Tag Archives: Supply

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

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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/

U.S. will release about $1.1 billion to Pakistan’s military

US to free up $1.1 billion for Pakistan military

WASHINGTON: The United States will release about $1.1 billion to Pakistan’s military as part of a deal that will see Islamabad lift a blockade on NATO supply convoys into Afghanistan, a US official said on Tuesday.

The money, from a US Coalition Support Fund designed to reimburse Pakistan for the cost of counter-insurgency operations, had been withheld due to tensions between the two countries and Islamabad’s closure of the supply routes after an attack on Pakistani border posts by NATO forces in November last year which led to the killing of 24 Pakistani troops. Pakistan and the United States announced earlier that the border would be opened once again to NATO convoys. The Coalition Support Fund is often the subject of wrangling between the US and Pakistani officials, with Islamabad’s claims often rejected and smaller sums approved by Washington for reimbursement. …

Read more » Daily Times

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

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

Interlude in Brown?

by Omar Ali

Pakistan’s existing political and administrative system is based almost entirely on Western models. but the official national ideology is ambivalent or even hostile to Western civilization and its innovations. In the past this was less of a problem since “national ideology” was not very well developed (Jinnah himself was famously confused about what he wanted and while the Muslim League used Islamist slogans freely during the Pakistan movement, a number of its leaders and ideologues were happy to go along with vaguely left wing justifications for the state once they were comfortably in power after partition), but  ever since the time of General Zia, there has been a steady push to establish a particular Islamist version of Pakistani nationalism as the default setting. The process has not gone entirely smoothly and significant sections of the super-elite  intelligentsia remain wedded to Western left-liberal (and more rarely, frankly capitalist/”neo-liberal”)) ideologies while the deeper thinking Islamists tend towards Salafism, but it has gone further in the emerging middle class and within the armed forces. There, a superficially Islamist, hypernationalist vision has taken root and can be seen in its purest form on various “Paknationalist” websites.
This “paknationalism” is an extremely shallow and rather unstable construct. It is not classically Islamist but it regards Islam as the main unifying principle and ideological foundation of the state. In practice, it is more about hating India (and our own Indian-ness) that it is about any recognizable orthodox form of Islam. It is also very close to 1930s fascism in its worship of uniforms, authority and cleansing violence. People outside Pakistan rarely take it too seriously and prefer to  get their versions of Pakistani nationalism from more liberal interpreters, but the “Paknationalists” are serious and one of these days, they are going to have a go at Pakistan if present suicidal trends persist in the civilian elite.  Their interlude may not last very long, but it is likely to be exceptionally violent and may end in catastrophe.

Read more: 3QuarksDaily

http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2012/06/the-iron-guard-by-omar-ali.html#more

Reports claim American supership USS Enterprise is in the territorial waters of Balochistan near the port city of Gwadar

Reports claim American supership USS Enterprise is in Pak territorial waters

By Shafqat Ali

US moves its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, into Pakistani territorial waters near Gwadar, media reports said.

“The US has moved its biggest aircraft carrier 65 to 70 nautical miles away from Gwadar in the second week of June”, a Pakistani television channel reported.

The USS Enterprise, which holds a crew of over 4,000, had taken part in several wars.

The move comes as relations between Pakistan and the US have touched new lows. Pakistan has refused to reopen Nato supply through infuriating the US.

The Pak-US relations have never recovered to normal since the killing of Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in May last year. The killing of 26 Pakistani soldiers by the Nato forces in November further dented the ties.

“After the deployment of the aircraft in Pakistani sea the country’s security agencies are now investigating into the matter. The movement apparently shows the increasing interest of the US in Balochistan province of Pakistan”, another channel reported.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon plans to soon deploy a new generation of drones the size of model planes, packing tiny explosive warheads that can be delivered with pinpoint accuracy.

The move to introduce new small drones seeks to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage, the report said.

Errant drone strikes have been blamed for killing and injuring scores of civilians throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan, giving the US government a black eye as it targets elusive terrorist groups, the newspaper said.

