The worst is yet to come

July 1, 2011

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

The US in pursuit of its strategic and economic objectives in this part of the world arm twisted Gen Musharraf in September 2001 soon after 9/11 and made him do its bidding. Pakistan forces were pushed into the inferno of war on terror which was not Pakistan’s war. To start with, flames were lit on two extreme flanks resting in Baloch inhabited interior Balochistan and Pashtun inhabited FATA. The course of flames was gradually channeled towards settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), then to other cities of KP and subsequently to major cities of Punjab as well as Islamabad. Flames of terrorism were stoked by CIA and FBI outposts established in 2002 with the concurrence of the ruling regime. ISI and other intelligence agencies were asked to take up a backseat and intelligence collection, collation and dissemination was taken over entirely by CIA on the plea that it had superior technological means.

The CIA then brought in RAW and RAAM agents to boost its strength and collectively gave birth to Pakistani Taliban, who later got organized and formed Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) in December 2007. They were won over by providing them bagfuls of dollars and meeting all their weapons and equipment demands and also promising them that FATA will be made an independent caliphate and submerged with Pashtun belt of Afghanistan. In Balochistan, disgruntled Baloch Sardars of Bugti, Mengal and Marri were cultivated to start insurgency. They were lured by promising them independent Balochistan full of mineral resources and Gwadar Port falling in the path of envisaged energy corridor from Central Asia. About sixty Farari (training) camps were established in interior Balochistan and supply routes both from Afghanistan via Spin Boldak and Shahgarh in India were made operational to meet all their demands. Later on, several terrorist outfits like BLA, BRA and BLF came into being and their leaders were given asylum in Afghanistan and London.

While our intelligence agencies got busy in nabbing terrorists from all over the country and the Army got embroiled in fighting tribesmen in FATA and Balochistan, CIA and FBI helped by MI-6, RAW and RAAM agents got on with their job of destabilizing Pakistan from within. Besides sabotage and subversion by terrorists, drones were also introduced by CIA to further fuel terrorism. Shamsi airbase was used for the purpose. Sold to the idea of enlightened moderation Musharraf accepted the US advice to expand and liberate the media. It was then decisively penetrated by foreign powers to be able to promote their coined themes and to change perceptions of the desired audiences in Pakistan. India promoted its culture through electronic media and also took help of our media to hide its ugly face. All these processes which weakened Pakistan went on unabatedly throughout Musharraf’s stint in power till March 2008 and Pakistan’s sovereignty kept eroding. By that time all institutions of Pakistan including Army, ISI and judiciary stood discredited.

When the US realized that Musharraf had lost his popularity and would not be helpful in changing the perceptions of people from religious conservatism to secularism, and was not in a position to make compromises on joint Pak-US operations in FATA, or opening up nuclear and missile assets and placing them under a joint control mechanism, or reducing Chinese activities in Gwadar Port and Balochistan mineral projects, or shelving Pak-Iran gas pipeline and in curbing anti-Americanism, it decided to bring in Benazir and make a dream team of liberal parties. When Benazir started to act too independent, she was removed from the scene and handpicked puppets were given reins of power. They pursued Musharraf’s policies in letter and spirit and went a step ahead in keeping their patrons appeased. The Army, ISI and the judiciary however made recoveries by recapturing lost spaces and soon were able to re-establish their image and credibility.

The political leaders deeply engrossed in lot and plunder were slapped and humiliated but were also given blandishments and a free hand to milk the country and reduce it to a carcass. Their incompetence to govern and their corrupt practices were acceptable since they obediently served Washington’s interests. In order to cripple Pakistan’s economy and make it dependent upon US aid, rulers were told to put Pakistan’s neck in the stranglehold of IMF and to keep borrowing and keep spending lavishly.

They were told to ignore terrorism and ethnic cleansing of non-locals by Baloch insurgents seeking separation simply because they are seculars and pro-USA and India. Rulers were directed to use full force against militants in northwestern tribal area particularly against those who were anti-American and supporting Jihad in Afghanistan. Haqqani group based in North Waziristan (NW) is their chief foe. Ilyas Kashmiri outfit and Lashkar-e-Taeba are also on US hit list, and to a lesser degree are Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir. Dozens of other militant groups including TTP located in NW which are anti-Pakistan but not involved in Afghanistan do not bother USA.

TTP which has its tentacles in all seven tribal agencies as well as in settled areas of KP, Swat, Malakand, South Punjab, Pashtun belt of Balochistan and its long arm can reach any part of Pakistan is of chief concern for Pakistan. Several foreign agencies are providing massive funds, weapons, equipment, explosives, training facilities, guidance and manpower replenishments from Afghan soil to TTP since they desire this force to possibly defeat or as a minimum contain bulk of Army. But for foreign support in huge quantities, it would not have been possible for the TTP to rebound after its backbone had been broken in the two decisive battles of Bajaur and South Waziristan in 2009. Footprints of foreign hands were clearly seen in all the regions that were recaptured from the militants by security forces. In the Bajaur battle which raged from July 2008 till February 2009, large number of Tajik and Uzbek fighters used to supplement Maulana Faqir’s force. Even now Afghans are involved in Mohmand Agency and in Dir.

While launching of military operations by the Army in Waziristan led to emergence of Pakistani Taliban, two drone attacks in Bajaur Agency in 2006 instilled hatred against the Army particularly when October strike on a seminary killing 80 students was wrongly owned by the Army. Brutal military action against inmates of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafza including women and children in July 2007 triggered recruitment of young Taliban in a big way. It also ignited spate of suicide bombings in cities. Thereon, it became easy for the senior members of TTP like Qari Hussein to motivate young boys aged 12-16 years to become suicide bombers. The schemers then shifted terrorism to major cities particularly Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore. This was made possible after the induction of Blackwater in 2008. Several security companies cropped up in capital cities.

Mumbai attacks on 26/11 were masterminded to deflect attention of the world from the atrocities committed by Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir where the situation had become explosive, and to nail down ISI and to pave way for carrying out surgical strikes in Pakistan similar to drone strikes. New tactics involving double suicide bombers and group attacks were introduced in 2009. Drone attacks were intensified and so were target killings in Balochistan and Karachi.

In order to keep the judiciary subservient, the ruling regime was emphatically told not to restore the sacked judges led by chief justice Iftikhar. Shahbaz Sharif’s Ministry in Punjab which was relatively stable was brought down and Governor Rule imposed on Washington’s direction in early 2009. Restoration of judges and Punjab government was not to the liking of plot makers. After the enactment of Af-Pak policy in March 2009, which heralded the beginning of the final phase against Pakistan’s strategic assets and passage of Kerry-Lugar Bill, large number of under cover CIA operatives mostly belonging to US Special Forces made their way into Pakistan in 2010. Their inflow increased in second half of 2010 as a result of removal of all security checks by ISI and Special Police. Raymond Davis who had earlier on been deported due to his shady activities also managed to sneak back. By end 2010 an effective countrywide CIA-Blackwater network duly connected with militant groups and criminal gangs had become operational. Roadmaps leading to various defence installations and nuclear sites had been prepared.

This network provides the local militants intelligence and intimate guidance of marked target areas. Its ramifications came to light after the arrest of Raymond but also led to intensification of CIA-ISI rivalry and nose-diving of Pak-US relations. Till April, the militants targeted mostly soft targets in cities to create harassment and fear among the public and to accentuate problems of security forces and intelligence agencies. Mosques, worship places and markets were targeted to pitch Islamists against Islamists and defame Islam.

Helicopter assault on 02 May duly assisted by CIA base in Abbottabad was executed to achieve multiple objectives. The foremost was to restore declining popularity of Obama and US military in the eyes of Americans in particular and world in general. Second; lower the image of Army, air force and ISI that had risen high and to discredit the three institutions in the eyes of the public. Former CIA Director Panetta who had crossed swords with Lt Gen Pasha on several occasions had sworn to teach him a lesson. Third; embarrass Pakistan and to put it in a tight corner, leaving it with little space to defy US dictates.

Having created the desired effects through media and Congressmen, US high officials visited Islamabad and further harassed the already hassled leadership by conveying that Pakistan would from now on be judged by its acts and deeds. To give heart to the fainting leaders, the visitors gave a clean chit to them saying that they were not directly involved in hiding OBL but there was a support group inside Pakistan which had protected OBL. This certification was music to the ears of our leaders. Feeling relieved, they readily agreed to let CIA inspect the Abbottabad House compound where OBL lived, hand over the tail of the destroyed Blackhawk helicopter, launch an operation in NW and to conduct joint operations to eliminate terrorists. These concessions were doled out in violation of the spirit of 14 May unanimous resolution of the parliament.

Mehran Naval Base attack was executed on 22 May to dishearten the navy, to shatter the confidence of the people in armed forces and to completely demoralize the nation. Among several hypotheses, one of the assumptions was an attack conducted by Ilyas Kashmiri group. If so, he has been reportedly killed on 04 May fearing that he may spill the beans. Apparently 02 May and 22 May incidents were also intended to create divisions within forces by suggesting that there were sympathizers and supporters of al-Qaeda and Taliban in each service and intelligence agency and that there was an urgent need to purge such undesirable elements. Mehran Base attack is a prelude to many more suchlike attacks since it seems that the conspirators have now started the final destructive stage to hit hardened military installations including nuclear sites.

In continuation of ISI bashing, Human Rights Watch and western media has come out with another wacky story that the ISI was behind the unfortunate murder of eminent and bold journalist Syed Salim Shehzad. Had it been so, he would have been taken to KP or FATA and not towards Sarai Alamgir? It seems to be a clear cut case of Blackwater which is ever ready to exploit a situation whenever any person makes several enemies and becomes prominent. ISI’s plate is already full to the brim and would be mad if it buys another headache for itself. The situation assumes greater curiosity and mystification after expression of deep concern by high US officials like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton on his death.

While the people have not come out of the shock of two attacks in May, the foreign and local media is adding to their apprehensions by floating rumor balloons of despondency and trying to undermine the capabilities of armed forces. An impression is being created that the military is incapable of safeguarding our vital interests. There is a very small segment that still talks good of USA otherwise great majority distrusts USA and suspect that it will again strike Pakistan to denuclearize it. They are not convinced with John Kerry assurances that the US is not interested in Pak nukes particularly after NATO Secretary General’s statement that it is the collective responsibility of international community to secure nuclear assets of Pakistan.

Stories of our nukes falling into wrong hands have begun to reappear in western media. Despite multi-layered system of security evolved by Pakistan which is second to none, doubts are still being aired by vested interests that Pakistan’s nuclear program is unsafe and needs to be secured. Pakistan Army managed to get out of the deathtrap laid by its adversaries in Swat and SW. They have now prepared another deadly deathtrap in NW and are once again trying to lure in Pak Army with a hope that this time it will get trapped. It is only when major portion of our combat divisions get embroiled in the war in northwest that India will make its Cold Start doctrine operational on the weakened eastern front. Coming months are fraught with extreme dangers but our rulers are naively thinking that after John Kerry and Hillary Clinton’s visit worst is over. In my view the worst is yet to come.

While I am quite confident that our security forces would be able to thwart all hostile attempts made on our nuclear arsenal and delivery means and will also be able to safeguard the frontiers against foreign aggression, what I am worried is that we have still not identified our foes and taken preventive measures. Unless we guard against the designs of our foes pretending to be friends, we will not be able to confront the worst threat which is staring into our eyes and has got closer to our vital ground.


The worst is yet to come

July 1, 2011

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

The US in pursuit of its strategic and economic objectives in this part of the world arm twisted Gen Musharraf in September 2001 soon after 9/11 and made him do its bidding. Pakistan forces were pushed into the inferno of war on terror which was not Pakistan’s war. To start with, flames were lit on two extreme flanks resting in Baloch inhabited interior Balochistan and Pashtun inhabited FATA. The course of flames was gradually channeled towards settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), then to other cities of KP and subsequently to major cities of Punjab as well as Islamabad. Flames of terrorism were stoked by CIA and FBI outposts established in 2002 with the concurrence of the ruling regime. ISI and other intelligence agencies were asked to take up a backseat and intelligence collection, collation and dissemination was taken over entirely by CIA on the plea that it had superior technological means.

The CIA then brought in RAW and RAAM agents to boost its strength and collectively gave birth to Pakistani Taliban, who later got organized and formed Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) in December 2007. They were won over by providing them bagfuls of dollars and meeting all their weapons and equipment demands and also promising them that FATA will be made an independent caliphate and submerged with Pashtun belt of Afghanistan. In Balochistan, disgruntled Baloch Sardars of Bugti, Mengal and Marri were cultivated to start insurgency. They were lured by promising them independent Balochistan full of mineral resources and Gwadar Port falling in the path of envisaged energy corridor from Central Asia. About sixty Farari (training) camps were established in interior Balochistan and supply routes both from Afghanistan via Spin Boldak and Shahgarh in India were made operational to meet all their demands. Later on, several terrorist outfits like BLA, BRA and BLF came into being and their leaders were given asylum in Afghanistan and London.

