Tag Archives: Tribal

Pakistani Taliban threatens attacks on military

By: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani Taliban on Monday warned the country’s military it had set up a “suicide bombers squad” to hit troops if an offensive is launched in a restive tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

In an email message sent to media, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella militant group, said it had received “an exclusive intelligence report” about the offensive in North Waziristan from its “sources” in army headquarters.

TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan outlined details about the regiments and units and the possible commander for the campaign, said to be launched on August 26 for one month.

“TTP has also prepared itself for resistance, we have set up a suicide bombers squad to welcome (the) army. We will defeat our enemy, whom is defending secular, unIslamic system of Pakistan by punching them back hard InshaAllah (God willing),” Ehsan said.

Continue reading Pakistani Taliban threatens attacks on military

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Drone strike kills five in Pakistan after local military leader meets US general

US presses Pakistan for offensive against tribal region militants amid tensions over continuing unmanned aircraft strikes

By: Associated Press

A missile launched from a US drone struck a suspected militant hideout in a tribal region in northern Pakistan where allies of a powerful warlord were gathered Saturday, killing five of his supporters, Pakistani officials said.

The strike in North Waziristan against allies of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a militant commander whose forces frequently target US and other Nato troops in neighboring Afghanistan, comes amid speculation over whether Pakistan will launch an operation against militants in the tribal region. ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

Pakistan blew its chance for security

By: David Ignatius

As America begins to pull back its troops from Afghanistan, one consequence gets little notice but is likely to have lasting impact: Pakistan is losing the best chance in its history to gain political control over all of its territory — including the warlike tribal areas along the frontier.

Pakistan has squandered the opportunity presented by having a large U.S.-led army just over the border in Afghanistan. Rather than work with the United States to stabilize a lawless sanctuary full of warlords and terrorists, the Pakistanis decided to play games with these outlaw groups. As a result, Pakistan and its neighbors will be less secure, probably for decades.

This is a catastrophic mistake for Pakistan. Instead of drawing the tribal areas into a nation that finally, for the first time since independence in 1947, could be integrated and unified, the Pakistani military decided to keep the ethnic pot boiling. It was a triumph of short-term thinking over long-term; of scheming over strategy.

America has made many blunders in Afghanistan, which will have their own consequences. But U.S. problems are modest compared with those of Pakistan, which nearly 65 years after independence still doesn’t have existential security as a nation. Like most big mistakes people make in life, this is one that Pakistan’s military leaders made with their eyes wide open.

The Group of Eight and NATO will hold summits in the coming days and announce the exit strategy from Afghanistan. Fortunately, President Obama is planning a gradual transition, with at least 20,000 U.S. troops remaining until 2024, if necessary, to train the Afghan army, hunt al-Qaeda and steady Afghans against the danger of civil war.

But what can Western leaders say when it comes to Pakistan? Basically, the Pakistanis blew it. By playing a hedging game, they missed a moment that’s not likely to return, when a big Western army of well over 100,000 soldiers was prepared to help them. Instead, Islamabad used the inevitability that America would be leaving eventually as an argument for creating a buffer zone that was inhabited by a murderous melange of the Taliban, the Haqqani network and other Pashtun warlords.

Continue reading Pakistan blew its chance for security

Pakistan – Waziristan clashes ‘killed 19, injured 71’ in two days

North Waziristan clashes ‘killed 19, injured 71’ in two days

By: AFP

MIRANSHAH: Clashes between troops and militants in North Waziristan killed 19 soldiers and civilians, and wounded nearly 100 others, officials said Tuesday.

Violence flared Sunday when gunmen armed with rockets attacked a military convoy near Miranshah, the main town in the tribal district on the Afghan border.

Among the dead were 12 Pakistani soldiers, three of whom were captured and beheaded, a local intelligence official told AFP.

“Seven civilians, including two children and three women, were killed and 71 others were injured during two days of violence,” the official added.

At least 20 soldiers were also wounded, he said.

On Monday, helicopter gun-ships attacked a three-storey building housing weapons shops in Miranshah’s main bazaar, causing a huge fire, witnesses said.

Two other intelligence officials in the area confirmed the death toll of 19.  Officials on Monday had put the overall death toll at 15. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Taliban Beheads Pakistani Soldiers

Taliban Kill 14 Pakistani Troops, String up Heads

By ISHTIAQ MAHSUD, Associated Press

DERA ISMAIL KHAN – Taliban fighters killed 14 Pakistani soldiers in a key militant sanctuary along the Afghan border, beheaded all but one of them and hung two of the heads from wooden poles in the center of town, officials said Monday.

The killings in Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal area, highlight the dilemma facing the military in dealing with an area used by both the country’s fiercest enemy, the Pakistani Taliban, and Afghan and Pakistani militants believed to be close to the government who are battling U.S.-led forces in neighboring Afghanistan. …

Read more » ABC News

In the shadow of the gun – I

By: Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

During the 1973-1977 army action in conflict zones, thousands of innocent people were killed, tens of thousands were internally displaced

Mr Ikram Sehgal’s “Of Empire and Army” (Newsline, March 2012) is a bundle of misinformation and bias against the Baloch. Perturbed that the media holds the security establishment solely responsible for the Balochistan crisis, he claims, “Most of our problems stem from jumping to conclusions that are based on misinformation, and then deliberately distorting those half-truths to suit mass perception.” He feels, “Disproportionate media projection of the separatist leaders encourages ethnic divisions and violence.” He probably thinks the Baloch struggle and the atrocities by the state are a figment of the media’s imagination.

The state’s brutal kill and dump policy seems justified to him. He half-heartedly admits, “No one denies the fact that targeted killings of the Baloch are taking place, that people are being picked up and that state actors are involved in the killing and the disappearances.” Then he offers a lame justification that “sons of the soil” are killing an equal number of settlers. Balochistan Home Department’s recent report said that the majority of the ones killed are ethnic Baloch.

