Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

101 Mumbai-like incidents=successful year for offensive against Taliban :: The New Equation of Success in Pakistan

January 28, 2010

Pakistan has faced 101 Mumbai-like incidents: Pakistan PM

IANS||28 January 2010, 03:03pm IST

NEW DELHI: Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism with “101 Mumbai-like incidents” having taken place, Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has said and asked India to resume dialogue as both the countries “cannot afford war”.

“There are 101 Mumbai-like incidents in Pakistan after that. Dialogue is the only answer. We are both responsible nations. We can only move forward. We cannot afford war. The only way forward is talks,” Gilani said in an interview to a television channel broadcast on Thursday.

India had stopped all dialogue with Pakistan after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, with the Indian government alleging that the terror conspiracy was hatched on Pakistani soil.

Gilani referred to the joint statement issued after the meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt, on the sidelines of the non-aligned leaders summit in 2009.

“That was a very good meeting. We discussed all issues. And we had understanding that we both are suffering from terrorism,” Gilani said.

The Pakistani leader said that “1.25 billion (people) should not be made hostage to one incident”.

“So (if) we are hostage to this incident, then the beneficiary is the terrorist. Therefore, we should move forward.”

“Certainly we condemn terrorism and we always believe that neither Pakistani nor Indian soil (should) be used against each other. We are the victims of terrorism. You know how we are fighting the war on terrorism,” asserted Gilani.

“What we really need is capacity building,” Ambassador Khan (R) said, adding that no other nation could do a better job than Pakistan’s forces on its own soil. “We, however, need help with capacity building in the areas of infrastructure, night vision equipment, communication gear, helicopters, and aircraft.” –APP (File photo)

‘2009 successful year for offensive against Taliban’

Thursday, 28 Jan, 2010||Safar 12, 1431

BEIJING: Terming 2009 a “successful year” in its offensive against the Taliban network in Pakistan, Islamabad Ambassador to Beijing Masood Khan said that beefing up military presence is just part of the “two-track” means to eradicate terrorism in central Asia.

Troops alone don’t work; what war-torn Afghanistan and Pakistan urgently need is capacity building and development, said Ambassador Khan in an interview published in China Daily on Thursday prior to the start of an international conference in the UK to discuss measures to eliminate terrorism in Central Asia.

“What we really need is capacity building,” Khan said, adding  that no other nation could do a better job than Pakistan’s forces on its own soil. “We, however, need help with capacity building in the areas of infrastructure, night vision equipment, communication gear, helicopters, and aircraft.”

The international community should also invest in the “development track” in the region, Khan urged. “And should do so aggressively.”

“I would say that the allocation of resources for the economic development of these affected areas is only a small fraction of what is being spent for military means,” the country’s senior diplomat said, noting that Afghanistan and Pakistan are desperate for investment. “I hope this conference will prove to be beneficial in this regard,” he said.

Apart from the host nation, Britain, representatives from the International Security Assistance Force, Nato, UN and Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours are to attend the conference. Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi is representing Pakistan.

In the half-an-hour interview in Beijing with China Daily, Khan discussed Pakistan’s experience eight years after joining the anti-terror campaign, commented on the US strategy under US President Barack Obama, and shared his concerns about the regional situation.

“It’s a war we have to win,” Khan remarked.

Other than beefing up the military and development, he said Islamabad is “trying to reach out to all levels of the Taliban to wean them away from violence and integrate them into the political mainstream”.

Khan said that Islamabad joined the war as it was “in its national interest” since Pakistan could not stay immune to the violence in the neighbouring state.

Islamabad’s envoy to Beijing pointed out that his country’s forces have killed more than 7,000 terrorists and apprehended about 9,000, including 901 Al-Qaeda operatives with the help of US intelligence.

The killing of Baitullah Mehsud, former head of the Pakistani Taliban, in August last year, is considered a major success for Pakistan. “I think we have dismantled the network of militants. They are scattered now,” Khan said. Read more details here.….

Courtesy: Times of India, Dawn News, APP & Others.

