Archive for the ‘Civil War in Pakistan’ Category

No Sign Of Peace in Pakistan

September 28, 2009


Security forces secure the site after a suicide bomb blast in Peshawar on September 26, 2009. — AFP

Death toll rises to 27 in Peshawar, Bannu attacks

| Sun, 27 Sep, 2009 | Shawwal 07, 1430|

PESHAWAR: The death from two suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan rose to 27 on Sunday.

A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden truck into a police station in the town of Bannu, the gateway to the North Waziristan militant region on the Afghan border, early on Saturday.

Hours later, another attacker blew up a car in the centre of Peshawar, the main city in the northwest.

Pakistani Taliban militants claimed responsibility for both blasts and vowed more.

Authorities initially said 16 people had been killed in all, but the toll rose to 27 on Sunday with the discovery of more bodies in the debris of the Bannu police station and the death of some wounded, police said.

Pakistani forces made significant gains against the militants in an offensive launched in the Swat valley, northwest of Islamabad, in late April.

The offensive helped allay international fears about the stability of the US ally after militants made advances towards the capital, Islamabad.

Pakistani officials said the Taliban were in disarray and racked by infighting after the killing of their chief, Baitullah Mehsud, in a missile strike by a pilotless US aircraft in early August.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the back of the Pakistani Taliban had been broken but the Saturday blasts appeared to have dispelled such optimism.

‘Anybody who thought that the Taliban were close to defeat or on the run had better think again,’ the News newspaper said in an editorial.

It is not just Pakistani Taliban factions that the government has to contend with but also Afghan Taliban factions operating out of its lawless northwest and creating havoc across the border in Afghanistan.

‘N O       C H O I C E’

General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, said in an assessment leaked to the media last week the Afghan insurgency was supported from Pakistan and Afghanistan needed Pakistani action.

Security analyst Mahmood Shah, a retired brigadier and former security chief in the ethnic Pashtun lands along the Afghan border, said the militants had demonstrated they can strike back.

‘They were in disarray but it appears they’ve organised themselves and they’re in a position to strike back,’ he said.

Shah said al-Qaeda could have organised the latest attacks, hoping to keep the security forces on the back foot and buy time for their Pakistani Taliban allies.

The attacks are also likely to increase calls for the army to go into the Pakistani Taliban’s South Waziristan stronghold on the Afghan border where thousands of militants are based.

The government in May ordered the military to go on the offensive in South Waziristan. Since then, regular air strikes have been launched but no ground assault has been carried out.

A senior army commander said in August it would take months to prepare for a ground offensive in South Waziristan, partly because the army lacked equipment including helicopters and night-vision equipment.

Top Baloch leader’s killing sparks riots in Pakistan

September 2, 2009

shaheed-rasool-bakhsh-mengal2 shaheed-rasool-bakhsh-mengal shaheed-rasool-bakhsh-mengal1

Balochistan reels under violence

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: A leading Baloch nationalist leader was found dead more than a week after he was abducted by armed men, triggering violent protests in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province that claimed at least two lives.

The body of Balochistan National Movement leader Rasool Baksh Mengal, which was found hanging from a tree in Lasbela district of Balochistan on Monday, bore marks of torture, reports said.

FROM QUETTA – A shutter down strike and wheel-jam was observed on Tuesday in different parts of Balochistan while angry rioters took out rallies and protested against the killing of Baloch National Movement (BNM) Central Joint Secretary Rasool Bakhsh Mengal.
The protesters torched three banks, Judicial Magistrate House, 4 vehicles, SHO’s house and ransacked offices of Qazi Court, telephone exchange in different towns of Balochistan. Over 15 women including five children were wounded due to baton-charge and tear gas shelling.protest
Rasool Bakhsh went missing on August 23 from Uthal area of Lasbela district and his body was found by police on August 31 from Bela area of the same district.
The call for the strike was given by the Baloch National Front which was also supported by all other Baloch nationalist parties.
In Quetta, main trading centers and shopping plazas remained opened and a partial wheel-jam strike was observed. However, business activities remained standstill in Baloch populated areas.
The attendance in the offices was also remained thin while educational institutes remained completely closed.
The administration had taken strict security steps to avert any untoward incident and mobile squads of police, Frontier Corps and Balochistan Constabulary continued patrolling the City.
Wheel jam strike also paralysed traffic on national highways linking Quetta with Taftan and Karachi.Unknown persons set a truck on fire and pelted vehicles with stones in different parts of Quetta while the activists of nationalist parties tied black ribbons on their arms to mourn the murder of BNM leader.
An explosive device planted outside a marriage hall at Spini Road went off with a huge bang smashing windowpanes of the building and caused damage to a electricity transformer. However, no loss of life was reported in the blast.