Sehgal tells us that on December 29, 1973, as his son was being born in Karachi, his company came under heavy fire from Marri insurgents near Kahan, after the dismissal of Ataullah’s representative government. The Baloch considered them aggressors rightly, and could not be expected to throw a party. He then says, “Throughout that year, many soldiers were martyred and several injured,” and adds, “In one instance, the insurgents beheaded 19 of our soldiers.”

Well, I too was in the Marri area with the Baloch nationalists then and assuredly, the Marris never indulged in such abhorrent practices. His claim defies reason as no guerilla could possibly have time to ambush and behead soldiers. Ambushes invite response and with helicopters, jets and motorised transportation at the army’s disposal, only fools would linger after an ambush.

The columnist adds that the army could have retaliated against the Marris in kind but relented because they understood that their Sardar (tribal chief), who was living comfortably in Kabul, misguided the Marris. Incidentally, Sardar Khair Baksh Marri and other Baloch leaders, including Sardar Ataullah Mengal, were in jail until 1978. He blames the media for misinformation and distortion. During the 1973-1977 army action in conflict zones, thousands of innocent people were killed, tens of thousands were internally displaced, social and economic life was disrupted, flocks were stolen, crops destroyed, and the entire Balochistan was terrorised. Eight persons, whom I knew personally, including my dear friend, Daleep Dass, aka Johnny Dass, went missing, never to be heard of again. Sher Muhammad Aliani — a sept, an elder, a septuagenarian — was picked up because of an ambush in the vicinity of his settlement near Kahan; his brutally tortured corpse was later recovered. Murad Khan Ramkani of Tadri too was similarly killed. The valiant Asadullah Mengal and Ahmed Shah Kurd were abducted and killed in Karachi. The examples of the ‘consideration’ shown are too numerous to note.

Continue reading In the shadow of the gun – I

Pakistan – More than 50 dead in gunfights, air strikes in Orakzai, Kurram

By AFP

PESHAWAR: At least 51 militants and four soldiers have been killed in air strikes and clashes with security forces in the restive northwest over the past week, officials said Sunday.

On Sunday, planes bombed a tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, killing 26 militants, a senior paramilitary official told AFP.

“Jet strikes today killed 26 militants and wounded 15 others and destroyed their seven hideouts in different areas of Upper Orakzai and Kurram,” the official said.

Separately, at least 25 militants and four soldiers were killed in Bara, Khyber Agency in gunfights between March 12 and 18, the official said.

Four security forces personnel embraced martyrdom and 12 others were wounded in gunfights which left 25 militants dead,” he said.

The official said that no militant had been killed in custody and added that the military operation was directed at the militants belonging to the Taliban-linked Laskhar-e-Islam group that is led by warlord Mangal Bagh.

The group has been involved in recent suicide attacks and kidnapping in Peshawar, which borders Khyber, he said.

Two local intelligence officials confirmed the clashes and death toll.

Independent verification of the incident is not possible as access to the area is restricted by the military.

Read more » The Express Tribune

DPC: a religious outfit with a political cover

By Durdana Najam

Why should the Pakistan Army borrow the mullah alliance to restore its image? Perhaps the language of Islam is the easiest to use as an exploitive tool for an emotionally charged Muslim community

The religious-politico parties have become active owing to the US’s increasing intrusion into Pakistan’s territorial precincts, the latest being the Salala checkpost attack that killed 24 soldiers in November 2011. The investigative report prepared by NATO, which revealed the determinants of the attack, termed the incident to be a joint sin committed by NATO and the Pakistan Army, suggesting that on a border as volatile as the one between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal region, the rage of wrath can unleash itself at any time in any mode. Pakistan rejected the findings of the report, alleging it to be biased and obsessive. The attack irked even the government and, for a change, the NATO supply route was completely shut down — to this day. A parliamentary committee on national security is working to define new contours for Pak-America relations. In the meantime, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is sending strong massages to the American government about the so-called sovereignty that we guard so close to our bosoms (depending largely on our whims and wishes).

The recent collaboration of 40 religious parties going by the name of Difa-i-Pakistan Council, comprising the likes of General (retd) Hamid Gul, Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, President Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq and the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, Munawar Hasan, geared towards defending Pakistan against foreign aggression, has raised national and international concerns, especially since the definition of foreign aggression from the point of view of Difa-i-Pakistan relates to none other than the US and India. ….

Read more » Daily Times

Save us from our defenders – Irfan Husain

THE Difaa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) has announced its aim of defending us against the dangers we face today.

But given the fact that the biggest threat to Pakistan comes from the extremist ideology of many of those who constitute the DPC, the question arises whether these holy warriors will confront the militants.

Don’t hold your breath: during a recent DPC rally in Karachi, speaker after speaker made it clear that their real enemies are India and America. This assembled galaxy clearly failed to notice the uncomfortable fact that over the last decade, well over 30,000 innocent civilians and 5,000 security personnel have been killed in terrorist attacks launched by jihadi militants. Such mundane truths often escape our religious brigade. While focusing on American drone attacks, which while controversial, have been the most effective weapon against the militants in the tribal areas, they have conveniently overlooked the real cause of militancy. The moment these realities are pointed out to them, they go on about how these casualties are the result of the American war in Afghanistan.

The composition of the DPC is interesting as it brings together a number of reactionary elements under one umbrella. Some of these, like Sheikh Rasheed and Ijaz ul Haq, have a semblance of respectability. However, this is based on the dubious proposition that cabinet positions, past or present, in Pakistan confer some degree of social acceptability.

On the other side of the DPC spectrum, we have characters like Malik Ishaq, released by the Lahore High Court and accused of committing several murders for the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba, an extreme Sunni outfit.