The Predator and Reaper drones deployed in these regions typically carry 100-pound laser-guided Hellfire missiles or 500-pound GPS-guided smart bombs that can reduce buildings to smouldering rubble.

The new Switchblade drone, by comparison, weighs less than 6 pounds and can take out a sniper on a rooftop without blasting the building to bits. It also enables soldiers in the field to identify and destroy targets much more quickly by eliminating the need to call in a strike from large drones that may be hundreds of miles away.

“This is a precision strike weapon that causes as minimal collateral damage as possible”, said William I. Nichols, who led the Army’s testing effort of the Switchblades at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala.

The Obama administration, notably the CIA, has long been lambasted by critics for its use of combat drones and carelessly killing civilians in targeted strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.

In Islamabad, on Thursday, Foreign Office spokesman Muazzam Khan said that efforts were underway to mend the strained relationship between Pakistan and the US.

Speaking to reporters at a weekly news briefing, Mr Khan said that the decision to restore the Nato supply route would be made by the political leadership.

The FO spokesman dispelled the impression that Pakistan was raising the tariff on the supply route adding that there were several other issues involved.

“Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used as terrorist safe havens”, he added.

Courtesy: Decan Chronicle

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/world/asia/reports-claim-american-supership-uss-enterprise-pak-territorial-waters-664#comment-123222

US withdraws negotiators from Pakistan, no supply deal

WASHINGTON: The United States has withdrawn negotiators from Pakistan after talks failed to produce an agreement on reopening Nato supply routes into Afghanistan, the Pentagon said Monday. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Iran Opens Chabahar Port For NATO Supply

Iran Opens Chabahar Port For NATO Supply zaranj-delaram – PKKH.tv

PKKH Exclusive by Shaikh Fahad

Afghan officials from Ministry of Chamber & Commerce speaking on condition of anonymity have said that Afghanistan will be allowed to use Iran’s Chabahar port for shipments and trade after the two countries signed an agreement in Kabul last Wednesday. It has also been learned that the Chabahar port has been financed by Indian government to maintain Iranian and Indian influence in Afghanistan after US forces leave Afghanistan in 2014. The second purpose, we believe of investment in this port is to counter Gwadar port of Pakistan.

The agreement was signed by Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce and Industries Anwar al Haq Ahady and the Iranian Ambassador to Afghanistan Abolfazl Zohrevand.

The endorsement of the pact means Afghan traders including those directly working with American contracting companies will be able to use the southeastern port – Iran’s only port with direct access to the sea – for importing and exporting goods. The news of signing of this agreement comes as relief to US/NATO official since the closure of NATO supplies from Pakistan has caused massive setback in terms of finance to US/NATO.

Officials said the Chabahar port will help Afghanistan’s trade-related transit problems and is likely to boost commercial transactions.

Continue reading Iran Opens Chabahar Port For NATO Supply

US contemplating reversal of its Pakistan policy

The United States is contemplating a total reversal of its highly ineffective Pakistan policy. This was stated by Prof Christine Fair, Assistant Professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A Walsh School of Foreign Service while delivering a talk on “The situation in the Af-Pak region” at Observer Research Foundation on June 4, 2012.

Frankly expressing her views from both Pakistani as well as American perspectives, Prof. Fair said that the US does not have a long-term policy for Pakistan, and the present practice of granting aid with the aim of fighting the roots of terrorism has not yielded any results. Consequently, despite fighting the Taliban, the US has inadvertently supported them while alienating the civilian population.

Prof. Fair said that the Pakistan’s decision to close ground supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan backfired as the NATO forces soon developed alternative air routes. This, in turn, led many Western leaders to recognise the futility of engaging Pakistan in the war on terror. She also pointed out that the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan further convinced policy makers in Washington of its duplicity.

