September 20, 2011

Russia Military Exercise Postulates Afghan threat

Filed under: Afghanistan — Tags: , — David Isby @ 10:19 am

Russia: Exercise Tsentr-2011 Targets Islamic Terrorist Influx From Afghanistan
Article by Denis Telmanov under rubric “Politics”: “Tsentr-2011 Targeted Tanks at Islamists: Izvestiya Learned Whom Russia Will ‘Fight’ in the Largest Exercise in Central Asia”
Izvestiya Online
Tuesday, September 6, 2011 T19:57:33Z
Journal Code: 9241 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Translated Text
Word Count: 757
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. Photo Anatoliy Zhdanov, Izvestiya

According to the plan of the maneuvers, the simulated enemy of the Russian Armed Forces in Exercise Tsentr-2011 will be bandit forces and other illegal armed force elements (formirovaniye), not regular army units of a fictitious country as was the case earlier in Vostok-2010 and Zapad-2009. Thus, in the maneuvers Russia along with ODKB (Collective Security Treaty Organization –CSTO) partners will rehearse a war against Islamic terrorists, whose influx from Afghanistan following the withdrawal of NATO forces from that country remains the principal threat of the next several years.

They will destroy the “terrorists” with everything there is in the Russian Armed Forces inventory: tanks, helicopters, combat aircraft, and even missiles. Tank and motorized rifle brigades and battalions will be the main striking force. They will pound the “enemy” with the active support of airborne troopers and the Spetsnaz.

“In contrast to exercises against regular units, Tsentr proposes to rehearse more selective actions by the military, including in a city among civilian residents and under conditions of mass disorders,” an Armed Forces spokesman noted.

Such selectiveness will be achieved using the actions of small groups and employing precision-guided munitions and the newest means of command and control, navigation, and communications, including the unified tactical command and control system.

The military acknowledged, however, that the Russian Army does not have sufficient unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), light armored vehicles, and digital command and control systems for maximum effectiveness in local conflicts.

“There are many armored vehicles in the Army, but practically none of the special vehicles with enhanced mine protection needed for transporting personnel and cargoes over mined roads. Individual models are being tested for now,” the Defense Ministry spokesman noted.

It is a similar situation with UAVs: those in the inventory do not allow commanders to view the battlefield with necessary resolution as they should. And there are none of the attack UAVs at all which NATO uses actively in Afghanistan to kill the Taliban.

The military hope that all these shortcomings will be remedied based on results of Tsentr. At any rate, the country’s leadership will take necessary steps for this.

In addition to Russian troops, subunits of the armed forces of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan will be in action in the exercise. These Central Asian states, which cooperate with Russia in the CSTO, directly encounter the threat from radical Islamic organizations and their armed force elements.

“Now we will learn to operate against bandits, looters, and pogromists joined in small groups,” a high-ranking Defense Ministry source explained to Izvestiya.

Recent events in Kyrgyzstan, where there were armed clashes between the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks accompanied by pogroms and pillaging in the summer of last year, add urgency to the exercise. Hundreds of persons died and thousands were wounded.

“The mission of the upcoming exercise is to rehearse actions to stabilize the situation and ensure the state’s integrity on southern borders,” the Izvestiya source added.

Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Deputy Director Konstantin Makiyenko believes the skills received in the upcoming exercise will come in handy for the Russian military in fighting the Taliban.

“That scenario is more than urgent. The upcoming withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan will complicate the situation by freeing up considerable Taliban forces, who with very high likelihood will attempt to extend their influence to the North, provoking interethnic and interreligious clashes in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia — Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Under these conditions Russia will be unable to remain uncommitted: a fire in Central Asia will affect us as well, so we have to prepare for the confrontation already now,” the expert believes.

We will recall that Exercise Tsentr-2011 will take place on seven military ranges of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan at the end of September and beginning of October. Armed forces of CSTO member countries, including subunits of the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (KSOR), will take part.

(Description of Source: Moscow Izvestiya Online in Russian — Website of large-circulation daily that is majority-owned by Yuriy Kovalchuk’s National Media Group and usually supports the Kremlin; URL: http://www.izvestia.ru/)

NATO-India coop to upset Rawalpindi Cantt

Filed under: Pakistan — Tags: — David Isby @ 10:17 am

NATO Seeks India’s Cooperation in Afghanistan, Naval Counter-Piracy Missions
Report by Sujan Dutta: “Nato Collaborate Prod to Delhi”
The Telegraph Online
Friday, September 2, 2011 T11:27:52Z
Journal Code: 672 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 903
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

(Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention)

Lately in Brussels and Mons: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) has urged New Delhi to turn its non-alignment policy on its head and start a strategic dialogue with it building on co-operation in Afghanistan and in naval counter-piracy missions in the Indian Ocean.

Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited New Delhi earlier this year and the deputy secretary general has also briefed Indian foreign ministry officials in talks that have so far been kept low-key. But the 28-nation military alliance would now like India to come out of the closet, as it were.

“It is going to be India’s decision. But it is important to have a dialogue on how India’s concept of its own security and international security fits in with Nato’s concepts,” the US ambassador to Nato, Ivo H. Daalder, told a group of Indian journalists (including The Telegraph) this week at Nato’s political headquarters in Brussels and at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (Shape), the military headquarters in Mons.

