Tag Archives: Qaeda

Should U.S. Cut All Aid to Pakistan?

Special Guests | Charles Krauthammer

BILL O’REILLY, HOST: In the “Back of the Book” segment tonight: The United States gives Pakistan about $3 billion a year in aid. That country has not been a very good friend to us lately. Now, Pakistan is reportedly demanding the CIA cut back its presence there and that President Obama stop the drone attacks designed to kill Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the north of Pakistan. Also, in March, a major Indonesian terrorist was captured in Pakistan, but the Obama administration has not sent anyone yet to interview the guy.

So what’s going on? Joining us from Washington, Fox News political analyst Charles Krauthammer. Pakistan, should we cut all aid to that country, Charles? This is what Trump says. Let’s get out of there. I mean, they’re not helping us out. Why are we giving them $3 billion? What do you say?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think we’re getting very near to that point,

Read & Watch more : FOX NEWS

U.S. DRONE ATTACKS ON PAKISTAN SUPPORTED BY PAKISTAN ARMY

 – Most of those killed in drone attacks were terrorists: military

General Officer Commanding 7-Division Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood said in a briefing here: “Myths and rumours about US predator strikes and the casualty figures are many, but it’s a reality that many of those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a sizeable number of them foreigners.

By Zahir Shah Sherazi

MIRANSHAH: In a rather rare move, the Pakistan military for the first time gave the official version of US drone attacks in the tribal region and said that most of those killed were hardcore Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and a fairly large number of them were of foreign origin.

General Officer Commanding 7-Division Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood said in a briefing here: “Myths and rumours about US predator strikes and the casualty figures are many, but it’s a reality that many of those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a sizeable number of them foreigners. …

Read more : DAWN

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/09/most-of-those-killed-in-drone-attacks-were-terrorists-military.html

As Pakistan battles extremism, it needs allies’ patience and help

By Asif Ali Zardari, The writer is president of Pakistan.

Just days before her assassination, my wife, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, wrote presciently of the war within Islam and the potential for a clash between Islam and the West: “There is an internal tension within Muslim society. The failure to resolve that tension peacefully and rationally threatens to degenerate into a collision course of values spilling into a clash between Islam and the West. It is finding a solution to this internal debate within Islam – about democracy, about human rights, about the role of women in society, about respect for other religions and cultures, about technology and modernity – that shall shape future relations between Islam and the West.”

Two months ago my friend Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was cut down for standing up against religious intolerance and against those who would use debate about our laws to divide our people. On Tuesday, another leading member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs and the only Christian in our cabinet, was murdered by extremists tied to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

These assassinations painfully reinforce my wife’s words and serve as a warning that the battle between extremism and moderation in Pakistan affects the success of the civilized world’s confrontation with the terrorist menace.

A small but increasingly belligerent minority is intent on undoing the very principles of tolerance upon which our nation was founded in 1947; principles by which Pakistan’s founder, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, lived and died; and principles that are repeated over and over in the Koran. The extremists who murdered my wife and friends are the same who blew up the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and who have blown up girls’ schools in the Swat Valley.

We will not be intimidated, nor will we retreat. Such acts will not deter the government from our calibrated and consistent efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism. It is not only the future of Pakistan that is at stake but peace in our region and possibly the world.

Read more : The Washington Post

Governor Salman Taseer’s assassination & the rising tide of fanaticism in Pakistan

By Ahmed Chandio

The assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer has spread fear and terror among people. A killer has been made hero and the victim as a villain in the name of blasphemy law. Religious parties of the country have intensified their activities in the wake of the Governor’s assassination. They don’t care about the country’s image abroad and the cost anyway. People are not ready to discuss the issue of blasphemy saying it’s a sensitive issue.

Lawyers of Rawalpindi forced a judge of an anti-terrorism court not to leave for the capital to hear the case. Finally, police shifted the accused to Rawalpindi to present him before the judge. Lawyers and activists of some religious parties placed garlands of roses around the killer’s neck. They showered him with flower petals and kissed him. According to a PPP minister, lawyers who garlanded the killer belonged to the PML-N.

