Archive for May, 2009

The Terrorist Face of Pakistan, Difficult to Change.

May 10, 2009

‘Pakistan is Al Qaeda’s global base’

al1 al2 al6

al3 al5 al4

Indo-Asian News Service
Washington, May 09, 2009
Pakistan has become the nerve centre of Al Qaeda’s global operations to plan attacks around the world even while the Pakistani Taliban are planning a “surge” of their own, according to a top American military commander.

Senior leaders of Al Qaeda are using sanctuaries in Pakistan’s lawless frontier regions to plan new terror attacks and funnel money, manpower and guidance to affiliates around the world, Gen. David Petraeus, US Central Command chief, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Pakistan has become the nerve centre of Al Qaeda’s global operations, allowing the terror group to re-establish its organizational structure and build stronger ties to Al Qaeda offshoots in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and parts of Europe, he said.

The comments underscored the growing US belief that Pakistan has displaced Afghanistan as Al Qaeda ‘s main stronghold, the Journal noted. “It is the headquarters of the Al Qaeda senior leadership,” the general was quoted as saying.

In the interview, Petraeus also warned of difficult months ahead in Afghanistan, saying Taliban militants are moving weapons and forces into areas where the US is adding troops, planning a “surge” of their own to counter the US plan.

The US had intelligence showing that the Taliban were deploying new fighters to southern Afghanistan, appointing new local commanders, and prepositioning weapons and other supplies, he said.

“We have every expectation that the Taliban will fight to retain 

the sanctuaries and safe havens that they’ve been able to establish,” he was quoted as saying.

US officials once believed that years of strikes had broken Al Qaeda ‘s leadership into smaller, less effective splinter groups.

But in the interview, Petraeus said US intelligence information suggested that Al Qaeda has re-emerged as a centrally directed organization capable of helping to plan attacks in other countries.

“There is a degree of hierarchy, there is a degree of interconnection, and there is certainly a flow of people, money, expertise, explosives and knowledge,” he was quoted as saying.

Petraeus painted a picture of a globalised Al Qaeda that maintains extensive logistical and communications links to terror groups in Morocco, Somalia and other countries.

Pakistan is basically a Taliban State.

tall1  tall5 tall2

tall6 tall4 tall3

Sat, May 9, 2009

Pakistan basically Taliban state

By SALIM MANSUR  www.edmontonsun.com

There is frantic concern in Washington and elsewhere that Pakistan has reached its tipping point and might succumb to the Taliban forces entrenched barely 80 km (50 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.

But the concern is misleading. A country of some 160 million Muslims is not about to be overrun by the Taliban. On the contrary, Pakistan is more or less a Taliban state shaped by its origin and history.

This is the unpalatable reality that cannot be publicly discussed in Washington, London or Ottawa due to diplomatic niceties. It is also complicated by the patron-client relationship the Pakistani elite pursued with the U.S. over the past six decades as a means to counter India’s dominant position in the region.

Pakistan was forcefully established by an elite on the basis of an exclusivist and bigoted idea that since India’s Muslims constitute a “nation” they deserve a state of their own.

The perversion of Islam into a nationalist ideology hugely aggravated communal politics in undivided India that would not end with the partitioning of the subcontinent in 1947. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, ruthlessly planned this division when he called for direct action — communal blood-letting — by his supporters which led to the massive Hindu-Muslim riots known as the Great Calcutta killings of August 1946.

This act of terror made certain that trust between Hindus and Muslims was irreparably broken, and Britain was compelled to depart by partitioning India.

To recall this history is to have an inkling of the sort of a country that emerged as a result of terrorism followed by ethnic cleansing of the non-Muslim population — most Hindus and Sikhs left or were forcefully driven out from present-day Pakistan.

Subsequently, the Pakistani elite declared the Ahmadiyyas — a small peace-loving sect of minority Muslims — to be non-Muslims, and persecuted them as the harbinger of further bigotry to be unleashed in the slide of Jinnah’s Pakistan into a Taliban state.

The economic exploitation of former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by the ruling elite began with Mr. Jinnah imposing Urdu as the national language on Bengali Muslims with their own rich linguistic and cultural tradition. Eventually the two halves of Pakistan would tear apart in 1971 following civil war and systematic massacre of Bengalis by the Pakistani military.

Since 1971 the unremorseful and bloody-minded ruling elite of Pakistan — civil and military — pushed Pakistan deeper into a dependency alliance with Saudi Arabia.

It meant importing the Saudi version of Islam — Wahhabism — and its spread deep across the country through the rapid expansion of religious schools and mosques funded by money from the Gulf countries. The products of these schools and mosques are the Taliban “jihadis,” or holy-warriors, who set forth for Afghanistan in the war against the former Soviet Union.

Steel fist

The Pakistani elite is corrupt, opportunistic and ruthless. Behind the conniving smile of the civilian politician is the steel fist of the military with nuclear weapons.

The fear of Taliban acquiring Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is manufactured by the elite to garner diplomatic and financial support from the West.

This is extortion brazenly practised by the elite responsible for making Pakistan into a rogue state with its people crushed by poverty. It is this reality that makes for terror and war in the region, and threatens peace beyond.

viewers can contact : salim.mansur@sunmedia.ca

Facts and updates about conflict in Pakistan’s Swat

May 10, 2009

55 Taliban killed in various areas of Swat

 * Military statement says Taliban in Mingora have caused civilian casualties

 Staff Report : The Daily Times @ www.dailytimes.com.pk  10th May, 2009

We have hit certain militant positions in Mingora with helicopter gunships,” military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told Daily Times. “The Taliban were harassing the civil population and intensely involved in various activities of looting and arson in the city of Mingora and, in an early morning attack, helicopters engaged militant hideouts and reportedly left 15 militants dead,” Abbas added.

Civilian casualties: Security forces also targeted suspected Taliban positions at Rama Kandhao ridge in Matta tehsil and destroyed the main headquarters of the Taliban there, a military statement added. “Reportedly, 30 to 40 militants have been killed,” it added. Indiscriminate mortar fire by the Taliban in Mingora had caused civilian casualties, it said but no details were provided. A Taliban source confirmed heavy bombardment of the Taliban positions by jet planes and helicopters.

Pak intensifies offensive, 140 militants killed 

M_Id_76526_BunerViolence

Posted: Saturday , May 09, 2009  in Indian Express

@ www.indianexpress.com 09th May, 2009

Pressing with their military offensive to “eliminate” the Taliban, Pakistani fighter jets and helicopter gunships on Friday pounded militant hideouts in the restive Swat valley and nearby areas where the troops killed 140 insurgents in fierce battles.

“The Army is now engaged in a full scale operation to eliminate miscreants,” Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told a press briefing.

The troops directed heavy artillery fire as they encountered stiff resistance from Taliban fighters. The military said that more than 5,000 militants might be holed up in the district including fighters from Waziristan and from groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed. The Army revised its estimates from the earlier 700, saying that there may be about 4,000 to 5,000 militants in Swat, who have been joined by fighters from South Waziristan and “splinter groups of the Jaish-e-Mohammed” from Punjab. Pakistani officials refer to al-Qaeda as fighters from Waziristan.

“They are on the run and trying to block the exodus of civilians from the area. During the last 24 hours, approximately over 140 militants have been killed in different areas,” he said. The ongoing operations across the districts of Swat, Buner and Dir had already killed 300 militants.

Though the Army has massed tanks and heavy fire power, eyewitnesses quoted by TV channels reported that Mingora was still being held by the Taliban.

 “Mingora is totally under Taliban control. They are roaming the streets with mortars and Kalashnikovs and there are no security forces in sight anywhere,” residents told the channels.

Fighter jets carried out raids on Friday against Taliban hideouts in Matta, Kabal and Khawajakhela towns of Swat after a night of intense gunfire in these Taliban strongholds, a military spokesman said.

