|US will not act alone in Pakistan: An AFP report from London says, top US commander General Tommy Franks said Friday the United States will not act alone in its bid to eliminate remaining pockets of al-Qaeda fighters in the largely lawless area of Pakistan bordering eastern Afghanistan. "What we are going to do is continue the cooperation. I think we have not seen a suggestion of unilateral operations being conducted in Pakistan by any nation that is a member of the coalition. "The secret is to continue to co-operate and surely the problems we find in Pakistan will be rooted out," said Franks, who is the commander of US forces in the region. Franks was speaking during a brief visit to Britain -- where he spoke with Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon -- on his way back from the Middle East. His assurances came after US defence officials said Thursday discussions were under way with the Pakistani government on arrangements that would allow teams with US military and intelligence operatives to respond quickly to time sensitive intelligence on al-Qaeda fighters in the border area. Many of the leaders of al-Qaeda and Taliban rulers are believed to be hiding in the rugged tribal northwest of Pakistan, able to travel between eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan through a mountainous border area that has been impossible to seal off.
Direct action involving US teams in Pakistan would mark a new level of cooperation in what has been a close but secretive relationship between the US and Pakistani militaries since the start of the US-led campaign in Afghanistan.
[Description of Source: Islamabad The Nation (Lahore Edition) in English -- Independent daily, member of the Nawa-i-Waqt group]
Pakistan tribesmen asked to kill raiding US troops to get al-Qa'ida reward money
SAP20020428000052 Peshawar The Statesman (Internet Version-WWW) in English 28 Apr 02
[Report by Haroon Rashid: "Pak-American raid on seminary yields no arrest"]
Peshawar -- Pakistani paramilitary forces joined hands with US forces to hunt for suspected Taliban leaders in tribal area of South Waziristan Agency, residents and journalists said Saturday.
Local people said more than a hundred Tochi Scouts, Pakistani paramilitary troops, assisted by about 10 to 15 foreign soldiers, raided a seminary set up by a former minister in Afghanistan's ousted Taliban government, Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani. However, no arrests were made. "They came in helicopters and searched the madrassa for over one hour," said Mullah Qaziullah, local religious leader from Miranshah.
This is the first such report of a joint US-Pakistani forces operation to come out of the tribal area. Despite repeated attempts, no official could be reached for comments. But Pakistan has in the past denied any joint operation or presence of US forces in the semi-autonomous tribal areas.
The seminary lies near the Afghan border in Darpakhel village on the outskirts of Miranshah, capital of the South Waziristan Agency. US troops were searching for Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, a former Taliban tribal affairs minister and also a famous guerrilla commander who fought the Soviets forces in the 1980s, the residents said.
Journalists claimed the operation continued for more than an hour but failed to find any suspects. Rehmatullah Khan Roidakhel, a local journalist who visited the religious school on Saturday, told The Statesman by telephone the raiding forces had broken doors and windowpanes of the school. He quoted witnesses as seeing 10 to 15 foreign soldiers accompanying Pakistani troops arrive in several helicopters for search. "People were sure that the whites were Americans," he said, adding the troops broke the doors despite the school night watchman offering them keys.
Tribesmen have already expressed their resentment over the presence of US forces in their area. A large gathering of tribesmen, armed with rockets and assault rifles, had asked people Friday to take the benefit of huge reward money being offered by Al-Qaida to kill or capture American soldiers.
Many observers believe the government is keeping silent on the issue, because of the presidential referendum set for April 30.
The seminary was set up by Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, but was shut down after the September 11 events. However, a few days back on the request and assurance of local tribesmen it reopened. However, no one was present at the time of the raid.
[Description of Source: Peshawar The Statesman in English -- Provides good coverage of developments in Afghanistan, activities of jihadi and religious groups]
Pakistan: US Commandos Said Disgraced Religious Books During Miran Shah Search
SAP20020501000162 Karachi Jasarat in Urdu 28 Apr 02 pp 8 7
[Sana news: Miran Shah: "Commandos trampled religious books during operation"]
Miran Shah - During the recent US commando operation carried out in the Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani religious school in Miran Shah, American soldiers disgraced religious books and trampled them under foot while conducting their searching. However, after failing to get anything, they demolished the walls and doors of the religious school. There is severe reaction from the people of the area against the degrading of religious books. They have termed the US commando operation as showing religious and national disrespect. It should be noted that the US commandos enjoyed complete cooperation of the Pakistani forces during the operation.
