As the partnerships and agendas between these 3 organizations became more combined, members of the Punjabi Taliban became council members in the TTP. They are believed to be primarily providing logistical support to the other two groups.
Recently the group stated that India is set to become a target for terrorist after Allied Forces troops withdraw from Afghanistan. In the statement, released on a jihadist terrorist forum online, the leader Asmatullah Muawiya made the announcement that India is now a target.
This means that both pardesi's as well as Indians and other expats must be on alert for suspicious behavior. But what is suspicious behavior in a country full of so much individuality and diversity? How do you sort out the peaceful turbans from the terrorist ones?
This is very difficult. Once while I was in Paharganj, a well-known shopping district in Delhi, there was a ring of terrorist who got busted just a few yards from me. Did I recognize them in the sea of faces? No. But since then I've learned to be more observant of life around me and I've also learned from terrorist incidents that have been on the news what to watch for.
It is important to understand that terrorist look and seem just like everyone else. They walk amongst us and do not stand out in any of the usual ways. The clues are much more subtle.
Here's a list of things I feel you should be concerned about:
- If you notice 2 or more people carrying similar backpacks, knapsacks, bags, etc. but they are walking several feet apart, you should be concerned. Time and time again terrorist have went out together then split up but still followed each other. So, something could be fishy if you see such a thing. The people would be more than 5 feet apart but less than 20 feet for example.
- Listen to the world around you. Did a neighbor ask for training that you don't think he needed? What if your trash man decided he needed to take an electronics course? Not get a degree, just take one course with no known plan for pursuing a career in the field or furthering his education beyond that one course. I've not yet met one Indian who only wanted one course - it was either a masters degree or nothing!
- Does the person park their car or sit in the same location more than once. This is how criminals scope out locations for their next crime. It's not normal for someone to be in the same place over and over and over. More than 3 times is definitely a red flag but I would be concerned with more than 2 in India.
- Know your neighbors (both at your residence and in your work environment). This is the most surefire way to catch any criminal. I'm not telling you to go and invade their space and be all up in their business but you should know them well enough that you talk to them several times a week, even if just in passing. You will get used to their habits and when something is out of place, you will notice quicker.
- Do you see someone celebrating on a day where most would not? For example, if someone is celebrating the anniversary of the 28/11 Mumbai attacks, this would be odd behavior since many Indians consider which dates are auspicious before planning any event and this event would no longer qualify for many people.
- Does the person like to debate controversial issues? Sure, plenty of people love to get into hot political debates but what is important here is that you consider the topic. If someone always seems keen on debating matters of state, or about militant groups, that is of course a red flag. Pay attention to the topics and their body language. If they get tense when someone disagrees with the terrorist agenda, that's a major red flag. Even the most calm and dedicated person will not be able to fully control their passion toward the issue.
- Listen to see if the person is too interested in a well-known potential target. If they are focused on it and fixated and keep asking questions over and over, that is not a normal interest. The average citizen does not need to know or memorize the layout of the Taj Mahal for example. They would only need to know entrance fees, how long can you stay, etc. If they need a significant amount of details, that is suspicious.
- Fake ID. I don't have to explain this one. It's easily understood. If someone you know has sought a fake ID for any reason, then you need to be watching them a little more closely. Many things in India don't even require an ID so why would someone want a fake one? There is something suspicious with having one! (Of course, you have to dismiss the teenagers wanting to drink and faking alcohol consumption permits.)
- Other suspicious activities that indicate a potential criminal intent are evasive driving - so taking odd routes of travel to their destination or taking routes they know police are not watching.
- Are there a high number of unrelated people living together. In our rental property we had 2 non-related families at one point. This would not be suspicious but it would be suspicious with a large number of random young men in the same home. Especially if some of them elude to being married but there is no wife around. I would say more than 4 could be suspicious and 6 is definitely suspicious.
- Are certain rooms in the house off limits or do they change the locks on doors frequently? If they have those sliding locks on the outside, do they change the actual lock they hook onto them frequently? When you knock on the door, are they reluctant to let you in and they step outside to talk, closing the door behind them. If it always happens, then that is suspicious.
- They do not have a maid. Okay, so not everyone has a maid of course but, you're looking for several grown men living alone in a home who actually clean up after themselves. It's not a common thing inside of India.
- How far do they park away from their home? In some areas there is no parking but if they have an area to park and choose to park 2 or 3 streets away, that is odd behavior. If they always make it a point to park somewhere different, that is suspicious too. People are creatures of habit, so going out of their way to change these habits is a sign you should be watching for.
What kinds of things would you label as suspicious behavior in India?
Have you ever been near to a terrorist incident?
What are some signs I might have missed that you feel are important?
West Point: Combatting Terrorism Center
The National Terror Alert Response System: Suspicious Activity
The Groups Past Terrorism:
Morning Cable: Taliban Threaten Kashmir
Times of India: Punjab Taliban Behind Attacks
Rediff News: Punjab Taliban announces jihad in Kashmir