In legal terms, “An act committed with any lethal weapon is classed as terrorism”. Inviting support for a terrorist person, group or organization addressing a gathering of terrorism sympathizers, or assisting in arranging a meeting where support is expressed for terrorist groups or financing of terrorist activists all come under the acts of terrorism. Terrorism has become the most un-natural, de-humanizing and politically destabilizing phenomenon of the 21st century. Terrorist movements are neither radical not revolutionary. They are destructive and usually stem from conservatism and feeling of revenge. Terrorism seems to have become endemic to modern society. It is generated by recurrent social crisis arising out of increasing marginalization of a section by indiscriminate spread of capitalism and free market economy through vaunted process of globalization, rising Islamic fundamentalism, availability of latest technology and know-how to the terrorist organizations, close interaction between various terrorist groups and organizations, availability of large finances through drug trafficking and lack of coordination between countries and want of common laws against terrorism.
Terrorism may of four type (a) criminal terrorism uses terrorism for material gain by encouraging drug trafficking and smuggling operations. (b) Psychic terrorism aims at archiving religious objectives. (c) Political terrorism conducts systematic use of violence to achieve political objectives. (d) War terrorism aims at slow attrition of adversary’s forces so as to destroy their ability to fight.
International terrorism is a post-cold war phenomenon when forces driven by religious sentiments and factional sub-nationalism appeared in the aftermath of bi-polarity. State sponsored terrorism received a fillip due to advanced military hardware. Terrorism acquired a different face during 1990’s. They started taking advantage of the openness of information technology and easy availability of sophisticated weapons not-with-standing the use of computers and access to chemical and biological agents. This extended their field of action from physical space to cyber space and from land, sea and air to human body. The current global terrorism has acquired specific identity which combines religious fervor with intent militant political ideology. They get financial support from clandestine trade in drugs and narcotics which are utilized for the purchase of arms. The narcotic terrorism is a double-edged sword and disrupts socio-economic development on the one hand and political order on the other.
With the disintegration of Soviet Union and cessation of cold war militant Muslim groups who were differently supported in the war against communism took a pan-Islamic shape. Armed volunteers emerged in different parts of the world from Bosania to Afghanistan and Pakistan in search of means to survive. It is believed that fulcrum of pan-Islamic terrorism was located in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The terrorism groups controlled by the inter services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan recruit volunteers from all Islamic countries and countries with Muslim population. Terrorist recruits by Taliban-Pakistan combine and supported by fundamentalist Islamic regimes have spread out in places like Kashmir, Chechnya, Dagestan, Bosania, Finjiang, with their networks in West Asia, Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, European Union, Bhutan and India. Their aim is to dominate the political scene in the sub-continent and to capture the resource-rich central Asia.
Since September 11, 2001 terrorism has shown a face like never before. Terrorism became the focus of global attention since bomb explosions at the U.S. embassy in Nairobi and Dares Salaam in 1998. the blowing up of the twin towers of the world Trade Center in New York killing 5000 people shows that terrorists have access to almost every weapon from biological, chemical and probably nuclear technology. Besides advantages of the open-nests in the September 11 attack as act of war. The U.S president Mr. George W. Bush emphasized that the US world respond as if it is a war and vowed that the US will lead the war on terrorism and that US will treat alike the terrorists and those who harbor them. The well planned attack on the twin terrorists and pentagon marked the beginning of a war on civilized humanity itself and more than proved that the problem has acquired international dimensions. The attack resulted in the destruction of top 155 multinational companies displacing 50,000 people and killing 5000 persons belonging to countries of the entire world creating political instability in central Asia due to US campaign against terrorism.
The United states Justice Department identified the highjackers. They were linked with the Saudi fugitive and terrorist master mind Osama Bin Laden and his organization Al-Quaeda who operating from Afghanistan under Taliban regime. Hence Bush administration gave an ultimation to the Taliban Mutates rulings Afghanistan to hand over Osama Bin Laden otherwise face consequences. “Operation enduring Freedom” was launched by the US to hunt down Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist group Al-Quaeda which resulted in the rout of Taliban regime. But Osama-Bin-Laden is yet to be apprehended. He is supposed to be hiding somewhere in Pakistan.
Osama-Bin-Laden is the most significant sponsored of Islamic extremist activities in the world today. He was born in 1957 in Saudi Arabia. He joined fight against Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and is said to have received training from CIA which aided Afghan rebels. He founded Al-Quada and focused on attack on US and its allies. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia for anti-government activities in 1991. He lived in Sudan for five years until the US pressurized Sudan to oust him. Then he lived in Afghanistan as a guest of Taliban regime. Terrorist activities linked with his organization Al-Quada are-
(i)Bombing of New York World Centre in 1993, (ii) Car bomb in Saudi Arabia in 1996, (iii) Bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tazania in 1998, (iv) Suicide bombing of USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 and (v) Attacks of WTC towers and pentagon in the US.
International terrorist organizations may be enumerated as-
- Al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist organization headed by Osama Bin Laden as described above aims at the destruction of the United States, Israel and India.