Mengal, a well-known human rights activist, was abducted by unidentified men on August 23. Mengal’s son had accused intelligence agencies of abducting him.

Two persons of Punjabi-origin were killed as violence broke out in various Baloch-dominated districts last evening after Mengal’s body was found. Protesters set fire to banks and government offices in Maskhy area.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Tuesday accused intelligence agencies of being behind the murder and abduction of Mengal.

Fighting between Muslims and Islamic Blasts of Peace make Pakistan into pieces.

August 18, 2009

Suicide attack kills three security men in Miramshah


‘The bomber struck his car into the security post, which exploded after the impact,’ the official said. —Reuters/File photo
MIRAMSHAH: A suicide bomber rammed an explosive-filled car into a checkpoint in North Waziristan on Tuesday, killing three security personnel, officials said.

The attack took place outside Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan.

‘Three security personnel, one from the army, one paramilitary and a tribal policeman, were killed and three others were injured in the suicide bombing at Isha checkpost,’ a security official told AFP.

Another security official and intelligence officials based in the area confirmed the incident.

‘The bomber struck his car into the security post, which exploded after the impact,’ the official said.

Hundreds of militants are believed to have fled Afghanistan into Pakistan’s tribal areas to carve out safe havens after the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime in Kabul in late 2001.

The region neighbours South Waziristan, the hub of Pakistan’s chief Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud, who is believed to have been killed in a US drone attack earlier this month.

17 Taliban killed in factional fighting

By Our Correspondent
Monday, 17 Aug, 2009 | 07:21 AM PST

WANA, Aug 16: At least 17 supporters of militant commander Maulvi Nazir were gunned down on Sunday allegedly by followers of Baitullah Mehsud in a South Waziristan area under the control of the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.

Azam Tariq, spokesman for the TTP, however, said his group had nothing to do with the incident.

Some local sources said the attack could have been the work of Uzbek militants.

The Nazir group had expelled Uzbek militants from the Ahmadzai Wazir area in 2007 after fierce clashes and Baitullah had provided them shelter.

The sources said men of the Nazir group were going from North Waziristan to Wana via Kanigoram in two vehicles when they came under attack.

Local people found 14 bodies, including that of Miruddin, a close associate of Maulvi Nazir. Eight bodies were taken to Shakai valley and six to Wana.

(Nazir group’s spokesman Shaheen Wazir told Reuters that the attackers “were hiding behind rocks and as soon as our people reached there they opened fire. It was so sudden and quick that none of our men fired back.”An intelligence officer said the attackers also fired rocket-propelled grenades at the pick-up trucks carrying the Wazir fighters.

A resident saw militants carrying some of the bodies to Wana after the attack.)

AIR STRIKE: According to sources, 12 bodies were found in a private hospital in Makeen area of South Waziristan after a bombing on Saturday night.

Officials said planes had struck a suspected hideout in the militants’ stronghold.

Local people said the Jan Alam Hospital in Makeen bazaar was run by militants and wounded people were under treatment there.

They said eight bodies had been retrieved on Saturday and four on Sunday morning. The hospital was destroyed.