Hafiz Saeed is one of the stars of the DPC and head of Jamaatud Dawa, a supposedly charitable organisation banned for fronting for the Lashkar-i-Taiba. This terrorist group has been accused of being behind the deadly Mumbai attack of 2008, as well as other atrocities in India.

Qari Yaqub, the darling of admirers of his sermons on YouTube, also spoke at the DPC rally in Karachi where he warned journalists that he would turn the ground where he spoke into “a graveyard for the media” if they did not give the DPC ample coverage. So here I am, writing about the DPC to avoid an early grave.

Sheikh Rasheed, leader of his Awami Muslim League spoke at the rally, as did army dictator Zia’s son, Ijaz ul Haq. Hamid Gul, the retired general who was sacked as head of the ISI by Benazir Bhutto in 1989, also enlivened proceedings with his rant about the bright future ahead without a western presence.

So Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, felt right at home in this august company as the PTI’s senior vice president Ejaz Chaudhry’s presence showed.

Clearly then, the 40-odd (some would say very odd) members of the DPC at least appear to be on the same page where extremist thought is concerned. The question is what and who brought them together. Pakistan’s history is littered with the bleached bones of right-wing alliances formed and then ditched by their creators. The IJI, the PNA, the IDA, and the MMA spring instantly to mind.

Add to them the various incarnations and iterations of the Muslim League, and you have a veritable alphabet soup of political aspirations: Q, N, Z and Awami are only the current manifestations.

The common thread running through all these parties and coalitions is the past or current connection with our intelligence agencies. Retired general Asad Durrani, another erstwhile ISI chief, has admitted before the Supreme Court that he funneled millions to anti-PPP candidates during the 1988 elections. This confession emerged years ago as a result of a writ filed by Asghar Khan, but the case has been on the back burner until the Supreme Court resumes hearing it later this month. Watch this space for further developments.

Given the stellar credentials of these stalwart defenders of our country, we can all sleep easy. They have vowed to save us from those nasty Americans and Indians, but before I cancel my life insurance policy, I’m still waiting to hear that they will protect us from the Pakistani Taliban as well.

Seriously, though, what is this circus all about? Why have so many extremist-minded elements and their fellow-travellers suddenly emerged from the woodwork to muddy the political waters? Who’s paying for all these expensive rallies? Actually, scratch that last question: we’re paying for them via whatever shadowy agency that has cobbled this latest alliance together.

And why is Imran Khan’s PTI part of this reactionary group? I know he’s in lockstep with people like Hamid Gul and Maulana Samiul Haq, but why does he need to identify himself with the most violent and unsavoury characters in this coalition? Does he not see that after his recent reinvention as a popular, mainstream politician, he no longer needs to cosy up to the likes of Qari Yaqub and Hafiz Saeed?

Continue reading Save us from our defenders – Irfan Husain

Killing of Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister and niece could be sending him a chilling message by Pak military

DAILY TIMES EDITORIAL: Balochistan: a self-fulfilling prophecy

The Balochistan Assembly passed a resolution against the brutal murder of MPA Nawabzada Bakhtiar Khan Domki’s wife and daughter in Karachi. A complete shutter-down strike was observed all over Balochistan to condemn their murders. The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for a retaliatory attack on four Frontier Corps (FC) checkposts near Margat coalmine area in which at least 15 FC personnel were killed and a dozen sustained injuries. This attack, according to the BLA spokesman, was in reaction to the murders of the Domki women. Karachi is no stranger to target killings and it seems that this horrible trend along with bhatta (extortion) activities have started again after a brief lull. But the murder of Balochistan Republican Party (BRP) chief Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister and niece in Karachi was unlike any other target killing. The claim by the Karachi police that this could be the result of a ‘tribal feud’ could not be further from the truth. It is highly unlikely that women and children would be targeted even in a feud between the Baloch tribes. This is completely against the culture of the Baloch. Reasonable suspicion thus arises that this was not the work of any Baloch tribe but our own intelligence agencies that are busy harassing and assaulting the Baloch.

The murder of Mr Domki’s wife, daughter and driver is political, and there are genuine reasons to speculate that it is related to Brahamdagh Bugti, who is one of the leaders of the Baloch resistance movement and has often been hounded by our military and its operatives. So far, they have not been successful in extraditing him from Switzerland, where he has obtained political asylum. Killing his sister and niece could be one way of sending him a chilling message. It also points to the military’s callous attitude towards all norms of humanity. Women, children and old people are not deliberately targeted in wars. What kind of a despicable regime is this that would kill women and children in cold blood just to make a point? The police are still clueless about the murderers but they must investigate properly and get to the bottom of this horrific incident. No words can do justice to the sense of outrage at this atrocious crime.

It seems that there is now a sinister plot to hunt the Baloch outside Balochistan too. In December 2011, Faisal Mengal — a Baloch activist — was killed in Karachi. The death of two Baloch females along with their driver in Karachi also points to this new ‘trend’. The military’s ‘kill and dump’ policy in Balochistan has wreaked havoc in the lives of the Baloch. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) recently pointed out that “…the [Pakistan] military and its spy agencies have supra-constitutional authority to deal with the Baloch people, who are struggling for their constitutional rights of self-rule in the province”. The policy of eliminating members of the Baloch resistance movement, moderate nationalists, intellectuals and youth has led to more hatred and more alienation in the province. Now this policy is seemingly being extended to women and children. Independence from Pakistan is now being demanded openly all over Balochistan. The death of two Baloch women will certainly stoke the fire even more. Nobody can blame the Baloch for this demand given the atrocities being committed against them every single day by our military. Even the veteran Baloch leadership has nothing to offer the disgruntled Baloch youth fighting in the mountains because of the criminal military operation. The military’s highhanded policies have hardly left any space for a political solution now. The federation is definitely in trouble.

