"Dawood Ibrahim's D-Company, a 5,000-member criminal syndicate operating mostly in Pakistan, India, and the United Arab Emirates, provides an example of the criminal-terrorism fusion model," the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in its latest report.
A research wing of the US Congress, CRS prepares reports on various issues for the American lawmakers. The report "International Terrorism and Transnational Crime: Security Threats, US Policy, and Considerations for Congress" was released by the CRS here on Tuesday.
The US Department of Treasury designated Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in October 2003. In June 2006, the then US President George W Bush designated him, as well as his D-Company organisation, as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
Noting that the D-Company is reportedly involved in several criminal activities, including extortion, smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and contract killing, the CRS said it has also reportedly infiltrated the Indian filmmaking industry, extorting producers, assassinating directors, distributing movies, and pirating films.
The CRS says D-Company's evolution into a true criminal-terrorist group began in response to the destruction of the Babri Mosque in December 1992 and the subsequent riots. "Reportedly with assistance from Pakistan government's intelligence branch, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), D-Company launched a series of bombing attacks on March 12, 1993, killing 257 people," the report said. Following the attacks, Ibrahim moved his network's headquarters to Karachi.
There, D-Company is believed to have deepened its strategic alliance with the ISI and developed links to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), the report noted. "During this time period, some say D-Company began to finance LeT's activities, use its companies to lure recruits to LeT training camps, and give LeT operatives use of its smuggling routes and contacts," the CRS said.
"Press accounts have reported that Ibrahim's network might have provided a boat to the 10 terrorists who killed 173 people in Mumbai in November 2008," the CRS said in its 56-page report. "The US governments contend that D-Company has found common cause with al-Qaeda and shares its smuggling routes with that terrorist group," the report said.
Analysts believe it is unlikely that it will formally merge with those terrorist groups, the CRS said. But its own terrorist endeavours, its deep pockets, and its reported cooperation with LeT and al-Qaeda present a credible threat to US interests in South Asia, security experts assess. "Lending his criminal expertise and networks to such terrorist groups, he is capable of smuggling terrorists across national borders, trafficking in weapons and drugs, controlling extortion and protection rackets, and laundering ill-gotten proceeds, including through the abuse of traditional value transfer methods, like hawala."