Archive for the ‘al-Qaeda’ Category

Pakistan’s Police Losing Terrorism Fight

December 4, 2008

If India’s reaction to the revelation that Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai terrorism didn’t get your attention; this headline might.  Pakistan is roiling from the impact of a widespread terror insurgency, combined with total financial bankruptcy of the nation and internal disputes and rivalries added to decades of unrest with India.  Pakistan’s Army is pinned down in the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan; trying to wrestle control and influence from the Taliban and al-Qaeda.  And last weekend, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, rival groups went on a riotous rampage…..

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Brothers Mushtaq and Ishaq Ali left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had — beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd.

They went straight to the local Urdu-language newspaper to announce their resignation. They were too poor to pay for a personal ad, so the editor of The Daily Moon, Rasheed Iqbal, published a news story instead. He has run dozens like it.

“They just want to get the word out to the Taliban that they are not with the police anymore so they won’t kill them,” said Iqbal. “They know that no one can protect them, and especially not their fellow policemen.”

Pakistani police officers launch an operation against criminals ... 
Pakistani police officers launch an operation against criminals in Karachi’s troubled area of Lyari, Pakistan, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. Criminals and police exchanged fire during the action that killed one person and injured three, local police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Outgunned and out-financed, police in volatile northwestern Pakistan are fighting a losing battle against insurgents, dozens of interviews by The Associated Press show. They are dying in large numbers, and many survivors are leaving the force.

Kathy Gannon, Associated Press Writer

The number of terrorist attacks against police has gone up from 113 in 2005 to 1,820 last year, according to National Police Bureau. The death toll for policemen in that time has increased from nine to 575. In the northwestern area alone, 127 policemen have died so far this year in suicide bombings and assassinations, and another 260 have been wounded.

The crisis means the police cannot do the nuts-and-bolts work needed to stave off an insurgency fueled by the Taliban and al-Qaida. While the military can pound mountain hideouts, analysts and local officials say it is the police who should hunt down insurgents, win over the people, and restore order.

A Pakistani police officers seen outside the heavily guarded ...
A Pakistani police officers seen outside the heavily guarded Badaber police station at outskirt of Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday Nov 4, 2008. Police officers left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had — beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd.(AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

“The only way to save Pakistan is to think of extremism and insurgency in North West Frontier Province as a law enforcement issue,” said Hassan Abbas, a South Asia expert at Harvard University’s Belfer Center Project for Science. “Rather than buying more F-16s, Pakistan should invest in modernizing its police.”

In the Swat Valley, militants have turned a once-idyllic mountain getaway into a nightmare of bombings and beheadings despite a six-month military operation to root them out. About 300 policemen have fled the force already.

On a recent evening in Mardan, Akhtar Ali Shah had just slipped out of his deputy police inspector’s uniform to head home. In an escort vehicle, a half-dozen of his guards had inched outside the giant white gates of the police station for a routine security check.

The bomb exploded minutes later. Through a cloud of dust and dirt, Shah saw five of his six guards lying dead near the blood-smeared gate. The head of the suicide bomber rested nearby.

“We are the ones who are getting killed by the terrorists that we are facing,” Shah said later.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_police_under_fire

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Could Mumbai Terrorism Occur In America?

December 3, 2008

Like the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in America, the Mumbai terrorist assault last week began with a hijacking. Islamic militants seized a private fishing boat at sea rather than commercial jetliners, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials. But the attackers displayed the same deadly ability to coordinate a complex operation against multiple targets as did their predecessors on Sept. 11.

By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
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The terrorists were from a Pakistani group called Lashkar-i-Taiba, which has loose links with al-Qaeda, U.S officials believe. The attackers began by boarding the boat in the Arabian Sea and killing the captain. They then piloted the boat toward the Mumbai harbor. As they neared the coast on Wednesday, Nov. 26, they launched several rubber lifeboats for the final amphibious assault.

The attack was meticulously planned: The raiders dispersed to several targets across the crowded city that had been studied by advance reconnaissance teams. They maintained communications silence on the way in, U.S. officials believe. And most important, they carried with them enough guns, ammunition and supplies for a long battle inside India’s largest city.

Then the mayhem began: The terrorists stormed their targets — three luxury hotels, a Jewish cultural center, a railway station — turning the nearby streets into a free-fire zone. It took about 10 hours for Indian anti-terrorism commandos to arrive at the besieged hotels, and it was almost three days before all the attackers had been captured or killed.