While our intelligence agencies got busy in nabbing terrorists from all over the country and the Army got embroiled in fighting tribesmen in FATA and Balochistan, CIA and FBI helped by MI-6, RAW and RAAM agents got on with their job of destabilizing Pakistan from within. Besides sabotage and subversion by terrorists, drones were also introduced by CIA to further fuel terrorism. Shamsi airbase was used for the purpose. Sold to the idea of enlightened moderation Musharraf accepted the US advice to expand and liberate the media. It was then decisively penetrated by foreign powers to be able to promote their coined themes and to change perceptions of the desired audiences in Pakistan. India promoted its culture through electronic media and also took help of our media to hide its ugly face. All these processes which weakened Pakistan went on unabatedly throughout Musharraf’s stint in power till March 2008 and Pakistan’s sovereignty kept eroding. By that time all institutions of Pakistan including Army, ISI and judiciary stood discredited.

When the US realized that Musharraf had lost his popularity and would not be helpful in changing the perceptions of people from religious conservatism to secularism, and was not in a position to make compromises on joint Pak-US operations in FATA, or opening up nuclear and missile assets and placing them under a joint control mechanism, or reducing Chinese activities in Gwadar Port and Balochistan mineral projects, or shelving Pak-Iran gas pipeline and in curbing anti-Americanism, it decided to bring in Benazir and make a dream team of liberal parties. When Benazir started to act too independent, she was removed from the scene and handpicked puppets were given reins of power. They pursued Musharraf’s policies in letter and spirit and went a step ahead in keeping their patrons appeased. The Army, ISI and the judiciary however made recoveries by recapturing lost spaces and soon were able to re-establish their image and credibility.

The political leaders deeply engrossed in lot and plunder were slapped and humiliated but were also given blandishments and a free hand to milk the country and reduce it to a carcass. Their incompetence to govern and their corrupt practices were acceptable since they obediently served Washington’s interests. In order to cripple Pakistan’s economy and make it dependent upon US aid, rulers were told to put Pakistan’s neck in the stranglehold of IMF and to keep borrowing and keep spending lavishly.

They were told to ignore terrorism and ethnic cleansing of non-locals by Baloch insurgents seeking separation simply because they are seculars and pro-USA and India. Rulers were directed to use full force against militants in northwestern tribal area particularly against those who were anti-American and supporting Jihad in Afghanistan. Haqqani group based in North Waziristan (NW) is their chief foe. Ilyas Kashmiri outfit and Lashkar-e-Taeba are also on US hit list, and to a lesser degree are Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir. Dozens of other militant groups including TTP located in NW which are anti-Pakistan but not involved in Afghanistan do not bother USA.

TTP which has its tentacles in all seven tribal agencies as well as in settled areas of KP, Swat, Malakand, South Punjab, Pashtun belt of Balochistan and its long arm can reach any part of Pakistan is of chief concern for Pakistan. Several foreign agencies are providing massive funds, weapons, equipment, explosives, training facilities, guidance and manpower replenishments from Afghan soil to TTP since they desire this force to possibly defeat or as a minimum contain bulk of Army. But for foreign support in huge quantities, it would not have been possible for the TTP to rebound after its backbone had been broken in the two decisive battles of Bajaur and South Waziristan in 2009. Footprints of foreign hands were clearly seen in all the regions that were recaptured from the militants by security forces. In the Bajaur battle which raged from July 2008 till February 2009, large number of Tajik and Uzbek fighters used to supplement Maulana Faqir’s force. Even now Afghans are involved in Mohmand Agency and in Dir.

While launching of military operations by the Army in Waziristan led to emergence of Pakistani Taliban, two drone attacks in Bajaur Agency in 2006 instilled hatred against the Army particularly when October strike on a seminary killing 80 students was wrongly owned by the Army. Brutal military action against inmates of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafza including women and children in July 2007 triggered recruitment of young Taliban in a big way. It also ignited spate of suicide bombings in cities. Thereon, it became easy for the senior members of TTP like Qari Hussein to motivate young boys aged 12-16 years to become suicide bombers. The schemers then shifted terrorism to major cities particularly Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore. This was made possible after the induction of Blackwater in 2008. Several security companies cropped up in capital cities.

Mumbai attacks on 26/11 were masterminded to deflect attention of the world from the atrocities committed by Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir where the situation had become explosive, and to nail down ISI and to pave way for carrying out surgical strikes in Pakistan similar to drone strikes. New tactics involving double suicide bombers and group attacks were introduced in 2009. Drone attacks were intensified and so were target killings in Balochistan and Karachi.

In order to keep the judiciary subservient, the ruling regime was emphatically told not to restore the sacked judges led by chief justice Iftikhar. Shahbaz Sharif’s Ministry in Punjab which was relatively stable was brought down and Governor Rule imposed on Washington’s direction in early 2009. Restoration of judges and Punjab government was not to the liking of plot makers. After the enactment of Af-Pak policy in March 2009, which heralded the beginning of the final phase against Pakistan’s strategic assets and passage of Kerry-Lugar Bill, large number of under cover CIA operatives mostly belonging to US Special Forces made their way into Pakistan in 2010. Their inflow increased in second half of 2010 as a result of removal of all security checks by ISI and Special Police. Raymond Davis who had earlier on been deported due to his shady activities also managed to sneak back. By end 2010 an effective countrywide CIA-Blackwater network duly connected with militant groups and criminal gangs had become operational. Roadmaps leading to various defence installations and nuclear sites had been prepared.

This network provides the local militants intelligence and intimate guidance of marked target areas. Its ramifications came to light after the arrest of Raymond but also led to intensification of CIA-ISI rivalry and nose-diving of Pak-US relations. Till April, the militants targeted mostly soft targets in cities to create harassment and fear among the public and to accentuate problems of security forces and intelligence agencies. Mosques, worship places and markets were targeted to pitch Islamists against Islamists and defame Islam.

Helicopter assault on 02 May duly assisted by CIA base in Abbottabad was executed to achieve multiple objectives. The foremost was to restore declining popularity of Obama and US military in the eyes of Americans in particular and world in general. Second; lower the image of Army, air force and ISI that had risen high and to discredit the three institutions in the eyes of the public. Former CIA Director Panetta who had crossed swords with Lt Gen Pasha on several occasions had sworn to teach him a lesson. Third; embarrass Pakistan and to put it in a tight corner, leaving it with little space to defy US dictates.

Having created the desired effects through media and Congressmen, US high officials visited Islamabad and further harassed the already hassled leadership by conveying that Pakistan would from now on be judged by its acts and deeds. To give heart to the fainting leaders, the visitors gave a clean chit to them saying that they were not directly involved in hiding OBL but there was a support group inside Pakistan which had protected OBL. This certification was music to the ears of our leaders. Feeling relieved, they readily agreed to let CIA inspect the Abbottabad House compound where OBL lived, hand over the tail of the destroyed Blackhawk helicopter, launch an operation in NW and to conduct joint operations to eliminate terrorists. These concessions were doled out in violation of the spirit of 14 May unanimous resolution of the parliament.

Mehran Naval Base attack was executed on 22 May to dishearten the navy, to shatter the confidence of the people in armed forces and to completely demoralize the nation. Among several hypotheses, one of the assumptions was an attack conducted by Ilyas Kashmiri group. If so, he has been reportedly killed on 04 May fearing that he may spill the beans. Apparently 02 May and 22 May incidents were also intended to create divisions within forces by suggesting that there were sympathizers and supporters of al-Qaeda and Taliban in each service and intelligence agency and that there was an urgent need to purge such undesirable elements. Mehran Base attack is a prelude to many more suchlike attacks since it seems that the conspirators have now started the final destructive stage to hit hardened military installations including nuclear sites.

In continuation of ISI bashing, Human Rights Watch and western media has come out with another wacky story that the ISI was behind the unfortunate murder of eminent and bold journalist Syed Salim Shehzad. Had it been so, he would have been taken to KP or FATA and not towards Sarai Alamgir? It seems to be a clear cut case of Blackwater which is ever ready to exploit a situation whenever any person makes several enemies and becomes prominent. ISI’s plate is already full to the brim and would be mad if it buys another headache for itself. The situation assumes greater curiosity and mystification after expression of deep concern by high US officials like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton on his death.

While the people have not come out of the shock of two attacks in May, the foreign and local media is adding to their apprehensions by floating rumor balloons of despondency and trying to undermine the capabilities of armed forces. An impression is being created that the military is incapable of safeguarding our vital interests. There is a very small segment that still talks good of USA otherwise great majority distrusts USA and suspect that it will again strike Pakistan to denuclearize it. They are not convinced with John Kerry assurances that the US is not interested in Pak nukes particularly after NATO Secretary General’s statement that it is the collective responsibility of international community to secure nuclear assets of Pakistan.

Stories of our nukes falling into wrong hands have begun to reappear in western media. Despite multi-layered system of security evolved by Pakistan which is second to none, doubts are still being aired by vested interests that Pakistan’s nuclear program is unsafe and needs to be secured. Pakistan Army managed to get out of the deathtrap laid by its adversaries in Swat and SW. They have now prepared another deadly deathtrap in NW and are once again trying to lure in Pak Army with a hope that this time it will get trapped. It is only when major portion of our combat divisions get embroiled in the war in northwest that India will make its Cold Start doctrine operational on the weakened eastern front. Coming months are fraught with extreme dangers but our rulers are naively thinking that after John Kerry and Hillary Clinton’s visit worst is over. In my view the worst is yet to come.

While I am quite confident that our security forces would be able to thwart all hostile attempts made on our nuclear arsenal and delivery means and will also be able to safeguard the frontiers against foreign aggression, what I am worried is that we have still not identified our foes and taken preventive measures. Unless we guard against the designs of our foes pretending to be friends, we will not be able to confront the worst threat which is staring into our eyes and has got closer to our vital ground.


The Spider Group and free access given to CIA, FBI

March 28, 2011


By: Ansar Abbasi

Following some unbelievable concessions offered to the Americans by Islamabad after 9/11, Pakistan is today home to one of the biggest networks of CIA and FBI outside the US.

While generally the governments both at the Centre and in the Punjab are soft on the issue of Raymond Davis amid reports that the double murderer would be bailed out to please Washington, some Pakistani authorities present an extremely gloomy picture if corrective measures are not immediately taken.

The US embassy spokesperson when approached on Thursday with a questionnaire for the US version on issues focused in this story, she responded on Friday with a statement, “The United States respects the laws of Pakistan and international laws. We do not comment on matters of security.”

While the Americans are reluctant to talk on sensitive issues threatening the sovereignty of Pakistan, the sources said that the kind of free hand that has been given to the Americans in Pakistan after 9/11 is unbelievable.

“We have no idea how many foreign as well as local agents of CIA and FBI are operating within the territorial limits of Pakistan,” an official source said, warning that the American agents are spread all over.

Not only General Musharraf had allowed the CIA and FBI to hire local agents in Pakistan in the garb of so-called war on terror but the Americans were also free to move in and move out without any check. “At times we did not know who is coming and who is going, and what is brought in and what it taken out,” the source said.

One unbelievable concession that the American “officials” and “diplomats” including the likes of double murderer Davis, have been enjoying after 9/11 but withdrawn only in October 2009 on the instructions of the Defence Ministry, was the facility of unchecked arrivals and departures with no scrutiny of their luggage at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) in Islamabad.

Gammon Gate of the BBIA, which was basically meant for food catering services and had a direct outside airport link without passing through immigration and customs checks, was specified for the US officials and for the UN officials too. This special facility allowed the Americans to have unchecked arrivals and departures to and from the Islamabad Airport.

The facility was massively misused and there were reports of even unauthorised and undeclared import of sensitive material and equipment, including weapons. This fact had raised serious alarm bells ringing among the Pakistani authorities and forced them to withdraw the facility but after a lot of damage was already done.

A CAA order, issued on the subject in 2009, did concede that the customs and immigration authorities having no arrangements/staff to check the movement and crew and other foreigners, etc. “The equipment related to aeroplane, the crew and their personal luggage also passes through this gate. During checking, US vehicles and the luggage they carry to and from apron area are not properly searched\checked by the ASF staff deputed to control the entry\exit at the Gammon Gate,” a document said, adding in view of this, use of the Gammon Gate by foreigners should be stopped forthwith as it was a serious security hazard.

Meanwhile defence authorities in Pakistan are also in the knowledge of this phenomenal spread in the American spy agencies’ network after 9/11.

Even an American newspaper, The Washington Times, reported a few years back that the FBI had organised some former Pakistani army officers and others into a band known as the “Spider Group” to local Taliban and al-Qaeda fugitives hiding in tribal areas along the Afghanistan border.

Quoting a federal law-enforcement official in Washington, the report said the move marked an attempt by the FBI to develop a “free flow of information” to US agents who previously had worked under some restriction with Pakistan’s official Inter-Services Intelligence.

The Spider Group, the report said, was also asked to recruit locals in Pakistan’s tribal areas, where hundreds of wanted “terrorists” are allegedly holed up under the patronage of tribal chiefs. Members of the Spider Group include a mix of Muslim and Christian retired army and intelligence officers and have been trained and equipped by the FBI.

It has also been reported in the media that a spymaster of one of the country’s intelligence agency had informed the Interior Ministry that a provincial head of a private security agency besides others were spying for the CIA. The security agency was contacted and the said official was removed. It was also reported that a large number of the private security agencies personnel are doing espionage for the American intelligence agencies.

A local journalist Azaz Syed had revealed a few years back that once he had approached the legal section of the US embassy in Islamabad after reading an advertisement in an international publication for the recruitment of FBI agents for South Asia. He said that for the purpose of doing an investigative story, he had offered himself for FBI services to spy on Taliban in exchange of information from the US embassy but the diplomat interviewing him was interested in the civil bureaucracy and was not ready to give any information. “I was told that I would get assignments relating to civil bureaucracy and in return would be paid well,” Syed was quoted to have said.