Taliban bomb kills seven in Shabqadar

By Our Correspondent
Tuesday, 18 Aug, 2009 | 02:53 AM PST

CHARSADDA, Aug 17: At least Ten people were killed and Fifteen others injured when a bomb placed in a vehicle exploded at a filling station in the Shabqadar area, about 25 kilometres northeast of Peshawar, on Monday.

Police said the time-bomb went off when the driver parked the vehicle for fuelling before leaving for Anbar in the Mohmand tribal region. The driver, two children and three women were killed and a passer-by, who was seriously injured died on way to hospital.

The bomb were hidden inside a carton of medicines.

DPO Mohammad Raiz told Dawn that the carton of ‘medicines’ had been given to the driver by a man who wanted it to be handed over to a person in the Anbar bazaar.

Local Taliban claimed responsibility for the bomb attack. Qari Shakeel called newsmen in Charsadda and said that the explosion was a warning for the people of Anbar who had raised an anti-Taliban Lashkar. He warned that more attacks would follow if the Lashkar was not disbanded.

(According to AP, the Taliban also claimed responsibility for two weekend suicide bombings in the Swat valley, saying the blasts were a message to a visiting US envoy that the militants remained strong despite Pakistan army’s recent gains there.

A Swat Taliban spokesman called AP to say the militants timed the attacks to coincide with the visit by Richard Holbrooke, who has been tasked with pressing the Pakistani government to launch a crackdown on extremists.

The bombings were “a gift to Holbrooke,” Muslim Khan said. “The Taliban cannot be eliminated.”

He claimed that the bombings, in which a number of troops were killed, were aimed at avenging the alleged deaths of militants in army’s custody.

Lt-Col Akhtar Abbas, an army commander in Swat, denied the army was killing militants in custody and speculated that the Taliban remnants were likely slaying wounded comrades rather than leave them behind to be captured and give up information to government forces.)

Police have registered an FIR against Qari Shakeel and another Taliban leader, Adnan alias Usman, for the Shabqadar blast.

Those killed by the blast included driver Zahid, Taj Mohammad, Nisar, the wife of Matli Khan and the wife of Mohammad Sadiq.

Sources: The Dawn :: The International News :: Other Sources.

Heavy Fight between Pak Military and Taliban Militants. Tribal People made Resistance against Talibans.

June 17, 2009

Clashes kill 28 Taliban in Upper Dir, Swat


Tribesman in Upper Dir formed a tribal lashkar in response to the bombing of a mosque in the area. — Reuters (File Photo)

Wednesday, 17 Jun, 2009 | 04:25 PM PST |

ISLAMABAD: Tribesman seeking to avenge a deadly mosque bombing killed six Taliban, while 22 suspected militants died in an ongoing military offensive, the army and police said.

Pakistan’s security forces are locked in a seven-week battle to expel militants from three northwest districts, a push informally joined by thousands of local tribesman in Upper Dir district this month.

As many as 3,000 villagers took up arms in early June, forming a militia — known locally as a lashkar — after 38 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a mosque in the district, which was blamed on the Taliban.

‘According to information we received, the tribal lashkar have killed six Taliban and destroyed their hideouts,’ Ijaz Ahmad, district police chief in Upper Dir, told AFP by telephone.

‘Some 3,000 armed tribesmen calling themselves tribal lashkar have launched an operation in the area. A total of 25 militants have been killed so far while some 12 to 13 were wounded in the tribal offensive,’ he added.

Local residents said about 20 militant hideouts have been destroyed and dozens of houses demolished during the ten-day revenge campaign, with Taliban fighters currently surrounded on a mountaintop in the Ghazigai area.

The government has in the past encouraged the formation of lashkar to help the official armed forces in their fight against militants, and say they want to build up and arm such community forces in the northwest.

The military launched its northwest push after the Taliban advanced to within 100 kilometres of Islamabad in early April, violating a deal to put three million people under sharia law in exchange for peace.

In a statement Wednesday, the army said they had killed 20 suspected militants in the last 24 hours in Lower Dir, while two more — including a militant commander — were killed in Swat district.

