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A History of Islamist Militancy in Pakistani Punjab

By Arif Jamal

The Punjabi Taliban is the newest focus of terrorism experts in the West. The organization first drew attention after the 2007 Red Mosque crisis in Islamabad. A six-month standoff between the government and radical Islamic fundamentalists headquartered in the mosque ended violently with a raid by Pakistani troops. The assault resulted in the deaths of more than 100 militants and the army’s commanding officer. After the crisis, groups calling themselves the Punjabi Taliban claimed responsibility for many terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.

This report profiles the Punjabi Taliban, also known as the Deobandi Islamist extremists. They are based in Punjab, the most populous province of Pakistan. Tracing the history of Islamist radicalism in the province, the report argues that Punjab is the most radicalized region in the country and that most of the Islamist and jihadist groups in Pakistan are based there. The report also looks at the future of the Deobandi radicalism in Pakistan.

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