Archive for the ‘Taliban’ 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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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

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: Taliban Ground Attacks Continue on NATO, U.S. Supplies

December 1, 2008

Militants in northwestern Pakistan attacked trucks ferrying supplies to NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Monday, killing two people and destroying a dozen vehicles, witnesses and police said.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber killed eight people and wounded 40 others at a military checkpoint in the region’s Swat Valley, police said.

By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press Writer

A Pakistani examines burnt trucks caused by insurgents' attack ... 
A Pakistani examines burnt trucks caused by insurgents’ attack at the Fasial terminal in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday, Dec. 1, 2008. Insurgents attacked the terminal used by trucks ferrying supplies to NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan on Monday, destroying three and wounding one person, police and a witness said.(AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)

The spasm of violence comes amid a spike in tensions between Pakistan and rival India over last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai, which New Delhi has blamed on Pakistani militants.

Pakistan has condemned the attacks and vowed to crack down on the perpetrators if New Delhi provides evidence. But there are fears that tensions could nevertheless boil over between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The attack on the U.S.-led coalition trucks took place at a terminal in Peshawar, which sits along the supply route from Pakistan to Afghanistan. The city has seen an upsurge in violence in recent weeks, including the slaying of an American working on a U.S.-funded aid project.

Several gunmen fired rockets and automatic weapons at the Faisal terminal, killing a driver and a clerk and destroying 12 trucks, said police officer Ahsanullah Khan.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081201/ap_on_re_as/as_
pakistan;_ylt=AhPtU2i3Cs8RFrbrYw48Z2qs0NUE

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

Obama’s strong-willed national security team

November 30, 2008
With Clinton as secretary of State, retired Marine Gen. James Jones Jr. as national security advisor and Gates remaining in Defense, Obama will have a choice among often starkly differing views.
By Paul Richter
The Los Angeles Times
November 30, 2008
Reporting from Washington — President-elect Barack Obama says he wants to lead an administration where strong-willed senior officials are ready to argue forcefully for differing points of view.

It appears that in two months, he’ll get his wish, and then some.

Obama’s new national security team is led by three veteran officials who have differed with each other — and with the president-elect — on the full menu of security issues, including Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, nuclear weapons and Arab-Israel conflict.

The president-elect is expected on Monday to begin introducing a team that includes Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), whom he has chosen as secretary of State; retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones Jr., tapped to be the new national security advisor; and Robert M. Gates, who has agreed to stay on as Defense secretary.

Clinton, Gates, Jones

Carolyn Kaster / AP; Roslan Rahman / AFP/Getty Images; Dennis Cook / AP
THE TEAM: No longer a rival, Clinton and Obama hold similar positions on many issues. Gates, center, is admired by the Obama team despite significant differences over nuclear weapons policy. Jones has separated himself from the Obama playbook on a few issues, including troop withdrawal.

Their collaboration isn’t likely to be as contentious as the first-term Bush administration battles between Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney. Clinton, Gates and Jones have worked smoothly, with the only visible clashes coming between Clinton and Gates’ deputies over Iraq.

But Obama will have some clear choices among their views, which differ in nuance in some cases and more starkly in others. Obama appears to be determined to keep them in line; advisors say he believes the Pentagon has become too strong in the Bush years, and he wants to reassert White House control.

Some American supporters of Israel have already been buzzing over the potential for conflict between Clinton and Jones on Arab-Israeli issues.

Jones, an admired former Marine commandant and supreme allied commander of NATO, was appointed last November as a Bush administration envoy charged with trying to improve the often dysfunctional Palestinian security forces. As part of that assignment, he drafted a report that caused a stir in Israel by criticizing the Israeli Defense Forces’ activities in the Palestinian territories.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-security30-2008nov30,0,7160819.story

Taliban Leader Dressed As A Woman Captured in Afghanistan

November 29, 2008

Gunbattles and airstrikes by NATO and Afghan troops killed 53 militants in Afghanistan, including a wanted Taliban commander who tried to hide from soldiers under a woman’s burqa, officials said Saturday.

The U.S. forces targeting the commander surrounded a house Friday in Ghazni province and ordered everyone inside to leave, a military statement said.

Associated Press

Six women and 12 children left the building, but while soldiers were questioning the women they discovered one was actually a man dressed in a burqa, the traditional all-encompassing dress that most Afghan women wear. The man, later identified as the targeted commander Haji Yakub, tried to attack the soldiers and was killed, the military said.

Above: These could be male Taliban terrorists?

Yakub allegedly directed roadside bomb and suicide attacksagainst Afghanistan’s government and coalition forces in Ghazni, according to the statement. Three other militants were killed in the operation, it said.

Meanwhile, Afghan and coalition forces killed 33 militants when their patrol came under attack in southern Helmand province Friday, a military statement said. The troops responded to the attack with gunfire and air support, it said.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,459025,00.html

Mumbai Terror Attack: Why Wasn’t Intelligence Better?

November 29, 2008

It is the big question: Could more have been done to prevent the Mumbai massacre?

While terrorism experts say Indian special forces performed with remarkable bravery and professionalism in their battle with the terrorists, they believe the attacks should — and could — have been thwarted by better intelligence.

Professor Paul Wilkinson lectures in international relations at the University of St. Andrews and is joint editor of the academic journal Terrorism and Political Violence.

SKY News (UK)

He told Sky News: “We have to accept there was an intelligence failure. They should have nipped this in the bud but it wasn’t on their radar. Intelligence doesn’t come out of this very well. This was a major operation with lots of people involved. It wasn’t just a cell; there were teams of gunmen — lots of well trained people. A large number of people must have been in the know about this attack.”

Former SAS trooper Robin Horsfall, who took part in the storming of the Iranian embassy in 1980, also believes the international intelligence community should have known the attacks were being planned.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,459093,00.html

Indian soldiers take cover during a military operation at the ... 
Indian soldiers take cover during a military operation at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai. Commandos Saturday killed the last remaining gunmen in Mumbai’s Taj hotel to end a devastating attack by Islamic militants on India’s financial capital that left 195 dead, including 27 foreigners.(AFP/Pedro Ugarte)

Pakistan Withdraws Offer To Send Security Chief to India To Assist In Mumbai Investigation

November 29, 2008

Pakistan on Saturday withdrew an offer to send its spy chief to India to help investigate the Mumbai terrorist attacks, damaging efforts to head off a crisis between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian officials have linked the attacks to “elements” in Pakistan, raising the prospect of a breakdown in painstaking peace talks between South Asian rivals that has alarmed the U.S.

An Indian soldier runs to take cover in front of the Taj Mahal ... 
An Indian soldier runs to take cover in front of the Taj Mahal hotel as Indian troops and militants battle 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/David Guttenfelder)

However, Washington also kept up the pressure on Pakistan with a suspected missile strike on an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold near the Afghan border that reportedly killed two people.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted on Friday that his country was not involved in the carnage that left more than 190 people dead in India’s financial capital.

With Pakistan promising to help identify and apprehend those responsible, Gilani‘s office said the head of the Inter Services Intelligence agency would go to India at the request of India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh.

However, Zahid Bashir, a spokesman for Gilani, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the decision had been changed and that a lower-ranking intelligence official would travel instead.

He declined to explain the about-face, which followed sharp criticism from some Pakistani opposition politicians and a cool response from the army, which controls the spy agency.

Bashir didn’t say who would be making the trip or when.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081129/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_india_10