Pak Taliban video indicates cross-border links : Special Representative of US

January 18, 2010

Commenting on Pak-India ties, Holbrooke said that easing tensions between India and Pakistan would help western efforts in Afghanistan. However, he said it was up to Islamabad and New Delhi to find their own path towards better ties. – Alertpak  photo

TTP video indicates cross-border links, says Holbrooke

KABUL: A video of a Pakistani Taliban leader with the bomber who killed CIA agents in Afghanistan indicated cross-border links between Afghan, Pakistani and Al Qaeda militants, the US regional envoy said on Sunday.

Special Representative Richard Holbrooke said in an interview in Kabul that “shadowy but unmistakable” links between groups exposed by the video helped explain why the United States and its allies were fighting in Afghanistan.

The video released this month showed the Jordanian suicide bomber posing with Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, before carrying out the Dec 30 attack which killed seven CIA employees, the deadliest strike on the agency in decades.

“When people say to us, ‘why are you fighting in Afghanistan when the goal is to destroy Al Qaeda and

they are in Pakistan?’ I think this incident highlights the explanation for what we are doing, because there are some shadowy but unmistakeable connections here,” he said.

The video could show “the very close links between the Haqqani group, Mehsud, Al Qaeda, and it underlines the rationale for our strategy”, he said. “That was a horrifying tape.”

“They’ve all claimed credit for it,” he said of the various militant groups with some possible hand in the CIA attack.

Asked whether he had put more pressure on Islamabad to do more in border regions to rout insurgents, Mr Holbrooke said Pakistan’s military was stretched “very thin”.

“I think they are well aware of the fact that the presence on their soil of the Afghan Taliban and its leadership is not in their own security interests. They know how important this is. They are our allies,” he added.

Pak-India ties

Easing tensions between India and Pakistan would help western efforts in Afghanistan, said Mr Holbrooke. However, it was up to Islamabad and New Delhi to find their own path towards better ties.

He said Washington would welcome better relations between Islamabad and New Delhi, but he had no plans to act as a mediator between the two rival countries. “President (Barack) Obama has said publicly that if India and Pakistan improve their relations, he would welcome it,” he said before leaving for New Delhi.

“But it’s up to them to do it for themselves. We are not intermediating between Islamabad and New Delhi.

“Every time I go to India people say: ‘Are you working on this problem? Are you a messenger? Are you an envoy between the two countries?’” he said. “The answer is ‘no’.”

He described his visit to India as a “consultative trip, it’s not a negotiating trip”, unlike his stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

His aim was mainly to explain US regional strategy to Indian officials, on his first visit since Mr Obama announced 30,000 extra troops for Afghanistan in December.

Asked if better India-Pakistan ties were necessary to resolve the Afghan conflict, Mr Holbrooke said: “Is it necessary? … It would be useful.” Asked why, he said: “For obvious reasons.”

“In this extraordinary strategic context, every country has a legitimate security requirement which has to be acknowledged if we are ever going to get to a resolution of this 30-year process,” he said of the three decades of war in Afghanistan.

“The Pakistan-India relationship is unique because of its origins on the same day in August of 1947 and the unresolved issue of the territory on their common border, which has been so disputed,” he said.

“Pakistan has legitimate security interests like any nation, based on its … geo-strategic position,” he said. “I am not going to get specific about India’s strategic interests. They will speak for themselves.”—Reuters

Courtesy : Dawn, Reuters & Google.

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 

 

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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

 

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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. 

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Somalia to Thailand, the same story of Pak-Afghan Terrorism

April 29, 2009

Terrorists moving from Pak-Afghan border to Africa

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Lolita C Baldor, Associated Press || Washington, April 28, 2009 (First Published: 11:02 IST(28/4/2009)