‘Elders of the area have decided and volunteered to organise defence committees for guarding against resurgence of terrorists,’ it said.

Pakistan’s army claims to have killed about 1,475 insurgents since the campaign began, however their tolls are impossible to verify independently.

The offensive enjoys broad popular support among Pakistanis exasperated by worsening Taliban-linked attacks, which have killed more than 1,995 people since July 2007.


Pak Press showing less casualties in Army-Terrorist Encounters ?

June 2, 2009

45 Taliban militants, 4 soldiers killed in Pak tribal belt


45 Taliban millitants killed in an encounter with the army in tribal belt.

Agencies ||

Posted: Sunday , May 31, 2009 at 1539 hrs IST

 Islamabad :: At least 45 Taliban fighters and four security personnel were killed when Pakistani troops repelled an overnight attack by militants on a paramilitary camp in the troubled South Waziristan tribal region, officials said on Sunday.

The attack on the security forces’ camp near the border with Afghanistan sparked a gun battle that lasted for eight hours, officials were quoted as saying by television news channels. The officials said 45 militants and four security personnel were killed in the skirmish. However, Geo News channel has put the number of militants killed at 50. Security forces have also started an offensive in different areas of Spinkai Raghzai, Officials in the political administration of South Waziristan Agency said.

The offensive was launched following several attacks on the security forces. The Taliban have stepped up their activities in South Waziristan, a stronghold of militant commander Baitullah Mehsud, following operations against them in Buner, Dir and Swat districts of the North West Frontier Province 

The Pakistan Army has claimed it has killed hundreds of militants in Malakand division, which includes Swat, and captured Mingora, the main city in the region.

Meanwhile, security forces arrested six militants associated with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan from an area near Landi Kotal in Khyber Agency and recovered a large number of arms from them. The militants were arrested during a search operation. Three assault rifles, an anti-aircraft gun, two rockets, wireless equipment and mobile phone sets were seized from them.

Pak Army takes over Mingora, 25 millitants killed in clash

Sunday, 31 May, 2009 | 04:47 AM PST |

ISLAMABAD, May 30: The army claimed on Saturday that security forces had regained control of Mingora, the main city of Swat and stronghold of the Taliban, destroyed a number of terrorist training centres and killed some important militant commanders.

Military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas told a briefing that troops were expecting stiff resistance in Mingora, but militants started fleeing after having been besieged. Security forces also secured Nawagai and Najigram.

He said it was a big success because Mingora has two strategic heights — Saidu and Kamber — and links the region with Malakand, Buner and Shangla.

He said a large quantity of arms and ammunition had been seized in Nawagai. “The people of Mingora have started identifying militants who are trying to pose as innocent citizens.”

Maj-Gen Abbas said 25 militants, including commanders Abu Saeed Misbah-ud-Din and Sultan Khan, had been killed and three others arrested.

One soldier lost his life and four others, including one civilian driver, were injured.

Training centres of commanders Lal Din, Said Jalil and Mian Said Liaq in Peochar were destroyed. A training base of Maulana Fazlullah, the Taliban chieftain in Swat, was also destroyed.

The military spokesman said that troops had started operation in Kalam and Gulibagh and cleared an area up to Kedam, three kilometres north of Bahrain.

A soldier and a civilian driver were killed and two soldiers injured when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near Chamtalai. Militant commander Sultan Khan was killed when militants attacked security forces in Drushkhela and Asharai areas.

Maj-Gen Abbas said six militants were killed during a search operation in Kamber Bazaar area of Lower Dir. Ten militants were killed in Kulal Dheri. Three Afghan nationals were arrested in Wari Bazaar area of Upper Dir.

In Buner, miscreants on a car fired at a checkpost near Sultanwas. Troops returned fire, killing six militants.

Commanders Abu Saeed and Misbah-ud-Din were killed during a raid in an area near Sultanwas.

In reply to a question, Maj-Gen Abbas said that so far 1,217 militants had been killed and 79, including foreign nationals, apprehended.

