Tag Archives: NATO

Six U.S. troops killed by suicide bomber in Afghanistan

BY MIRWAIS HAROONI AND PHIL STEWART

KABUL/WASHINGTON – Six American troops were killed in Afghanistan on Monday when a suicide bomber on a motorbike struck their patrol near Bagram air base, a U.S. official said, in the latest high-profile attack claimed by Taliban insurgents.

Just days ago, the Pentagon warned of deteriorating security in Afghanistan in the second half of 2015 and a rise in the number of effective strikes by Taliban insurgents.

NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Kabul said that the attack killed six Resolute Support troops and wounded three others but declined to provide the nationalities of casualties.

A U.S. official said all six killed were Americans. More than 2,300 U.S. troops have died in the Afghan war since the 2001 invasion.

The police chief of Parwan province said three Afghan police had been wounded in the bombing, which was carried out just days after other suicide attacks on Kandahar air base in southern Afghanistan and on a Spanish embassy guesthouse in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Bagram, around 40 km (25 miles) to the north of Kabul, is one of the main bases for the 9,800 U.S. troops left in Afghanistan after international troops ended combat operations last year.

District Governor Abdul Shukur Qudusi said the suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol.

The attack underlined the Taliban’s ability to hit high-profile targets linked to the U.S.-backed government, which wants to reopen the peace process aimed at ending the 14-year-long insurgency.

On Monday, Taliban forces in Helmand closed in on the district of Sangin as they tightened their grip on the volatile southern province.

Read more » Reuters
See more » http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-attack-idUKKBN0U418520151221

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Turkey shoots down Russian plane: Nato will be worried by strike on Russia

It is damaging for Turkey to have bad relations with Russia and Iran, two powerful neighbours close to its borders

By Patrick Cockburn@indyworld

Turkey must have been eager to shoot down a Russian aircraft. Even going by the Turkish account of what happened, as illustrated by a Turkish map of the route of the Russian plane, it would only briefly have been in Turkish airspace as it crossed a piece of Turkish territory that projects into Syria.

Why would Turkey do this? Probably because Ankara has become increasingly furious, since Russian air strikes started in Syria on 30 September, that Russian jets were routinely invading its airspace. The Turkish government also knows that its policy since 2011 of getting rid of President Bashar al-Assad has failed and that it has a diminishing influence in events in Syria as Russia, the US, France and possibly, in the near future, Britain increase their military involvement in Syria.

Read more » INDEPENDENT
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/turkey-shoots-down-russian-plane-nato-will-be-worried-by-strike-on-russia-a6747521.html

Russia Just Closed NATO’s Land Corridor to Afghanistan

By RI Staff

“The graveyard of empires” just got a little bit more graveyardy: Medvedev has‬ canceled the decree that allows ‪NATO‬ forces to use Russian territory as a transit corridor to Afghanistan. The decision comes just as it was revealed that the U.S. plans on extending its already over-extended “stay” in Afghanistan

Read more » Russia Insider
See more » http://russia-insider.com/en/russia-just-closed-natos-land-corridor-afghanistan/ri7078

Leaving the West Behind – Germany Looks East

By Hans Kundnani

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 was a strategic shock for Germany. Suddenly, Russian aggression threatened the European security order that Germany had taken for granted since the end of the Cold War. Berlin had spent two decades trying to strengthen political and economic ties with Moscow, but Russia’s actions in Ukraine suggested that the Kremlin was no longer interested in a partnership with Europe. Despite Germany’s dependence on Russian gas and Russia’s importance to German exporters, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ultimately agreed to impose sanctions on Russia and helped persuade other EU member states to do likewise.

Nevertheless, the Ukraine crisis has reopened old questions about Germany’s relationship to the rest of the West. In April, when the German public-service broadcaster ARD asked Germans what role their country should play in the crisis, just 45 percent wanted Germany to side with its partners and allies in the EU and NATO; 49 percent wanted Germany to mediate between Russia and the West. These results led the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel, in an editorial published last May, to warn Germany against turning away from the West.

Germany’s response to the Ukraine crisis can be understood against the backdrop of a long-term weakening of the so-called Westbindung, the country’s postwar integration into the West. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the enlargement of the EU freed the country from its reliance on the United States for protection against a powerful Soviet Union. At the same time, Germany’s export-dependent economy has become increasingly reliant on demand from emerging markets such as China. Although Germany remains committed to European integration, these factors have made it possible to imagine a post-Western German foreign policy. Such a shift comes with high stakes. Given Germany’s increased power within the EU, the country’s relationship to the rest of the world will, to a large extent, determine that of Europe.

THE GERMAN PARADOX

Germany has produced 
the most radical challenge to the West from within.

Germany has always had a complex relationship with the West. On the one hand, many of the political and philosophical ideas that became central to the West originated in Germany with Enlightenment thinkers such as Immanuel Kant. On the other hand, German intellectual history has included darker strains that have threatened Western norms—such as the current of nationalism that emerged in the early nineteenth century. Beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, German nationalists increasingly sought to define Germany’s identity in opposition to the liberal, rationalistic principles of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment. This version of German nationalism culminated in Nazism, which the German historian Heinrich August Winkler has called “the climax of the German rejection of the Western world.” Germany, therefore, was a paradox: it was part of the West yet produced the most radical challenge to it from within.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
Learn more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/142492/hans-kundnani%E2%80%A8/leaving-the-west-behind

Russian army beefs up Artic presence over Western threat

By next year Russia will be ready to “meet unwelcome guests” coming from any direction, after completing a network of radar stations in the Arctic, the Russian Defense Minister said.

The massive buildup of facilities in Russia’s north is part of the country’s strategy to ensure control of the Arctic. The military is currently rebuilding two northern bases in the Novosibirsk Islands and in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, Sergey Shoigu told the defense ministry’s public council on Tuesday. Military airfields at Tiksi, Naryan-mar, Alykel, Vorkuta, Anadyr and Rogachevo have been scheduled for modernization.