Evidence is growing that battle-hardened extremists are filtering out of havens along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and into East Africa, bringing sophisticated terror tactics that include suicide attacks. The alarming shift, according to US military and counterterror officials, fuels worries that Somalia increasingly is on a path to become the next Afghanistan, a sanctuary where al-Qaida-linked groups can train and plan their threatened attacks against the West.
So far, officials say the number of foreign fighters who have moved from southwest Asia and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region to the Horn of Africa is small, perhaps two to three dozen. A similarly small cell of militant plotters was responsible for the devastating 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. And the cluster of militants now believed to be operating inside east Africa could pass on sophisticated training and attack techniques gleaned after seven years at war against the United States and allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. officials said. “There is a level of activity that is troubling, disturbing,” U.S. Gen. William “Kip” Ward, head of U.S. Africa Command, told The Associated Press. “When you have these vast spaces, that are just not governed, it provides a haven for support activities, for training to occur.”
Ward added that American officials already are seeing extremist factions in East Africa sharing information and techniques. Several military and counterterror officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence matters, cautioned that the movements of the al-Qaida militants does not suggest an abandonment of the ungoverned Pakistan border region as a haven.
Instead, the shift is viewed by the officials more as an expansion of al-Qaida’s influence, and a campaign to gather and train more recruits in a region already rife with militants. Last month, Osama bin Laden made it clear in a newly released audiotape that al-Qaida has set its sights on Somalia, an impoverished and largely lawless country in the Horn of Africa. In the 11-minute tape released to Internet sites, bin Laden is heard urging Somalis to overthrow their new moderate Islamist president and to support their jihadist “brothers” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and Iraq.
Officials said that in recent years they have seen occasional signs that sophisticated al-Qaida terror techniques are gaining ground in East Africa. Those harbingers include a coordinated series of suicide bombings in Somalia last October.
In the past, officials said, suicide attacks tended to be frowned on by African Muslims, creating something of an impediment to al-Qaida’s efforts to sell that aspect of its terror tactics. But on Oct. 29, 2008, suicide bombers killed more than 20 people in five attacks targeting a U.N. compound, the Ethiopian consulate, the presidential palace in Somaliland’s capital, and two intelligence facilities in Puntland.
The coordinated assaults, officials said, amounted to a watershed moment, suggesting a new level of sophistication and training. The incident also marked the first time that a U.S. citizen, a young Somali man from Minneapolis, Minnesota, became a suicide bomber. The foreign fighters moving into East Africa complicate an already-rising crescendo of terror threats in the region. Those threats have come from the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist Islamic faction and from al-Qaida in East Africa, a small, hard-core group also known by the acronym EEAQ.
While not yet considered an official al-Qaida franchise, EEAQ has connections to the top terror leaders and was implicated in the August, 1998, embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 225 people. The bombings were al-Qaida’s precursors to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a plot spawned by a small cell of operatives as far back as 1992. Four men accused as al-Qaida plotters were later convicted in federal court in New York for those bombings. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed and several other EEAQ members remain under indictment in the United States for their alleged participation in those bombings. Mohammed is on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list with a reward of up to $5 million on his head. Al-Qaida has the skills while al-Shabab has the manpower, said one senior military official familiar with the region. The official said that EEAQ appears to a small cell of a few dozen operatives who rarely sleep in the same place twice and are adept at setting up temporary training camps that vanish days later.
What worries U.S. military leaders, the official said, is the fear that EEAQ and al-Shabab may merge in training and operations, with the potential of spreading al-Qaida’s more extremist jihadist beliefs to thousands of clan-based Somali militants, who so far have been squabbling in their own internal struggles.
The scenario could become even more worrisome, the officials said, if the foreign fighters transplant their skills at bomb-making and insurgency tactics to the training camps in East Africa. Africa experts, however, said it will not be easy for Islamic extremists to win many converts in East Africa.
Francois Grignon, Africa Program Director for the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based research group, said in an interview that al-Qaida faces a challenge gaining recruits in Somalia. Many clan members, he said, generally practice a more moderate Islam, and militants are not inclined to join a fight they do not see as their own.
The United States, he said, needs to encourage the new government there to deal with the growing terror threats and to marginalize the jihadists so that they are not able to sustain their activities in Somalia.
Ward said the U.S. Africa Command is working with a number of nations to build their ability to maintain security. He said commanders are less able to do much in Somalia, where the new government is still fragile.
Meanwhile, he said, officials continue to watch as the ties between the terror groups grow.
“I think they’re all a threat,” said Ward. “Right now it’s clearly a threat that the Africans have, but in today’s global society that threat can be exported anywhere with relative ease.”
nHindustantimes/28-04-2009