The US Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – the spy military aircraft – are yet another source of concern for many here. The UAVs were allowed to do the espionage in tribal areas of Pakistan for “specific jobs” only but since the UAVs are not caught by the radars so these spy planes have also crossed their limits a number of times. Initially the Pakistan Air Force had objected not to allow surveillance to these US UAVs but Musharraf had decided otherwise because of US insistence that this was a must apparently to track down so-called al-Qaeda targets.

The present regime instead of curbing the “free for all” situation here for the Americans, not only allowed extraordinary laxity in visa issuance for the Americans without security check but also obliged them risking our own security.

While some of the reflection of how the Interior Ministry under Rehman Malik had served the US was given in The News’ Wednesday report – “A policy which has brought sheer disaster” – the volume of actual favours given to the Americans is far more.

After former US Ambassador Anne Peterson’s letter to Malik requesting for the issuance of prohibited bore licences for Dyne Corp’s local partner Inter-Risk, officials of the US embassy met the State Minister for Interior Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi and later formally wrote to him setting clear deadlines for the issuance of licences in three parts. The interior minister acted accordingly as per the wishes of the US embassy.

Gerald M Feierstein, Charge d’Affaires and interim, US embassy in Islamabad, had written to Tasneem Qureshi on May 7, 2009 stating, “……I would like to request the issuance of 134 prohibited bore (pb) licences on behalf to Inter-Risk (Pvt) Ltd to accomplish this security goal. 50 pb licences are needed as quickly as possible and an additional 50 pb licences will be needed in June 2009. The remaining 34 licences will be needed in July 2009.”

Within a week following this letter, Personal Secretary (PS) to State Minister for Interior Tasneem Qureshi wrote a “Top Priority” directive on minister’s behalf ordering Section Officer (PB), Ministry of Interior: “The Minister of State for Interior has been pleased to approve Fifty (50) PB arms licence in favour of M/S, Inter-Risk (Private) Limited.

“2. Arm Section may issue the licenses under intimation to this office by 20-5-2009.”

While the state minister issued strict direction for the issuance of 50 pb licences to Inter-Risk by May 20, 2009, the deputy commissioner Islamabad received an official communication from office of the district coordination officer/political agent FR Bannu the same day. The letter’s subject was “Confirmation/Verification of Weapon Gift” and it read as: “The enclosed certificates (consisting 50 nos) for gift of weapon, gifted by Malik Khanzada Khan Wazir Daryoba Agency FR Bannu duly verified by the undersigned for further necessary action.”

These apparently gifted weapons were provided to the Inter-Risk by the US embassy. However, the Government of Pakistan did not know from where these weapons were coming.

The US embassy spokesperson Courtney Beale was sent by The News on Thursday the following questionnaire:

1. Is it a fact that Pakistan today is home to one of the biggest CIA-FBI networks after General Musharraf had allowed the American intelligence agencies to hire their local agents apparently to follow Taliban and al-Qaeda?

2. Are the US drones involved in spying of Pakistan’s strategic sites?

3. Do you agree that the US officials and diplomats have been misusing the concessions offered to them at Pakistani airports particularly at Islamabad airport where instead of passing through normal checks they were allowed to come and go through Gammon Gate? The facility was withdrawn in October 2009 after the Pakistani authorities found it having misused. Misuse means unchecked arrival and departure of individuals and material. Yours comments please.

4. What do you say about the pressure having been exerted by the US embassy on the Pakistani Interior Ministry to issue prohibited bore licences to Dynacorp’s local partner Inter Risk? It became a major scandal over a year ago. Will you please also confirm from where the weapons came, which were given to Inter-Risk.

In response to these questions, Courtney’s brief response was: “The United States respects the laws of Pakistan and international law. We do not comment on matters of security.”


Drawing U.S. Crowds With Anti-Islam Message

March 8, 2011

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

FORT WORTH – Brigitte Gabriel bounced to the stage at a Tea Partyconvention last fall. She greeted the crowd with a loud Texas “Yee-HAW,” then launched into the same gripping personal story she has told in hundreds of churches, synagogues and conference rooms across the United States:


Brigitte Gabriel spoke to a Tea Party event in September. She says her views were shaped while growing up in Lebanon.

As a child growing up a Maronite Christian in war-torn southern Lebanon in the 1970s, Ms. Gabriel said, she had been left lying injured in rubble after Muslims mercilessly bombed her village. She found refuge in Israel and then moved to the United States, only to find that the Islamic radicals who had terrorized her in Lebanon, she said, were now bent on taking over America.

“America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America,” she said. “They have infiltrated us at the C.I.A., at the F.B.I., at the Pentagon, at the State Department. They are being radicalized in radical mosques in our cities and communities within the United States.”

Through her books, media appearances and speeches, and her organization, ACT! for America, Ms. Gabriel has become one of the most visible personalities on a circuit of self-appointed terrorism detectors who warn that Muslims pose an enormous danger within United States borders.

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of Long Island, will conduct hearings Thursday in Washington on a similar theme: that the United States is infiltrated by Muslim radicals. Mr. King was the first guest last month on a new cable television show that Ms. Gabriel co-hosts with Guy Rodgers, the executive director of ACT! and a Republican consultant who helped build the Christian Coalition, once the most potent political organization on the Christian right.

Ms. Gabriel, 46, who uses a pseudonym, casts her organization as a nonpartisan, nonreligious national security group. Yet the organization draws on three rather religious and partisan streams in American politics: evangelical Christian conservatives, hard-line defenders of Israel (both Jews and Christians) and Tea Party Republicans.

She presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion. She has found a receptive audience among Americans who are legitimately worried about the spread of terrorism.

But some of those who work in counterterrorism say that speakers like Ms. Gabriel are spreading distortion and fear, and are doing the country a disservice by failing to make distinctions between Muslims who are potentially dangerous and those who are not.

Brian Fishman, a research fellow at both the New America Foundation in Washington, and the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point, said, “When you’ve got folks who are looking for the worst in Islam and are promoting that as the entire religion of 1.5 or 1.6 billion people, then you only empower the real extremists.”

Ms. Gabriel is only one voice in a growing circuit that includes counter-Islam speakers likePamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Walid Shoebat. What distinguishes Ms. Gabriel from her counterparts is that she has built a national grass-roots organization in the last three years that has already engaged in dozens of battles over the place of Islam in the United States. ACT! for America claims 155,000 members in 500 chapters across the country. To build her organization, Ms. Gabriel has enlisted Mr. Rodgers, who had worked behind the scenes for the Christian Coalition’s leaders, Ralph Reed and the television evangelist Pat Robertson. (Ms. Gabriel herself was once an anchor for Mr. Robertson’s Christian television network in the Middle East).

As national field director, Mr. Rodgers planted and tended Christian Coalition chapters across the country, and is now using some of the same strategies as executive director of ACT! Among those tactics is creating “nonpartisan voter guides” that rank candidates’ responses and votes on issues important to the group.

Just as with the Christian Coalition’s voter guides, the candidates whose positions most often align with ACT!’s are usually Republicans. Mr. Rodgers previously served as campaign manager for Patrick J. Buchanan’s presidential run in 1996, and as a consultant for John McCain in 2008.

Ms. Gabriel and Mr. Rodgers declined to be interviewed in person or over the telephone, but agreed to respond to questions by e-mail. They permitted interviews with only their national field director and two chapter leaders they selected, though half a dozen other interviews were conducted with chapter leaders before they were told not to talk.

Ms. Gabriel says she is motivated not by fear or hatred of Islam, but by her love for her adopted country.

“I lost Lebanon, my country of birth, to radical Islam,” she wrote. “I do not want to lose my adopted country America.”

She insists that she is singling out only “radical Islam” or Muslim “extremists” – not the vast majority of Muslims or their faith. And yet, in her speeches and her two books, she leaves the opposite impression. She puts it most simply in the 2008 introduction to her first book, “Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America.”

“In the Muslim world, extreme is mainstream,” she wrote. She said that there is a “cancer” infecting the world, and said: “The cancer is called Islamofacism. This ideology is coming out of one source: The Koran.”

In what ACT! is calling “Open a Koran” day this September, the group plans to put up 750 tables in front of post offices, libraries, churches and synagogues and hand out leaflets selectively highlighting verses that appear to advocate violence, slavery and subjugation of women.

In the last year, the group played a key role in passing a constitutional amendment in Oklahoma banning the use of Shariah, a body of Islamic law derived from the Koran and from the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s teachings, sayings and acts. Most Muslims draw selectively on its tenets – in the same way that people of other faiths pick and choose from their sacred texts.

But group members and their allies have succeeded in popularizing the notion that American Muslims are just biding their time until they gain the power to revoke the Constitution and impose Shariah law in the United States.

“We can’t let Shariah law take hold,” said Susan Watts, who leads a large chapter in Houston.

ACT! members are challenging high school textbooks and college courses that they deem too sympathetic to Islam. A group leader in Eugene, Ore., signed up to teach a community college course on Islam, but it was canceled when a Muslim group exposed his blog postings denouncing Islam and denying the scope of the Holocaust.

A chapter in Colorado recently featured a guest speaker on “How to minister to Muslims,” and “Conversion success stories.” Mr. Rodgers said in a written response that ACT! does not encourage such activities.

Ms. Gabriel’s approach and her power appear rooted in her childhood trauma in the civil war in southern Lebanon. The war was a chaotic stew in which ever-shifting alliances of clan-based militias made up of Christian, Shiite, Sunni, Palestinian and Druse made war on one other, often with the backing of other countries. But in the rendering Ms. Gabriel shares with her American audiences, it was black and white. As her father explained to her, “The Muslims bombed us because we are Christians. They want us dead because they hate us.” (The refrain became the title of her first book.)

She moved to Israel in her early 20s to work for Middle East Television. Ms. Gabriel often mentions in lectures that she was an anchor for the network, but does not reveal that Middle East Television was then run by Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network to spread his politically conservative, Pentecostal faith in the Middle East.

On air as a reporter, Ms. Gabriel used the name Nour Saman. She married an American co-worker and in 1989 moved to the United States. They started a film and television production company, which says it has produced programs on terrorism for “Good Morning America” and “Primetime.”

She said she uses a pseudonym, voted on by her organization’s board, because she has received death threats.

Ms. Gabriel has given hundreds of lectures, including to the Heritage Foundation and the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va. Her salary from two organizations she founded, American Congress for Truth and ACT! for America, was $178,411 in 2009. And the group’s combined income was $1.6 million.

In Fort Worth, Ms. Gabriel spent nearly an hour after her speech signing books and posing for pictures with gushing fans.

“She really opened up my eyes about Islam,” said Natalie Rix Cresson, a composer, clutching a signed copy of Ms. Gabriel’s book. “I didn’t realize it was so infiltrated in the schools, everywhere.”

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Lebanon.


THE ‘RAYMONDS’ AND THE ‘DAVISES’

February 14, 2011

What is common between the following apparently unrelated events?

  • Raymond Davis
  • Terrorist Attacks in Pakistan
  • Operations in South and North Waziristan
  • Drone Attacks

First identify the main players-the CIA, the ISI, the FBI, the Pakistan Army, US/NATO forces, Afghan Intelligence and government and the Government of Pakistan. Opposing these main players are the Taliban, the religious parties and organizations in Pakistan and the people of Pakistan and the Pashtuns of Afghanistan.

Read Complete Article Here: http://www.area148.com/cms/?p=2299


Tension grows between Calif. Muslims, FBI after informant infiltrates mosque

December 7, 2010

Before the sun rose, the informant donned a white Islamic robe. A tiny camera was sewn into a button, and a microphone was buried in a device attached to his keys.

“This is Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle,” he said into the keys as he sat in his parked car in this quiet community south of Los Angeles. “It’s November 13th, 4:30 a.m. And we’re hot.”

The undercover FBI informant – a convicted forger named Craig Monteilh – then drove off for 5 a.m. prayers at the Islamic Center of Irvine, where he says he spied on dozens of worshipers in a quest for potential terrorists.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI has used informants successfully as one of many tactics to prevent another strike in the United States. Agency officials say they are careful not to violate civil liberties and do not target Muslims.

But the FBI’s approach has come under fire from some Muslims, criticism that surfaced again late last month after agents arrested an Oregon man they said tried to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. FBI technicians had supplied the device.

In the Irvine case, Monteilh’s mission as an informant backfired. Muslims were so alarmed by his talk of violent jihad that they obtained a restraining order against him.

He had helped build a terrorism-related case against a mosque member, but that also collapsed. The Justice Department recently took the extraordinary step of dropping charges against the worshiper, who Monteilh had caught on tape agreeing to blow up buildings, law enforcement officials said. Prosecutors had portrayed the man as a dire threat.

Compounding the damage, Monteilh has gone public, revealing secret FBI methods and charging that his “handlers” trained him to entrap Muslims as he infiltrated their mosques, homes and businesses. He is now suing the FBI.

Officials declined to comment on specific details of Monteilh’s tale but confirm that he was a paid FBI informant. Court records and interviews corroborate not only that Monteilh worked for the FBI – he says he made $177,000, tax-free, in 15 months – but that he provided vital information on a number of cases.

