Archive for May 4th, 2009

Sad demise of Swat Deal. Direct fight with Talibans. Pakistani Face of State & Terrorism.

May 4, 2009

Taliban says Swat peace agreement ‘dissolved’

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Using the attack by security forces as an excuse, Taliban dissolved the peace agreement.

posted:Monday , May 04, 2009 at 1607 hrs IST

Islamabad:

The controversial peace deal in Pakistan’s Swat valley came virtually unstuck on Monday with authorities threatening to resume military action and heavily armed Taliban militants out on streets defying curfew as their spokesman declared that the pact stands “dissolved”.

“Our peace pact agreement with the NWFP government practically stands dissolved”, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said and sought to put the onus on authorities saying “security forces are attacking us”.

Authorities imposed a curfew in Swat’s main town Mingora as a precautionary measure but eyewitnesses quoted by local TV channels reported that heavily armed Taliban cadres have again started patrolling the main town.

Tensions soared between the government, which is under heavy US pressure to fight the militants and not talk to them and Taliban radicals who rejected the Provincial governments move to constitute new Islamic courts saying they were not consulted.

Rising uncertainty over then deal, have raised prospects of Pakistani authorities expanding operations to flush out Taliban from Swat too. Pakistan military had killed over 200 militants in six days of fighting in adjoining Buner and Dir districts.

Militants ambushed an army convoy killing a soldier in a part of Bari Kot region of the Swat valley. The radicals used rockets and assault rifles in the attack, which was repulsed by security forces.

“(Security) forces are attacking us and our fighters are also retaliating,” Khan told The News daily in the wake of the launch of operations against the Taliban in Dir and Buner districts, which like Swat are part of the Malakand division of the NWFP.

Muslim Khan said the Taliban fighters “would now attack security forces and government figures everywhere.” Claiming that Pakistan’s rulers were obeying “every directive of US President Barack Obama,” he said.

“We will also act in other cities of Pakistan but will not target the general public.”

The spokesman said the Taliban would not harm members of the Awami National Party, which rules the NWFP, it they support the militants. “But if they sided with the government, they too will become our target. However, our main target will be security forces and the rulers of Pakistan,” he warned.

He ruled out the involvement of India and Afghanistan in the unrest in Swat and said “no outside elements” were involved in the issue.

When ANP spokesman Zahid Khan was asked about the dissolution of the peace agreement in Swat, he said the party had signed the accord with Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi chief Sufi Muhammad and not with the Taliban. He said the Taliban had violated “the accord time and again”.

TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad is the father-in-law of Maulana Fazlullah, the Taliban commander in Swat. Many critics of the peace deal have alleged that Sufi Muhammad either has no real control over the militants or is the “softer” face of the Taliban as the militants extend their influence outside Swat.

TNSM spokesman Izzat Khan said he was not aware of the scrapping of the peace deal. However, he said there would be unrest in the region if the security forces continued their operation in the region.

However US authorities pressurized upon Pak to stalemate Talibans within One Week. Otherwise the problem may be uncontrollable.

Taliban kidnap 10 soldiers as Pak forces continue advance.

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The Taliban has threatened that the Swat peace deal was ‘practically dead’.

Posted:Friday , May 01, 2009 at 1309 hrs IST

Islamabad: As the security operation ‘Black Thunder’ entered the third day on Friday, the Taliban threatened that the Swat peace deal was “practically dead”.
The militants said that the hardliner cleric Sufi Mohammad, who brokered the deal, will bury it. The cleric has been caught up in the fighting in his home town in Dir and has not been heard of for the past four days.
Security forces blazed away with their tanks and armoured carriers to clear pockets of Taliban defences on the north side of the Ambela pass which they had captured on Thursday night. Over 140 militants and about a dozen security personnel have died so far in the fighting since the weekend.

“We are clearing Taliban pockets and effecting a land linkup with Daggar, the main town of Buner,” chief Military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said. Army had airdropped commandos behind the Taliban lines to retake the Daggar town on Wednesday.

But in a swift retaliation, Taliban militants stormed into the paramilitary headquarters of Frontier Corps in Dir and snatched 10 soldiers.