“Our troops are advancing in lower Dir and last night most intense shelling was directed on Maidan town in the last 12 days,” Gen Abbas said. As Army moved fresh troops to the area, a complete curfew was imposed in all outlying areas to facilitate the movements of convoys.

 “The people have now realise

 The Pakistan Army is advancing on three fronts against the Taliban — into Buner, Dir and Swat — but the most intense fighting is reported from Swat valley. The Taliban in Swat are “battle-hardy” militants who had learned from fighting the security forces over the past few years, Athar Abbas told Dawn News channel.

d that their agenda goes much beyond the Nizam-e-Adl (Regulation) or Sharia courts… They have a design to expand their objectives and therefore the reason for going into Buner and Dir was a manifestation of their design,” he said.

 

‘Half a million displaced by violence’

M_Id_75955_swat_refugees

‘This will be the biggest displacement of Pakistanis since independence.’

New York Times

Posted: Saturday , May 09, 2009 at 0126 hrs IST  

Islamabad:

Day after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani vowed to “eliminate” the Taliban, who have taken over large parts of the country, Pakistani warplanes were reported on Friday strafing targets in Swat.

 International relief agencies in Geneva said up to half a million people had been uprooted by the latest upsurge in violence, adding to a similar number already displaced by conflict in the area.

 William Spindler, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, said that up to 200,000 people had arrived in safe areas over the past few days and that there could be another 300,000 on the move or about to flee areas in northwestern Pakistan.

The numbers were in addition to 555,000 counted since last August fleeing the areas of Dir, Buner and Swat, he said in a telephone interview.

“We could be talking about a total of one million” since last August including the latest displaced people, he said. The figure is much higher than previously reported by international organisations. Spindler said the figures for the new exodus were from provincial authorities and that the relief agency considered them reliable.

In a separate statement, Ron Redmond, another spokesman for the UN refugee commissioner, said a “situation of massive displacement” could be unfolding “as the confrontation between Government forces and militants becomes more widespread”.

The authorities had established three new tented camps to absorb some of the people “traveling in rickshaws, cars, small trucks and buses,” Redmond said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “Most carry little more than the clothes on their backs.”

 The International Committee of the Red Cross gave similar estimates on Friday of the number of people displaced by the conflict, though a spokesman for the Red Cross in Islamabad, Sébastien Brack, stressed that, due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, “no-one has reliable figures”.

Facts about conflict in Pakistan’s Swat

Pakistan_one

Reuters

May 08, 2009

Pakistani aircraft bombed Taliban positions in the militants’ Swat valley bastion on Friday, a day after the prime minister ordered the military to eliminate terrorists and on the heels of a commitment to the United States to fight extremists.Helicopter gunships, fighters and troops were all involved in operations in Swat, and up to 12 militants were killed after as many as 55 were killed the previous day, Major Nasir Khan, a military spokesman in Swat, said by telephone.Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had said in a televised address that militants were trying to hold the country hostage at gunpoint, and set the stage for a major offensive against Taliban fighters in Swat, where a peace pact has collapsed.Here are some facts about Swat and the insurgency there.

* Swat, about 130 km (80 miles) northwest of Islamabad, is not on the Afghan border. Nevertheless Western countries with troops in Afghanistan fear the area could turn into a base for militants fighting in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

* Islamist militancy emerged in Swat, an alpine beauty spot and former tourist favourite, in the 1990s when cleric Sufi Mohammad took up arms to impose sharia law there and in neighbouring areas of the Malakand region.

* Mohammad was arrested after he returned to Pakistan having led thousands of fighters to Afghanistan in 2001 in a vain attempt to help the Taliban resist U.S.-backed forces.

* Pakistani authorities released him in 2008 in a bid to defuse another uprising, led by his son-in-law cleric Fazlullah, who has ties with other Pakistani Taliban factions and al Qaeda.

* Fazlullah called his men to arms after a military assault on the Red Mosque in Islamabad in mid-2007 to put down an armed movement seeking to impose Islamic law. Fazlullah used illegal FM radio to propagate his message and became known as Mullah Radio.

* The army deployed troops in Swat in October 2007 and used artillery and gunship helicopters to reassert control. But insecurity mounted after a civilian government came to power last year and tried to reach a negotiated settlement.

* A peace accord fell apart in May 2008. After that hundreds, including soldiers, militants and civilians, died in battles.

* Militants unleashed a reign of terror, killing and beheading politicians, singers, soldiers and opponents. They banned female education and destroyed nearly 200 girls’ schools.

* About 1,200 people were killed since late 2007 and 250,000 to 500,000 fled, leaving the militants in virtual control.

* Pakistan offered in February to introduce Islamic law in Swat and nearby areas in a bid to take the steam out of the insurgency. The militants announced an indefinite ceasefire after the army said it was halting operations in the region. President Asif Ali Zardari signed a regulation imposing sharia in the area last month.

* But the Taliban refused to give up their guns and pushed into Buner, only 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad, and another district adjacent to Swat.

* Amid mounting concern at home and abroad, security forces launched an offensive to expel militants from Buner and another
district near Swat on April 26.

* A Taliban spokesman said this week the peace pact would end unless the government halted its offensive in Buner, but it continued and the government then moved against Taliban positions within Swat itself.

* On Thursday the Prime Minister directed the military “to eliminate the militants and terrorists”, and on Friday it launched fresh operations in Swat.

War on Taliban will displace five lakh in Swat

M_Id_76238_Buner

Associated Press

Mingora, May 05, 2009

 

Black-turbaned militants roamed city streets and seized buildings in a northwestern Pakistan valley on Tuesday as thousands of people fled fighting between the Taliban and troops that the government said could lead to an exodus of half a million people. The Taliban declared the end of their peace deal with the government.

Buses carrying the residents of Mingora, the region’s main town, were crammed inside and out: Refugees clambered onto the roofs after seats and floors filled up. Children and adults alike carried their belongings on their heads and backs — all of them fleeing fighting they fear is about to consume the region.

Khushal Khan, the top administrator in Swat, said Taliban militants were roaming the area and laying mines.

A witness in Mingora told an AP reporter that black-turbaned militants were deployed on most streets and on high buildings, and security forces were barricaded in their bases.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said the militants were in control of “90 per cent” of the valley. He accused the government of caving to US pressure.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister for the North West Frontier Province, said up to 500,000 people were expected to flee the valley. Hundreds are already gone, adding to roughly half a million people driven from other regions in the northwest over the last year by fighting between soldiers and insurgents, witnesses said.

Hussain said authorities were releasing emergency funds and preparing six new refugee camps to house them.

Pak gearing up to deal with Swat refugees

Reuters

Posted: Wednesday, May 06, 2009 at 1735 hrs IST

 Mardan:

 Pakistan is bracing for it’s biggest ever displacement of people, as many as 800,000, as a military offensive against Taliban militants in their stronghold in the Swat valley appears imminent.

Expanding Taliban influence in nuclear-armed Pakistan has spread alarm at home and abroad and will be a core issue when US President Barack Obama meets his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts in Washington later on Wednesday.

 Convoys of military vehicles carrying troops and artillery were seen heading towards Swat as authorities in Mardan, the second biggest city in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), search for sites for camps for people uprooted by fighting.

“Initially, we were estimating that 100,000 to 200,000 people would leave their homes but now we are expecting displacement of 600,000 to 800,000,” Khalid Khan Umerzai, commissioner of the Mardan division in NWFP, told Reuters on Wednesday.

“This will be the biggest displacement of Pakistanis since independence,” he said, adding about 1.6 million people live in Swat.

 In February, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, estimated up to 600,000 people could be uprooted because of fighting in Pakistan’s northwest.

 Mardan division is the main staging point for people fleeing the fighting in Malakand where Swat is located, and the government has set up three camps for the uprooted people and is opening three more.

