Insurgent in action: A basic insurgent gets around US $200 per month, a small fortune for anyone who never has a hope of landing any decent government job in their home towns. The section leaders get upward of US $300 and there are special bonuses for executing a task successfully. Although no exact amount of reward could be ascertained for specific tasks, one can assume that it must be substantial because some BLA activists have lately built new houses in Dalbandin, Naushki, Kohlu, Sibi, Khuzdar and Dera Bugti. Also, quite a few young Baloch activists have recently acquired new, flashy SUVs.
THE INDIAN CONNECTION
By Tariq Saeedi in Ashgabat, Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Ali Nasimzadeh in Zahidan, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and SM Kasi in Quetta
BALACH MARRI IS PICKED UP TO RESTART BLA’s ACTIVITIES FROM KOHLU
In Kohlu they met with some Baloch youth and one American stayed in Kohlu while two Indians and one American went to Dera Bugti and returned after a few days. They spent the next couple of weeks in intense consultations with some Baloch activists and their mentors and then the work started for setting up a camp.
“Balach was one of our good boys and even though I don’t know who the present operators are, it can be said safely that Kohlu must have been picked as the first base because of Balach,” said Misha.
Balach Marri was the son of Nawab Khair Baksh Marri and he qualified as an electronic engineer from Moscow. As was customary during those times, Baloch students in Russia were cultivated actively and lavishly by the KGB. Balach was one of their success stories.
Because of intimate connections with India and Russia, it was no surprise that Balach Marri was picked as the new head of the revived BLA. The mountains between Kohlu and Kahan belong to the Marris.
INDOCTRINATION OF BALOCH YOUTH STARTS
The first camp had some 30 youth and initial classes comprised mainly of indoctrination lectures. The main subjects were:
- Balochis’ right of independence,
- The Concept of Greater Balochistan,
- Sabotage as a tool for political struggle,
- Tyranny of Punjab and plight of oppressed nations, and
- Media-friendly methods of mass protest.
“Manuals, guidelines and even lecture plans were available in the Kometit [KGB] archives. Except for media interaction, they virtually followed the old plans,” told Sasha.
As was logical, the small arms and sabotage training soon entered the syllabus. First shipment of arms and ammunition was received from Afghanistan but as the number of camps grew, new supply routes were opened from India.
NEW SUPPLY ROUTES ARE OPENED FROM INDIA
Kishangarh is a small Indian town, barely five kilometers from Pakistani border where the provinces of Punjab and Sindh meet. There is a supply depot and a training center there that maintains contacts with militant training camps in Pakistan, including Balochistan.
There is also a logistics support depot near Shahgarh, about 90 kilometers from Kishangarh, that serves as launching pad for the Indian supplies and experts.
These were unimportant stations in the past but they have gained increasing importance since January 2002 when Balochistan became the hub of a new wave of foreign activity.
The method of transfer from India to Balochistan is simple. Arms and equipment such as Kalashnikov, heavy machine guns, small AA guns, RPGs, mortars, land mines, ammunition and communication equipment are transferred from Kishangarh and Shahgarh to Pakistani side on camel backs and then they are shifted to goods trucks, with some legitimate cargo on top and the whole load is covered by tarpaulin sheets. Arms and equipment are, as a rule, boxed in CKD or SKD form.
The trucks have to travel only 140 or 180 kilometers to reach Sui and a little more to reach Kohlu, a distance that can be covered in a few hours only. This is most convenient route because transferring anything from Afghanistan to these areas demands much sturdy vehicles that must cover longer distance over difficult terrain.
The small arms and light equipment are mostly of Russian origin because they are easily available, cheap, and difficult to trace back to any single source.
This route is also handy for sabotaging the Pakistani gas pipelines because the two main arteries of Sui pipe – Sui-Kashmore-Uch-Multan and Sui-Sukkur – are passing, at some points, less than 45 kilometers from the Indian border. Whoever planned these camps and the subsequent insurgency, had to obtain initial help in recruitment and infrastructure from Indian RAW.
[Right: Agents from India’s foreign intelligence agency have been working in the Federally Administered Tribal Area’s (FATA) as well as in Balochistan province of Pakistan. RAW officials in the guise of diplomats and embassy officials based at different consulates in Afghanistan are active in attempts to destabilise the region].
RAW JUMPS IN
“When we first started the BLA thing, it was logical to ask for RAW assistance because they have several thousands of ground contacts in Pakistan, many of them in Balochistan,” said Sasha.
“Anyone wanting to set shop in Pakistan needs to lean on RAW,” added Misha. The number of camps increased with time and now there is a big triangle of instability in Balochistan that has some 45 to 55 training camps, with each camp accommodating from 300 to 550 militants.
A massive amount of cash is flowing into these camps. American defence contractors – a generic term applicable to Pentagon operatives in civvies, CIA foot soldiers, instigators in double-disguise, fortune hunters, rehired ex-soldiers and free lancers – are reportedly playing a big part in shifting loads of money from Afghanistan to Balochistan. The Americans are invariably accompanied by their Afghan guides and interpreters.
Pay structure of militants is fairly defined by now. The ordinary recruits and basic insurgents get around US $200 per month, a small fortune for anyone who never has a hope of landing any decent government job in their home towns. The section leaders get upward of US $300 and there are special bonuses for executing a task successfully.
Although no exact amount of reward could be ascertained for specific tasks, one can assume that it must be substantial because some BLA activists have lately built new houses in Dalbandin, Naushki, Kohlu, Sibi, Khuzdar and Dera Bugti. Also, quite a few young Baloch activists have recently acquired new, flashy SUVs.
Oddly enough, there is also an unusual indicator for measuring the newfound wealth of some Baloch activists. In the marriage ceremonies the dancing troupes of eunuchs and cross-dressers are raking in much heavier shower of currency notes than before.
Based on the geographic spread of training camps, one can say that there is a triangle of extreme instability in Balochistan. This triangle can be drawn on the map by taking Barkhan, Bibi Nani (Sibi) and Kashmore as three cardinal points.
Source: South Asian Tribune Cross posted at: There are no sunglasses
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