Some Muslims in Southern California and nationally say the cascading revelations have seriously damaged their relationship with the FBI, a partnership that both sides agree is critical to preventing attacks and homegrown terrorism.

Citing Monteilh’s actions and what they call a pattern of FBI surveillance, many leading national Muslim organizations have virtually suspended contact with the bureau.

“The community feels betrayed,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella group of more than 75 mosques.

They got a guy, a bona fide criminal, and obviously trained him and sent him to infiltrate mosques,” Syed said. “And when things went sour, they ditched him and he got mad. It’s like a soap opera, for God’s sake.”

FBI and Justice Department officials say that the Monteilh case is not representative of their relations with the Muslim community and that they continue to work closely with Muslims in investigating violence and other hate crimes against them. Officials also credit U.S. Muslims with reporting critical information in a variety of counterterrorism cases.

The bureau “relies on the support, cooperation and trust of the communities it serves and protects,” FBI spokesman Michael Kortan said, adding that agents conduct investigations “under well-defined investigative guidelines and the law, and in close coordination with the Department of Justice.”

Officials said they have gone to great lengths to maintain good relationships with Muslims, including meetings hosted by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Last week, FBI officials met to discuss law enforcement and other issues with predominantly Muslim Somali community members in San Diego and Minneapolis.

Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, declined to comment on Monteilh, citing Monteilh’s lawsuit. He said that in certain circumstances, if there is evidence of a crime, FBI agents may “conduct an activity that might somehow involve surveillance in and about a mosque.”

But he said the agency does not target people based on religion or ethnicity.

“I know there’s a lot of suspicion that that’s the focus, that we’re looking at the mosques, monitoring who is coming and going. That’s just not the case,” he said.

The ‘chameleon’

Monteilh’s career as an informant began in 2003. Like many other informants, he was familiar with the inside of a prison cell. He had just finished a sentence for forging bank notes when local police officers he met at a gym asked him to infiltrate drug gangs and white supremacist groups for a federal-state task force.

“It was very exciting,” Monteilh said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I had the ability to be a chameleon.”

Monteilh, who stands over 6 feet tall and weighs 260 pounds, had worked as a prison chaplain before he was incarcerated. Married with three children, the Los Angeles native said that after he became an informant, an FBI agent on the task force sought him out. Law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about informants, said Monteilh was promoted from drug and bank robbery cases because his information was reliable and had led to convictions.

In early 2006, Monteilh said, he met with his FBI handler at a Starbucks.

“She asked if I wanted to infiltrate mosques,” he said. At a follow-up session at a doughnut shop, he said, his new handler told him that “Islam is a threat to our national security.”

Law enforcement sources said that the FBI trained Monteilh and that he aided an existing investigation. Monteilh, however, said he was ordered to randomly surveil and spy on Muslims to ferret out potential terrorists. Agents, he said, provided his cover: Farouk al-Aziz, a French Syrian in search of his Islamic roots. His code name was “Oracle.”

Monteilh said he was instructed to infiltrate mosques throughout Orange and two neighboring counties in Southern California, where the Muslim population of nearly 500,000 is the nation’s largest. He was told to target the Islamic Center of Irvine, he said, because it was near his home.

FBI tactics were already a sensitive issue at the Irvine mosque, a stucco, two-story building that draws as many as 2,000 people for Friday prayers. With tensions rising between law enforcement and Muslims over allegations of FBI surveillance, J. Stephen Tidwell, then head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, spoke at the mosque in June 2006.

“If we’re going to mosques to come to services, we will tell you,” he said, according to a video of his speech. “. . . The FBI will tell you we’re coming for the very reason that we don’t want you to think you’re being monitored. We would come only to learn.”

Two months later, in August 2006, Monteilh arrived at the same mosque. He had called earlier and met with the imam. That Friday, he took shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, before hundreds of worshipers.

Worshipers said that in Monteilh’s 10 months at the mosque, he became almost manic in his devotion, attending prayers five times a day and waiting in the parking lot before the 5 a.m. prayer. Monteilh said he was told by the FBI to take notes on who opened the mosque each day.

Worshipers said his Western clothes gave way to an Islamic robe, a white skullcap and sandals, an outfit Monteilh said was chosen by his handlers. As he grew closer to Muslims, he said, the FBI told him to date Muslim women if it gained him intelligence.

Worshipers noticed that Monteilh often left his keys around the mosque, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who speaks often at the mosque.

“It seemed strange to people,” Ayloush said.

Inside the car remote on the bundle of keys was a microphone that recorded Muslims at the mosque, in their homes and at a local gym. Monteilh, who told people he was a fitness trainer, used the gym to seek out Muslim men.

“We started hearing that he was saying weird things,” said Omar Kurdi, a Loyola Law School student who knew Monteilh from the mosque and gym. “He would walk up to one of my friends and say, ‘It’s good that you guys are getting ready for the jihad.”

Worshipers said Monteilh gravitated to Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, an Afghan-born Arabic-language instructor who was a regular at Friday prayers.

In May 2007, Monteilh said he recorded a conversation about jihad during a car ride with Niazi and another man. Monteilh said he suggested an operation to blow up buildings and Niazi agreed. An FBI agent later cited that and other taped conversations between the two in court as evidence that Niazi was a threat.

A few days later, Ayloush got an anguished phone call from Niazi and the other man in the car.

“They said Farouk had told them he had access to weapons and that they should blow up a mall,” Ayloush recalled. “They were convinced this man was a terrorist.”

Ayloush reported the FBI’s own informant to the FBI. He said agents interviewed Niazi, who gave them the same account, but the agency took no action against Monteilh.

Still, Monteilh’s mission was collapsing. Members of the mosque told its leaders that they were afraid of Monteilh and that he was “trying to entrap them into a mission,” according to Asim Khan, the former mosque president. The mosque went to Orange County Superior Court in June 2007 and obtained a restraining order against Monteilh, court records show.

Soon afterward, Monteilh said FBI agents “told me they wanted to cut me loose.” After he vowed to go public, he said, he met with three agents at the Anaheim Hilton, where an FBI supervisor threatened him with arrest.

“She said, ‘If you reveal your informant status to the media, it will destroy the Muslim community’s relationship with the FBI forever.” Monteilh said.

The FBI declined to comment on Monteilh’s allegation.

At a subsequent meeting, Monteilh said, he signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $25,000 in cash. An FBI letter to Monteilh’s attorney, on file in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, says Monteilh signed the non-disclosure agreement in October 2007.

But Monteilh was arrested in December 2007 on a grand-theft charge and ended up back in jail for 16 months. In January, he sued the FBI, alleging that the bureau and Irvine police conspired to have him arrested, then allowed his informant status to become known in prison, where he was stabbed.

The FBI and police have denied the allegations, and the lawsuit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. But the judge allowed Monteilh to file an amended complaint, with similar allegations, in September. The case is pending.

A case unravels

In the meantime, the case against Niazi unfolded. He was indicted in February 2009 by a federal grand jury on charges of lying about his ties to terrorists on immigration documents. In court, prosecutors said that jihadist materials were found on Niazi’s computer and that he had wired money to an alleged al-Qaeda financier. Prosecutors said he is the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s security coordinator. Much of the evidence was FBI testimony about Niazi’s recorded conversations with an FBI informant, who sources say was Monteilh.

“Frankly, there is no amount of bail or equity in a home that can protect the citizens of this community” from Niazi, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deirdre Eliot said in arguing for his detention.

Within days of Niazi’s indictment, Monteilh revealed his informant status in a series of interviews with Los Angeles area media.

“I think the FBI treated me with the utmost treachery,” he said in the interview with The Post.

In subsequent months, Monteilh sought out Niazi’s attorneys and told them he was ordered to entrap their client.

A year and a half later, on Sept. 30, prosecutors summarily moved to dismiss the case against Niazi, and a judge agreed. The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles cited the lack of an overseas witness and “evidentiary issues.” Sources familiar with the decision said Monteilh’s role – and his potential testimony for the defense – was also a factor.

Niazi declined to comment. His attorney Chase Scolnick said he is “very pleased with the outcome. It is a just result.”

In recent weeks, Monteilh said, he has been approaching Muslims at a local gym and apologizing for “disrespecting their community and religion.” Monteilh, who is now unemployed, says he regrets his role in the Niazi case and was glad when the charges were dropped.

On a recent Friday, more than 200 men sat on the carpet for prayers inside the Irvine mosque, most of them in khakis or jeans. During the sermon, the imam offered some advice.

“If an FBI agent comes in and says, ‘You’re under arrest,’â??” he told the crowd, they should pray to Allah – and then call a lawyer.

As worshipers milled around outside, they said they support the FBI’s role in fighting terrorism but feel betrayed by the infiltration of their sacred place.

“The FBI wants to treat the Muslim community as a partner while investigating us behind our backs,” said Kurdi, the Loyola student. “They can’t have it both ways.”


If Pakistani Govt. Orders Our Surrender, Will The Military Comply?

October 6, 2010

By SHIREEN M. MAZARI – The Nation

9/11: The War To Cripple Pakistan

  1. Sovereign Guarantees’ vs. Sovereignty
  2. Will the Pakistani military exercise self-defense and respond to NATO attack?
  3. NATO has no mandate in Afghanistan, only ISAF does

How far is the Pakistani state prepared to go to undermining its national sovereignty and the safety of the lives of its citizens? Since 2004 mainly innocent Pakistani citizens have been killed by US drone strikes inside Pakistan. This is beyond the list of those Pakistanis handed over to the US in renditions by the Musharraf government, the most high profile being Dr. Aafia. The claim that she was not handed over but was whisked away by US covert operatives reflects even more badly on that state of our security establishment – that they cannot protect their own citizens in their own country from being kidnapped by foreign agencies!

Coming back to the drones, the advent of Obama to the Presidency led to an immediate upsurge of drone attacks, and as the US has always maintained, these attacks have the permission and cooperation of the Pakistan civilian leadership and its military. As a result, despite a national consensus against these drones, they continue to kill Pakistanis and the government continues with its lies to the people on this issue. This month, September, has seen the highest number of drone attacks for any month since the attacks began in 2004, with 20 strikes recorded so far and the month is not yet over.

Accompanying the drone attacks has been the growing presence of US overt and covert operatives across the length and breadth of Pakistan. This includes not only US Special Forces personnel, but also CIA, FBI operatives and the worse of the lot – the private contractors DynCorp and Xe (formerly Blackwater) aided and abetted by Pakistani mercenaries. And, not a squeak of protest from Pakistani officialdom. It is as if the whole state machinery has become an amalgam of mercenaries selling out Pakistan and its people.

The argument from the present political government is that they are merely implementing the sovereign guarantees given by the Musharraf regime to the US, but this is not plausible because the same government has also been claiming it is undoing the dictatorial legacies of the Musharraf government. In any case, how can this democratically elected government abide by sovereign guarantees to allow the killing of its own people? This is not to deny the presence of militants and even terrorists but they must be dealt with by our own people and under the law of the land. The state and government cannot abdicate their own responsibility towards its citizens – especially not a democratic government that has come to power – as they never tire of telling us these days – by a mandate from the people.

Worse still is, killing someone simply on suspicion of being a potential militant. But then the President’s remarks on the collateral damage being done by drones, as cited in Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars, says it all for the current political dispensation.

PAKISTANI MILITARY’S ROLE

As for the military, its justification of not protecting its citizens and territory against attacks by the US military in the form of drone attacks is even more absurd – that they are simply following orders of the civilian government. What instructions were they following in Musharraf’s times? In any case, this country sacrifices a lot to sustain a heavy defense budget so that its armed forces are given the best of everything. But in return they expect this military to defend its borders and its citizens from external military attacks – not to support them and turn on its own people under external diktat.

The armed forces may argue that they act on the directions of the federal government as directed under Article 245 of the Constitution which states: “The armed forces shall, under the directions of the federal government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war …”

So the questions that arise for us citizens are:

  1. If the federal government tells the armed forces to allow foreign aggression against the country, will the armed forces comply? Is that what is happening right now?
  2. Can the federal government legally take such a step? If so, who will defend the country against foreign aggression in the final analysis?

Incidentally, while many of us naively assumed the armed forces took an oath to defend Pakistan and its territory from its enemies and so on, when one sees the actual oath of the armed forces in Schedule III of the Constitution, it says nothing of the sort at all – they take an oath to defend the Constitution of Pakistan and not to indulge in any political activity – but nowhere are the words defense of territory or people in the oath!

Frankly, after examining Article 245 and the armed forces oath, as a citizen of Pakistan I do not feel as secure as I thought I was because tomorrow if the federal government orders the military to hand over our defense to an external power and even our nuclear assets, where will we be?

These issues are critical now, because with the complicity of the Pakistani state, the US drone attacks are not the only external aggression we are now facing. NATO has decided to target Pakistanis in our own territory and their helicopter gunships have been having an open season on the FATA people. Some whimpering from the Pakistani state has been heard but we still have to wait and see whether our defense forces will defend our borders against this expansion of external military aggression against Pakistan and its people.

Ironically, NATO has defended its forays into Pakistan as “right of self-defense”, while the Pakistanis seem to have no such right on their own territory!

To confuse the issue, NATO is using the reference of ISAF and a UN mandate, when we all know that ISAF is not NATO and that NATO forcibly grabbed the ISAF UN mandate. The question of its legitimacy in the context of Afghanistan is critical because it has been expanding its mandate and operational milieu ever since the end of bipolarity.

