar Khalsa group
assassinated the Punjab Chief Minister outside his offices in Chandigarh
on 31 August. Another Sikh group, the Khalistan Liberation Force,
claimed responsibility for the bombing of three civilian targets in New
Delhi and Panjpit on 26 September. Indian authorities suspect that the
same Sikh group is responsible for a bombing in New Delhi on 21
November, which was claimed by both Sikh and Kashmiri groups. India
claims that Pakistan harbors and supports Sikh militant groups. Pakistan
claims that India supports a Pakistani separatist group in Sindh
Province, which Islamabad claims has carried out terrorist attacks in
In 1995, Japan suffered the world's first large-scale terrorist chemical
gas attack when a Japanese religious cult, Aum Shinrikyo or Aum Supreme
Truth, attacked the Tokyo subway system on 20 March. Five subway trains
were simultaneously attacked, killing 12 persons and sending about 5,500
to area hospitals for treatment of symptoms of chemical poisoning from
sarin gas. Foreigners, including two US citizens, one Swiss, one
Irishman, and two Australians, were among those who sought treatment for
chemical exposure. After an investigation, the Japanese police also
charged the Aum for the sarin gas attack on June 1994 in Matsumoto that
killed seven and injured about 500. Most of the suspected perpetrators
of the gas attack and most of the group's leaders - including its founder
Shoko Asahara - have been arrested and are awaiting trial.
On 15 November, an unknown perpetrator placed explosives on a powerline
pylon, causing minor damage but no injury or power outage to a US
military housing complex near Tokyo, five days before President Clinton
was scheduled to visit the city.
Two US employees of the US Consulate in Karachi were killed by unknown
gunmen on 8 March. On 19 November, the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad was
destroyed by a car bomb, for which three Egyptian militant opposition
groups claimed responsibility. Pakistan continues to experience
terrorist-related violence as a result of domestic conflicts and
instability in Afghanistan. Pakistan claimed that the current Afghan
regime was behind a spate of bombings and assassinations in the Peshawar
area in October and November. Pakistan claims that India provides
support for separatists in Sindh Province, especially in Karachi, where
terrorism and other violence resulted in over 100 deaths each month
Pakistan took steps in 1995 to curb the activities of Afghan mujahedin
and sympathetic Arabs and Pakistanis in the Pakistani regions that
border Afghanistan. In February, Pakistan arrested and extradited to the
United States Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, suspected of masterminding the World
Trade Center bombing in 1993 and a plot against US airlines in East Asia
in 1995. Pakistan's discovery through subsequent investigations that
Yousef had plotted to assassinate Prime Minister Bhutto led to arrests
of his associates throughout Pakistan. Islamabad also undertook a
partial crackdown in several Pakistani cities on nongovernmental
organizations suspected of aiding militant organizations and terrorists.
Under an extradition treaty with Egypt signed in late 1994, Pakistan
returned to Egypt several suspected terrorists before the Egyptian
Embassy bombing. As a result of this bombing, Pakistan rounded up
suspects and their associates in several Pakistani cities, including a
refugee camp in Pakistan run by Afghan leader Abd al-Rasul Sayyaf.
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 continued to be credible reports
in 1995, however, of official Pakistani support to militants fighting in
Kashmir, including Pakistani, Afghan, and Arab nationals, some of whom
engage in terrorism. One Pakistan-backed group, Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA),
is believed to be linked to Al-Faran, the group that claimed
responsibility for the kidnapping in July in Kashmir of two US citizens,
two Britons, a German, and a Norwegian. One US citizen escaped. The
Norwegian was later beheaded, and at year's end the other hostages were
still being held. In October there were reports that HUA was involved in
an arms-smuggling ring with Pakistani military officers accused of
plotting to overthrow the Bhutto government. Other Pakistan-backed
groups claimed responsibility for numerous bombings in Kashmir,
including one against foreign journalists.
The Philippine Government continued its efforts to negotiate a
settlement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF); its cease-
fire with the group mostly was observed while the talks continued. Other
Islamists and leftist groups, however, continued to use terrorism to
achieve their aims.
On 6 January, Philippine police in Manila discovered a plot by foreign
Islamic extremists to place bombs on US airliners flying over the
Pacific. They also made plans to assassinate the Pope, who was about to
visit the Philippines, and to attack foreign embassies. The plots were
directed by Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the World
Trade Center bombing in New York City in February 1993. Yousef escaped
but was later arrested in Pakistan and extradited to the United States.
Abdul Hakim Murad, another suspected conspirator, was arrested by
Philippine officials and handed over to the United States.
On 26 March the leftist Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) hurled a grenade at
the Singapore Airlines offices in Manila, damaging an armored car in the
parking lot of an adjacent bank. The group claimed the attack was to
show its displeasure with Singapore's decision to execute a Philippine
maid who had pleaded guilty to murder.
In December threats from the Abu Sayyaf Group led Philippine authorities
to arrest 30 Filipinos and foreigners allegedly engaged in plans to
carry out terrorist attacks in Manila. In response to Abu Sayyaf and ABB
activities, the Philippine Government urged passage of legislation
designed to facilitate police counterterrorist operations. Public
opposition to the legislation, however, makes quick passage unlikely.
Also in December, the ABB carried out three ambushes, resulting in the
death of a prominent Philippine-Chinese industrialist, his driver, and a
small boy. ABB claimed the attacks were in response to labor violations
at factories owned by the murdered industrialist and others. President
Ramos called the attacks "a declaration of war" and ordered police to
high alert, resulting in the arrest of a number of ABB operatives.
The separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued
to plague the government in 1995, with insurgency and terrorism directed
against senior Sri Lankan political and military leaders, economic
infrastructure-related facilities, and civilians. The LTTE withdrew from
government-initiated peace talks in April and renewed its attacks. The
government then launched the largest offensive of the 12-year war.
Although the LTTE suffered heavy casualties, and at least temporarily
lost its main base on the Jaffna Peninsula, it continued to pose a
serious terrorist threat. In October, in their first attack on Sri
Lanka's economic infrastructure in several years, the Tigers attacked
oil and natural gas storage facilities in the Colombo suburbs and
significantly reduced Sri Lanka's oil storage capability. The Tigers
also conducted or planned suicide bombings against Indian Prime Minister
Rao, Sri Lankan Army headquarters, other senior military and government
officials, and government offices in Colombo.
The LTTE has refrained from targeting Western tourists possibly out of
fear that foreign governments would crack down on Tamil expatriates
involved in fundraising activities abroad. In July, however, the Ellalan
Force, an LTTE front group, exploded bombs in Colombo's zoological
gardens, in a park, and on a beach frequented by tourists; there were no
casualties. They intended to damage the tourist trade rather than to
harm foreigners. These attacks followed a threat by the Ellalan Force to
carry out bomb strikes in Colombo unless the government agreed to
investigate the military's alleged use of civilians as human shields.