The Mumbai attacks were a ghastly reminder of the threat still posed by al-Qaeda and related terrorist groups. The militants have the training, the logistical support and, most of all, the determination to pull off spectacular attacks. They read their enemies’ tactical vulnerabilities well — understanding in this case that urban police forces have trouble combating moving bands of shooters. And they appeared to have had a cleverly divisive strategic goal — of reanimating tension between India and Pakistan just as the two were beginning to make common cause against terrorism.

For Americans watching the carnage, the obvious question was: Could it happen here? U.S. officials say the answer, unfortunately, is yes. And then comes a second question: If America is hit with another Sept. 11-style terrorist assault, how should the country react?

The Department of Homeland Security has been worried for more than a year about the danger of seaborne attacks. With an estimated 17 million small vessels plying the thousands of miles of U.S. coastline, the vulnerability is obvious. The DHS announced a “small-vessel security strategy” in April to focus on ports and coastal waterways, and it has held four regional small-vessel “security summits” this year, in Buzzards Bay, Mass., Long Beach, Calif., Orlando and Cleveland. A fifth such gathering is planned for Houston next month.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20
08/12/02/AR2008120202722.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

NATO Tells Pakistan “We Need Your Army In Tribal Areas”

December 2, 2008

Pakistan must continue military operations against militants in its tribal regions despite rising tensions with India following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Nato officials said on Monday.

“We hope Pakistan’s efforts (against the insurgents) are not diminished as a result of what happened” in Mumbai, Nato spokesman James Appathurai told reporters.

He made the comments as reports indicated that both Pakistan and India might send troops to their common border.

Nato which is fighting a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is concerned that a redeployment of Pakistani troops in the east of the country could mean reduced Pakistani military action against militants in the frontier region with Afghanistan.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the alliance’s 26 foreign ministers in Brussels, Mr Appathurai said the new Pakistani government had shown it was determined to fight insurgents in the northern part of the country.

“This government is embracing responsibility for fighting extremism,” the spokesman said, adding: “It is Nato’s assessment that these operations are robust.”

“Nato believes that the success of Pakistan in increasing pressure on the militants over the last few months has been very valuable,” he said.

Mr Appathurai repeated that Nato soldiers were not deployed within Pakistan. “The Nato mandate ends at the border. We are not participating in any ground or air operations in Pakistan,” he said.

The alliance has deployed over 50,000 troops in Afghanistan and has said that stabilising the country is Nato’s key priority.

The war is, however, increasingly unpopular with European public opinion and in Canada.

Mr Appathurai said Nato was convinced that there was no military solution in Afghanistan and that issues of governance, development and reconstruction were part of the alliance’s “comprehensive approach” towards the country.

Nato Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is expected to visit Pakistan later this monthin a bid to reinforce political contacts with the new government. Military contacts between Nato and Pakistan are improving.

The Nato spokesman said that Mr Scheffer had been heartened by his recent meeting with President Hamid Karzai in which the Afghan leader said that his relations with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari were “good and trusting”.

Fighting extremism was a “shared challenge” for Afghanistan and Pakistan and both countries were part of the solution, the spokesman said.

By Shadaba Islam
Dawn Newspaper

U.S. warned India about possible Mumbai attack

December 2, 2008

The United States warned the Indian government about a potential maritime attack against Mumbai at least a month before last week’s massacre in the country’s financial capital left nearly 180 dead, a U.S. counterterrorism official told CNN.

CNN

U.S. intelligence indicated that a group might enter the country by water and launch an attack on Mumbai, said the source, who refused to be identified due to the ongoing investigation into the attacks and the sensitivity of the information.

Indian security forces have confirmed to CNN that not only did U.S. officials warn them of a water-borne attack in Mumbai — they were told twice. The area entered a higher state of alert for a week, including tightened security measures at hotels, but those efforts were eventually reduced, Indian officials said.

Local fisherman in Mumbai said they witnessed a group of gunmen dock their boat Wednesday night, before heading toward the busy causeway.

Also, sources have told CNN-IBN that officials found phones and a global navigational device on an abandoned boat floating off the coast of Mumbai. The boat had been hijacked, intelligence officials told CNN-IBN.