[Description of Source: Karachi Jasarat in Urdu -- Jamaat-i-Islami newspaper catering to the Islamic audience]
Pakistan: Tribesmen warn to resist US commando operation in seminaries
SAP20020508000083 Islamabad The Nation (Lahore Edition) (Internet Version-WWW) in English 08 May 02
[Report by Abdul Qadoos: "Tribesmen vow not to let US troops enter madaris"]
Miran Shah (North Waziristan Agency) -- The tribesmen of North Waziristan Agency have vowed to resist the operation in the Madaris both by US commandos and Pakistan military saying that only officials of the political administration accompanied by the tribal elders will be allowed to enter these institutions.
The decision was taken in the wake of the operation by Pakistan and US military for Taliban militia and al-Qaeda members reportedly present in a madrassa established by Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, former commander-in-chief and minister for frontiers of the ousted Taliban government. However, no one was arrested in the raid. The incident infuriated the religious minded residents of the agency.
The tribesmen are holding big public meetings in which youth come while wielding weapons and raising slogans like Allah Ho Akbar and death for Americans. In the Monday public meeting held at Spin Wam Tehsil of North Waziristan hundreds of people turned to the venue while dancing to tune of the drum. Interestingly, Taliban were against to such kind of music but on the other hand the religious minded tribesmen of North Waziristan appreciate it as their traditions.
The public meeting was addressed by the elders of Madakhel, Torikhel, Kabulkhel and Hassankhel tribes, and announced the formation of a volunteer combatant force of 250 youth, which will provide security to religious seminaries in the agency as elders say that these institutions were not established by the ulema themselves adding that they were being established on the demands of the people which want to impart religious education to their children.
Armed with AK-47 assault riffle Hafiz Kamal 30, who had also participated in jehad along with Taliban in battle for Mazar-i-Sharif said that Islam calls for jehad against infidels adding that it also stressed on elimination of both oppression and oppressor. He said that they will not tolerate the presence of any American on Pakistani soil in general and tribal belt in particular.
Talking to The Nation, Abdrehman, a JUI activist in North Wazirisitan Agency, who is also running a big seminary at Spin Wam alleged that some elements at the helm of affairs pushing Pakistan towards anarchy. He said people had raised against the operations in madaris and want the expulsion of Americans from Pakistani territory.
"There are only Pakistani Taliban and they had nothing to do with the Afghan war as we had supported Taliban only politically and morally. Those who entered Afghanistan to fight along Taliban verses US have made decision on their own," he remarked.
The religious seminary, who is known both in Pakistan and Taliban ranks as Saddar Abdurehman due to his contribution in jehad advised the military rulers to stop blind support for US as she had never come up to our expectations and had always cheated us adding that she had cheated us at the he time of the fall of Dhaka and said that this time US was going to deprived us of our nuclear programme. He dispelled the impression that the raid had conducted by only Pakistani troops and added that the raid was conducted in the presence of 9 US commandos. He said that the madrassa was empty as now it was being run by Maulvi Hayatullah Darpakhel.
Meanwhile, despite of the hue and cry of the tribesmen the combing of the tribal strip situated on Pak-Afghan border has entered to second week to search out the possible presence of suspected Al-Qeada activists. In this connection two religious seminaries had already searched in the North Waziristan Agency.
[Description of Source: Islamabad The Nation (Lahore Edition) in English -- Independent daily, member of the Nawa-i-Waqt group]
Afghans deny weapons found by British forces belong to Al-Qa'ida
IAP20020510000035 Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto 1315 GMT 10 May 02
Peshawar, 10 May: The weapons found by the British soldiers in Paktia Province do not belong to the Taliban or Al-Qa'ida, but they are from the time of jihad against the Russians.
