Tag Archives: Torkham

Afghanistan, Pakistan Move Heavy Weapons and Troops to Khyber Pass

One Afghan soldier and one Pakistani officer have been killed and 22 wounded in clashes at Torkham Border crossing.

By Franz-Stefan Gady

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan have stepped up their military presence in and around the border town of Torkham at the end of the Khyber Pass, after repeated clashes that so far have killed two and wounded 22 at the main crossing point between the two countries,Reuters reports.

Both sides have moved an unknown number of reinforcements including heavy weapons to Torkham. The town is located along the porous Durand Line, and the busiest border crossing point between Afghanistan and Pakistan connecting the Afghan province of Nangarhar with Pakistan’s Khyber Agency.

As The Diplomat reported, a fierce firefight erupted late Sunday between Afghan Border Police and Pakistan’s Frontier Corps purportedly after a Pakistani attempt to erect a gate on the border. The fighting stopped Monday morning. “This gate [is] considered essential to check&verify documentation of all border crossers. Will check move of terrorists,” General Asim Bajwa, chief spokesman for the Pakistani military, said on June 13 via Twitter.

Read more » The Diplomat
See more » http://thediplomat.com/2016/06/afghanistan-pakistan-move-heavy-weapons-and-troops-to-khyber-pass/

Sher Muhammad Marri

By Babar Mirza

Mujahid Barelvi remembers a forgotten hero of the Baloch struggle. Translated from the Urdu by Babar Mirza.

It is a great tragedy for this country in general and Balochistan in particular that Sher Muhammad Marri – who fought an armed struggle in the mountains during the 1950s and ‘60s and was imprisoned in different jails during the ‘70s – is hardly ever remembered in Baloch politics. Even most of the Baloch wouldn’t know where he is buried, for Sher Muhammad Marri was not a sardar or nawab whose politics and legacy had to be kept alive by his sons.

The day my lamenting eyes run out of tears

The eyes of the night of sorrow shall lose all light

My first meeting with Sher Muhammad Marri was entirely by accident. In Karachi, when Mir Bazan (the eldest son of Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bazinjo) heard that I was going to Lahore to participate in an inter-collegiate debate, he asked me to carry a message for BSO’s central leader Raziq Bugti who was then studying at the Animal Husbandry College. This was my first meeting with Raziq but he greeted me with such warmth as if we had known each other for years. He asked me to sit behind him on his bike and said, “You have reached here at a good time. I am going to Kot Lakhpat Jail to meet Sher Muhammad Mari,” adding, with a smile, “the same Sher Muhammad Marri nicknamed General Sherof by your Leader of the People to paint him as a Russian agent and keep him in jail for life.”

No wonder Bhutto Sahib called him General Sherof

Sitting in the reception area at Kot Lakhpat Jail, I was about to doze off when suddenly I heard a noise. Sher Muhammad Marri made an appearance that was much more impressive and imposing than I had heard. A stocky build with medium height, his long, golden-white-and-black hair was well-kept, his red-and-white face carrying a set of fiery eyes. No wonder Bhutto Sahib called him General Sherof. I for one did not have the courage to look him in the eye. Sher Muhammad Marri had a hurried chat with Raziq Bugti and left. Shortly after that, Sher Muhammad Marri was transferred to Hyderabad Jail. I used to exchange greetings with him in the visitors’ room on my trips to the jail to cover the Hyderabad Conspiracy case. But his authoritative outlook took away my courage to strike a conversation with him.

In 1978, after the Hyderabad Conspiracy case had been closed and the Baloch and Pakhtun leaders released, I went to Quetta as a journalist and had my first detailed interview with Sher Muhammad Marri. This interview proved how wrong my first impression of him was. In the Marri house, after Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri retired for the night, I felt that Sher Muhammad Marri had relaxed as well. He remembered our first meeting in the Kot Lakhpat Jail. He had also read my interview with Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bazinjo published that very week in the weekly Me’yaar. In contrast to his imposing personality, he had a very slow and soft voice. I had learnt from my Baloch friends that Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri and Sher Muhammad Marri were not only angry with Wali Khan but also with the moderate Baloch leader Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bazinjo. This estrangement became so bad in Hyderabad Jail that, upon their release, they left for Quetta in separate processions of their supporters. Balochistan would have looked very different today if the four pillars of Baloch nationalism during the ‘70s – Marri, Bugti, Mengal and Bazinjo – had put their differences aside. Faiz sahib penned a beautiful couplet about the myriad splits and divisions in secular and progressive movements during the ‘70s:

Continue reading Sher Muhammad Marri

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

Blasts in NATO tankers, 16 dead in LandiKotal

LANDIKOTAL: NATO oil tankers were set ablaze in two separate incidents late Friday night at Landikotal and Torkham killing at least 16 people, including 8 members of a family.

The sources said in the first incident at 10:30 p.m. the militants torched a Nato oil tanker in Khugakhel area on the Landikotal bypass. The tanker was parked on the roadside when it was dynamited with a time device, the sources said.

Six people died immediately after the incident while injured were taken to hospitals where 10 more succumbed to their injuries.

Meanwhile, yhe second incident took place after a few minutes at Torkham where an explosive device went off in an oil tanker at the Torkham parking hub, officials said. Soon after the blast, the fire spread and engulfed three more oil tankers parked near it.

Courtesy: The News

The Pressures of the End Game in Afghanistan and Leverages of US and Pakistan

The supply route for NATO forces in Afghanistan, passing through Khyber Pass and border town of Torkham, remains closed. Two increasingly reluctant countries of the Afghan coalition and NATO, France and Germany, are on an alert for possible Mumbai style terror events. The attackers are reported to have trained in FATA. However, on October 6th came the word of Afghan peace talks, which are well underway, and the associated debate about the key positions of various stakeholders. This article looks at pressures of the end game in Afghanistan. The outcome of the present US and Pakistan showdown will determine who has the upper hand at this stage. …
Read more >> Politact