US report highlights 8% decline in terrorism in India; says Pakistan didn’t restrict terror groups

Washington: A US state department’s country report on terrorism – released on Saturday – highlighted that Pakistan is not taking substantive measures against externally focused terror groups operating from its soil, such as the Haqqani Network, Afghan Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Additionally, the report retained Pakistan on the list of terrorist safe havens.

The second terror update from Trump administration pointed out Pakistan’s washout at checking financing and access to financial services for LeT and its affiliates. The country ‘s failure at curbing terrorism has put it in the Financial Action Task Force’s “grey list” of nations – that have not complied with UN-mandated measures to check terror financing.

The report reflected America’s exasperation at the release of LeT founder and alleged 2008 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed from custody. It said that Saeed was freed because the “government had not provided sufficient evidence against him (or) charged Saeed with a crime”.

At the time of Saeed’s release, the US had warned Pakistan of “repercussions” if he was not immediately re-arrested and investigated. Islamabad ignored the threat, pointing to its judiciary’s independence.

Terror attacks in India down by 8%

  • Overall, incidents of terrorism worldwide decreased 23% in 2017, and total deaths in terror attacks went down by 27%, according to the report.
  • Fifty-nine per cent of all attacks took place in five countries — Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan and the Philippines — and 70% of all deaths in terror attacks were reported in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, and Syria.
  • The number of terror attacks in India went down by 8%, the report said.

‘Pakistan did not restrict Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network’

  • The narrative for South and Central Asia in US department report was largely dominated by America’s continued frustration with Pakistan.
  • “Though Islamabad acted against terror groups that carried out attacks within Pakistan, such as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, it “did not restrict the Afghan Taliban and (Haqqani Network) from operating in Pakistan-based safe havens and threatening US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan”, the report said.
  • It added, “Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other externally focused groups such as Lashkar e-Tayyiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad in 2017, which continued to operate, train, organise, and fundraise” in the country.
  • In the section on terror financing, the US reiterated concerns over Pakistan’s failure to block funding and financing for LeT. Though the country’s laws are in compliance with UN-mandated measures, authorities failed to implement them in regard to “designated entities and individuals such as LeT and its affiliates, which continued to make use of economic resources and raise funds”.

The Trump administration suspended nearly $2 billion in security aid a few months later over failed promises and “lies and deceit”, and pushed the FATF to put the country back on its “grey list”.