Over 300 lawyers signed legal documents expressing their willingness to defend the killer. But no public prosecutor came forward to plead the case of the assassinated governor because of fear.

One newspaper reported that Qadri was a mercenary killer and paid to carry out the murder. He was given an assurance that his family would be looked after if anything happened to him or if he was convicted. Sources said announcements had been made about bounty to be paid to the killer and the amount offered totaled Rs40 million.

The Punjab governor’s murder is seen as an act of religious fanaticism. The roots of the menace can be traced back to the Zia era. Earlier it was considered that madressahs (religious seminaries) served as breeding grounds for producing fanatics. But profiles of 9/11 terrorists, Times Square bomber, the killer of journalist Daniel Pearl proved that all of them had not studied in madressahs. The killer of Punjab governor had also not studied in madressah.

Can we hold curriculum being taught from primary to university-level education in Pakistan responsible for terrorism? No. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the killer of Daniel Pearl, had studied in the London School of Economics.

Then what instigated them to be a fanatic? What are sources and forces of hate in Pakistan?

There has been no doubt that hate missions are very much institutionalized and billions of rupees are spent on them. Some foreign countries are also funding millions of rupees to groups involved in acts of militancy. …

Read more : Indus Herald

Report Says Militants in Daniel Pearl Killing Still at Large

Report Says Militants in Pearl Killing Still at Large

By JANE PERLEZ

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Nine years after an American reporter Daniel Pearl was captured and killed by operatives of Al Qaeda in Pakistan, more than a dozen of the militants involved in his murder remain at large, a testament to the lack of will by Pakistani authorities to prosecute the cases, according to a report released Thursday. …

Read more : THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

Pakistan : Will The Political Establishment Wake Up?

Will The Political Establishment Wake Up?

By: Agha Haider Raza

Our country is at a crossroad. Pakistan has come to a point where thousands believe they are righteous and have divine authority to carry out God’s acts on this earth. …

Read more : Agha Haider Raza

Pakistan : Someone always to kill

Someone always to kill – by Fasi Zaka

At some point in time, a lot of the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan quietly renounced their citizenship to become ‘Takfiristanis’. They took upon themselves the right to declare anyone they willed a non-Muslim and gave themselves the right to murder.

I was always under the impression that ghazis in history were men and women of valour, who stared death in the face and didn’t flinch because the mettle of their belief was so strong. So as it emerges that the killer of Salmaan Taseer, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, is a ‘ghazi’ to many, it’s odd that he allegedly requested the other guards not to kill him. That he killed an unarmed man in cold blood is cowardly, that he wanted his life spared is cowardly. That doesn’t sound courageous to me.

After the killing of Salmaan Taseer, the silent majority of Pakistan finally spoke. They liked it. It didn’t matter what class they were from, what clothes they wore, how many years of education they had. They agreed with murder most foul. But they are still silent on their secret identity as Takfiristanis. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

A former CIA officer, Bruce Riedel warns against a possible coup in Pakistan

Deadly Embraces

An interview with Bruce Riedel, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution

By Interview conducted by Constantino Xavier

A former CIA officer, Bruce Riedel has been a close observer of the radical developments that South Asia has witnessed since 2001. In this interview with The Majalla, Riedel explores different scenarios for Afghanistan in 2015, warns against a possible coup in Pakistan, and highlights Al-Qaeda’s profile as an intelligent organization. …

Read more : THE MAJALLA

Cash from Haj pilgrims used to finance 26/11: WikiLeaks

Indo-Asian News Service – London: Militants often use the annual Haj pilgrimage for laundering money and cash from pilgrims was used to finance the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, a confidential US embassy cable published by whistle-blower websitse WikiLeaks says. A Sky News report cites the New York Times as detailing a long list of possible methods terrorists might have been using to fund their activities. One memo claims militants often used the annual Haj pilgrimage for laundering money and cash from pilgrims was used to finance the Mumbai bombings.