Asked about the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s perceived lack of understanding about the situation in the West Asia and the Af-Pak region, Prof Fair said that presidential candidates learn very quickly once they take office. As an example, she pointed out Barack Obama’s similar naïveté four years ago and how he learnt and adapted his foreign policy within months into his presidency.

Prof. Fair said that President Obama is disappointed with Pakistan’s counter-terrorism performance, and that the US administration is contemplating containment to force it to abide to its obligations.

According to Prof. Fair, the futility of attempts to alter the pro-jihadist worldview of Pakistan’s foreign policy elite make a serious case of containment, which would hold Pakistan responsible for any terrorist attack with its ’signature’ on it.

Prof. Fair challenged the conventional wisdom that civilian governments in Islamabad are more responsible. She argued that past history suggests a linearity of foreign policy making between military and democratic regimes. This is compounded by a drastic transformation of the popular mindset towards fundamentalism and hatred against India.

Continue reading US contemplating reversal of its Pakistan policy

Why Pakistan interferes in Afghanistan

By: Nitin Pai

A strong, independent Afghanistan is perceived as an existential threat to Pakistan

Just why is Pakistan interested in installing a friendly regime in Afghanistan? If you read books and articles written over the last couple of decades, you will come across arguments such as the need for “strategic depth” to counter India, to prevent a pro-India regime in Kabul that will result in the Indian encircling of Pakistan and, even more grandly, to create an Islamic centre of power that stretches from the shores of the Arabian Sea to the Caucasus mountains. Going by the statements of members of the Pakistani establishment and some of its commentators, these are indeed the reasons why Pakistan wants to dominate Afghanistan.

Continue reading Why Pakistan interferes in Afghanistan

Jonathan Kay: Time to call Pakistan what it is – a state supporter of terrorism

By: Jonathan Kay

Here in the West, the killing of Osama Bin Laden was considered a triumph. In Pakistan, where the al-Qaeda leader lived out his final years, attitudes are very different: On Wednesday, a Pakistani court brought down a guilty verdict against the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA locate bin Laden in May, 2011. Having been convicted of treason, Shakil Afridi now faces a 33-year prison sentence.

Each story like this brings fresh evidence that Pakistan, a nominal Western ally in the war on terrorism, actually is doing more to enable the jihadis than fight them. We don’t yet have definitive evidence to suggest that the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment was actively housing and protecting bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. But that certainly would have been in keeping with long-standing Pakistani policies.

And those policies won’t change any time soon: With the Americans, Canadians and others having announced their exit date in Afghanistan, Pakistan has less incentive to co-operate in the war on terrorism than at any time since 9/11. In coming years, the better way to deal with Pakistan will be to acknowledge the reality that the country is nothing less than a full-blown state sponsor of terrorism.

Continue reading Jonathan Kay: Time to call Pakistan what it is – a state supporter of terrorism

Pakistan seeks face-saving formula in NATO talks

By Michael Georgy, ISLAMABAD

(Reuters) – Pakistan is unlikely to re-open supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan unless the United States offers a politically acceptable formula in talks on ending a six-month standoff on the issue, a Pakistani official said on Thursday. ….

Read more » Reuters

The combination of no apology and no meeting, Mr. Nasr said, “will send a powerfully humiliating message back to Pakistan.

Supply Lines Cast Shadow at NATO Meeting on Afghan War

By HELENE COOPER and MATTHEW ROSENBERG

CHICAGO — President Obama was struggling to balance the United States’ relationship with two crucial but difficult allies on Sunday, after a deal to reopen supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan fell apart just as Mr. Obama began talks on ending the NATO alliance’s combat role in the Afghan war.

As a two-day NATO summit meeting opened in Chicago, Mr. Obama remained at loggerheads with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, refusing even to meet with him without an agreement on the supply routes, which officials in both countries acknowledged would not be coming soon.

Mr. Zardari, who flew to Chicago with hopes of lifting his stature with a meeting with Mr. Obama, was preparing to leave empty-handed as the two countries continued to feel the repercussions of a fatal American airstrike last November, for which Mr. Obama has offered condolences but no apology. Mr. Zardari did, however, meet with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss the supply routes.

