Tag Archives: Waziristan

Pakistan’s Tolerance of Jihadis Backfires Badly

By 

Pakistanis are still grappling with the tragedy of the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that left at least 141 people, most of them children, dead and scores injured. There has been an outpouring of grief internationally, and the Pakistani public is visibly outraged. But the question being widely asked is whether Pakistan’s military and political leaders can transform grief and outrage into a clear policy that would rid the country of its reputation as both a victim of and magnet for terrorists.

Even before this incident, Pakistan had one of the highest casualty rates at the hand of terrorists. About 19,700 civilians and 6,000 security force personnel have been reported killed in terrorism related violence in Pakistan since 2003. But the country refuses to develop a comprehensive approach to fighting or containing the 33-odd terrorist groups believed to be operating on Pakistani soil.

“The question being widely asked is whether Pakistan’s military and political leaders can transform grief and outrage into a clear policy that would rid the country of its reputation as both a victim of and magnet for terrorists.”

The latest attack is the Taliban’s response to the Pakistan army’s military operation against the terrorist safe haven in North Waziristan, part of the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan. Jihadis from all over the world had congregated in the tribal areas to fight as Mujahedeen against the Soviets during the 1980s. After the Soviets left, Pakistan used the militants for its own objectives of expanding Pakistani influence in Afghanistan, leading to the rise of the Taliban.

Read more » Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/husain-haqqani/pakistan-school-attack-jihadis_b_6337112.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

What ISIS and the ‘caliphate’ mean for Pakistan

Taliban TerroristsBy Muhammad Amir Rana

Among many factors, the Pakistani state’s protracted apathy and inaction on the issue of security has provided non-state actors the spaces to grow and expand their influence. They used these spaces not only to propagate their ideologies and narratives but also to establish a ‘state within the state’ in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Even as counteraction is now underway, the sudden rise of ISIS has threatened to make matters worse for us.

The militants are jubilant over the success of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which has established a ‘caliphate’, or ‘Islamic state’ in parts of Syria and Iraq. This is not the first time militants have captured some territory and established their so-called Islamic writ.

Afghanistan, Pakistani tribal areas, Northern Mali and Somalia have experienced similar ventures by militants in the past, though on varying levels.

Rise of ISIS ≠ Fall of al Qaeda

Many experts see the decline of al Qaeda in the rise of ISIS, while analysing the recent developments happening in Iraq and Syria. That is a mistake.

A realistic review of militants’ strategies suggests that they first challenge the very foundation of the state by providing alternative socio-cultural and political narratives and then march onto its physical territory.

They may have differences over strategies, as ISIS and al Qaeda had, but ultimately they overcome their differences. Al Qaeda might feel stunned over the ‘victories’ of ISIS but now, instead of arguing with ISIS over strategies, will prefer to develop a consensus over a model of caliphate.

In some cases, militants develop alliances with nationalist groups.

That’s what happened in Northern Mali, where the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) had developed coordination with Islamist groups. But when they captured a territory, Islamist groups started imposing Shariah. The alliance was weakened due to ensuing infightings and eventually broke up after a military offensive was launched by the French forces.

A dangerous inspiration

Apart from group dynamics, inspiration plays an important role in militants’ efforts to replicate one success in other parts of the world.

The rise and success of ISIS could play a very dangerous, inspirational role in Pakistan, where more than 200 religious organisations are operating on the national and regional level.

These organisations pursue multiple agendas such as transformation of society according to their ideologies, the enforcement of Shariah law, establishment of Khilafah (caliphate) system, fulfilment of their sectarian objectives and achievement of Pakistan’s strategic and ideological objectives through militancy.

Such organisations could be influenced by the success of ISIS in various ways. A few would limit themselves to providing just moral support, but others might actively provide donations and financial assistance on ISIS’ call.

Common purpose: Establish the state of Khurasan

Still others — mainly religious extremist and militant organisations — could find inspiration in ISIS’ strategies and tactics.

This is possible since even groups operating in two different regions can find common ground in the Takfiri ideologies they believe in, and in the organisational links they share with each other.

The map released by ISIS shows countries for expansion marked in black across North Africa, into mainland Spain, across the Middle East and into Muslim countries of Central and South Asian region. It depicts exactly the states, which are or once remained under Muslim control.

According to this notion, the territory which has come under Muslim rule even once becomes a permanent part of Islamic caliphate. These territories, if later invaded by non-Muslims, will be considered as unjustly occupied territories and it will be obligatory for a Muslim to struggle to regain them.