Other documents have claimed the US believes donors from Saudi Arabia are “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”. A memo sent by the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in December 2009 referred to the kingdom as a “cash machine” for Al Qaeda.

Other countries in the region have also come under fire.

In the leaked cables, the United Arab Emirates is described as having a “strategic gap” that terrorists could exploit, Qatar is seen as “the worst in the region” on counter-terrorism and Kuwait is labelled “a key transit point”.

Some confidential cables listed a few infrastructure facilites in the world as “critical” for US security, if attacked by terrorists.

The document details hundreds of pipelines, cables and industrial sites around the world that America deems crucial to securing its interests. Loss of those locations could “critically impact” US security. …

Read more : hindustantimes

Al Qaeda using Facebook to enlist ‘Friends’

By Jana Winter

EXCLUSIVE: If you’re on Facebook, Al Qaeda wants to friend you.

Terrorist groups are using Facebook to share operational information and to target, recruit and radicalize members of the general public, according to a Department of Homeland Security report obtained by FoxNews.com.

The DHS report, “Terrorist Use of Social Networking Sites: Facebook Case Study,” notes while terrorists have been using social networking sites for quite some time, their strategies for exploiting Facebook have evolved and that they have learned “the inherent value in exploiting a non-ideological medium.”

According to the November report, terrorists and jihadists use Facebook as:

— a way to share operational and tactical information, including bomb recipes and weapons maintenance;

— a gateway to extremist forums;

— a media outlet for propaganda;

— a source of remote reconnaissance for targeting purposes.

“Every person who connects to the Internet with a computer needs to take this issue seriously,” says Steve Graham, senior director for EC Council, a cybersecurity certification membership organization. “Reports like this show we are figuratively sitting next to terrorists. So are our friends, our kids and anyone else who types http://www.”

Read more: Fox News

Hamid Gul blamed to support Taliban against Nato forces

NEW YORK: Hamid Gul, the former chief of ISI, has been accused in several of the leaked documents of regularly meeting al Qaeda and Taliban commanders to order suicide attacks in Afghanistan.

Gul while responding the allegation said that United States orchestrated the mass leak of war files to scapegoat him for its imminent withdrawal from Afghanistan. …

Read more : Daily Times

Zardari in WikiLeaks – Nawaz Sharif is worst than Asfandyar Wali Khan for the GHQ?

Nuclear Fuel Memos Expose Wary Dance With Pakistan

This article is by Jane Perlez, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt.

….. “Kayani will want to hear that the United States has turned the page on past ISI operations,” it said. General Kayani was probably referring to the peace accords with the Taliban from 2004 to 2007 that resulted in the strengthening of the militants.

If the general seems confidently in charge, the cables portray Mr. Zardari as a man not fully aware of his weakness.

At one point he said he would not object if Abdul Qadeer Khan, revered in Pakistan as the father of its nuclear weapons program, were interviewed by the International Atomic Energy Agency but tacitly acknowledged that he was powerless to make that happen.

Mr. Zardari, who spent 11 years in prison on ultimately unproved corruption charges, feared for his position and possibly — the wording is ambiguous — his life: the cables reveal that Vice President Biden told Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain in March 2009 that Mr. Zardari had told him that the “ISI director and Kayani will take me out.”

His suspicions were not groundless. In March 2009, a period of political turmoil, General Kayani told the ambassador that he “might, however reluctantly,” pressure Mr. Zardari to resign and, the cable added, presumably leave Pakistan. He mentioned the leader of a third political party, Asfandyar Wali Khan, as a possible replacement.

“Kayani made it clear regardless how much he disliked Zardari he distrusted Nawaz even more,” the ambassador wrote, a reference to Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister.

By 2010, after many sessions with Mr. Zardari, Ms. Patterson had revised the guarded optimism that characterized her early cables about Mr. Zardari.

