Rogue Pakistani Soldiers....
The new headache for everybody...
A prominent Pakistani military commando-turned-terrorist mastermind who was reported killed in a US Predator strike apparently survived the attack and has re-surfaced even as American attention has turned to the growing number of jihadis and extremists from Pakistan’s armed forces.
Ilyas Kashmiri, a former Pakistan Special Services Group commando and a veteran of the Islamabad-backed separatist movement in Kashmir, has promised retribution against the ''U.S and its proxies,'' an American terrorism watchdog reported Tuesday, after the armyman-turned-jihadi gave an interview to a Pakistani journalist to show that he was alive and ticking.
Kashmiri is very likely to be directly linked to last weekend's terror assault on Pakistan's Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi masterminded by ''Dr Usman'' (who is also from the Pakistani military), according to Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal, a publication which tracks terrorism in the region.
The story puts the focus on several emerging aspects of Pakistan’s existential association and struggle with terrorism: The growing number of Pakistani military personnel who are turning rogue; and their ethnic origins, mostly form Punjab province.
Also of concern to intelligence analysts is Pakistan’s revolving door policy that frees or cuts loose terrorists – as had happened with Mumbai massacre mastermind Hafeez Mohammed Saeed this week – who eventually return to bite the Pakistani establishment in the back.
It transpires now that Dr Usman, aka Mohammed Aqeel, the leader of the fedayeen attack on Pakistan’s military headquarters last weekend, was in police custody last year for his involvement in the Marriott hotel bomb attack but was released by authorities under unclear circumstances. Ditto for Kashmiri, who was also in custody before he was released.
Kashmiri, who Roggio says is considered by US intelligence to be one of al Qaida's most dangerous commanders and listed as the fourth most wanted terrorist by Pakistan's Interior Ministry, is not the first to resurface after being reported killed in a Predator strike. The infamous Ayman Al-Zawahiri and shoe-bomber Rasheed Rauf belong in the same category.
But more worryingly for intelligence analysts is the fact that an increasing number of jihadi masterminds are coming from Pakistan’s armed forces, which commentators till recently described a mostly liberal and professional.