‘The Forgotten Enemy’

US President Barak Obama Welcoming Indian PM Narendra
Modi at dinner hosted at White House (Photo: MEA)
Shailesh Kumar
20 September 2014
Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi and the US President Barak Obama released a joint vision statement titled “Chalein Saath Saath: Forward Together We Go” promising “strategic partnership” between the two nations. While the vision document promises to combat terrorist threat and to keep homelands and citizens safe from attack, it is likely to translate into some concrete agreement when Modi and Obama meets again on 30th September. In this backdrop, it is pertinent to look as how America forgotten its own enemy which has proliferated over the years and also attacked India multiple times given American apathy towards Indian strategic interest in combating terrorism.

Taliban Commandos surrounding IC-814 (Photo: CBI)
While this common enemy in Pakistan & Afghanistan still haunts India, it also exposes America for poor cooperation with its strategic ally in combating terrorism. The terrorists behind the hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC 814 plagued both India and US for long. The same terrorists who were released by India in lieu of safe release of passengers and crew of Indian Airlines flight IC 814 plotted the 9/11 attack on America and later on Indian Parliament in December 2003 and subsequently began terror operations across India particularly fidayeen attack in the valley. Infact, had America timely and seriously investigated the complaint of its own citizen Ms. Jeanne Moore, who was also on board hijacked plane, many attacks including possibly 9/11 attack could have been prevented. In the aftermath of IC 814 hijack, India had gathered substantial inputs indicating the role of ISI and al-Qaeda.

Maulana Masood Azhar, Founder of
Jaish-e-Mohammad (Photo: Internet)
All 5 hijackers of IC 814 and released three terrorists, Maulana Masood Azhar, Ahmad Omar Sayeed Sheikh and Mohammad Zargar are still at large. Maulana Masood founded Jaish-e- Mohammad in January 2000 in Karachi soon after his release by India.  Maulana Masood Azhar’s link with Osama bin Laden has long been established by agencies since as early as in 1993 when Masood Azhar on instructions of Osama bin Laden traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to help al- Ittihad al- Islamiya, the Somali Islamic Radical Organisation, for execution of US soldiers. Perhaps Osama bin Laden owed a lot to Maulana Massod Azhar besides the cause of Jehad was also suffering because of his absence as Maulana was lodged in jail in India since 1994. Yusuf Azhar, brother of Maulana Masood Azhar wanted his early release and so as the al-Qaeda. 

Mullah Omar, Chief of Afghan Taliban
(Photo: Internet)
A few months after the release by India on 31 December 1999 in lieu of IC 814 passengers, Maulana Masood Azhar along with Maulana Yusuf Ludhianvi, and Maulana Jamil Ahmed met Taliban Chief  Mullah Omar and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in early May 2000. They reportedly sought Taliban and al-Qaeda’s continued support for jehad in Kashmir valley. Maulana Yusuf Ludhianvi, however, was mysteriously killed soon after this meeting. Incidently, before Azhar;s release from June 1999 onwards, Osama bin Laden along with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was plotting to attack US using air planes. After the release of Maulana Masood Azhar, Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mustaq Ahmed Zargar, Osama’s dream of attacking US came closer to realization. Pakistan’s ISI was in loop for any Logistic support.

al Qaeda Founder Osama bin Laden (Photo: Internet/ TV grab)
Key member of Jaish-e-Mohammad and close associate of Masood Azhar, who was released by India, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was reportedly tapped by Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence to support attack on US. Omar Saeed Sheikh was a British citizen who was lodged in jail on charges of plotting kidnappings of foreigners in India for the securing release of terrorists from Indian jails. Omar Saeed Sheikh soon after his release had started functioning as money manager of Osama bin Laden. Infact, Omar Saeed Sheikh reportedly was also direct in touch with the then ISI Chief Lt. General Mahmood Ahmed. Omar Saeed Sheikh between June and September 2000 transferred over US $ 1 lakh from Pakistan to Mohammad Atta, the lead hijacker who executed the suicidal 9/11 attack on America. The money wired from an account in Dubai using various aliases, however, Omar Saeed Sheikh during this time was spotted in Islamabad from where the transfer was executed. The money was used by Mohammad Atta, an Egyptian, in flight school training fee, their airfare, food and other logistics of the 9/11 hijackers.

Lt. General (Retd) Mahmood Ahmed,
the then ISI chief (Photo: Internet)
Omar Saeed Sheikh also collected remaining unspent US$ 25,000 from Mohammad Atta and other Hamburg Cell terrorists just before the 9/11 attack. The money was reportedly transferred at the behest of Lt. General Mahmood Ahmed who was repeatedly called by Omar Saeed Sheikh during the summer of year 2000. India later has provided available evidence to the American Investigative Agency but to no avail.