Interestingly, the ISIS map shows both Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of the Islamic caliphate state’s Khurasan province. Al Qaeda and its affiliates believe that the movement for the establishment of the Islamic state of Khurasan will emerge from the region comprising of the Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and Malakand region of Pakistan.

They consider Khurasan as the base camp of international jihad, from where they will expand the Islamic state boundaries into other non-Muslim lands. Mullah Fazlullah of Swat was inspired by the notion and considered himself the founder of the Khurasan movement.

Many other groups and commanders in Pakistan and Afghanistan subscribe to the same idea, but only a few groups have dedicated themselves to the cause of establishment of the Islamic state of Khurasan.

The current TTP leadership — mainly Fazlullah and his deputy Qayum Haqqani, and Khalid Khurasani group in Mohmand and Bajaur agencies of Fata — are leading this movement, not only on the militant, but on the ideological front as well.

The concentration of al Qaeda and TTP hardliner groups in Kunar and Nuristan are of the same mind; they intend to use the territory as a base camp for the establishment of the state of Khurasan. Though they are not strong enough to trigger a massive militant campaign like the one going on in Iraq, they will remain a critical security irritant and keep inspiring radical minds in the region.

Continue reading What ISIS and the ‘caliphate’ mean for Pakistan

Dancing to TTP’s tunes

By Intikhab Amir

PESHAWAR: The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) holds the centre stage, changing directions of the game every now and then. In short, it is TTP’s sweet will that is holding the sway.

When it decides to hit and kill us, we bow our heads and get killed. When it decides to talk and kill us as well, we oblige: we fly our helicopter to North Waziristan to facilitate its emissaries to meet their bosses and at the same time we keep collecting corpses from Peshawar to Karachi.

And now when the state’s fighter jets and helicopters have conducted surgical air strikes targeting TTP’s sanctuaries, the terrorists announced ceasefire and we feel happy to oblige and live peacefully with them for the next one month.

Think the one month period in terms of the possibility: no bomb blasts and IED attacks. This has not happened for the past so many years. So we should be happy!

What is more interesting is the fact that the day TTP was about to make the ceasefire public in the evening, its operatives attacked polio vaccinators in Khyber Agency in the morning.

If the TTP bosses were giving serious thoughts to the idea of giving peace a chance, they should have postponed the Saturday morning attack in Khyber Agency.

But who cares? Ceasefire is the buzzword. The other catchphrase these days is ‘on the same page’.

Earlier, doubts were being spewed whether the civil administration and the military leaders were on the same page or not. Now, at least, the TTP bosses are on the same page with the government.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1090698/dancing-to-ttps-tunes

PAKISTAN – Taliban claim killing 23 FC soldiers in custody

by Zahir Shah Sherazi

PESHAWAR: Taliban militants in Mohmand Agency on late Sunday night claimed to have killed 23 FC soldiers who were kidnapped in 2010 from Shongari checkpost in Mohmand Agency.

The Mohmand Agency Taliban chief Umar Khalid Khurrasani, in a letter issued on social media, claimed that they have killed the FC soldiers to avenge what he said was the custodial killing of Taliban fighters in various parts of Pakistan.

The letter, written in Urdu and attributed to Umar Khalid Khurrasani, says that the Taliban had warned against the killings of their activists.

Since the government has allegedly continued with the killings, the Taliban said in the letter that they have avenged the killing of their fighters by executing the 23 FC soldiers.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1087438/taliban-claim-killing-23-fc-soldiers-in-custody

Times Square bomb plot: Pakistani Army major arrested

A Pakistani Army major, who was until recently a serving officer, has been arrested in connection with the failed Times Square bomb plot.

By Rob Crilly, in Islamabad

Pakistani and US sources say there is evidence that mobile phone calls were exchanged between Major Adnan Ejaz and the suspected would-be bomber, Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested on May 3 as he attempted to fly out of New York.

A Pakistani law enforcement sources said that the major had mobile phone contact with Shahzad on the day of the attempted bombing, including one conversation at the same time the bomber was allegedly parking his car loaded with propane tanks and explosives.

He had also met the naturalised American in Islamabad, he claimed.

Shahzad, the son of a retired Pakistani Air Force officer, has told interrogators he received training from the Pakistan Taliban in its rugged mountain stronghold of Waziristan.

Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have a long history of working with Jihadi organisations as an instrument of foreign policy.

Read more » The Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/7772507/Times-Square-bomb-plot-Pakistani-Army-major-arrested.html

The $120,000 farmhouse where the TTP chief was killed

By: AFP

MIRANSHAH: With marble floors, lush green lawns and a towering minaret, the $120,000 farm where feared Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died in a US drone strike was no grubby mountain cave.

