Tag Archives: Qaeda

NATO’s perilous Kunar mission

By Tim Lister

The mistaken NATO air attack on Pakistani military outposts at the weekend, in which 24 soldiers were killed, was an accident waiting to happen.

The border between Pakistan and the Afghan province of Kunar is probably the most volatile of the entire 1,500-mile frontier that divides the two countries. It is rugged, remote and home to a variety of insurgent groups – including the Taliban (both Afghan and Pakistani), al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network and the Hezbi Islami Group run by veteran warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In the words of one Afghan analyst, Kunar represents “the perfect storm.”

READ also Pakistani-U.S. relations back at the bottom

In addition to the sheer number of insurgents in Kunar, the border with Pakistan – amid peaks and ravines – is not clearly marked, and in some places disputed.

Nor was it the first such accident. On June 10th 2008, US troops and their Afghan allies engaged Taliban fighters some 200 yards inside Afghanistan – along the same stretch of border. Grainy video from a U.S. surveillance drone that day showed a half-dozen Taliban retreating into what the US military said was Pakistani territory. Several air strikes followed using precision bombs. The U.S. military insisted none hit any structure. But Pakistan maintained eleven soldiers were killed and described the attack as “completely unprovoked and cowardly.”

That incident took place in daylight; the firefight at the weekend was at night. And since 2008, the border between Kunar and the Pakistani tribal agency of Mohmand has become even more violent. Attempts by U.S. forces to build combat outposts close to the border have provoked firefights lasting several hours; resupply convoys are greeted with roadside IEDs and ambushes.

To further complicate the picture, Pakistani forces frequently fire artillery into Kunar against Pakistani Taliban elements who use Afghan territory. At least one senior Pakistan Taliban leader, Mullah Fazlullah, is said to take refuge in Kunar after being driven out of Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2009. …

Read more » http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/28/natos-perilous-kunar-mission/?hpt=hp_bn4

Shamsi Air base – By Air Marshal Ayaz A Khan (R)

The disused Bhandari airstrip 200 miles south of Quetta in Balochistan was gifted to Shiekh Zahid Al-Nahyan the ruler of Abu Dhabi by the government of Pakistan in the 1990’s. The airstrip called Shamsi was developed by Emirates Shieks into a jet capable airfield , and was used for falcon hunting of rare Bustards in Balochistan. It was leased out to US Central Intelligence Agency in 2001 by UAE with President Musharraf’s approval, and was developed by the United States Air Force as a military air base in great secrecy for bombing of Afghanistan. CIA occupation of the base clearly had his approval. General Pervez Musharraf as President should have comprehended the long time strategic implications of handing over Shamsi air base to Washington! Development of of Shamsi for clandestine operations was kept a highly guarded secret, and Chief Minister Magsi and even Corps Commander were not allowed to visit it, when it was being developed for Drone operations and construction of the required infrastructure for this purpose was taking place. There is no evidence on record that the UAE government handed over Shamsi to the CIA for Drone operations. I was general Musharraf who handed over Shamsi and allowed US Air Force operations against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants from some other PAF bases including the Shahbaz Air Base. ….

Read more » Defence Journal

http://www.defencejournal.com/2011-7/index.asp

General Kayani has ordered the military to firmly respond to NATO

Pakistan alerts forces over NATO raids

(Nov 27, 2011) The commander of the Pakistan’s army has ordered the country’s military to firmly respond to ‘irresponsible’ NATO attacks on the country’s territory.

On Saturday, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani condemned the US-led NATO helicopter strikes on two military checkpoints in the country’s northwest, which killed 28 soldiers earlier in the day, English-language domestic daily the Nation reported.

General Kayani ordered that the Pakistani forces make necessary arrangements for retaliatory measures, should the Western military alliance repeat such offensives. ….

Read more » PressTV

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/212359.html

via » Siasat.pk

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Click here to read » Gen. Kiyani’s previous statement October 20, 2011: Think 10 times before you raid us, Kayani warns US – Indian Express

Pakistan is a nuclear power — unlike Afghanistan or Iraq — and the US would have to think “10 times” before it begins unilateral action in North Waziristan, Pak army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has told parliament, media reports said ….

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/think-10-times-before-you-raid-us-kayani-warns-us/862508/

NATO choppers kill up to 28 Pakistani troops. Pakistan shuts supply route for U.S. soldiers. Expect further deterioration in Pak-U.S. relations

Officials: NATO choppers kill up to 28 Pakistani troops

NATO commander expresses condolences to relatives of any Pakistani soldiers who ‘may have been killed or injured’

NATO aircraft attacked a military checkpoint in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing up to 28 troops and prompting Pakistan to shut the vital supply route for NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said.

In a statement sent to reporters, the Pakistan military blamed NATO for Friday’s attack in the Mohmand tribal area, saying helicopters “carried out unprovoked and indiscriminate firing.”

The attack comes as relations between the United States and Pakistan — its ally in the war on militancy — are already badly strained following the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces in a secret raid on the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad in May. …

Read more » MSNBC

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission – PAKISTAN: The government must inform the public about the health and conditions of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui who is imprisoned in the USA

AHRC-STM-169-2011, November 4, 2011 – The Asian Human Rights Commission has published several statements on the imprisonment of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the American-educated Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist who was convicted and imprisoned for 86 years on the charge of assault with intent to murder her U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan. See PAKISTAN/USA: A lady doctor remains missing with her three children five years after her arrest. We have now received information from Dr. Siddiqui’s sister that she has now undergone a forced abortion while in detention and was hemorrhaging seriously.  In the email received from her younger sister, Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, she reported that:

Continue reading A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission – PAKISTAN: The government must inform the public about the health and conditions of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui who is imprisoned in the USA