“The plan involves the building of 13 airfields, one land test range for the Air Forces, 10 radar sites and direction centers,” said Lt. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev, head of the National Defense Control Center, who took part in the session.

The general heads a recently created body in the ministry, which is tasked with day-to-day monitoring of potential threats to national security and launching a rapid military response, should it be needed.

Read more » RT
http://rt.com/news/200419-russia-military-bases-arctic/

Moscow will respond to NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said

‘We will react to NATO build-up!’ Key Putin quotes from defense policy address

Moscow will respond to NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said at the emergency Security Council meeting in Moscow. Here are his key quotes on Russia’s defense, Western sanctions, and violence in eastern Ukraine.

Read more » RT
http://rt.com/news/174768-putin-security-nato-ukraine/

Book Review: ‘The Wrong Enemy’ by Carlotta Gall

Pakistan’s intelligence agency hid and protected Osama bin Laden. The chief of the army even knew of the cover up. Some ally.

By Sadanand Dhume

In the 13 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, $1 trillion has been spent, and 3,400 foreign soldiers (more than 2,300 of them American) have died. Despite our tremendous loss of blood and treasure, Afghanistan remains—even as we prepare to exit the country—”a weak state, prey to the ambitions of its neighbors and extremist Islamists,” as Carlotta Gall notes in “The Wrong Enemy.”

Could we have avoided this outcome? Perhaps so, Ms. Gall argues, if Washington had set its sights slightly southward.

The neighbor that concerns Ms. Gall—the “right” enemy implied by the book’s title—is Pakistan. If you were to boil down her argument into a single sentence, it would be this one: “Pakistan, supposedly an ally, has proved to be perfidious, driving the violence in Afghanistan for its own cynical, hegemonic reasons.” Though formally designated as a major non-NATO U.S. ally, and despite receiving more than $23 billion in American assistance since 9/11, Pakistan only pretended to cut links with the Taliban that it had nurtured in the 1990s. In reality, Pakistan’s ubiquitous spy service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), foments jihad against NATO in Afghanistan much as it did against the Soviets in the 1980s.

At this point, accusations of Pakistani perfidy won’t raise the eyebrows of anyone with even a passing familiarity with the region. For years, a chorus of diplomats, analysts and journalists have concluded that the Taliban and its partners in jihad would be incapable of maintaining an insurgency without active support from across the border. In 2011, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, called the Haqqani network—the group responsible for some of the worst violence in Afghanistan, including an attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul that year—”a veritable arm” of the ISI.

Continue reading Book Review: ‘The Wrong Enemy’ by Carlotta Gall

Ruble Challenges US Dollar Hegemony.

Russia’s Petro-Ruble Challenges US Dollar Hegemony. China Seeks Development of Eurasian Trade
China will re-open the old Silk Road as a new trading route linking Germany, Russia and China

By Peter Koenig, Global Research

Russia has just dropped another bombshell, announcing not only the de-coupling of its trade from the dollar, but also that its hydrocarbon trade will in the future be carried out in rubles and local currencies of its trading partners – no longer in dollars – see Voice of Russia Russia’s trade in hydrocarbons amounts to about a trillion dollars per year. Other countries, especially the BRICS and BRCIS-associates (BRICSA) may soon follow suit and join forces with Russia, abandoning the ‘petro-dollar’ as trading unit for oil and gas. This could amount to tens of trillions in loss for demand of petro-dollars per year (US GDP about 17 trillion dollars – December 2013) – leaving an important dent in the US economy would be an understatement.
Added to this is the declaration today by Russia’s Press TV – China will re-open the old Silk Road as a new trading route linking Germany, Russia and China, allowing to connect and develop new markets along the road, especially in Central Asia, where this new project will bring economic and political stability, and in Western China provinces, where “New Areas” of development will be created. The first one will be the Lanzhou New Area in China’s Northwestern Gansu Province, one of China’s poorest regions.

“During his visit to Duisburg, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a master stroke of economic diplomacy that runs directly counter to the Washington neo-conservative faction’s effort to bring a new confrontation between NATO and Russia.” (press TV, April 6, 2014)

“Using the role of Duisburg as the world’s largest inland harbor, an historic transportation hub of Europe and of Germany’s Ruhr steel industry center, he proposed that Germany and China cooperate on building a new “economic Silk Road” linking China and Europe. The implications for economic growth across Eurasia are staggering.”

Read more » Global Research
http://www.globalresearch.ca/russias-petro-ruble-challenges-us-dollar-hegemony-china-seeks-development-of-eurasian-trade/5377086

Ukraine Crisis Could Spark Third World War, Former Communist Party Leader And President Kravchuk Warns

By

KIEV — It could be seen as saber rattling, fear-mongering or an astute prediction by a man with intimate knowledge of Ukrainian-Russian history, but Leonid Kravchuk is adamant that Russian President Vladimir Putin has strayed into potentially cataclysmic territory, and that the current showdown in Crimea could escalate into a world war.

In an interview with International Business Times, Kravchuk, who led Ukraine to independence in 1991 and became its first president, claimed there are already 18,000 Russian soldiers in his country and that a full-scale Russian invasion would cause Western powers – including NATO – to engage them militarily.

Read more » INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
http://www.ibtimes.com/ukraine-crisis-could-spark-third-world-war-former-communist-party-leader-president-kravchuk-warns

Russia, Ukraine and the West: Will there be war?

Written by Alan Woods

As Ukraine slides deeper into chaos, the sound of war drums gets ever louder. On Saturday President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament’s authority to send the Russian army, not just into Crimea but also into Ukraine itself.

This threat was issued only days after “unidentified” armed men seized control of the Crimea peninsula. These were later unsurprisingly identified as troops from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based in Crimea. The new pro-Russian president of Crimea equally unsurprisingly immediately called on Moscow to intervene. At the same time, pro-Moscow demonstrators hoisted flags above government buildings in two eastern cities.