Mehsud spent his days skipping around Pakistan’s rugged tribal areas to avoid the attentions of US drones.

But his family, including two wives, had the use of an eight-roomed farmhouse set amid lawns and orchards growing apples, oranges, grapes and pomegranates.

As well as the single-storey house, the compound in Dandey Darpakhel village, five kilometres north of Miramshah, was adorned with a tall minaret, purely for decorative purposes.

Militant sources said the property in the North Waziristan tribal area was bought for Mehsud nearly a year ago for $120,000, a huge sum by Pakistani standards, by close aide Latif Mehsud, who was captured by the US in Afghanistan last month.

An AFP journalist visited the property several times when the previous owner, a wealthy landlord, lived there.

With the Pakistan army headquarters for restive North Waziristan just a kilometre away, locals thought of Mehsud’s compound as the “safest” place in a dangerous area.

Its proximity to a major military base recalls the hideout of Osama bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad, on the doorstep of Pakistan’s elite military academy.

“I saw a convoy of vehicles two or three times in this street but I never thought Hakimullah would have been living here. It was the safest place for us before this strike,” local shopkeeper Akhter Khan told AFP.

This illusion of safety was shattered on Friday when a US drone fired at least two missiles at Mehsud’s vehicle as it stood at the compound gate waiting to enter, killing the Pakistani Taliban chief and four cadres.

The area around Dandey Darpakhel is known as a hub for the Haqqani network, a militant faction blamed for some of the most high-profile attacks in Afghanistan in recent years.

Read more » DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1054033

Drone kills TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud: intelligence officials

PESHAWAR: Hakimullah Mehsud, the chief of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan tribal agency on Friday, intelligence officials said.

Pakistani intelligence officials have reported to their higher-ups that the Pakistani Taliban supremo was leaving from a meeting at a mosque Dande Darpakhel area of North Waziristan when the drone targeted their vehicle.

Five militants, including Abdullah Bahar Mehsud and Tariq Mehsud, both key militant commanders and close aides of the TTP chief, were also killed in the drone strike, multiple sources confirmed.

There was no confirmation from the Pakistani government or the Taliban yet of the deaths.

Dande Darpakhel area is located five kilometres (three miles) north of Miramshah, the main town of the North Waziristan tribal region, said to be a stronghold for the Pakistani Taliban.

The strike came a day after three insurgents were killed in another drone attack that also targeted a rebel compound near Miramshah. The US unmanned plane was still flying in the area after the attack.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said they were getting reports of the drone strike in North Waziristan agency. Condemning the strikes, he said these were aimed to sabotage efforts for establishing peace in the country.

“A delegation was about to be sent to talk to Taliban tomorrow (Saturday),” said the minister hinting that a “senior militant commander” may have been killed in today’s strike.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid earlier today said they have had “no contact” with the government, a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said a process to initiate peace talks had been started.

The incident comes a week after Sharif urged US President Barack Obama to stop drone strikes during a meeting in Washington.

The Pakistani defence ministry Wednesday said 317 US drone strikes in the country’s tribal areas had killed 67 civilians and 2,160 militants in Pakistan since 2008.

US drone attacks are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, but Washington sees them as a vital tool in the fight against militants in the lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

The Pakistani government has repeatedly protested against drone strikes as a violation of its sovereignty. But privately officials have been reported as saying the attacks can be useful in removing militants from the country.

This is a developing story and will be updated as reports come in

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/news/1053410

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Taliban leader ‘killed in strike’

Hakimullah Mehsud, head of the Pakistan Taliban, has been killed in a drone strike, security sources told Reuters.

The head of the Pakistani Tailban, Hakimullah Meshud, was among four people killed in a US drone strike in the North Waziristan region today, security sources have said.

Read more » ITv

Source – http://www.itv.com/news/story/2013-11-01/head-of-pakistan-taliban-killed-in-drone-strike/

Pakistan from a secular to theocratic state – India is also going the same way albeit at a slower pace!

BAAGHI: Giving peace a chance? Thanks, but no thanks!

By Marvi Sirmed

What all these peace agreements achieved was a temporary hiatus in terrorist attacks on Pakistanis, and an immense opportunity for the militant organisations to consolidate and organise themselves as well as enjoying impunity and freedom

Pakistan’s ‘government’, it seems, is well on its way to ‘give peace a chance’ in compliance with the declaration of an unelected All-Parties Conference (APC) convened by the prime minister in September this year. The otherwise ‘hawks’ when it comes to relations with India, were all adamant to invoke John Lennon — the one from the ‘oh-so-bad-west’ — on the Taliban of Waziristan. A non-corrupt Punjabi Khan and a patriotic think-tanker succeeded in getting a lease of life for the militants continually battling with the Pakistan Army and persistently attacking the people of Pakistan and abetting attacks on the people of Afghanistan. The attempts towards ‘peace’ thus started with a new vigour, permanently sedating common as well as a basic sense of history.