Speaking to the Afghan Islamic Press from Gardez today, a representative of the Afghan Human Rights Office at the Waza District of Paktia Province, Taleb Jan, described as wrong the claim by the British forces that the weapons they have found belonged to Al-Qa'ida and Taliban. He said: "These weapons have been left at the Turikhel Mountains from the time of jihad. A famous commander of the time of jihad, Mowlawi Jalaloddin Haqqani, had a jihad centre here by the name of Asmayee Brigade" where a large amount of light and heavy weapons were stored." He added: "A television team had visited this centre some time ago and had seen every thing from the close".
He said: "There were also weapons at the centre that the American forces had given to the mojahedin during the Gulf War. Those weapons were captured by the American forces from Iraqi forces. The anti-aircraft missiles among these weapons are noteworthy".
Taleb Jan added: "The Taliban or Al-Qa'ida have no connection with these weapons whatsoever, and neither these weapons were hidden from anyone. The people of the area knew these weapons as a memorial of the time of jihad and the common people want these weapons to remain in the place".
According to the Afghan Islamic Press sources, there were large amounts of weapons at this centre, which is located to the east of Gardez [the provincial capital of Paktia]. However, the British forces claim that the weapons belong to Al-Qa'ida and the Taliban. Reports also say that the elders and leaders of the area are very angry at the claim made by the British and they have told the local administration that the weapons should not be removed from the area and should be left as a good memorial of the jihad.
[Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto -- Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans; used to have good contacts with Taliban leadership; following the fall of the Taliban is seeking a new role for itself as a news agency; describes itself as independent and self-financing]
Pakistan: Troops Likely To Comb Waziristan Refugee Camps for al-Qa'ida Members
SAP20020517000086 Lahore Daily Times in English 17 May 02 p A4
[Report by Iqbal Khattak: "Hunt for Al Qaeda; 4 Waziristan refugee camps to be combed; Pakistan wants troops deployed in area for 'other' assignments"]
Peshawar -- Four refugee camps in North Waziristan Agency may be combed for Al Qaeda and Taliban members soon, official sources told Daily Times here on Thursday [16 May].
Tehsil and Ippi camps in Mir Ali, sub-division of the agency, and Machas and Tabai camps in Miranshah, agency headquarters, will be searched very soon, they said.
"We will first look for any illegal refugees in these camps who will be deported to Afghanistan.
"The search is also aimed at finding possible Al Qaeda and Taliban members in these camps because reports suggest some may have taken shelter there in the guise of refugees," the sources said. However, the sources did not say when the operation will be launched. The four camps house thousands of Afghan refugees since the Afghan war started in the early '80s.
Sources in Miranshah said top political and army officials were assessing the situation in the conservative North and South Waziristan agencies before ordering the operation.
"The authorities now fully understand what hurts the tribesmen. For the time being, raids on seminaries will be suspended after a failed attempt on April 26 at a madrassa [seminary], run by pro-Taliban commander Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani," they said.
The federal government has given security measures in the hands of paramilitaries, minus the local tribal police, to assist the army and the political administration.
"This development underlines Islamabad's seriousness to satisfy American concerns by finishing the agenda as soon as possible because of the lingering standoff on the border with India.
"If war breaks out with India, Pakistan cannot afford to deploy thousands of troops along the Durand Line. They want the troops available for other assignments," the sources said, adding 45 more Pakistani commandos reached Miranshah late Wednesday evening as reinforcement.
Meanwhile, an army officer visited the Mir Ali Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, asking its administrator to vacate the hospital's hostel for paramedical staff for possible stationing of troops in the area. "I do not know the purposes, they have been asked to vacate the double-storey hostel," a source said.
But in areas like Shawal in Razmak sub-division, tribesmen are putting a stiff resistance to army deployment. Even the paramilitary forces were temporarily called back from the area on Thursday. The Shawal tribesmen have even disallowed polio vaccination teams to visit the area.
[Description of Source: Lahore Daily Times in English -- Daily published by the Friday Times Group]
Afghan Taleban commanders rebuilding their forces in southeast
IAP20020522000084 Mashhad Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Dari 1330 GMT 22 May 02
Afghan Taleban commanders rebuilding their forces in southeast
Text of report by Iranian radio from Mashhad on 22ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â May
Although the Taleban and Al-Qa'idah forces have been suppressed in Afghanistan from a military point of view, some reports say that certain remaining Taleban commanders have been making efforts to rebuild their forces in Afghanistan's southern and eastern provinces.