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the state

By Editorial

The Pir Chambal shrine strike in Pind Dadan Khan on November 12 by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) should disturb Pakistan because of what it means in terms of the country’s capacity to fight al Qaeda. The LeJ is a sectarian (anti-Shia, anti-Iran) terrorist organisation closely aligned with al Qaeda, together with the Tehreek-e-Taliban and Jundallah. The Pir Chambal killers kidnapped a group of Military Intelligence (MI) personnel and wanted their men released from prison as ransom, but in the ensuing operation against them they killed all of their hostages. Pakistan has been seemingly trying not to fight the terrorists attached to al Qaeda for various reasons and has been relying on other national hate objects like the US, India and Israel, to deflect attention. In this incident, too, there were reports that sympathetic elements from within the Pind Dadan Khan police had forewarned the terrorists about the coming operation that led to the capture and death of the MI personnel. More significantly, the terrorists were hiding in the Chambal hills for many months and the local police must have had information of this.

The LeJ is the sectarian face of al Qaeda but its main function is to engage in kidnapping for ransom in all the big cities of Pakistan to fill the fast-depleting coffers of its parent organisation. When the military spokesman of the ISPR tells us that the army has broken the back of al Qaeda, he leaves LeJ out. In one case after the other, the courts have convicted LeJ members for abducting people, especially those who are Ahmadis, but the image of the LeJ somehow never takes the sort of beating it should. After its founder, Malik Ishaq, was let off by the courts and ultimately released from a Lahore prison, a flurry of sectarian deaths followed, in particular two gruesome incidents in Balochistan where dozens of Shia Hazara were targeted and killed. Any outside observer would think that the state of Pakistan seemingly has a level of tolerance for these minions of al Qaeda that should arouse suspicion.

Late prime minister Benazir Bhutto was convinced before her death that attempts would be made on her life by the Musharraf establishment through the LeJ on the basis of the interface it enjoyed with it. A Pakistani journalist who interviewed Ms Bhutto after the Karachi attempt on her life, quoted her thus: “I have come to know after investigations by my own sources that the October 18 bombing was masterminded by some highly-placed officials in the Pakistani security and intelligence establishments who had hired an al Qaeda-linked militant — Maulvi Abdul Rehman Otho alias Abdul Rehman Sindhi — to execute the attack. Three local militants were hired to carry out the attack under the supervision of Abdul Rehman Sindhi, an al Qaeda-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant from the Dadu district of Sindh”. She ultimately died at the hands of another al Qaeda attachment — the Tehreek-e-Taliban.

There are four factors that force Pakistan to lean on its indoctrinated sense of insecurity to ignore the real danger confronting it from within: 1) lack of writ of the state; 2) presence of foreign terrorists on its soil; 3) affirmation of the ideology of the terrorists by the ideology of the state; and 4) the ‘contamination’ of the establishment from the more stringent doctrines embraced by the terrorists. The indoctrinated sense of insecurity which covers up for the reluctance to fight the terrorists is the textbook designation of India and Israel as enemy states and the latest media-led campaign against America according to which the US backs the other two and intends to snatch Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Most Pakistanis are aware of the change this conduct of the state is bringing about. They call it the rise of extremism. But any diagnosis of how this has been brought about will not fail to indicate that it is the impunity enjoyed by the terrorists. There is Pakistan’s vast madrassa network to endorse the strict ideology of the terrorists and there is a response from within the state institutions in the shape of ‘penetration’. The world is increasingly worried about this symbiosis of terrorists with the Pakistani state and society, simply because an isolationist state relentlessly points to ‘external’ enemies who are to be fought first.

Courtesy » The Express Tribune

Social Psychosis and Collective Sanity – By Winslow Myers

We know from the sad experience of Nazi Germany or Khmer Rouge Cambodia that it is possible for whole nations to become mentally ill, with horrendous consequences. At the time, however, the Nazis or the Khmers had no idea that they were deeply out of touch with the reality that all people are equally worthy of respect and care.

The population of the earth recently surpassed 7 billion. As we move further into the condition of global villagehood, it becomes more important than ever to assess our shared mental health. Collectively we can less and less afford the distortions that afflict the psyches of individual persons, such as denial, regression into infantile rage, fantasy ideation, or blind projection outward onto “enemies” of our unresolved inner tensions. Everyone is aware of the potential horror, for example, of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of someone not in the clearest of minds. …

Read more » COMMON DREAMS

Fifteen Ways ISI Twists the Afghanistan Story – By Melissa Roddy

– Make no mistake, withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan, before the country is strong enough to defend itself, would not result in peace for the Afghan people.  It would result in a repeat of the horrors of the 1990s, when, according to Human Rights Watch, over 400,000 Afghans were killed.

Recently, Benjamin Barber published an editorial entitled 15 REASONS WHY WE CAN’T WIN IN AFGHANISTAN.  I want to thank him for neatly putting in one convenient place so many of the common distortions and lies propagated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (“ISI”) to encourage the United States and our allies to abandon the Afghan people, who have suffered grievously for well over 30 years at the hands of various ISI sponsored criminals.

Below in italics are his jingoistic “15 Reasons,” thoroughly refuted, point by point.

Continue reading Fifteen Ways ISI Twists the Afghanistan Story – By Melissa Roddy

No clean hands

BAAGHI: No clean hands in AmAfPak – by Marvi Sirmed

The fact that the Taliban and al Qaeda had sanctuaries and freedom in Pakistan is largely responsible for their present position in the strategic equation ….

Read more » Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\10\24\story_24-10-2011_pg3_4

‘Why are Taliban good for Afghanistan, but Bad for Pakistan ‘, asks an Afghan student from Musharraf

Action against Haqqani network may not be in Pakistan’s interest: Musharraf

LONDON: Former president Pervez Musharraf said that Pakistan has “definite reasons” for not acting against the Haqqani Network, as such action may not be in Pakistan’s current interest.