Western leaders shook their heads and said that Russia must not intervene. Moscow held up its hands, indignantly protesting that it would not do so. But the facts seem to indicate otherwise. For the whole of last week Russian troops were staging what were described as “routine manoeuvres” on the borders of Ukraine.

Putin secured without difficulty the unanimous approval of the Russian senate for the use of armed force on the territory of his neighbour, citing the need to protect Russian citizens. He asked that Russian forces be used “until the normalisation of the political situation in the country”: a very reasonable sounding request, a velvet glove that barely conceals the iron fist within, for he gave exactly the same reason for invading Georgia in 2008.

This threat to what was supposed to be an independent country of 46 million people on the edges of central Europe creates the biggest direct confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War. There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity in different capitals aimed at “calming the situation”. The government in Kiev protested. The EU protested. Obama protested.

Britain summoned the Russian ambassador to voice its “concern”. Soon after the UK’s Foreign Minister William Hague flew to Kiev, presumably to express his sympathy to the provisional government there. EU ministers were due to hold emergency talks. Czech President Milos Zeman recalled the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

Washington has warned that Russia’s actions would have “consequences”. But nobody is saying what these would be. In reply Putin calmly asserted his right to deploy troops in Ukraine “to defend the interests of Russian people”. Western politicians have hundreds of arguments, but Putin has hundreds of thousands of troops, tanks and guns. And whereas the forces of NATO are rather far away, his own forces are conveniently massing right on the Ukrainian border, and some are already on the ground in Crimea as Russia has a permanent naval base there.

The tension between the two sides increases by the hour. In a televised address, Ukraine’s acting President Olexander Turchynov urged people to remain calm. (Everyone is urging exactly the same thing). He asked Ukrainians to bridge divisions in the country and said they must not fall for provocations. But in the same breath said he had put the army on full alert, which is hardly a very calming message.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was standing next to Mr Turchynov, said he was “convinced” Russia would not intervene militarily “as this would be the beginning of war and the end of all relations.”

Fear and misery in Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine is dramatic. The euphoria of the first few days after the fall of Yanukovych has dissipated and is being replaced with an anxious and tense mood.

Continue reading Russia, Ukraine and the West: Will there be war?

Global Arctic wars already started

By Adrian Salbuchi

Excerpt;

Today’s globalized geopolitical grand chessboard often plays out in interestingly complex and roundabout ways. Such is the case of the on-going tug of war between the US, UK and EU on the one hand, and Russia and its allies on the other.

Pieces are moved; sometimes a pawn from one square to the next, at other times a rook or bishop straight across the chessboard; even a knight in its more crooked way… Such is the game of the looming “Arctic War” which is starting to unfold, in which seemingly unconnected events begin to make sense when we start joining the right dots correctly. …..

…. Then there’s also NATO-ally Denmark filing its claims through Greenland territorial projection, weak ally Norway and, of course, there’s Superpower Russia which in 2007 actually planted its flag on the Arctic sea bed right on the North Pole. Canada too claims that the North Pole is hers. Alas! Poor Santa Claus, let’s just hope he’s not evicted before Christmas…

As history has shown time and again, the only language that the US-UK Alliance really understands is the language of force or the threat thereof. So President Putin has very prudently ordered his military starting 2014 to beef up Russia’s presence and defence over its entire huge Arctic sphere of interest: a “top government priority to protect its security and national interest” in his own words.

In recent months, Russia has started creating new Arctic military units, reinstating its military bases in the Novosibirsk Archipelago and Franz Josef Land that had been abandoned after the demise of the former Soviet Union, and began restoring key airfields in the region including those on Kotelny Island which includes making ready the towns of Tiksi, Naryan-Mar, and Anadyr for increased military personnel and logistical needs.

10 Russian warships and nuclear powered icebreakers are now operative in that region overseeing key shipping lanes joining the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, including ports like Murmansk (where the “Arctic Sunrise” lies peacefully anchored).

Clearly, the Arctic is very much on the global grand chessboard’s radar screen. What happens there over the next few years will have immense significance considering that the manoeuvring and relative positioning achieved by the powers in conflict will also help to consolidate their respective presences in the region and worldwide.

For when it comes to oil and gas, the US and UK have clearly decided to militarize oil exploration, exploitation and shipping lanes. Just as they have done in the South Atlantic with the UK’s Falkland/Malvinas nuclear military base and the US’s powerful Fourth South Atlantic Fleet with its rosary of military bases discretely spread into Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and other countries in the region.

For there lies another even vaster and richer region: the Antarctic which is not just a sea but an entire continent centred on the South Pole.

Indeed, in our complex world what happens in the scorched deserts of Arabia, Libya and Iraq; in the infinite steppes of Asia; in the steaming jungles of Africa; or in the windswept pampas of South America has an impact – albeit, indirect – on this new front which we could described as the coming polar wars.

Wars involving superpower nations, their allied countries, environmental NGO’s fronting for the global power elites, oil, gas and mining giants, and of course the bankers pulling the strings from above; way above 10 Downing, way above the White House, the Palais D’Elysee and Greenpeace’s HQ in Amsterdam.

Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina. www.asalbuchi.com.ar

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Read more » rt.com
http://rt.com/op-edge/global-arctic-war-syria-488/

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Via – Siasat.pk
http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?224864-Global-Arctic-wars-already-started

The Next Korean War: Conflict With North Korea Could Go Nuclear — But Washington Can Reduce the Risk

By Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press

As North Korea issues increasingly over-the-top threats, officials in Washington have sought to reassure the public and U.S. allies. But the risk of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula is far from remote–and the United States should adjust its military planning accordingly. ….