So, why should there be an issue of its legitimacy within the context of Afghanistan? Because it is an out-of-area operation. NATO still remains, in legal terms, a collective defense organization in terms of its legitimacy through the UN system – under Chapter VIII, Articles 52 and 53, as well as Chapter VII’s notion of collective self-defense as embodied in Article 51, which provides a very clear and limited framework for collective defense organizations. Regional collective defense organizations need to operate in the specific region of their membership since decision-making is restricted to this membership. Given the continuing European-Atlantic membership of NATO, it is somewhat disturbing to see NATO transforming itself from a collective defense organization (Article 5 of the NATO Charter is surely in the context of collective defense?) to a collective security organization to serve the interests of its membership or perhaps future “coalitions of the willing”. There is no legitimacy for any collective security organization other than the UN with its universal membership.

Even within the context of regional organizations, actions have to have a UN mandate and this is where the case of Afghanistan is unclear. Post-9/11, the UN Security Council, through Resolution 1386 (December 2001), sanctioned the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan. As stipulated in the Bonn Agreement of December 2001, the progressive expansion of the ISAF to other urban centers and other areas beyond Kabul was duly approved through follow-on UNSC resolutions.
So, where did NATO get into ISAF? Did the UNSC initiate NATO’s involvement or did NATO present a fait accompli to the UN Secretary General?

What is available on record is that NATO informed the UN Secretary General, through a letter dated October 2, 2003, from its Secretary General that on August 11, 2003, NATO had assumed “strategic command, control and coordination of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).” This was followed by another letter from the NATO Secretary General to the UN SG informing the latter of the North Atlantic Council’s agreement on a “longer-term strategy for NATO in its International Assistance Force (ISAF) role in Afghanistan.”

Both these letters were sent to the President of the UNSC by the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on October 7 with the request that they be brought to the attention of the UNSC. So, effectively NATO presented the UNSC with a fait accompli – which is why its presence in Afghanistan is legally questionable.

Meanwhile, for Pakistan the basic question that its civil and military leaders must answer is: How far will the state compromise the safety of its people and its own sovereignty to fulfill the so-called “sovereign guarantees” to the US?


Blackwater/Xe cells conducting false flag terrorist attacks in Pakistan

September 20, 2010

Wayne Madsen

WMR has learned from a deep background source that Xe Services, the company formerly known as Blackwater, has been conducting false flag terrorist attacks in Pakistan that are later blamed on the entity called “Pakistani Taliban.”

Only recently did the US State Department designate the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, a terrorist group. The group is said by the State Department to be an off-shoot of the Afghan Taliban, which had links to “Al Qaeda” before the 9/11 attacks on the United States. TTP’s leader is Hakimullah Mehsud, said to be 30-years old and operating from Pakistan’s remote tribal region with an accomplice named Wali Ur Rehman. In essence, this new team of Mehsud and Rehman appears to be the designated replacement for Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri as the new leaders of the so-called “Global Jihad” against the West.

However, it is Xe cells operating in Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad and other cities and towns that have, according to our source who witnessed the U.S.-led false flag terrorist operations in Pakistan. Bombings of civilians is the favored false flag event for the Xe team and are being carried out under the orders of the CIA.

However, the source is now under threat from the FBI and CIA for revealing the nature of the false flag operations in Pakistan. If the source does not agree to cooperate with the CIA and FBI, with an offer of a salary, the threat of false criminal charges being brought for aiding and abetting terrorism looms over the source.

The Blackwater/Xe involvement in terrorist attacks in Pakistan have been confirmed by the former head of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), General Hamid Gul, according to another source familiar with the current Xe covert operations. In addition, Pakistani ex-Army Chief of Staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg, reportedly claimed that while serving as president, General Pervez Musharraf approved Blackwater carrying out terrorist operations in Pakistan. Blackwater has been accused of smuggling weapons and munitions into Pakistan.

Earlier this year WMR reported that “intelligence sources in Asia and Europe are reporting that the CIA contractor firm XE Services, formerly Blackwater, has been carrying out ‘false flag’ terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Sinkiang region of China, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq, in some cases with the assistance of Israeli Mossad and Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) personnel . . . A number of terrorist bombings in Pakistan have been blamed by Pakistani Islamic leaders on Blackwater, Mossad, and RAW. Blackwater has been accused of hiring young Pakistanis in Peshawar to carry out false flag bombings that are later blamed on the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. One such bombing took place during the Ashura procession in Karachi last month. The terrorist attacks allegedly are carried out by a secret Blackwater-XE/CIA/Joint Special Operations Command forward operating base in Karachi. The XE Services component was formerly known as Blackwater Select, yet another subsidiary in a byzantine network of shell and linked companies run by Blackwater/Xe on behalf of the CIA and the Pentagon. On December 3, 2009, the Pakistani newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt reported: ‘Vast land near the Tarbela dam has also been given to the Americans where they have established bases for their army and air forces. There, the Indian RAW [Research and Analysis Wing] and Israeli Mossad are working in collaboration with the CIA to carry out extremist activities in Pakistan.’”

The bombing of a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan last December was blamed on the TTP but may have actually involved the covert Xe/CIA program to stage false flag attacks and something went drastically wrong with the operation that resulted in the deaths of seven CIA personnel, including the Khost station chief. The TTP was also linked to the failed Times Square “bombing” last May.

Responsibility for the recent bomb attack of a pro-Palestine Shi’a rally in Quetta that killed 54 people was claimed by the Pakistan Taliban, but it was actually carried out by one of the Xe covert cells in the country, acting in concert with the CIA, Israeli Mossad, and Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The ultimate goal is to destabilize Pakistan to the point where it has no choice but to allow the Western powers to secure its nuclear weapons and remove them from the country in a manner similar to the procurement by the West of South Africa’s nuclear weapons prior to the stepping down of the white minority government in the early 1990s.

WMR has been informed that any American, whether or not he or she holds a security clearance, is subject to U.S. national security prohibitions from discussing the U.S.- sponsored terrorist attacks in Pakistan. In one case, a threat was made against an individual who personally witnessed the Xe/CIA terrorist operations but is now threatened, along with family members.


Indo-US-Israel-Afghan collaborative game against Pakistan

September 1, 2010

Brig Asif Haroon Raja

9/11 dramatically converted Pakistan from an international outcast under a military dictator aligned with extremist Taliban regime in Kabul to become a key strategic partner of America’s war on terror. This change in status brought about by USA did not come about out of the blue but under a well conceived design. While Afghanistan was already on the hit list of USA since 1997, 9/11 gave a ready made excuse to forcibly occupy it and bring a regime change of its liking and to then work upon the laid down regional objectives.

In its pursuit to denuclearize and secularize Pakistan, the US in concert with Israel, India and Britain worked out several contingency plans which ranged from coercion combined with inducement to destabilization, balkanization and fragmentation. Gen Musharraf was successfully coerced to ditch friendly Mullah Omar led Taliban regime in Kabul, to help US in militarily occupying Afghanistan, and to become a frontline state to fight US war on terror. Pakistan had to accept anti-Pakistan and pro-India Northern Alliance regime under Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

When Pakistan expressed its reluctance to send regular troops into South Waziristan (SW) to oust foreign terrorists since it had never done so in the past, Washington threatened that US forces would barge into FATA in case Pakistan failed to abide by its orders. Pakistan was induced to do Washington’s bidding by rescheduling Pakistan’s foreign debts and offering five-year package of $10.5 billion. By 2009, only 30% of this amount trickled into Pakistan’s kitty which barely met the expenses incurred on services rendered; the rest shifted back to US treasury. As against this puny amount the US spent $60 billion annually in Afghanistan.

Once the Army moved into SW, it was trapped and it was ensured that it got involved deeper and deeper in fighting futile war on terror. Nek Muhammad belonging to Ahmadzai Wazirs was killed by a US drone soon after he met Commander 11 Corps Lt Gen Safdar and inked Shakai peace accord in July 2005. Maulvi Nazir took over from Nek. Since Nazir reused to play American game, Abdullah Mehsud was released from Gitmo Prison and launched to accelerate militancy. His cousin Baitullah Mehsud too picked up the path of militancy but both operated separately so as to enlarge their areas of influence in FATA and beyond.

Army was pressed to shift from Wazir belt to Mehsud belt within SW. Abdullah was responsible for abducting and killing Chinese engineers working in Gomal Zam Dam project. It was RAW-CIA guided move to spoil Pak-China relations. Abdullah was killed in Zhob in July 2007 by Pak security forces. After his death Baitullah took up the mantle. The Army which had inked peace accord with Baitullah in early 2006 was pushed into North Waziristan (NW) to confront Hafiz Gul Bahadur led Othmanzai Wazir militants. Another peace deal was signed in NW in September 2006.

It was in this timeframe that Pakistani Taliban (PT) mysteriously surfaced in NW in late 2006 where Mir Ali and Miran Shah became their strong points. PT were later on duly trained, equipped, funded and protected by CIA, FBI, RAW, RAAM and Mossad foreign agencies based in Afghanistan and pitched against Pak Army to lock the two in deadly combat for a prolonged period. To prevent the Army from defeating militants, the army units operating in FATA were kept dependent upon doctored intelligence provided by CIA, FBI and satellite communication till as late as 2007. Bleeding and weakening of Army was considered essential for the success of the gory plan since without its destruction none of the envisaged objectives could be achieved. PT also helped USA in defaming Islam and Afghan Taliban.

Ranks of PT swelled after botched Lal Masjid operation in July 2007 triggering recruitment of fighters and suicide bombers in large numbers. Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Baitullah broke peace accords with security forces in July and August 2007 respectively. Mohmand Agency also came in the grip of militancy. Secular forces in Pakistan egged on by the west were responsible for instigating Gen Musharraf to launch a needless bloody operation. Revenge of killings of women and children receiving education in Jamia Hafsa became the rallying point. The Army was dubbed as a rental army on the payroll of US. Based on this analogy, killing of a soldier became a just cause. Reverses of Army at certain places in FATA further galvanized their spirits.

Taking advantage of hurt sentiments of the people of the area, RAW with the assistance of RAAM took upon itself to recruit fresh crop of fighters and to provide training, funds, equipment and reinforcement to PT from Afghan soil. Notwithstanding factor of revenge, chief causes of motivation of militants were regular handsome monthly salaries, perks and authority. Taste of adventure and heroism and easy availability of women to marry were other reasons to get lured. These were too intoxicating pleasures for the uneducated, unemployed youth belonging to poor families to go to any lengths.

Foreign agencies kept fueling their grievances and eulogizing their dare devilry. They pumped them that their cause to get rid of corrupt rulers and to introduce Sharia was genuine. Pak Army was projected as a mercenary army of the US. In the same breath it was ridiculed by USA for not doing enough and pressed to do more. It was also accused of being in cahoots with the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Drone attacks which started hitting targets in FATA from January 2006 onwards remained confined to anti-US elements only or those refusing to tow US agenda. Purpose of drones was to fuel terrorism and not to curb terrorism.

Unheard of Baitullah who took over the reigns of Taliban in July 2007 surprisingly managed to establish Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) in December that year with its tentacles in all the seven agencies of FATA and in Darra Adamkhel (DAK). The TTP took a leaf out of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, whom they considered as their mentors and tried to emulate them by fighting evildoers to purge the society of immorality and dispensing speedy justice to victims. Bandits of the area who had made the life of peaceful residents miserable were nailed and many hanged to death. In order to become the dominant force in FATA, Taliban started to gun down pro-government Maliks and Mullahs in two Waziristans, the two pillars of Pakhtunwali. Police, Frontier Constabulary, Khasadars were targeted. Government officials were kidnapped and harassed to force them to abandon their offices. Other than CIA and FBI outposts, Blackwater was also moved into FATA to lend a helping hand in the killing spree. All this was done to weaken Jirga system and administrative machinery run by political agent.

RAW with easy money procured from illicit drug smuggling then started to equip TTP on a crash program. Bajaur, Swat and SW were converted into major strongholds where massive weapons, ammunition, explosives, suicide jackets, medical stores and other war munitions were stored in hundreds of caves, man-made tunnels, roofs and walls of houses and other secretive places throughout 2008.

CIA and RAW also helped TTP in getting aligned with several banned extremist groups so as to develop its capacity to engage Pak Army in a prolonged guerilla war, launch suicide attacks and group attacks against a specific defended or undefended target within cities. Idea was to enable TTP to strike targets within cities and also to show to the world that non-state actors had become strong all over the country. Its ability was however not built to hit targets outside Pakistan. Pak Army on the other and was denied requisite funds and counter terrorism equipment on the plea of Indian imaginary fears that equipment will be used against India.

CIA helped Baitullah getting aligned with Fazlullah led militants in Swat and making it part of TTP in February 2008. TTP also made inroads in southern Punjab wherefrom Punjabi youths were recruited. Unknown Fazlullah became popular in Swat and Malakand Division because of his preaching on FM radio which could not be jammed because of Israeli made transmitters. His motivational thrusts revolved around anti-Islamic lifestyle of the elite class, their insensitivity towards the poor, growing immorality and lack of justice.