The former President did not rule out future action against the Haqqanis, but said that he was not privy to any information in this regard.

Musharraf was speaking at a question and answer session organised at the University of London by the School of Oriental and African Studies and hosted by Express News host of Frontline, Kamran Shahid.

Musharraf faced an intense question and answer session in London, being grilled by an audience comprising both south asian and international students.

Answering a question on drone strikes and the attached collateral damage, the former President of Pakistan said it was a “catch 22″ situation, saying on the one hand, Pakistan wants to defeat al-Qaeda and Taliban since that they are terrorists trying to destabilize the region but at the same time they had to avoid talibanisation of Pakistan. He added that militants are being killed in drone strikes, but at the cost of collateral damage, which is why he never drone strikes during his term. He admitted that handling this situation was a problem area.

Answering a question from an Afghan student on Pakistan’s dual policy of initially backing the Taliban when they took over in Afghanistan and now talking about avoiding talibanisation of Pakistan ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Seeking ‘dubious’ peace with the Taliban

By Khaled Ahmed

Talking peace with the Taliban is a tough undertaking. The Americans who want to talk to the Afghan Taliban should take a close look at how Pakistan fared when it talked to its own Taliban. One can also make a guess at what will happen in the wake of the September 2011 APC in Islamabad as Pakistan gets ready to talk to the Taliban once again.

In 2003, Musharraf nearly got killed when three attacks on him — by al Qaeda through Abu Faraj alLibi, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Pakistan Air Force personnel — on him were foiled. He wanted a counter-attack in South Waziristan but was thwarted by his corps commander in Peshawar, General Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, who preferred retirement to an operation.

The succeeding corps commander Peshawar, General Safdar Hussain, was from the ISI — its second-most important member, DG Analysis. He made peace with the Taliban commander Nek Muhammad at Shakai in 2004, binding him to not attacking in Afghanistan and getting rid of the ‘foreigners’ in return for amnesty. Nek Muhammad did not abide by the peace accord.

General Safdar Hussain told Zahid Hussain (Scorpion’s Tail page 71) he wanted the Americans trapped in Afghanistan. He was seen on TV dubbing Nek Muhammad a soldier of Islam. After Nek Muhammad was killed by a drone in June 2004, General Safdar Hussain signed another peace accord with Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud at Sararogha after giving him half a million dollars to pay back the bribe he and his commanders had got from al Qaeda before shifting loyalty for money. He, too, did not abide by the terms of the accord.

The ‘peace accord’ allowed Baitullah to kill the tribal elders and fill the vacuum thus created in Fata with his warriors. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Army’s ‘peace’ lashkar – By Farhat Taj

Excerpt;

…. The way the war on terror is conducted by the Pakistan Army has left the tribal people oppressed and terrorised by both the army and the al Qaeda-led Taliban. They are under a double occupation of the army and the Taliban. Asking the tribal people to make lashkars against the Taliban is a brutality against them. The generals created the Taliban and their army must fight them, not the tribal people.

Read more » Daily Times

U.S. pegs Haqqani as most lethal foe

– Network operates in Afghan shadows

By Rowan Scarborough

The family criminal enterprise known as the Haqqani Network conducts terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan by keeping in constant phone contact with its suicide bombers before and during attacks.

This level of sophistication, coupled with hands-on terrorist operations, is one reason the U.S. now considers Haqqani its most lethal enemy, even more so than al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The network is operating out of a safe haven across the border in the town of Miran Shah, Pakistan, with near impunity and little to fear from NATO troops or Islamabad. ….

Read more » Washington Times

Wake up Pakistan! – By Najam Sethi

– US-Pak relations have broken down. The United States has “suspended” military aid and all but closed the Kerry-Lugar-Berman tap of funds for the civilians. Proud Pakistanis have puffed up their chests and vowed to eat grass, if necessary, in order to defend the “sovereignty” of their country. What’s the big deal, they aver, US aid was peanuts anyway, and our traditional friends like China and Saudi Arabia are at hand to bail us out of our problems.

Continue reading Wake up Pakistan! – By Najam Sethi

Behind Pakistan’s ‘Haqqani problem’

– Analysis » By Khaled Ahmed

The planned committee that will ensure that the APC statement is acted upon will have a tough time bringing the Haqqanis under control because in this instance the tail is wagging the dog

During the APC against America on 29 September 2011 in Islamabad, Maulana Samiul Haq said that the Haqqani network was ‘indigenous to Pakistan’. How could he say that except on the basis of the fact that both the founder of the Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son the current commander Siraj, are graduates of his Madrassa Haqqania in Akora Khattak, Nowshehra, near Peshawar?

Continue reading Behind Pakistan’s ‘Haqqani problem’

Peace and politics under the praetorian shadow – I

– by Dr Mohammad Taqi

Under the praetorian shadow, not only peace in Afghanistan remained elusive but the blowback also ravaged Pakistan and weakened its moderate political forces

“In the summer of ‘96 we laughed. I can’t remember the sound. Before that September when the Taliban came we were no different than you.

Now we are the ghosts of Afghanistan the women and the girls of a whole country under house arrest.” — From Sue Silvermarie’s poem The Ghosts of Afghanistan.

The events of the last few weeks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, though deeply disturbing and tragic, have helped clarify several things. ….

Read more → Daily Times

Asia Times Online – Pepe’s opinion

– THE ROVING EYE

Pentagon aims at target Pakistan

By Pepe Escobar

Syria will have to wait. The next stop in the Pentagon-coined “long war” is bound to be Pakistan. True, a war is already on in what the Barack Obama administration named AfPak. But crunch time in Pak itself looms closer and closer. Call it the “no bomb left behind” campaign.

Al-Qaeda is a thing of the past; after all, al-Qaeda assets such as Abdelhakim Belhaj are now running Tripoli. The new Washington-manufactured mega-bogeyman is now the Haqqani network.