Read more » Foreign Affairs
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139091/keir-a-lieber-and-daryl-g-press/the-next-korean-war?cid=soc-twitter-in-snapshots-the_next_korean_war-040213

The Kayani doctrine

By Dr Farrukh Saleem

Capital suggestion

The Kayani Doctrine, built on four pillars, comprises: American troops would have to withdraw from Afghanistan; reconciliation among Afghan factions is not possible without the ISI; the Jalalabad-Torkham-Karachi route remains the most viable for withdrawing American forces and India cannot be allowed to encircle Pakistan. In 2009, General McChrystal, commander Isaf and commander US forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A), refusing to buy the Kayani Doctrine, requested a ‘troop surge’ numbering 30,000-40,000. In 2010, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 187th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 101st Sustainment Brigade were deployed to Afghanistan.

In 2010, General Petraeus, commander Isaf and commander USFOR-A, refusing to buy the Kayani Doctrine, began implementing his “comprehensive counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy”. General Petraeus’ COIN had four pillars: “securing and serving the population, understanding local circumstances, separating irreconcilables from reconcilables and living among the people”.

By 2011, America’s cost of war in Afghanistan hovered around a colossal $500 billion and the US had incurred 1,814 fatalities. By 2011, Petraeus’ four pillars had begun to fall flat – one by one. America could no longer sustain the war in Afghanistan – neither politically nor financially. Finally, President Obama, in a prime time speech, bought into the Kayani Doctrine by announcing a troop drawdown schedule. On December 2, 2012, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with COAS General Ashfaq Kayani. This may have actually been the first formal buy-in of the Kayani Doctrine.

On December 17, the principal deputy assistant attorney general told a federal court in New York: “In the view of the United States, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is entitled to immunity because it is part of a foreign state within the meaning of the FSIA (Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act).” This may have actually been an implicit acceptance by the US of the ISI’s indispensability in the Afghan endgame (the doctrine’s second pillar).

On December 29, Pakistan received $688 million under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). According to the Ministry of Finance, “from May 2010 onwards Pakistan had asked for $2.5 billion under the CSF but only $1.9 billion have been reimbursed.”

On February 10, “two convoys each hauling 25 shipping containers entered Pakistan at the Chaman and Torkham borders” heading back to where they came from. To be certain, these convoys will be followed by a few thousand taking back around 750,000 major military items valued at close to $40 billion (the doctrine’s third pillar).

Indian defence analysts claim that the British have acted as the intermediaries in the latest US-Pakistan rapprochement and that Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also involved in the game. Pakistan is once again becoming the centre piece in the Afghan endgame.

India’s Ambassador MK Bhadrakumar, who served in Islamabad, Kabul, Tashkent and Moscow, opines, “Washington is stonewalling India’s requests for the extradition of two key protagonists who are in the US jails – David Headley and Tahawwur Rana” and that “India’s worst fears with regard to the situation in Afghanistan are probably coming true.”

Continue reading The Kayani doctrine

Pakistan still global jihad hub

By

PESHAWAR: Pakistan is still a major destination for radicalised Muslims bent on a life of jihad, despite hundreds of US drone strikes, the death of Osama bin Laden and the fracturing of Al-Qaeda.

New battlegrounds have sprung up in Africa and the Middle East, but the number of foreign recruits smuggled into the northwestern tribal belt is increasing and they come from more diverse countries.

Since the 1980s “jihad” to expel Soviet troops from Afghanistan, Muslim fighters from all over the world have lived and trained on the Afghan-Pakistan border, moulded into Al-Qaeda and a host of spin-off militant networks.

After US-led forces in late 2001 evicted the Taliban in Kabul for sheltering Al-Qaeda, Afghan Taliban fled across the border into Pakistan.

But Washington and Nato will end their combat mission in Afghanistan next year and these days the Taliban say their foreign allies are drawn to other conflicts, despite their support networks in a region outside direct government control.

“Al-Qaeda is shifting its focus to Syria, Libya, Iraq or Mali,” one member of the Afghan Taliban told AFP on condition of anonymity in northwest Pakistan.

Local officials estimate the number of Arab fighters has fallen by more than a half or two thirds in the last 10 years, to below 1,000.

In the last two years, some Al-Qaeda Arabs, particularly Libyans and Syrians, left to take part in the civil war in Syria and the violent uprising that overthrew Libya’s dictator Muammar Qadhafi in 2011.

Others migrated to Iraq in 2003, and others to Somalia and Yemen.

But Saifullah Khan Mehsud, executive director of the Fata Research Center, a think-tank focused on the tribal belt, says uprisings in the Middle East have had a minimal effect on the Arab presence in Pakistan.

“Arab fighters are not leaving in big numbers,” he told AFP. “They have been there for 30 years and it continues,” he added.

The number of fighters from other countries is also rising, say witnesses in Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan — the district with the largest concentration of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters.

“The overall number of foreign jihadis has increased in the last two years. Every week we see new faces,” says one regular visitor.

There could be around 2,000 to 3,500 foreign fighters in the border areas from around 30 different countries. During the 1980s, the number was also estimated to have been several thousand.

More nationalities, same problems

Most of the current crop are Turkmens and Uzbeks, numbering between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters according to local officials, who have fled authoritarian secular regimes in their home countries to set up their own groups.

The Islamic Jihad Union, which splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, is based in Pakistan’s border areas. It is committed to toppling the government in Uzbekistan, and fights alongside insurgents in Afghanistan.

It has also plotted an attack in Germany, which was foiled.

US officials say covert drone strikes have played a huge role in destroying training camps and disrupting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 362 US drone strikes have been reported in Pakistan since 2004 — 310 of them since US President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

Although North Waziristan locals say the strikes kill more Taliban than Al-Qaeda operatives, they have condemned foreign fighters to a life underground.

“They are low profile, they dress like locals, they avoid big meetings and above all they move all the time,” a local journalist told AFP.

Mehsud says that foreigners are coming from a more diverse number of countries than in years past.

“A few months ago, we even welcomed some (two or three) people from Fiji for the first time!” says the Taliban member who spoke with AFP.

“There are more nationalities because they face the same problems. They tell us that they feel left aside by capitalism and discriminated by unfair laws, like the Swiss one on minarets or the French one on hijabs,” he adds.