Continue reading Pakistan from a secular to theocratic state – India is also going the same way albeit at a slower pace!

Pakistan still global jihad hub

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PESHAWAR: Pakistan is still a major destination for radicalised Muslims bent on a life of jihad, despite hundreds of US drone strikes, the death of Osama bin Laden and the fracturing of Al-Qaeda.

New battlegrounds have sprung up in Africa and the Middle East, but the number of foreign recruits smuggled into the northwestern tribal belt is increasing and they come from more diverse countries.

Since the 1980s “jihad” to expel Soviet troops from Afghanistan, Muslim fighters from all over the world have lived and trained on the Afghan-Pakistan border, moulded into Al-Qaeda and a host of spin-off militant networks.

After US-led forces in late 2001 evicted the Taliban in Kabul for sheltering Al-Qaeda, Afghan Taliban fled across the border into Pakistan.

But Washington and Nato will end their combat mission in Afghanistan next year and these days the Taliban say their foreign allies are drawn to other conflicts, despite their support networks in a region outside direct government control.

“Al-Qaeda is shifting its focus to Syria, Libya, Iraq or Mali,” one member of the Afghan Taliban told AFP on condition of anonymity in northwest Pakistan.

Local officials estimate the number of Arab fighters has fallen by more than a half or two thirds in the last 10 years, to below 1,000.

In the last two years, some Al-Qaeda Arabs, particularly Libyans and Syrians, left to take part in the civil war in Syria and the violent uprising that overthrew Libya’s dictator Muammar Qadhafi in 2011.

Others migrated to Iraq in 2003, and others to Somalia and Yemen.

But Saifullah Khan Mehsud, executive director of the Fata Research Center, a think-tank focused on the tribal belt, says uprisings in the Middle East have had a minimal effect on the Arab presence in Pakistan.

“Arab fighters are not leaving in big numbers,” he told AFP. “They have been there for 30 years and it continues,” he added.

The number of fighters from other countries is also rising, say witnesses in Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan — the district with the largest concentration of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters.

“The overall number of foreign jihadis has increased in the last two years. Every week we see new faces,” says one regular visitor.

There could be around 2,000 to 3,500 foreign fighters in the border areas from around 30 different countries. During the 1980s, the number was also estimated to have been several thousand.

More nationalities, same problems

Most of the current crop are Turkmens and Uzbeks, numbering between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters according to local officials, who have fled authoritarian secular regimes in their home countries to set up their own groups.

The Islamic Jihad Union, which splintered from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, is based in Pakistan’s border areas. It is committed to toppling the government in Uzbekistan, and fights alongside insurgents in Afghanistan.

It has also plotted an attack in Germany, which was foiled.

US officials say covert drone strikes have played a huge role in destroying training camps and disrupting Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 362 US drone strikes have been reported in Pakistan since 2004 — 310 of them since US President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

Although North Waziristan locals say the strikes kill more Taliban than Al-Qaeda operatives, they have condemned foreign fighters to a life underground.

“They are low profile, they dress like locals, they avoid big meetings and above all they move all the time,” a local journalist told AFP.

Mehsud says that foreigners are coming from a more diverse number of countries than in years past.

“A few months ago, we even welcomed some (two or three) people from Fiji for the first time!” says the Taliban member who spoke with AFP.

“There are more nationalities because they face the same problems. They tell us that they feel left aside by capitalism and discriminated by unfair laws, like the Swiss one on minarets or the French one on hijabs,” he adds.

Local and Western officials say the number of Western militants have fallen to dozens compared to the several hundreds of a few years ago.

A Canadian, who uses the name Mohammad Ibrahim, told AFP that he had been in Pakistan for three years but was now preparing to leave to wage jihad at home.

“Foreigners are now afraid to come to Pakistan because of the drone strikes,” he says, putting the number of his compatriots at 14, compared to “60 to 85 three years ago”.

A mechanical engineer by training, he says he works in “technical and logistic affairs” but does not elaborate further.

“I often met British, Spanish, Italians, Algerians and Germans. But now…our movements have been limited because of the drone strikes,” he says.