Pakistan closed the routes into Afghanistan after the strike, heightening tensions with Pakistani officials who say that the United States has repeatedly infringed on their sovereignty with drone strikes and other activities.

“This whole breakdown in the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan has come down to a fixation of this apology issue,” said Vali Nasr, a former State Department adviser on Pakistan. The combination of no apology and no meeting, Mr. Nasr said, “will send a powerfully humiliating message back to Pakistan.” …

Read more » The New York Times

US moving to punish Pakistan severely

By: Wajid Ali Syed

WASHINGTON: The United States House Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved a bill that will prohibit the preferential procurement of goods or services from Pakistan until the Nato supply lines are reopened.

The committee fine-tuned the bill, also known as the National Defence Authorisation Act, all day on Wednesday and into the early hours of Thursday, when it was passed with an overwhelming majority by the committee members.

Confirming the passage of bill, a committee spokesman told The News, ìWe did three things, but they generally boil down to one theme ñ we are restricting or cutting funds until the Pakistani supply routes are reopened. When they are, we are pressing for greater accountability. We hope the US-Pakistan relationship will improve, but until that happens, we need to be conscious of our roles as stewards of the taxpayer dollar.î

A section of the bill extended the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (PCF) through the 2013 fiscal year, but the modified sub-sections require the Secretary of Defence, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, to submit an update to the report on the strategy to utilise the fund, and the metrics used to determine progress with respect to the fund. It also limits the authority of the Secretary of Defence to obligate or expend funds made available to the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund to not more than 10 percent of the amount available until such time as the update is submitted to the appropriate congressional committees.

Continue reading US moving to punish Pakistan severely

Pakistan – The Missplaced Assumptions of Military Gaurdians

By: Manzur Ejaz, Wichaar.com

The other day a very respectable political analyst made a surprising claim that Pakistan’s military is the only institution genuinely concerned about prevailing conditions of the country. Clearly he was specifically referring to dead-locked Pak-US relations where political parties, numbed or scared by anti-America populism, cannot come together to find a viable solution. One can assume that such sentiments must have been communicated to him by the highest level of the core state. However, the problem is that the fearsome anti-US jinni was created by the military and now it wants the civilians to put it back in the bottle.

Continue reading Pakistan – The Missplaced Assumptions of Military Gaurdians

Today, Imran Khan asked for PM’s resignation for the implementation under Article 63 but what he was saying about the same article before, watch this!

The language of the video clip is urdu (Hindi).

» YouTube

NATO head calls on China, talks to Russia about expanding supply route

NATO head calls on China, Russia to help fund Afghan forces

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The head of NATO called on China and Russia on Thursday to help fund Afghan security after 2014, as the alliance tries to rally contributions from a wider range of sources before most foreign combat troops pull out of Afghanistan.

NATO estimates that the annual cost of maintaining Afghan security forces will be some $4 billion, and the United States is hoping for contributions worth 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) from other NATO allies and partners. [ID:nL2E8FHCG3] But so far only Britain has publicly pledged an actual amount of cash, $110 million a year. [ID:nL6E8FI96J]

“We would welcome financial contributions from Russia, China and other countries to ensure a strong sustainable Afghan security force beyond 2014,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference in Brussels, where NATO foreign and defense ministers were meeting to prepare for a summit next month in Chicago.

The United States and NATO, keen to douse fears Afghanistan could face renewed civil war when foreign troops pull out, want to use the summit to demonstrate a long-term commitment to Afghan stability that will endure well after 2014. …

Read more » Yahoo News

US puts $10 million bounty on Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed Jamaat-ud-Dawa group

By AFP

ISLAMABAD — A man with a $10 million US government bounty on him might be expected to have gone into hiding, but Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is one of Pakistan’s most high-profile and outspoken Islamists. ….

Read more » google

Kiyani puts gun on the parliament’s shoulder!