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201222\story_2-2-2012_pg3_1

US drone attack kills four militants in Pakistan: officials

By AFP

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan — A US drone attack targetting a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal area near the Afghan border killed four militants late Tuesday, security officials said.

Two missiles hit a compound on the outer skirts of Miranshah, in the North Waziristan region, killing four, one official said.

The attack triggered a fire in the building and flames could be seen from the roof of houses in Miranshah, five kilometres away, residents reported. The drone attack and the casualties were confirmed by two other security officials. …

Read more » Google News

Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

By Declan Walsh

Even before you reach Pakistan there’s reason to fret. “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing shortly, inshallah,” says the Pakistan International Airlines pilot, 10 minutes outside Islamabad. To the western ear this ancient invocation – literally “God willing” – can be disconcerting: you pray the crew are relying on more than divine providence to set down safety. But these days it’s about right – Pakistan, a country buffeted by mysterious if not entirely holy forces, seems to have surrendered to its fate.

Viewed from the outside, Pakistan looms as the Fukushima of fundamentalism: a volatile, treacherous place filled with frothing Islamists and double-dealing generals, leaking plutonium-grade terrorist trouble. Forget the “world’s most dangerous country” moniker, by now old hat. Look to recent coverage: “Hornet’s Nest” declares this week’s Economist; “The Ally from Hell” proclaims the Atlantic.

Continue reading Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

On the run with Pakistan’s Taliban

By AFP

BANNU: Nothing terrifies Pakistani Taliban fighter Tariq Wazir more than US drones, a harbinger of instant death invisible to the naked eye and proof of America’s mastery of the skies.

Each time he hears the low hum reminiscent of a bumble bee, fear clutches his heart and he remembers how 20 of his comrades were pulverised by missiles they never saw coming in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Gone are the days of communicating by phone and travelling freely. Instead he spends his days praying or reading newspapers in safe houses, moving under the cover of darkness, trying to keep one step ahead and stay alive.

An AFP reporter was this week given a tantalising glimpse of the day-to-day life of a group of Pakistani Taliban, travelling with them for four days between safe houses in North Waziristan.

He and three other journalists were invited to interview the head of the faction, Hakimullah Mehsud, or “another top Taliban leader” but the interview never materialised, due to what the Taliban said were “security reasons”.

Instead, they spent each night on the move, resting by day in relatively comfortable mud-brick homes with kitchens, running water and toilets, offered freshly cooked meals and fizzy drinks.

It was a relatively sophisticated logistics operation that shows how embedded the Taliban are in North Waziristan, where the Pakistani military has resisted US pressure to launch a sweeping offensive. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Afghanistan: Pakistani Extremist Group In Focus After Unprecedented Attack On Afghan Shi’a

By Abubakar Siddique

As Afghanistan recovers from a deadly and unprecedented attack on a Shi’ite shrine in Kabul, the finger of blame is pointing directly at a Sunni extremist group with a long history of carrying out such attacks in neighboring Pakistan.

At least 55 people were killed and more than 160 wounded in the December 6 suicide attack, which occurred as Shi’ite worshippers were assembled outside the shrine to commemorate Ashura, a Shi’ite religious holiday. A separate attack near an Ashura procession in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif killed at least four people.

Shortly after the midday attack in Kabul, a man claiming to be a spokesman for Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami contacted RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal to claim responsibility on behalf of the Pakistan-based militant group.

It was impossible to independently verify the claim made by the man, who identified himself as Qari Abubakar Mansoor.

The man first contacted a Radio Mashaal correspondent in Pakistan who covers the western Kurram tribal district, where the group is believed to be headquartered. A man going by the name of Qari Abubakar had previously contacted Radio Mashaal to provide information regarding the Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. Following RFE/RL’s report tying the group to the attack in Afghanistan, various media reported receiving similar claims from the same spokesman.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who cut short a European trip and returned to the Afghan capital to deal with the crisis, appeared to accept that the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. While visiting survivors of the attack in the hospital, he was quoted as telling reporters that “we are investigating this issue and we are going to talk to the Pakistani government about it.”

Ties To Al-Qaeda, Taliban

Farzana Sheikh, a Pakistan specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London, says the group evolved from the Anjuman-e Sipahe Shaba Pakistan, an extremist political party intent on transforming Pakistan into a Sunni state. One of its splinter groups, Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) was considered the most deadly sectarian militia in the South Asian state in the 1990s.

Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami is now considered a splinter group of the LeJ, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 because of its role in the killing of thousands of Shi’a.

“Its roots really lie in southern Punjab [Province], in the district of Jhang, from where they have clearly spread to other parts of Pakistan,” Sheikh says, “but particularly the [southwestern province of] Balochistan, where they have been responsible, and indeed claimed responsibility, for a series of murderous attacks against Shi’a Hazaras.”

Sheikh says that the group once enjoyed close links to Pakistani intelligence agencies. This, she notes, enabled LeJ to maintain bases in Taliban-controlled Afghan regions because of Islamabad’s relationship with the Taliban regime. However, the LeJ’s Shi’a-killing campaign made it a prime security threat for Pakistan, according to observers.

