Tag Archives: nepal army

American Diplomatic Cable: Nepal Army Took US Diplomats to Rolpa in 2002 to Show How it Was Fighting the Maoists

Details of that visit from the Americans

2002-04-22 11:22

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 KATHMANDU 000787

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LONDON FOR POL/RIEDEL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2012
TAGS: PGOV PTER PREL PHUM ASEC NP
SUBJECT: INTO THE MAOIST HEARTLAND – COUNTERINSURGENCY BY
THE BOOK IN ROLPA DISTRICT

REF: KATHMANDU 377

Classified By: Amb. M.E. Malinowski, Reasons 1.5 (b), (d).

¶1. (S) Summary. Emboffs joined Royal Nepalese Army (RNA)
Western Division Commander on an inspection tour of newly
established garrisons in Rolpa district, considered the
Maoist heartland. The tour coincided with the deployment of
the PACOM assessment team to the Rolpa battalion
headquarters. Two RNA task forces have completed sweeps
through eastern and northern Rolpa, leaving joint Army, Armed
Police and civil police garrisons to restore security in the
major towns. This bold incursion, to be followed by similar
sweeps through adjacent Maoist districts represents the right
strategy, but operational and logistical challenges abound.
RNA operations suffer from a lack of good boots as well as a
shortage of manpower. Additional arms and ammunition would
not be effective without good boots, the RNA commander for
western Nepal insisted. Emboffs interviewed two captured
Maoist leaders who described the insurgents’ tactics. After
recent attacks in Dang, RNA efforts to respond were hindered
when the Maoists felled trees across the highways and set
fires to reduce visibility for helicopters. Although the
monsoon will have a negative effect on the RNA’s mobility,
the Maoists will face the same obstacles. Morale was high in
the garrisons, and the response from the citizenry positive. Continue reading American Diplomatic Cable: Nepal Army Took US Diplomats to Rolpa in 2002 to Show How it Was Fighting the Maoists

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American Diplomatic Cable: A Meeting with Nepal Army Chief Pyar Jung Thapa

C O N F I D E N T I A L KATHMANDU 001504

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/12/2016
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PTER MASS NP
SUBJECT: CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF ON HUMAN RIGHTS; MAOISTS

REF: KATHMANDU 1376

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Larry Schwartz, Reasons, 1.4 (b/d).

Charge Presses On Human Rights Improvements
——————————————–

¶1. (C) On June 12, the Charge d’Affaires, accompanied by
A/DCM and ODC Chief, met with Chief of Army Staff General
Pyar Jung Thapa to inform him of the USG decision to return
Captain Indiver Rana to Nepal from U.S-based training due to
our concerns that he was serving in a unit currently facing
serious human right abuse allegations. The Charge urged that
the Nepalese Army (NA) cooperate fully with the investigation
by the UN’s Nepal Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights (OHCHR) into the ill-treatment and disappearance of
detainees from the Maharajgunj barracks during
September-December 2003. The Charge stressed that the
decision to return Captain Rana signaled the seriousness with
which we viewed allegations of human rights abuses. Continue reading American Diplomatic Cable: A Meeting with Nepal Army Chief Pyar Jung Thapa

American Diplomatic Cable: On General Rukmangat Katawal

2006-01-26 10:11

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DEPT FOR SA/INS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2016
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL NP
SUBJECT: RNA WORRIED THE GOVERNMENT HAS NO CONSENSUS ON HOW
TO TACKLE INSURGENCY

REF: A. KATHMANDU 172

¶B. KATHMANDU 199

Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty. Reasons 1.4 (b/d).

