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CTC Sentinel: Defining the Punjabi Taliban Network

Author: Hassan Abbas, Fellow, Asia Society; Senior Advisor, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
April 2009


Hassan Abbas outlines the main features--aspirations, financial needs, and worldview--of Pakistan's Punjabi Taliban network.

On March 30, 2009, militants launched a deadly assault on a police training center outside Lahore, the capital of Pakistan's Punjab Province. Eight police cadets were killed. Less than a month earlier, on March 3, gunmen in Lahore ambushed members of the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team, killing at least eight people. Punjab, the most populated of Pakistan's provinces, has largely escaped the bloodshed plaguing the country's troubled northwest. Yet since 2007, violence has escalated in the province. The bold terrorist attacks in Pakistan's heartland-within Punjab Province and in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad-show that local logistical support for these attacks is attributable to what is often labeled the "Punjabi Taliban" network. The major factions of this network include operatives from Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan and Jaysh-i-Muhammad-all groups that were previously strictly focused on Kashmir

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