Islamist militant attacks intensified in Thailand

 
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BBC News || 07:36 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 08:36 UK

Nine people have died in the past 24 hours in a wave of attacks by suspected Islamic militants in southern Thailand.
The latest violence coincides with the fifth anniversary of an attack on the Krue Se mosque, which marked a sharp escalation in the separatist conflict.
It was the first big clash between the security forces and militants, and more than 100 people died in just one day.
About 3,500 people have died since then and successive governments have made little progress in stemming the unrest.
Thailand annexed the three southern provinces – Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani – in 1902, but the vast majority of people there are Muslim and speak a Malay dialect, in contrast to the Buddhist Thai speakers in the rest of the country.
Insurgents target people they perceive to be collaborating with the Bangkok government – using bomb blasts, beheadings and shootings.
They also try to force Buddhist residents from the area, with the aim of ultimately establishing a separate Islamic state.
High alert
Gunmen stormed into a house in Yala province late on Monday, opening fire on a Muslim family and killing four people.

Two men were later found dead outside a nearby mosque.
In other incidents, a Buddhist government official was shot dead in Pattani province, a Muslim man was fatally shot while watching a football match in Yala and another man was killed nearby in a drive-by shooting.
According to the BBC correspondent in Bangkok, Jonathan Head, there is nothing remarkable about the attacks of the past 24 hours.
Now in its sixth year, the renewed war in Thailand’s south continues to exact a heavy toll on the local inhabitants with relentless regularity, our correspondent says.
Early on Monday there were 11 co-ordinated attacks on schools and electricity substations. On Saturday a bomb blast injured 15 people.
The bloody assault on the Krue Se mosque by Thai security forces on 28 April 2004 is seen as an important point in the long-running conflict, leading to a marked escalation in the violence.
Security forces stormed the mosque and killed 32 Muslims who had barricaded themselves inside. More than 70 others died in separate incidents on the same day.
“Security forces are taking special precautions and are on high alert on the [Krue Se] anniversary,” army spokesman Parinya told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
Human rights groups argue that the government’s failure to punish any members of the security forces for abuses against civilians has alienated the population in Thailand’s deep south.
But other analysts believe the militants, who operate in small cells affiliated with Islamic schools, are not interested in negotiating with the government, whatever concessions it makes.

The authorities in Thailand are very much anxieted to the numbers of increasing Islamic Institutions supported by the foreign Islamist Organisation closer to the Pak-Afghan origins. The Islamic education institutions funded by the middle-east or Pak-Afghan sources never submit the reports of their activities after repeated strictures. Now, a stringent vigilance is imposed upon the Muslim clerics who are frequently visiting Thailand from Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan.

The Terrorism created own by Pakistan || India has no Involvement to it || “Pakistan is both a patron and a victim of the Taliban and terrorism”

April 25, 2009

No evidence to suggest India backing Pak rebels: Holbrooke

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Islamabad:
Pakistan should focus on militancy within its borders instead of worrying about India’s presence in Afghanistan as there is no evidence to suggest that New Delhi is backing the extremists, US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke has said.

“Pakistan does not have to worry about India in Afghanistan. They need to worry about the miscreants in western Pakistan,” Holbrooke said in an interview with ‘Geo News’ channel at the US State Department in Washington.

“Now if the Indians were supporting those miscreants, that would be extraordinarily bad (and) really dangerous. But they’re not. There is no evidence at all that the Indians are supporting the miscreants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas or North West Frontier Province or Waziristan. None,” he said.

Holbrooke was responding to a question on Pakistan’s concerns about India’s presence in Afghanistan. He noted that India has been playing a key role in the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.

“India has given Afghanistan about USD 1 billion in assistance. They’re rebuilding the parliament building, they’ve built a very useful road in the south-western part of the country leading down towards Iran. They’re training agricultural experts, they’re giving scholarships. The Indians have published a pamphlet on what they’re doing. I don’t think that should be cause of concern for Pakistan.”

