Archive for the ‘Pakistani’ Category

Top U.S. Spy: Mumbai Terror Came From Radical Pakistani Islamic Militant Group

December 3, 2008

Yesterday what India has been saying was verified by the top U.S. spy: the bloodshed and terror in Mumbai was caused by Lashkar-e-Taiba.  A spokesman for the Pakistan-based group denied any involvement in the Mumbai atrocities.  Lashkar-e-Taiba or     is one of the    shadowy Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda that the U.S. and the rest of Western intelligence has been watching and fighting since September 11, 2001….

The radical Islamic group, whose name means “Army of the Pious,” has past links to both Pakistani intelligence and Al-Qaeda.


US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell late Tuesday blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba for the deadly attacks in Mumbai, the first time a US official publicly fingered the group.

“The same group that we believe is responsible for Mumbai had a similar attack in 2006 attack on a train and killed a similar number of people,” said McConnell, speaking at Harvard University. “Go back to 2001 and it was an attack on the parliament.”

McConnell did not mention Lashkar-e-Taiba by name, but the group, which fought Indian rule in divided Kashmir, is notorious for a deadly assault on the Indian parliament in 2001. That attack pushed New Delhi and Islamabad to the brink of war.

By Carlos Hamann, AFP

US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, pictured ...
US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, pictured in February, 2008, on Tuesday blamed the group Lashkar-e-Taiba for last week’s deadly attacks in Mumbai.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)

The radical Islamic group, whose name means “Army of the Pious,” has past links to both Pakistani intelligence and Al-Qaeda.

McConnell, the top US intelligence official, said he did not see the Mumbai attack as a new form of terrorism.

“If you examine the groups we think are responsible, the philosophical underpinnings are very similar to what Al-Qaeda puts out as their view of how the world should be. It is a continuation,” he said.

About 10 gunmen landed in rubber dinghies in Mumbai and wreaked havoc with automatic weapons and hand grenades, in an assault that killed at least 188 people and injured more than 300. The dead included 22 foreign nationals.

In his speech, McConnell emphasized the difficulty in fighting shadowy Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“Democratic systems that promote free speech and free movement and open discussion are incredibly vulnerable to someone who is willing to die in the context of a suicide bomber or a suicide attack,” McConnell said.

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Russian Expert Says Mumbai Attackers Trained By US Funded Pakistanis

November 30, 2008

A top Russian counter-terrorism expert on Sunday underlined that the Mumbai attackers were not “ordinary terrorists” and were probably trained by the special operations forces set up in Pakistan by the US intelligence prior to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

By The Times of India

“The handwriting and character of the Mumbai events demonstrates that they were not ordinary terrorists,” said Vladimir Klyukin, an Afghan war veteran.

“Behind this terrorist attack there are ‘Green Flag’ special operations forces, which were created by the Americans in Pakistan, just an year before the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and in the initial period were under full US control,” stressed Klyukin, a veteran of the special “Vympel” commando group of the former Soviet KGB.

Pigeons fly near the burning Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai November ... 
Pigeons fly near the burning Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai November 27, 2008.(Punit Paranjpe/Reuters)

He said for such guerrilla operations at least two-three years of preparatory work with the involvement of experienced instructors is required.

Klyukin did not rule out that the Mumbai attackers could have taken part in similar attacks in other regions.

“People from the streets, without any planning and training are simply not able to hold four big complexes in a city so long,” Soviet special services veteran was quoted as saying by largest Russian Interfax news agency.

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Qaeda stung by U.S. pressure in Pakistan: CIA chief

November 14, 2008

U.S. pressure on al Qaeda near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan has put the group “off balance,” but the region remains the biggest terrorism threat to the United States, the CIA’s chief said on Thursday.

Agency Director Michael Hayden also told a Washington think tank he and the head of Pakistan‘s intelligence service, Lt.-Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, shared in a meeting last month common views on how to contain the militant threat.

