Country Report on Terrorism 2009 - Chapter 2 - Nepal

While Nepal experienced no significant acts of international terrorism, several incidents of politically-motivated violence occurred in the country. Maoist -affiliated Young Communist League (YCL) criminal activity continued, including intimidation and extortion. In response to the YCL violence, other political parties condoned the use of violence by their youth wings. Unrest in the southern Terai plains remained high with the proliferation of numerous armed groups and an inadequate police presence. More than 100 armed groups are estimated to be operating in the Terai, some in pursuit of independence or autonomy, most composed of opportunistic criminal elements. Competing factions clashed with each other, with the Maoists, with hill-origin Nepalese, and with police, instigating numerous strikes, demonstrations, and Indo-Nepal border road closures. A Special Security Plan (SSP) was put in place in July to curb violence and end the culture of impunity. Despite this program, police still do not have an active presence in many parts of the Terai.

Nepal experienced several acts of religiously-motivated violence, most prominently the bombing of a Catholic Church in May. The attack was conducted by the Nepalese Defense Army (NDA), a Hindu extremist group that was responsible for shooting a Catholic priest and bombing a mosque in 2008. The leader of this group has since been arrested and their activities appear to have ceased.

There were no indications that Nepal was a safe haven for international terrorists. Given Nepal’s continued instability, however, there is a possibility that members of extremist groups could transit Nepal, especially into India. The large ungoverned space along the Nepal/Indian border exacerbates this vulnerability, as do security shortfalls at Tribhuvan Airport, Nepal’s international airport. In June, Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LT) member Muhammad Omar Madni traveled through Nepal enroute to New Delhi.

Nepal is not a regional financial center and there were no indications that the country was used as an international money laundering center. There were no prosecutions or arrests for money laundering in 2009. However, YCL illicit financial activities, including smuggling, extortion, and protection demands, increased in 2009.

The United States sponsored the attendance of Nepalese security force officers at various international counterterrorism events.