A Review of Abubakar Siddique’s The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 12
June 13, 2014 03:24 PM Age: 7 days By: Brian Glyn Williams

For decades, works on the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan were limited to an aging generation of Western academicians tucked away in ivory towers. These scholars carried out their field research in the region prior to the 1979 Soviet invasion. Few of this generation of deskbound researchers took the time to learn an Afghan language, nor did they bother to renew their links to Afghanistan due to the perceived risks of traveling to this country.

Against this tradition stands The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan by Abubakar Siddique. Siddique is a Pashtun who grew up in the Afghan-Pakistani borderlands speaking Pashto and personally experiencing the conflicts that convulsed his homeland from the 1980s through to today’s wars against the Taliban. As a Westernized Pashtun journalist who has worked for Radio Free Europe, Siddique is uniquely positioned to straddle the tribal world he grew up in and the modern Western world. The fact that he is able to critically analyze his own society using the skilled prose of a journalist (as opposed to the impenetrable “academese” of a scholar) makes his volume all the more useful. In fact the Pashtun Question is probably the most important work on the Pashtuns since Sir Olaf Caroe’s classic 1958 field study on the subject, The Pathans. Continue reading


Karachi Airport attack indicates Pakistan Taliban will expand targets to include industrial and aviation assets over next six months

08 June 2014


Pakistani security personnel surround Karachi airport following an attack by TTP gunmen disguised as police guards who stormed a terminal used for VIPs and cargo on 8 June 2014 in Pakistan. Source: PA

Key Points


  • On 8 June 2014, 28 people – including 10 attackers – were killed when militants affiliated to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) infiltrated and attacked the cargo terminal at Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport.
  • The attack, which was the largest operation carried out so far by the TTP this year, indicates that militants are now expanding their targets to include key strategic industrial assets and civilian airports, in addition to the established targets of security forces, government institutions, and minority communities.
  • Militant attacks are likely to sharply increase in the coming two months, as the TTP leadership seeks to retaliate against government attempts to divide the organisation, and to pre-empt an expected offensive in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Continue reading

Al Qaeda seizes the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority?

Night View of India-Pakistan Borderlands (NASA...

Night View of India-Pakistan Borderlands (NASA, International Space Station, 08/21/11) (Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)

Mr Prime Minister, development is not just launching mega-projects. Development also means expansion of freedoms and enjoyment of fundamental human rights


The national media was already consumed by agency-fuelled warfare when the breaking news of Altaf Hussain’s arrest by Scotland Yard over money laundering charges further shrank any space for other important social issues. While the finance minister Ishaq Dar was upbeat with economic growth and current account figures, a very retrogressive activity was in operation right under the nose of the government. In a swift and clandestine move the operatives of al Qaeda masquerading as officials of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) banned all social media websites that had been campaigning against extremism and militancy in the country. While we were clamouring for lifting illegal restrictions imposed on a private television channel and condemned attacks on journalists, another draconian move has silenced social media pages belonging to progressive and secular voices. These include ‘Laal’, ‘Roshni’, and many more. Interestingly the websites run by banned outfits still flourish and disseminate hate and militancy under the blissful guardianship of the PTA. Continue reading


Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 12, No. 31, February 3, 2014

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal





Terror Unbridled
Ajit Kumar Singh
Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Management

Terrorism in Pakistan has already resulted in at least 460 fatalities, including 241 civilians, 86 Security Force (SF) personnel and 133 militants in just the first month of 2014, according to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). 38 major incidents (each resulting in three or more fatalities) have inflicted at least 309 fatalities, and 70 explosions have also been recorded, accounting for 167 deaths. In one of the worst attacks of 2014 targeting civilians, at least 24 Shia pilgrims returning from Iran were killed and another 40 were injured in a bomb attack targeting their bus in the Khusak area of Kanak in the Mastung District of Balochistan Province, on January 21, 2014. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Clearly, the ‘terror industry’ that was established by Islamabad decades ago with the primary intention of exporting mujahideen into neighbouring countries, including India and Afghanistan, to secure Pakistan‘s perceived ‘strategic interests’, continues to thrive. This vast misadventure, however, turned progressively against its very creators, and, since 9/11, Pakistan has itself become the increasing target of several formerly state sponsored terrorist formations that have ‘gone rogue’, even as international pressure has forced Islamabad to undertake visibly reluctant operations against some of these groups. The process escalated after the creation of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) operations in 2007, causing a spiral of violence that now threatens the very existence of the country. Pakistan’s undiminished tolerance for religious extremists has not just destroyed lives and alienated entire communities; it is destroying Pakistani society and the very idea and edifice of the nation.

Continue reading

Camp culture: Terrorist training

English: Photograph of the Zhawar Kili Al-Badr...

English: Photograph of the Zhawar Kili Al-Badr Camp (West), Afghanistan, used by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and Gen. Henry H. Shelton, U.S. Army, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, to brief reporters in the Pentagon on the U.S. military strike on a chemical weapons plant in Sudan and terrorist training camps in Afghanistan on Aug. 20, 1998. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)














Date – 29th January 2014
ByAndrew Staniforth – Police Oracle

Officers need to understand the law in order to help keep their communities safe, writes Andrew Staniforth.

Over recent years the police and intelligence agencies have increasingly focused upon terrorist training camps. It is important for police officers to understand what may constitute such a place – at home or overseas – to ensure they are keeping their communities safe from contemporary terrorist activity.

Training camps

On one level, terrorist training facilities can relate to camps in the mountainous border regions of Pakistan or Afghanistan. They may also be located within Iraq, or more recently in Syria, where individuals attend from all over the world to join rebel groups and fight for their chosen cause. These camps are located in secure locations, they are lightweight, very mobile and often move around to avoid identification and capture.

