LAHORE: While Pakistan wants good friendly relations with Afghanistan, the latter’s intelligence agency NDS has joined hands with Indian secret service RAW to carry out subversive activities in Pakistan at a time when its war against terror is in decisive phase. Although RAW’s role in creating problems for Pakistan is no secret, NDS’s willingness to cooperate with Islamabad’s known enemy is being regarded as a setback to the government’s political initiative of improving bilateral ties.
Official sources claimed during interviews with The Nation on Wednesday that Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) and India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) were stepping up terrorist activities on Pakistani soil to aid and abet more deadly terror attacks. According to them, the intelligence inputs acquired through communication intercepts and human intelligence sources indicate NDS would focus Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, settled areas of the tribal belt, Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan. However NDS would assist the RAW in Balochistan to sustain its operations linked to Baloch separatist groups. RAW would also focus on Punjab and Sindh.
The Indian agency would also launch its sleeper cells with the help of NDS in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas. The members of the cells are recruited from Afghanistan, mainly from militant groups fled away from Pakistan during Swat, South Waziristan operations and the militants crossed the Durand Line during Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Khyber-1 and Khyber-2. The sources claimed that members of the sleeper cells were selected from the unknown foot soldiers of the outlawed TTP and their affiliates scattered in Afghan provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar, Nuristan and Badakshan. RAW is running training camps with the nod of its Afghan counterpart in the said provinces for “brainwashing” programmes of the newly-selected sleepers to launch the same when the time comes.
“They are given training of target killings, bomb blasts, suicide attacks, assaults on civil and military installations and intelligence gathering.”
The major funding for the operations on Pakistani soil would be provided by the Indian external secret service. The sources added Joint Secretary Area-1 (Pakistan focused external operations desk) of the RAW with the assistance of agency’s office of special operations is handling the activities on Pakistani soil. Office of special operations works directly under the command of RAW chief.
A director ranked officer in-charge of Pakistan affairs in NDS would look after the matters with RAW. According to intelligence sources more than 90 NDS agents have been caught in Pakistan from August up till now. Around 12 of the detained NDS operatives were the agency’s agents who were running separate spy rings of local operatives. The agents were picked up from Peshawar, Swat, Gilgit Baltistan, South Waziristan, Attock, Turnol Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Chaman, Quetta and other bordering areas at Pak-Afghan border. Five among the arrested are the key saboteurs. Heavy cache of arms and ammunition was also recovered from the arrested. Members of a top intelligence service along with Rangers arrested an Afghan national in Pala Dheri village of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for his involvement in the recent attack on Badaber.
Similarly, NDS operatives were also caught from Balochistan with plans of targeting high-profile personalities and fanning sectarian violence.
The political administration of the Kurram Agency in an intelligence-based operation arrested two RAW-trained NDS sleepers. Foreign currency and uniforms of Levies Force were recovered from them. A 12-member spy ring of the RAW starting from bordering town of Bhaseen (Lahore) with its tentacles in other parts of Punjab had also been busted by the intelligence services. In an intelligence-based operation in Karachi, a key secret service along with Counter Terrorism Department Sindh arrested four suspected terrorists who had confessed their links with RAW.
CTD Sindh officials said the arrested had been operating a network for RAW from Karachi, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai.
The RAW agents told their interrogators: “The Indian agency had given them the task to plant bombs in the city. The other tasks were creating sectarian violence in the month of Moharram and targeting key political figures.” Security establishment members in background interviews said the development was indeed a challenge for the security services but it was not a surprise for them. The two secret services, NDS and RAW had already assisting each other for launching operations on Pakistani soil.
NDS chief’s briefing to Afghan parliament over cooperation with Pakistan’s security services to take out the targets threatening the security of both the countries, spoke volumes of their sincerity concerning joint efforts. Security experts were of the opinion that Pakistani government should not only share the details of few with Afghan government concerning their involvement in terror activities on Pakistani soil, but it should also share information relating to NDS-RAW nexus.
Federal interior minister had said, “Mastermind of Badaber attack is Afghan national. Pakistan can smoke out all masterminds in Afghanistan who aided and abetted terror on our soil. But such an action can further strain relations with our neighbouring Muslim state.” He added Pakistan would share all the evidence with Afghan leadership concerning launching of terror attacks on Pakistan from their soil.
Inspector General of Frontier Corps Balochistan Major General Sher Afgan said in a press briefing that Afghan NDS and Indian RAW were fueling terrorism in Balochistan. NDS recently confirmed the presence of Islamic State leaders Hafiz Saeed Khan and Shahidullah Shahid, formerly members of TTP both Pakistani nationals, who were killed in Nangarhar province in US drone strikes.