Would you like an atheist American as Chairman of WAPDA? A white City Nazim for Karachi or for that matter a British Director General of FIA in Punjab? Would you encourage wine shops and dance bars across Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad? How would you react to roving half-naked girls at Constitutional Avenue in Islamabad and at Millennium Mall in Karachi? Just as you don’t want significant titles in your country given to westerners and your way of life swayed by secular thoughts, same is the case in United States, Europe and India. They don’t want their culture altered under the shadow of Islamic civilization.
Archive for the ‘USA’ Category
Before President Hamid Karzai arrives in Washington next month, President Obama has to make clear key decisions on the course of war and peacemaking in Afghanistan.
Neighboring countries and most Afghans believe that the endgame has begun for a post-U.S. Afghanistan. There are just 14 months for the U.S. military surge to show results while Washington simultaneously prepares to begin its July 2011 troop withdrawal and handover to the Afghan government. Already, efforts to jockey for future control of Afghanistan have been seen among Pakistan, India, Iran and even Russia. Several NATO countries eager to withdraw forces are frustrated. It is clear in the region that someone will have to mediate with the Taliban, but in the absence of U.S. leadership, a tug of war is taking place over who will do it, when, how and where.
By allowing foreign militaries a free reign in our tribal belt to kill hundreds of innocent Pakistanis, Pakistan is committing the same mistake as Putin’s, who initially did well a decade ago by crushing the rebellion in Chechnya but now is creating more rebels because of highhandedness. Also, Pakistan has no business eliminating the Afghan Taliban, who survived the 2001 war thanks to US mismanagement. The problem should be solved inside Afghanistan, not Waziristan.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—It was brave on the part of Pakistan army chief to publicly apologize for mistakenly bombing and killing tens of innocent Pakistanis in a Khyber Agency village. In a similar incident in 2006 during the reign of his predecessor, where a US missile killed up to 80 children in a school, the action was not only defended but the Pakistani military was forced to own it, giving the first signal to everyone that innocent Pakistanis can be killed with impunity as part of the war on terror. Since then, more than a thousand innocent Pakistanis have lost their lives as collateral damage in these ‘successful’ drone attacks. This would remain one of the darkest spots in our history where our rulers shirked their responsibility for the protection of every Pakistani citizen on our soil.
Washington: Arguing that some tactical successes will not defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, a top US thing tank has sought opening of talks with the militant group but said India should not be included in any such parleys as it would antagonise Pakistan, in particular its Army.
“The negotiating framework should be determined during a secret contact phase mediated by the Pakistani Army prior to the strictly diplomatic phase conducted under UN auspices,” the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in a report yesterday.
- Disappeared on March 25th alongwith Colonel Imam.
- Never-heard-before outfit called ‘Asian Tigers’ demand US$ 10m and Mullah Baradar in exchange for release.
- Afghan Taliban distance themselves from kidnapping; Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says they are working for release of Colonel Imam and Khalid Khwaja
The following are five video clips sent to Asia Times Online featuring Khalid Khawaja, who is speaking in Urdu. Video files are approximately 2.5Mb each in MOV format. Please click here to download the clips: 1 2 3 4 5 [Right Click > Save As]
ISLAMABAD – Retired squadron leader Khalid Khawaja, a former Inter-Services Intelligence official and a close friend of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during the resistance in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 1980s, has explained in videos sent to Asia Times Online how he was on a mission to broker a deal between militants and the army when he was captured by militants, and how he played a double game by deceiving a radical cleric into being arrested.
Syed Fawad Ali Shah
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan–Private US defense contractors held Pakistani and Afghan citizens kidnapped from Pakistani tribal territory inside the building of the US Consulate in Peshawar when it was attacked by armed men on April 5.