The Taliban spread their influence to Bajaur which became restive after a drone attack on Damadola village in January 2006 and another strike on a madrassa in October 2006 killing 80 young students. Within a year’s time, Bajaur, attached with Kunar province of Afghanistan in north, turned into a formidable stronghold of Taliban under Maulvi Faqir where the Frontier Corps (FC) had to launch several operations. 100,000 locals got displaced as a result of Frontier Corps (FC) operation launched on 10 January 2008. FC operation under Maj Gen Tariq conducted in July 2008 ended on a victorious note in February 2009. It transpired that Bajaur militants were heavily funded and provided with all sorts of armaments and reinforcement by foreign agencies from Kunar. Uzbeks, Tajiks, Afghans and RAW agents used to assist Taliban in fighting security forces. Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh personally coordinated Bajaur insurgency.

Simultaneous to heating up of Bajaur, Swat under Tehrik-e-Nifaz-Shariat Muhammadi (TNSM) of Maulana Sufi, led by his son-in-law Maulana Fazlullah became turbulent. After a military operation in November 2007, another operation was launched in August 2008 which ended in Swat Treaty in February 2009 according to which Nizam-e-Adal was to be enforced in Malakand Division and in return the militants would cease militancy.

Mohmand Agency heated up and turned into another formidable front for security forces in 2007. Divided into two as upper and lower Mohmand, it shares border with Nangahar province of Afghanistan to the west, Khyber Agency to the south, Bajaur to the north and Malakand, Charsada, Peshawar to the east. Until 2007, Mohmand was the most peaceful Agency in tribal belt and known for its moderation. Banned militant groups played a role in activating militancy in this region. Consequent to Lal Masjid operation in July 2007, over 200 militants took over a huge mosque in Ghazi Abad village near Ghilanai and renamed it as Lal Masjid. An unknown figure Umar Khalid gained prominence. He had received military training from Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and had participated in Kashmir Jihad and had also taken part in Taliban last ditch battle against US invasion in 2001. All those who were pro-government were gradually put to death on the plea that they were infidels, hypocrites and American spies. This way, authority of tribal elders was gradually enfeebled.

Three militant groups including Lashkar-e-Islam cropped up from nowhere in Khyber Agency to create law and order problem in Landikotal, Tirah, Jamrud and to threaten Peshawar. Capital city was attacked by terrorists and kidnappers under a planned program. Kurram Agency was rocked by foreign instigated Shia-Sunni conflict resulting in tens of hundreds of deaths. An operation had to be launched to quell the sectarian unrest. RAAM was heavily involved in fuelling turbulence.

Besides FATA, Balochistan was also made turbulent in 2005 by cultivating rebellious Baloch Sardars of Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes and nationalist Baloch political leaders. Baloch rebels were trained, funded, and equipped on a massive scale to fix security forces in interior Balochistan. Gradually the flames of terrorism were brought to the capital city Quetta. After the death of Akbar Bugti, RAW planted the seeds of separatism among Baloch nationalists and rebellious elements. Balochistan became a priority target for USA-UK-India because of commercial and strategic interests. Exiled Baloch leaders were sheltered in Kandahar and in London and mandated to work for independence of Balochistan.

Another peace accord was signed with Hafiz Gul Bahadur in NW in September 2008 which is still intact. Peace agreement with Maulvi Nazir in SW is also holding on. Peace accords signed between militants and security forces or any sort of parleys taking place out of security and humanitarian compulsions are deeply resented by USA since it go against their plans. They wanted Pak Army and the militants to continue fighting till death. It was this hidden urge which prompted every US official to keep pressing Pakistan to do more and more. Peace deals gave an excuse to USA, India and Afghanistan to shout aloud that Pak Army was either soft towards the militants or didn’t have heart to fight them or was in cahoots with them. This charge-sheet has not been withdrawn till to-date.

Once India felt confident that the bastion of Swat fortified with huge efforts would be able to pin down a corps size force irreversibly, it advised the US to press Pakistan to start an operation in Swat in April 2009. It was also sure that Pakistan will not be able to cope up with the burden of 2.5 million displaced persons since by then its economy had slumped and was at the mercy of IMF and the new democratic rulers duly washed by NRO were also in the grip of Washington. When reverse happened, all hopes were pinned on SW becoming the final killing ground for systematic destruction of Pak Army.

When Pak Army turned the tables on TTP, it disconcerted the plot makers beyond measure. They could not imagine in their wildest dreams that Pak Army would break the back of TTP and that too in very short time. Their wish to steal nukes shattered. Instead of defaming the Army and lowering its morale, its image up surged and morale went sky high. The Frontier Corps and other paramilitary forces including police performed brilliantly. The PAF lent full support by way of targeting sanctuaries of militants.

Orakzai Agency tucked in depth and well away from Afghan border but linked with Kohat and Peshawar had remained peaceful till as late as mid 2008. A deadly suicide attack on a Jirga that had assembled to form a lashkar to confront Taliban made this region turbulent as well. Waliur Rahman holds sway over militant group which coordinates its activities with Taliban in DAK. After loss of main base of TTP in SW in November-December 2009, Orakzai was prepared as an alternative base. This region has also been sufficiently neutralized.

Extremists bottled up in specific areas first slipped into settled districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and then to major cities of Punjab and Karachi thus spreading terrorism all over. Militant groups banned by Musharraf in 2001/2, had become sleeping cells in major cities. These groups had come under the wings of TTP and got activated once runaway Taliban sought shelter in cities. Latter having got weakened do not command effective control over the militant groups from Punjab but remain in collusion. RAW exploiting the fluid situation created new groups like Asian Tigers under Osman Punjabi. Main groups are Lashkar-Zil headed by Ilyas Kashmiri, Jaish Muhammad under Maulana Masood Azhar, Harkatul Jihadul Islami under Qari Saifullah and Lashkar Jhangvi under Akram Lahori.

Baitullah and his Shura and Mehsud belt as a whole were spared till such time he started behaving independently and giving anti-US statements in March-April 2009. When he claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in New York in April 2009 and failed to unleash his horde of suicide bombers during operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat, he was declared a liability and a security risk and marked as a target. A warning shot was fired on him by a drone in June, but he had a narrow escape. He was eventually gunned down on 5 August and his death sparked leadership crisis in TTP. Hakimullah took over the reigns of TTP and accelerated suicide bombings and group attacks on military and civilian targets in major urban centres in Punjab so as to break the momentum of operations launched in forward areas and thus release pressure. He too apparently fell from America’s grace when he was found to be associated with Jordanian suicide bomber who killed seven CIA agents at Khost base. Although his death was widely reported in western media, however, after few months he was re-incarnated. His rebirth was timed with Faisal Shehzad’s Time Square botched attempt.

TTP and other militant groups in Pakistan are of no concern to USA and India. What concern the duo are remnants of Al-Qaeda, Haqqani network and Gul Bahadur led militants in NW, Maulvi Nazir in SW and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Punjab. Let is being projected as a global threat and blamed for current nonviolent unrest in India-Held Kashmir. The US instead of extending support to Pak Army to fight its battle with TTP and Fazlullah led militants in Swat-Shangla; it has been lending support to TTP. Hundreds of US, Indian and Israeli origin weapons recovered from Swat and SW during recent operations is a clinching proof of their involvement. It implies that the US didn’t want Pak Army to defeat terrorism in Pakistan but to preferably get defeated or as a minimum get pinned down irretrievably. India instead of tackling existential threat posed by Naxalites to Indian Union, it is myopically wasting all its energies in supporting terrorists in Pakistan, foolishly hoping that downfall of Pakistan would end all its worries.

While there has never been any doubt of Indian involvement in Pakistan’s domestic affairs, WikiLeaks has confirmed clandestine role of CIA in destabilizing Pakistan. It is now established that CIA has all along based its assessment on Afghanistan and Pakistan on the inputs provided by Afghan intelligence which gets fed by RAW. WikiLeaks has given an insight to Indo-US-Israeli-Afghan collaborative game of maligning Pakistan through an orchestrated vilification campaign with evil intentions.

Ironically, the US has different sets of laws and standards for itself. While it gets outraged on finding any sort of linkage of Pakistan with Afghan Taliban, it is striving hard to negotiate with them. It has been ignoring peace accords inked by British soldiers with Taliban in Southern Afghanistan. It is also ignoring India’s cross border terrorism against Pakistan and massive human rights abuses of Israel and India against Gazans and Kashmiris. Washington also refuses to admit its blunders and failures on the political and military fronts and has never found faults in its Generals operating in Afghanistan nor has it ever pressed them to do more. It continues to remain under the spell of Israel and India, bent upon rolling the honor and prestige of US military in dust in Afghanistan.

Much hyped strategic dialogue with America is already proving to be a big hoax when seen in context with the renewal of pressure tactics and use of aggressive language by US leaders. Extreme pressure was applied on Pakistan to launch another operation in North Waziristan well knowing that Pak Army was outstretched and didn’t have the means to stretch any further and that too without fully consolidating gains in Swat and South Waziristan. In the wake of devastating floods and engagement of 60,000 additional troops in relief operations, opening of a new front for the time being has become impossible.

As long as perceptions and threat perceptions of the US and Pakistan are at variance, mistrust and misunderstanding will not fade away and US officials would keep blowing hot and cold. Hawkish attitude towards Pakistan and visible tilt towards India will not help in bridging the trust deficit and in toning down anti-US sentiments. India and Israel will continue to sprinkle fuel on the differences and clashing interests to keep the US fearful and antagonistic towards Pakistan. Notwithstanding wicked designs of the duo, the US should strive to win hearts and minds of Pakistanis by doubling its flood relief efforts altruistically to mitigate the sufferings of flood affectees without extracting its pound of flesh. In the wake of colossal losses suffered by Pakistan in war on terror and now in floods, the US instead of extending loans or rescheduling debts, it should demonstrate its sincerity of purpose and help Pakistan in getting rid of its external debt. This step will go a long way in reversing perceptions from negative to positive and in forging mutually sustaining lasting friendship.


July deadliest month of Afghan war for U.S

August 2, 2010

By Katherine Tiedemann

Wonk Watch: The Pakistani Army’s changing officer corps, by Shuja Nawaz and C. Christine Fair (Journal of Strategic Studies).

Bloods on the hands

Investigators have reportedly found concrete evidence linking Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst already charged with leaking classified information about Iraq to Wikileaks, to the Wikileaks Afghanistan disclosures (WSJ). U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the FBI has been called in to help with the investigation, and criticized the disclosures, saying, “The battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world” (BBC, AP, Reuters, NYT, Tel, Times).

A Taliban spokesman has said the group is examining the Wikileaks documents, commenting of the names of Afghan informants in the disclosures, “If they are U.S. spies, then we know how to punish them,” as chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen asserted that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange “can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family” (Tel, Wash Post, Channel 4).

Some of the Wikileaks documents reportedly suggest al-Qaeda may have planned 9/11-style attacks in 2009 on Hamid Karzai’s presidential palace, NATO headquarters in Kabul, British and U.S. embassies, and the Ariana hotel (Guardian, Times, FT). The reports, however, are imprecise and categorized as “C3,” meaning the information was “possibly true” and the source was regarded as “fairly reliable” (Guardian).

Yesterday, the Obama administration’s Afghanistan-Pakistan team met for the seventh time and reportedly focused little on the Wikileaks disclosures, instead focusing on the recent Kabul conference, U.S.-Pakistan dialogue, and a briefing from top commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus (USAT, VOA). Gen. Petraeus reportedly made his first visit to the southern province of Helmand earlier this week, where British, U.S., and Afghan forces have just launched the biggest operation of the summer, Operation Tor Shezada (“Black Prince”) (Pajhwok, Tel, BBC). The 6,000-person town of Saidabad is the last population center fully under Taliban control in central Helmand (Channel 4). In neighboring Kandahar, continued insecurity and threats of Taliban assassination have made it difficult to fill local government positions (AP).

South and north

July is now the deadliest month ever for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, as 63 soldiers have been killed so far, surpassing last month’s record of 60 fatalities (AP, BBC). Coalition commanders had warned that casualties would rise as forces make moves against Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan.

In the northern Afghan province of Baghlan, the Taliban continue to make inroads: in June, a group of 80 Taliban fighters briefly gained control of a bazaar in one of the troubled districts; have since blocked many roads in the district; and have ordered the closure of local cell phone towers at night (NYT). The area’s corrupt judiciary, lack of government services, and ethnic differences have all been exploited by the Taliban.

And Karen DeYoung reports that the “Afghan First” program designed to give Afghans contracting jobs to support U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, rather than promoting small and medium business and spreading the wealth, may be enriching traditional power brokers and creating new ones instead (Wash Post).

The crashing waves

As many as 320 people have been killed in the last three days of severe flooding triggered by monsoons across Pakistan, with Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa the hardest hit province (AP, AFP, Geo, Dawn, ET, Daily Times, BBC). Pakistani officials say the floods are the worst in 80 years; hundreds of thousands of people have been affected.

A poll released yesterday at the New America Foundation by the Pew Global Attitudes Project surveyed 2,000 Pakistanis about concerns about the extremist threat in the country, views of foreign powers, aid from the United States, Pakistani domestic politics, drone strikes, and other topics (Pew, AJE, AP, BBC). The headline finding is that Pakistanis are less concerned about a potential Taliban takeover of Pakistan than they were last year. Bonus watch: discussion of the poll with Steve Coll and Andrew Kohut (NAF).