 A February peace pact aimed at ending Taliban violence in Swat is in tatters and thousands of people fled from Mingora, the region’s main town, on Tuesday after a government official said fighting was expected.

Umerzai said 35,000 people had been registered in the three camps but only a handful of them were living there as most had found shelter with relatives in Mardan and elsewhere. Many more were unregistered.

 “We Are Ruined”

 “If the conflict lasts longer, then we expect those living outside camps to come to the camps and that will be a huge problem,” Umerzai said.

 He said the provincial government was short of funds and seeking help from the central government for the growing number of displaced.

 On Marden’s outskirts, a tent village has been set up with the help of the United Nations and international aid agencies on sprawling ground levelled for construction of a housing complex.

 About 350 families are living in tents provided by the UNHCR in the Sheikh Shehzad camp, while a large number of people were lined up outside to get registered.

“I could bring just one blanket and a few clothes for my children with me,” said Omar Bacha, a resident of Mingora, who arrived in the camp on Wednesday, as nearby his seven-year-old son cuddled his shirtless younger brother.

 “We are ruined,” said bearded Behroz Khan. “Taliban are on the ground, helicopters are in the sky, we are caught in between.”

At the back of the camp, poor women, some carrying infants in their laps, were sitting on the ground waiting impatiently for their turn to be registered, which would enable them to get free food and other basic supplies.

 Food was being cooked in about 20 cauldrons nearby while labourers dug ditches to lay sanitation pipes.

“While we cannot give them the comfort of their home, we will try to make it as easy for them as possible,” Fikret Akcura, the top UN official in Pakistan, said in a statement.PESHAWAR: Security forces killed 55 Taliban in various areas of Swat on Saturday, while 14 Taliban were killed in Lower Dir district after gunship helicopters targeted Maidan area.

Terrorism in Pak, Difficult to control

May 10, 2009

About 3,000 terrorists in Swat Valley would be killed: Zardari 

a809118ae8405a371ffacb12c9dadc0f-grande

There is frantic concern in Washington and elsewhere that Pakistan has reached its tipping point and might succumb to the Taliban forces entrenched barely 80 km (50 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.
But the concern is misleading. A country of some 160 million Muslims is not about to be overrun by the Taliban. On the contrary, Pakistan is more or less a Taliban state shaped by its origin and history.
This is the unpalatable reality that cannot be publicly discussed in Washington, London or Ottawa due to diplomatic niceties. It is also complicated by the patron-client relationship the Pakistani elite pursued with the U.S. over the past six decades as a means to counter India’s dominant position in the region.
Pakistan was forcefully established by an elite on the basis of an exclusivist and bigoted idea that since India’s Muslims constitute a “nation” they deserve a state of their own.
The perversion of Islam into a nationalist ideology hugely aggravated communal politics in undivided India that would not end with the partitioning of the subcontinent in 1947. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, ruthlessly planned this division when he called for direct action — communal blood-letting — by his supporters which led to the massive Hindu-Muslim riots known as the Great Calcutta killings of August 1946.
This act of terror made certain that trust between Hindus and Muslims was irreparably broken, and Britain was compelled to depart by partitioning India.
To recall this history is to have an inkling of the sort of a country that emerged as a result of terrorism followed by ethnic cleansing of the non-Muslim population — most Hindus and Sikhs left or were forcefully driven out from present-day Pakistan.
Subsequently, the Pakistani elite declared the Ahmadiyyas — a small peace-loving sect of minority Muslims — to be non-Muslims, and persecuted them as the harbinger of further bigotry to be unleashed in the slide of Jinnah’s Pakistan into a Taliban state.
The economic exploitation of former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) by the ruling elite began with Mr. Jinnah imposing Urdu as the national language on Bengali Muslims with their own rich linguistic and cultural tradition. Eventually the two halves of Pakistan would tear apart in 1971 following civil war and systematic massacre of Bengalis by the Pakistani military.
Since 1971 the unremorseful and bloody-minded ruling elite of Pakistan — civil and military — pushed Pakistan deeper into a dependency alliance with Saudi Arabia.
It meant importing the Saudi version of Islam — Wahhabism — and its spread deep across the country through the rapid expansion of religious schools and mosques funded by money from the Gulf countries. The products of these schools and mosques are the Taliban “jihadis,” or holy-warriors, who set forth for Afghanistan in the war against the former Soviet Union.
Steel fist
The Pakistani elite is corrupt, opportunistic and ruthless. Behind the conniving smile of the civilian politician is the steel fist of the military with nuclear weapons.
The fear of Taliban acquiring Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is manufactured by the elite to garner diplomatic and financial support from the West.
This is extortion brazenly practised by the elite responsible for making Pakistan into a rogue state with its people crushed by poverty. It is this reality that makes for terror and war in the region, and threatens peace beyond.

Observing that about 3,000 terrorists were in Swat valley, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari said his government is determined to kill them all to bring life to normalcy in the picturesque valley in the vicinity of Islamabad.

“I think the last count we have managed to dislodge most of the folks from the mountains and the miscreants have lost about 145 people. So that’s 145 of the ‘nasties’ dead, and we are still in operation,” Zardari said in an interview with the PBS newschannel.

He said that Pakistan Army has been carrying out operation against the terrorists and they had some successes earlier and “this success is going to be even more effective.”

When asked to clarify on the statement made by his Prime Minister that the objective was to “eliminate the militants and terrorists,” Zardari said: “That means clearing out the area of the miscreants and bringing life to normalcy. … If they can, they kill our soldiers and we do the same.”

When interviewer, Margaret Warner asked him to clarify what “eliminate” means, Zardari said “eliminate means exactly what it means.”

When she asked: “Killing them all”. Zardari replied: “That’s what it means.”

It could be the toughest message coming from Pakistan President against the terrorists so far.

Zardari said the Swat peace agreement with militants no longer exists.

“The deal was based upon that the fact that they would bring peace and lay down the arms. They refuse to lay down arms and they did not bring peace to the region. So yes, you can say that the deal is off,” he said.

Acknowledging that there has been a presence of the Taliban in the Swat Valley, Zardari however asserted that they were never running the show.

“There was a presence of the Taliban. We were there and we had – you know this is the third operation in Swat. We have encountered them before and we had an agreement which failed – it did not work. So now they have to be eliminated.”

Zardari also said that the deal could not be revived in case the Taliban abide by the contours of the agreement and stop taking military action.

Pakistan President said after the army operation was over non-governmental and humanitarian organizations would be asked to move in the area to provide aid.

“We can’t have the aid donors going in there and getting casualties on them also. So it is a little precarious, a little difficult situation. But the moment it settles down, they will be allowed to go there. At the moment, the situation is the people have come out of the area. So we are looking after them in camps. Most of them have gone to their own extended families. That’s the way it is playing out,” he said.

frantic concern in

Army’s ability to defeat Taliban questioned

* Globe and Mail says Pakistan military has been trained and equipped to fight India

Staff Report : The Daily Times  @  www.dailytimes.com.pk

TORONTO: Though Pakistan has launched a ‘full-scale’ operation to wrest back the control of Swat from the Taliban, questions remain about whether the army is up to the task of defeating the insurgency, The Globe and Mail reported on Saturday.

While Pakistan has an army of well over half a million men, they have been trained and equipped to fight India, across the plains of the Punjab, not their own people in the mountains of the northwest, the paper said.

Many of the operations in Pakistan have been haltingly pursued and ended with peace deals that left the extremists in charge.

More significant challenges for Pakistan remain even if the army is successful in defeating Taliban in Swat, the paper said, adding that the challenges include how to deal with areas such as South Waziristan where well-entrenched Taliban have safe haven.

While Swat and Buner are the farthest that the insurgents have moved into Pakistan, their base remains the tribal territory, especially South Waziristan where there is no military operation.