Read more » Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (rferl)

http://www.rferl.org/content/pakistani_extremist_group_in_focus_after_afghan_sectarian_attack/24415027.html

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

Systematic Genocide of Sindhi Hindus

By: Dr. Rajab Ali Memon, Secretary General, Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party – STP

We condemn the brutal murder of 4 Sindhi Hindu doctors in Shikarpur district by the criminals. The STP, being a strong advocate of secular politics, rejects the intolerance towards all religious minorities and the Sindhi Hindus in particular; since they are being continuously and systematically targeted & extorted by various agencies, dacoits, religious fanatics, and feudal/ tribal/ spiritual lords all over Sindh. We appeal all progressive elements in Pakistan to join us in condemning the rule of jungle, especially in the northern districts of Sindh; and the systematic genocide of Sindhi Hindus to compel them to leave Sindh and settle in India. We believe that the Sindhi Hindus are an integral part of Sindhi nation and equal citizens of Sindh & Pakistan. Hence, it is the foremost responsibility of the State as well as the Government (s) of Sindh & Pakistan to provide them guarantees of Life, Liberty and Property.

Courtesy » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, November 8, 2011.

Analysis: For Pakistan, Deep Ties to Militant Network May Trump U.S. Pressure

By PIR ZUBAIR SHAH and CARLOTTA GALL

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other senior administration officials visited Pakistan in October to demand that Pakistan’s spy agency either deliver the Haqqani network, a virulent part of the insurgency fighting American forces in Afghanistan, to the negotiating table or help fight them in their stronghold in Pakistan’s rugged tribal areas.

But there are any number of reasons why the Pakistanis may disappoint the Americans. Not least is that the Haqqani leadership — contrary to the American emphasis on drone strikes in the tribal areas — does not have to hide in Pakistan’s ungoverned fringes. So close are the Haqqanis’ ties to Pakistan’s military and intelligence service that one might just as well look for them around the capital, Islamabad, or in the closely guarded military quarters of Rawalpindi.

Osama bin Laden was thought to have been hiding in the tribal areas, too, said a tribal elder reached by telephone in the Haqqani stronghold of North Waziristan. Instead, Bin Laden was killed by American commandos in Abbottabad, a small city deep in Pakistan that is home to a top military academy. Whether he was there with the knowledge of Pakistan’s spy agency is still unclear.

“The Americans have taken the hell out of us through drones all these years trying to target O.B.L.,” said the elder, referring to Bin Laden, and not wanting to be named for fear of his safety. “But they found him in Abbottabad. The same will happen with the Haqqanis, too.”

The freedom of movement the Haqqanis enjoy in Pakistan could be witnessed on a sweltering July day last year at a graduation ceremony at one of Pakistan’s largest religious schools, Darul Uloom Haqqania, well known for producing the ranks of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.

Among the thousands who had gathered that day in Akora Khattak, just an hour from the capital, were top members of the Haqqani family. The family patriarch, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is a graduate of the school and draws his last name from it.

The Haqqanis stayed for several hours at the event, which was almost certainly monitored by Pakistani intelligence agents, and, after lunch, left in a car with Islamabad license plates.

The Haqqani family, which runs the network like a mafia, maintains several town houses, including in Islamabad and elsewhere, and they have been known to visit military facilities in Rawalpindi, attend tribal gatherings and even travel abroad on pilgrimages, say military and political analysts who follow militant activity in Pakistan.

Among those present at the ceremony was Khalil Haqqani, a brother of Jalaluddin, and an important fund-raiser for the network who travels frequently to the United Arab Emirates. In February he was added to the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for having links to Al Qaeda.

With him were two of Jalaluddin’s sons. One was Nasiruddin Haqqani, often described as the Haqqani network’s liaison with Pakistani intelligence and the person in charge of channeling money.

Senior leaders of the group concerned with political and financial affairs, like Khalil Haqqani and another of Jalaluddin’s brothers, Ibrahim Haqqani, have long resided in Islamabad, said Vahid Brown, a counterterrorism expert at Princeton who is researching a book on the Haqqani network.

“My impression is they mostly live in the cities,” Mr. Brown said. He cited news reports and a tribal legislator as saying that Ibrahim Haqqani had lived in Islamabad for the past 20 years. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks last year also revealed that the two Haqqanis often traveled to the United Arab Emirates from Pakistan, Mr. Brown said. Ibrahim Haqqani even met an American official there for exploratory negotiations in late August.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, who manages the network for his father — and is the undisputed boss — travels freely around Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, according to two Western analysts with extensive experience of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“The fact that he is able to drive around means he is protected,” one analyst said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the Pakistani government.

Kashmiri and Afghan militant groups have long been supported by the Pakistani military, and many of their members carry passes that allow them to go through any police checkpoint, he said.

As much as Mrs. Clinton and other American officials would like the Pakistani leadership to make a definitive break with the Haqqanis, such free movement reflects the symbiotic relationship between the network’s members and Pakistan’s military.

The Haqqanis need a haven to train fighters and receive financial and material support, which they get from Pakistan, especially in North Waziristan, part of the tribal areas. Pakistan’s military, for its part, needs a proxy to extend its influence in Afghanistan after the Americans leave; that is what the Haqqanis give them. …

Read more  » The New York Times

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

Taliban fighters and the remaining Taliban militants ran away like cowards

ANALYSIS: Ali Khels: the state apathy continues

by Farhat Taj

The punishment was the destruction of the Ali Khel tribal leadership and the displacement of the entire tribe in the sham army operation that was later started in the area and to this date has not been ‘able’ to ‘clear’ the area of the Taliban

October 10, 2011 was the third anniversary of the devastating suicide attack on a grand tribal jirga in Orakzai that killed the entire Sunni-Shia tribal leadership of the Ali Khel tribe, the biggest tribe in Orakzai. The jirga was leading an anti-Taliban lashkar (militia) against the Taliban in the Ali Khel area — Tirah in Orakzai. Faced with growing Taliban atrocities and lack of state protection despite the repeated requests to the government of Pakistan, the Ali Khels were forced to take up weapons against the Taliban.

