Another commander of the Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist group is in custody in India-administered Kashmir. The commander Mohammad Hanief, also known as Faheem, was set to replace the top Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, Mudasir Gujri, alias Raju, "who was [also] arrested a few days ago," according to an Indian police spokesman.
Both commanders are accused of organizing terrorist attacks in Kashmir. Police say Raju planned the recent series of grenade attacks in Srinagar that killed eight people and wounded thirty others.
In Mumbai, police have arrested six suspects in the July 11th commuter train bomb attacks that killed more than one-hundred-eighty people. Indian police say the suspects have been linked to the Students Islamic Movement of India, an extremist group associated with Lashkar-e-Toiba.
In its latest report on counter-terrorism, the U.S. State Department says "Lashkar-e-Toiba began as the militant wing of the Islamic extremist organization Markaz Dawa ul-Irshad, which was formed in the mid-1980s." It is one of the three largest terrorist groups fighting in Kashmir against India. The Pakistani government banned Lashkar-e-Toiba and froze its assets in January 2002. The group has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks since 2000, including an attack on Srinagar airport.
India has been targeted by other Kashmir separatist groups and by Maoist insurgents in eastern India. Thousands of Indians have been killed in terrorist attacks during the past five years.
"It is meant to intimidate you and make you feel extremely vulnerable," says Achin Vanaik, a political scientist with Delhi University. "But beyond that," he says, "it poses no real challenge to the political system or to Indian democracy."
Vice President Dick Cheney says the United States stands with India in confronting terrorism:
"As victims of terror, both our countries accept a duty to join in the fight against these enemies. American and Indian forces have worked closely in many different ways, including sophisticated joint operations with our armed forces. . . .We have also had great cooperation in law enforcement and intelligence operations."
Mr. Cheney said "together, the U.S. and India are determined to confront and defeat the global terror network, which has harmed people in so many parts of the world."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.