Local and Western officials say the number of Western militants have fallen to dozens compared to the several hundreds of a few years ago.

A Canadian, who uses the name Mohammad Ibrahim, told AFP that he had been in Pakistan for three years but was now preparing to leave to wage jihad at home.

“Foreigners are now afraid to come to Pakistan because of the drone strikes,” he says, putting the number of his compatriots at 14, compared to “60 to 85 three years ago”.

A mechanical engineer by training, he says he works in “technical and logistic affairs” but does not elaborate further.

“I often met British, Spanish, Italians, Algerians and Germans. But now…our movements have been limited because of the drone strikes,” he says.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/01/27/pakistan-still-global-jihad-hub/

Pakistan, Russia Intensify Contacts to Improve Ties

By: Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and Russia have held high-level discussions focusing on how to expand their political, economic and military relationship. But analysts believe Afghanistan is at the center of the intensified diplomacy as both countries are positioning themselves in anticipation of expected withdrawal of most U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014.

Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani traveled to Moscow this week while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Islamabad.

The high-level exchanges took place just days after President Vladimir Putin cancelled his much anticipated trip to Pakistan, which would have been the first visit by a Russian head of the state. He was supposed to be in the Pakistani capital this week to attend a summit involving Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Russia, which was also postponed. The cancellation is seen by many as a setback for efforts to improve ties.

Continue reading Pakistan, Russia Intensify Contacts to Improve Ties

State of Terror – Why Obama should blacklist Pakistan – not just the Haqqanis. – Foreign Policy Magazine

BY C. CHRISTINE FAIR  

In September 2011, Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, astonished the American public when he declared at a congressional hearing that the network of Jalaluddin Haqqani was a “virtual arm” of Pakistan’s top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate. Pakistanis were surprised, as Mullen had been one of the most outspoken defenders of Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies and their efforts to combat Islamist terrorists within Pakistan. Since Mullen’s head-turning testimony, pressure has continued to mount on the Obama administration, forcing it take a stronger position on Pakistan’s intransigent support for one of the most lethal organizations killing Americans and allied forces in Afghanistan.

On Sept. 7, after considerable hemming and hawing, the Obama administration finally announced it would designate the so-called Haqqani network as a foreign terrorist organization. The call was long overdue. Members of the Haqqani network move back and forth between Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency (and other localities) as well as the Paktiya, Paktika, and Khost provinces of Afghanistan. The network provides sanctuary, manpower, weapons, financing, and other amenities to several other terrorist and insurgent networks such as the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, and al Qaeda, among others. Its financial assets are vast and derive from numerous illicit and licit activities spanning South Asia and the Middle East. The Haqqani network is behind some of the most devastating and complex attacks against United States, NATO, and Afghan forces. U.S. officials hold it responsible for the 2008 assault on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, last September’s attack on the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters employing rocket-propelled grenades, assassination attempts against President Hamid Karzai and other leaders, as well as numerous kidnappings.

The Obama administration touted its decision to list the Haqqanis as an important step in being able to go after the vast resources of the network — never mind that the move was taken under considerable congressional pressure.

Why the long wait? Listing the Haqqanis was always considered sensitive because Pakistan views the network as one of its few reliable assets to shape Afghanistan in desirable directions, including restraining India’s influence and physical presence. Given the tenterhooks upon which U.S.-Pakistan relations have hung over the last two years, critics of the decision will argue it amounts to further provocation for little payoff. Moreover, some in the U.S. State Department thought that the Haqqani network deserved a seat at the negotiating table even if doing so served no other purpose than placating Pakistan, according my discussions with an array of U.S. officials. Others feared that declaring the Haqqanis a foreign terrorist organization would lead to greater insistence from Congress and other quarters to label Pakistan itself a state that supports terrorism — a club populated by Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. For this reason, the administration went to great lengths to clarify that this move does not pave the way for putting Pakistan on that inauspicious list.

Continue reading State of Terror – Why Obama should blacklist Pakistan – not just the Haqqanis. – Foreign Policy Magazine

‘Pakistan-linked’ attack on Kabul foiled: Officials

By AFP

KABUL: Afghan and Nato forces foiled a series of suicide attacks on Kabul planned for Sunday when they captured five insurgents allegedly linked to militants in Pakistan, officials said.

The group was “finalising plans for an attack in the capital” and a large cache of explosives, suicide vest parts, weapons and ammunition were seized in the overnight operation, Nato’s International Security Assistance Force said.

The “sophisticated suicide attacks” would have targeted the Afghan parliament and the residence of Second Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said.

One of the five was a Pakistani national and the group was in possession of Afghan army uniforms and Pakistani identity documents, currency and cellphone numbers, the National Directorate for Security said.

“The evidence indicates they had connections with the terrorists beyond the border with Pakistan,” the agency said.

Afghanistan accuses Pakistan of harbouring Taliban insurgents fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

Earlier this month, Afghan officials said five insurgents planning a major attack on an area of Kabul home to Western embassies were killed in a pre-dawn gunbattle in the capital.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/421128/pakistan-linked-attack-on-kabul-foiled-officials/

Hell and al-Qaida descend on Syria

By: Tarek Fatah

Who would have thought a Canadian mother of two would leave her children behind and join the international jihad unfolding in Syria?

Meet Thwaiba Kanafani. She left the comforts of her apartment in downtown Toronto, soon to appear in a YouTube video dressed in camouflaged battle gear, holding an automatic assault rifle, to declare: “I came from Canada to answer the call of my homeland” as the men surrounding her chanted “Allah O Akbar.”

Kanafani is not alone. A Dutch journalist who was kidnapped by rebels inside Syria, along with his British colleague, reports some of his abductors had “Birmingham accents,” while others were from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Chechnya, with no Syrians present.

Reports of non-Syrian jihadis have been confirmed by correspondents of both the Guardian and the New York Times who say foreign fighters under the banner of al-Qaida’s black flags bearing the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is no god but God,” are taking a bigger role.