Four crew members who had been on board were missing. The captain was found dead, lying face down with his hands bound behind his back.

India has made clear that it believes last week’s coordinated attacks in Mumbai originated in Pakistan, but the Indian government is under pressure to explain the lapse of security that allowed the siege to occur.

Indian police say 179 people were killed in the attacks on 10 targets i4n Mumbai. Most of the deaths occurred at the city’s top two hotels, the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal.

Pakistani authorities say Islamabad has not received any evidence that militants from within its borders carried out the attacks, but have vowed to fully cooperate in the investigation. Suspicion has fallen on Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistan-based terror group allied with al Qaeda, even though it has denied responsibility.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/01/i
ndia.attacks2/index.html?section=cnn_latest

People in front of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November ... 
People in front of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November 30, 2008. Foreign travellers and business people say they will not be put off coming to India’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan city by murderous militant attacks that brought Mumbai to a standstill last week.(AFP/Indranil Mukherjee)

India and Pakistan: Two Very Dangerous Neighbors

December 1, 2008

The tensions between India and Pakistan since the Mumbai terrorism should serve as a reminder that India and Pakistan are two of the more dangerous neighbors on earth.

Both nuclear-armed, India and Pakistan have fought several wars since Britain left South Asia and the nations were “partitioned” in 1947.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Wikipedia says, “resulted in the creation of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, there have been three major wars, one minor war and numerous armed skirmishes between the two countries. In each case, except the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where the dispute concerned East Pakistan, the casus belli was the disputed Kashmir region.”

India sees itself as a rival to another “emerging superpower”: China.  The two have tense relationships.

China has built the largest seaport in the world in Pakistan and provides Pakistan with military hardware, technology and assistance.  But when Pakistan recently needed cash, Hu Jintao’s China turned them away and sent them to the IMF.

The U.S. tries to have friendly and helpful relations with both India and Pakistan.  The U.S. just completed a nuclear technology assistance deal with India and Pakistan’s air force has U.S.-made F-16 aircraft.

China, the U.S., Pakistan and India all want a Navy strong enough to assure security in the Indian Ocean and surrounding sea lanes.  Persian Gulf oil headed to Japan, the U.S., and China all passes through these waters.

File photo of the Indian naval warship INS Tabar. A maritime ... 
The Indian naval warship INS Tabar has been involved in recent anti-piracy missions near Somalia.
AFP/Indian Navy/Ho/File

India has a variety of missiles including the short-range Prithvi ballistic missile, the medium-range Akash, and the supersonic Brahmos. The Agni missiles are the most powerful.

India last year successfully test-fired the Agni-III, which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads across much of Asia and the Middle East.

New Delhi says it developed its missile program as a deterrent against neighbors China and Pakistan.

The Agni-II missile being displayed on a mobile launcher during the 2004 Republic Day parade.

The Agni-II missile being displayed on a mobile launcher during the 2004 Republic Day parade.

Pakistan has its own ballistic missiles plus assistance from China on many weapons and projects.

JF-17 testing.jpg

Related:

China and Pakistan’s Strategic Importance: Background

JF-17 “Thunder” Aircraft Join Pakistani Air Force

GhauriMissile.jpg
Pakistan’s Ghauri missile can strike into India and other neighboring nations….

Four months after the U.S. ordered its troops into Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime, China and Pakistan joined hands to break ground in building a Deep Sea Port on the Arabian Sea. The project was sited in an obscure fishing village of Gwadar in Pakistan’s western province of Baluchistan, bordering Afghanistan to the northwest and Iran to the southwest. Gwadar is nautically bounded by the Persian Gulf in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the southwest.

Related:
Attacks push India and Pakistan into deep water: analysts

Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and Internal Pressure

November 30, 2008

The Pakistan government of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani today acutely feels the heat of terrorists as well as international pressure from a tradional friend, the U.S., and a traditional enemy, India.

This television frame grab shows Pakistani President Asif Ali ... 
President Zardari of Pakistan (AFP)

In the tribal areas of Pakistan, the U.S. wants the assistance of Pakistan’s army in controlling the Taliban and al-Qaeda that surge into Afghanistan to kill U.S. and NATO troops.  Pakistan wants to keep the U.S. out of the tribal areas so the U.S. hammers terrorists from unmanned drones with missiles when the intelligence says results will be favorable.  But the people of Pakistan have protested these air assaults from the U.S. upon Pakistan and the government has expressed extreme displeasure at almost losing control of Pakistan’s sovereignity in the northwest tribal areas.