The Taliban militants who came to the Ali Khel area around early 2008 initially committed atrocities against the Shia Ali Khels and those Sunnis who defied the Taliban’s social boycott of the Shias. In response, the minority Shia section of the tribe requested the majority Sunni section of the tribe to support them against the Taliban. The Sunni Ali Khel section, already alarmed by the growing highhandedness of the Taliban, decided to protect the Shias by removing the Taliban from their area through force following the government of Pakistan’s reluctance to take action against the Taliban.

An anti-Taliban lashkar consisting of over 2,000 Shia and Sunni Ali Khel tribesmen was created. Within weeks the lashkar burnt down Taliban centres in the Ali Khel area, killed several Taliban fighters and the remaining Taliban militants ran away like cowards. A grand Shia-Sunni Ali Khel jirga consisting of over 5,000 confident tribesmen was convened to decide the fate of the Ali Khel boys who had joined the Taliban, but now had surrendered themselves to the mercy of the jirga. In the meanwhile, a Taliban vehicle loaded with 150 kilos of explosive material rammed into the jirga gathering and instantly killed over 100 Ali Khel tribal leaders of various socio-political stature, along with tens of other tribesmen, and injured hundreds. …

Read more » Daily Times

If USA attacks Pakistan…

– by Harris Bin Munawar

When America’s top military official hinted at direct US action in the tribal region where it believes Pakistan shelters and works with the anti-American Haqqani Network, among the first to respond was the network’s top leader. “The US would suffer more losses in the North Waziristan Agency than they did in Afghanistan,” Sirajuddin Haqqani said, daring the US to send its troops into the tribal region that the Pakistani army itself has refused to enter.

This means: 1. His network is entrenched in North Waziristan 2. It is their responsibility to defend the agency 3. They would prefer to do so over several years in Afghanistan-style guerrilla warfare

Pakistan Army says it is not ready to take on the influential pro-Taliban leader, effectively giving up a claim on the territory he controls.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani says a raid on the Haqqani Network would be an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty, as if the defence of North Waziristan has been outsourced to the Haqqanis.

Prone to the drone:

If Pakistan Army indeed lacks capacity, or will, to reclaim North Waziristan where Afghan insurgents are believed to hide, regroup and plan new attacks, that means it has no effective control over the region.

Pakistan says that: 1. Its army does not have the means or resources to control that territory 2. The government will lose political credibility if it orders an operation in the North Waziristan 3. Taliban reaction to such an operation will destabilize the entire country

If that is correct, Pakistan has lost de facto control over the area and it cannot claim sovereignty. That gives the US a justification to go after its enemies itself. And that is what the US does with missile attacks by unmanned aircraft.

A government that has been holding tribes collectively responsible for violations committed by their individual members has no moral authority to suddenly invoke modern notions of justice or mourn the death of innocent civilians who shelter the Taliban.

So little leverage:

If Pakistan is collaborating with, or supporting, or merely avoiding confrontation with a group it has long-standing ties with, a group it believes or hopes will have a significant role in the post-US Afghanistan, there is no reason it will stop doing that for an ally that is about to leave the battlefield.

Washington wants to put its foot down. It wants Pakistan to stop supporting its enemies. But “the problem is”, security analyst Caroline told Reuters, “we have so little leverage”. Because:

1. America cannot engage in a long-term battle inside Pakistan with its economy worsening, troops thinning, and a complete withdrawal from the region already announced

2. It has no identifiable target in Pakistan. The Haqqani Network does not have too much of a stationary central command that it could attack

3. Now that they are expecting an attack, members of the group will disperse

4. If the IsI is supporting the Haqqani Network, killing one or two of its leaders will not significantly hurt the group’s capability to attack US interests

What can America do?

1. The US can make a May 2 style incursion into Pakistan and go after the top leader of the Haqqani Network. After his father Jalaluddin Haqqani’s retirement, Sirajuddin the most influential insurgent figure in that region. But the impact of his killing might not be more than that of the killing of Osama bin Laden

2. It can make a number of simultaneous raids under air cover on several key targets in North Waziristan – people or buildings that might include Pakistan Army’s check-posts. Like the May 2 raid, the legitimacy of the operation will depend on how successful it is

3. The US can carry out a series of individual strikes followed by periods of calm. That way it will continue to meet its goals and embarrass the Pakistan Army, while making sure the tipping point is never reached

4. Washington can impose an economic embargo on Pakistan, stop all aid, freeze its accounts and declare the ISI a terrorist organisation. It can also use its influence on international agencies to end all aid and loan programs to Pakistan. That will be deathblow to Pakistan’s ailing economy

5. It can increase drone strikes in the Tribal Areas and take out targets with virtual impunity

Neither of these steps is new or extraordinary, and neither of these steps will dramatically reverse the US predicament in Afghanistan.

What can Pakistan do?

Any US move against Pakistan does not have to be new or extraordinary to hurt Pakistan. Pakistan Army has influenced public opinion in the past to create an anti-America feeling that it can then cite to seek concessions from the US. In doing that, it has entrenched itself into a position where it will have no choice but to respond to a US strike.

As an immediate response, Pakistan can:

1. Retaliate and fire at intruding US aircraft or men. Claims have been made that Pakistan can shoot down predator drones, but it is less likely Pakistan can detect and attack US fighter aircraft. The Osama bin Laden raid has also raised doubts about Pakistan’s ability to detect and attack intruding helicopters

2. Carry out a delayed but full-fledged counter-attack on US bases in Afghanistan that it believes were used in attacks on its soil. That may lead to a US counter-counter-attack and an all out war. How long can Pakistan sustain that war is an important question

3. Increase attacks on US interests through any Taliban factions or other insurgent groups that are ready to support Pakistan. If Sirajuddin Haqqani has made an offer to defend North Waziristan, the Pakistani military might take them up on that. Sooner or later, the US will withdraw anyway. But is there a guarantee these groups will not go rogue like many in the past? Can a modern Pakistani republic reconcile with their version of the Muslim faith?

