Archive for May, 2011

American-Pakistani plotter of 26/11 Mumbai Mayhem remorses for the bloody attacks.

May 27, 2011

Mumbai plotter no longer proud of attacks: court

AFP | CHICAGO: An American-Pakistani who helped plot the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks came close Thursday to expressing remorse for the bloody strikes in which 166 people were killed and hundreds more wounded.

David Coleman Headley, who has admitted 12 terror charges arising out of the attacks on India’s financial capital, said during the Chicago trial of his friend, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, that he was no longer proud of the attacks.

Towards the end of nearly three hours of cross examination, defense attorney Patrick Blegen asked Headley: “You were proud of it (the attacks) then? Yes,” Headley replied.
“Are you still proud of it today?” Blegen asked.

“No,” Headley replied without a moment’s hesitation.

There was no explanation as to why he felt differently now, as the hearing then adjourned until Tuesday after a long holiday weekend in the United States.

Rana is accused of providing Headley with a cover and acting as a messenger, with prosecutors alleging he played a behind-the-scenes logistical role in both the 2008 Mumbai attacks and another abortive plan to strike Copenhagen.

Rana, a Canadian-Pakistani and Chicago businessman, has denied all charges, and his defense argues that he was duped by his friend, whom he had met in military school.

The Mumbai attacks left 166 people dead and more than 300 wounded after coordinated strikes on high-profile targets by 10 heavily armed Islamist extremists.

A twice convicted drug dealer, Headley formally admitted to the charges in March 2010 after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty or to allow him to be extradited to India, Pakistan or Denmark on related charges.

The Mumbai attacks stalled a fragile four-year peace process between India and Pakistan, two South Asian neighbors and nuclear-armed rivals, which was only resumed in February.

Revenge for Osama. Pak Naval Base attacked and sieged by Taliban. Freed after 17 hrs.

May 23, 2011

Pak wrests naval base after 17-hr Taliban siege

From : Times of India.

Wreckage of a P-3C Orion aircraft is seen at a major Pakistani naval air base following an attack by militants in Karachi on May 23, 2011. – AFP Photo/ASIF HASSAN

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s security forces regained control of Karachi’s Mehran naval base after a night-long firefight with Taliban militants on Monday, killing four assailants and losing at least 10 of their men in one of the most audacious sieges in that country, lasting 17 hours.

The attackers armed with grenades, rocket-launchers and automatic weapons, swore revenge of “martyrdom of Osama bin Laden” and stormed the base under cover of darkness using ladders and cutting the wire to get into the facility late on Sunday night. Once in, they scattered around the sprawling compound setting off explosions and destroying two US-made PC-3 Orion surveillance aircraft, each worth Rs 162 crore.

Two attackers were shot dead and one blew himself up. While two militants escaped, a third is believed to be lying, possibly dead, under the debris. Among the 17 foreigners at the spot, 11 Chinese aviation trainers were safely evacuated, said Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik.

The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack to avenge bin Laden’s death. “It was the revenge of martyrdom of Osama bin Laden. It was the proof that we are still united and powerful,” Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told Reuters from an undisclosed location.

The militants made full use of the darkness to keep the security forces engaged all night, hiding in the vast facility ringed with a concrete wall with about five feet of concertina wire on top. Pakistan navy spokesman Irfan-ul-Haq said the militants hid in and fired from an office building until Monday afternoon.

The assault was the worst on Pakistan’s military since a similar raid on Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi in 2009. Terrorists had stormed the headquarters close to Islamabad and held hostages for 22 hours. The attack on the facility raises fresh doubts about the military’s capability to protect its bases and further embarrasses Pakistan’s security establishment following the US raid to take out bin Laden from the northwestern town of Abbottabad on May 2.

Experts slammed the security lapse that led to the attack and feared that the attackers had insider support.

Journalist Nasim Zehra said, “The attack only highlighted the need for the government and military to accept that insiders were facilitating the terrorists.” She said it is impossible for these terrorists to have so much information about aircraft presence on the base without inside help.”

Interior minister Rehman Malik confirmed that six militants were involved in the attack.  Read details here… At least 11 died.

Islamist Militants Attack Pakistan Naval Base

From : Huffington Post.