On another level, terrorist training camps may relate to an outward bound centre or paintballing facility located in the UK, where terrorist organisations use the cover of legitimate businesses to conduct training to develop and improve their capabilities, and more worryingly, progress the recruitment and radicalisation of vulnerable British citizens.

Continue reading

A Post-Mortem Analysis of Turkistani Amir Emeti Yakuf: A Death that Sparked More Questions than Answers

Publication: Volume: 3 Issue: 10 October 31, 2012 06:04 PM


Emeti Yakuf (Ministry of Public Security, People’s Republic of China)

In late August, a series of drone strikes in Northern Waziristan were reported to have killed a number of jihadist leaders. Most media attention focused on the possible demise of Badruddin Haqqani, son of the fabled mujahedeen leader, with conflicting reports about whether he had died or not. Almost as an afterthought, some of the stories highlighted that the strikes were believed to have also killed Emeti Yakuf, the current leader of the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) (Dawn, August 24). This overshadowed death reflected the generally low profile that TIP is often given amongst jihadist groups, and highlighted once again the difficulties in obtaining information about the mysterious China-focused terrorist organization.

Emeti Yakuf first achieved prominence in the wake of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS) published a list of eight individuals it identified as members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). [1] Considered by the government as a “key member” of the organization, he was reported to also use the aliases Aibu Adubureheman and Saifula. According to Chinese MPS information, he was born on March 14, 1965, and was reported to have fled Xinjiang for “a South Asian country” (believed to be Pakistan) in November 1996. Once there, he is believed to have risen rapidly in the ranks of the organization and by 1998 was a leader in the group. By 2001, he was directing operations, recruiting individuals and generally serving the organization in a leadership role (Xinhua, October 21, 2008).

Continue reading

Terrorism Bookshelf: Top 150 Books on Terrorism and Counterterrorism


Books (Photo credit: vasta)

Vol 6, No 2 (2012)    Selected and reviewed by Joshua Sinai

Terrorist rebellions, in all their configurations, constitute first order national security threats facing the international community. This was especially the case following September 2001, when al Qaida demonstrated that it had world class ambitions to inflict catastrophic damages on its adversaries. Although substantially degraded militarily and geographically dispersed since then, al-Qaida, its affiliates and allies around the world continue to wage their insurgencies, whether localized or transnational. Of great concern is that not only have they succeeded in embedding themselves with terrorist networks that are spearheading internal conflicts in weak and failed states, such as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, but as an ideological movement they have been able to radicalize new generations of adherents around the world using cyberspace, including social media.

In another development, terrorist targeting in other conflicts, such as the Palestinian-Israeli arena, is primarily localized against Israel, although as demonstrated by Hizballah‘s rocket guerrilla warfare against Israel in their summer 2006 war and Hamas’s firing of rockets against Israel’s southern towns since then, terrorist warfare continues to evolve, for instance, from suicide bombings to firing rockets over great distances. In other conflict zones, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorists are resorting to placing IEDs against their adversaries.

Even counterterrorism campaigns now span the spectrum of latest trends in warfare technology, from deploying specially equipped special operations forces to launching aerial drones that can remotely target terrorist operatives in far-away locations.

Moreover, the Internet has provided terrorist groups and their supporters a new virtual space to conduct activities that were previously restricted to “physical” space, such as radicalization, recruitment, fundraising, and even command and control of operations, thereby enabling them to bypass physical borders where national governments have vastly upgraded their defenses. As a result, the worldwide reach of groups such as al Qaida and its affiliates has led to what are termed “self-starter” home-grown cells in Western Europe, North America, and elsewhere, although foreign terrorist groups still retain some influence over their operations.

To gain an analytical understanding of the origins, magnitude, and evolution of the terrorist threats around the world and how to counteract them, the academic and public policy communities have produced a plethora of books on terrorism in general, the groups that engage in terrorist warfare, the extremist religious movements that drive individuals to join terrorist groups and employ terrorist tactics on their behalf, the conflict zones where such warfare is being waged, and the types of counteractions that governments are employing in response.

The books listed in this review essay are organized into seventeen sections, which are not intended to be mutually exclusive:

(i) encyclopedias and reference resources,

(ii) textbooks and general histories,

(iii) using the social, behavioral, and economic sciences to study terrorism,

(iv) journalistic case studies,

(v) case studies of terrorist groups,

(vi) root causes of terrorism,

(vii) radicalization and recruitment into terrorism,

(viii) funding terrorism,

(ix) suicide terrorism,

(x) international law and terrorism,

(xi) terrorism on the internet,

(xii) terrorism and WMD,

(xiii) counterterrorism,

(xiv) intelligence in counterterrorism,

and, under the general category of resolving terrorist rebellions,

(xv) de-radicalization and disengagement from terrorism,

(xvi) peace negotiations with terrorists, and

(xvii) how terrorist conflicts end.

Within each section, the nominated books are listed in order of their publication date.  Although the most recently published books obviously merit the most attention, the earlier published books still retain sufficient importance for inclusion in the listing. Every effort was made to list the most updated and revised editions of earlier published books.  Also, please note that the prices listed are the publishers’ official prices, with many of the books available for purchase at discounted rates at bookseller sites such as Amazon.com.

In the absence of consensus on the Romanization of Arabic names, the spelling of group names such as al Qaida have been left as published in their original title (e.g., “al Qaeda”), although the reviews spell it as “al Qaida.”

Continue reading