Courtesy: DAWN
http://dawn.com/2013/01/27/pakistan-still-global-jihad-hub/

Pakistan and the threat of extremism Turning point? Despite outrage over Malala’s shooting, the dark forces are gathering again

ISLAMABAD – MANY say they now realise it has taken a 14-year-old schoolgirl to teach Pakistan the meaning of courage. Back in 2009 Malala Yousafzai began chronicling the dark grip of the Pakistani Taliban on her homeland, the pretty Swat valley in the country’s north. She had a clear-eyed conviction that girls had a right to an education, something the Taliban did their best to prevent, even after their local rule was broken in an army offensive. She called the Taliban “barbarians”. On October 9th the barbarians took their revenge, shooting her in the head. She is now in a British hospital, in Birmingham, with a specialist unit for war injuries. Doctors are impressed by her resilience.

Back home, says Nusrat Javed, host of a popular political show, “Malala has liberated Pakistan.” Pakistanis have voiced unprecedented anger against the Pakistani Taliban, calling for the peaceful majority to reclaim the country’s destiny from gun-toting, head-chopping extremists.

The question is whether political, military and religious leaders have Malala’s gumption. Most condemned the attack without condemning the Pakistani Taliban. A few went further. The army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, who had already taken a more aggressive stance against extremists in recent months, sounded ready for action. After visiting Malala in hospital in Pakistan, he said: “We refuse to bow before terror. We will fight, regardless of the cost. We will prevail.”

Continue reading Pakistan and the threat of extremism Turning point? Despite outrage over Malala’s shooting, the dark forces are gathering again

The AfPak Vision And North Waziristan Operation

Context: The talk about the military operation in North Waziristan has picked up feverish pace. This is not the first time, in the last decade, and historically, Waziristan has been the bone of contention several times before.

The attempt here is not, as many other assessments are doing, to name different locations along with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders who may have been killed in Waziristan. Nor is the emphasis on presenting the best tactical approach to conduct the operation. Rather the focus is on the less talked about dimension: how does the operation fit in the larger vision and strategy?

Analysis- Vision, Strategy And Tactics

Obviously, tactics and strategies are two different things, and are suppose to be connected to the larger vision. A vision is an ideal future state that an entity may be striving for. On the other hand, strategy lays out the best approach to accomplish the vision. Different tactics may be deployed in support of a selected strategy. However, too much emphasis on tactics, without consideration for the strategy and the grand vision is a sure recipe for failure. At the same time, the vision and strategy cannot be set in stone, as the reality is quite dynamic. Thus, to be successful, any shrewd strategist has to constantly adjust lofty goals to the ground reality.

Continue reading The AfPak Vision And North Waziristan Operation

NWA militants abandoning bases to escape imminent offensive

Excerpt;

….. Almost all top figures of the Haqqani Network have shifted to safe places during and before Ramadan.

Some of them crossed over to Afghanistan, while some have moved to less populated areas in the Potohar region of Punjab, where the Haqqani family owns well-protected houses and accommodations.

Tribal sources said al Qaeda fugitives had already moved towards Syria, where the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and US-led allies are forcing Syria’s Bashar Al Assad to resign. These fugitives would now play a key role in mass movements against Assad and would even get involved in terrorist and other violent acts.

However, local tribesmen are carefully monitoring the situation. A majority of influential and affluent families have already abandoned homes and shifted to Peshawar, Islamabad and other main cities and towns, while others are forced to play silent spectators to whatever might unfold in the area.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/08/24/news/national/nwa-militants-abandoning-bases-to-escape-imminent-offensive/

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

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

NWA operation to be Pakistan’s own decision: Peshawar corps commander

PESHAWAR – Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani has made it clear that the government alone will make the decision regarding a military operation in North Waziristan and “no one can impose its own will from abroad in this respect”.

“The armed forces are well aware of their responsibilities and are alert for all sorts of action in any part of the country,” was his reply to a query while talking to reporters on Thursday at an iftar dinner hosted by him in the honor of journalists and analysts.

The corps commander expressed surprise over media reports regarding military operation in North Waziristan, saying “how is it possible for the armed forces to accept a wish from abroad regarding our own internal issue or any other administrative matter”?

Continue reading NWA operation to be Pakistan’s own decision: Peshawar corps commander

Pakistan: Now or Never? Perspectives on Pakistan

A Mafia in FATA: Haqqanis and Drones

By Myra MacDonald

It took author Gretchen Peters two years working with a team of researchers to compile a detailed report on the Haqqani network.  Published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, it is a comprehensive study of the Haqqani’s business interests in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Gulf, defining them as much as a criminal mafia as an Afghan militant group. It took me an hour to read it through. Yet when I tweeted a link to the report with the suggestion those with strong views on drones should read it – the Haqqanis’ base in North Waziristan in Pakistan’s tribal areas has been the primary target of U.S. drone strikes – the answers came within minutes. “I assume u probably never met a minor or a woman who lost the head of the family in drone attack as ‘colateral dmg,” said the first response.