“We do that (co-operate with India) already in Afghanistan and in counter-piracy missions and it is now important to strengthen the relationship between India and Nato. Nato has relations with other countries that go farther — Australia, for instance, is now the 10th largest contributor to operations in Afghanistan,” said Daalder.

India was a leader of the Non Aligned Movement, the group of countries that distanced itself from the two military alliances in the Cold War — Nato, led by the US, and the Warsaw Pact, led by the former Soviet Union. The Warsaw Pact dismantled with the demise of the Cold War but Nato expanded itself to include former Soviet Bloc countries and re-invented itself as the largest military alliance that is now engaged in operations in eastern Europe (Kosovo), Libya, the Mediterranean and in Afghanistan.

It has the largest military presence in Afghanistan, where India had substantial strategic and commercial interests, with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Nato has announced that ISAF will hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.

A senior Nato official admitted that despite the tactical co-operation in Afghanistan and in maritime patrols, the Nato-India relationship is “virtually non-existent”. But, he said, Nato officials have been trying to explain to Indian counterparts how co-operation in understanding security concepts — such as ballistic missile defence — could be mutually beneficial.

Accepting that a formal Nato-India relationship would still surprise policy wonks in New Delhi, the official wondered if India “can explain how non-alignment is relevant in 2011”. The official said that there was particular interest in India’s missile defence mechanism.

Nato has been setting up missile defence establishment in southern and eastern Europe primarily as a deterrent to Iran but this, say Nato officials, makes Russia nervous. Nato and Russia have a 10-year dialogue with Russia also maintaining a mission in Shape’s Military Cooperation Division though it is not a member of Nato. A Shape official said this was chiefly to address Russian concerns.

The official said the nature and threats to Nato countries and to India from missile “may be different but there may be similarities in the responses and in access to technology.”

India and the US have shared notes on BMD (ballistic missile defence) separately, just as India has military-to-military relations with other Nato countries but without getting into one with the alliance itself. New Delhi has in fact scaled down its military exercises that give the impression of an alliance-in-the making.

Not since Exercise Malabar in the Bay of Bengal with the US and five other countries who are either members of or strategic partners of Nato has India got into a multinational military drill. Beijing had raised the issue with New Delhi after there was s peculation on whether India and Nato were crafting an “Asian Nato” as a response to China’s growing military stature.

At Nato headquarters in Brussels, senior officials were keen to emphasise that India has not spoken out or acted against the alliance’s interests. Even the Nato air strikes in Libya were enabled by India abstaining from a vote in the US Security Council in February. Nato is now in sight of ending the operations in Libya in which US, British and French air forces bombed Muammar Gaddafi’s troops in “Operation Unified Protector”. Six months since the UNSC resolution, anti-Gaddafi rebels have now all but overrun the Libyan capital in Tripoli and the former dictator has gone into hiding.

(The journalists’ visit for two days of briefings was sponsored by the US government)

(Description of Source: Kolkata The Telegraph online in English — Website of Kolkata’s highest circulation English daily, owned by ABP Group, with a flagship publication Anandabazar Patrika in Bengali. Known for in-depth coverage of east and northeast India issues, and India-Bangladesh relations. Maintains an impartial editorial policy. Circulation 457,100; URL: www.telegraphindia.com)

NWFP governor on insurgency

Filed under: Pakistan — Tags: , — David Isby @ 10:14 am

Governor Commends Pakistan Army for Improving Law, Order Situation in FATA
Report by staff reporter: “Law & order situation better in FATA: Kausar”
Pakistan Observer Online
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 T08:03:17Z
Journal Code: 1092 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 503
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

Peshawar: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor, Barrister Masood Kausar has said, the law and order situation in FATA is far better new as compared to 3 to 4 years back and the government has achieved its targets to a great extent in this respect.

The achievements, he added, have become possible as a result of great sacrifices of the officers and jawans of Pakistan Army as well as the tribal people themselves and whose cooperation to the security forces have also proved of great contribution in this connection.

He further pointed out that the remaining handful of terrorists who are already in the run, where found soft corners; commit their ugly actions of killing innocent citizens and the suicide at Ghundai (Jamrud) in Khyber Agency was the one such example.

He was talking while enquiring after the health of the injured of the suicide bomb blast of jamia mosque of Ghundai (Jamrud) area of Khyber Agency at Khyber Teaching Hospital, Peshawar on Monday. The Political Agent of Khyber Agency, Mr. Mutahir Zeb as well as the management and respective medical specialists of the hospital were also present on this occasion.

The state of cruel mind set of terrorists, the Governor said, could be judged from the fact that they had taken innocent lives through such a barbaric incident in a mosque on Friday and that too during the holy month of Ramzan Mubarak. The Government, he remarked, is already engaged in the fight against terrorists and the sacrifices of the tribes as well, along the officers and men of the Pak Army deserve of great tributes.

Appreciating the services of the management and the medical staff of the hospital in looking after the injured of the bomb blast, the Governor further pointed out that despite the existing rush and pressure of the work, they have been doing their best with utmost devotion and their contribution is no doubt appreciable. He also eulogized the courage and selfless contribution of the residents of the Ghundai area of Khyber Agency for rescuing as well as shifting the injured to hospital without any loss of time.

Barrister Masood Kausar went to each and every patient; enquired after their health and provided them special cash assistance of Rs.35, 000 which also include Rs.10, 000 on his own behalf to each.