This was despite heated Pakistani protests over U.S. military strikes inside Pakistan aimed at stopping al Qaeda and Taliban cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

By Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters

Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced ... 
Osama bin Laden remains deeply isolated and has been forced to devote much of his energy to his own security, CIA Director Michael Hayden, pictured in February 2008, said in a speech on Thursday.(AFP/File/Saul Loeb)

“There’s a lot more commonality on how the threat should be dealt with than many people seem to assume,” Hayden told the Atlantic Council of the United States.

There may be Taliban elements the United States could talk to, he said, to fracture its alliance with al Qaeda — a view also expressed by advisers to President-elect Barack Obama.

The United States in recent months has stepped up drone-carried missile strikes against militants inside Pakistan, and in September launched a commando ground attack across the border.

Washington has shrugged off protests from Pakistan, but some experts fear the raid may have undermined Pakistan’s fragile democracy and cooperation with the United States.

Hayden, without acknowledging the strikes or the U.S. role in them, said several veteran al Qaeda fighters and commanders had died over the past year, “by violence or natural causes.”

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US diplomat warns no blank cheque for Pakistan

October 21, 2008

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – The top US diplomat for South Asia met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and warned that international donors would only give carefully targeted aid to the troubled country.

US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher visited Pakistan as its leaders face a growing Islamic militant insurgency and major economic difficulties.

Top US diplomat for South Asia Richard Boucher (left) met Pakistan ...
Top US diplomat for South Asia Richard Boucher (left) met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and warned that international donors would only give carefully targeted aid to the troubled country(AFP/Farooq Naeem)

But Boucher warned that no hand-outs would be available from the “Friends of Pakistan” — a group of nations, including China, the US, Britain and the UAE, which have pledged to help the country to stabilise.

“There is no money on the table,” Boucher told reporters in Islamabad. “The goal is to put the money where it belongs. It is not a cash advance.”

Pakistan has denied being at risk of defaulting on its foreign loans or suffering a balance of payments crisis.

Shaukat Tareen, the new finance adviser to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, repeated at the weekend there was “no danger” of a loan default.

However, he admitted “plan C” was a loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Boucher’s visit came after a series of US missile strikes into the country’s tribal regions that have strained bilateral relations.

He and Zardari had discussed the “war on terror” and Pakistan’s worsening economic problems, a Pakistani government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The United States says insurgents striking international troops in Afghanistan are based in Pakistan’s border tribal belt, and has stepped up its missile attacks since a new government came to power in Islamabad in March.

Ties between the allies were further tested last month by US special forces in Afghanistan launching a raid into Pakistan that killed several Pakistanis.

Zardari has vowed zero tolerance against violations of his country’s sovereignty amid the attacks, which have stoked anti-US sentiment in Pakistan.

In the latest of Pakistan’s own military operations against Islamic militants, at least 12 Taliban were killed when jets and artillery pounded hideouts in a tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said.

The clashes took place in Bajaur, where Pakistani troops and militants linked to Al-Qaeda and Taliban have been engaged in fierce fighting since August.


What We Know About Pakistan’s War Against Terrorists Comes Mostly From Pakistan’s Government

October 18, 2008

One problem with Pakistan’s war against terrorists including al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the Tribal Areas is Pakistan’s set of self imposed restrictions on journalists and foreigners.  Like China, Vietnam and other “closed” societies, Pakistan has decided that what you know about the tribal areas will come only from the Government of Pakistan.  This is why we at Peace and Freedom have ventured into the region and why we so highly value the contributions of Muhammad Khurshid, now fired from his job as a newspaper journalist in Pakistan and “lost” somewhere in the tribal region….

Troops backed by helicopter gunships and artillery pounded militant positions in northwest Pakistan, killing 60 fighters and wounding many others, the military said Saturday.

From the Assoaciated Press

Pakistani soldiers patrol the Najia mountains in the Swat valley. ... 

The assault happened Friday evening in the Swat valley shortly before a senior U.S. official arrived in Pakistan for talks with leaders of a country vital to Western security concerns.

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher held talks in Islamabad on Saturday morning with Pakistan’s Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik and was expected to meet other leaders later in the day. He made no public comment.

U.S. officials, concerned about rising militancy in both nuclear-armed Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, have praised Pakistani efforts to clear Taliban and al-Qaida strongholds near its northwestern frontier.