An unmanned Predator drone. A militant Taliban group warned ... 
The U.S. has been using unmanned Predator drones like this one, armed with missiles, to attack militant Taliban terror groups inside Pakistan. The government of pakistan has condemned the missile strikes in its territory.(AFP/USAF/File)

Now, because of tensions from the terrorism in Mumbai, India, Pakistan is saying it will withdraw troops from the tribal areas to move to the border with India; a nation that seems to already be blaming Pakistan for the bloodshed in Mumbai.

India even says the only terrorist to survive the Mumbai attack, Ajmal Qasab, is a Pakistani trained by the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Troops from Pakistan’s army secure an area in the troubled Kabal Khas district on the outskirts of Swat valley November 26, 2008.  The U.S. wants the Pakistani troops facing Afghanistan and not India.
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Finally, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, at least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed this weekend.
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Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ... 
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ablaze several shops at a timber market in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi. At least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed in Karachi, officials said Sunday.(AFP/Asif Hassan)

Last week’s terror violence in Mumbai and india’s subsequent investigation and likely blame, which will likely be supported by the U.S., putes extreme pressure on a Pakistani government the Times of India rightly calls “dodgy” due to its own undermining terrorist influences and actors. 

 By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

U.S., India Face Blackmail From Pakistan on Terrorism

November 30, 2008

Pakistan says “sorry” but tension with India forces withdrawal of troops in tribal areas facing Afghanistan where taliban and al-Qaeda roam….

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The United States and India face tactics bordering on blackmail from a militarized Pakistan – where civilian control is still very dodgy — as they coordinate efforts to eliminate terrorism in the region, according to analysts and officials on both sides.

By Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
Times of India

In what is turning out to be an elaborate chess game in the region, Islamabad on Saturday made its “Afghan move” to counter the US-India pincer, telling Washington that it will have to withdraw some 100,000 Pakistani troops posted on its western borders to fight the al-Qaida-Taliban and move them east to the Indian front if New Delhi makes any aggressive moves.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Pakistani troops and tanks on patrol in the tribal areas facing Afghanistan.
REUTERS/Abdul Rehman (PAKISTAN)

In Washington, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani said there is no movement of Pakistani troops right now, but if India makes any aggressive moves, “Pakistan will have no choice but to take appropriate measures.”

Stripped of complexities, Pakistan is conveying the following message to the US: If you don’t get India to back down, Pakistan will stop cooperating with US in the war against terror. Consequently, this also means Pakistan will use US dependence on its cooperation to wage a low-grade, asymmetric, terrorism-backed war against India.

Pakistan’s withdrawal of troops from the Afghan front would obviously undermine the US/Nato battle in Afghanistan and allow breathing space for Taliban and al-Qaida. It would also ratchet up confrontation with India, which is at low ebb right now because Islamabad has been forced to engage on its western front and this minimizes Pakistan-backed infiltration into Kashmir, allowing India to tackle the insurgency in the state.

Related:
Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and Internal Pressure
and
Pakistan warns India of troop redeployment

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_Indi
a_face_Pak_blackmail_on_terror/article
show/3777307.cms

India’s Police: Mumbai Terror Created By Pakistani Militant Group

November 30, 2008

The only gunman captured by police after a string of attacks on Mumbai told authorities he belonged to the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, a senior police officer said Sunday.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press

Indian special police officers exit the landmark Taj Hotel in ... 
Indian special police officers exit the landmark Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008. Indian commandos killed the last remaining gunmen holed up at the luxury Mumbai hotel Saturday, ending a 60-hour rampage through India’s financial capital by suspected Islamic militants that rocked the nation.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Police have said 10 gunmen terrorized Mumbai during a 60-hour siege, and all but one were shot dead.

Joint Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria said the assailant now in custody told police the group had intended to hit more targets during their attacks on India’s financial capital that left at least 174 dead.

“Lashkar-e-Taiba is behind the terrorist acts in the city,” Maria told reporters. “The terrorists were from a hardcore group in the L-e-T.”

India’s Home Ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

The group has long been seen as a creation of the Pakistani intelligence service to help wage its clandestine war against India in disputed Kashmir.