(Description of Source: Islamabad Pakistan Observer Online in English — Website of the pro-military daily with readership of 5,000. Anti-India, supportive of Saudi policies, strong supporter of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program. Chief Editor Zahid Malik is the author of books on nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan; URL: http://www.pakobserver.net)

Pakistani brigadier on counter-insurgency

Filed under: Pakistan — Tags: , — David Isby @ 10:13 am

Pakistan: Army Commander — Militants Lost Support Due to ‘Nefarious Designs’
Report by Abdullah Madani: “Militants have lost public support: Brig Nadeem”
Pakistan Observer Online
Monday, August 22, 2011 T05:41:05Z
Journal Code: 1092 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 464
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

Lower Dir–The military commander of sector North Brigadier Nadeem Mirza has said that militants in the region had lost public support due to their inhuman and nefarious designs against the country and its people. He was talking to a French journalist at his office in Balambat the other Today. Commandant Dir Scouts Colonel Kamran Ahmad, Major Younus and other officers were also present on the occasion. Brigadier Nadeem Mirza said that militants who had fled the region had regrouped in the Kunar province of Afghanistan from where different groups of militants had been carrying out physical and mortar attacks on Pakistan soil.

He said Maulana Fazlullah of Swat, Maulana Faqir Muhammad of Bajaur, Hafizullah of Dir and others were now operating from the Kunar area of Afghanistan. “There are some 600 to 700 militants belonging to different areas of Pakistan, left the area when military operations started in Swat, Dir and Bajaur,” the commander said, adding that now these groups had been organized in Afghanistan where they had been provided with arms and cash by anti-Pakistani agencies.

“We have been witnessing a physical attack each week while mortar attacks on every second Today in Dir Upper, Dir Lower and Bajaur agency from across the border,” Mr Nadeem said. The militants, according to official sources crossed over the Pak Afghan border in April, June, July and August this year wherein they attacked security check posts in Maskini Darra, Shaltalo, Nusrat Darra and Mamond.

The sector commander said the authorities had raised the matter of this cross border terrorism during border flag meetings with Nato and Afghan National Army (ANA) times and again but to no avail. He said troops of Frontier Corps were deployed on all border areas to prevent militants’ insurgency from Afghanistan but added that it was not possible to make secure every inch of the so much long border. “There are 54 villages, half the population of which lives in Afghanistan and the other half in Pakistan,” Nadeem Mirza said, adding that militants were still getting information from inside these areas.

(Description of Source: Islamabad Pakistan Observer Online in English — Website of the pro-military daily with readership of 5,000. Anti-India, supportive of Saudi policies, strong supporter of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program. Chief Editor Zahid Malik is the author of books on nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan; URL: http://www.pakobserver.net)

Pakistan – article on TTP in the Tirah

Filed under: Pakistan — Tags: , , — David Isby @ 10:12 am

Pakistan: TTP Militants Quit Parts of Tirah Valley After Talks With Banned Group
Report by staff correspondent: TTP quits parts of Tirah valley after talks with LI
The News Online
Monday, September 5, 2011 T15:52:09Z
Journal Code: 1091 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 476
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

BARA: The militants of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by Tariq Afridi left parts of Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency following successful talks held between the two groups few days ago, local sources said.

The sources said that on the special directives of TTP Chief Hakimullah Mehsud, a militant commander of TTP from Orakzai Agency, Hafiz Saeed, intervened and held talks with the two groups after the militants of LI besieged Zeg hilltop which had been occupied by Tariq group in Mehrban Killay in Tirah valley a week back.

The sources said that the LI offered conditional safe passage to the TTP militants, which was accepted by Tariq Afridi group. “We asked the militants of TTP that they would be allowed safe passage only when they promise that they would stop their operation in our area and would not use it again. So they accepted our condition and we gave them safe exit from Mehrban Killay, Dwatoy and Nakai areas of Tirah valley in Khyber Agency last week,” said a commander of LI seeking anonymity.

The sources said that some four weeks back the militants led by Tariq Afridi opened fire on vehicle of Khitab Gul group in Mehrban Killay in which six militants were killed. Following the incident, Khitab Gul group and Kukikhel tribesmen attacked the positions of TTP militants in Mehrab Killay and killed three associates of Tariq Afridi and demolished their headquarters and three houses.

A week later 12 militants belonging to Tariq group were killed in a remote-controlled bomb assault and rocket fire on their vehicles in Tor Darra and Takhokas area of Tirah valley. The sources added that Arif Khan, senior commander of Tariq group and a would-be suicide bomber, were among the dead. However, independent reports did not confirm the incident.

The infuriated Tariq Afridi held LI responsible for the assault and took over some three positions from it after an attack including Zeg and Serai hilltops in Mehrban Killay and Dwatoy areas populated by Kukikhel Afridi tribe in Tirah valley. However, LI has been denying its involvement in the killing of 12 TTP militants.

(Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English — Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/)

Bamiyan – Report on Taliban violence

Filed under: Afghanistan — Tags: , , , — David Isby @ 10:10 am

aleban kill three Afghan police personnel in central Bamian Province
Afghan Islamic Press
Friday, September 2, 2011 T14:55:27Z
Journal Code: 7950 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Translated Text
Word Count: 404
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

Text of report by private Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency

Kabul, 2 September: Three police personnel have been killed in a Taleban attack in Bamian Province. Three police personnel and a civilian have been killed in an attack by the armed opponents in Bamian Province. The crime branch police chief of Bamian Province, Chaman Ali, has told Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) that late last evening, 1 September, armed Taleban attacked a Ranger police vehicle in an area between Saighan and Kohmard districts of the province, as a result of which three police personnel and a civilian onboard the vehicle were killed.

He added: The Taleban struck the Ranger with a rocket launcher, as a result of which the vehicle was totally destroyed.

Chaman Ali said that no one had been detained in this connection yet, but made it clear that an investigation had been launched to find out how the Taleban managed to reach those areas enjoying good security.

Although Chaman Ali said that three police personnel had been killed in the attack, the Bamian governor spokesman Abdorrahman Ahmadi has told the media that four police soldiers, including a police officer, had been killed, and a civilian wounded, in the attack.

The Taleban have not yet commented on this, but their spokesman Zabihollah Mojahed has told AIP that last evening, 1 September, the Taleban attacked a police vehicle with landmine in the Tala wa Barfak District of Baghlan Province, killing seven police personnel.

It is worth pointing out that the Saighan and Kohmard districts of Bamian Province borders Tala wa Barafk District of Baghlan Province.

(Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto — Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans, that describes itself as an independent “news agency” but whose history and reporting pattern reveal a perceptible pro-Taliban bias; the AIP’s founder-director, Mohammad Yaqub Sharafat, has long been associated with a mujahidin faction that merged with the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate” led by Mullah Omar; subscription required to access content; http://www.afghanislamicpress.com)

Recent Pakistani article on Baluchistan situation

Filed under: Pakistan — Tags: , — David Isby @ 10:08 am

Pakistan Article Says Peace in Balochistan Can be Restored Through Dialogues
Article by Khalid Khokhar: “Balochistan: a hotpot of conspiracies”
The News Online
Friday, August 26, 2011 T08:14:26Z
Journal Code: 1091 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 1,443
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

Amongst all four unified provinces of Pakistan, Balochistan being the

largest province is endowed with some of the world’s richest reserves of natural energy (gas, oil, coal); minerals (gold, copper), having strategic mountainous borders adjoining Iran and Afghanistan on the west and a coast stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea in the south. Unfortunately, the peace of this most beautiful and once calm province turned into a hotpot of conspiracies, militancy and arson hatched by foreign vested interests. Some of the key players that emerged in the region are: (a) Apart from countering Chinese influence, the United States is showing immense interest in Balochistan about the activities of the Taliban council in Balochistan, known as the “Quetta Shura” — an effective sleeping cell of al-Qaeda group.

The most recent statement of US Ambassador Cameron Munter that Balochistan is very significant for the United States, is probably due their belief that senior al-Qaeda leaders Mullah Omar and Ayman al-Zawahiri are hiding on Balochistan soil. (b) Three tribal Sardars (Marri, Bugti and Mengal) in complicity of nationalist insurgent groups including Lashkar-e-Balochistan (LeB), Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) and Balochistan Republican Army (BRA), & Taliban council, are attacking on FC posts, gas pipelines, bridges, railway tracks and killed innocent citizens in Balochistan. (c) Indian meddling in Balochistan’s internal affairs with the intention to extent their zone of influence in the Central Republics. To capture the market, India wanted to stop Pakistan from becoming a hub of economic activity. (d) And last but not the least, human rights organizations are accomplishing the aims of foreign vested interests via highlighting the so-called miseries of Balochis, like disappearances, political victimization, displacement due to military operations, etc.

Even a cursory browsing at internet regarding Balochistan would provide sufficient background knowledge about Balochistan imbroglio. Nonetheless, an introspective study on Balochistan affairs would apprise that the conflict in Balochistan is essentially about three issues. First, Balochs have grievances against the federal government, which relate to exploitation of natural resources, in particular gas, without adequate compensation and unfairly low share in the award of National Finance Commission. Second, the Baloch people also fear that the mega projects, in particular the Gwadar port city, would invite an influx of population from other provinces reducing the ethnic Baloch to a minority at some stage. They also complain about injustice in the grant of employment and fear that the benefits of the mega projects would go to outsiders. Third, building of cantonments in the three most sensitive areas of Balochistan: Sui, with its gas-producing installations; Gwadar, with its port; and Kohlu, the “capital” of the Marri tribe.

Apart from the direct foreign vested interests in the region, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) once known for its objective reporting, is inadvertently falling into the labyrinth of others agenda, without realizing the negative fallouts on the law and order situation of Balochistan. The HRCP’s head Zohra Yusuf, President of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Asma Jahangir, Hina Jilani and Secretary General IA Rehman, have accused Pakistan Army and its coordinating departments responsible for extra-judicial killings, bullet ridden corpses and missing persons’ cases in Balochistan. According to the report, FC personnel had literally taken over the whole province and did not listen or talk to the inhabitants of the area under their control. The report exhorted people of Balochistan to raise their voice against the law enforcing agencies for the sake of their rights.