If FBI investigated the IC 814 Hijacking seriously and expeditiously, it was likely that US could have gather significant intelligence inputs which could have helped in preventing 9/11 attack. Because the same Mohammad Atta met Osama bin Laden just before and during the IC 814 hijack incident. The timing of meeting of Mohammad Atta and other Hamburg Cell terrorists with al-Qaeda Chief Osama bin Laden were significant. The IC 814 Hijack conspiracy was hatched in Karachi in June 1999 after failed attempt to get
9/11 al Qaeda attack on WTC towers (Photo: Internet)
Maulana Masood Azhar released. This was also the time when Osama bin Laden along with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was plotting to attack US using aeroplanes. In their search of suitable hijackers, Osama bin Laden, stumbled upon Mohammad Atta and other operatives of Hamburg Cell.

On November 29, Atta reached Karachi via Istanbul in a Turkish Airlines hopping flight. When they went to Bin Laden’s home in Kandahar, Osama bin Laden asked them to pledge loyalty and commit to fidayeen mission. After that Mohammad Atta spent some time in Karachi. Agencies
Mohammad Atta, Hijacker Pilot of
American flight 11, who crashed flight
into WTC towers (Photo: Internet) 
have yet to confirm if Mohammad Atta met Yusuf Azhar, brother of Maulana Masood Azhar as he along with Abdul Rauf plotted the Hijack of IC 814 in Karachi itself. Had FBI tracked the trail of released terrorists and hijackers of Indian Airlines plane, it was very much likely to bust the money trail leading to the 9/11 attack .

Deceased Rupin Katyal
It is very much likely that Mohammad Atta could be part of the Command and Control Centre overseeing the Hijack of IC 814 as he was in Pakistan and Afghanistan in December 1999 and January 2000. Not only that modus operandi of 9/11 hijack was later found to be similar to that of IC 814 Hijack. The Hijackers used knife to take control of the flight and passengers. In both the case they attacked passengers with knife. Berger @ Sunny Ahmad Qazi attacked Rupin Katyal and Satnam Singh through knife. Rupin Katyal later succumbed to injuries on board IC 814. On the same theme, on 11 September, 2001, Five al-Qaeda terrorists led by Mohammad Atta armed with knives hijacked American Airlines Flight 11. They attacked at least two flight attendants with knives slitting their throat and forced pilots to open the cockpit door mid
FBI team visited India (File Internet Photo: representative)
air. Mohammad Atta flying the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the Northern façade of the World Trade Center. Similarly, other terrorists operating in group of 5 hijacked other jet liners. The third group was short of one man but hijacked plane wielding knives.

There was a significant time gap between the Hijack of IC 814 and 9/11 attacks on America. Infact, on complaint of Jeane Moore, US citizen who was onboard hijacked IC 814 plane, FBI team had visited India multiple times. A team of FBI Special Agents, Carl Wigolem and Peter H. Lee from Honolulu visited India four times from October 2000 to November 2001, at least three times prior to 9/11 attack. Significantly, the conspiracy of IC 814 was busted by Mumbai polic even before the India could have secured the release of Passengers.

Convicted Conspirator Abdul Latif (Photo: CBI)
After the hijack, Mumbai police received intelligence inputs that a mobile phone number 9820110945 was in constant touch with some Pakistan number on 25th December 1999. After monitoring the phone, information was verified. From another input Mumbai police received information that accused wanted in bank dacoity at Maharastha Cooperative Bank were hiding in room number 2, Anwar Chawl, Sampai Nagar, Behram Bagh in Jogeshwari. On 30th December 1999, Crime Branch of Mumbai police raided where they found Abdul Latif and one Mohd Rafiq and seized mobile phone number from which the calls were been made to Pakistan. Police recovered two AK-56 rifles, two loaded magazines, 4 anti tank rifle grenades, one Gupti, one dagger, Passport of Abdul Latif and Passport of Yusuf Azhar, brother in law of Maulana Masood Azhar in the fake name of Mohd. Samil. Subsequent interrogation and raids on other hide outs unravel the conspiracy behind IC 814 attack.