4. Step back and start an operation in North Waziristan. But with the US leaving, will Pakistan want to alienate its supporters in Afghanistan? One way to deal with the problem is to continue the policy Pakistan is accused of. The army can hide key figures of the network and then conduct a fake operation for several months until the US is pressured by its politics or economics to leave the region. But then, how will Pakistan deal with the network and reclaim its territory after the US leaves?

5. Not retaliate with a military move, and just end diplomatic ties with the US, losing a key source of aid. Closing down NATO supply routes will hurt the US immediately. But if the supplies are stopped for too long, the US will find new, although more expensive, ways to get supplies to Kabul. If that happens, Pakistan would have burned up a very important advantage.

6. Go to China for help. China’s key security officials came to Pakistan last week. Pakistani analysts saw that as a sign of support. But the Chinese delegation is on a scheduled visit to discuss terrorists hiding in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas that fight against China in its Xinjiang province. It is not likely China support Pakistan on some of the possible plans we have discussed. Nor is it in China’s interest to jump into a US-Pakistan conflict.

Can Pakistan sustain a war?

Opinion leaders in Pakistan believe the resource-rich republic can sustain confrontation with a defeated US empire. Such self-deception has cost Pakistan dearly in the past. Let us look at the key resources needed in a war:

Troops: Pakistan does not have enough troops to guard both the Indian and Afghan border. We have grouped India with the US as a matter of policy, and will have to pay for that by being sandwiched between two hostile neighbours

Weapons: The weapons and equipment used by Pakistan Army come from the US and its allies. That means we will soon run out of ammunition and cannot repair or service the equipment

Money: Pakistan’s economy cannot pay for a war, especially after an embargo by the US. Hit by floods two years in a row, suffering from an energy crisis, cash-strapped because of huge government spending, and dependent on foreign aid, how long will its money last?

Communications network: Pakistan’s communication system can not bear the burden of war with a dysfunctional railways. With engine shortages and trains stopped half way for up to 20 hours because there is no diesel, how will Pakistan fight a war?

Intelligence: If Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are to be believed, they had no clue about the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in Pakistan, a planned US raid to kill him, or even about the activities of Raymond Davis and CIA contractors like him. On the contrary, it is accused of targeting journalists who there is a general consensus are not American agents. Pakistan’s intelligence network does not look like it is ready to fight a war

Diplomatic support: Every single country in this region was hurt when Pakistan had influence in Afghanistan the last time. Insurgents from China and Central Asia were sheltered and trained in Afghanistan, Iran was unhappy because tens of thousands of Shias were massacred, and India was among the victims of guerrilla warriors too. The International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia is asking for former ISI chief Gen Javed Nasir. Who in the region will support Pakistan in its battle to control Afghanistan?

Domestic politics: Hundreds of people have been killed in ethnic and political battles in the crime-infested economic hub Karachi, Punjab is suffering from a new epidemic, Sindh is submerged in floods, Balochistan is fighting an insurgency and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is dysfunctional because of terrorism. Pakistan’s domestic situation is less than ideal for a war.

Continue reading If USA attacks Pakistan…

Permanent revolution

by John Reiman

There will be no breaking the power of the “feudals” in Pakistan, no equality for women in Afghanistan, no establishment of stable democracy in Egypt, no resolving the tribal conflicts in Africa, and no salvation for the 15 million children who die of hunger every year on the basis of capitalism

As they did in the 1950s, once again, the winds of revolution are sweeping the former colonial world. This time, however, these winds are mixed with those of counter-revolution also, and this complication is partly a result of the failure of the previous period to resolve the problems in that part of the world. ….

Read more → ViewPoint

BOX politics of PPP and MQM is not helping Sindh to lead Pakistan’s journey towards a prosperous land

– Sindh under multiple crises

by Zulfiqar Halepoto

The situation is getting worst day by day in Sindh. This will affect other parts of Pakistan and ultimately whole nation and the entire country will suffer.

Conservative ‘constituents’ BOX politics of PPP and MQM is not helping Sindh to lead Pakistan’s journey towards a prosperous land, full of resources (natural and human) and opportunities on merit with rule of law and constitutionalism. The political rift is dividing the citizens of Sindh on ethnic lines and peace loving and progressive people are afraid.

On the other hand ‘ACTION REPLY OF HUMAN DISASTER’ has destroyed billions of rupees agriculture, crops and food supply in 12 fertile districts of Sindh. Around 100 people are died in couple of days. Thousands of families are displaced. Children and women are the worst victim of the fresh wave of FTAL rain. Livestock and food supply are vanished. People are living measurable lives in camps. Political heat has over shadowed this human catastrophic situation.

Where is the government? Where is the state? Nobody is there to take notice. Government stopped INGOS and UN systems to intervene in the recent disaster relief actions. Government has no capacity to deal with the science of disaster.

Another bad news is that in two years time 600 Sindhi Hindu families have migrated from upper Sindh to India, Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore due to every day deteriorating law and order situation in rural Sindh. People are victim of terrorists in Karachi and other urban towns peaceful citizens of rural areas are victim of kidnapping, Bhatakhoree and forced conversation of their women to other religions.

All anti-Sindh feudal who are destroying the landscape of ‘diversity and plurality’ are now part of PPP government under so-called reconciliation. These feudal and tribal chiefs initiate tribal clashed and instigate their tribesmen to kill innocent people and they maintain their fiefdoms. There is no rule of law. They all are beyond any accountability because they are supported by agencies too to destroy Sindh’s progressive political base. Sindhi Hindu families are also victim of this culture.

Some districts of upper Sindh have become ‘NO GO AREAS’ for innocent citizens. So-called progressive and learned PPP leaders are shamefully kept silent on these crimes. Sindh is about to collapse on all political, economic and social fronts.