Asma Jahangir alleged that during the one-year period, only in Khuzdar more than 33 bodies were found, which could not be recognized, while the number of missing persons is more than 140. Howev er, the official figure of missing persons is placed at 46, who are being traced. The HRCP’s reports about Balochistan is as an attempt to destabilise and malign Pakistan. The BLA (Marri), BRA (Bugti) and BLF led by Dr Allah Nazar, are the leading elements involved in militant activities as these organisations are playing in the hands of foreign elements. The militants are not visible and launched attacks on vehicles, installations and crowds from their hideouts.

ISPR Director-General Maj Gen Athar Abbas called for probing the funding of these organisations as this could be traced back to those forces, which want to destabilise Pakistan. In the past, many attempts were made to belittle the image of Army by preparing a video that show men impersonated in Army uniform, beating a person to death who is wearing Balochi dress.

Balochistan government has termed the HRCP report as a pack of lies. Although the situation is alarming all over the world, there is nothing to worry about Balochistan as the allegations by human rights organizations are untrue and biased. Rejecting the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, Inspector General of Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan, Major General Obaidullah Khan said that the report tried to malign the law enforcement agencies by not projecting their good deeds. The people of Balochistan have complete confidence in the credibility of the law enforcing force which functions in accordance with the law and orders of the government.

According to military statistics, 800 innocent people had lost their lives while more than 1,300 civilians and law enforcers were injured in rocket and mines attacks during the last 18 months but, these incidents had not been mentioned in the report. The FC is not involved in any extra-constitutional or extra-judicial activities. To project the law enforcement forces in a bad light is in the interest of such human rights organizations. The civil society and media must understand that the situation in Balochistan in its true perspective and project sincere efforts of the institutions concerned in a positive way to improve the situation. The role of the Pakistan armed forces has been commendable in protecting the country from both external and internal threats. The decision by the COAS Gen. Kayani that no new cantonment would be established in Balochistan against the wishes of its people is much appreciated.

On the aspect of participation in national defence to the people as well as help in overcoming the unemployment problem, at least 4,000 Baloch youths have already joined the army and 5,000 more would be recruited this year. The qualifications, selection criterion and age limits have been relaxed to accommodate large number of youth from Balochistan. As per the government policy, thousands of contractual and daily wages employees have been regularized. Pakistan Army is opening army medical college, institute of technology in Gwadar and military college in Sui would also provide modern education facilities to Baloch youth and remove their sense of alienation.

The PPP-led government’s decision to address the grievances with the more focus on negotiation with armed militants, is a step towards right direction. The decision of the government to withdraw cases against annoyed Baloch leaders will go a long way in building confidence amongst all the stockholders. Once, the much needed reforms are implemented in true letter and spirit then, it becomes easy to settle the political and provincial autonomy disputes through a policy of reconciliation and mutual accommodation. The meaningful dialogue process with all the stakeholders will bring perpetual peace in the province.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has reiterated his offer of dialogue to exiled Baloch nationalist leaders. In this connection, several local mediators (philanthropists, scholars, politicians, teachers, etc.) renowned for their highest sense of honour and integrity, are being requested to persuade Baloch leadership to demonstrate its commitment to move toward s a “meaningful dialogue” with the district administration for addressing present and all the pending issues. These mediators will seek to heal relations between opposing sides by uncovering all pertinent facts, and will help create a process of listening/healing psychological wounds that may afflict the victims of injustice. If nothing else, it can help the nation address past grievances and move forward with unity, resolve and confidence.

(Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English — Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/)

Musharraf’s 9/11 anniversary article

Filed under: Pakistan — Tags: — David Isby @ 10:06 am

Pakistan ex Ruler Musharraf Defends His Move To Support War on Terror After 9/11
Article by Pervez Musharraf: “I Stand by my Decision”
The News Online
Sunday, September 11, 2011 T10:09:32Z
Journal Code: 1091 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 1,763
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

It was a day that changed the world. Pakistan was deeply affected by the event that took place 10 years ago today. Many in Pakistan believe that we might have been better off if we had not complied with the United Nations resolutions. I am afraid these critics have little or no knowledge of history and on ground facts as they existed then. It may be instructive to revisit the events and the rationale behind our decision to comply with UN resolutions passed in the wake of that most traumatic event.

On another fateful day, nearly two years earlier, my military secretary had whispered into my ear that the pilot of my flight wanted me in the cockpit; that information had led to the hijacking crisis. On this day too, he came up to me during an important meeting with the Karachi corps commander and whispered that an aircraft had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. As we watched in horror the second plane crashing into the second tower, I knew that the world as we knew it would change and I mentally braced myself for what I knew would be a make-or-break period in our history.

Smoke from the burning aircraft fuel and the dust and debris from the largest building in the world made the scene look like a nuclear explosion. A multitude of thoughts raced through my mind. The world’s most powerful country had been attacked on its own soil, with its own aircraft used as missiles. This was a great tragedy and a great blow to the ego of the superpower. America was sure to react violently, like a wounded bear. If the perpetrator turned out to be Al-Qaeda, then that wounded bear would come charging straight at us.

Sure enough, the next morning the call came. My friend Gen Colin Powell was absolutely candid: “You are either with us or against us.” This was a blatant ultimatum. But forewarned is forearmed, and I was ready for this important call. Contrary to some published reports, that conversation did not go into specifics. I told him that we were with the United States against terrorism, having suffered from it for years, and would fight along with his country against it. I had time to think through exactly what might happen next. It was also communicated to me that “if Pakistan was against the United States then it should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age.”

I would also like to clear the notion that we accepted all the demands put forward by the US. We did not.