If the army will move against the extremists in the Tribal Areas that harbour Afghan insurgents and those who cross the border to fight, the country would face a colossal enemy, the paper said.

The battle for Swat is not a contest over a single valley, it is a war between a democratic government, closely allied to Washington, and a rebel movement intent on imposing its brand of fundamentalism on as much of the country as possible, the paper said.

Taliban vows to ‘eliminate’ Pakistan’s top leadership

zar21 M_Id_76618_yousuf_raza_gilani ki

Angered by Pakistan government’s decision to launch an all out war against them, the Taliban has vowed to ‘eliminate’ country’s top leadership including President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and their close family members.

“We thought that being a member of a religious family, Gilani will support our demand of implementing Sharia in the Malakand division but instead he has announced an all-out war against us, which has angered our commanders as well as fighters,” an unnamed Taliban commander told The News daily.

The militant commander, who spoke to the newspaper by phone, said after Gilani declared during an address to the nation on Thursday that the Taliban would be wiped out from the Swat Valley and adjoining areas, the militants had started planning to “eliminate the top leaders of the ruling alliance, including President, Prime Minister and their close family members and aides”.

The commander said Gilani’s hometown of Multan and tomb of former premier Benazir Bhutto might also be targeted by the militants.
 
“Besides, the personnel and installations of security forces, we have now also included civilian rulers in our hit list. We will definitely need some time to plan our actions but it is not impossible for us and we have all the means to implement our plan of attack anywhere in Pakistan,” he claimed.

 

 

War in Pakistan. Who will win in Pakistan ? Taliban or Pakistan??

May 8, 2009

PM orders all-out war, tells army to eliminate Taliban once and for all

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

20090508_33
By Zulfiqar Ghuman and Irfan Ghauri || http://www.dailytimes.com.pk

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday announced a full-scale military operation to wipe out the Taliban from the insurgency-hit areas.

In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that after deliberations and discussions with all stakeholders, the government had decided to call in the military for decisive action against the Taliban.

He said his government had tried all options to resolve the issue peacefully and implemented the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation despite pressure, but its efforts were taken as a sign of weakness.

After the peace deal, the Taliban refused to disarm, attacked security forces personnel and checkposts, targeted those who had helped the government restore peace, stopped girls from going to schools and colleges, were disgraceful towards women and made the lives of minorities miserable, the prime minister said.

He said the Taliban challenged the writ of the state and refused to accept the constitution, the parliament and the judiciary.

Gilani said his government would not compromise on national sovereignty or bow before the Taliban. He appealed to the people of Pakistan, the civil society and the media to support the government and the army. Gilani also asked clerics and religious leaders to highlight what he called the true spirit of Islam.

The prime minister announced Rs 1 billion for the rehabilitation of the people displaced by the unrest and promised a job to one member from every family that lost an earning member to terrorism.

He appealed to the international community to help Pakistan in the rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons and enhancing the capacity of its security forces.

Kayani vows decisive victory

ki

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani vowed on Thursday that the Pakistan Army would mobilise all available resources to launch a ‘decisive operation’ to crush the Taliban. “The Pakistan Army will employ requisite resources to ensure a decisive ascendancy over the Taliban,” the ISPR quoted him as saying at the 118th corps commanders’ conference held at the General Headquarters (GHQ). The COAS said the army was ‘fully aware’ of the gravity of the ‘internal threat’. “The army has developed full-scale facilities to focus on low intensity conflict related operations,” he said, adding that the military was fully prepared to meet conventional threats as well. He said the prevailing security situation required that all elements of national power work closely together to fight terrorism and extremism. Sources said the corps commanders’ meeting would continue today, and take up the promotion of brigadiers to the rank of major generals. sajjad malik.

Talibans  vow to fight till death

muslim khan

Taliban take over Mingora, Pakistan strife raises US doubts on nuclear arms: NY Times
* Army officer, soldier killed in Taliban attacks
* Troops ‘exercising restraint to honour peace agreement’
* Taliban blow up school

MINGORA/RAWALPINDI: The Swat peace agreement crumbled on Monday as Taliban took over Mingora, the district headquarters, taking positions atop government and private buildings and patrolling the deserted streets.

“The city is in complete control of the Taliban, who say they are taking positions to guard the local population,” Mingora residents said. But the Taliban did not elaborate who they were protecting the city against.

Business centres and shops remained closed.

Local residents said both the security forces and the Taliban set up checkposts on roads leading to Mingora and soldiers were seen on high alert in Kabal.

Military authorities had announced curfew in the city from 7pm to 6am and had warned the violators of stern action.

Officer, soldier killed: In Rawalpindi, the Inter-Services Public Relations said the Taliban had killed another soldier and an officer in various incidents of violence.

“The security forces are still exercising restraint to honour the peace agreement,” it said. The army officer was killed when the Taliban attacked a security convoy in Barrikot early on Monday. Two soldiers were injured in the ensuing gunfight.

A soldier was killed when the Taliban raided a checkpost in Shangla. They also demolished a vacant police checkpost in Yakhtangi in Shangla, and burnt three private trucks in Biladram and Chamtalai. Three Taliban were reported killed in a clash with troops in Maidan.

DSP’s house: The Taliban burnt the house of a police deputy superintendent in Kumber, and robbed the house of the Maidan Union Council nazim in Lower Dir. They abducted a number of civilians from Kot Haya Sarai in Maidan. The Taliban also blew up a government high school building in Tandoodhag area. Sources in Shangla said the Taliban had told a jirga they had entered Shangla to stop the security forces from entering Swat and Buner.

Meanwhile, intermediate exams at nine centres in Buner were cancelled, and the Swat DCO told a private TV channel that curfew had been imposed in Swat for an indefinite period. staff report/ daily times monitor

Primitive age in Pakistan. Democracy is un-Islamic, invented by infidels – Pak Muslim chief.

May 8, 2009

Being photographed, video taped is un-Islamic: TNSM chief

 20090504_03* Sufi Muhammad says democracy, communism, socialism, fascism are un-Islamic systems of governance
* Says jihad is only obligatory when infidels seek to eliminate sharia
* Women can only come out of their houses to perform Haj

Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: It is un-Islamic for anyone to be photographed, Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) chief Sufi Muhammad has said.

Talking to a private TV channel, he said any duplicated image of a person, whether a “still picture or video” was un-Islamic. Referring to the various systems of governance, he said democracy, communism, socialism and fascism were all un-Islamic. He also said there was no need for a constitution in the country in the presence of the Quran and Sunnah, adding these were the “biggest laws” available to humanity. Focusing on democracy, he said it was un-Islamic, as infidels invented it. “I would not offer prayer behind anyone who would seek to justify democracy,” he said, adding this was why he had refused to offer prayers behind Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmad and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman. “How can people who believe in democracy be expected to enforce the ideals of sharia,” he said. He said the struggle for Kashmir was to obtain land where Muslims could move about freely rather than seeking the implementation of shariat.

Obligatory jihad: Sufi Muhammad said the sharia system of governance not currently in force anywhere in the world, not even Saudi Arabia or Iran. “Only the Taliban had enforced sharia when they were in power in Afghanistan,” he added. He said he had gone to Afghanistan to conduct jihad, and not to cater to Mullah Omar or Osama Bin Laden. “Jihad was obligatory at the time because the US wanted to end sharia in Afghanistan,” he added. He said Muslims could not wage jihad until the enforcement of sharia, adding jihad becomes obligatory on Muslims only after infidels attempt to eliminate the sharia system of governance. To a question on his organisation’s members picking up the sword in the past and killing people, he said he was opposed to such actions. “They took these actions without informing me and after I came to know of them, I prevented them from doing so,” he added.