Continue reading Pakistan: Now or Never? Perspectives on Pakistan

A rain of 1,300 rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Deadly rocket attacks straining Afghanistan-Pakistan relations

By Heath Druzin

KABUL — A rain of rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister summoned Pakistan’s ambassador Sunday after shelling killed four civilians and injured several others in Kunar province Friday night.

A provincial official is warning of an “uprising” if the attacks continue. The Foreign Ministry warned that continued shelling “could have significant negative impact” on relations between the two countries.

Continue reading A rain of 1,300 rockets from Pakistan threatens to spawn a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

Militants coming from Afghanistan take scores of villagers hostage in Pakistan – Is PaK military learning any lessons?

By: Wichaar Desk

KHAR, Pakistan — Dozens of militants coming from Afghanistan took scores of villagers hostage in Pakistan’s northwest on Thursday, sparking fighting with the army that killed at least 14 people, Pakistani officials said.

The incident is the latest chapter in a broader infiltration trend that has seen Islamabad railing against Afghan and NATO forces for not doing enough to stop the cross-border attacks, which it says have killed dozens of members of its security forces.

There has been little sympathy from the U.S. and Afghan governments however, which have long complained Pakistan allows sanctuary to militants fighting in Afghanistan, warning Islamabad that instability in the war-torn country poses a threat to it as well.

On Thursday, Taliban gunmen opened fire on a compound in eastern Pakistan housing police trainees, killing nine of them, officials said.

The militants who staged the cross-border attack appeared to be targeting members of an anti-Taliban militia in Kitkot village near Pakistan’s Bajur tribal area, said Tariq Khan, a local government official. They came from Afghanistan’s Kunar province and took hundreds of villagers hostage, including anti-Taliban militiamen, he said.

Hundreds of Pakistani soldiers surrounded the village and killed 12 militants, Khan added. Two militiamen were also killed in the fighting.

Soldiers have retrieved scores of villagers, but dozens more are still held by the militants or trapped in their homes by the fighting, said Khan and two security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The army called in gunship helicopters for support but have not used them yet for fear of civilian casualties, said Khan.

The information could not be independently verified because the area is largely off-limits to reporters.

The police targeted in the eastern city of Lahore were training to become prison guards, said Habibur Rehman, the chief of police in Punjab province, where Lahore is the capital.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for police torture of their fighters in prison. He spoke to The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.

In addition to the police who were killed, eight were also wounded, said Salman Saddiq, a government official.

One of the wounded, Shafqat Imran, said that eight to 10 attackers, who had their faces hidden behind hoods, stormed into the compound and started shooting randomly. They shouted “God is great,” then shot the policemen one by one, said Imran, speaking from a hospital bed.

Continue reading Militants coming from Afghanistan take scores of villagers hostage in Pakistan – Is PaK military learning any lessons?

Terror Is Their Family Business – Why won’t the State Department designate the Haqqanis?

By JEFFREY DRESSLER

The Haqqani network is the most aggressive terrorist organization targeting U.S. and host nation forces in Afghanistan. Founded by aging patriarch Jalaluddin Haqqani, the network is now managed by his sons Sirajuddin, Badruddin, and Nasiruddin, and their uncles Ibrahim and Khalil. They have carved out a terrorist mini-state in North Waziristan, just across Afghanistan’s eastern border, where they host a who’s who of high-value terrorist targets, including senior members of al Qaeda.

So why hasn’t the State Department designated what U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker called “a group of killers, pure and simple” as a Foreign Terrorist Organization?

Continue reading Terror Is Their Family Business – Why won’t the State Department designate the Haqqanis?

Pot calls Kettle Black – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops

Pakistan military protests with NATO and Afghan forces over cross-border attack

By Jibran Ahmad

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces on Monday, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops, a military official said.

The move is likely to intensify tensions between troubled allies Islamabad and Washington, currently involved in difficult talks to repair ties.

More than 100 militants based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province entered Pakistan and attacked a military patrol on Sunday, the military official said. Fourteen militants and six soldiers were killed in the skirmish.

Seven Pakistani soldiers were beheaded by militants after the clash and four were still missing, the official said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the Afghan deputy head of mission in Islamabad was summoned and presented with a “strong protest”.