I analysed the situation and took stock of the potential realities. I made a dispassionate analysis of our options, weighing the pros and cons. My complete focus was on ensuring that Pakistan was not at the wrong end of a long and bloody reprisal, and to try and steer it through that most turbulent period with as little damage as possible. I also wanted to do the right thing.

What options did the US have to attack Afghanistan? It wasn’t possible from the north, through Russia and the Central Asian Republics. Nor from the west, through Iran. The only viable direction was from the east, through Pakistan. If we did not agree, India was ready to afford all support.

A US-India nexus would obviously have to trample Pakistan to reach Afghanistan. Our airspace and land would have been violated. Should we then have pitched our forces, especially the Pakistan Air Force, against the combined might of the US and Indian forces? India would have been delighted with such a response from us. This would surely have been a foolhardy, rash and most unwise decision. Our strategic interests – our nuclear capability and the Kashmir cause – would have been irreparably compromised. Indeed, we might have put our very territorial integrity at risk.

The economic consequences of confronting the United States and the entire West would also have been devastating. Pakistan’s major exports and imports and investments are linked to the United States and the European Union. Our textiles – 60 percent of our export earnings – go to the West. Any sanction on these would have crippled our industry and choked our economy.

China, our great friend, also has serious apprehensions about Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The upsurge of religious extremism emboldening the East Turkestan Islamic Movement in China is due to events in Afghanistan and the tribal agencies of Pakistan. China would certainly not be too happy if Pakistan sided with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Even the Islamic Ummah had no sympathy for the Taliban regime. Turkey and Iran were certainly against the Taliban. The UAE and Saudi Arabia – the only two countries other than Pakistan that had recognised the Taliban regime – had become so disenchanted with the Taliban that they had closed their missions in Kabul.

This is how I analysed the losses and harms we would suffer if we took an anti-US stand. At the same time, I was obviously not unmindful of the socio-economic and military gains that would accrue to my country from an alliance with the West.

On Sept 13, 2001, the US ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlain, brought me a set of seven demands. These demands had also been communicated to our foreign office.

1. Stop Al-Qaeda operatives at your borders, intercept arms shipments through Pakistan and end all logistical support for Bin Laden.

2. Provide the United States with blanket overflight and landing rights to conduct all necessary military and intelligence operations.

3. Provide territorial access to the United States and allied military intelligence as needed and other personnel to conduct all necessary operations against the perpetrators of terrorism and those that harbour them, including the use of Pakistan’s naval ports, air bases and strategic locations on borders.

4. Provide the United States immediately with intelligence, immigration information and databases and internal security information to help prevent and respond to terrorist acts perpetrated against the United States, and its friends and allies.

5. Continue to publicly condemn the terrorist acts of Sept 11 and any other terrorist acts against the United States and its friends and allies and curb all domestic expressions of support (for terrorism) against the United States, its friends and its allies.

6. Cut off all shipments of fuel to the Taliban and any other items and recruits, including volunteers en route to Afghanistan, who can be used in a military offensive capacity or to abet a terrorist threat.

7. Should the evidence strongly implicate Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan and should Afghanistan and the Taliban continue to harbour him and his network, Pakistan will break diplomatic relations with the Taliban government, end support for the Taliban and assist the United States in the aforementioned ways to destroy Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network.

Some of these demands, such as “curb all domestic expressions of support (for terrorism) against the United States, its friends, and its allies,” were ludicrous. How could my government suppress public debate when I had been trying to encourage freedom of expression?

I also thought that asking us to break off diplomatic relations with Afghanistan was neither realistic nor in our interest. The United States too would need us to have access to Afghanistan, at least till the Taliban fell. Also, such decisions are the internal affair of a country and cannot be dictated by anyone. We had no problem with curbing terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. In fact, we had been itching to do so even before the United States became its victim.

Thus, we had problems only with demands two and three. How could we allow the United States “blanket overflight and landing rights” without jeopardising our strategic assets? I offered only a narrow flight corridor that was far from all sensitive areas. Neither could we give the United States “use of Pakistan’s naval ports, air bases, and strategic locations on borders.” We refused to give any naval port or fighter-aircraft bases. We allowed the United States only two bases – Shamsi in Balochistan and Jacobabad in Sindh – and only for logistics and aircraft recovery. No attack could be launched from there. We gave no “blanket permission” for anything.

The rest of the demands we could live with.

I took it to the cabinet. I met with a cross-section of society. Between Sept 18 and Oct 3, I met intellectuals, top editors, leading columnists, academics, tribal chiefs, students and labour union leaders. I also met with a delegation from China and discussed the decision with them. Then I went to army garrisons all over the country and talked to the soldiers. I thus developed a broad consensus on my decision.

I am happy that the US government accepted our counter-proposal without any fuss. I am shocked at the aspersion being cast on me: that I readily accepted all preconditions of the United States during the telephone call from Colin Powell.

I have laid down the rationale of my decision in all its details. Even with the benefit of hindsight, I do not regret it. It was the correct decision and very much in the interest of Pakistan.

As head of state, I faced many challenges and had to take many difficult decisions. This was easily the most difficult one. I am convinced that it was the right decision and I am confident the majority of my countrymen also think so. I can say, hand on heart, that in all matters I always kept the interest of Pakistan above all else. My motto is, has been, and, Inshallah, always will be “Pakistan First.”