“Pakistan’s civilian government remains weak, ineffectual and corrupt,” she wrote on Feb. 22, 2010, the eve of a visit by the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III. “Domestic politics is dominated by uncertainty about the fate of President Zardari.”

That assessment holds more than eight months later, even as Mr. Obama in October extended an invitation to the Mr. Zardari leader to visit the White House next year, as the leader of a nation that holds a key to peace in Afghanistan but appears too divided and mistrustful to turn it for the Americans.

To read full article : The New York Times

No consensus on security policies — Babar Ayaz

Please try to see through the thinly veiled tricks of the establishment. They have always used the corruption stunt to bring down political governments, as if military rule was kosher!

What the Pakistani establishment is doing to the country and what it would do with Pakistan, is the question that concerns not only the people of Pakistan, but also the people around the world. The emphasis on ‘Pakistani establishment’ is deliberate because the fate of the country is in their hands and the people of Pakistan have little say in it. The people — the country has diverse sub-nationalities — have a different outlook on major political and foreign relations issues of the country. So they cannot be considered having one monolithic view, as our establishment wants us to believe.

Why is the world worried about Pakistan more than say Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population? The reasons are obvious. To underline a few: it is the country with the largest set-up of militant Islamic organisations; it is the country which is unfortunately strategically placed next to the ever-turbulent Afghanistan where NATO forces are fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda; it is the country which has a strong al Qaeda support base; it is the country which has nuclear weapons; it is the country which has had three wars and many covert battles with its second biggest neighbour; its next door neighbour India’s smooth economic growth is now needed by the world economic powers; it is a fuming volcano which if allowed to erupt may cause a Tsunami, damaging the whole region; and it is the country which has not been able to make sense of itself even after 63 years of its existence. …

Read more : Daily Times

Kurram: the forsaken FATA —Dr Mohammad Taqi

The flat out refusal of the Kurramis, who have lost over 1,200 souls since April 2007, to cede their territory and pride to the jihadists and their masters has thrown a wrench in the latter’s immediate plans. Having failed to dupe the citizenry, the establishment has elected to bring them to their knees by force
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited a tribal agency last week but he did not tender an apology to some local families, whose dear ones — including children — were killed by the Pakistan Army gunship helicopters this past September. Not that one was holding one’s breath for the general’s regrets but it would have presented some semblance of fairness given the Pakistan Army’s demands for apology and furore over the NATO choppers killing its troops in the same region during the same month. Well, life is not fair as it is, especially for the people of Kurram — the third largest Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).

The crime of these civilians, killed by their own army, was that they had been resisting the influx of foreign terrorists into their territory. Despite the claims put forth by the military about the NATO incursion, it is clear now that the latter had attacked the members of the Haqqani terrorist network who were using the village of Mata Sangar in Kurram to attack the ISAF posts in neighbouring Khost, Afghanistan. Reportedly, the de facto leader of the Haqqani network, Sirajuddin Haqqani, was in the region at the time of the NATO attack.

What has also become increasingly clear is that the Pakistani establishment is trying its level best to relocate its Haqqani network assets to the Kurram Agency in anticipation of an operation that it would have to start — under pressure from the US — in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) sooner rather than later. This is precisely what the establishment had intended to do when it said that the NWA operation would be conducted in its own timeframe. The Taliban onslaught on the Shalozan area of Kurram, northeast of Mata Sangar, in September 2010 was part of this tactical rearrangement. When the local population reversed the Taliban gains in the battle for the village Khaiwas, the army’s gunships swooped down on them to protect its jihadist partners.
This is not the first time that the security establishment has attempted to use the Kurram Agency to provide transit or sanctuary to its Afghan Taliban allies. It did so during the so-called jihad of the 1980s and 1990s when the geo-strategic tip of the region called the Parrot’s Beak served as a bridgehead for operations against the neighbouring Afghan garrisons, especially Khost. In the fall of 2001, the Pakistan Army moved into Kurram and the Tirah Valley straddling the Khyber and Kurram agencies, ostensibly to block al Qaeda’s escape from the Tora Bora region. The Tirah deployment actually served as a diversion, as al Qaeda and key Afghan Taliban were moved through Kurram and in some instances helped to settle there. …
Read more : Daily Times