I wonder, even the greatest sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto didn’t inspire the rulers to change the CULTURE. I don’t know who is going to stop all this menace in Sindh, which is heating the whole country.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups,  September 3, 2011.

Rape, mutilation: Pakistan’s tribal justice for women

By Rebecca Conway

MULTAN,(Reuters) – On April 14, two men entered Asma Firdous’ home, cut off six of her fingers, slashed her arms and lips and then sliced off her nose. Before leaving the house, the men locked their 28-year-old victim inside.

Asma, from impoverished Kohaur Junobi village in Pakistan’s south, was mutilated because her husband was involved in a dispute with his relatives, and they wanted revenge.

Her fate is familiar in parts of Pakistan’s remote and feudal agricultural belts, where women are often used as bargaining chips in family feuds, and where the level of violence they face is increasing in frequency and brutality.

At the hospital in nearby Multan town, Asma’s shocked parents sat quietly by her bedside and struggled to explain what the future holds for their now disfigured daughter.

“I don’t know what will happen to her when she leaves here,” Asma’s father, Ghulam Mustafa, said, in a dilapidated ward heavy with the smell of antiseptic and blood, where other women, doused with acid or kerosene by relatives or fellow villagers, awaiting an equally uncertain future.

Asked if Asma will return to her husband, her father remains silent.

Pakistan is the world’s third-most dangerous country for women, after Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, based on a survey conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation (link.reuters.com/jet92s)

Read more → Reuters

Pakistan could “pull troops Afghan from border” if U.S. cuts aid

By Zeeshan Haider

Islamabad : (Reuters) – Pakistan could pull back troops fighting Islamist militants near the Afghan border if the United States cuts off aid, the defense minister said on Tuesday in an interview with Pakistani media.

The United States Monday said it would hold back $800 million — a third of nearly $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan — in a show of displeasure over Pakistan’s removal of U.S. military trainers, limits on visas for U.S. personnel and other bilateral irritants.

“If at all things become difficult, we will just get all our forces back,” Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said in an interview with the Express 24/7 television to be aired later on Tuesday.

The television aired excerpts of the interview Tuesday.

“If Americans refuse to give us money, then okay,” he said. “I think the next step is that the government or the armed forces will be moving from the border areas. We cannot afford to keep military out in the mountains for such a long period.”

In Pakistan, the defense minister is relatively powerless. Real defense and military policy is made by the powerful Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, and the head of the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Monday, the military said it could do without U.S. assistance by depending on its own resources or turning to “all-weather friend” China.

Mukhtar later told Reuters Pakistan wanted the money spent on the maintenance of the army in the tribal areas. “This is what we are demanding,” he said. “It is our own money.” ….

Read more → REUTERS

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

Immy, tell us what you want – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

Excerpt:

…. If the US stops drone attacks, can Imran Khan give the guarantee that the Taliban — ardent adherents of an anti-democratic political system — will stop coercing society into theocratic chaos? If he deliberates for a few moments on this prospect, he will be as silent as he has been about religious terrorism. So, does it mean that he is ready to turn Pakistan into a theocratic state? Probably yes, whether he knows/acknowledges it or not. In private conversations he has been an admirer of the tribal jirga system, which shows that the idealisation of tribal institutions has been part of his mindset.

Besides opposing the US intervention, his political campaigns have been criticising and exposing the ruling political elite. Again, we know what he does not want but we do not know what he wants the Pakistani socio-political system to be. Mysteriously, he has not been very vocal about the role of the Pakistani military in the disaster-ridden evolution of Pakistan. He has not articulated the genesis of the socio-political ills that have proliferated under military rule. ….

To read complete article → Wichaar

Shouting about Indian repression in Kashmir is hypocrisy

A weaker insurgency, but with new contours

By Cyril Almeida, dawn.com

QUETTA: The decline in insurgent violence over the past year, at the cost of savage violence by the state, has produced a fragile recovery in Quetta and other insurgency-hit parts of Balochistan.

Continue reading Shouting about Indian repression in Kashmir is hypocrisy

AP sources: Pakistanis tip off militants again

By KIMBERLY DOZIER

WASHINGTON – U.S. officials say Pakistan has apparently tipped off militants at two more bomb-building factories in its tribal areas, giving the terror suspects time to flee, after U.S. intelligence shared the locations with the Pakistani government. …

Read more: Yahoo News

PARACHINAR – A City Held Siege By Pakistan’s Taliban

CNN’s Phil Black reports on a community in Pakistan under siege by militants for more than four years.

Courtesy: CNN, YouTube

 

U.S. Presses Pakistan to Go After Specific Militant Leaders

by NICK SCHIFRIN (@nickschifrin)

ISLAMABAD: The United States has drawn up a list of five militant Islamic leaders it expects Pakistan to provide intelligence about immediately and possibly target in joint operations, including Osama bin Laden deputy Ayman al Zawahiri and Taliban commander Mullah Omar, according to a U.S. official and a Pakistani official.

The list also includes Siraj Haqqani, the operational commander of the Haqqani network, the most violent group in the Afghan Taliban and believed to be run out of the Pakistani tribal areas; Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior member of al Qaeda once dubbed “the next Osama bin Laden”; and Atiya Abdel Rahman, the Libyan operations chief of al Qaeda who had emerged as a key intermediary between bin Laden and al Qaeda’s affiliate networks across the world.

The list was discussed during three separate meetings between senior Pakistani and U.S. officials in the past two weeks, including today in Islamabad with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to a U.S. official, a Pakistani government official and a Pakistani intelligence official.

The United States views the list as a test of whether Pakistan is serious about fighting terrorists who have long enjoyed safe havens within its borders. …

Read more : ABC News

via Wichaar