Immediately after the attack, US diplomats and employees in the consulate were shifted to the American-run Khyber Club in the University Town suburb of Peshawar. US military and intelligence personnel moved the detained Pakistanis and Afghans to Islamabad, either to the US Embassy building or to one of its several safe houses in the Pakistani capital.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has been attacking Chinese, Sri Lankan and Pakistani citizens during the past five years. This was a rare attack against US interests by the group.
Sources in several Pakistani security agencies in Peshawar knew of US activities and considered them part of US help to Pakistan to fight terrorists. But it is not clear if US personnel had the authority to nab Pakistani citizens or any other nationals on Pakistani soil.
ISLAMABAD – The controversial LNG contract awarded to a Dutch company, a suo moto application against which was moved in Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday, was tendered despite opposition from the relevant quarters, its is credibly learnt.
According to the details, the lucrative contract for re-gasification and terminal installation at Port Qasim Authority (PQA) Karachi awarded to 4Gas in January this year. It was handed over to the company by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet despite opposition from some members during the meeting. TheNation on April 17 had published a news story quoting media reports carried by some sections of foreign media exposing direct links between CIA and Carlyle Group that owns 4Gas.
Further probe into the matter reveals that in the January’s meeting of ECC, two government officials had expressed their reservations regarding the award of particular contract to 4Gas on the grounds that the company was owned by Carlyle Group and its notorious reputation and affiliation with CIA might drew resentment and opposition in Pakistani public and media.
United States, Britain, Canada and Australia warned their citizens of serious security risk and terror threat in India. The current situation raises serious concerns over Indian hosting of Commonwealth Games 2010 and the Cricket World Cup.
New Delhi – Australia and Britain on Thursday warned tourists of the increased risk of militant attacks in New Delhi, joining Canada and the US, which have urged foreigners to avoid parts of the Indian capital.
The new alerts updated long-standing general advice for Western visitors to India that they should exercise caution and underlined security risks in the city as it gears up to host the Commonwealth Games in October.
The US said on Wednesday it had information of a “specific” threat to half-a-dozen of the city’s shopping areas and markets which it described as “especially attractive targets”. It advised Americans traveling or residing in India to maintain “a high level of vigilance” and watch out for unattended packages.
The Canadian government said on its website that an attack could be carried out “in the following days or weeks in market areas” of Delhi frequented by foreigners, specifically in the Chandni Chowk area in Old Delhi.
Following this new advice, the Australian High Commission in New Delhi said on Thursday it “strongly” advised Australians “to minimise their presence in market areas of New Delhi”.
India is home to a wide range of separatists and insurgents. A growing Maoist insurgency, so far concentrated in remote rural areas of northern and eastern India, also threatens to spread to urban areas, with the eastern city of Kolkata seen as particularly at risk.
Elizabeth A. Kennedy
KABUL — Taliban fighters swarmed over a mountaintop base abandoned last week by the U.S. military following some of the toughest fighting of the Afghan war, according to footage aired Monday by a major satellite television station.
The video by Al-Jazeera is a morale booster for Taliban fighters, though the U.S. insists the decision to withdraw from the base in the Korengal Valley was sound and the area has no strategic value.
The footage showed armed men walking through the former U.S. base, which was strewn with litter and empty bottles, and sitting atop sandbagged gun positions overlooking the steep hillsides and craggy landscape. Fighters said they recovered fuel and ammunition. But a U.S. spokesman said ammunition had been evacuated and the fuel handed over to local residents.
The Global Nuclear Security Summit, which concluded in Washington yesterday, was remarkable for its revelation that India cannot hope to be a global power of any significance unless it gets over its petty obsession, as a nation, with Pakistan. At the press conference that the foreign secretary gave immediately after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, on Monday, there were as many as 30 direct or indirect references to Pakistan.
Nirupama Rao is free of any blame for this predicament. Of the 13 questions that she took at the press conference, 11 were on Pakistan. If she had refused to answer any questions on Pakistan because the subject of her press conference was the highest level Indo-US meeting, there would have been only her opening statement and two questions: one about Obama’s forthcoming visit to India and another about the sanctions Obama wants to impose on Iran soon.