Taliban Commandos in Kandahar surrounding IC814 (Photo: CBI)
All available information on IC 814 Hijack linking Pakistan, and suspected role of Taliban was provided to FBI but that time Bush Administration with so blind with Pakistan USA was not ready to take India seriously. In subsequent years post 9/11, FBI teams visited India and India helped US with all possible material and requested for information from FBI. Rober S. Mueller, Director FBI visited India on 22nd January 2002. He was also requested for FBI assistance in the cracking the full conspiracy and arrest of hijackers. A team consisting of Ralph Paul Horton, Legal Attache and his two colleagues, John Timothy Dwyer and Alam G. Santos, both Assistant Legal Attache visited CBI headquarter from June 2002 to August, 2002. Another team consisting of Ron Eowan, Spl. Agent and his two colleagues, Donald Miller and James Fratzammer visited India in January, 2002. Years later Jennifer Snell & Jae Beasley of FBI visited India twice in April, 2004 and January, 2005 in connection with IC 814 Hijack investigations.

Parliament attack: Security Personnel (Photo: Internet)
India has provided all help and evidence along with Intelligence Inputs but FBI or USA failed to help India even when US Forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11 attack. The US Forces detained many Taliban leaders who were in the know how of IC 814 hijack plot and seized documents related to hijackers from a house in Kabul. India wanted access to these Taliban leaders for interrogation and access to records seized by US Forces after the fall of Taliban Government. American agencies had also seized the taped conversation between the control tower at Kandahar airport and the hijackers. However, only the content not the voice was shared with CBI.

Sada-e-Mujahid (Photo: Website grab- blurred)
Maulana Masood Azhar after establishing Jaish-e-Mohammad went into killing spree. He formed fidayeen or suicide squad and for the first time a new modus operandi begun in India. JeM fidayeen attacked J&K Assembly in October 2001 killing 38 people and Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001 in which 12 people were killed including 5 fidayeens. For al-Qaeda and particularly for Osama bin Laden and Taliban’s Mulla Omar, Maulana Masood Azhar was a shot in the arms for Jehad against India for liberation of Kashmir. Maulana Masood Azhar himself has confessed that his outfit carried out the killing of 1492 Indian armymen within the first year of his release.  

Maulana Masood Azhar has been motivational preacher known for his inflammatory speeches against India and America and works as uniting force for jihadists. Infact, Maulana Masood Azhar since September 1989 has been running Harkat- ul- Mujahidin’s monthly magazine ‘Sada-e-Mujahid’ under the direction of Maulana Fazal ur Rahman, Amir of HuM, who formed HuM after a split in Harkat-ul-Jehad. The creation of another splinter group Harkat- ul- Jehad al Islami, out of Harkat –ul-Jehad had diluted the cause of jehad for Kashmir. Jehadi forces in Pakistan were concerned by this development so in October/
Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar
November 1993, it was decided to merge HuJI & HuM and thus was created a new group Harkat- ul- Ansar. Maulana Masood Azhar was given responsibility to oversee and confirm the merger in Kahsmir valley. Even now Jaish e Mohammad runs its newspaper, Zarb-i-Momin, which once became a mouthpiece of the Taliban regime. Both Sada-e-Mujahid and Zarb-i-Momin are under publication and circulated widely with online presence to radicalize the muslim youths.

Taliban Commandos in Action At Kandahar
(Photo: CBI)
On 29 January 1994, Azhar reached New Delhi via Dhaka on a Portuguese passport. In Early February he met Sajjad Afghani, the then commander- in- chief of  HuM and his Deputy Chief Commander Amjad Bilal who was from HuJI. Maulana Masood Azhar conveyed to both of them strictly that Amir of Harkat-ul-Ansar want unified operation without any difference of opinion and work for the liberation of Kashmir. However, on 11 February 1994, Maulana Masood Azhar along with Sajjad Afghani were arrested by Army when their car developed a snag on way back to Srinagar from a militant hideout. Since then Maulana Masood Azhar was kept in Jammu jail. Since then there had been attempts of escape and forced release, which materialized when IC 814 was hijacked.

It is not just the USA, CBI has issued Letter Rogatory to but as recent as in late August this year and early this month, CBI had again issued LRs to Afghanistan and Pakistan Government seeking information with regards to IC 814 Hijacking. The LR sent to Afghanistan is specifically about verifying the facts on Kandahar airport and to trace and question General Usmani, the Taliban Commander.

al Qaeda leader al Zawahiri (Photo: Internet)
General Usmani, Taliban Commander used to come to Indian negotiation team which reached Kandahar to negotiate with the hijackers for the safe release of passengers and crew intermittently with Taliban Foreign Minister Muttawakil. A senior officer, Ghanshyam, of Indian High Commission who moved from Islamabad to Kandahar before the negotiation team, has kept minute to minute record of the Taliban and Hijackers. Hijackers did not had much weapons before but on 27th December 1999 morning, hijackers suddenly got huge cache of arms including different types of hand grenades and walki talkies. Where did they got these, CBI wants to know from General Usmani and airport staff. Besides, what happened to hijackers as why they were they allowed to carry weapons after their demands were met. Did Taliban keep a record of hijackers trails. However, intelligence input clearly indicated and even FBI was told that the hijackers stayed back in Afghanistan and in the evening all including released terrorists had dinner with Osama bin Laden at his Kandahar home. Why did Taliban provided them vehicles before they vanished into Pakistan.