NATO supply resumption: Parliament to make final decision, says Kayani

By Zahid Gishkori

JACOBABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has categorically said for the first time that parliament reserves the right to decide on resumption of Nato supplies.

Speaking to reporters at the Shamsi Airbase on Monday, he said that the final decision on whether Nato supplies will be allowed to pass through Pakistan for forces based in Afghanistan will be made by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

Kayani and Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, chief of air staff, took members of the media to airbase in Jacobabad to formally announce that the Shamsi Airbase is now under the control of the Pakistan Air Force. The US, which used the airbase for drone attacks in Afghanistan and possibly those in Pakistan, was told to vacate the base by Pakistan in the aftermath of the November 26 Salala checkpoint attack.

The army chief said that Pakistan and US are cooperating on defence operations and Pakistani officials are taken into confidence whenever bordering areas are to be attacked.

Asked if the F-16 aircraft that Pakistan recently received from the US can down American drones, Suleman said that the PAF does not want any such situation to arise where this capability will have to tested. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Video (Urdu): Pakistani “security consultant” Zaid Hamid implicitly warns memogate judges not to acquit Husain Haqqani.

» YouTube

Attack on NATO oil tankers in Quetta. Big Fire – More then 40 tankers burnt to ashes.

Courtesy: Geo Tv News » YouTube

More details » DAWN.COM

NATO Strike on Pakistan

The language of the discussion is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy » Rawal (Focus with Waqas Munawar, 29th Nov 2011)

Via » Siasat.pk » YouTube

Pakistan’s Border Outrage – A break with America isn’t in Islamabad’s best interests.

Pakistan’s porous border with Afghanistan was an accident waiting to happen, and the crash finally occurred with Saturday’s clashes involving U.S. forces that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistanis are furious with America, yet more worrying is that they continue to be in denial about what’s causing this relationship to unravel.

The pattern is familiar. When Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden’s compound in a Pakistani military garrison town in May, Islamabad condemned the action as an assault on its sovereignty and scaled back military ties. Now Pakistan has shut its western border to NATO supply trucks headed into Afghanistan …

Read more » THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Pakistan supply lines closure will have little effect on NATO – New supply lines via Tajikstan and Uzbekistan to NATO

Pakistan border closure will have little effect on Nato’s Afghanistan campaign

New supply lines via Tajikstan and Uzbekistan mean Islamabad will only be able to push up costs and inconvenience war effort

By Jon Boone in Kabul

Pakistan’s government once had the power to bring Nato’s war machine to a shuddering halt through its control of a key route into landlocked Afghanistan. But today it can only aspire to cause inconvenience and slightly push up the cost of a war already running at $120bn a year.

As Washington’s relationship with Islamabad soured in recent years, Nato’s logistics chiefs tried to break their reliance on Pakistan for getting enough food, fuel and other vital supplies to their troops in Afghanistan.

Such goods used to arrive almost entirely through what is known as the southern distribution network, which runs from Pakistani container ports on the Arabian Sea over road and rail links to the border towns of Torkham and Chaman.

Those two crossing points are currently closed to Nato traffic following the killing of at least 24 Pakistani soldiers in a US air strike on Saturday.

The supply line has also proved vulnerable to attack from insurgents inside Afghanistan, who have attacked convoys, blowing up dozens of fuel tankers at a time and looting goods intended for troops.

In 2008, Pakistani television showed shots of gleeful insurgents driving around in bullet proof Humvees that had literally fallen off the back of a truck. The vehicles had been en route to Afghan security forces.

Many of the lorry drivers currently stuck in Pakistan because of the closed borders have complained that they are vulnerable to Taliban attacks.

Pakistan has used its power to shut down the supply line before. Last year it did so for 10 days after Nato forces ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

Tensions High Between U.S. and Pakistan After Strike – New York Times

Tensions Flare Between U.S. and Pakistan After Strike

By SALMAN MASOOD and ERIC SCHMITT

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani officials said on Saturday that NATO aircraft had killed at least 25 soldiers in strikes against two military posts at the northwestern border with Afghanistan, and the country’s supreme army commander called them unprovoked acts of aggression in a new flash point between the United States and Pakistan.