Read the rest of this entry ?
The supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has indicated that he and his followers may be willing to hold peace talks with western politicians.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, two of the movement’s senior Islamic scholars have relayed a message from the Quetta shura, the Taliban’s ruling council, that Mullah Omar no longer aims to rule Afghanistan. They said he was prepared to engage in “sincere and honest” talks.
A senior US military source said the remarks reflected a growing belief that a “breakthrough” was possible. “There is evidence from many intelligence sources [that] the Taliban are ready for some kind of peace process,” the source said.
At a meeting held at night deep inside Taliban-controlled territory, the Taliban leaders told this newspaper that their military campaign had only three objectives: the return of sharia (Islamic law), the expulsion of foreigners and the restoration of security.
“[Mullah Omar] is no longer interested in being involved in politics or government,” said Mullah “Abdul Rashid”, the elder of the two commanders, who used a pseudonym to protect his identity.
Angry words lately between Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and the administration of Barack Obama have raised questions about whether they can work together to stabilize the war torn country.
The relationship between Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and President Barack Obama has come to resemble a loveless marriage succumbing to the strain of keeping up public appearances.
An imminent split seems unlikely. The US remains Afghanistan’s chief international backer and the Obama administration’s ambitious plan to transform the war-torn country needs Mr. Karzai if it’s going to succeed.
But the angry words tossed between Kabul and Washington lately have amply demonstrated the strain between a US administration that says it is committed to political reform in Afghanistan and an Afghan leader empowered by an election widely thought to have been marred by fraud.
It took just a few months for the Pakistani military to clear the Swat Valley’s lush, mountainous tribal terrain of its Taliban usurpers last summer, using some 30,000 troops to dislodge the guerrillas from the once-bustling tourist haven, 80 miles northwest of the capital Islamabad. Now, however, almost a year after winning the war, the same number of troops are still in place in order to hold Swat, rebuild it and prevent a Taliban resurgence — and that may keep Islamabad from going after the extremists in other parts of Pakistan’s unruly frontier with Afghanistan.
The U.S. has often appealed to Pakistan to do just that, specifically against elements in North Waziristan. More than 200 miles south of Swat, the tribal territory is a base for militants targeting U.S. troops just across the border in Afghanistan; it is also believed to be a refuge for senior al-Qaeda leaders. Yet the Pakistani military has refused to go into North Waziristan because it says its forces are already stretched thin (the bulk of the country’s troops are stationed along the eastern border with India, the nation Islamabad still considers its primary foe).
KABUL – Recent operations by foreign and Afghan government forces in Helmand province had little impact on Taliban capabilities ahead of the summer fighting season, an insurgent commander has claimed.
Despite February’s assault by 15,000 troops on the Taliban stronghold of Marjah, its ranks are unhurt, uncowed and poised to retaliate, Abu Hamza, who claims to command 300 rebel fighters operating in southern Afghanistan, told the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in a telephone interview.
“We will inflict heavy casualties on the foreigners this year,” Abu Hamza, who is well known in the region, said. “We have not been defeated in Helmand … The foreigners are now surrounded in Marjah. We have only withdrawn tactically from some areas.”
There is a window of opportunity for peace in Afghanistan. It has to be grabbed. For the first time in a decade the U.S. and the U.K. are acting in concert with Pakistan to proffer real solutions for Kabul. The former allies, turned protagonists, turned friends are once again on the same side–this time working for peace.
Mr. Karzai is once again calling his favorite friends for a big powwow which he calls a “Jirga” or tribal council. It is to be held in Kabul in two weeks. Pakistan is working with the UK and the US to ensure that this Loya Jirga represents all the Pakhtuns so that it becomes a vehicle for peace in West Asia. Islamabad has offered to hold a joint Loya jirga between the Afghan and Pakistani Pakhtuns. The last time Mr. Karzai hijacked the societal consensus for ending the war through the traditional means of a consultative assembly. Mr. Karzai used the grass-roots method to rubber stamp his own brand of government. Obviously the corruption, lack of peace, and loss on the ground has proven that a repeat of the previous methodology will not work.