Police arrested the lone surviving militant, Ajmal Qasab, and Maria said he confessed his links to Lashkar during interrogation.

“Ajmal Qasab has received training in a L-e-T training camp in Pakistan,” he said. “Our interrogation indicates that the terrorists had other places that they also intended to target.”

Related:
Mumbai: Condoleezza Rice Tells Pakistan To Fully Cooperate, Investigate
and
Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and internal Pressure

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081130/ap_on_re_as/as_india_
shooting;_ylt=AqderorqM7ym404YvJ5iV2G9IxIF

Does Mumbai Show New Terror War Paradigm?

November 30, 2008

With the attacks in Mumbai, Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) has entered a new phase. Like most historical developments, that of Mumbai follows its predecessors while adding new elements. What are the old elements? Like the 1998 attacks on America’s African embassies and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, Mumbai was a stunningly murderous public relations gesture to show the target’s impotence and Al Qaeda’s ubiquity. And the perpetrator is almost certainly either Al Qaeda or an Al Qaeda-inspired and/or directed and/or franchised operation.

By Richard Miller
Fox Forum

Taj hotel is seen engulfed in smoke during a gunbattle in Mumbai ... 
Taj hotel is seen engulfed in smoke during a gunbattle in Mumbai November 29, 2008.(Arko Datta/Reuters)

And like the attacks on the Pentagon and WTC (and possibly Capitol Hill or the White House) of 9/11, the assault on Mumbai, as befits a well-done 4GW attack, was directed against “soft-target” nodes, that is, targets that are central points in larger networks whose disruption are thought to have mega-consequences.

First, Mumbai itself is India’s financial capital; next, the specific targets themselves fell into three “node” categories: first, objectives that were intended to disrupt India’s ability to serve as an international commercial center — the luxury hotels and fancy cafes.

Second, were targets that were chosen to disrupt Mumbai as a local center of commerce — here was the attack on the famous Victoria Station, now known as CTS.

Finally, were targets intended to disrupt local response time and thus prolong the publicity bonanza that the jihadis felt was worth dying for — local police authorities and hospitals.

Read the rest:
http://foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/11/29/mumbai-deaths-new-paradigm/

Attacks push India and Pakistan into deep water: analysts

November 30, 2008

Outrage in India over the Mumbai attacks risks sparking a dangerous escalation in tensions with Pakistan, analysts say, even as Islamabad cautions against any knee-jerk reaction.

Having accused “elements in Pakistan” of involvement in the ruthless attacks that left 195 dead in India’s financial capital, the government here is now under extreme public pressure to exact some form of visible retribution.

The two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals are past masters of the art of military and diplomatic brinkmanship, but the stakes are heightened by looming general elections in India in which national security will be a key issue.

In a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh vowed that the perpetrators and organisers of the Mumbai assault would be made to pay “a heavy price.”

By Elizabeth Roche, AFP

Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November ... 
Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November 29, 2008. Outrage in India over the Mumbai attacks risks sparking a dangerous escalation in tensions with Pakistan, analysts say, even as Islamabad cautions against any knee-jerk reaction.(AFP/Pedro Ugarte)

On Saturday, Singh called a meeting of India’s army, navy and air force chiefs.

But while India would like to lean heavily on Islamabad to ensure it delivers on repeated promises to prevent Pakistani territory being used for anti-India activities, analysts say the government’s options are limited.

Former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra said New Delhi would be constrained by a lack of proof that Islamabad had any direct role in the attacks.

“There is little to suggest that the gunmen were sponsored by the Pakistani government,” Mishra said.

The scale and style of the assaults — involving multiple targets and hostage-taking — bore “the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda attacks in the Middle East and North Africa,” Mishra said.

“These are new elements that differentiate the Mumbai attacks from the parliament attack.”

In 2001, gunmen from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group attacked the Indian parliament, resulting in the complete rupture of diplomatic ties and pushing the rivals to the brink of war.

Former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal all but ruled out the possibility of India resorting to any cross-border military response.

“The Indian leadership would have to weigh very carefully the consequences of using the military option in the wider context of peace and stability in the region,” Sibal said.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari appealed for calm on Saturday and argued that any increase in Indo-Pakistan tensions would be a victory for the extremists.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081
130/wl_sthasia_afp/india
attackspakistandiplomacy_081130060432