Civilian Leadership Should Explain Counter-Insurgency Plan
———————————-

¶1. (C) On January 20, Lt. General Katawal, Royal Nepalese
Army (RNA) Chief of General Staff, told the Ambassador he
was worried that the government did not have a unified
strategy for tackling the Maoist insurgency. Katawal
reiterated that there was no purely military solution to the
insurgency; the RNA could only work to create space for a
negotiated political solution. He noted that the civilian
government should lead the effort to inform its citizens
about Nepal’s overall plan to tackle the insurgency. Katawal
stressed that a civilian government needed to explain to the
people what the military was doing and why, especially why
the government needed to restrict civil liberties. Continue reading American Diplomatic Cable: On General Rukmangat Katawal

US Diplomatic Cable: Nepal Army Chiefs Discuss Role of the Army and Countering the Insurgency

Created: 2002-03-11 13:23

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KATHMANDU 000510

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SA/INS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/10/2012
TAGS: MCAP NP PGOV MASS
SUBJECT: NEPAL ARMY CHIEFS DISCUSS ROLE OF THE ARMY AND
COUNTERING THE INSURGENCY

REF: KATHMANDU 379

Classified By: A/DCM HOZA. REASON: 1.5 (B, D).

– – – – – – – – –
SUMMARY:
– – – – – – – – – –

¶1. (C) RNA Chief General Rana and his deputy, Lt. General
Thapa, went out of their way to underline their support for
democracy at a February 28 dinner with emboffs. Rana stated
unequivocally that a coup by the RNA was “out of the
question.” According to Rana, the RNA’s role is to quell
the Maoist insurgencuy, to restore public confidence in the
GON’s ability to provide security to its people, and to give
the GON an opportunity to address widespread poverty and
promote development. His deputy, Lt. General Thapa, was
surprisingly optimistic in the wake of the debacle at
Mangalsen (Reftel A). Thapa stated that the transition from
a “ceremonial and peacekeeping” military to a
counter-insurgency force would take time and that hard
lessons would be learned. He noted that the RNA had enjoyed
several significant successes in the immediate aftermath of
the Mangalsen attack, particularly through the use of
helicopters. Thapa stated that the RNA believes there is a
growing split between the political and military leadership
of the Maoists, and that the symptoms of that split include
greater violence and intimidation of civilians. While
optimistic, Thapa made it clear that significant assistance
from “Nepal’s friends” would be necessary. Continue reading US Diplomatic Cable: Nepal Army Chiefs Discuss Role of the Army and Countering the Insurgency

Controversial Promotion of the Year: Toran Singh is No. 2 of Nepal Army

By Kamal Raj Sigdel and Phanindra Dahal

Toran Jung Bahadur SinghIn a controversial move that has angered many including some western donor countries and agencies, the government today (Thursday) promoted Maj. Gen. Toran Jung Bahadur Singh as Chief of the General Staff, the second-in-command of Nepal Army. The government had put the promotion on hold for six months in view of mounting pressure from the international community as well as local and international rights groups. The major donors—the US, the UK and other EU countries—and UN human rights agency OHCHR had demanded Singh’s suspension, pending investigation into allegations of involvement in the disappearance of 49 detainees from the Army’s Bhairavnath Battalion in 2003-04. The Cabinet move comes five days after Chief of the Army Staff Chhatra Man Singh Gurung returned from his official visit to India.

Americans unhappy: The international community, especially the US and OHCHR, have expressed serious concern over Gen. Toran’s promotion. The US Embassy in Nepal has cautioned the government over its decision, adding that it could have an impact on the US assistance to the Army. “It (Toran’s promotion) could have an impact on the US assistance to Nepal Army,” said Information Officer at the US Embassy Nicole Chulick. “We’ve seen local press reports on Toran’s promotion. We have repeatedly expressed our concern about the promotion to Nepali government. We also want to stress that our concern is not about one individual, rather all the human rights abuses that were committed by the Maoists and the Nepal Army during the decade-long conflict. These abuses need to be thoroughly investigated and those abusers held accountable.”

OHCHR is also unhappy: “OHCHR’s position since 2006 has been consistent — those implicated in human rights violations committed by members of the 10th Brigade in 2003 and in 2004, when General Singh was in command, should not be promoted pending completion of a full, transparent and impartial investigation,” said Representative of OHCHR-Nepal Richard Bennett.

