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.
Posts Tagged ‘USA’
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.
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.
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 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.”
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:
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.
General in the ‘reverence’
ISLAMABAD: Kayani’s worldview is Pakistan centric; he is respected as his military has won victories against enemies where the superpower could not succeed; like all good military leaders, he has good political sense; having recognised the failure of pre-emptive kill-capture doctrine, the US and West are listening with more attention to his advice; the strategic and operational framework outlined by him for ongoing conflict is in-sync with the national interests and good news for Pakistan.
Having gone through the article ‘General in the hood’, one gets more convinced that a lot needs to be thought right first, before endeavouring to put right, between the two countries. The article reinforces the perception; ‘What is good for Pakistan gets portrayed as bad for India’. The urge to write became more compelling due to a deliberate effort of quoting issues, which actually form the basis of threat to Pakistan. Interestingly enough, Pakistan’s predicament is that if it is not successful against the extremists, it gets portrayed as epicentre of terrorism and threat to world, especially India, and if it succeeds, our neighbour still feels threatened and portrays these as back to Brass Tacks. The blame game continues, despite knowing far too well, the extent to which Pakistan has gone against the miscreants with tangible results.
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.”
KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened over the weekend to quit the political process and join the Taliban if he continued to come under outside pressure to reform, according to several members of parliament.
They said on Monday that Karzai made the unusual statement at a closed-door meeting on Saturday with selected lawmakers — just days after kicking up a diplomatic controversy with remarks alleging foreigners were behind fraud in last year’s disputed elections.
Lawmakers dismissed the latest comment as hyperbole, but it will add to the impression the president — who relies on tens of thousands of US and NATO forces to fight the insurgency and prop up his government — is growing increasingly erratic and unable to exert authority without attacking his foreign backers.
“He said that ‘if I come under foreign pressure, I might join the Taliban’,” said Farooq Marenai, who represents the eastern province of Nangarhar.
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama said he is confident that Pakistan has secured its nuclear weapons.
Obama, however, reiterated that he was concerned about global nuclear security, not just in Pakistan.
In an interview with the New York Times, President Obama said his new approach to nuclear non-proliferation is different from that of the Bush administration.
Obama is scheduled to announce the new US policy for non-proliferation later Tuesday.
When asked what he had done specifically to ensure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons’ safety, Obama said he was not going to divulge details about Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
Obama explained that his biggest concerns were about securing loose nuclear material, which the terrorists were more likely to obtain
A nuclear summit is scheduled to be held in the US capital on April 12 and 13, aimed at achieving a global consensus on limiting proliferation and preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear technology.
ISLAMABAD: Two former officials of the premier intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), and a free lance journalist have gone missing in suspicious circumstances from Kohat.
Family sources of the missing ISI officials Col (retired) Imam and Sq Leader (retired) Khalid Khawaja revealed that these officers were assisting the free lance journalist Asad Qureshi who was making a documentary on Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
They were on way back to their homes after having a meeting with the Taliban leadership in tribal areas when they were allegedly picked up by unknown people. It is yet not clear who kidnapped them.
However, it is pertinent to mention that both the former ISI officers were having close relations with Taliban and Al-Qaeda leadership.—DawnNews
WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is actively lobbying for more pressure on New Delhi to ease tensions between India and Pakistan, the Wall Street Journal has reported. It has also revealed that US President Barack Obama had issued a secret directive to intensify diplomacy towards that aim and to win Islamabad’s cooperation in Afghanistan.
Asserting that without détente between the two rivals, US efforts to win Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan would suffer, the directive in December concluded that India must make resolving its tensions with Pakistan a priority for progress to be made on US goals in the region, the daily said citing “people familiar with its contents”.
A debate continues within the administration over how hard to push India, which has long resisted outside intervention in the conflict with its neighbour. The Pentagon, in particular, has sought more pressure on New Delhi, the influential daily said citing US and Indian officials.
WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) — It was Pakistan’s week in Washington with much talk of a new, deeper geopolitical understanding between the United States and a “major non-NATO ally.” The star was Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, and the country’s de facto politico-military power.
The Pakistani army has taken over from ineffectual, corrupt civilian governments four times since independence. This time, the civilians haven’t been ousted but outed as incompetent and irrelevant. President Asif Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, is slowly ceding his frequently ignored powers and turning them over to Wazir-e-Azam (Grand Minister, or Prime Minister in Western governments) Yousuf Raza Gilani and his civilian government. But they can’t seem to keep major cities in around-the-clock electric power, let alone basic foodstuffs. Water shortages also plague Pakistan’s 175 million people.
President says governments trying to weaken him and that foreign troops risk becoming occupation force
The Obama administration said today it was “troubled” by accusations from the Afghan president that the west was trying to weaken him and that foreign troops risked becoming an occupation force.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said there was concern over a speech yesterday in which Hamid Karzai sought to turn charges that he stole Afghanistan’s presidential election on their head by blaming what he termed “vast fraud” in last August’s poll on an attempt by the UN and international organisations to deny him victory or discredit his win.
UNITED NATIONS, April 2 (UPI) — Afghan and U.S. leaders should be grilled by a U.N. panel examining the assassination of Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto, her husband said.
Bhutto, a former prime minister of Pakistan, was killed Dec. 27, 2007, following a campaign rally for her Pakistan People’s Party. She had returned to Pakistan from exile to run in January 2008 parliamentary elections.