The writer is a former chief of the army staff and president of Pakistan.

(Description of Source: Islamabad The News Online in English — Website of a widely read, influential English daily, member of the Jang publishing group. Neutral editorial policy, good coverage of domestic and international issues. Usually offers leading news and analysis on issues related to war against terrorism. Circulation estimated at 55,000; URL: http://www.thenews.com.pk/)

AFP Article on British Taliban

Filed under: Transnational Terrorism — Tags: — David Isby @ 10:03 am

British Court Jails Ex-Taliban, Former British Soldier for Jihad Recruitment
“British Court Jails Ex-Taliban Fighter for Jihad Recruitment” — AFP headline
AFP (North European Service)
Friday, September 9, 2011 T16:37:48Z
Journal Code: 2131 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 568
Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

LONDON, Sep 9, 2011 (AFP) — A British former Taliban fighter who sought to recruit Muslims to travel to Afghanistan and attack NATO soldiers was jailed for life on Friday (9 September) by a court in England.
Pakistani-born British citizen Munir Farooqi radicalised young men in Manchester, northwest England, using an Islamic bookstall as cover before trying to persuade them to fight with the Taliban in war-torn Afghanistan.
But anti-terrorism police caught the 54-year-old ringleader and two others after infiltrating their group and carrying out a year-long undercover operation, prosecutors told Manchester Crown Court.
Farooqi told undercover police officers they could become martyrs fighting in the Afghan jihad, or holy war, the court heard. It is not known if he succeeded in persuading anyone to travel to Afghanistan.
Judge Richard Henriques on Friday handed Farooqi four life terms with a minimum of nine years in jail before he can be considered for parole, while his co-defendants were given shorter prison sentences.
“You are in my judgment a very dangerous man, an extremist, a fundamentalist with a determination to fight abroad,” Henriques told Farooqi.
The father-of-three was convicted of preparing for acts of terrorism, three counts of soliciting to murder and one count of dissemination of terrorist publications.
The judge said Farooqi had used his experiences fighting with the Taliban as a “tool of recruitment” with the purpose of enlisting fighters for Afghanistan who were willing to “fight, kill and die” abroad.
“Their victims would be allied forces, including British soldiers,” Henriques said, adding that Farooqi found images of coffins carrying US soldiers draped in the American flag “a source of great amusement.”
Around 140,000 foreign troops, most of them American, form the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force which is battling a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Withdrawals of some of the troops have begun.
Britain is the second largest troop contributor after the United States, with about 9,500 soldiers.
Farooqi was first inspired by the attacks of September 11, 2001, on the United States and within weeks had travelled to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against the US-led force that invaded the country, the court heard.
But he only fought in Afghanistan for several weeks before being captured and imprisoned by anti-Taliban fighters from the Northern Alliance in November 2001. He was freed within several months and returned to Britain.
On his return, Farooqi set up the Islamic bookstall in Manchester and was assisted by co-defendants Matthew Newton, a 29-year-old former British army recruit, and Israr Malik, 23.
In October 2008 he was approached by the two undercover police officers, known only as Ray and Simon.
Malik was also jailed on Friday and told he must serve a minimum of five years in prison before he is considered for parole. Newton was jailed for six years.

(Description of Source: Paris AFP in English — North European Service of independent French press agency Agence France-Presse)

September 7, 2011

Pakistani article on Haqqani network

Filed under: Pakistan — David Isby @ 4:55 pm

Author: Pakistan To Get Nothing From Military Operation Against Haqqani Network
Article by Dr Raja Muhammad Khan: “Haqqani Network: Realistic Assessment”

Pakistan Observer Online
Monday, August 8, 2011 T09:09:13Z
Journal Code: 1092 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: OSC Transcribed Text
Word Count: 1,374

Material in the World News Connection is generally copyrighted by the source cited. Permission for use must be obtained from the copyright holder. Inquiries regarding use may be directed to NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce.

In the process of combating the terrorism, Pakistan and United Sates have worked as partner for a decade now. Surely, none of individuals perpetrated the incident of 9/11, belonged to Pakistan. They all were Arabs and so was OBL or Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, arrested and handed over to US along with over 700 other wanted terrorists by Pakistan. By compulsion under US pressure, or as inevitability, Pakistan sided with U.S in particular and international community in general, after the incident and supported the ISAF in Afghanistan by deploying its Army and Frontier Corps troops all along the Pak-Afghan border. By now, over 150,000 Pakistani regulars are deployed to combat the terrorist activities either emanating from the local militants from the FATA region or else, by the foreign intruders from Afghan soil after US invaded Afghanistan to dislodge the Taliban administration.

Indeed, Pakistan started its Military operations against the foreign intruders and in the process; its troops were retaliated by deadly attacks, and by now over 5000 have embraced martyrdom besides wounding over 10000 troops. In October 2001, once Pakistan sided with US in combating the terrorism as a frontline state, it annoyed its own masses, the Taliban regime and all former Mujahedeen groups, as none of them wanted the US invasion, less Northern Alliance. Precisely, Pakistan rendered a wholehearted support to NATO and U.S without any prejudice. So much so, that the former Afghan Ambassador (of Taliban administration) in Islamabad was also handed over to U.S, against the diplomatic norms. Unfortunately, this was the level of dedication of Pakistan towards US success in Afghanistan.