The jihadis are the best-funded and well-equipped of the groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.

While the American-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) had its own share of U.S.-based Islamists pulling the strings, it is now clear these jihadis-in-suits will not be the ones determining the future of Syria when the doctor dictator is gone. Very soon, Damascus will get a taste of al-Qaida’s hatred of life and their yearning for death as they have demonstrated in the last couple of months.

In one attack by the al-Qaida fighters on the historic Damascus district of Zainabiya, the fighters made no effort to hide the al- Qaida flag. Some wore the black head bands while others wore the flags of Pakistan, Somalia, and other Muslim countries. They killed Shia residents and pilgrims as they tried to destroy the shrines of Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter Hazrat Zainab and Ruqaiya. At least one Afghan family was slaughtered inside their home.

One al-Qaida commander inside Syria, Abu Khuder, had this to say about foreign jihadis: “In the beginning there were very few. Now, mashallah, there are immigrants joining us and bringing their experience … Men from Yemen, Saudi, Iraq and Jordan … (al-Qaida’s) goal is establishing an Islamic state and not a Syrian state.”

The role of America in Syria seems at best incompetent and disastrous.

However, evidence suggests there is a method in the madness of the Obama Administration. Instead of helping the democratic forces of Syria it has dilly-dallied on the sidelines until the Islamists managed to get an upper hand. The same cowardice was demonstrated when Iran’s democrats rose up in 2009.

One of the leaders of the Syrian al-Qaida is Abdelhakim Belhadj, a Libyan accomplice of Osama bin Laden who, according to former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, was suspected of complicity in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Belhadj was arrested by the CIA, but then released under mysterious circumstances and returned to Libya where he facilitated the U.S.-NATO overthrowing of Col. Moammar Gahdafi.

Now the same Libyan ally of NATO has been parachuted inside Syria with the help of the Turkish government.

Reportedly, 15,000 Syrians have given their lives to fight a dictator, and Belhadj’s presence in the war-torn country could make it a hell on earth.

Courtesy: Toronto Sun

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/31/hell-and-al-qaida-descend-on-syria

Via – Twitter

A rain of 1,300 rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Deadly rocket attacks straining Afghanistan-Pakistan relations

By Heath Druzin

KABUL — A rain of rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister summoned Pakistan’s ambassador Sunday after shelling killed four civilians and injured several others in Kunar province Friday night.

A provincial official is warning of an “uprising” if the attacks continue. The Foreign Ministry warned that continued shelling “could have significant negative impact” on relations between the two countries.

Continue reading A rain of 1,300 rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Militants coming from Afghanistan take scores of villagers hostage in Pakistan – Is PaK military learning any lessons?

By: Wichaar Desk

KHAR, Pakistan — Dozens of militants coming from Afghanistan took scores of villagers hostage in Pakistan’s northwest on Thursday, sparking fighting with the army that killed at least 14 people, Pakistani officials said.

The incident is the latest chapter in a broader infiltration trend that has seen Islamabad railing against Afghan and NATO forces for not doing enough to stop the cross-border attacks, which it says have killed dozens of members of its security forces.

There has been little sympathy from the U.S. and Afghan governments however, which have long complained Pakistan allows sanctuary to militants fighting in Afghanistan, warning Islamabad that instability in the war-torn country poses a threat to it as well.

On Thursday, Taliban gunmen opened fire on a compound in eastern Pakistan housing police trainees, killing nine of them, officials said.

The militants who staged the cross-border attack appeared to be targeting members of an anti-Taliban militia in Kitkot village near Pakistan’s Bajur tribal area, said Tariq Khan, a local government official. They came from Afghanistan’s Kunar province and took hundreds of villagers hostage, including anti-Taliban militiamen, he said.

Hundreds of Pakistani soldiers surrounded the village and killed 12 militants, Khan added. Two militiamen were also killed in the fighting.

Soldiers have retrieved scores of villagers, but dozens more are still held by the militants or trapped in their homes by the fighting, said Khan and two security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The army called in gunship helicopters for support but have not used them yet for fear of civilian casualties, said Khan.

The information could not be independently verified because the area is largely off-limits to reporters.

The police targeted in the eastern city of Lahore were training to become prison guards, said Habibur Rehman, the chief of police in Punjab province, where Lahore is the capital.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for police torture of their fighters in prison. He spoke to The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.

In addition to the police who were killed, eight were also wounded, said Salman Saddiq, a government official.

One of the wounded, Shafqat Imran, said that eight to 10 attackers, who had their faces hidden behind hoods, stormed into the compound and started shooting randomly. They shouted “God is great,” then shot the policemen one by one, said Imran, speaking from a hospital bed.

Continue reading Militants coming from Afghanistan take scores of villagers hostage in Pakistan – Is PaK military learning any lessons?

Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) alliance of Jamatud Dawa (JuD), Ahle Sunnat Waljamat (formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba), Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), & Jamat-e-Islami (JI) are doing long march against the resumption of Nato supplies

Saying ‘no’ to NATO: DPC long march enroute to Gujranwala

By Web Desk / Rana Tanveer / Zahid Gishkori

LAHORE: The long march against the resumption of Nato supplies through Pakistan as announced by Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) started from Lahore on Sunday and is expected to reach Islamabad tomorrow, Express News has reported.

Hundreds of cars were part of the procession.

The participants included activists from Jamatud Dawa (JuD), Ahle Sunnat Waljamat (formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba), Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), and Jamat-e-Islami (JI).

JI’s caravan had already reached Nasir Bagh under the leadership of Amirul Azeem where JuD ‘s caravan, led by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, joined it.

JuD’s caravan had proceeded from Masjid-e-Shuada where JI leader Sayed Munawar Hasan, DPC chairman Molana Samiul Haq, former ISI chief General (r) Hamid Gul, his son Abdullah Gul, Pakistan Ulema Council head Maulana Tahir Ashrafi and other leaders joined them. The leaders were mounted on a truck, which also doubled as a moveable stage.