The young, immaculately turned out Pakistani soldiers responsible for guarding the world’s most inhospitable terrain were finding it hard to conceal their frustration. For the past 18 months, they had been fighting to drive thousands of Taliban militants from their strongholds in the remote tribal regions that straddle Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.
The campaign reached its climax last month, when Pakistani forces finally dislodged the Taliban from heavily fortified positions in Bajaur, just a few miles from the forbidding mountain passes that lead to Afghanistan.
This week, when I became one of the first Western journalists to reach Bajaur following the Taliban’s defeat, the detritus of battle lay everywhere. Along the roads to the border villages stood semi-demolished houses riddled with bullet holes, where Taliban fighters had made their last, desperate stands. Occasionally, frightened children would peer from dilapidated alleyways and wave nervously at our passing convoy of military lorries.
Fresh from a bloody victory against the Taleban in this rugged frontier outpost, the commander of Pakistani forces has lashed out at the NATO operation across the border in Afghanistan, where he says hundreds of militant fighters have sought refuge under the noses of American troops.
Colonel Nauman Saeed, the commander of Pakistani forces in the Bajaur tribal agency, has led his men on a two-year campaign to drive out thousands of militants, including al-Qaeda members. He lost 150 soldiers during the operation, which culminated in a battle over the militant headquarters in a series of tunnels dug out of rock.
American troops have withdrawn from a notorious valley in eastern Afghanistan that has seen some of the worst fighting of the war, with commanders citing a shift in strategy.
A low-key press release yesterday announced the “realignment” of US forces out of the Korengal Valley, where 42 American soldiers have been killed and hundreds wounded since 2005. One base established at the northern end of the six-mile-long valley will be retained to block a Taleban infiltration route.
“Repositioning forces from the Korengal Valley to more populated areas will allow us to have greater flexibility,” said Colonel Randy George, the commander of US forces in Kunar province. “The area was once very operationally important but, appropriate to the new strategy, we are focusing our efforts on population centres. We’re still able to conduct operations there, even without a base, like we do in other remote valleys.”
World leaders arriving in Washington for President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit must have felt for a moment that they had instead been transported to Soviet-era Moscow.
They entered a capital that had become a military encampment, with camo-wearing military police in Humvees and enough Army vehicles to make it look like a May Day parade on New York Avenue, where a bicyclist was killed Monday by a National Guard truck.
In the middle of it all was Obama — occupant of an office once informally known as “leader of the free world” — putting on a clinic for some of the world’s greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press.
The only part of the summit, other than a post-meeting news conference, that was visible to the public was Obama’s eight-minute opening statement, which ended with the words: “I’m going to ask that we take a few moments to allow the press to exit before our first session.”
WASHINGTON: Pakistan has said that it has acquired advanced nuclear fuel cycle capability and can offer it to the rest of the world under IAEA safeguards.
The offer, contained in a national statement presented at a two-day summit which concluded in Washington on Tuesday, reflected Islamabad’s desire to gain recognition as a nuclear state.
“As a country with advanced fuel cycle capability, Pakistan is in a position to provide nuclear fuel cycle services under IAEA safeguards, and to participate in any non-discriminatory nuclear fuel cycle assurance mechanism,” the document said.
At the summit, Pakistan also reiterated its proposals for establishing a strategic restraint regime in South Asia.
The policy paper released during the conference stressed that such a regime would “promote nuclear and missile restraint, a balance in conventional forces, and conflict resolution”.