Pakistan’s Daily Times reports that 10 people were killed yesterday in Kurram in northwest Pakistan after Shia men attacked a Sunni village, and Dawn writes that 12 militants were killed by security forces in central Kurram (Daily Times, Dawn).

Flashpoint

Indian forces opened fire on a crowd of rock-throwing anti-India protesters in the summer capital of Indian Kashmir earlier today, wounding two (AP, PTI). A police officer said the separatist protesters had marched on the main road in the Chanapora neighborhood of Srinagar; security forces also used tear gas to quell the protests.

A big deal

The department of education in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province has started a program to offer free health care to 6,500 teachers (Pajhwok). The program could be extended to include the families of teachers in the future.


Krishna slams Pillai naming ISI in 26/11 attack

July 26, 2010

New Delhi Disapproving the comments made by Union Home Secretary G K Pillai on the eve of Indo-Pak talks, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Wednedsay said his whole visit to Islamabad was “under-pinned” by the remarks, the timing of which was “very unfortunate.”


S M Krishna has castigated Home Secretary G K Pillai for a statement on Mumbai attacks that angered Pakistan.

Clearly unhappy with Pillai’s statement about the involvement of ISI in Mumbai terror attacks, a day ahead of his visit to Pakistan to hold talks, Krishna said if he was the Home Secretary, he would not have spoken about the details of the Pakistani-American David Headley revelations.

Factually, Pillai was “very much in order” in speaking about the disclosures made by Headley to FBI and Indian interrogators but “the timing was something which was very unfortunate,” Krishna told in an interview.

The Minister disclosed that he discussed Pillai’s comments with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whom he had briefed on his parleys with his Pakistani counterpart S M Qureshi and other leaders.

He insisted that the government was speaking in one voice on Pakistan and said he was “glad” that Home Ministry has now announced the appointment of a spokesperson. In recent months, Pillai has been briefing the media.

Disagreeing with the perception that his discussion with Qureshi had ended in a deadlock, Krishna said he was “quite satisfied” with his visit which has bridged the trust deficit “to some extent.”

Rejecting suggestions that the outcome of his talks was a setback to the overall dialogue process, the Minister said the visit was a confidence building exercise and “to that extent, we have succeeded”.

Expressing his firm belief that India and Pakistan needed to remain engaged, Krishna said there was no other alternative.

Responding to a question on BJP’s stand that India should not talk to Pakistan now, the Minister said he had briefed the BJP leaders before his visit to Islamabad and conveyed the desirability of engaging Pakistan.

“There is no alternative. If somebody can come out with an alternative, I can consider that.”

Answering questions about Qureshi’s undiplomatic remarks after the talks and if he was willing to ignore such behaviour, Krishna said “I am willing to mind my business and concentrate on my work.”

However, he dismissed as “ridiculous” the comparison sought to be drawn by Qureshi between JuD chief Hafiz Saeed’s anti-India statement and Pillai’s remarks on ISI.

The Minister said the minute details of how the “whole conspiracy of 26/11 was hatched and executed” showed the “diabolical nature of the conspiracy”.

The fact that these details had come out during interrogation of Headley by FBI put much more onus on Pakistan to act against the conspirators, he said.

The External Affairs Minister welcomed Qureshi’s assurance that Pakistan would act on the leads provided by Headley and would hasten the trial of those involved in the Mumbai attack. “I am glad about it. That is expected from that government (of Pakistan).”

Responding to a question on the perception that the first session of his talks with Qureshi had gone off well, prompting Indian officials to promise some good news, Krishna said he was not “very sure” of the outcome of the meeting till the last minute.

Asked about his meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Krishna said he had briefed her on what transpired at his meeting with Qureshi. “She is happy that India and Pakistan are talking.”

On whether she had raised the issue of Kashmir, which she has described as an impediment in Indo-Pak relations, the Minister said “with me no specifics were mentioned.

However, the External Affairs Minister disagreed that Kashmir was on the only issue between the two countries.

“Kashmir is one of the questions which keeps India and Pakistan apart but there are a number of other concerns such as terrorism,” he said.

He also advocated a graduated approach in the bilateral relations with Pakistan, saying India wanted to start with issues which are “helpful and beneficial” to both countries such as release of fishermen, people-to-people contact before taking up complex issues like Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek.

Krishna said he had raised India’s “immediate concern” of terrorism during his meetings in Pakistan. “I would have failed in my duty as External Affairs Minister if I would not have put enough pressure on Pakistan to address itself to our concerns about 26/11 and what happened after that.”

“I wanted to know how the trial is proceeding. I wanted to find out….I wanted them to hasten up the trial. All the other things can come up later,” he said.


Osama dead or alive

July 26, 2010

Yasmeen Ali

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on her recent visit to Pakistan that she believed Osama bin Laden was still in Pakistan, in a television interview between high-level talks in Islamabad.

“I believe (bin Laden) is here in Pakistan and it would be very helpful if we could take them (al-Qaeda leaders),” Clinton said. The US secretary of state sought tougher action from Islamabad to combat militants ahead of a key conference in Afghanistan.

The information that Osama Bin Laden is dead, first came from sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan many years ago,the fugitive died in December [2001] and was buried in the mountains of southeast Afghanistan.

With an ego the size of Mount Everest, Osama bin Laden would not have, could not have, remained silent for so long if he were still alive. He always liked to take credit even for things he had nothing to do with. Would he remain silent for nine months and not trumpet his own survival? [New York Times. July 11, 2002]. Bin Laden has often been reported to be in poor health. Some accounts claim that he is suffering from Hepatitis C, and can expect to live for only two more years. According to Le Figaro, lin [2000] he ordered a mobile dialysis machine to be delivered to his base at Kandahar in Afghanistan. [Guardian]. FBI: Bin Laden ‘probably’ dead; The US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counter-terrorism chief, Dale Watson, says he thinks Osama bin Laden is “probably” dead. [BBC]. The editor-in-chief of a London-based Arab news magazine said a purported will it published in the year [2001] by Osama bin Laden, and shows “he’s dying or he’s going to die soon.” [CNN]. Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader. “The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead,” the source said. [FOX News].

Yet, Secretary Clinton, has decided, to claim, that not only Osama Bin Laden is alive and kicking, but in Pakistan. Yet, Secretary Clinton gives no proof as to why, suddenly, she thinks he is alive. If there are clues, they must surely be shared with Pakistan for them to not only ascertain the veracity of the claim but to help them “find” Osama.
Secretary Clinton is in a position where irresponsible statements can be ill afforded.

Many claim, this desire to revive Osama is to justify the continuation of the War on Terrorism. Gordon Duff, Senior Editor Veteran News, USA, in a recent article states,” Has the United States established exactly what its strategic interests are in the region? Oil is flowing freely as is heroin. Money is flowing into the region by the plane load and back out, into banks in Dubai, Tel Aviv and Switzerland. Is $500 billion a year being spent to defend Israel from invasion by, well, we aren’t sure? What is being spent to secure Israel, or empower Israeli recklessness, is nearly one third of America’s entire budget. Wouldn’t it simply be cheaper to give Israel the United States or do they own it already? ”
The Pakistani public is wary of these statements, as issued by Secretary Clinton, and are widely interpreted as self serving and nothing to do with ground realities.

Pakistan is a country that has suffered tremendously in this War on Terror. If America has a genuine appreciation of the sacrifices made by Pakistan, she should make an effort to solve the issues being faced by Pakistan. One of the foremost is to intercede and stop India from violating the 1960 Indus Water Treaty. To this, Secretary Clinton has given her flat denial.

The West needs to review its arrogant policies followed in this part of the world. They need to answer some questions: what has been the ratio of suicide attempts since the invasion of Afghanistan? How sharply have the terrorist attacks risen since then? How many US soldiers have actually been killed on ground as compared to the soldiers, civilians: women, old people and children from other side of the fence?

At the end of the day, what political and military victory has USA achieved by attacking and invading Afghanistan? USA is once again contemplating reaching an understanding with the Taliban in Afghanistan. So what were these eight years all about? Or is, Gordon Duff, right after all?


US officials link al Qaeda operative to New York plot

July 2, 2010

By ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO

NEW YORK: Current and former counter-terrorism officials of the United States have linked Adnan Shukrijumah, one of the most wanted persons, to thwarted plot to bomb the subway system in New York City last year, authorities said.


Thus undated handout photo provided by the FBI shows Adnan Shukrijumah. Authorities believe that Shukrijumah met with one of the would-be suicide bombers in a plot to strike the New York subway system last year. Intelligence officials believe Shukrijumah, 34, is one of the top candidates to be al-Qaida’s next head of external operations, the man in charge of planning attacks worldwide. The U.S. has offered up to $5 million for information leading to his capture. (AP Photo/FBI)

The officials said Shukrijumah, top al Qaeda operative, met with one of the would-be suicide bombers in a plot that Attorney General Eric Holder called one of the most dangerous since the 9/11 attacks. In Brooklyn, federal prosecutors have named Shukrijumah in a draft terrorism indictment but the Justice Department was still discussing whether to cite his role.

Some officials feared that the extra attention might hinder efforts to capture him. The involvement of Shukrijumah shows how important the (subway bombing) plot was to al Qaeda’s senior leadership. Intelligence officials believe Shukrijumah is one of the top candidates to become al Qaeda’s next head of external operations, the man in charge of planning attacks worldwide.

The counter-terrorism officials discussed the case on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak about it. Shukrijumah, 34, has eluded the FBI for years. The Saudi-born operative studied at a community college in Florida, but when the FBI showed up to arrest him as a witness to a terrorism case in 2003, he already had left the country. The US is offering $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Intelligence officials started unraveling the subway plot last year, when US intelligence intercepted an electronic mail from an account that al Qaeda had used in a recent terrorist plot, officials said. The mail discussed bomb-making techniques and was sent to an address in Denver, setting off alarms within the CIA and the FBI from Islamabad to the US.

Najibullah Zazi and two friends were arrested in September 2009 before, prosecutors said, they could carry out a trio of suicide bombings in Manhattan. Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay have pleaded guilty and admitted planning to detonate homemade bombs on the subway during rush hour. A third man, Adis Medunjanin, awaits trial. A fourth suspect, known as Ahmed, traded the emails with Zazi, who was frantically trying to perfect his bomb-making recipe, the officials said.

The US wants to bring the Pakistani man to the US for trial on charges that are not yet public. The CIA learned valuable information about al Qaeda and its operations from Ahmed. The officials in Pakistan have also arrested a fifth person, known as Afridi, who worked with Ahmed, the officials said. The FBI and the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn had no comment.

The US officials told The Associated Press about how the men hooked up with al Qaeda. The new account provides a rare glimpse into the recruiting process. The trio’s lengthy odyssey took them from their homes in Queens to the mountainous tribal areas in northwest Pakistan. The prosecutors said the men, motivated by their anger at the war in Afghanistan, travelled to Peshawar in the summer of 2008 to fight against the US forces.

Before splitting up, the men stayed at the house of Zazi’s uncle. Zazi remained in Peshawar while Ahmedzay and Medunjanin headed into Afghanistan where they hoped to join the fight against the Americans, they said. But Ahmedzay and Medunjanin never made it. They were stopped at a roadblock and briefly detained by the police who were suspicious of their Western looks and their US passports.

The two men talked their way out of the bind, however, and the police never contacted the US about it, the officials said. Undeterred, the men regrouped in Peshawar and were recruited to meet an al Qaeda facilitator at local mosque in Peshawar. While al Qaeda was eager to recruit Americans, the group was also deeply suspicious of the trio and wanted to make sure they were not the US spies.

Once they passed that initial test, Ahmed drove them to North Waziristan and delivered them to a rudimentary terrorist camp. The three received weapons training, but al Qaeda had bigger plans for the men than the Afghanistan front line. Salah al-Somali, then the head of external operations, and Rashid Rauf, a British national linked to a 2006 jetliner bomb plot, explained to the three men that they were more useful as bombers in the US.

It was at that camp that the US officials believe Ahmedzay, and perhaps the other two men, met Shukrijumah. In 2004, then attorney general John Ashcroft called Shukrijumah a clear and present danger to the US. Abu Zubaydah told US authorities that Shukrijumah was among the most likely candidates to attack the US or Europe. The trio completed about two weeks of training and left the camp with the promise of returning. But only Zazi made the trip back to Waziristan to take a course on explosives.

In early 2009, Zazi flew to New York and moved to Denver, armed with bomb-making notes. Unlike the Sept 11, 2001, attacks they chose the target, not Osama bin Laden. The emails that tipped off US intelligence triggered “Operation High Rise,” an FBI investigation that had to come together within days. Agents scrambled as Zazi sped toward New York on September 9, armed with about two pounds of the powerful explosive.

He was stopped on the George Washington Bridge, but authorities failed to find the explosive material (TATP) stashed in a bag in the trunk. Spooked after the traffic stop, Zazi gave the TATP to Ahmedzay, who flushed it down the toilet. That week, the FBI raided the homes of all three friends, bringing a swift end to the plot.


RAW: The Dangerous Wolf; Threat To World Peace!