A number of JD and Hizbul Mujahideen activists were providing security to the truck.

The leaders delivered speeches at Istanbul Chowk at The Mall in front of Town Hall.

Addressing the protesters, Maulana Samiul Haq said they were holding a long march to save Pakistan and Afghanistan from the clutches of the US, adding that their movement would continue until complete withdrawal of US forces from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He said suspension of Nato Supply is one of their goals, urging the masses to join them towards Islamabad. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Thousands of hardline Fundamentalists stream to Pakistan’s capital to protest NATO supply line

Thousands of hardline Islamists stream to Pakistan’s capital to protest NATO supply line

By: Wichaar Desk

LAHORE, Pakistan — Thousands of hardline Islamists streamed toward Pakistan’s capital in a massive convoy of vehicles Sunday to protest the government’s decision to allow the U.S. and other NATO countries to resume shipping troop supplies through the country to Afghanistan.

The demonstration, which started in the eastern city of Lahore, was organized by the Difah-e-Pakistan Council — Defense of Pakistan Council — a group of politicians and religious leaders who have been the most vocal opponents of the supply line.

Pakistan closed the route in November in retaliation for American airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops. Following months of negotiations, Islamabad finally agreed to reopen the route last week after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized for the deaths.

Clinton met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for the first time since the apology Sunday on the sidelines of an Afghan aid conference in Tokyo and expressed hope that resolution of the supply line conflict would lead to better relations between the troubled allies.

One of the reasons Pakistan waited so long to resolve the conflict is that the government was worried about domestic backlash in a country where anti-American sentiment is rampant despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid over the last decade.

The protest started Sunday in the center of Lahore, where several thousand people assembled with scores of buses, cars and motorbikes. They linked up with thousands more supporters waiting on the city’s edge and drove toward Islamabad in a so-called “long march” against the supply line. The convoy included about 200 vehicles carrying some 8,000 people when it left Lahore, said police official Babar Bakht.

After completing the 300 kilometer (185 mile) journey to Islamabad, they plan to hold a protest in front of the parliament building Monday.

“By coming out on the streets, the Pakistani nation has shown its hatred for America,” one of the Difah-e-Pakistan leaders, Maulana Samiul Haq, known as the father of the Taliban, said in a speech on the outskirts of Lahore.

Supporters showered Haq with rose petals as he rode through Lahore in the back of a truck with other Difah-e-Pakistan leaders, including Hafiz Saeed, founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group; Hamid Gul, a retired Pakistani intelligence chief with a long history of militant support; and Syed Munawar Hasan, leader of Pakistan’s most powerful Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami.

Many demonstrators rode on the tops of buses, waving party flags and shouting slogans against the U.S. and NATO. “One solution for America, jihad, jihad!” they shouted.

The crowd was dominated by members of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, widely believed to be a front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed for the attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed more than 160 people. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is led by the group’s founder, Saeed.

“The movement that has been started to reverse the government’s decision to restore the NATO supply will go on until America leaves this region for good,” Saeed said in a speech on the outskirts of Lahore. “The mission is noble because it is to save the country and the nation from slavery.”

The U.S. announced a $10 million bounty earlier this year for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Saeed, but he operates freely in the country. Pakistan says it doesn’t have enough evidence to arrest Saeed, but many suspect the government is reluctant to move against him and other militant leaders because they have longstanding ties with the country’s military and intelligence service.

Rehman Malik, a government security adviser, said members of banned militant groups would not be allowed to enter Islamabad for the Difah-e-Pakistan protest Monday, but all others would be welcomed.

“They are patriots. They are not anti-state people,” Malik told reporters. “We will welcome them with open arms.”

It’s unclear if they will try to prevent Saeed from attending the protest.

Difah-e-Pakistan is widely believed to be supported by the Pakistani army as a way to put pressure on the U.S. Its leaders have vowed to stop NATO trucks from making the journey from the southern port city of Karachi to the Afghan border. But if the group has army backing, it could moderate its actions.

Continue reading Thousands of hardline Fundamentalists stream to Pakistan’s capital to protest NATO supply line

Whither Difa-e-Pakistan Council

By Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Excerpt;

…. A group has the audacity of calling itself the Difa-e-Pakistan Council and then simultaneously threatens to kill its people. The question that arises then is why has the country’s establishment tolerated this ragtag army of thugs thus far? Somehow, everybody forgets that the transformation that it was asked to bring after 9/11 was so onerous that it might not have brought the dissent under full control and hence, the calculated and cautious approach. The fact is that we have witnessed some uncharacteristically huge mishaps in recent years and yet, if this scribe is asked to put his life in the hands of our government and the army, he will willingly do so. But tolerance of such terrible outfits is nothing short of criminal neglect. Perhaps, the DPC long march schedule from July 8, will give us definitive proof of whether the country’s deep state is involved in its genesis or not.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/404681/whither-difa-e-pakistan-council/

Pakistan opens Nato routes

Pakistan opens Nato routes after US apology

By:

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Pakistan was reopening its supply lines into Afghanistan, after the US belatedly issued an apology for the November killing of 24 Pakistani troops in a Nato airstrike.

Clinton expressed her condolences for the deaths in a telephone conversation with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Crippled, Chaotic Pakistan

For years, Pakistan has ignored the Obama administration’s pleas to crack down on militants who cross from Pakistan to attack American forces in Afghanistan. Recent cross-border raids by Taliban militants who kill Pakistani soldiers should give Islamabad a reason to take that complaint more seriously.

Last week, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s army chief of staff, raised the issue in a meeting with Gen. John Allen, the commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. He demanded that NATO go after the militants on the Afghan side of the border, according to Pakistani news reports. General Allen demanded that Pakistan act against Afghan militants given safe haven by its security services, especially the Haqqani network, which is responsible for some of the worst attacks in Kabul.