Not allowed: On the status of women in a Taliban-run society, he said women were not allowed to come out of their house for any reason other than to perform Haj. However, he added, a female patient was allowed to visit a male doctor to seek a cure for her ailments.

Separately, Sufi Muhammad told another channel the TNSM wanted the implementation of sharia in Malakand Division. He said the qazis appointed by the NWFP government for the Darul Qaza were judges and their appointments had “not been in accordance with Islam”. He said the 1973 Constitution was an Islamic document but had not been implemented properly. He said the rules framed by the government for the Darul Qaza were unacceptable, adding the NWFP government had not consulted him prior to their establishment.

” Sufi Mohammad says:

Democracy is the system of infidels and all those who participate in it are infidels. [He once took part in elections. What would he call himself?]

Women should not be allowed to go outside their homes except for Hajj. [Women are women not prisoners…]

Women aren’t allowed to seek education. [That’s the extreme of his jahalat]

Iran and Saudi Arabia don’t have Shari’ah in real sense. [So this means these countries are also evil in his view]

Jihad in Kashmir isn’t mandatory. [My take: I don’t call it jihad at all…]

The government can’t appoint Qazis for Darul Qaza. [He wants to retain this right]

It’s sin to take photos of human beings or make video footage. [What a lout man!]

This man has lost it totally. He shouldn’t have been released from the prison. Not only he’s getting out of control but Taliban too don’t seem to listen to him. I n my view, both are the same sides of the coin anyway.

We should learn that Taliban will never:

  1. Disarm
  2. Be able to provide justice to ordinary people for they are so corrupt themselves
  3. Accept girls’ right of education.
  4. Limit their role. They want to rule.
  5. Adopt a moderate path. They are extremists and will always remain so.

These are hard times and we are indeed dealing with a serious evil. The latest I read is that Sufi has distanced himself from the peace talks. ”

”-”as published in www.ayesha5.wordpress.com

Women Rights violated by Terrorists in Pak. Pakistani Women : Persecuted not paranoid.

May 7, 2009

Fleeing Swatis describe horrific scenes, Pakistani women are persecuted, not are they paranoid of anything. They want Freedom also.

swaty_80x80 <1swat12 <2

tal6swfl <4pakpro1<5

1>Face of a Persecuted Pakistani Women

2>A displaced family from Swat valley arrives at a make shift camp in Swabi.—AFP

3>Like flogging, hanging to death of  muslim women in Pakistan is a good play of Talibans.

4> Public flogging upon female in Swat.

5> Anti Taliban Protest of Women Organisations in Pakistan. 

Wednesday, 06 May, 2009 | 06:51 PM PST |

PESHAWAR: Shop owner Saeed Khan has already buried one child killed in fighting between the Taliban and government forces in northwest Pakistan. He cannot bear to lose another, AFP reports.

So the 50-year-old bundled his wife, son and daughter onto a bus in the Taliban-infested town of Mingora in the Swat valley and hurried to the city of Peshawar, hoping for a future free from further bloodshed.

‘I lost my son, who was a police officer in Swat, in a suicide attack in Mingora early this year. I buried him in front of my house,’ Khan told AFP, tears rolling down his cheeks.

‘I don’t want to dig graves for my daughter and son in Mingora. That is why I left the area… His death broke me. Tell me where should I go and from whom should I seek justice?’

Local officials say more than 40,000 men, women and children have packed up and fled Mingora since Tuesday, fearing that Pakistan’s military could unleash a fresh ground and air assault against Taliban fighters.

The bedraggled refugees, some leading goats and cattle through the streets, are seeking safety for their loved ones, as the Taliban claimed to control 90 per cent of the former ski resort and tourist getaway, once favoured by Westerners.

‘I am immediately leaving the city with my wife, mother and four kids,’ said taxi driver Ali Rehman, 46.

‘I don’t really know my destination and destiny. My family and I need protection.’

At the bus stop in Peshawar — the capital of the North West Frontier Province — exhausted and anxious people told stories of horror as they poured out of vehicles carrying old bags, blankets and bundles of clothes.

Zarina Begum, 40, pleaded for help as she staggered off a bus.

‘A mortar hit my house and as a result, I lost one of my eyes. Please take me to hospital, I want medical treatment,’ Zarina begged.

‘They (Taliban) killed my husband, they slit his throat after accusing him of spying… I escaped Swat because I don’t want my son to be killed under the same circumstances. I don’t want to receive his decapitated body.’

The government had hoped that a peace deal agree in February would placate hardliners trying to impose a repressive brand of Islam, but instead the deal appears to be in tatters.

Clashes have flared in recent days throughout Swat, where wealthy Pakistanis and foreigners used to enjoy the breathtaking mountain scenery from plush hilltop hideaways, or cruise down the ski slopes.

Now, gunfire rings out in Mingora, where armed Taliban patrol the streets.

‘I’m really scared of going to Swat. Whenever I see Taliban, they look like vampires,’ said 25-year-old shop keeper Salman Mujtaba, who lost family members in a suicide attack near Mingora.

‘I will never ever go back to Swat. It has lost its beauty.’

Courtesy: The Dawn, Pakistan.

Karachi’s women: Persecuted or paranoid?

women608x325

Women travel on a public bus in Karachi.—Reuters/FileBy Huma Yusuf
Monday, 04 May, 2009 | 07:05 PM PST |[http://www.dawn.com]

KARACHI: Farah, a 29-year-old who manages a courier service on Karachi’s Korangi Road, keeps herself covered in a white chador while driving through the city these days. ‘I’m not taking any chances if the Taliban are here,’ she says, covering up her usual attire of jeans and a short top.

In recent weeks, women in Karachi have become increasingly wary of the threat posed by militants from the northern areas who have allegedly infiltrated the port city. Reports that Taliban commanders have relocated to Karachi for fear of drone attacks in Quetta have coincided with a spate of incidents of female harassment. Although panic levels are high, women who have been targeted are reluctant to go public with their experiences. As a result, the city is rife with rumours, and people like Farah are living in fear, but no official action to investigate who is threatening women is being taken.

State of fear

In the past few weeks, upper- and middle-class women have been approached by men, bearded and otherwise, and warned not to leave the house without covering themselves from head to toe. In some cases, the harassers have been armed. In others, they have threatened women with physical attacks in the future if they do not change their ways. Another form of harassment entails the families of young women receiving letters on behalf of the Taliban. In the letters, fathers are told that they must reign in their daughters who are accused of roaming freely and wearing western outfits. Some businessmen have even been asked to make ‘donations’ to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan in order to secure their daughters’ safety.

Despite the widespread panic that news of these threats has provoked, few women are willing to go on the record or register an official complaint. As a result, the extent of the threat posed to Karachi’s young women remains unclear.

For example, a fashion designer who initially claimed in public that her clients had received letters critiquing their mode of dress and ‘warning them to cover up, or else,’ refused to confirm details when speaking to the press. Similarly, a woman who was reportedly told by her fruit seller not to return to his stall if she wasn’t ‘properly attired’ refused to discuss the incident with this correspondent.

This is not to say that women have not been targeted at all. Noor, a 19-year-old

university student who asked that her last name be withheld for security reasons, confirms that she received a threat. ‘My friends and I were in a shop on Zamzama Boulevard when a bearded man entered. He told us to have sharam and only leave the house when covered from head to toe,’ she says.

Similarly, Wilma, an employee at a five-star hotel in the centre of the city, says she was shopping with some friends on Tariq Road when a man approached one of them and threatened to throw acid at her if she didn’t dress properly in the future. ‘Girls wearing capri pants are especially being targeted,’ she says.

Moreover, women’s rights activist Attiya Dawood says that she was walking with her daughters in Hilal Park, a walled-off park in Defence, when some young men began throwing eggs at them and yelling at women to go home and stay away from the park. ‘I can’t confirm who those men were,’ says Dawood, ‘but my brain went straight to the reports that Taliban militants or their sympathisers are trying to scare women out of public spaces.’