Reports coming in from Afghanistan say that five of the so-called Taleban have been killed and 28 taken prisoner by British forces in the country in the past month. According to these reports, one of the prisoners, Sayfollah Mansur [name phonetic], was in a very serious state of health and has been sent to Zabol [southern Afghanistan] for treatment.
Another report says that Mowlawi Kabir [name phonetic] is operating as a Taleban military commander in Khost [eastern Afghanistan], while Ebrahem Haqqani [name phonetic] and Sayfollah Mansur were in charge of Taleban military affairs in Paktia [eastern Afghanistan] before they were captured.
The report adds that Jalaloddin Haqqani and Mowlawi Qodratollah Jamal [names phonetic], the minister of information and culture of the collapsed Taleban regime in Paktika, are in charge of the Taleban's military affairs in Paktika and Mola Baradar [name phonetic] is in charge of the Taleban's military commander in Zabol Province.
It has been said that the major and important Taleban stronghold is in Zabol Province and Mola Baradar is making efforts to rebuild and activate the remaining Taleban forces in the two Provinces - Zabol and Urozgan [southern Afghanistan].
Meanwhile, Pakistanis have started a programme for purchasing weapons and ammunition in the Para Chinar [name phonetic] area and in three Afghan Provinces: Khost Paktia and Paktika [southeastern Afghanistan]. The same report says that Pakistani servicemen have been buying a [word indistinct] Kalashnikov [Russian made assault rifle] for 200 dollars, a machine gun for 300-400 dollars and an RPG-7 [grenade launcher] for 500 dollars.
It has been said that, after purchasing the weapons, Pakistanis hand them over to the Americans and in turn, the Americans send them to Khost and then to Kabul as confiscated Taleban and Al-Qa'idah weapons.
French Magazine Interviews Taliban 'Third-in-Command'
EUP20020701000329 Paris Paris Match in French 01 Jul 02 pp 52-53
[Report by Michel Peyrard: "A Few Days Ago a Meeting of Top Clandestine Leaders Took Place in Great Secrecy in Peshawar"]
The operations are codenamed "Anaconda," "Mountain Lion," "Condor," and "Harrier." Having been conducted since the spring by American troops and their allies, in the desert areas of southern Afghanistan, their undisclosed aim is to locate and neutralize Usama Bin Ladin and his al-Qa'ida lieutenants. Another objective of these repeated operations is to arrest or eliminate the principal Taliban officials who are believed to provide crucial logistical help to terrorists. "Mountain Lion" recently constituted the most highly developed Western attempt to hunt down these prey, entrenched in the semi-autonomous tribal area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, the record achieved by the 1,700 British marines deployed is as disastrous as that of their American predecessors. In order to save appearances, they filmed themselves destroying an underground ammunition store that in fact belonged to Ibrahim Omari, a veteran mujahid allied to the United States, before retreating before an invisible enemy -- mass dysentery, which, attacking their suffering intestines, forced them to beat an ignominious retreat before the mocking eyes of Washington and British journalists. If the hunt continued, it did so without making itself known, its planners having no doubts about the complex nature of the task in hand. In order to avoid embarrassment, all senior American officials, from George Bush to Donald Rumsfeld, via commander of military operations General Tommy Franks, are now refraining from naming Bin Ladin or Mullah Omar by name. However, they may have to resign themselves to doing so, since there have been several indications in recent weeks that America's public enemies are determined to regain the initiative. And, first and foremost, al-Qa'ida, whose spokesman said on Al Jazira on Sunday [23 June] that "the whole world and the mujahedin's friends will soon have the pleasure of seeing Bin Ladin on the television networks again." And also the Taliban, whose Afghan foreign minister, Dr Abdullah, like other leaders, keeps saying that they are regrouping in order to go onto the offensive.