But militants are mounting stiff resistance including a string of suicide attacks that could fan widespread Pakistani concern that they are paying too high a price for their front-line role in the U.S.-led war on terror.

An army statement said Friday’s offensive killed at least 60 militants and wounded many more near the town of Matta.

It was not immediately possible to independently confirm the casualties. Reporters cannot visit the area because of poor security and government restrictions….

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Supporters of Pakistani Islamist parties burn a U.S. flag, during ... 
Supporters of Pakistani Islamist parties burn a U.S. flag, during a protest rally against U.S. strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the Afghanistan border, in Lahore October 17, 2008.REUTERS/Mohsin Raza (PAKISTAN)

Pakistan Charges American With Illegal Entry, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

(CNN) — Pakistani authorities have charged an American being held in Pakistan’s tribal region with illegal entry and illegal possession of a weapon, the State Department said Friday.

Juddi Kenan Mohamed was arrested Monday at a checkpoint in the northern district of Mohmand near Peshawar as he was trying to enter the area, said Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States.

Mohamed was carrying a U.S. passport and said he was traveling to see a friend in the tribal area near the Afghanistan border, Haqqani said. However, he was detained because all foreigners are required to have a permit to enter such areas.

There is no evidence Mohamed poses a security risk, Haqqani said.

Gordon Duguid, a State Department spokesman, said the U.S. consul general visited Mohamed in Islamabad on Tuesday and is seeking another visit.

The United States is providing “all possible assistance” to Mohamed, including helping him find a lawyer, Duguid said.

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Nearly 190,000 flee fighting in Pakistan

October 15, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Nearly 190,000 people have reportedly fled fighting between Pakistani troops and extremists near the border with Afghanistan, the United Nations said yesterday as fresh clashes in the area killed 17 extremists.

A Pakistani police commando leads a convoy of armed Pakistani ...

A Pakistani police commando leads a convoy of armed Pakistani people on patrol against Islamic militants in Mamoon Khataki Shabqader on the border of the tribal district of Mohmand Agency on October 9, 2008. A Polish engineer kidnapped two weeks ago in Pakistan by suspected Taliban militants appeared in a video address Tuesday urging the release of jailed Taliban fighters.(AFP/File/Tariq Mahmood)

Fighting is spreading across Pakistan’s rugged northwest as the government cracks down on insurgents blamed for attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and a campaign of suicide bombings against military and Western targets within Pakistan.

Most of the clashes are taking place in Bajur, where the Pakistani military launched a big offensive in early August.

The U.N. refugee agency said 20,000 Pakistanis and Afghans had fled Bajur into eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province since the fighting began.

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Severe economic crisis threatens Pakistan’s stability

October 14, 2008

By Saeed Shah, McClatchy Newspapers

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A worsening economic crisis in Pakistan is pushing millions more people into poverty, and experts fear that it could help Islamic extremists recruit new converts.
A Pakistani money-changer counts US dollars in Islamabad on ... 
A Pakistani money-changer counts US dollars in Islamabad on October 8, 2008. Already nearly broke when the global financial crisis took hold, Pakistan now faces further woes that could take the nuclear-armed nation’s security situation closer to the edge, experts said.(AFP/File/Aamir Qureshi)

The crisis began early this year, as democracy was restored after more than eight years of military rule. Now Pakistan’s hard currency reserves have shrunk to $3.5 billion , and without an international rescue package, America’s key ally in the fight against al Qaida is likely to default on foreign debt repayments in the next two months, economic experts said.

Inflation is running at 25 percent, according to official figures, electricity is in short supply, and Pakistan’s currency, the rupee, has been devalued 25 percent against the dollar. Investor confidence has fallen so low that on Monday, police had to surround the Karachi Stock Exchange to protect it from angry investors. The Exchange already had lobbied the government unsuccessfully to be allowed to close for two weeks.

Terrorist acts by Islamist insurgents have accelerated capital flight and discouraged foreign direct investment. Depositors are lined up at banks to withdraw their money or to send it abroad.