Unmasking the threat

Dawood is correct to admit that her thoughts went straight to the Taliban even though she cannot identify the men who threw eggs at her. The fact is, no clear proof is available to indicate who may be victimising Karachi’s women.

City government officials argue that the threats are part of the ‘Talibanisation’ of Karachi. ‘Ordinary people, mostly from the Pashto-speaking community, feel empowered by recent successes [such as the passage of the Nizam-i-Adl Regulation] in the northern areas and feel they have a license to approach Karachi’s public,’ says Naib Nazim Nasrin Jalil.

But there are many who are sceptical, pointing out that there is no clear indication that men who have approached women 

are affiliated with or sympathetic to Taliban militants. Irfan Bahadur, the district superintendent of Sohrab Goth, says that ‘militant-like’ activity has not been detected in the locality that many believe is housing Taliban foot soldiers who have come to Karachi seeking shelter. ‘Many rumours have been spread to cause fear and it’s difficult to keep track of what’s true and what’s not,’ he says.

Specifically with regard to the issue of women being targeted, Bahadur points out that gossip seems to be outnumbering the facts. Recently, it was rumoured that pamphlets had been distributed around Sohrab Goth, urging women to stay at home and keep covered. ‘I have not seen such a pamphlet,’ says Bahadur, ‘and no one has taken the effort to show it to me.’ Indeed, members of various women’s rights groups confirm that they have not seen the flier.

Off the record

Owing to women’s reluctance to make official complaints or go on-the-record with their experience in the media, the city government and law-enforcing agencies have no basis on which to investigate the matter further. The identity of the perpetrators remains shrouded in mystery, and too many women are fearing the worst – an urban reign of the Taliban.

To address this problem and help quantify the extent of female harassment in Karachi, women’s rights groups are launching campaigns against what they describe as the ‘tribalisation’ of Pakistani cities. ‘We are trying to make women realize that they are victims of a criminal act and that they must speak up and take legal action if approached,’ explains Dr Kausar Saeed Khan of the Karachi-based Women’s Action Forum (WAF).

Meanwhile, Shama Askari, a member of Tehrik-e-Niswan, is organising a group to petition the Sindh governor to set up a helpline where women can report cases in which they are threatened on account of their behaviour or attire. While such an initiative would be welcome, it will not prove effective until Karachi’s women are willing to speak out against the forces that might be trying to oppress them.

Courtesy: The Dawn, Pakistan.

Talibanisation & Musharraf. How Pakistan is changed as Terroristan.

May 6, 2009

The more they go against India, Pak will face more Terrorism – USA.

musharraf-608

The Taliban crisis is a direct result of Pervez Musharraf’s rule.

By Shehryar Mazari
Wednesday, 06 May, 2009 | 09:56 AM PST |

http://www.dawn.com

While most people rightly blame Ziaul Haq for the rise of religious extremism in Pakistan, Musharraf’s role in bringing about Talibanisation in the country has been greatly overlooked.

Three decades ago Zia Haq chose the Hezb-i-Islami leader, Gulbadin Hikmatyar, as his favoured successor to Soviet rule in Afghanistan. After Zia’s death, the security establishment disenchanted with Hikmatyar’s lack of success replaced him in 1994 with the recently discovered Taliban. The Taliban’s seizure of Kabul in 1996 provided a boost for Pakistan’s security establishment. It provided Pakistan a foothold in Afghanistan and much-desired strategic regional depth to counter India.

Following the 9/11 attack in the US by Al Qaeda which was being sheltered by the Taliban Musharraf was forced to disown the Taliban regime. However, within days he announced on TV ‘I have done everything for the … Taliban when the whole world was against them….We are trying our best to come out of this critical situation without any damage to Afghanistan and the Taliban.’

Shortly afterwards, when the Taliban were ousted by the US-led invasion, Musharraf allowed tens of thousands of Taliban to enter Pakistan’s tribal belt, believing that opposing them would sideline Pakistan from the regional power game in Afghanistan. What was not revealed then was that a large number of Al Qaeda militants had used this opportunity to stealthily move into Pakistan as well. However, fearing direct US intervention, Musharraf vocally denied their existence within Pakistan.

Perhaps he imagined that the extremists would remain quiescent in Pakistan’s mountainous borderlands, but this was not to be. The military dictator’s personal agenda soon came in the way: Having flouted the constitution by coup d’état, Musharraf, like previous military dictators, became desperate for legal protection. This legal cover could only be provided by a compliant parliament.

Misusing his powers as army chief, Musharraf used his agencies to ensure that the 2002 election was rigged in Sindh and Punjab against the PPP and PML-N. This led to a rise of a motley bunch of politicians under the façade of the PML-Q. However, real damage was done in the NWFP and Balochistan, where the security agencies ensured the success of the religio-political alliance of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal. As part of an understanding, Fazlur Rehman ensured that the MMA’s newly elected members of parliament united with the PML-Q to pass the 17th Amendment, legitimising all Musharraf’s unconstitutional acts.

Perceiving the two popular political parties — the PPP and PML-N — as a threat to his power, Musharraf became an inadvertent hostage to the MMA’s blackmailing. His backtracking in 2006 on repealing the Hudood Ordinances was just one example. The seats MMA ‘won’ in the National Assembly gave it serious clout in national affairs. Worse was that it also dominated the NWFP and Balochistan governments. The MMA government of NWFP moved quickly to impose a Taliban-like agenda. In a short space of time, the MMA produced a fertile environment for the spread of religious militancy throughout the NWFP and parts of Balochistan.

While the Taliban were perceived as essential to future Afghan policy, similar leniency was also applied to militant groups habitually infiltrating the Kashmir ceasefire line. The post-9/11 international crackdown on terrorism had given Musharraf much cause for worry. Initially he went on the offensive, proclaiming these militants valiant freedom fighters — in other words ‘good jihadists’ vs Al Qaeda, the ‘bad jihadists’.

However, the international pressure became too much to bear. Consequently, many of these groups were officially banned by Islamabad, and thus were forced to go underground and operate under different names. It became a game of smoke and mirrors. Every now and then a militant leader would be placed under house arrest and then released a few days later. Militant groups would be officially condemned on television while their workers continued to collect donations under different guises. While the Musharraf regime kept up appearances with the West, it felt impelled to maintain a working relationship with the MMA for its political survival. It also continued its linkages with the numerous politico-religious militant groupings in pursuit of its strategy for Afghanistan and India.

The MMA’s policy of providing succour to religious militancy, combined with Musharraf’s strategy of benign indifference, at best, towards the Taliban and Kashmiri militants, led to a perfect jihadi storm. Provided freedom, the militant groups gained momentum and developed linkages with each other and in some cases with Al Qaeda itself.

Soon the Taliban, with its new allies, spread its tentacles from Waziristan to the rest of Fata and later to Swat and beyond. Moreover, some of the militant groupings active in Kashmir had by now joined up with these transnational jihadist forces. Talibanisation had begun in earnest.

The Taliban crisis is a direct result of Musharraf’s legacy. For self-preservation he deliberately weakened the secular political structure, replacing it with a political environment which proved extremely conducive for religio-political militant groups that now threaten the existence of Jinnah’s Pakistan — ironically created as a refuge for the subcontinent’s Muslims.

It is time for a rethink. In this post-Musharraf scenario one can appreciate our security establishment’s preoccupation with external threats; that is their job after all. Nonetheless, why relentlessly pursue a policy to defend Pakistan externally which may, in itself, ultimately lead to the country’s destruction from within? Yes, hostility from neighbouring countries is a disturbing reality. But need we continue with a bungled policy which has led to destruction from within and failure without; Afghanistan remains a troubled dream and Kashmir a hopeless mirage.

