March 16, 2009

Al Qaeda & Balochistan: Kidnapping Of US National

By B. Raman

On February 2, 2009, John Solecki, an American national and head of the office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Balochistan, was kidnapped in Quetta and his driver shot dead. A hitherto unknown organisation calling itself the Balochistan Liberation United Front (BLUF) subsequently claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and demanded the release of 141 Baloch women and several thousand Baloch males, alleged to be in the custody of the Pakistani intelligence agencies. Till now, Solecki has not been traced by the Pakistani security forces, who do not seem to have any idea of the organisation behind the kidnapping.

2.The Pakistani authorities have denied having such a large number of Balochs, including women, in their custody. Baloch nationalist elements, who have been fighting for the independence of their homeland, have also strongly denied any responsibility for the kidnapping. They suspect that the kidnapping had been orchestrated by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) through the Afghan or Pakistani Taliban for discrediting their freedom struggle by projecting the Baloch freedom-fighters as terrorists. The leadership of the Afghan Taliban headed by its Amir Mulla Mohammad Omar, operates from sanctuaries in the Pashtun majority areas of Balochistan.

3.The Baloch freedom-fighters totally disapprove of the ideology of the Taliban and Al Qaeda and their anti-US policies. In fact, they feel that the US could help them in their freedom struggle and try to maintain good interactions with governmental and non-governmental elements in the US. It is, therefore, very unlikely that the Baloch freedom-fighters----either in Pakistan or in the Baloch majority areas of Iran--- would kidnap or harm an American national. John Solecki was quite popular among the Balochs of Balochistan.

4. In its past messages, Al Qaeda had always projected the Punjabis and the Pashtuns as participants in its global jihad against the Crusaders and the Jewish people. It had never projected the Sindhis, the Mohajirs and the Balochs as forming part of its global jihad. In a significant departure from this practice, an audio message of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 of Al Qaeda, disseminated on February 22, 2009, refers to the Balochs also as participants in the global jihad. It appeals to the Arabs of Saudi Arabia and Yemen to emulate the Pashtuns and the Balochs of Pakistan in stepping up the jihad against the rulers of these two countries.

5. It says: " I call on the noble and defiant tribes of the Yemen and tell them--- don't be less than your brothers in the defiant Pashtun and Baluch tribes, who aided Allah and His Messenger and made America and the Crusaders dizzy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.Your brothers from the defiant Pashtun and Baluch tribes are making the Crusaders taste woe after woe and are sending thousands of their lions to jihad in Afghanistan under the banner of Mullah Mohammad Omar Mujahid and are disciplining the treasonous Pakistani Army, making it taste defeat after defeat and forcing it to make pacts with them in order to save itself from their violence and they are severing the supply route of the Crusaders from Pakistan to Afghanistan."

6. Zawahiri's reference to some members of Baluch tribes fighting in Afghanistan against the Americans under the banner of the Afghan Taliban and the kidnapping of the American UN official indicate the possibility that that BLUF might be an organisation of Afghan, Pakistani and Iranian Balochs , who are sought to be used by the Taliban and Al Qaeda in their fight against the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan. This needs further enquiry.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )


Jane Novak said...

Interesting analysis.

jim said...

EXCLUSIVE: Part 2 - Al Qaeda to kidnap tourists
Glen Jenvey went undercover recently posing as a British journalist, to speak with Omar Bakri, head of the British wing of Al Qaeda's Global Jihad that is now headed up in our country by Anjem Choudry.

This interview was a follow on from Part 1: Al Qaeda & Hostages after Edwin Dyer was beheaded by Al Qaeda in North Africa because the British government would not release Osama Bin Laden's European ambassador Abu Qatada who is currently in prison awaiting extradition back to Jordan to face terror charges there.

Omar Bakri has stated that any non-Moslems entering Islamic lands now face the risk of being kidnapped and imprisoned, with the risk of being beheaded like Mr Dyer.

Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey, all popular holiday destinations where British and Western tourists have already been targeted by Al Qaeda, have all been singled out as places that are now vulnerable for tourists.

Travel to these places, and any other Islamic country at your own peril.

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