The US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan dismissed a question on Pakistan’s perceived concerns about the activities of Indian consulates in Afghanistan.

Holbrooke also defended his recent observation that India has a “leading role” to play in the region. The remark was widely criticised in Pakistan.

“Of course, I said India has a leading role. It’s the second largest country in the world. It’s one of the most important countries in the world. What India does matters to the world,” he said.

“China is a very important nation too. China and India have common borders with Pakistan. If you are interested in helping Pakistan, you should talk to its neighbours and that includes China, India and Afghanistan. Seems very simple, but we never told India what they should do in Afghanistan.”

Asked about the US administration’s stand on the Kashmir issue, Holbrooke replied he was “not in-charge of US-Indian relations”.

“My job is only Afghanistan and Pakistan. And when I go to India, it’s to consult them and keep them abreast of the situation so that they know we’re not doing anything behind their back that would affect them. But I’m not involved in that (Kashmir) issue.”

Pak both ‘patron and victim’ of terror: Afghanistan

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Washington:
Describing Pakistan as both a “patron and victim” of terrorism, Afghan Ambassador to the US Said T Jawad charged the Pak Army of not willing to take the terrorists head on though it has the capacity to do so.

He said the civilian government is finding itself helpless due to the unwillingness of the Pak Army to fight terrorism.

Jawad said the political and civilian leadership and the two democratically-elected Presidents of have never had such close and trustful relations and extensive bilateral engagement in the history of two countries as they do on Saturday.

“We hope that this will be matched by delivery by Pakistan’s security institution. We see the civilian government committed to fight extremism, but is unable to deliver. The Pakistan Army has the capacity to deliver, but it is not committed to fight terrorism,” Jawad said delivering a speech on Afghanistan at the prestigious South Asian Studies Program of the John Hopkins University.

“Pakistan is both a patron and a victim of the Taliban and terrorism,” he said and added that Afghanistan is concerned about the security situation in Pakistan. We are in favour of cooperating with Pakistan on a trilateral basis, such as the US-Afghan-Pakistan trilateral meetings, NATO, Afghanistan and Pakistan trilateral meetings and the Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan forum to fight extremism and terrorism in the region,” he said.

“We have had more than 26 trilateral meetings with the Pakistan military and intelligence in the past six years, with no results at all,” Jawad said.

“Pakistanis have told me for a long time that India has hundreds of people in its consulate in Kandahar in Afghanistan. I asked Americans and UN people how big the Indian consulate was in Kandahar and they said six or eight people. You know I am not worried about that.”

The Afghan Ambassador praised India’s role in redevelopment in the country. “Afghanistan and India have historically had close friendly relations. We appreciate India’s generous contributions to the reconstruction projects in Afghanistan including road-building, institutional capacity building, training and higher education. Even India is concerned about the prospects of further instability,” he said.

Aware of Pakistan sensitivities and its animosity with India, Jawad hoped the relations between Islamabad and New Delhi would improve.

“We know that Pakistan’s military view on Afghanistan is still in context to their relations with India. We are encouraging our US, NATO and regional friends to work harder to reduce the trust deficit between India and Pakistan. Ambassador Holbrooke can play an important role in this regard,” Jawad said.

Similar policy prescriptions and sentiments (It’s not India, it’s home-grown extremists) were expressed at a Harvard lecture earlier this week by General David Petraeus, chief of the US Central Command with oversight of Pakistan and the middle-east, indicating that US interlocutors are all reading from the same page.

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“The existential threat” facing Pakistan “is internal extremists and not India,” Petraeus said in the speech at the Kennedy School of Government, adding such an idea was “intellectually dislocating” for the institutions of Pakistan fostered on decades of projecting confrontation against India.

Over at the White House, spokesman Robert Gibbs said the Pakistan crisis was taking a lot of President Obama’s time. Defense Secretary Robert Gates too chipped in, asking Islamabad to recognize the danger and take action.

Source : Agencies, PTI & Indian Express//25th April, 2009