A relentless, Haqqani-targeted manufacture of consensus industry is already on overdrive, via a constellation of the usual neo-conservative suspects, assorted Republican warmongers, “Pentagon officials” and industrial-military complex shills in corporate media.

The Haqqani network, a force of 15,000 to 20,000 Pashtun fighters led by former anti-Soviet mujahideen figure Jalalludin Haqqani, is a key component of the Afghan insurgency from its bases in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area.

For Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Haqqani network “acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] agency”. It took Mullen no less than 10 years since Washington’s bombing of Afghanistan to figure this out. Somebody ought to give him a Nobel Peace Prize.

According to the US government narrative, it was the ISI that gave the go-ahead for the Haqqani network to attack the US Embassy in Kabul on September 13.

Pentagon head Leon Panetta has gone on record saying that in response, Washington might go unilateral. This means that the vast numbers of Pashtun farmers, including women and children, who have already been decimated for months by US drone attacks on the tribal areas should be considered as extras in a humanitarian operation. ….

Read more → ASIA TIMES ONLINE

Islam in the garrison

– by Umer Farooq

On March 16, 2004, the Pakistan Army launched its first operation in South Waziristan tribal agency to weed out al-Qaeda and Taliban elements who had crossed into Pakistan after coming under American attacks in Afghanistan. General Pervez Musharraf, the then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the ruler of the country, held a series of meetings with his top commanders in the run-up to the operation and repeatedly asked them a single question. “Do you see any kind of reluctance among your soldiers to fire at the militants?” a participant of these meetings quotes him as asking. “He was visibly worried. He wanted to be dead sure that he did not face any backlash from within the army as he sent it into the tribal areas,” says a retired military officer who worked closely with Musharraf during his tenure in the government.

The commanding officers told their chief that their men were all set to strike the militants. What transpired during the operation, however, must have surprised many of them. As the militants offered tough resistance to the Pakistan Army, in some cases paramilitary troops and army soldiers surrendered without a fight apparently in response to the calls from religious leaders in the tribal areas that the operation was meant for killing their own “Muslim brethren”.

In the three years between the maiden military operation in South Waziristan and Musharraf’s retirement as the army chief in November 2007, apprehensions and fears persisted among the military high command of a religious backlash from within the army, says the retired official. Not without a reason. On July 3, 2007 security agencies laid a siege around Lal Masjid in Islamabad where militants led by brothers Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi were holed up. Senior security officials planned a commando operation (Operation Silence) – involving the breaching of the wall that the mosque shared with its adjacent Jamia Hafsa madrasah – to flush out the militants. But before the commandos could reach the wall from where the militants were firing, a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the army passed on the information about the operation to the militants. Consequently, the operation failed and led to loss of several lives (official figures account for the death of 62 people). The Military Intelligence arrested and interrogated the JCO who was then working as the driver of a senior military official. His investigators soon found out that he had sympathies for the militants. There have been many other incidents in which the military personnel either cooperated or collaborated with the militants to launch lethal terrorist attacks. The most well known of these are the attempts to assassinate Musharraf which he has described in detail in his autobiography In the Line of Fire and which resulted in the arrests, court martial and conviction of many low-ranking military officials.

With the arrest in May this year of Brigadier Ali Khan, who was working at a senior position at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, and four unnamed majors for having links with Hizbut Tahrir (HuT), a transnational extremist organisation banned in Pakistan, serious questions about the influence of religious ideologies in the army have risen again. The way the army’s public relations machine portrayed their case, laced with strong declarations of not tolerating any sectarian and radical ideologies among the soldiers and officers, is a clear manifestation that the worries about growing religious radicalisation in the armed forces are growing.

Continue reading Islam in the garrison

Are we innocent?

by I. A. Rehman

THE carnage in Norway last Friday shocked the world’s conscience. It has also posed some extremely tough questions for European societies, the world’s Muslims in general, and the people of Pakistan in particular.

Europe will do itself and the world at large great injustice and harm if it dismisses the matter as the isolated work of a deranged mind. It must look deep into the factors that led to Anders Behring Breivik’s reliance on perverted intelligence.

The unpardonable doings of Al Qaeda, the other so-called jihadists and Muslim megalomaniacs have certainly contributed to the spread of Islamophobia in Europe and other parts of the western world, but it would be wrong to limit the list of culprits to them. It may be necessary to probe the extent to which the tone and tenor of the war on terror may have contributed to the growth of both militancy in parts of the Muslim world and reckless Muslim-bashing in the West. The idea is not to shift blame from one party to another, it is only a plea for keeping the indigenous sources of terrorism in Europe also in mind.

The world cannot possibly forget the rise of European fascism that built its power by fanning racism and persecuting certain religious and ethnic communities (Jews and Blacks). Nazism is a disease many parts of Europe are still afflicted with. The Norwegian people themselves have had anxieties about neo-Nazi and other extreme-right gangs for more than a decade.

These facts make it necessary for European societies to take note of elements who may be exploiting the public sentiment against terrorists and immigrants to impose on them new and more horrible forms of right-wing tyranny.

The leaders of Islamic thought and Muslim public opinion on their part cannot shun reality by simply telling the Europeans to put their house in order. Nor can they get away by declaring that terrorists constitute a small minority among Islamic scholars and lay Muslims both, however true this statement may be. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

Via → WICHAAR.COM

Pakistan Will Resist American Attempt To Link It To Norway Carnage

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan will resist expected attempts by the United States to link the country to terrorist attacks in Norway’s capital a few hours ago.

Washington is working closely with Indian intelligence to target Pakistani interests worldwide. This is retaliation against Pakistan’s refusal to act as an American satellite. ….