“The canvas of terrorism is expanding by the minute,” said Faisal Saleh Hayat , a member of parliament and a former interior minister under Pervez Musharraf , the U.S.-backed former president. “It’s not only ideological motivation. Put that together with economic deprivation and you have a ready-made force of Taliban , al Qaida , whatever you want to call them. You will see suicide bombers churned out by the hundred.”

“In Pakistan , there are a huge proportion of people just above the poverty line. A slight shock in their income can push them below the poverty line,” said Sadia Malik , director of the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Center in Islamabad , the capital. “This is the kind of shock that would have pushed a huge number of people into the poverty trap,”

The prices of wheat, rice and milk have more than doubled in the last year. The price of flour used to make roti bread, the food staple, has jumped from 12 rupees ( 15 cents ) a kilo last year to 28 rupees ( 35 cents ). Economists warn that prices would spiral even higher if Pakistan defaulted on its foreign debt.

Before the crisis, an estimated that 56 million Pakistanis, around a third of the population, already were living below the poverty line….

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Pakistan president heads to China amid strained US ties

October 13, 2008

by Ben Sheppard

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari flies to China on Tuesday seeking economic investment and support for his country as its ties with the United States come under increasing strain.

Pakistan is one of China’s closest allies in Asia, with Beijing seeing the country as a counter-balance to India.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari speaks after a meeting at ... 
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari speaks after a meeting at the 63rd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York September 26, 2008.(Eric Thayer/Reuters)

Islamabad has been a key ally of the United States in its “war on terror,” but that relationship is on rocky ground due to Pakistan’s inability to shut down Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters based in its tribal belt.

Though the four-day visit is Zardari’s first state visit since he assumed office in September, he met US President George W. Bush in New York late last month for the UN General Assembly.

Retired army general Talat Masood told AFP that Zardari was still “learning on the job” and had a difficult diplomatic balancing act to pull off.

“Both the US and China have a strong presence in Pakistan and Zardari will seek to ensure that their joint presence is used to find maximum benefit for the country as it faces further difficult times,” he said.

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Muhammad Reports from Pakistan April 3, 2008

April 2, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I hope you and your team will be alright. Situation in Pakistan as usual is still fluid. It seems that some officials have handed over tribal areas to Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.

I want to bring in your kind notice that terrorists have started recruitments in Bajaur Agency where according to my information Osama bin Laden with his other colleagues have been hiding.

An important meeting of the top brass was held in Islamabad where they discussed operation in tribal areas. Some of the officials have been opposing operation in the areas as they feared after the operation they will be exposed to the world.

According to a report, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kyani held meeting with President Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday after briefing the ruling alliance and federal cabinet on national security.

Earlier, the COAS along with Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Maj. Gen. Shujaa and DG Military Intelligence (MI) Maj. Gen. Nadeem Ejaz briefed the ruling alliance leaders and the cabinet on national security at Prime Minister House.Gen. Kyani also informed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani about the ongoing operation in tribal areas. Co-chairman Pakistan People’s Party Asif Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali of Awami National Party (ANP) and JUI’s Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Advisor of Interior Rahman Malik, PML-N Chief Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan envoy in Washington Mehmood Ali Durrani and the minister for Frontir Regions Najmuddin Khan were also present in the meeting.

Dear Sir, nowadays I am very disturbed as terrorists have been threatening me. I have also been facing some financial problems.

Please pray for me and my family and keep in mind you and your bride are in our thoughts and prayers.

A lot of thanks, as always,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Freed top Pakistani judge wants job back

March 31, 2008
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press Writer

QUETTA, Pakistan – Pakistan‘s deposed chief justice arrived in his hometown Monday to a hero’s welcome as he launched a drive to win back his old job and deal another blow to embattled President Pervez Musharraf.

Pakistan’s new government freed Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and other senior judges last week, more than four months after they were dismissed and put under house arrest by the U.S.-backed president.

Hundreds of flag-waving political activists and black-suited lawyers gathered at Quetta‘s airport to greet Chaudhry as he began the first in a series of trips across the country to build support for the judges’ reinstatement.

“I hope this is an important moment for the revival and independence of the judiciary,” said Nasir Yousafzai, a high court lawyer. “We are on the verge of victory.”

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