Local officials were quoted by TV channels as saying upto 60 heavily armed Talibans barged into the building on Friday morning and took away the soldiers. The bulk of the force headquartered there was out conducting operation.

Taliban earlier in Buner had held more than 80 soldiers hostage, While the special forces managed to free 18 of them, 52 police officers and para-military personnel are still in militant custody.

Seven militants were killed in fighting in Darmal area of Dir district, which the military had earlier said was in the control of security forces. The operation against the Taliban was also continuing in Buner district, which had recently been taken over by militants from the Swat valley.

The militants on Thursday destroyed a camp of the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary in Buner and took away weapons and an armoured vehicle.

Two paramilitary platoons that had been besieged at Jawar Camp on Wednesday night were allowed to leave after they surrendered to the militants, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The Taliban took away an armoured personnel carrier and a “large haul of weapons” before destroying the camp and a check point, sources were quoted as saying by the newspaper.

The rebels also set ablaze a police station at Pir Baba town in Buner and took away a police vehicle. The Taliban had sent four suicide car bombers to target troops in Dir district on Wednesday and two of the vehicles were destroyed by the security forces.

Abbas said it could take the troops another week to complete their operation in the area as they are facing a stiff fight from pockets of resistance.

The Pakistani security forces are using artillery, jets and gunship helicopters to bombard militant positions across Buner district. The ground forces are also being backed by tanks.

However, residents of Buner said militants had control of Ambela Chowk, Pacha, Nawagai, Pir Baba, Sultanwas and several other key areas in Buner. Amidst stepped-up air strikes, ground forces backed by tanks and artillery positioned in Rustam area of Mardan district have attacked targets in Buner.

Helicopters targeted militants in Sultanwas town where they have set up a makeshift headquarters in the house of a tribal elder after forcing his family to leave. The Taliban blew up two bridges near Ambela in a bid to block the movement of troops. The militants have reportedly planted improvised explosive devices along main roads.

The fighting has displaced hundreds of families in Dir and Buner. Observers have estimated that over 30,000 people have fled the area. Media reports said people in Daggar were facing a shortage of food and essentials items because of a curfew in the region.

Killing seven militants, even as in a brazen retaliation the outfit kidnapped and took ten paramilitary soldiers as prisoners in adjoining Dir and Buner. Pakistani forces on Friday pushed tanks into action to break stiff pockets of Taliban resistance in.

 

 

Blasts collapsed civil life in Buner. Bloodshed in Buner. Ethnic Clash in Karachi. Pakistan in Transition. Trail of Terrorism?

May 4, 2009

Govt buildings, schools blown up in Buner

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By Abdur Rehman Abid
Tuesday, 05 May, 2009 | 08:14 AM PST | http://www.dawn.com | updated by alertpak on Tuesday, 05 May, 2009

BUNER: Militants blew up several government buildings and schools in Buner district while security forces expanded their operation on Monday after securing Ambela.

People in the area are in panic and fleeing their homes. Hospitals are running short of essential drugs.

Militants are still controlling key positions along the main highway from Daggar to Pir Baba and the Gokand valley.

Reports reaching here said that higher secondary schools for girls and boys, tehsil administration buildings and a police station at Gagra were destroyed.

Sources said troops had moved from Daggar, the headquarters of Buner district, towards the Gagra subdivision, but were facing stiff resistance.

Fierce clashes have been reported from Kalpani, Tangoo Bridge and Dewana Baba. Local people said that troops backed by tanks faced resistance near the Kalpani village.

The sources said that after taking control of Gagra, troops would move towards the Gokand valley, considered a militant stronghold.

Pak troops kill 60 militants in Buner. Militants are trying to retake.

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Posted: Saturday , May 02, 2009 at 0228 hrs IST

Backed by fighter jets and tanks, Pakistani forces killed at least 60 Taliban, including foreigners, in the Buner as they intensified operations against militants, who offered stiff resistance mounting counter-attacks and abducted 10 soldiers.

The militants were killed in fighting since Thursday in Buner, the military said. Also, two paramilitary Frontier Corps personnel were killed and eight injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a house filled with explosives in the region on Friday.

“The type of resistance the security forces have encountered during this operation and the weapons that are being used by the militants clearly negate the their earlier claims that they had left Buner,” chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said in Rawalpindi.