Read more → http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/2011/07/23/pakistan-will-resist-american-attempt-to-link-it-to-norway-carnage/

Via → Siasat.pk

Demanding Answers From Pakistan

By ZALMAY KHALILZAD

Excerpt;

SINCE the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan has behaved toward the United States as both friend and adversary — and gotten away with it. The latest evidence of its duplicity is the revelation that Osama bin Laden lived for years in a house near Pakistan’s national military academy and a local branch of its intelligence service without any evident interference.

Even before the American raid last week on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan had a huge credibility problem. It provides arms and safe haven for Afghan insurgent groups and pays their commanders to carry out attacks, but denies doing so. …

…. The killing of Bin Laden only 60 miles from Islamabad, its capital, has put Pakistan on the defensive, and the nature of our strike capability is not lost on Pakistani leaders and their terrorist and insurgent clients. ….
….

First, the United States should reduce its dependence on supply lines running through Pakistan to Afghanistan. We should expand alternative supply routes through Azerbaijan and other countries in Central Asia. Also, as we draw down forces in Afghanistan, our logistical requirements will diminish; this will give the United States more leeway to consider unilateral attacks against terrorists and insurgents in Pakistan.

Second, the United States should stay on the course set by President Obama to build, train and support Afghan security forces and reduce our own military presence while retaining the capacity to provide air support, intelligence collection and other capabilities that the Afghans currently lack. Such a posture can strengthen Afghanistan against Pakistani interference and help persuade Pakistan to embrace a settlement.

Third, the United States should conclude a longer-term agreement with Afghanistan to maintain a small, enduring military presence that would give us the capability to conduct counterterrorism operations and respond to possibilities like Pakistani nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists.

Fourth, the United States could consider seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorize an investigation into how Bin Laden managed to hide in plain view. The inquiry should examine the presence of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan. ….

…. It is in neither America’s interest nor Pakistan’s for relations to become more adversarial. But Pakistan’s strategy of being both friend and adversary is no longer acceptable. ….

To read complete article → THE NEW YORK TIMES

Pasha should go – New York Times Editorial

– A Pakistani Journalist’s Murder

After the Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was murdered in May, suspicion fell on Inter-Services Intelligence, the country’s powerful spy agency. Mr. Shahzad reported aggressively on the infiltration of militants into Pakistan’s military and had received repeated threats from ISI. Other journalists said they, too, have been threatened, even tortured, by security forces.

Now the Obama administration has evidence implicating the ISI in this brutal killing. According to The Times’s Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt, American officials say new intelligence indicates that senior ISI officials ordered the attack on Mr. Shahzad to silence him. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed on Thursday that Pakistan’s government “sanctioned” the killing, but he did not tie it directly to ISI. The murder will make journalists and other critics of the regime even more reluctant to expose politically sensitive news. The ISI is also proving to be an increasingly dangerous counterterrorism partner for the United States.

After Mr. Shahzad’s killing, ISI insisted it had no role, contending the death would be “used to target and malign” its reputation. The ISI and the army, which oversees the intelligence agency, were once considered Pakistan’s most respected institutions. Now they are sharply criticized at home for malfeasance and incompetence.

There is evidence that they were complicit in hiding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and that the ISI helped plan the Mumbai attack in 2008. They failed to prevent the recent attack on a naval base in Karachi. Mr. Shahzad disappeared two days after publishing an article suggesting the attack was retaliation for the navy’s attempt to crack down on Al Qaeda militants in the armed forces.

It’s not clear how high up the culpability for Mr. Shahzad’s murder goes — or whether there are any officials left in the ISI or the army who have the power and desire to reform the spy agency. President Asif Ali Zardari and his government, while not implicated in these heinous acts, have been a disappointment, largely letting the military go its own way. They need to find Mr. Shahzad’s murderers and hold them accountable. And they must find the courage to assert civilian control over security services that have too much power and are running amok.

Mr. Zardari needs to speak out firmly against abuses, insist on adherence to the rule of law and join his political rival, Nawaz Sharif, in pressing the security services to change. That can start by insisting on the retirement of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief, and the appointment of a more credible successor.

The United States needs to use its influence to hasten Mr. Pasha’s departure. It should tell Pakistan’s security leadership that if Washington identifies anyone in ISI or the army as abetting terrorists, those individuals will face sanctions like travel bans or other measures. The ISI has become inimical to Pakistani and American interests.

Courtesy: → The New York Times

Source → http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/opinion/08fri2.html?_r=1

– – – – – – – –

[For more details → DAWN.COM → NYT asks Pak Govt to remove ISI Chief. – U.S. conforms evidence of ISI ordering the killing of Saleem Shehzad.]

Save Pakistan or Taliban?

By: Former Senator Iqbal Haider

Excerpt;

…. The term “Taliban” being used here is inclusive of all their factions, groups of al-Qaeda and all the extremists, militant religious or Jihadi forces under whatever name or banner. In my view they are all the same. They all indulge in terrorism. They all have the common object of taking over state of Pakistan through terrorist activities. They all denounce other sects of Muslims as “Kafir, Wajibul Qatal”. Their different names with any prefix or suffix of Lashkar, Sipah, Jihadi or Tableeghi etc., do not matter.

Now that the same suggestion is being actively pleaded, the supporters of this suggestion must answer the most pertinent questions. First are Taliban willing to hold negotiations? I find no credible evidence to this effect. Secondly, why none of the pleader ever demands cessation of terrorist activities in Pakistan by Taliban as a condition precedent to negotiations? Thirdly, what would be the agenda of negotiations? Suppose if Taliban agree to hold dialogue, will they agree to abandon and denounce (a) terrorism; (b) their peculiar believes in the name of Islam and the policies that were followed by Mulla Omer in Afghanistan? Will the Taliban allow education to women, music, films, video shops, barbershops, television, photography, sportsmen wearing shorts, judiciary, democracy and democratic institutions such as are in Pakistan? Will the Taliban respect the historic monuments, places of worship and rights of the minorities without any discrimination and forcing them to wear any kind of mark of distinction? Will the Taliban respect all other sects of Muslims and allow them to freely practice all their religious rites and ceremonies without being branded as “Kafir” or “Wajibul Qatal”.

