Making it deadly

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Naimat Khan

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KARACHI: Terrorists in Pakistan do not rely on industrial grade bombs. Instead, to target both law enforcers and ordinary civilians, they have relied on their own specialized cadres to make different kinds of bombs. On April 12, 2016, Karachi Police’s Counter Terror Department unearthed a facility used to make bombs in the Gadap town. In the raid one bomb maker named Muhammad Mujtaba aka Rehan was eliminated. One of his accomplices, named Abdul Saboor aka Hamad was killed, whereas anther, named Muhammad Murtaza, was arrested. Police also recovered 80 kg of explosive material, circuits, ball bearings, bottle bombs, tennis ball bombs, bomb manufacturing material, laptop, memory cards, and USBs.

Raja Umar Khattab, senior counter terrorism official who led the raid, told this scribe that the arrested Muhammad Murtaza aka Abu Huraira claims that the dead Rehan was the last expert bomb maker alive in the city. Rehan was the protege of Hashim aka Babu, a master bomb marker with 14 years of experience, especially car bombs. Babu was killed in a gunfight with the police in April 2015.

After Babu – who had put together the bomb manufacturing setup in Gadap town and supplied explosive devices to one Abdus Salam Sindhi of Liaquatabad – was killed, the Counter Terror Department’s assessment was that it had set back AQIS’s bomb making capability significantly. “After that shoot out, I thought that this was it. As I had extensively worked on hunting the bomb makers and dented all three groups – the brainwashers, the hit-men and bomb makers – of Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), I believed that no locally made lethal weapon will be used by terrorists, at least for next couple of years,” Khattab told The Frontier Post.

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But six months later, on October 17, 2016, the police were surprised when terrorists hurled hand grenades at an Imambargah in Liaquatabad killing one child and leaving several women hurt. Media reported it as cracker blast. “For a while I believed that my assessment after April had been wrong,” Khattab told and added “but when we arrested Ishaq Booby and Asim Capri, accused of Amjad Sabri’s murder, they disclosed that they had hit the Shia Majlis with grenade having ball bearing wrapped to it”.

“The terrorists had wrapped ball bearings with it for ensuring it results maximum fatalities.” It was clear to Khattab then that Taliban and AQIS were innovating around their constraints.

In March 2013, the BBC Urdu first reported terrorists – normally knowing for using Russian made hand grenades and smoke grenades – were using the tennis ball bomb. The tennis ball bomb was an invention of the Taliban, according to the Police, working like a small bomb or cracker but had a bigger sound impact. Taliban increased its lethality by adding ball bearings of 2mm and nails. Such tennis ball bombs were made at the factory in Gadap Town.

The loss of the bomb making facility at Gadap is likely to hurt the Taliban as it comes on the back of sustained counter terror efforts by the law enforcement agencies.

“We have always known the TTP uses local bomb making factories, but with the success of Zarb-e-Azb, we know that their capabilities have been decimated,” according to Khalid Muhammad, Director General – CommandEleve, adding, “We also know that they have ‘imported’ bomb makers from AQAP and IS Khorasan to give them a more logistic advantage in quick hit attacks with IEDs, much like the tennis ball or shoe bomb”.

Muhammad is of the view that the security agencies must shut down capabilities of terrorists comprehensively, which they are currently doing.

“Second, we must get ahead of their technology by understanding what technology these groups have used in other battle spaces like Iraq and Syria,” he concludes.

They are for maximum terrorism, whether inventing new or adding more lethality to the factory-made, the terrorists will continue their search for deadly weapons to use, said another analyst.

Published in The Frontier Post 

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TTP Commander Adnan Rashid plans to attack Musharraf

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Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Adnan Rashid, a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander and mastermind of suicide attack on former military dictator in Rawalpindi in 2007 has now planned to target Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf in Karachi, reveals an intelligence report.

Adnan Rashid, a former junior technician of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and resident of Chota Lahore in district Swabi in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, had escaped from Bannu Jail on April 15, 2012 in a bid to what is called the huge jailbreak in the history of the country.

The TTP Commander, who was serving jail term for attacking former president General (R) Pervez Musharraf, immediately formed Ansar Al-Aseer’ (friends of prisoners), a fidayeen force after his freedom from the hail for fleeing other militants from jails.

The high profile militant was reported to have been arrested on 16 July during the ongoing Zarb-i-Azb operation by Pakistan armed forces but the reports later turned out to be untrue.
Now the intelligence reports by top Pakistan spy agencies state that Adnan Rashid is busy in arranging funds and raising a force of Fidayeens for attacking on former military dictator on his way from his home to hospital in Karachi.

The intelligence agencies of the country in their reports have sent an alert to headquarters 5 corps of Pakistan Army, Sindh Home department, and headquarters of Sindh rangers and Sindh Police, warning them all to take extra-measures for the security of Musharraf in order to foil the likely bid by terrorists. “It has reliably been learnt that the miscreants of TTP are planning to target former President General (R) Pervez Musharraf at Karachi during his visit to hospital in near future” the report states.

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According to the information, unidentified miscreants under the command of Adnan Rashid were collecting funds and preparing for suicide operation in Karachi against the ex-President Pervez Musharraf. According to report the former president of Pakistan General (R) Pervez Musharraf has planned to visit a hospital for treatment during unspecified period and five unidentified “Fidayeens” are being prepared to conduct planned suicide attack on him.

The concerned quarters have been directed to take extreme vigilance and heightened security measures for ensuring safety of General (R) Pervez Musharraf. The former military dictator has been accused of high-treasons for which special court has been formed by the government in Islamabad. Musharraf after being admitted in military hospital in Rawalpindi for some months, shifted to Karachi where he is staying with his daughter.

Recently, his mother, Begum Zareen also arrived in Pakistan despite her ailment to see her son. Musharraf is doing his treatment in a Karachi hospital where he goes for his tests whereas routine check-up is being done at his home.

The story was originally published here