The Malakand faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility, and threatened more attacks.

“Our fight will continue until the establishment of sharia law in Pakistan … We will fight whoever tries to stand in our way,” Sirajuddin Ahmad, the faction’s spokesman, told Reuters.

Ahmad claimed the group had killed 17 Pakistani soldiers.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said it was aware of the report, but had no information.

Fazlullah Wahidi, governor of Kumar province, said militants were based in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. “We don’t have any information about militants crossing the border from Afghanistan to attack troops in Pakistan,” he told Reuters.

The Malakand, or Swat, Taliban are led by Maulvi Fazlullah, who was the Pakistan Taliban leader in the Swat Valley, about 100 miles northwest of Islamabad, before a 2009 army offensive forced him to flee.

Also known as FM Mullah for his fiery radio broadcasts, he regrouped in Afghanistan and established strongholds, according to the Pakistan military.

Fazlullah re-emerged as a threat last year, when his fighters conducted cross-border raids that killed around 100 Pakistani security forces, angering Pakistan, which faces threats from multiple militant groups.

Continue reading Pot calls Kettle Black – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops

Nato helicopters intrude into Pakistan

Nato helicopters intrude into North Waziristan

MIRANSHAH: Amid mortar shelling from across the Pak-Afghan border, Nato helicopters on Tuesday violated Pakistan’s airspace and intruded into the border area of Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan, Pakistani officials said.

The government officials said two Nato helicopters intruded into the border area of North Waziristan and flew back to Afghanistan after flying over the border villages for some time.

Also, officials based in the Pak-Afghan border area said nine mortar shells were fired from across the border from Afghanistan’s Khost province that landed in the border villages of Bangidar and Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan. They said the mortars landed in the villages and exploded, but did not cause human losses.

Courtesy: The News

US running out of patience with Pakistan: Panetta

AFP – The United States is running out of patience with Pakistan over safe havens for insurgents who attack US troops across the border in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday.

Panetta was speaking during a brief visit to Kabul overshadowed by Afghan fury over a NATO air strike that allegedly killed 18 civilians — an issue that the Pentagon chief did not mention at a news conference.

Panetta left for the airport just hours after his arrival, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged to cut short a trip to Beijing and head home over the deaths of around 40 civilians Wednesday in the air strike and a suicide bombing.

Continue reading US running out of patience with Pakistan: Panetta

Friday Times : Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – VI – By: Farhat Taj

There are three groups of Pashtuns fighting the US/NATO and Afghan security forces in Afghanistan – the Peshawar Shura led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the North Waziristan based Haqqani Network led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, and the Quetta Shura led by Mullah Omar. All three of them are closely linked with the military establishment of Pakistan.

A section of Hekmatyar’s party has already given up violence and is part of the current Afghan government and parliament. Many of the remaining prominent party leaders are frustrated with Hekmatyar’s rigid stance and have privately said they are willing to give up violence for a peaceful political process.

Continue reading Friday Times : Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – VI – By: Farhat Taj

The Taliban mercenary movement is the major cause of Pakistan’s isolation in the community of nations

Comment by: Manzoor Chandio

The Taliban mercenary movement is the major cause of Pakistan’s isolation in the community of nations … they work like rent-a-car business… rent-a-training camp is Waziristan’s buzzword… their true mercenary face came to fore when they started attacks on the Pakistan military… these Taliban might have been rented in Afghanistan… those carrying out attacks in Afghanistan, like the Haqqani network, are said to be helped by Pakistan… Taliban have nothing to do with Umah… they are based in a barren mountainous area… first time people of this area saw rains of dollars in the 1980s thanks to Dictator General Zia … the people of Waziristan rented out their lands for setting up jihad training camps… many more rented out houses as barracks for Jihadis… one rough estimate is that some 40,000 people from across Muslim countries landed in Fata for jihad… rent-a-training camp business flourished as high as rent-a-commercial suite in Dubai… Jihadis came from across the Umah to get training… again this was not without money… Muslim separatists from Philippines, Chinese and other countries paid money for training their fighters in Fata… Waziristan is like Sandhurst and Fort Hood of Jihadis across Umah… local Mehsuds allowed the training camps in their areas for money… & this is called business by them… they know how to protect their interests… then there was drug business & it flourished along with the killing Jihad business… there is a saying in Pushto ‘Awal Zaar, resto Jahan’… this mean business… the only way to close this jihad & drug industry is to industrialized Fata that provide jobs to the people.

Courtesy: Manzoor Chando’s facebook wall.