It is not expected of the Taliban to give answers in affirmative to these questions. Then the question arises that on what basis the negotiations are expected to be concluded? Are the advocates of this suggestion on the other hand willing to adopt the peculiar religious believes, policies, norms and practices of Taliban, which were in vogue under the rule of Mullah Omer? Is it possible to spell out the meeting points of negotiation with Taliban without subjecting the people of Pakistan of the beliefs and policies of a negligible number of Taliban in Pakistan.

There are no two opinions that Pakistan is at war with Taliban from within. The worst and longest war causing unprecedented and incalculable devastation in Pakistan. Never before our law enforcement agencies particularly our arm forces, paramilitary forces, police etc., had to sacrifice thousands of the lives of their officers and soldiers at the hand of Taliban. Never before so many thousands of innocent citizens became victim of the attacks unleashed by Taliban. Never before sense of insecurity of the life and property of the citizen as well as of the integrity of our country loomed so large. Never before Pakistan suffered such immense destruction of our economy, political, social, cultural life and sports.

Pakistan is facing the worst challenges from three fronts. Firstly the US and Nato countries are emphasizing that their war is against al-Qaeda. They are drawing a naive, illogical and untenable distinction between al-Qaeda and Taliban. Meaning thereby that their war against terrorism is confined against al-Qaeda only. As far as Taliban are concerned, is the headache of Pakistan mainly. The US is eager to strike a deal with Taliban through negotiations. ….

It is crystal clear that Pakistan and Taliban cannot coexist. If the Taliban are allowed to survive and increase their hold in Pakistan, it would amount to negation of Pakistan and negation of Quaid-e-Azam’s dreams, vision, philosophy and commitments as well as the objects and purposes for which Pakistan was created. Hence, we have no option but to cleanse Pakistan of all the Taliban groups, extremist obscurantist religious forces and all kinds of terrorists, so that Pakistan can be made a non-violent, peaceful, moderate, tolerant, progressive and modern state.

The writer is Senior Advocate Supreme Court, former Senator, Attorney General & Federal Minister for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs & Human Rights

To read complete article → THE NEWS

Warning that Pakistan is in danger of collapse within months

by Paul McGeough

PAKISTAN could collapse within months, one of the more influential counter-insurgency voices in Washington says.

The warning comes as the US scrambles to redeploy its military forces and diplomats in an attempt to stem rising violence and anarchy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we’re calling the war on terror now,” said David Kilcullen, a former Australian Army officer who was a specialist adviser for the Bush administration and is now a consultant to the Obama White House.

“You just can’t say that you’re not going to worry about al-Qaeda taking control of Pakistan and its nukes,” he said.

Read more → THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

– – – – – – – – —

Courtesy: → Duniya TV News (Khari Baat Luqman Ke Saath, 5th July 2011 – p1)

via → ZemTVYouTube

PAKISTAN: Another Pakistani woman is killed, yet officials remain silent

AHRC-FAT-033-2011, July 5, 2011 – An article from Radio Free Europe forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN: Another Pakistani woman is killed, yet officials remain silent

Shazia, 19, was stoned, burnt with acid, and then shot dead for an unknown sin

By Daud Khattak

No one noticed last month when Shazia, 19, was stoned, burnt with acid, and then shot dead for an unknown sin in Mardan, the second largest town in northern Pakistan after Peshawar.

Originally from a village in the Swat Valley, Shazia was snatched by her ex-husband from her mother, taken into the mountains, tortured, and eventually killed.

Her mother, Noor Jehan, a widow with no male relatives, has lodged complaints at three different police stations about her daughter’s fate, but her wailing, so far, has fallen on deaf ears. Law-enforcement agents keep telling her that “investigations are under way.”

Days before Shazia’s heinous murder, another woman was stripped and paraded around Haripur, a city near the now-infamous suburb of Abbotabad, the last dwelling of Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. …

Read more → ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (AHRC)

Obama’s Af-Pak strategy: tossing away the COIN – Dr Mohammad Taqi

– The Pakistani planners apparently lauded the UN separation of the Taliban and al Qaeda on the sanctions blacklist. This distinction does not necessarily mean lifting the sanctions; it in fact sets the stage for further sanctions against al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, especially the India-oriented Punjabi jihadist groups based in Pakistan’s heartland

In his speech on June 22, 2011, Barack Obama outlined the drawdown of the US forces from Afghanistan. He declared his plans to pull out 10,000 troops from Afghanistan at the year’s end and another 23,000 by mid-2012, essentially withdrawing all troops inducted during the 2009 surge. Obama pledged the drawdown at a steady pace until the transition of security to the Afghan authorities by 2014.

The deliberations leading to his decision, including the stance of his various advisors, congressional hearings after the speech and indeed sections of the speech itself hint towards what lies ahead in the Pak-Afghan region, not only in the next two years but also after 2014. When it came to selling Obama’s plan to the congressional leaders, the Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, ‘excused’ himself and was represented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who conceded before the House Armed Services Committee that he had hoped for a slower pace of withdrawal. Mullen had described the plan as more aggressive and riskier than he was originally prepared to accept.

Similarly, General David Petraeus and the man set to replace him as head of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General John Allen, have stated that Obama’s final plan was not one of the options proposed to the president by General Petraeus. Except for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, most officials have placed their dissenting note on record. Nonetheless, the US brass has closed ranks behind Obama and seem to have taken ownership of the task he has assigned them.