It is time for an open discourse between parliamentary leaders and the security establishment to find a better solution to our problems. The protection of Pakistan’s river resources from encroachment is of vital importance; the survival of millions depends upon these rivers. However, this begs the question: if Pakistan disappears under the onslaught of religiosity, what use will all this water be? So, no matter how serious the water issue may be, it should, along with Kashmir, yield to a more pressing concern.
 
Obviously today’s most burning issue is the Talibanisation of large swathes of our country from where it appears to be spreading day by day, night by night. There is little point in berating the culprit. Recently in a foreign interview Musharraf offered his presidential services to save Pakistan from ‘self-destruction’. He is obviously delusional.

And the solution? All civil society can do is raise its voice as loudly as possible; the best the parliamentarians can do is pass sensible legislation; and the best the government can do is issue prudent instructions (which may or may not be obeyed). In the end, the answer can only lie with the army. Let us hope it now fulfills its primary responsibility to the people of Pakistan.

Foreign militants yearn for Pakistan’s training camps

 still-of-video-released-by white-star-lal-masjid-608 pp

By William Maclean
Wednesday, 06 May, 2009 | 02:30 PM PST |http://www.dawn.com

LONDON: Turbulent Pakistan has replaced Iraq as the place to go for militants bent on striking the West, but the threat of US attacks means al Qaeda recruits may spend more time out of sight in a classroom than on an assault course.

Long a favoured destination of British militants of Pakistani descent, Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas are now attracting Arabs and Europeans of Arab ancestry who three years ago would probably have gone to Iraq to fight US forces.

With the Iraq war apparently winding down, security sources say, the lure for these young men is to fight US forces in neighbouring Afghanistan or to gain the skills to carry out attacks back home in the Middle East, Africa or the West.

One consequence: Western armies in Afghanistan increasingly face the possibility of having to fight their own compatriots.

These foreign militants are likely to feature in Wednesday’s meetings between US President Barack Obama, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Obama wants to end the use of Pakistan’s tribal zones as a staging area for al Qaeda activities in support of the hardline Islamist Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as their role as a training ground for new attacks around the world.

Dennis Blair, Obama’s national intelligence director, said in February the primary threat from Europe-based extremists stemmed from members of al Qaeda and its affiliates ‘who returned from training in Pakistan to conduct attacks in the West.’

‘We remain concerned about an influx of Western recruits into the (Pakistani) tribal areas since mid-2006,’ he said.

Western officials estimate there are several hundred non-Afghan foreign militants training in the tribal areas at any one time. That is probably more than three years ago, although the foreigners are outnumbered by Pakistanis and Afghans undergoing similar training at the same, or similar, facilities.

Little detailed information is known in the West about the training operation, and analysts differ on whether the inflow of militants has risen or just held steady in recent months.

But the assumption among many Western officials is that US success in Iraq since 2006 has diverted some recruits for the anti-Western cause to the Pakistan-Afghan theatre.

Military training or adventure holiday?

US General David McKiernan told Reuters in October 2008 that intelligence had picked up the presence in Afghanistan of Chechens, Arabs, Uzbeks, Punjabis and even Europeans.

Some were old-time residents of neighbouring Pakistan’s rebellious border regions, but others were new arrivals.

Richard Barrett, coordinator of the US’s al Qaeda-Taliban monitoring team, said that the number of foreigners going for training in northwest Pakistan appeared to be rising, but might not exceed ‘a few hundred all told.’

‘Training over the last couple of years has typically taken place in small compounds which you find throughout the area of northwest Pakistan, rather than in large purpose-built camps,’ he said. ‘I have also heard of it taking place in apartments or houses in places like Karachi. It is hard to spot and quantify.’

Of Britons, Barrett said: ‘It seems that a fair proportion of the UK volunteers return home, which may reflect their attitude towards the training as only half-serious — an adventure holiday or bragging rights back home.’

‘But it is very hard to distinguish between the serious and the less serious, and of course to identify people who go with one intention and return with another.’

Western officials say the move to more discreet locations has been prompted by a series of missile attacks by US unmanned aircraft on suspected al Qaeda bases in recent months, which have killed about 350 people over the past year.

The content of training may also be changing, with as much or more emphasis on suicide bombing as on guerrilla war, curbing the need for assault course-style camps, some analysts say.

In Berlin, security analyst Berndt Georg Thamm said the flow of militants to Pakistan ‘has grown over the past few years.’

He cited German officials as saying that since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, about 140 people from Germany had gone to training camps in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. Some 60 to 80 of them had come back to Germany.

Raphael Perl, Head of the Action Against Terrorism Unit at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said risks remained even if trainees did nothing on returning home.

‘If I had to give a gut per centage, I’d say 60 per cent do nothing with the training. They just come home. But at some point they may be contacted to do a favour for somebody.’ — Reuters.

More than 40,000 flee in violence in Swat, Terrorism still overwhelms. Piont to point gunbattle in Buner & Lower Dir.

May 6, 2009

More than 40,000 flee as violence outbreaks  in Swat

flee_325

Hundreds have already fled the Swat Valley as fighting between army troops and Taliban militants has intensified.—AP/File

Wednesday, 06 May, 2009 | 12:16 PM PST |http://www.dawn.com

PESHAWAR: More than 40,000 civilians have fled deadly clashes in Pakistan’s Swat valley, officials said Wednesday.

Deadly clashes flared again overnight in Mingora, the main town in Swat, the one-time ski resort where local officials said armed Taliban have defied curfews and occupied government buildings, making a mockery of the peace deal.

Witnesses said ‘large numbers’ of residents fled in panic, although the military swiftly withdrew its evacuation order — saying the government was not ready to authorise an offensive.

‘We have now suspended this order and people are directed not to vacate their homes because the government has no immediate plan to launch an operation in these areas,’ said local military spokesman Major Nasir Khan.

The provincial government said it was scrambling to shelter up to 500,000 people they expect to flee Swat and local officials confirmed Wednesday that tens of thousands had streamed out of the district in less than 24 hours.

‘More than 40,000 have migrated from Mingora since Tuesday afternoon,’ said Khushhal Khan, the chief administration officer in Swat.

‘An exodus of more than 40,000 people is the minimum number — it should actually be more than 50,000,’ said an intelligence official.

Khan said a camp had been set up for the displaced in the nearby town of Dargai.

He said security forces could soon attack the militants and urged people to get out of harm’s way. But he later said the fear of fighting had passed and people could stay home, while the army said it was in control of the town.

Bedraggled men, veiled women and children piled onto pick-up trucks and led animals through streets in their haste to flee Swat, devastated by a nearly two-year Taliban insurgency to impose sharia.

‘I don’t want my unborn baby to have even the slightest idea what suicide attacks and bomb blasts are. That’s why I’m leaving Mingora with my husband,’ said a sobbing and heavily pregnant Bakht Zehra.

‘For God’s sake tell me where I can bring up my child where there are no suicide attacks,’ she cried.

‘Zehra and I had a love marriage. I don’t want to die. I want to live for my wife and my baby,’ said her 25-year-old husband, Adnan Ahmad, who had a mobile phone shop in Mingora and is studying for a degree in English literature.

‘We are leaving the area to save our lives,’ said Sayed Iqbal, a 35-year-old cloth merchant who was putting household goods in a pick-up already loaded with his elderly parents, wife and two children.

‘I’m taking my family to Peshawar because if there’s any fighting, no one can protect us,’ said Mohammad Karim, as he searched for a bus heading out of the valley to Peshawar.

Pakistan’s military has been pressing a fierce offensive in neighbouring districts of Swat, where armed militants advanced despite the February deal, raising expectations of a renewed operation in Swat itself.

Panic and confusion spread through Mingora on Tuesday after the military issued — but then swiftly withdrew — an evacuation order, and clashes between security forces and the militants broke out.

