South Asia Research and Analysis Studies

RAW-trained NDS involved in terrorism
Waqar Ahmed

There is no denying that Pakistan has been deeply affected by terrorist activities of all shades and hues. Thousands of people have been killed and many more injured in such terrorist incidents, which have been the hallmark of mainly Indian intelligence and some other groups supported by unfriendly foreign countries. However, due to action by the Pakistan Army in the shape of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, terrorism on the whole has been greatly reduced in the country. This has been very much admired by all sections of the society, who are happy not only on successful operations in the Fata areas but also in Karachi, where target killings, explosions, gang warfare and extortion have been largely curbed.

Nevertheless, occasionally there have been terrorist incidents in the country though of much lesser frequency and intensity. In many cases, however, the terrorist attempts were foiled much before they could be put into operation. Recently, in Tarnol, near Islamabad, Rangers, intelligence operatives and police confiscated large quantity of explosives, detonators, cables and weapons. During the successful operation, security agencies arrested 69 people, including five hardcore terrorists.
What was shocking was that the arrested terrorists during interrogation revealed that they had direct links with the Afghan intelligence agency NDS i.e. the National Directorate of Security. While not much is known about the NDS, it is a recognised fact that it is manned by many operatives who were trained or were once part of former Afghan intelligence KHAD. According to sources, many senior Afghan intelligence operatives have been trained by RAW or have close links with the Indian intelligence, which is beyond any shadow of doubt involved in most terrorist activities in Pakistan. The NDS reports directly to the Afghan president. The Tarnol incident has established that the Afghan intelligence has been openly supporting sabotage and terrorism in the country. There were other cases before in the country in which the NDS, which may have around 30,000 staffers, was found to be involved.
Earlier, it was reported that Pakistani diplomats and staffers of the country's embassy in Kabul were forced to restrict their movements following a kidnapping bid of an official and growing incidents of random harassment. The pressure on Pakistani diplomats and embassy personnel has been apparently mounted by the NDS personnel. According to a media report, "Some individuals, presumably part of Afghanistan's security apparatus, routinely hurled abuses at Pakistani embassy officials while passing near their home or the embassy compound. The situation has forced some embassy staffers who live outside the embassy compound to remain inside their homes."
It is believed that the harassment of Pakistani officials in Afghanistan started after President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah and the NDS blamed Pakistan for the deadly terrorist attacks in Kabul and the rest of the country. Pakistan has strongly condemned the attacks. On August 23, Afghan Ambassador Janan Mosazai was told by the Foreign Office in Islamabad to ensure the safety and security of Pakistan embassy officials and nationals in Afghanistan.
According to figures made available by international agencies, in six months of the current year, there have been 4,921 civilian casualties in Afghanistan. These include 1,592 civilian deaths and 3,329 injured, a rise of 1 per cent compared with January-June 2014. The casualties among women are up by 23 percent and casualties among children up by 13 percent. It is a sad development that highlights the inefficiency of NDS in tackling terrorism in its own country. In the context of current events, the instantly recognizable footprints of NDS found in terror activities in Pakistan are unmistakably a sadder development.