The Pakistani government responded by ordering the Central Intelligence Agency to vacate the drone operations it runs from Shamsi Air Base, in western Pakistan, within 15 days. It also closed the two main NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, including the one at Torkham. ….

Read more » The New York Times

Nato air attack on Pakistani troops was self-defence, says senior western official

US-Pakistan relations strained further after attack allegedly kills up to 28 and prompts ban on Nato trucks crossing Afghan border

By Jon Boone in Kabul

An attack by Nato aircraft on Pakistani troops that allegedly killed as many as 28 soldiers and looks set to further poison relations between the US and Pakistan was an act of self-defence, a senior western official has claimed.

According to the Kabul-based official, a joint US-Afghan force operating in the mountainous Afghan frontier province of Kunar was the first to come under attack in the early hours of Saturday morning, forcing them to return fire. ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

via » Siasat.pk

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

US brings down its dependence on Pakistan supply routes to Afghanistan

by Wichaar Desk

WASHINGTON: The US has halved its reliability on Pakistani supply routes to Afghanistan from over 70 per cent to 35 per cent, given the volatile nature of the border areas where a number of NATO suppliers have come under attack.

America’s reliability on Pakistan for supplying goods and arms and ammunition for its troops in Afghanistan has reduced to just 35 per cent, a top Pentagon official told US lawmakers.

This is a considerable achievement given that till recently it was more than 70 per cent and this was considered to be one of the main bargaining points for Pakistan with the United States.

This figure of 35 per cent is expected to come further down in the coming months as the Pentagon is working to increase its supply to Afghanistan through the Northern Distribution network.

“It’s my understanding that approximately 35 per cent moves through the ground, and the other is moving through the Northern Distribution Network, coupled with also lift as we bring in supplies by air,” General William M Fraser told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing to be Commander, United States Transportation Command.

The US officials have stated in recent times that they were working on reducing their dependency on the supply routes in Pakistan after a series of attacks on NATO tankers carrying oil and other goods to western forces and Afghanistan.

Courtesy: → WICHAAR.COM

The sham operation in Kurram – Dr Mohammad Taqi

A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people, making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks

On July 4, 2011, the Pakistan Army announced that it has launched an operation in the Central Kurram Agency with the primary objective of clearing the ‘miscreants’ and opening of the Peshawar-Thall-Parachinar Road (why Tal has become Thall in the English press beats me). The geographical scope of the operation is rather circumscribed, if the army communiqués are to be believed, and its focus, ostensibly, would be on the Zaimusht, Masozai and Alizai areas. But speaking to the Kurramis from Lower, Central and Upper Kurram, one gets a different sense.

At least one General has reportedly been heard saying during the recent operational meetings leading up to the military action that he intends to teach the Turis (in Upper Kurram) a lesson that they would never forget. The Corps Commander’s communication delivered to the tribal elders of the Upper Kurram literally ordered them to acquiesce in and sign on to the operation. But quite significantly, many other leaders among the Turis, Bangash and Syeds of Upper Kurram have vehemently opposed the military action as well as their own elders who seem to have caved in under duress.

The Turis and Bangash tribesmen are of the opinion that on the Thall-Parachinar Road, the only extortionists bigger than the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are the officers of the army — and they specifically name two colonels — who have made life miserable for the people of Parachinar. These security officials levy protection money even on the supply of daily provisions and medicine to Upper Kurram, resulting in jacked-up prices and in many instances unavailability of life-saving drugs, resulting in deaths that otherwise could be preventable.

The more ominous and geo-strategically important aspects of the current army operation are twofold and are interconnected. We have noted in these pages several times that the Pakistan Army has no problem securing Central and parts of Lower Kurram for its jihadist asset, i.e. the Haqqani terrorist network, who have essentially had a free reign in this region for almost a decade using the Sateen, Shasho and Pir Qayyum camps. The army has also helped the Haqqani and Hekmatyar groups set up humungous compounds on the Durand Line such as the Spina Shaga complex.