He said that a number of low-ranking militant commanders had lost their lives and the security forces were on the hunt for the linchpins.

The ISPR chief said there were unconfirmed reports about the killing of top Taliban leaders, but it would be shared with the media only after authentic verification. He said that weapons found in militants’ hideouts were of American, Russian and Indian make.

RELIEF WORK: The military spokesman said that a team of 21 doctors carrying adequate medicines had reached Mingora to make the civil hospital functional. Gas supply to Mingora has been restored and a number of mobile generators have been provided to run water pumping stations.

He said that work on damaged electricity polls and transformers in Mingora had started and power supply would be restored in two weeks.

Twenty-five tons of ration had been sent to Khawazakhela for distribution among 40,000 stranded people there.

Information Minister Qamaruz Zaman Kaira told the briefing that the number of internally displaced persons had reached three million, adding that Nadra had data of 283,000 families.

He said the data would be handed over to the Special Support Group on Monday to enable it to start the process of distributing a one-time cash grant of Rs25,000 among the IDPs.

He said the government was committed to providing maximum facilities to the IDPs and on the directive of President Asif Ali Zardari thousands of desert coolers were being procured for IDP camps.

It is the harder time for Pakistan to fight against its own Terrorists than India.

May 24, 2009

Pakistan army ‘in Taliban city’

Page last updated at 13:48 GMT, Saturday, 23 May 2009 14:48 UK
Pakistan army ‘in Taliban city’
 _45813270_mingora_ap203bodyHundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the fighting in the north-east

Fierce fighting is taking place between Pakistani troops and Taliban militants in Mingora, the main city in the militant-controlled Swat Valley.

At least 17 militants have been killed in the clashes, the army says. The Taliban deny the deaths.

The push into Mingora is seen as a key phase of an offensive aimed at crushing the militants, whose influence extends across a wide area of the north-west.

The fighting began after a peace deal broke down earlier this month.

See a map of the region

“Street fights have begun,” Maj Gen Athar Abbas told reporters.

“It is a difficult operation because we have to make a house-to-house search. We have cleared some of the area in the city.”

The military says the city is surrounded, most of the militants’ ammunition dumps are destroyed and their supply routes cut off.

The BBC’s Shoaib Hassan, in Islamabad, says it is the most important battle yet in the army’s offensive against the Taliban in Swat.

A swift victory would bolster public support for a greater fight against the militants, our correspondent adds.


A Taliban spokesman confirmed that the military had entered Mingora, but denied that any militants had been killed.

 _45813805_007369373-2The army says it has cut off the militants’ supply routes

The spokesman also said the Taliban would fight the security forces to their last breath.

Residents say the militants are still in control of the city.

Nearly 1.5 million people have been displaced by this month’s fighting in the north-western region, and about two million since last August, the United Nations refugee agency says.

On Friday, the UN appealed for $543m in humanitarian aid to help those displaced by the conflict.

Pakistan’s army began an offensive against the Taliban on 2 May after the peace deal broke down and the militants began expanding their area of influence.

A recent investigation by the BBC suggested that less than half of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which contains Swat Valley, and the neighbouring Federally Administered Tribal Areas is under full government control.

In Swat, the army says that about 15,000 members of the security forces are fighting between 4,000 and 5,000 militants.

It says more than 1,000 militants and more than 50 soldiers have been killed since the offensive began.




Conflict map

BBC mapshows Taliban extending control in north-west
Tide turns against Taliban

Journey to ‘war zone’

Sea of humanity

Struggling for survival in Swat

Hotspot confusion

Plight of Pakistan’s displaced

Shaky Sharia deal

Hunt for culprits of cricket attack


Q&A: Pakistan’s Swat offensive

Q&A: Pakistan’s political instability

Clouded details of Pakistan deal

Mapping the militant nexus

Q&A: Kashmir dispute

Courtesy: BBC World News



The blessings of Talibani Islam in Pak Swat Valley

May 18, 2009


The United Nation refugee agency estimates that up to 200,000 people fled Swat in recent days, but forecast a further exodus of nearly 300,000 more.