- Hizbullah, Lebanese state terrorist group’s aim is the creations of independent Islamic Lebanon by outsting any thing western. It has targeted US Embassy in Berirut, US Marine head quarter and Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.
- LTTE the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam aims at the creation of separate Tamil Land in Srilanka. In June 1991, India’s Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi was assassinated in 1993 Srilankan President Premadasa was their victim. In 1999 an attempt was made on the life of srilankan President Chadrika Kumaratunga. Between 1987 and 2000 it has carried out 168 suicide attacks in Srilanka and India.
- HAMAS, The Harket-el-Mukawma-el-Islamia aims at founding Islamic state in Palestine their home land. Israel has been their target so far.
- PIJ, the Palestine Islamic Jehad has so far inflicted 30 suicide attacks on Israel.
There are a number of terrorist organization recruiting and training militants against India particularly to disturb peace in Kashmir. Kashmir valley has been under the shadow of militancy since 1989. There is large infiltration of foreign mercenaries from across the border. Pakistan’s ISI spend Rs. 60 to 80 crores every year for running proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides youths from Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir a large number of heavily armed foreign militants are also operating in the state attacking military and civil targets. Pakistan’s regular army personnel are also operating in disguise as militants and civilians collecting intelligence about Indian army and air force movements. A new phenomenon of Fidayeen attacks have been added to the operating method of terrorists, various suicidal missions have been carried out by them which include attacks on Indian parliament, Akshardham Temple, Temples in Jammu and latest twin blasts in Bombay.
After September 11 attack the world realized the gravity and seriousness of the terrorist’s problem. Britain, Russia, India, Iran, China, NATO, the UN all pledged support to the United States in their campaign against terrorists. Pakistan has forced to support the US and out of compulsion condescendly offered full cooperation and bases for US forces. Pakistan’s motive was to prevent a hostile especially pro-India regime in Afghanistan and at the same time to save Kashmir militants from larger war on terrorism. The US put together an international coalition in its war against terrorism. Aim was to hunt down Osama-Bin-Laden and destroy the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan. It was also stressed that the operation will not be restricted to capture of Osama-Bin-Laden only but will extend to other countries to hunt down associated networks of terrorists.
The rout of the Taliban forces that were hardworking the Al-Qaeda organization finally broke the Taliban Osama axis. The Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan were destroyed and Afghanistan was no longer a haven for their activity. Most of the fighters of Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network were either killed or captured. But Osama-Bin-Laden himself with his family managed to escape and his whereabouts are not known till date.
India expressed solidarity with the United States and expressed its willingness to co-operate with the US in combating international terrorism. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said that the international community must hold Govt. fully responsible for terrorism which originates from their countries. Hence to do away with the terrorists the world community must isolate and compel states sponsoring terrorism to desist from doing so. India also expressed the need for international laws to facilitate extradition of wanted terrorists. India made a diplomatic move to ensure cessation of Pakistan support to militants in Kashmir.
Pakistan was under compulsion to extend unequivoed support to the US action in Afghanistan to prove its integrity on the one hand and the state of economy, the sustainability of its strategic assets of nuclear weapons and missiles and to seek support in Kashmir cause. Pakistan is now seen as an epicenter for war against terrorism by the US who realizes that the sources of terrorist threat lie in the breeding ground of extremism and terrorism that Pakistan has nurtured in the last two decades. As such the US cannot eliminate the threats to its security by leaving Pakistan free to retain its terrorist leverage against India. The US hopes to coerce the Pakistan military regime to reverse the course and give up its culture of terrorism and extremism.
The terrorist attack on Indian parliament exposed the double hand policy of the United States of America. Indian was more than justified in proclaiming that Pakistan was a perfect target for pre-emptive strike just as US was doing against Iraq. Indian leaders openly declared that it was Pakistan rather than Iraq that should have been proper target for a pre-emptive war. It was argued that if possession of weapons of mass destruction, a lack of democratic political structure and sponsorship of acts of cross-border terrorism were cause of military action against Iraq, Pakistan was a far greater offender requiring even stronger action. Thereupon United States with extreme caution warned Pakistan that any attempts to draw parallels between Kashmir and Iraq situations are futile and wrong and India was strongly urged to declare that his country’s soil would not be used for carrying out acts of violence in Jammu and Kashmir. To avert the crisis the US president asked the Pakistani president to live up to his worlds and that he needed to stop infiltration across the line of control and he must do so. Thus General Mushrraf faces the twin challenges of providing the success of his anti-terror strategy in Pakistan and his political survival in the face of internationalized radicalism.
The global spread of terrorism indicates that nation cannot cope up with this threat on individual basis. A time has come for the nations to pool up their resources and defines a clear cut strategy to counter this dragon. Terrorism will have to be tackled without any regard to regional, political, religious or ethnic loyalties. Global co-operation is a necessity but alliances may not be successful in view of various political or religious implications. An organization under the control of the UN may be set up with adequate financial resources and staff. The United Nations along should be authorized to sanction military action against states sponsoring terrorism. Effective and specialized intelligence services must be utilized to tackle this gigantic problem. And finally international terrorism should be evaluated objectively without any political or religious affiliations. Terrorist acts must be well defined and definitions thereof should not change according to the situations.