From the Pakistani perspective, there are multiple indicators pointing towards things heating up for them in the near future. Most importantly, Obama stated in his speech: “Of course, our efforts must also address terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. No country is more endangered by the presence of violent extremists, which is why we will continue to press Pakistan to expand its participation in securing a more peaceful future for this war torn region. We will work with the Pakistani government to root out the cancer of violent extremism, and we will insist that it keep its commitments. For there should be no doubt that so long as I am president, the US will never tolerate a safe haven for those who aim to kill us. They cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve.” While the US military commanders may have differed on the pace of drawdown from Afghanistan, it is this aspect of his plan that they totally concur with.

On June 28, 2011, at the US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, General Allen and Vice Admiral William McRaven — the Obama nominee to head US Special Operations Command — were quite candid, not just about Obama’s overall plan, but the aspects of it that deal directly with Pakistan. In response to Senator Carl Levin’s question about Pakistan’s attitude vis-à-vis the militants, especially the Haqqani network, Admiral McRaven bluntly noted that he did not expect any change in Pakistan’s approach towards these proxies because it was “both a capacity issue for the Pakistanis and…a willingness issue”. More ominously, when asked by Senator Bob Graham: “Do we believe Mullah Omar is there with the knowledge of the ISI and the upper echelons of the army?” McRaven responded, “Sir, I believe the Pakistanis know he is in Pakistan.”

Where does this leave us, or more importantly, lead us? As much as Obama has a visceral dislike for war and, unlike George W Bush, is not trigger-happy, he has made up his mind that he will not be gun shy when it comes to enforcing the key elements of his plan to end the war in Afghanistan, which means tossing away the counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan, in favour of a counter-terrorism effort along the Durand Line. Buoyed by the results of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Obama will not reinvent the wheel and intends to apply the same model for both the Haqqani network and the ‘irreconcilable’ Afghan Taliban. The primary US focus will now be on the Pakistan-supported insurgents.

Continue reading Obama’s Af-Pak strategy: tossing away the COIN – Dr Mohammad Taqi

The unintended consequences of American funding in Pakistan.

– The Double Game

The unintended consequences of American funding in Pakistan.

by Lawrence Wright

Excerpt:

…. India has become the state that we tried to create in Pakistan. It is a rising economic star, militarily powerful and democratic, and it shares American interests. Pakistan, however, is one of the most anti-American countries in the world, and a covert sponsor of terrorism. Politically and economically, it verges on being a failed state. And, despite Pakistani avowals to the contrary, America’s worst enemy, Osama bin Laden, had been hiding there for years—in strikingly comfortable circumstances—before U.S. commandos finally tracked him down and killed him, on May 2nd.

American aid is hardly the only factor that led these two countries to such disparate outcomes. But, at this pivotal moment, it would be a mistake not to examine the degree to which U.S. dollars have undermined our strategic relationship with Pakistan—and created monstrous contradictions within Pakistan itself. …

… Within the I.S.I., there is a secret organization known as the S Wing, which is largely composed of supposedly retired military and I.S.I. officers. “It doesn’t exist on paper,” a source close to the I.S.I. told me. The S Wing handles relations with radical elements. “If something happens, then they have deniability,” the source explained. If any group within the Pakistani military helped hide bin Laden, it was likely S Wing.

Eight days before Osama bin Laden was killed, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the head of the Pakistani Army, went to the Kakul military academy in Abbottabad, less than a mile from the villa where bin Laden was living. “General Kayani told the cadets, ‘We have broken the backbone of the militants,’ ” Pir Zubair Shah, the reporter, told me. “But the backbone was right there.” Perhaps with a touch of theatre, Hamid Gul, the former I.S.I. chief, publicly expressed wonder that bin Laden was living in a city with three army regiments, less than a mile from an élite military academy, in a house that appeared to have been built expressly to protect him. Aside from the military, Gul told the Associated Press, “there is the local police, the Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence, the I.S.I. They all had a presence there.”

To read complete article : ♦ The New Yorker

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/16/110516fa_fact_wright#ixzz1QU3ZbWsw

 

Cry baby commanders!

The long sulk – by Ayaz Amir

Corps commanders? Our guardians seem more like cry commanders these days, wearing their anger and hurt on their sleeves and refusing to come out of the sulk into which they went after Abbottabad…a place destined from now on to be less associated with Major Abbott and more with that warrior of Islam from whose parting kick we have yet to recover, Osama bin Laden.

True, May has been a cruel month for the army and Pakistan, with troubles coming not in single spies but entire battalions: the Mehran attack, Frontier Corps marksmanship in Quetta, Sindh Rangers zeal in Karachi, and the death by torture of the journalist Saleem Shahzad… this last bearing all the hallmarks of insanity tipping over the edge.

Which raw nerves had his reporting touched? Who could have kidnapped him on a stretch of road probably the securest in Islamabad? Mossad, RAW, the CIA, the Taliban? Definite proof we don’t have but circumstances point in an uncomfortable direction. If this is another conspiracy against Pakistan we ourselves have written its script.

Still, since when was sulking an answer to anything? It may suit kids and pretty girls but it makes an army command look silly, especially one prone to take itself so seriously.

Terseness should be a quality of military writing: that and precision. The rambling nature of the statement issued after last week’s corps commanders’ conference is likely to leave one baffled. It rails against the “perceptual biases” of elements out to drive a wedge between the army and the nation; contains such bromides as the need for national unity; and in part reads like a thesis on Pak-US relations, which it should not have been for the corps commanders to delineate in public.

The army has “perceptual biases” of its own. It should keep them to itself.

The National Defence University, one of the biggest white elephants in a city dedicated to this species, seems to be an idea ahead of its time. Pakistani generals putting on intellectual airs is no laughing matter. Half our troubles can be traced to ‘intellectual’ generals.