Pics. courtsey : Md. Sajjad/AP, Adrees Latif/Reuters, Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images & Others.

Whether Killing Millitants is sufficient for up-rooting the Jehadi Militancy in Pakistan?

May 17, 2009


More than 1,000 militants killed in operation: Malik


Pakistani soldiers stand guard on road at Gulabad, in the troubled Malakand agency, on May 16, 2009. – AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government urged on Sunday people stranded in Swat to flee whenever they get a chance, as security forces battled Taliban militants in one of their strongholds in the valley. More than 1,000 militants had been killed in the offensive in Swat, Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik told reporters. There was no independent confirmation of the toll. The military has reported a similar toll for the militants and has said 48 soldiers have been killed. The offensive in the one-time tourist valley, 130 km northwest of Islamabad, has also forced at least 1.17 million people from their homes, the UN refugee agency said. It has urged the world to respond ‘massively’ to the humanitarian crisis. The Taliban hold Mingora, Swat’s main town, and many civilians are believed to be still there. ‘I appeal to the people of Mingora and other parts which are under aggression, as soon as they get an opportunity, the curfew is relaxed, they should come out,’ Malik said. Malik also said the security forces were hunting for the leaders of the Taliban in Swat. ‘Those leaders, those commanders, who are controlling the Taliban, obviously we’re going to hit them. We’re not going to spare them,’ he said. ‘You’ll hear good news soon.’ About 15,000 members of the security forces are fighting between 4,000 and 5,000 militants in Swat, the military says. The military says it has inflicted no civilian casualties as soldiers have been attacking militants in the mountains, not in built-up areas where there are civilians. But it has said it will go after the Taliban in Mingora and other towns. Military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said security forces had moved into the town of Matta, where the Taliban leader in the valley, Fazlullah, was believed to be hiding. Abbas said he had no details of the fighting in Matta. Swat residents said some civilians were still in the town. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said on Saturday the flood of people who have poured out of Swat was one of the most dramatic displacement crises in the world in recent times. The United Nations has registered 1.17 million people, though many are believed not to have bothered to register. They are joining about 565,000 displaced by earlier fighting in the northwest. Malik, while urging people to flee from Swat’s main town, said displaced people could return to some other areas in the valley that troops had cleared. The military offensive against Taliban fighters in the northwest Pakistan has killed more than 1,000 militants, a top official said on Sunday after visiting a relief camp hosting thousands of people displaced by the battle. Malik told a news conference in Mardan that a few pockets of resistance remain in Swat, urging internally displaced people to return home in areas up to Khawaza-khela. He said the security forces have also brought Buner and Lower Dir district under control and will try to complete the operation as soon as possible. He said that talks are possible if the Taliban lay down arms but their commanders will not be spared. The military has warned that some militants are trying to flee as well, some after shaving off their beards to blend in with the refugees.

47 Taliban killed: Foreigners fighting alongside Taliban in Malakand: ISPR

By Irfan Ghauri ||

ISLAMABAD: Claiming significant achievements in the ongoing military operation against Taliban in Malakand division, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Saturday confirmed the presence of hardcore foreign militants fighting alongside the Taliban against security forces.

ISPR spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas told reporters during the daily press briefing that 47 terrorists had been killed in various areas during the last 24 hours. Maj Gen Abbas said some ‘key’ foreign intelligence agencies were also involved in the insurgency.

He said there were around 4,000 fighters in Swat, at least 10 percent of whom were not locals.

Blast targets cyber cafe in NWFP capital, 11 killed


Posted: Saturday , May 16, 2009 at 1830 hrs IST ||


A powerful bomb targeting a cyber cafe in a busy commercial area of Peshawar in NWFP went off on Saturday, killing at least 11 people, including four children and two women, and injuring 32 others.

A high intensity explosive device hidden in a car parked in the old quarters of the northwestern city exploded when the area was crowded with people. A school bus carrying 15 children was among a dozen vehicles hit by the blast.