The problem the security establishment has faced is to secure a thoroughfare between Central Kurram and the assorted jihadist bridgeheads along the Kurram-Afghanistan border, including but not limited to the Parrot’s Beak region. The key hindrance to such movement is the resistance by the Turi and Bangash tribesmen, which neither the security establishment nor its jihadist proxies have been able to neutralise, coerce or buy off. Projecting the Haqqani network and Hekmatyar’s operatives into Afghanistan from Tari Mangal, Mata Sangar, Makhrani, Wacha Darra and Spina Shaga and other bases on the border is a pivotal component of the Pakistani strategy to keep the US bogged down in Afghanistan and for the post-US withdrawal phase. But with the recent wave of drone attacks on the hideouts of these groups, their vulnerability to the US/ISAF — buoyed by the OBL raid — has also become evident and hence the need for secure routes to retract the jihadists back when needed.

Several attacks on the Turi and Bangash, including by Pakistan Army helicopter gunships last year killing several Pakistanis, have not dented the resolve of the locals to fight back against the jihadists. I had noted in these pages then: “The Taliban onslaught on the Shalozan area of Kurram, northeast of Mata Sangar, in September 2010 was part of this tactical rearrangement [to relocate the Haqqanis to Kurram]. 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” (‘Kurram: the forsaken FATA’, Daily Times, November 4, 2010).

The option that the army wants to exercise now is to disarm the Upper Kurram’s tribesmen, especially the Turis. The security establishment has told them that they will have to surrender their “qawmi wasla” (an arms cache that belongs to a tribe as a whole). To disarm and thus defang the tribesmen, who have held their own against the disproportionately stronger and state-sponsored enemy for almost half a decade, is essentially pronouncing their death sentence.

Without their weapons, the Turis and Bangash will be at the whim of an army that had literally abandoned Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala and Pir Samiullah in Swat and the Adeyzai lashkar (outside Peshawar). Afzal Khan Lala lost several loyalists and family members and Pir Samiullah was murdered, his body buried but later exhumed and mutilated by the Taliban, while the army stood by and did nothing. My co-columnist and researcher, Ms Farhat Taj has highlighted the plight of the Adeyzai lashkar several times in these pages, including the fact that it was left high and dry by the security establishment against an overwhelming Taliban force. And lest we forget, it was this same army that made Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Afrasiab Khattak of the Awami National Party (ANP) negotiate with Mullah Fazlullah’s Taliban, with suicide bombers standing guard on each men and blocking the door along with muzzles of automatic rifles pointed into their faces.

A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people (IDPs), making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks. Also, the establishment’s focus has been to ‘reorient’ the TTP completely towards Afghanistan. The breaking away from the TTP of the crook from Uchat village, Fazl-e-Saeed Zaimusht (who now interestingly writes Haqqani after his name) is the first step in the establishment’s attempt to regain full control over all its jihadist proxies.

The offensive in Central Kurram is not intended for securing the road; it will be broadened to include the Upper Kurram in due course, in an attempt to bring the Turis and Bangash to their knees. After their arms have been confiscated, it could be a turkey shoot for the jihadists and Darfur for the Kurramis. It is doubtful though that the common Turi or Bangash tribesman is about to listen to some elder who is beholden to the establishment, and surrender the only protection that they have had. The Pakistan Army’s track record of protecting jihadists and shoving the anti-Taliban forces off the deep end speaks for itself.

Pakistan’s security establishment can perpetuate on the US and the world a fraud like the hashtag de-radicalisation on Twitter and buzzwords like de-programming suicide bombers by trotting out the so-called intelligentsia whose understanding of the Pashtun issues is woefully flawed. But it is unlikely that Kurramis are about to fall for this sham of an operation that paves the way for their genocide.

Courtesy: → Daily Times