Fighting extremists should be grounds for common cause, but there is no sign that Pakistan’s military leaders get it. They see the need to confront the virulent Afghan-based insurgency that threatens their own country and has killed thousands of Pakistani soldiers and civilians. But they refuse to cut ties with the Haqqanis and other militants, who give Islamabad leverage in Afghanistan and are the biggest threat to American efforts to stabilize that country. ….

Read more » The New York Times

Taliban bodies are ‘returned to Pakistan for burial’ – BBC

The bodies of nine Taliban fighters, who slipped over the border and attacked a Nato convoy in Afghanistan, have been returned to Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area for burial. They were part of a 50-member group of fighters loyal to militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur.

Many vehicles were torched in the attack on the convoy in Afghanistan’s Khost province two weeeks ago. But the fighters were killed in a Nato air raid that followed the attack. Residents in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, told the BBC that the dead fighters were between 15 and 25 years old and were from the area.

Continue reading Taliban bodies are ‘returned to Pakistan for burial’ – BBC

Nothing to see here…

By: Omar

This link will take you to a post in “Longwarjournal“, which may be described as a neocon site, though their own description of their mission is, as expected, more flattering.  Without shooting the messenger, try to watch some of the videos linked therein. We will continue with comments after you have done so.

OK.

Now, in the proper “high art” tradition (Luis Bunuel did it and every highly educated person is supposed to love him) I will show you one of the videos, after earlier implying that I was not going to expose you directly to this macabre theater.

Actually, its not graphic till you get to minute 3. I suggest stopping short of minute three if the sight of soldiers heads displayed on a white sheet is more offensive to you than the people who did it.

Next, to analysis. Why has this caused remarkably little fuss in Pakistan (where Imran Khan is having middle-class heart attacks at the very thought of Raja Rental as his prime minister)?  And why am i posting “death porn” on a family website?

A. Little Fuss. People (not just liberals, even conservatives are bitten by this bug) are looking for deep explanations. Deep explanations are redundant when shallow ones explain the observed phenomenon with sufficient reliability and validity. Here are the shallow reasons (I can think of more, but I really have to run):

1. Outrage about enemies of the state (in any country) can be built up form existing material by the national security establishment. Our national security establishment is in the middle of a very delicate negotiation with NATO. Blanket outrage over this would provide assistance to NATO in their negotiating position. So, while its sad and terrible, it does have to be ignored in the higher national interest. Some outrage CAN be directed against NATO and Afghanistan, but even that has to be calibrated, these things can get out of hand. (and GHQ knows a thing or two about things getting out of hand).

2. The dead are humble soldiers. Even officers up to brigadier rank are a dime a dozen. A general has to be robust. (in military academies and staff colleges, they teach you that a good general is “robust”. He doesnt lose his focus just because a few thousand of his own people are dead. Napoleon was extremely robust. So was Mao).

3, The dead may also be mostly Pashtoons from the poorer section of society. While these are the most outstanding of men; honest, hard-working, honorable, self-confident… not calculating and grasping “Indus man and Ganges man” type poor folk, who bow before superiors and kick inferiors for sport (in this sentence, I am dead serious…i grew up knowing some) they are not family.

Its a fact of life. Just like the NLI soldiers in Kargil (Baltistanis) or Hazaras in Quetta (not only are they Shia, they even look different…while that is not as clear a difference as the color-coding that set “us and them” apart in the America of yore (among other places), it does make it easier to identify those who are us and those who are not).

4. The taliban cut off heads and display them on sheets!

Continue reading Nothing to see here…

NATO supply restoration in Pakistan’s interest: Jilani

Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, Thursday, declared restoration of NATO supply in the interests of Pakistan, saying, it was must for pulling out of foreign forces from Afghanistan. ….

Read more » The Nation

Pot calls Kettle Black – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops

Pakistan military protests with NATO and Afghan forces over cross-border attack

By Jibran Ahmad

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces on Monday, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops, a military official said.

The move is likely to intensify tensions between troubled allies Islamabad and Washington, currently involved in difficult talks to repair ties.

More than 100 militants based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province entered Pakistan and attacked a military patrol on Sunday, the military official said. Fourteen militants and six soldiers were killed in the skirmish.

Seven Pakistani soldiers were beheaded by militants after the clash and four were still missing, the official said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the Afghan deputy head of mission in Islamabad was summoned and presented with a “strong protest”.

The Malakand faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility, and threatened more attacks.

“Our fight will continue until the establishment of sharia law in Pakistan … We will fight whoever tries to stand in our way,” Sirajuddin Ahmad, the faction’s spokesman, told Reuters.

Ahmad claimed the group had killed 17 Pakistani soldiers.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said it was aware of the report, but had no information.

Fazlullah Wahidi, governor of Kumar province, said militants were based in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. “We don’t have any information about militants crossing the border from Afghanistan to attack troops in Pakistan,” he told Reuters.

The Malakand, or Swat, Taliban are led by Maulvi Fazlullah, who was the Pakistan Taliban leader in the Swat Valley, about 100 miles northwest of Islamabad, before a 2009 army offensive forced him to flee.

Also known as FM Mullah for his fiery radio broadcasts, he regrouped in Afghanistan and established strongholds, according to the Pakistan military.

Fazlullah re-emerged as a threat last year, when his fighters conducted cross-border raids that killed around 100 Pakistani security forces, angering Pakistan, which faces threats from multiple militant groups.

Continue reading Pot calls Kettle Black – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops

Judge Iftikhar Chaudhry threatens Pakistan’s democracy

By George Bruno

As the NATO military offensive against the revitalized Taliban progresses in Afghanistan, the political situation in neighboring Pakistan remains tense in a way that can directly impact U.S. military and political objectives in the region.

I have long believed that the pacification of the extremist threat in South Asia and around the world can only be accomplished in an environment of democracy and the rule of law. Any assault on these values fuels the fires of fanaticism.

Continue reading Judge Iftikhar Chaudhry threatens Pakistan’s democracy