Fire and smoke rises from a Pakistani naval aviation base, following an attack by militants in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil)

KARACHI, Pakistan — Islamist militants stormed a naval base in the Pakistani city of Karachi late Sunday, destroying a U.S.-supplied surveillance aircraft, firing rockets and battling commandos sent to subdue them in one of the most brazen attacks in years, officials said.

At least four navy personnel were killed and nine wounded in fighting at the Naval Station Mehran, said navy spokesman Irfan ul Haq. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack as fighting was still reportedly going on Monday morning, saying it was part of their revenge for the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

It was unclear how many militants were killed or wounded. But between 10 and 15 attackers entered the high-security facility before splitting into smaller groups, setting off explosions and hiding in the sprawling facility, Haq said.

“We are receiving fire from different directions,” said another spokesman, Salman Ali.

The coordinated strike rocked the country’s largest city just under three weeks after the May 2 death of bin Laden in a U.S. Navy SEALs raid in the northwest garrison city of Abbottabad, an event al-Qaida-allied extremists in Pakistan have vowed to avenge.

The unilateral American raid triggered a strong backlash against Washington, which is trying to support Pakistan in its fight against militants, as well as rare domestic criticism against the armed forces for failing to detect or prevent the operation. Read details here …. Revenge of Osama ?

To take revenge for Osama’s Death, Tehrik-e-Taliban took 80 life of Muslims.

May 13, 2011

Security officials inspect the site following a suicide and bomb attack outside the Frontier Constabulary (FC) headquarter in Shabqadar town, about 30 kilometres north of Peshawar. Pakistan's Taliban on May 13 claimed their first major strike in revenge for Osama bin Laden's death as more than 80 people were killed in a suicide and bomb attack on paramilitary police. –AFP Photo

Twin blasts kill more than 80 in Charsadda, Pakistan.

SHABQADAR: The Tehrik-e-Taliban on Friday claimed their first major strike in revenge for Osama bin Laden’s death as more than 80 people were killed and at least 115 were wounded in a suicide and bomb attack on FC personnel.

“This was the first revenge for Osama’s martyrdom. Wait for bigger attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

It was the deadliest attack in the nuclear-armed country this year and came with Pakistan’s military and civilian leadership plunged into crisis over the killing of the al Qaeda chief by US commandos on May 2.

The explosions detonated in the Shabqadar Tehsil of Charsadda, as newly trained FC cadets were getting into buses and coaches for a 10-day leave after a training course, and they were wearing civilian clothes, police said.

Shabqadar is about 30 kilometres north of Peshawar, the main city in the northwest region where militants linked to the Taliban and al Qaeda have repeatedly attacked government forces.

Ahmad Ali, a wounded paramilitary policeman, recalled the horror when the explosions turned a festive Friday morning into a bloodbath.

“I was sitting in a van waiting for my colleagues. We were in plain clothes and we were happy we were going to see our families,” he told AFP by telephone from Shabqadar hospital.

“I heard someone shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ and then I heard a huge blast. I was hit by something in my back shoulder. In the meantime I heard another blast and I jumped out of the van. I felt that I was injured and bleeding.”

Police officials confirmed that more than 80 people had been killed, making it the deadliest attack in Pakistan since November 5 when a suicide bomber killed 68 people at a mosque in the northwest area of Darra Adam Khel.

“The suicide bomber came on a motorcycle and blew himself up among the FC personnel. The bomb disposal squad told me the second bomb was planted,” said the police chief of the Charsadda district, Nisar Khan Marwat.

He said that around 20 shops and 12 vehicles were destroyed in the intensity of the blasts and put the death toll at more than 80.

“Most of those killed are FC cadets. Five dead bodies of civilians were taken to the Shabqadar hospital,” he added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Pakistani Taliban last week threatened to attack security forces to avenge bin Laden’s killing in a US helicopter raid in Abbottabad.

There has been little public protest in support of bin Laden in a country where more people have been killed in bomb attacks in the past four years than the nearly 3,000 who died in al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001 attacks.

But under growing domestic pressure to punish Washington for the bin Laden raid, Pakistan’s civilian government said Thursday it would review counter-terrorism cooperation with the United States.

It was unclear if the move was intended as a threat, but it showed the extent of the task facing US Senator John Kerry as he prepares to embark on a mission to shore up badly strained ties with Washington’s fractious ally.

Washington did not inform Islamabad that an elite team of Navy SEALs had helicoptered into the garrison town of Abbottabad until the commandos had cleared Pakistani airspace, carrying with them bin Laden’s corpse.