Admittedly, these are troubling times for Pakistan and the army command post-Osama is under a great deal of pressure. But the answer to this should be grace under pressure, coolness under fire, rather than desperation and hurt pride.

There are legitimate questions arising from the discovery of Bin Laden’s hideaway in Abbottabad. We should answer them without losing our cool. And, preferably, we should avoid the temptation of climbing the rooftops and beating the drums of national pride and dignity. Why is it so difficult for us to understand that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have compromised our sovereignty more than all the drones fired by the CIA?

And, please, let’s get rid of the notion that Islamist militancy is a response to the American presence in this region. Uncomfortable as this truth may be, Pakistan had become the crossroads of international jihad much before 9/11 and the subsequent American invasion of Afghanistan. The ISI was up to its neck with Afghan and Kashmir jihad much before these events. It won’t do to hide our heads in the sand and pretend that none of this happened or that the world is responsible for our woes.

In fact it is the other way round. The CIA footprint in Pakistan is a response to the jihadi footprint in this country. The Raymond Davises came afterwards. The flaming warriors of Al-Qaeda and its local affiliates, many of them trained and nurtured by the army and its subordinate agencies, came earlier. And if we are to be honest with ourselves, the CIA footprint, unconscionably large as it may be, could never come close to the enormous dimensions of the jihadi footprint on the variegated landscape of the Islamic Republic.

If half the passion the army is now showing in defence of national sovereignty in the wake of the Abbottabad embarrassment, had been displayed against Al-Qaeda-inspired jihadism we wouldn’t have been in the mess we are in now.

The world has moved on, other concerns have risen to the fore and no one, anywhere, has any patience for these games any more. They just don’t fit into the framework of present-day events. Why can’t we move on?

Let’s disabuse ourselves of another notion. There is no international conspiracy against Pakistan. We are not that important an international player to merit that kind of attention. No one is eyeing the nebulous frontiers of our sovereignty. We are the authors of our own troubles and the sooner the army command starts accepting the truth of this the sooner can begin the task of rectification.

Continue reading Cry baby commanders!

The radicalization of Pakistan’s military

By Fareed Zakaria

Excerpt:

Whatever their strength, American troops will not determine success in Afghanistan. Nor will the newly formed Afghan National Army. As U.S. forces are gradually withdrawn over the next three years, it is Pakistan’s 600,000-strong army that will become the dominant military force in the region and will try to shape its future. But that military is undergoing a deep internal crisis of identity, its most serious since Pakistan’s founding in 1947. How it resolves this crisis will determine its future, the future of the Afghan war — and much else.This week’s news that a Pakistani brigadier general has been arrested for his ties to a radical Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, is only the latest in series of events that have rocked that nation. In the past year, two senior Pakistani officials have been gunned down, one by his own security guard. Last month, well-armed militants attacked a key naval base in Karachi, an operation that required inside assistance. Also last month, a brave Pakistani journalist, Syed Saleem Shahzad, who detailed the growing extremist presence within the Pakistani military, was tortured and killed, almost certainly by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (which denied the allegation). And then there is the case of Osama bin Laden, who was for years comfortably ensconced in an army town.

Pakistan’s military has traditionally been seen as a secular and disciplined organization. But the evidence is now overwhelming that it has been infiltrated at all levels by violent Islamists, including Taliban and al-Qaeda sympathizers.

There is also strong evidence of a basic shift in the attitude of the Pakistani military. Last month, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, was invited to speak at the country’s National Defense University. Addressing a large gathering of officers, Haqqani asked the audience, “What is the principal national security threat to Pakistan?” He offered three categories: “from within [Pakistan],” “India,” and, “the United States.” A plurality voted for the third option. …..

….. Pakistan is drifting into a strategic black hole. Does the country really think its best path forward is as an adversary of the United States, currying favor with militants and becoming a vassal of China? Are its role models North Korea and Burma? Or does it want to crush the jihadist movements that are destroying the country, join the global economy, reform its society and become a real democracy? These are the questions Pakistan has to ask itself. The United States, for its part, having disbursed $20 billion in aid to Pakistan in the past decade — most of it to the military — needs to ask some questions of its own.

To read complete article: The Washington Post

Saleem Shahzad, Al Qaeda and ISI

By Khaled Ahmed

Murdered journalist’s findings show Al Qaeda is winning in nuclear Pakistan more effectively than in Somalia and Yemen

Anyone who has read Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 by Saleem Shahzad (Pluto Press 2011) will come to the following conclusions:

1) It is Al Qaeda rather than the Taliban who plan militant attacks in Pakistan and that the Taliban execute no operations without the permission of Al Qaeda; 2) Jihadi organisations are subservient to Al Qaeda at the same time as some are also extensions of the Pakistan Army; 3) TTP was shaped by Al Qaeda through Uzbek warlord Tahir Yuldashev after the 2007 Lal Masjid affair; 4) ‘Retired’ army officers earlier handling proxy jihad defected to Al Qaeda but continued to use contacts within the military on behalf of Al Qaeda; 5) Benazir was killed by Al Qaeda and not Baitullah Mehsud; he was merely an instrument; 6) Mumbai was done by Al Qaeda through former Pakistan Army officers with help from Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT) without the knowledge of the ISI despite the fact that LeT was on ISI’s leash; 7) Army officers or freedom fighters trained by army for Kashmir jihad spearheaded Al Qaeda’s war against Pakistan Army; 8) Islamic radicalisation of Pakistani society and media mixed with fear of being assassinated by Al Qaeda agents – who include ex-army officers – have tilted the balance of power away from the state of Pakistan to Al Qaeda; 9) Punjabi Taliban are under Haqqani Network which is supposed to be aligned with Pakistan Army; 10) Pakistan Army has ex-officers in Al Qaeda as well as serving officers collaborating with these ex-officers. …

Read more: → The Friday Times