Taliban had claimed last month that they had pulled out of Buner under an agreement negotiated by Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariah Muhammadi chief who also brokered a peace deal with the militants in Swat.

The militants also abducted 10 Dir Levies personnel from a checkpost on Friday, Abbas said.

About 130 militants stormed a Frontier Constabulary camp at Jawar on Thursday night and captured 40 personnel, who were freed unharmed after the rebels took away their weapons, Abbas said.

Abbas said security forces backed by helicopter gunships had destroyed about 10 explosives-laden cars and motorcycles that were to be used in suicide attacks. A suicide bomber was injured and captured in Ambela town.

A “few foreign fighters” were killed when the house of Taliban commander Ghazi in Buner was destroyed by the troops, he said. Troops moving from the strategic Malandhera area had linked up with security forces who had occupied Daggar, the main town in Buner.

Source: PTI

Three days, 50 dead in Karachi ethnic violence

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Karachi has a history of ethnic violence between mohajirs and ethnic Pashtuns.

Posted: Saturday , May 02, 2009 at 0212 hrs IST

Karachi: The ethnic bloodbath in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi has claimed at least 50 lives and left 80 injured in three days, with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday not ruling out the possible involvement of “foreign” elements in the widespread violence.

The Government was concerned about the violence and a detailed inquiry was being carried out to find out who was responsible for it, Gilani was quoted as saying by news channels. He said the Government could not rule out the involvement of a “foreign hand” in the violence.

His remarks came when reporters asked him at the Multan airport whether he sees a foreign hand behind the incidents of arson, loot and violence in Karachi. “It can’t be ruled out,” Gilani replied.

Media reports said 50 people had been killed and close to 80 injured in three days of violence, which has been blamed on ethnic clashes between supporters of Urdu-speaking Mutthaida-e-Qaumi Movement and Pashtun-speaking Awami National Party. The two are partners in the ruling coalition.

The violence that broke out on Tuesday saw protesters burn vehicles and shops, with peace returning to the city on Friday as the people stayed indoors due to the May Day public holiday.

Source: PTI

Pakistani forces drive Taliban from key town

updated 8:38 a.m. EDT, Wed April 29, 2009
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Pakistani troops on patrol close to the Buner
district in the northwest of the country.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan’s military intensified its drive against the Taliban in the country’s restive tribal regions Wednesday, reclaiming a key town in the northwest district of Buner.

The military says it killed 50 militants in the operation, while one security officer was killed and three were wounded, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, a Pakistani military spokesperson told the press in Rawalpindi.

The operation freed 18 Frontier Corps personnel who had been abducted by militants, he said.

The military used helicopter gunships and coordinated with Pakistani police and the Frontier Corps.

Militants are using civilians as human shields, Abbas said, and have taken people in Buner hostage.

The operation may take a week, he added.

He said ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service which has historic links with the Taliban, was not supporting the militants.

Over the weekend, the military launched an offensive against suspected militants and their hideouts in Lower Dir, which neighbors the violence-plagued Swat area.

Airstrikes by Pakistani fighter jets killed 70 to 75 militants in the Dir district on Tuesday, and flushed out many more, Abbas told reporters.

It is part of the Pakistani army’s intensified drive against the Taliban in its restive tribal regions. The Pakistani government has been criticized for not cracking down on militants along its border with Afghanistan. As a result, the U.S. military has carried out drone attacks against militant targets in Pakistan, which have rankled relations between the two countries.

But Pakistan’s recent military crackdown has led to an exodus of civilians from the region. At least 33,000 residents have left their homes in the midst of the recent fighting, according to Amnesty International.

Civilians fleeing from Lower Dir in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province join more than 500,000 people already displaced by the fighting, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said.

The Pakistani military on Tuesday completed its operation to eliminate and expel militants in Dir, and is now focusing on the Buner district, Abbas said. About 300 militants entered Buner a few days ago, in violation of the Taliban’s recent agreement to leave the district, he said.

Buner is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Islamabad, but Abbas said the militants pose no threat of entering the capital. The fighter jets pounded targets in Buner and the Swat Valley in an effort to block the militants’ entry and exit points, according to Abbas.