Get Tough on Pakistan – By ZALMAY KHALILZAD

WHEN I visited Kabul a few weeks ago, President Hamid Karzai told me that the United States has yet to offer a credible strategy for how to resolve a critical issue: Pakistan’s role in the war in Afghanistan.

In the region and in the wider war against terrorism, Pakistan has long played a vital positive part — and a troublingly negative one. With Pakistani civilian and military leaders meeting with Obama administration officials this week in Washington — and with The Times report on Tuesday that Afghan and Taliban leaders are holding direct, high-level talks to end the war — cutting through this Gordian knot has become more urgent and more difficult than ever before.

Pakistan has done, and continues to do, a great deal of good: many of the supply lines and much of the logistical support for NATO forces in Afghanistan run through Pakistan. Drones striking terrorists and militants in the tribal areas do so with the Pakistani government’s blessing and rely on Pakistani bases. And Pakistani security services have worked with the Central Intelligence Agency to capture hundreds of Qaeda operatives.

At the same time, Pakistan gives not only sanctuary but also support to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network. This has hampered our military efforts; contributed to American, coalition and Afghan deaths; and helped sour relations between Kabul and Washington.

Read more : The New York Times

Mullah-military nexus has subverted public opinion: Wajahat Massod

Al-Qaeda, Taliban, jihadis, sectarian groups, and so-called parliamentary Islamic groups have a global agenda and as such are natural allies.

Pakistan’s religious/missionary parties and the Taliban constitute “an archipelago of evil”, says Wajahat Massod. Presently working as Editor Coordination with Lahore-based Urdu-language daily Aaj Kal, Wajahat Massod is a known human rights activist. Previously, he has worked in editorial positions with different publications and has authored a number of books as well as working papers on politics both in Urdu and English. In an interview with Viewpoint, he discusses various aspects of Talibanisation and Islamisation in Pakistan …

Read more >> ViewPoint

A column about Aafia Siddiqui

The Aafia mafia – by Fasi Zaka

Her ex-husband rubbishes many of her claims, and the family of Dr Aafia won’t let the media speak to her children who can shed light on what really happened ….

About a year ago, I wrote a column that got the ghairat brigade on my case. The gist of the column was that the trial in the US was based on a case of evidence, and lack of, that the US had full control over in the alleged attempt to shoot a US soldier by Dr Aafia Siddiqui. That she would get a fair trial was dubious, plus the case was opportunistic because the US took the easy way out and didn’t prosecute her for her alleged links to al Qaeda but instead for a shooting during a questioning. She was, after all wanted for links to terrorism initially. Then of course, one of the main problems is the US took a third party national from Afghanistan for a trial in their domestic courts.

The offending opinion which got the aforementioned ghairat specialists riled up, which I still subscribe to, is that from what we know Dr Aafia cannot be categorically described as innocent or guilty.

Before she went missing, before the alleged shooting, Dr Aafia was on the radar as an enabler of terrorism. A UN commission described her as a member of al Qaeda, Sheikh Khalid Mohammed gave her name to the US and court records show her as the second wife of an al Qaeda member. One of her uncle’s claims to have met her when she was supposedly in detention in Afghanistan by the US during her missing year’s period. Her ex-husband rubbishes many of her claims, and the family of Dr Aafia won’t let the media speak to her children who can shed light on what really happened. …

Read more >> THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Afia Siddiqui sentenced for 86 years

US jails Pakistani scientist for 86 years

Aafia Siddiqui, the female Pakistani scientist convicted of attempting to kill US military personnel, has been sentenced to 86 years in prison.