Police officials said a cyber cafe was the target of the blast as its owner had received a letter from pro-Taliban militants warning him to close down the establishment. The car, which was packed with about 40 to 50 kg of explosives, was parked outside the cyber cafe at the time of the blast.

Local residents said the owner of the cyber cafe had not taken the letter seriously.

No group claimed responsibility for the blast, which caused panic in the city. The blast also triggered a fire that destroyed many cars and shops.

Pro-Taliban militants have threatened to carry out suicide attacks in retaliation of the ongoing army operations in Swat and Buner and the drone attacks in the tribal areas.

Three persons were arrested immediately after the blast and taken by police to an undisclosed location for questioning.

It is not the time to protest US or INDIA. We have to be united in this Civil War of Pakistan and against Talibanization of Afghanistan. Talibans should be up-rooted both from Pak And Afghan. We too bleed for the innocent Civilians. But must defeat the Taliban Terrorism against Humanity.

May 10, 2009

Hundreds protest Afghan civilian killings 



Kabul: Posted: Sunday , May 10, 2009 in Indian Express

About 1,000 students marched in the Afghan capital today to protest against the alleged killing of scores of civilians in US air strikes. Chanting “Death to America,” “Death to the biggest terrorist” and “long live Islam,” they held banners reading “The blood of the Farah martyrs will never dry” and “USA is the world’s biggest terrorist,” a photographer said.

 Another banner demanded that “the murderers of more than 180 martyrs of Farah” go on trial, said the photographer, who estimated crowd numbered up to 1,000. The toll from air strikes and ground fighting with Taliban in Farah province’s Bala Buluk district nearly a week ago is disputed.

President Hamid Karzai has said that 125-130 civilians, including children and women, were killed in the strikes alone. Other Afghan officials have issued differing tolls, one as high as 167.

The US military acknowledges that “a number” died in the incident but says it is not clear if they died in the air strikes or ground battles. There is also evidence the Taliban may have killed some people themselves, it said in a statement on Saturday.

 The Afghan tolls would make the Farah incident one of the deadliest for civilians in foreign military strikes since the US-led led the 2001 invasion that ousted the hardline Taliban regime.

Fighting flares in northwest Pak, 230 Taliban killed



Posted: Sunday , May 10, 2009 in Indian Express 

Islamabad: Over 230 Taliban were killed in fierce fighting with troops in Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt, the military said on Sunday, as President Asif Ali Zardari asserted that his government was determined to eliminate all terrorists holed up in the restive Swat valley.

Amid intensification in the military offensive, thousands of terrified civilians fled the scenic valley after relaxation of curfew, even as the authorities voiced fears that over a million people could be displaced due to fighting.

About 60 Taliban were killed when troops targeted militant positions in Swat, including the rebel strongholds of Peochar and Fizaghat, the military said in a statement.

About 60 Taliban were killed when troops targeted militant positions in Swat, including the rebel strongholds of Peochar and Fizaghat, the military said in a statement. 

Another 150 militants were killed when security forces destroyed a Taliban training camp at Banai Baba in Shangla district. Bodies and weapons were found in the area, the statement said. Five more militants were killed in a clash in nearby Dir district.

At least 26 pro-Taliban fighters were killed and 16 more injured when troops repulsed an attack by militants on a security check post in Mohmand tribal region early this morning. Fourteen security personnel were also injured in the clashes that erupted when about 300 militants attacked a check post of the Mohmand Rifles.

Two soldiers were killed in operations in Shangla, while another soldier was injured in Dir.

It  is not the time to protest US or INDIA. We have to be united in this Civil War of Pakistan and against Talibanization of Afghanistan. Talibans should be up-rooted both from Pak And Afghan. We too bleed for the innocent Civilians. But must defeat the Taliban Terrorism against Humanity. 

 fusa CA6F8TAZ fpk fafg

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 @  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 


Posted: Saturday , May 09, 2009  in Indian Express

@ 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’


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

New York Times

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


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



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


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


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


 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.