But Defense minister is happy: “Singh’s promotion is part of the regular job. There is nothing to object,” Defence Minister Bidhya Bhandari told reporters in Biratnagar, following the Cabinet decision. “There is no case pending at the court against him and we can’t prevent anybody’s promotion just based on allegations.” Bhandari and Nepal Army had been constantly lobbying with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal for Toran’s promotion. According to a government source, the government took the decision despite warnings from some of the P-5 countries – permanent members of the UN Security Council. Envoys of the US and the UK had registered their differences during a meeting with Prime Minister Nepal on Wednesday, when they were informed of the government intention to promote Singh.

Army is happy too: Nepal Army, however, is upbeat about Singh’s promotion in that the decision paves the way for promotion of other senior officials whose promotions had been put on hold due to indecision over Singh’s promotion.

Then there is ‘Major controversy’

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken strong exception to Nepal Army’s decision to form a Military Court of Inquiry to deal with allegations of human rights violations by Maj. Niranjan Basnet. NHRC has said neither the Army court nor the so-called Maoist People’s Court has jurisdiction to hear cases of serious human rights violations such as those related to the murders of Maina Sunuwar and Ram Hari Shrestha.

While Maina, a 15-year-old girl from Kavre, was allegedly tortured to death in Army detention under the command responsibility of Maj. Basnet in February 2004, Shrestha was allegedly abducted and killed in May 2008 by PLA commander Kali Bahadur Kham. Neither the Army nor the Maoists have taken any action against the accused. Instead, the Maoists promoted Kham in the party heirarchy and the Army sent Basnet to a UN peacekeeping mission in Chad after giving him a clean chit. The UN, however, deported Basnet to Nepal earlier this month in view of the allegation.

“NHRC draws the government’s attention to the need to try the cases of Maina Sunuwar and Ram Hari Shrestha in civilian courts because they are related to serious human rights violations,” said an NHRC statement today (Thursday). NHRC maintains the government should respect the Supreme Court order and produce Basnet before the Kavre District Court, which has issued an arrest warrant in his name.

Meanwhile, Maina’s mother Devi Sunuwar has urged the government to hand over Basnet for trial. “I am deeply hurt by the dilly-dallying of authorities in handing over Basnet,” said Devi at a press conference at Nepal Bar Association today (Thursday).  She also appealed to civil society, the media and diplomatic missions to press the government to prosecute Army officials—Maj. Basnet, Col. Bobby Khatri, Captain duo Sunil Prasad Adhikari and Amit Pun, all allegedly involved in the murder of her daughter—in a civilian court. She claimed she had received threats asking her to withdraw the case. Devi said she has also been offered money and a house in Kathmandu.

Why Nepal is Divided Over the Sacking of Army Chief?

It’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly. Three reasons:

By Neil Horning

In a democracy, the Army should not be a center of power in the slightest. It is supposed to carry out the will of the elected government within the confines of the constitution. To illustrate, when Obama was elected, it was considered a novelty when he did not replace the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Thus, in assessing this development, I feel it’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly.

There a couple of reasons why this could be so. In increasing importance:

1. The Army Chief has important friends in elite circles

Even in the US it’s common to say, “it’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” This could not be truer in Nepal. While the country has gone through tremulous upheaval recently, nepotism, corruption, and crony-ism have hardly abated. While the Nepali Congress and The UML formally apposed the Palace, their upper crust, mostly Brahmin-Chetri members ran in the same social circles with royals and royalists, dined with them, attended the same wedding receptions, ran the same civic organizations, served on the same boards, etc. All in this elite class share the goal of, to one degree or another, preserving the power of their own class-caste. These are social contacts that nearly all Maoist members severed while going underground, if they existed to begin with, and they hardly have had time to return. The Army Chief Surely has many friends within the CPN UML and NC, if not relatives (which trump all), and many favors to call in. Continue reading Why Nepal is Divided Over the Sacking of Army Chief?