Khan said Taliban militants overnight seized control of several buildings and that four civilians were killed in the town — three in a mortar attack and one shot dead by security forces.

‘They are patrolling in the streets in Mingora and occupying many official buildings, including a police station and a commissioner’s office, which houses offices of top police and administration officials in Saidu Sharif,’ he said, adding that the militants were also laying mines.

Local police said Wednesday that the militants had vacated the buildings and dispersed into the mountains, similar to rugged terrain in neighbouring districts where they are fighting guerrilla-style against the military.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said the militants were in control of ‘90 per cent’ of the valley and said their actions were in response to army violations of the peace deal such as attacking insurgents and boosting troop numbers in the region.

He accused the government of acting under pressure from the US. ‘Everything will be OK once our rulers stop bowing before America,’ he told The Associated Press by phone, adding the peace deal had ‘been dead’ since the operation in Buner.

 

Security forces kill 64 militants in Swat, Buner

 

pak-army__ap608

 

Clashes in Swat killed 37 militants while at least 27 Taliban fighters were killed in the nearby Buner district. — AP

 

Wednesday, 06 May, 2009 | 05:51 PM PST |http://www.dawn.com

 

PESHAWAR: Sixty-four militants were killed on Wednesday in fighting in northwest Pakistan’s Buner and Swat districts, security forces said.

The army said 37 militants were killed in two clashes in Swat, where a peace deal aimed at ending Taliban violence has collapsed.

Officials claim Taliban militants placed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on some of the main roads to inflict casualties on people and to impede the security forces’ movement. At least two soldiers died when they hit an IED in Swat’s Bahrain area.

The militants also fired at various check posts of security forces in Kanju, Saidu Sharif, Matta and other areas of Swat, the military said.

At least 27 militants were also killed in the nearby Buner district, the Frontier Corps said in a statement.

Clashes in Swat erupted between security forces and militants on Wednesday near an emerald mine in Mingora held by the Taliban, leaving 37 militants and 35 civilians dead, official sources told DawnNews. Militants also set two private banks on fire after looting them, the sources said.

‘There were 35 militants killed in the area near the emerald mines,’ Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Athar Abbas told AFP.

‘It was a responsive action after militants attacked troops and government buildings,’ he added.

A major military offensive is likely to begin in Swat shortly with the army ready to push back militants. Gunship helicopters were already pounding militant hideouts in the district’s Mingora city, DawnNews reported.

Reinforcements have already been deployed in the valley, according to local citizens, prompting speculation that action is imminent.

Armed militants have come down from their hideouts into the cities and have occupied civilians’ houses and government buildings, military and local sources said.

On Tuesday, thousands of residents fled Swat following a government request to evacuate the area in preparation for a fresh offensive against Taliban militants.

‘More than 40,000 have migrated from Mingora since Tuesday afternoon,’ said Khushhal Khan, the chief administration officer in Swat.

The February peace deal lies in tatters, and militants have captured several important government buildings in Mingora, 80 miles northwest of Islamabad, and have taken up positions on rooftops, Reuters said.

DawnNews quoted residents as saying that the Taliban are stopping people from leaving the valley and intend to use them as human shields.

Reuters reported some residents of Mingora saying they faced dwindling supplies of food and were desperate to get out.

‘We are very scared. We want to go as soon as possible but can’t because of curfew,’ said grocery shop worker Gul Nazir.

‘We’re running out of food. We don’t know what to do.’

Operation in Buner kills another 27 militants

Pakistani artillery bombarded militant positions in Pir Baba and Sultanwas areas of Buner district, 60 miles northwest of Islamabad, on Wednesday, killing 27 militants and destroying eight vehicles, military sources and Frontier Corps were quoted as saying.

‘Today artillery engaged militant locations at Pir Baba Ziarat and Sultanwas areas. About 27 militants got killed and eight vehicles got destroyed,’ the Frontier Corps said in a statement.

Militants fired rockets at a girls’ school in Sultanwas which partially damaged the school building, the ISPR said.

On April 28, Pakistan launched an offensive in Buner to flush out advancing armed Taliban fighters.

More than 200 militants have been killed in the operation, official sources said. However, it has not been possible to confirm death tolls independently, as the terrain is remote and largely cut off.

Lower Dir

The operation against militants in Lower Dir is progressing smoothly, the military was quoted by DawnNews as saying.

Search and cordon operations continued Wednesday in various areas of Lower Dir.

Courtsey : The Dawn, Pakistan.

Troops, militants locked in intense Mingora gunbattle. Fresh Battle with Terrorism in Pakistan.

May 5, 2009

 Pakistan bajaur__reut316 mingorarally_150_1501

MINGORA: An intense gunbattle was ongoing between security forces and militants in Swat’s Mingora city, DawnNews reported.

Tuesday, 05 May, 2009 | 01:24 PM PST |www.dawn.com

Frightened residents fled suburban areas in Mingora on Tuesday, where the Taliban concentrated a two-year insurgency, after the army issued an evacuation order that ignited fears of an imminent new offensive, witnesses said.

The military ordered four neighbourhoods on the edge of Mingora to evacuate and announced a break in an indefinite curfew for the displaced to flee to a special camp as bullets rattled through parts of Mingora.

Local residents said ‘large numbers’ were leaving in panic, weighed down with whatever belongings they could carry on foot, waiting at bus stations or driving away in private cars, although the military withdrew the order.

‘We have now suspended this order and people are directed not to vacate their homes because the government has no immediate plan to launch an operation in these areas,’ said local military spokesman Major Nasir Khan.

A government official said five people died overnight in crossfire between militants and security forces in Swat.

Earlier on Tuesday the District Coordination Officer (DCO) of Swat asked Mingora residents to vacate the city as Taliban told the 46 besieged security men in the city to lay down their arms.

Curfew in Swat was relaxed from 01:30 p.m. till 07:00 p.m., the DCO said on Tuesday, adding that residents of Mingora city should immediately start leaving.

On Monday, the Taliban took control of the city of Mingora and reportedly laid siege to a place housing 46 security personnel.

‘This is a clear violation of the Swat peace agreement,’ an official who requested anonymity said. He said militants were patrolling the streets and holding positions at key points and on important buildings.
 
According to sources, militants on Monday attacked the headquarters of security forces located in the circuit house and a police station in Mingora, but attacks were repulsed.

Subsequently on Monday, the local administration imposed a curfew for an indefinite period after the attacks. Earlier, the curfew was in force from 07:00 p.m. to 06:00 a.m. Clashes between security forces and militants were reported from Shamozai, Matta and Bahrain.

However, no casualty was reported till late night. Police have confined their activities to police stations.

A group of armed Taliban stormed the Rahimabad police station in Mingora on Monday night and blew it up. Local people said policemen had vacated the station just before the attack.

Security forces have also established check posts and started searching vehicles in the area. Shops and markets in the main Mingora bazaar remained closed for the second day because of fear and tension.

According to a handout issued by the NWFP information department, the Taliban continued their activities despite the peace accord they had signed with the government.

Over the past 16 days, five people were killed and 21 kidnapped by the militants. Three incidents of blasts and several cases of car-snatching, looting and firing, erecting road blockades and armed patrolling by militants had been reported from different parts of the district, the handout said.

Militants blew up a government high school for boys in Tindodag area of Swat on Monday. It was the second government school blown up after the February 16 peace accord. On Sunday, a government high school for boys had been blown up in Nengolai.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the attack on a convoy in Swat on Monday in which one soldier was killed and three others suffered injuries.

He said the attack was a reaction to what he called movement of military forces to positions in violation of the February 16 peace deal. He said the Taliban would carry out such attacks if security forces continued their activities in the valley.

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

May 4, 2009

Taliban says Swat peace agreement ‘dissolved’

1241433671_world

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.

m_id_74770_pakistan_army

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.