Siddiqui was being interrogated by US officials in Afghanistan when she grabbed a rifle and opened fire, shouting “death to Americans”.

Prosecutors in New York called her an al-Qaeda sympathiser and sought life imprisonment. …

Read more >> BBC

Musharraf tried to save Taliban, Osama from US wrath

Following the 9/11 terror strikes, when the US had made up its mind to bombard Afghanistan, Pakistan”s Inter-Services Intelligence and then President Pervez Musharraf made full efforts to save the Taliban and tried to persuade a red-faced Bush administration to hold a dialogue with the Taliban, as the Inter-Services-Intelligence always regarded it as one of its strategic assets.

According to recently released documents “On September 13, 2001, US Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin “bluntly” told Pakistani President Musharraf that there was “absolutely no inclination in Washington to enter into a dialogue with the Taliban. The time for dialogue was finished as of September 11.”

“Pakistan, as the Taliban’s primary sponsor, disagreed. Documents show “Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) Chief Mahmoud told the ambassador “not to act in anger. Real victory will come in negotiations… If the Taliban are eliminated… Afghanistan will revert to warlordism.”

Pakistan not only made attempts to save its Taliban brethren from US wrath, but also tried to protect dreaded Al Qaeda supremo Osama Bin Laden.

The document states ” Regarding the apprehension of Osama bin Laden, the ISI chief said it was “better for the Afghans to do it. We could avoid the fallout.”

Mahmoud traveled to Afghanistan twice, on September 17, aboard an American plane, and again on September 24, 2001 to discuss the seriousness of the situation with Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

Ambassador Chamberlin said negotiations were pointless since Mullah Omar “had so far refused to meet even one US demand.”

Chamberlin told Mahmoud his meetings with Omar were fine, but they “could not delay military planning.” …

Read more >> RediffNews

Pakistan – Minorities Under Siege

by Mohammad Taqi

…. Most leaders of the Pakistani jihadist-terrorist outfits, including the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, are the alumni of the Wahabist Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and its offshoots like Lashkar-e-Jhangavi. They work hand-in-glove with the al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, especially the Haqqani network and the Quetta Shura. While the Pakistan Army continues to boast victories in the war against terrorism, its inaction in face of the jihadist violence against the non-Wahhabi population raises serious concerns about such claims.

Peter Gourevitch notes that “the dead are innocent, the killers monstrous, and the surrounding politics insane or nonexistent” (in We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families: Stories from Rwanda). When the Taliban were ravaging Swat, the politics of resisting them appeared nonexistent. The media then, especially the English newspapers, did an admirable job of building the political and military will to fight the jihadists. Banishing the minorities has never stopped the fascists. One hopes that the Pakistani leaders and media call for banishing the barbarians, not their victims.

To read full article >> OUTLOOK

Pakistan: No money, No energy, No government!

New intelligence report says Pakistan is ‘on the edge’
By Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott | McClatchy Newspapers
Courtesy and Thanks: McClatchy
MORE FROM MCCLATCHY
Severe economic crisis threatens Pakistan’s stability
Wave of violence worsens Pakistan’s security, economic crisis

WASHINGTON – A growing al Qaida-backed insurgency, combined with the Pakistani army’s reluctance to launch an all-out crackdown, political infighting and energy and food shortages are plunging America’s key ally in the war on terror deeper into turmoil and violence, says a soon-to-be completed U.S. intelligence assessment.
A U.S. official who participated in drafting the top secret National Intelligence Estimate said it portrays the situation in Pakistan as “very bad.” Another official called the draft “very bleak,” and said it describes Pakistan as being “on the edge.”
The first official summarized the estimate’s conclusions about the state of Pakistan as: “no money, no energy, no government.”
Six U.S. officials who helped draft or are aware of the document’s findings confirmed them to McClatchy on the condition of anonymity because NIEs are top secret and are restricted to the president, senior officials and members of Congress. An NIE’s conclusions reflect the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

Continue reading Pakistan: No money, No energy, No government!