National Investigation Agency Logo
Strangely, Indian Government has not handed over IC 814 Hijack investigations to NIA, the agency mandated with all terror case. Due to non cooperation from USA, there is still a void in the investigation, which has helped terror network thrive in the subcontinent. There are many questions which need to be answered more so by America especially in the wake of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit. Why did the USA not cooperate with India in nipping terror in the bud? Why the hijackers are still at large despite huge presence of American forces in Afghanistan and even in Pakistan? Why Pakistan is still a hub of vicious terror cycle? Why America failed to take stock of the fact that IC 814 hijack was possibly a pre run for 9/11 attack by terrorists? Why is FBI shy of ISI when repeat requests were made from India?

CBI Logo
The cooperation between both the nations have become all the more important in the wake of al-Qaeda’s top leader Ayman al-Zawahri  calling for establishing Indian branch of al-Qaeda named as, Jamaat Qaidat al-jihad fi’shibhi al-qarrat al-Hindiya or al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent. Ayman al-Zawahri also renewed a longstanding vow of loyalty to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. The threat of al-Qaeda launching a major attack can not be wished away. Same way, America needs cooperation of India in West Asia to deal with the menace of ISIS. So it’s a win win situation for both the nations to reset their strategic partnership forgetting the past and reminiscing ‘the Forgotten Enemy’.

The Pakistani Hijackers Still At Large:

Chief Hijacker
@ Ibrahim athar
Chief Hijacker@ Ibrahim athar @ Ahmed Ali Mohd. Shaikh @ Javed Amjad Siddiqui @ A. A. Shaikh R/o 6-B-1260/108, Kauser Colony, Model Town, Bhawalpur, Pakistan and Post Box No. 7181, Sadar, Karachi, H. No. 241, Gulshan Iqbal, Plot No. 2, Karachi and Flat No. 4, Dady Mansion Sadar, Regal Chowk, Karachi, Pakistan.

Sunny Ahmed Qazi
Burger@ Sunny Ahmed Qazi @ S. A. Sayeed @ Moti @ Khalid R/o Gulshan Iqbal Area, Karachi, Pakistan.

Doctor@ Shahid Sayeed Akhtar
Doctor@ Shahid Sayeed Akhtar @ S. A. Sayeed @ Moti @ Khalid
R/o Gulshan Iqbal Area, Karachi, Pakistan.

Bhola@ Zahoor Ibrahim Mistri
Bhola@ Zahoor Ibrahim Mistri @ Z. I. Mistri,
S/o Ibrahim Yunus Mistri,
R/o Akhtar Colony, Near Defence Area,
Karachi, Pakistan.

Shankar@ Shakir
Shankar@ Shakir @ Rajesh Gopal Verma @ R. G. Verma @ Farooq Abdul Aziz Siddiqui,
S/o Abdul Aziz Siddiqui
R/o Sukkur, Sindh, Pakistan

Absconding Pakistani Conspirators:

Abdul Rauf, S/o Allah Baksh Sabir Alvi, R/o 6-B-1260/108, Kauser Colony, Model Towrn, Distt. Bhawalpur, Pakistan and House No. 241 Gulshan Iqbal, Plot No. 2, Karachi, Pakistan and Flat No. 4, Dady Mansion, Sadar, Regal Chowk, Karachi Pakistan.

Yusuf Azhar
Yusuf Azhar, R/o 6-B-Alvi, R/o 6-B-1260/108, Kauser Colony, Model Town, Distt. Bhawalpur, Pakistan and
House No. 241 Gulshan Iqbal, Plot No. 2, Karachi, Pakistan and
Flat No. 4, Dady Mansion, Sadar, Regal Chowk, Karachi Pakistan.

Also Read GHQ Rawalpindi Exposed: Pathankot Air Force Base& Mazar-i-Sharif Afghanistan Twin Terror Attack Signature Style of JeM& its Punjabi Tanzim In TTP
‘The Forgotten Enemy’ ‘The Forgotten Enemy’ Reviewed by Shailesh Kumar on 10:43:00 PM Rating: 5
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