Zainulabedin Ameer | PKKH Editorial Team
The chaos that Afghanistan and Iraq has been experiencing in the past decade is undeniably because of the presence of foreign troops occupying these lands. While these troops were supposed to bring peace and stability to these countries, quite the opposite has happened; the role of these troops has become increasingly suspicious, and a great many questions have been raised regarding their true intentions. While Afghanistan has been seeing its share of brutality, Iraq has suffered tremendously too; private security firms have been engaged in committing all sorts of atrocities. Quite often, one hears about these mercenary death squads in the news and even in newly published books. However, the killing of innocent civilians in Iraq cannot be only attributed to mercenary death squads. The very troops that occupy Iraq and Afghanistan illegally in the name of bringing freedom to these countries, are themselves extremist crusading murderers! In a collaborated effort with the military, in Iraq and Afghanistan, mercenary armies like Black Water, DynCorp, etc. are responsible for a lot of the atrocities too, and they contribute to the overall genocide of Muslims worldwide. The video accompanying this article stands testimony to this:
Henry Kissinger once observed that it was more dangerous being America’s ally than its enemy.
The latest example: the U.S.-installed Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who is in serious hot water with his really angry patrons in Washington.
The Obama administration is blaming the largely powerless Karzai, a former CIA “asset,” for America’s failure to defeat the Taliban. Washington accused Karzai of rigging last year’s elections. True enough, but the U.S. pre-rigged the Afghan elections by excluding all parties opposed to western occupation.
Washington, which supports dictators and phoney elections across the Muslim world, had the chutzpah to blast Karzai for corruption and rigging votes. This while the Pentagon was engineering a full military takeover of Pakistan.
The recent capture of the Afghan Taliban’s second in command seemed to signal a turning point in Pakistan, an indication that its intelligence agency had gone from helping to cracking down on the militant Islamist group.
But U.S. officials now believe that even as Pakistan’s security forces worked with their American counterparts to detain Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and other insurgents, the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI, quietly freed at least two senior Afghan Taliban figures it had captured on its own.
U.S. military and intelligence officials said the releases, detected by American spy agencies but not publicly disclosed, are evidence that parts of Pakistan’s security establishment continue to support the Afghan Taliban. This assistance underscores how complicated the CIA-ISI relationship remains at a time when the United States and Pakistan are battling insurgencies that straddle the Afghanistan border and are increasingly anxious about how the war in that country will end.
KABUL: Militants launched a pre-dawn attack on an Indian road construction camp in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, burning vehicles and equipment and sending the crew fleeing, authorities said.
No deaths or injuries were reported in the attack in Khost province’s Domanda district, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Suspected Taliban, who are active in the mountainous eastern region bordering Pakistan, descended on the camp around 2 a.m.
Such raids seek to discourage foreign involvement in Afghanistan and destabilize the central government, which is struggling to bring development to the impoverished countryside and extend its mandate outside the capital, Kabul.
Joshua Partlow and Karen de Young
KABUL — Senior Afghan officials are now criticizing as counterproductive the arrest in Pakistan this year of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the No. 2 Taliban official. Its main effect, the Afghan officials say, has been to derail Afghan-led efforts to secure peace talks with the Taliban, making that peace ever more remote.
The episode offers a window into the mutual suspicions that still divide Afghanistan and Pakistan, mostly because of Pakistan’s long history of support for the Taliban, as well as differences between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States about how best to seek reconciliation between insurgents and the Afghan government.
Senior Afghan officials in the military and presidential palace accuse Pakistan of orchestrating the arrest of Baradar and others to take down Taliban leaders most amenable to negotiations. Some of them say that Afghans had been in secret contact with Baradar before his arrest and that he was prepared to join the 1,400 people descending on Kabul next month for a peace conference. Despite Afghan requests, Pakistan has refused to hand over Baradar and other Taliban leaders.
Pakistani officials flatly deny that they intended to derail Taliban talks. Such an allegation, one Pakistani intelligence official said, is a “slur on us.”