On its part, the United States has always undermined the Pakistani contributions and the sole super power has been demanding for more; through the ‘do more’ mantra. Lately, US started demanding military operation in North Waziristan Agency, where, U.S felt that, Haqqani network is effectively operating and supporting the counter insurgency in Afghanistan. These demands started in 2008 and accelerated after the successful military operations by Pak Army in Swat and Malakand and South Waziristan Agency. Over the period, US started accusing that, Pakistan Army and its intelligence agencies has a linkage with Haqqani network, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Moulvi Nazir’s set up. Hafiz Gul Bahadur is Madda Khel Wazir and a descendant of Faqir of Ipi. Pakistan rejects such accusations and feels that, NWA is comparatively peaceful area, does not require a military operation. Moreover, Pakistan does have enough forces to operate everywhere to please its coalition partner. U.S portrays the Haqqani Network, as the most dangerous one, whose dislodging is most essential for its success in Afghanistan, as if, it is the only group operating in Afghanistan.

While tracing the history of the Haqqani Network, it is indeed, “a group of militants led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani.” Originally, Haqqanis are from Jadran tribe of Paktia in Afghanistan and have roots in North Waziristan too. There is a controversy, whether, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is still alive, as he was seriously ill, a few years back and has not been seen anywhere. It is said that, he played a significant role in defeating the former Soviet forces in Afghanistan with the help of Pakistan and US. Subsequently, his role was more significant in defeating the Communist forces of Dr. Najibullah in Khost Province in 1991. Indeed, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Sirajuddin Haqani was very close to CIA and ISI, since indirectly he was serving the US aims and objectives. Being close to Taliban leader Mullah Omer, he was a key minister in his Government from 1996 to 2001. As revealed by US officials, after US invasion, Haqqani crossed over to NWA and established its headquarters in Dande Darpa Khel village near Miramshah, just about 10 miles from Pak-Afghan border. Nevertheless, currently, his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani, alias Khalifa is heading this network. According to Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2011, NATO and U.S consider Sirajuddin Haqqani as “one of the most dangerous Taliban commanders in the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan.”

Sirajuddin, in his 30s, has evaded many attempts of arrests by Pakistani security forces and many attempts of arrest and killing by ISAF. U.S has fixed $5 million as the bounty for the arrest or killing of Sirajuddin. The major difference between Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Moulvi Nazir camps and Sirajuddin Haqqani is that, the formers wants that foreign elements should leave the area, whereas, the later is a strong advocate of the foreigners in the area. Since Pakistan wants, the area should be free from the foreign intrusions, therefore, linkages between Haqqani Network and Pakistani security organization is a US misperception. Although, TTP and Haqqani Network are not on the same page, yet, Haqqani’s militants have not even spared Pakistanis and its installations in undertaking terrorist activities. As revealed from the two arrested men of this network, 200 suicide bombers were infiltrated into various cities of Pakistan by this network for deadly bombing, including the suicide ones. This mean, that they do not spare Pakistan in the terror, why should the network be dear to Pakistan.

Until now US has carried out over 290 drone attacks killing thousands of innocent people and seriously compromising the sovereignty of the country. Most of these attacks targeted Haqqani Network; therefore, Pakistan feels that, presence of Haqqans and other foreigners in its soil is posing a serious domestic threat for it, thus why should we support such elements. The significant feature of the CIA driven drone attacks have been that these are focused against Haqqanis and Hafiz Gul Bahadur or else Moulvi Nazir. These attacks never targeted TTP, the group of Taliban that overtly fight against Pakistani security forces, its innocent civilians and installations. Rather, they get most sophisticated weapons and equipments and financed enormously from Afghan soil. In many cases, weapons confiscated from the TTP terrorists were of NATO or US origin with huge USDs or even Indian currency.

At a time once Pakistani security forces are deployed all along the Pak-Afghan border and almost in all agencies of FATA including NWA, Pakistan cannot afford a military operation in NWA. Any such military operations will many implications. First, the terrain of NWA consists of rugged mountains, generally inhospitable for attackers, thus would need heavy manpower and finances, which is not feasible with current constraint situation. Pakistani forces are engaged in military operations in all agencies of FATA including NWA. Secondly, out of promised $7.5 billion financial support through KLL, US could provide only $500 million so far. Thirdly, the people of the area are already hostile and another major attack would further provoke them against the armed forces and the Government of Pakistan, causing more destabilization all the country. Fourthly, the military operation like Swat would call for a major internal displacement of the locals that again need financial resources and a detailed segregation, both are difficult in this agency.

It is generally very difficult to differentiate between a terrorist and innocent local, as both look alike. Thus shifting the IDPs to settled areas would be amounting to destabilizing those areas too. These implications need to be weighed against the likely gains. A realistic assessment would reveal that there would be no real terms gain from a military operation in NWA, except fulfilling the US desires. The question is for how long we should fulfil US desires. After all, we are a sovereign nation, capable to make decisions in the best national interests of Pakistan, rather obeying the US commandments.

The writer is International Relations analyst.

(Description of Source: Islamabad Pakistan Observer Online in English — Website of the pro-military daily with readership of 5,000. Anti-India, supportive of Saudi policies, strong supporter of Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program. Chief Editor Zahid Malik is the author of books on nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan; URL: http://www.pakobserver.net)

 

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