The covert night-time raid has plunged Pakistani politics into turmoil with both President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani facing calls to resign.

Pakistanis have been outraged at the perceived impunity of the US raid, while asking whether their military was too incompetent to know bin Laden was living close to a major forces academy, or, worse, conspired to protect him.

Gilani chaired a defence committee meeting that decided “to institute an inter-agency process to clearly define the parameters of our cooperation with the US in counter-terrorism”, an official statement said.

Washington is pressing Islamabad to investigate how bin Laden and several wives and children managed to live for five years under the noses of its military in Abbottabad, just 40 miles north of Islamabad.

Courtesy : Dawn | AFP.

Four top Pakistani terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) further accused in 26/11 Mumbai Mayhem.

May 13, 2011

US charges 4 Pakistani terrorists in 26/11 Mumbai attack

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS – Tue, Apr 26, 2011 | Late Post

Chicago, April 26 (IANS) US federal prosecutors have added four top Pakistani terrorists tied to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as accused in the case against Pakistani-Canadian LeT operative Tahawwur Rana for helping to plot the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

The four identified as Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal and ‘Major Iqbal’ were charged Monday in US District Court in Chicago, though none of them is in US custody. All four are charged with one count of conspiracy to murder and maim in India, while Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal additionally are charged with conspiracy to bomb public places in India.

They also face six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India, which carry maximum sentences of death or life imprisonment.

The revised indictment comes three weeks before the scheduled May 16 trial of Rana, a Canadian citizen who is accused of using his First World Immigration Services business to provide cover to Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, to scout targets for the Mumbai attack.

Headley, the son of an American mother and Pakistani father, pleaded guilty in March 2010 to 12 criminal counts including aiding and abetting the murder of Americans in Mumbai and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution in a plea deal to escape the death penalty.

Mir, also known as ‘Wasi,’ aka ‘Ibrahim,’ and ‘Sajid Majeed’, who reportedly joined the Pakistan based terror outfit LeT at age 16, allegedly worked as Headley’s handler for two years.

The new indictment says that ‘during the course of attacks in Mumbai, the attackers were in telephonic contact with defendants Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal, all of whom were then located in Pakistan.’

‘More specifically, during the course of the attacks, the attackers were advised to, among other actions, kill hostages, set fires and throw grenades,’ the indictment said.

‘Sajid Mir also sought to arrange the release of a hostage in exchange for the release of a captured attacker.’

It also accused Mir of working with Headley to plan a terrorist attack on a Danish newspaper, which in 2005 published cartoons of Prophet Mohammed touching off

There is also a warrant for Mir’s arrest in India. During the Mumbai attack, Indian police intercepted phone calls between Mir and his terror teams in Mumbai.

Terrorist group Harakat ul Jihad al Islami leader Ilyas Kashmiri and retired Pakistani military man Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed also were charged in a previous indictment but their whereabouts are unknown.

Rana faces life imprisonment if convicted on the charges he provided material support to the Mumbai attackers.

Courtesy : IANS | AFP .

Osama bin Laden breathed last on Pakistan soil.

May 2, 2011

Full text of Obama’s speech confirming bin Laden’s death

Yahoo! India News – Mon, May 2, 2011 10:49 AM IST

Washington D C || 1st May, 2011 : Good evening. Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history.The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. Hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky, the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground, black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon, the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction. 

And yet, we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world, the empty seat at the dinner table, children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father, parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. 

On September 11th, 2001 in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. 

On that day, no matter where we came from, what god we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family. 

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda, an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocence in our country and around the globe. 

And so we went to war against al Qaeda, to protect our citizens, our friends and our allies. 

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. 

In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. 
And around the globe, we’ve worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot. 

Yet, Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world. And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network. 

Then last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. 

It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. 

I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan. 

And finally last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. 

Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. 

After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body. 

For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.

 Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad. As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. 

I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam, because bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. 

So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity. 

Over the years, I have repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people. 

Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates. 

The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. 

After nearly 10 years of service, struggle and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander-in-chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded. 

So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet, as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. 

And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done. 

Tonight we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work or know their names, but tonight they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice. 

We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they’re a part of the generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day. 

Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores. 

And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people. The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens, our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

Let us remember that we can do these things, not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. 

Thank you. May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.