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

The coming disaster in Pakistan? beheadings in Waziristan show balance of power

Blowback from Afghanistan?

By Omar

Khalid Ahmed’s latest attempt at figuring out what happens after Uncle Sam leaves. 

I think Khalid may be overly pessimistic. Perhaps in an effort to raise awareness and prevent the outcome he predicts?

The writ of the state is indeed getting weaker and does not really exist in some areas (as in this case, where the local Taliban beheaded two soldiers and hung their heads from utility poles in the city…under the noses of the army) but even after Imran Khan fails, there may be another “last chance”.  We have not yet scraped the bottom of the barrel. For example, we have not yet begged the US for help, submitted to a strip search and publicly switched sides. We have not yet begged India for help and “given up” Kashmir in return. We have not yet handed over the Northern areas to China. We have not yet offered to sell the nukes. We have not yet offered to create Khalistan in Pakistani Punjab and Karachi in exchange for restoration of law and order by Ranjit Singh the second (“saanhoon port nahin chahidee” ..dont we need a port? actual answer by a Khalistani netizen to question about why his map of Khalistan showed Karachi as part of Khalistan). There is a long way to go before we hit bottom.

In any case, Uncle Sam is not done yet.  ”There are levels of survival we are willing to accept”. (at 6 minute point in this load of bullcrap)

And then there is this: female staff of NGOs face forced marriage to militants. The glorious days of yore are indeed about to come back in Kohistan.

Seriously, I too think the pressure for a deal with the Jihadis (with imposition of so-called Islamic law all over Pakistan) will become greater once Uncle Sam leaves, but I dont see him leaving anytime soon, so I think the present mess will continue in various forms for the foreseeable future. There may even be a temporary improvement in appearances when GHQ finally brings in their next “undertaker” regime. Or brings in Imran Khan, same thing.  Or we may stumble along under Zardari sahib for longer than anyone could possibly have imagined 5 years ago…the main reason I hesitate to bet on Zardari is that no one can survive with Rahman Malik as interior minister for more than 5 years. Its against all the known laws of nature.

Continue reading The coming disaster in Pakistan? beheadings in Waziristan show balance of power

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

Imran Khan is playing very dagerous game.

Imran, Allama and Pakistan ka matlab kiya

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Speaking at one of his rallies, Imran Khan asked “What slogan did Quaid-e-Azam use to make Pakistan?” and then answered his own question with “Pakistan ka matlab kiya? La illah ilallah”. The only problem is that this is a slogan that Quaid-e-Azam never used. In fact, in what could have been Jinnah addressing Imran Khan through space time continuum, we find that the founder of this state as having very clearly stated that Pakistan ka matlab kiya was not a slogan he ascribed to. Saad Khairi in his book “Jinnah Reinterpreted” recounts that a local leader of the Muslim League at the final meeting of the All India Muslim League said “Quaid-e-Azam, we have been promising our followers Pakistan Ka Matlab Kiya La illah ilallah” to which Jinnah angrily responded “Sit down. Neither I nor the working committee of the Muslim League have passed any resolution to the effect Pakistan ka matlab kiya. You might have done so to catch a few votes.”

Continue reading Imran Khan is playing very dagerous game.

Pentagon says Pakistan-based Taliban of the Haqqani group were behind attack on Kabul & other Afghan cities.

Haqqani network behind Afghan attack: Pentagon

By: AFP

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said Monday a major attack on Afghan government buildings, military bases and foreign embassies was likely carried out by Haqqani militants who operate from sanctuaries in neighboring Pakistan.

“Initial indications are that the Haqqani network was involved in this set of attacks that occurred yesterday in Kabul,” press secretary George Little said of Sunday’s assault.

The 18-hour attack was “well-coordinated,” but Afghan security forces “did a very effective job” in quelling the onslaught, Little told reporters. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Via – Twitter

Najam Sethi on how Pak army’s encouragement of anti-Americanism has come back to haunt it

GHQ must take joint-ownership of US-Pak relations

By Najam Sethi

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has taken more than two months to get cracking. Now it is faced with the prospect of being left in the lurch by the PMLN that is backpedaling on certain proposals. Thus the PPP government finds it difficult to own the proposals recommended by the military, which imply, at the very least, a reopening of the NATO supply line without absolute US guarantees of an end to the drone strikes. Meanwhile, President Obama has hissed a word of advice to Prime Minister Gillani: ‘protect your sovereignty by all means but don’t undermine US national security interests’.

Continue reading Najam Sethi on how Pak army’s encouragement of anti-Americanism has come back to haunt it