It was in Peshawar, Pakistan, in the shelter of inconspicuous houses in residential neighborhoods, or the in anonymous setting of Koranic schools, that the network has been organizing. According to the Taliban themselves, over 1,000 men, members of the Islamist militia or al-Qa'ida, have found refuge in Pakistan. Many of them are in the tribal areas, but it is undoubtedly this great polluted city of 1.5 million inhabitants that constitutes their rear base. Though they do not fear the agents of the ISI, Pakistan's secret services -- "we have always had special ties with them," one Talib said -- the soldier monks never abandon their customary prudence, which is their guarantee of survival. Every meeting is accompanied by a wealth of precautions. Mullah Hunfi is not the least cautious. Under the reign of the theology students, Hunfi was in charge of the Torkham border, the only official crossing point between Pakistan and Afghanistan. There, he was responsible, among other things, for receiving and guiding the few individuals whom Kabul authorized to visit. As it did for most Taliban in the eastern zone, history stopped on 13 November, the day when Jalalabad fell. "Mullah Omar had delivered a speech on the radio shortly before that," he recalled with emotion. "He asked us to stay in our positions, and to fight to the death. When we heard him, we were all in tears, because we knew that it was impossible, because of the very heavy bombardments that we had suffered for over a month. But it is also true that some of us left Jalalabad because they did not like Usama (Bin Ladin.) We did not approve of Mullah Omar's decision to continue to support him, but we were afraid to speak out for fear of the intelligence services." Though he said he knew nothing about the Saudi, Hunfi made no secret of the intense activity in which the Taliban have been involved in recent weeks, following months of cautious hibernation. "We intend to attempt a comeback. We are on the point of making some decisions."
The soldier monks' strategy is simple. It is based on time, in the belief that the American forces and their allies cannot stay in the region indefinitely. They also expect promptly to eliminate the Karzai government's "collaborators." It is to this end that a meeting of the most senior Taliban leaders was held in Peshawar a few days ago. "For security reasons, it lasted only 25 minutes," Hunfi explained. "The Afghans were present, with Maulvi Abdul Kabir [name as published] (former governor of Jalalabad -- Paris Match editor's note,) as were the Pakistanis, with Maulana Fazlur Rehman [name as published] (head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami Jui [spelling as published], the main movement supporting the Taliban -- Paris Match editor's note) and Maulana Sami-Ul Haq [name as published] (the leader of a rival faction to Jui -- Paris Match editor's note.) We discussed what actions to carry out in the coming months."
Among those attending the secret meeting, the most important personage was undoubtedly Abdul Kabir. Former deputy prime minister, governor of Jalalabad and of the Eastern Region, he was officially third-in-command in the Taliban regime and, following Mullah Rabbani's death in spring 2001, was often regarded as the real second-in-command, after Mullah Omar. A highly respected person among the tribes of the Southeast, whose contraband and poppy farming activities he tolerated, or even encouraged, he did not hesitate to take part in person in the military operations to silence dissidents: among other things, he is accused of having ordered the massacre of several hundred people, Hazars of the Bamiyan area, in May 1998. But the Americans are interested in him because of his special relations with Bin Ladin. It was in his province of Nangarhar, and under his protection, that the Saudi stayed during most of the period of the strikes. It was also Abdul Kabir who, a week after the bombing raids began, proposed to the United States handing the al-Qa'ida leader over to a "neutral country," in exchange for an immediate halt to hostilities. His proposal was intended to sound out America's intentions, and observers are now agreed that it was approved by the person concerned. What convinces the Western intelligence services of the pressing need to hear what the Taliban's third-in-command has to say is his presence with Bin Ladin shortly before their departure for Tora Bora. Two reliable witnesses saw them, on the evening of 12 or 13 November, leaving Jalalabad hand-in-hand, according to the Muslim custom, which expresses spiritual closeness. Another account attests to the rapport between the two. Mollah Towa [name as published] was Abdul Kabir's head of security, in other words, his principal bodyguard. He said he set off for Tora Bora on that fateful 13 November, accompanied by the governor and two important al-Qa'ida members: one was Khair Mohammed [name as published], Bin Ladin's personal interpreter, and the other was Ahmed Said Al-Kadir [name as published], an Egyptian of Canadian nationality, who is one of the nine most wanted members of the terrorist organization.