June 30, 2010

Brig Asif Haroon Raja


Cold Blooded Wolf

It is now an established fact that no South Asian state has ever indulged in covert operations or cross border terrorism against its neighbors. The only culprit is India which resorts to this evil practice against all its neighbors, be it Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. It has dovetailed clandestine operations into its war strategy to apply it against its foes during peace time for harassment, intimidation and blackmailing purposes and for weakening them from within. Afghanistan has been used by Russia and India to raise the bogey of Pashtunistan, render support to Pakistani runaways and rebels and to launch covert operations against Pakistan. Karzai has belatedly assured Pakistan that it would not allow its soil against Pakistan. Hopefully he sticks to his commitment. Marching orders given by Karzai to his intelligence chief and interior minister, both venomously anti-Pakistan and favorites of Washington are positive signs though some more steps are needed to scatter away clouds of distrust built over nine years.

The US military has starting packing its bags to wind up its business in Afghanistan and go home starting July 2011. The US and Karzai’s tilt towards Islamabad are ominous developments for India vying to have complete sway over Afghan affairs after the departure of coalition forces. The entire Indian leadership is in a state of depression. Its spin doctors are at a loss but are still scratching their heads how to retrieve the situation. Indians are feeling out of place since they are akin to traits of a scorpion which stings compulsively.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Home Minister Chidambaram were here in Islamabad to renew talks. An Indo-Pak talk is a drama staged by India at the behest of USA. India loses all and gains nothing out of composite dialogue, which she had purposely stalled after Mumbai attacks. She stubbornly clung to her one-point agenda of no talks without Pakistan tackling India’s concerns about terrorism. After intense pressure from USA, stuck in Afghanistan and urgently requiring Pakistan’s services for a bailout, India has reluctantly relented and agreed to resume talks. However, the entire focus of talks was on terrorism. Chronic issues such as Kashmir dispute, Siachin and Sir Creek problems, water problem, RAW’s support to terrorists in Balochistan and in FATA were skipped. India wants solution to Kashmir as suggested by former President Gen Musharraf. It had been mutually decided to sideline UN resolutions on Kashmir, convert Line of Control (LoC) into soft border and to put the dispute in cold freezer as had been done during Simla Agreement in 1973.

But for lawyers movement which weakened Musharraf, the sellout plan would have been implemented in 2008. It is for this reason that Indian leaders fondly remember Musharraf and pray for his return. President Zardari was also in favor of this plan as was evident from several statements he had made on Kashmir and the so-called ‘good news’ he wanted to give to the nation. Had the Army under Gen Kayani not taken a firm stand and had Zardari not lost his reputation and credibility, he would have given a go ahead signal to the plan. Zardari’s inability to open up nuclear program for US and IAEA inspection, bring ISI under Interior Ministry and to implement Indian dictated Kashmir solution has disappointed USA and India. To twist his arm, he is off and on subjected to barrage of vilification campaign, most of which is based on facts.

Pakistan had been led up the garden path by India through much hyped composite dialogue in early 2004. It was pledged that all issues including Kashmir would be resolved through dialogue. Four rounds of talks were held but nothing concrete came out of the meetings. While Pakistan lost a lot, India gained a lot. Under the garb of friendship, India successfully completed fencing of LoC, defanged armed resistance in Held Kashmir, redirected all Jihadi outfits towards Pakistan, made Balochistan, FATA and large parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa restive, lowered the image of Pak Army and other institutions through propaganda campaign, consolidated tentacles of RAW within Pakistan, disturbed law and order situation, built several dams over rivers Chenab, Jhelum and Indus and reduced flow of water into Pakistan. India not only enhanced its presence in Afghanistan significantly but also spread hatred amongst Afghans against Pakistan to keep the two neighbors perpetually hostile to each other. Through these acts, it impoverished the economy of Pakistan.

While preaching friendship, Indian military feverishly built up its strength and former Indian chief Gen Kapoor hurled threats of Cold Start and limited war under a nuclear overhang. Pakistan quietly digested all the insults and harms inflicted upon the body of Pakistan under the skewed policy of appeasement and under a misperception that Kashmir issue would be resolved. In return, India didn’t budge an inch over any of the disputes and continued to maintain its pre-2004 rigid stance on all issues. It showed its ugly face after Mumbai carnage and reverted to its old policy of antagonism.

Having gained on all fronts, India is unprepared to dole out any concession to Pakistan. It still wants more from Pakistan. It wants Pakistan not to oppose its key role in Afghanistan, its right for a land route to Afghanistan via Wagah, and its membership to UNSC. It also wants Punjab based banned Jihadi groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamat-ud-Dawa, Jaish Mohammad and Sipah-Sahaba to be crushed and Muredke religious centre to be dismantled. India is keen to extend physical support to help Pak security forces to tackle these outfits. Punjab being the only stable province, it has become an eyesore for India and it desperately wants its destabilization. The likes of Salman Taseer and RAW sponsored Tehrik-e-Taliban are helping India in its nefarious designs.

RAW is among the leading terrorist organization which is bleeding South Asia but surprisingly no finger has ever been raised on it. The US and western think tanks and newspapers never tire of concocting stories against ISI but see RAW, Mossad and CIA chaste and spotless. This is because they are birds of same feather and are flocking together in pursuit of common objectives.

Pakistan and other South Asian countries have remained the victims of intrigues and conspiracies of India for the last 63 years. It pretends to be well meaning and friendly but it always carries a dagger under its armpit and strikes whenever opportunity comes its way. It is principally responsible for impeding the growth of SAARC because of its habit of hegemony and selfishness. It is high time for SAARC countries minus India to get together and collectively combat the Indian menace. Awareness drive should be initiated by Pakistan to expose true face of India.

I propose immediate establishment of a joint intelligence centre at Islamabad or Colombo on the pattern of the one working in Jabal-al-Siraj, north of Kabul. Both are well trained in the art of counter terrorism and have successfully fought RAW sponsored terrorism. The new intelligence setup should have tentacles in all the affected South Asian countries to share intelligence and monitor activities of home based and foreign based terrorists, spies and double agents. Assistance of China may be sought or it may be co-opted. Intelligence Centre should maintain close liaison with intelligence agencies of selected Muslim states which follow independent foreign policies and are not close to India. Intelligence can be exchanged with CIA, FBI and MI-6 prudently and on need basis only.

Besides, a joint media and publicity cell should be opened to counter Indo-US-Israeli propaganda. In addition, each country should raise a counter terrorism force fully equipped with requisite firepower, mobility and technology superior to what the terrorists possess to be able to dismantle terrorist networks, disrupt supply routes and sources of funding. Collective efforts should be made to beat RAW in its own game.

The writer is a security and defence analyst and author of several books. He is a regular writer for www.opinion-maker.org His articles are profusely commented upon in international newspapers/ websites.


Profiling Pakistan-1

June 21, 2010

A Well Orchestrated Defaming Campaign

By Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan


Not Iraq, Lets Bomb Pakistan

“The allegations are baseless,” Pakistan and its security setup, perhaps thought this brief, succinct, and patent elucidation enough in response to the 22 pages, Matt Waldman’s research report on, “The Sun in the Sky: The relationship between Pakistan’s ISI and Afghan Insurgents,” published by Crisis States Research Centre of London School of Economics (LSE) on June 13, 2010. While recognizing the fact the Taliban in Afghanistan is a reality, the report reveals that ISI indeed guides them in their strategic planning, decision making and even in the implementation phases of the insurgency. So much so that, the author is self-assured in claiming that starting from the training, the funding, arming, and even logistical support provided to Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network, is accomplished by this Pakistani intelligence agency. The astonishing research also reveals that, apart from the intelligence setup, President Zardari, otherwise considered to be a pro-US and Pro-West, has given assurances to the Taliban for Pakistani assistance.

U.S and NATO troops are embattling these insurgent Taliban ever since the former invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, following the incident of 9/11. To their hard-luck, these foreign forces could not subdue the resistance put up by Afghan Taliban and masses in spite of having superior weaponry and despotic tactics. Rather their tyrannical acts further fuelled the insurgency in that country. After having analysed, the consecutive failure of US and NATO troops, and their counter-productive results, Afghan President Mr. Hamid Karazai, decided to launch reconciliatory efforts to integrate the Taliban into the main stream of Afghan society and the Government. The process had the US backing and even met initial success too. Therefore, the issuance of this report at this critical juncture, once the reconciliation process is underway between Afghan Government and Taliban insurgents seems to have ill intentions. Since Pakistan, as a brotherly Islamic and neighbourly country is helping the Afghan Government in the process, therefore, is linked with the Taliban.

Pakistan indeed, believes that peace in this war-torn country; Afghanistan is a key to its own internal stability, therefore, decided to encourage and helped the Afghan Government to negotiate with the Taliban; the main insurgent group. In this connection, the statement of Pakistani Army Chief, General Ashfaq Pervaz is on record that; “Pakistan cannot wish anything for Afghanistan which it cannot wish for itself”. There are similar sentiments of the civilian leadership and the people of Pakistan regarding Afghanistan. After many misperceptions, the Afghan President has been very realistic during his visit of Pakistan on March 11, 2010, once he said that, “No country has ever showed more hospitality to Afghanistan than Pakistan”. Declaring Pakistan and Afghanistan as the “twin brothers,” President Karzai further said that the “destiny, grieves and happiness of both the countries are shared.” On this occasion, Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani, assured the visiting President that, Pakistan would enhance its cooperation with Afghanistan to eliminate the terrorism, and bilateral ties between the two countries would be enhanced further. Similar assurances and guarantees were promised during the visit of President Zardari to Afghanistan and in his meet with President Karazai in Washington.

The report primarily focussed on the insurgent activities of Afghan Taliban under the Mullah Omar and the Jalaluddin Haqqani network, both allegedly supported by ISI. The very basis of the report by Watt Waldman, are erroneous that after 1971, disintegration, Pakistan started mobilizing and relying on Islamic groups to avert the threat from India. The fact of the matter is that creation of Islamists through Islamization and enhancement of Maddrassah culture are the outcome of US and Western efforts to counter the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan in 1980s. This has nothing to do with the defence of Pakistan. The paper indeed failed to identify the fact that, indeed, it was United States which concentrated the then Mujahedeen from all over the world all Pak-Afghan border to defeat and disintegrate the former USSR. CIA, the premier US intelligence agency, indeed, did all this.

The report betrays the readers by making reference of the US Congressional Research Service (CRS), that Pakistani intelligence agencies are aware of the Taliban leadership and maintains its active links with it. Such allegations are always made once US and West aim to pressurize Pakistan for the implementation of its own agenda. The malicious nature of the report could be well imagined from the fact that Afghan Taliban are forced to obey the Pakistani intelligence agencies because their families are in Pakistan. Whereas, a large number of Afghan leadership had their residences in Pakistan. Even President Karazai had stayed in Pakistan for a long duration and still owns a house in Pakistan.

In his research work, the author himself remained unsure, whether the interviewees; some former Taliban leaders and some current Taliban commanders in various parts of the Afghanistan are the genuine ones or presented by their intermediaries as a fake lot. The argument is further augmented by the fact that, if a researcher, who indeed was an official representative of UK Government, could find that real leadership of Taliban why cannot over 150,000 large US and NATO forces; whose UK troops are also part of, could trace them. This is not the end; there is a huge network of the CIA, FBI, MI-6, RAW and Mossad operative in and around Afghanistan. Why did they fail to trace them and taken them to the task, instead of killing the innocent Afghans, once they are busy in undertaking their religious and social ceremonies?

There is a misperception that Pakistan is maintaining its links with the Taliban in order to use them as a strategic force at the hours of need. The fact remains that Pakistani security forces, its strategic arsenals are enough to defend the country, and it has never depended on such like forces. The West and U.S indeed used them against the former Soviet Union to accomplish their own agendas. Rather Pakistani security forces are combating them all along the Pak-Afghan border and in other parts of the country, especially the FATA since 2003. Furthermore, Pakistan neither desires to use Afghan soil as its strategic depth nor has intention to use the Taliban (Afghan or Pakistani Taliban) as its strategic strength. All that Pakistan, its security forces and intelligence agencies desire is the durable peace, stability, and unity among various Afghan factions.

The Western media, think tanks and authors like Matt Waldman, must realize that Pakistan and Afghanistan are two neighbourly Islamic countries. Both countries share a lot in terms of their culture, history, traditions, and even common origin. Destined into two independent countries, they cannot be estranged spiritually and ideologically. This is evident from the fact the during Soviet invasion, over 3.5 million Afghan refugees (later rose to 5 million) were sheltered by their brethrens in Pakistan. Still Pakistan is housing over 2.5 Afghan refugees. The Sun in the Sky indeed is that, People of Pakistan and Afghanistan have indissoluble relationship. Therefore, such malevolent reports would not dent the mutual relationship of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rather, these reports and efforts of extra regional forces and their intelligence agencies would further cement the so for vacillating relationship of the two countries.

The report indeed is an effort to defame Pakistani leadership and its premier intelligence agency; ISI, which has maintained a clean conduct throughout its material life. This spotless intelligence network indeed, neither has established inhuman camps like Guantanamo bay nor colonised its neighbours or undertook massacre during WW-I and WW-II. Moreover, it has not been created to destabilize its neighbours like the RAW or to unleash the terror like Mossad. Its efficiency and diligence, of course bothers the ill-conceived intelligence networks of the globe, the so-called scholars and think tanks, who do not believe on the reality, but desire to maintain their hegemony at all cost, which ISI dispels.

Dr Raja Muhammad Khan is Ph. D in International Relations from Karachi University. Now he is an Associate Professor with National University of Defence. Dr Khan’s focus is on South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. He is regular contributor to www.opinion-maker.org


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