Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers

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"It was a joint operation, which multiple factors contributed to," stated a commander of the Haqqani clan, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Abdullah, because only the spokesman of the Taliban is authorized to speak. "The operation was planned by Sirajuddin Haqqani. Two dozen men were sent from Khos [spelling of place name as received; reference appears to be to Khost] to Kabul, at several different times, and placed here and there in safe houses belonging to aiders and abetters of the Taliban. One of them was chosen for this suicide mission. The others are awaiting their turn: there will be further operations over the coming days."
According to Abu Abdullah, the attack was completely coordinated by the pro-Taliban figures living in Kabul, who have deeply-rooted offshoots within the local administration, and who are able to find out the movements of the NATO convoys. Along the road an observation point was set up, from where the Taliban saw the three NATO vehicles advance. At that point, the suicide attacker's car was sent forward with the order to strike the one in the middle. Abu Abdullah claims that the people on duty at the observation point, which relied on information from local people, confirmed the success of the mission, in which, according to them, and unlike what was said by Italian Defense Minister La Russa, all three vehicles were destroyed, and 25 NATO soldiers killed. "This is one of the many successful attacks on NATO troops, which have had the active support of the masses, who act in the same way as those who used to help the resistance against the Soviets. If God is willing, we will also carry out similar actions in the future," promised Abu Abdullah.
This is the fourth serious attack in five weeks, and it reminds us that the Taliban are increasing their presence inside and around the Afghan capital. This year they have made a substantial change to their strategy. Instead of carrying out guerrilla operations -- such as in spring 2006, with more deaths on their side than on the side of their enemies -- now they are using explosive devices to strike the NATO convoys, as well as targeted suicide attacks. Most of their activities now take place in urban centers, instead of in areas in southern Afghanistan. Eighty percent of their objectives have been hit. In all this attack plan, it is the network of Sirajuddin Haqqani that emerges as the most powerful command, the one which has inflicted most losses on the NATO troops in Kabul.

[Description of Source: Turin La Stampa.it in Italian -- Website of centrist daily owned by Fiat's Agnelli family; URL: http://www.lastampa.it]

US drone strike said kill 10 militants in Pakistan tribal area
SAP20090925950001 Karachi Geo TV website in English 2014 GMT 24 Sep 09

Text of report by leading private Pakistani satellite TV channel Geo News website on 24 September

Miranshah: A US drone attack on Thursday [24 September] killed 10 militants from a network fighting Western troops in Afghanistan at their compound in the tribal belt, officials said.
The strike from a suspected US spy plane was the fourth this month in North Waziristan, where militants linked to Taleban and Al-Qa'idah who are fighting against 100,000 US and NATO troops in Afghanistan are said to be hiding.
"Ten dead bodies were recovered from the debris of the house and two militants were wounded in the attack," a Pakistani security official told media on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Another official and residents confirmed the same toll, but one official in the semi-autonomous North Waziristan district said seven people were killed.
"The target was a compound of Haqqani's men. According to our reports all of the dead belong to the Haqqani network," the official said.
The Haqqani network is a powerful group based in northwest Pakistan closely linked to Al-Qa'idah and known for its ruthless and sophisticated attacks, including an assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamed Karzai in 2008. "One missile fired by a US drone hit the house of Afghan national Ahmad Afghani," said a security official.
There were unconfirmed reports that one of the sons of former Soviet resistance commander in Afghanistan, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is called Ahmad.
"We are investigating whether it was the son or not," a security official told media after the attack in Dandy Darpa Khel area, five kilometres (three miles) northwest of Miranshah in the North Waziristan tribal district.
The targeted building acted as an office where militants would come to receive orders and rest between bouts of fighting across the border in Afghanistan, local residents and intelligence officials said.
It was not clear whether Ahmad Afghani was present at the time of the attack. Five other people were injured but the identities of the casualties were not clear given the remote location and late hour of the attack.

[Description of Source: Karachi Geo TV website in English ]

Pakistan: Drone Strike Kills Eight in North Waziristan
SAP20090925348001 Karachi Dawn Online in English 25 Sep 09
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
MIRAMSHAH: Eight people were killed and two others injured when two missiles fired by a drone hit the Markaz of Afghan commander Ahmad Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, in Dandi Derpakhel area of North Waziristan on Thursday night [ 24 September].
The area is a stronghold of the Taliban and Jalaluddin Haqqani is believed to be living here.Jalaluddin Haqqani, it may be mentioned, was a minister in the Taliban government of Afghanistan.

[Description of Source: Karachi Dawn Online in English -- Website of Pakistan's first and most widely read English-language daily promoting progressive views. Generally critical of military rule; URL: http://www.dawn.com]

Pakistan: Two Drone Attacks Leave 12 Militants Dead in North, South Waziristan
SAP20090930103001 Karachi Dawn Online in English 30 Sep 09
[Report by Pazir Gul, Sailab Mehsud: Two drone attacks kill 12 militants]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
MIRAMSHAH/WANA, Sept 29: Twelve militants, some foreigners among them, were killed and another six injured in two US drone attacks in North and South Waziristan on Tuesday.
A drone fired two missiles at the house of Irfan Shamankhel, son of Sher Alam Mehsud, a local commander of the banned Tehrik Taliban Pakistan in South Waziristan. The foreigners killed in the attack remained unidentified.
Since the death of Baitullah Mehsud in a drone attack in August, 65 Taliban, including local and foreigners, have been killed in 10 attacks by US drones in South Waziristan.
An intelligence official told Dawn that the US drones had been hovering above the Sara Rogha area since morning and a thick column of smoke started billowing from the house after the attack. The house that came under attack was reduced to ashes.
Since 2004, militancy has spread across the South Waziristan Agency, reducing powers of political authorities.
Officials at the office of the political agent expressed ignorance about the incident, but the intelligence official confirmed that the attack had taken place.
Fears of a military operation in South Waziristan have touched off a wave of migration to adjacent Dera Ismail Khan and Tank districts.
In another attack in the evening, two missiles were fired from a drone on the house of Mustafa in Dandy Darpakhel. North Waziristan. Seven militants were killed and five others injured. Local people said that militants had cordoned off the entire area and were retrieving bodies. Sources said that Mustafa was an Afghan national and had close relations with Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani. Thick smoke was seen rising from the compound.
Agencies add: Unmanned drones have carried out more than 70 missile attacks in the border region over the last year, but Washington rarely acknowledges the strikes. The United States says the mountainous region is a base for militant attacks on American and other Nato troops in Afghanistan and a stronghold of Al Qaeda's senior leadership.
South Waziristan has seen a spike in violence in recent days, including suicide attacks and rocket and mortar exchanges between the Taliban and the Pakistani army. The army has moved into other areas in the northwest over the last year, but has so far avoided major operations in Waziristan.
Residents of Dandey Darpakhel village, the scene of the second strike, said they saw drones flying over the area for hours before the strike.
"We heard big explosions," said villager Ahmad Hasan. "I went to the scene and saw three bodies. I also saw three or four people with serious wounds."
The village is home to a religious seminary of Al Qaeda-linked Taliban leader Siraj Haqqani. The US has accused the Haqqani network of masterminding beheadings and suicide bombings in Afghanistan.

[Description of Source: Karachi Dawn Online in English -- Website of Pakistan's first and most widely read English-language daily promoting progressive views. Generally critical of military rule; URL: http://www.dawn.com]

Pakistan: Al-Jazirah Reports on Taliban Attacks in Lahore, Movement's 'Control'
GMP20091015648001 Doha Al-Jazirah Satellite Channel Television in Arabic 15 Oct 09
[For a copy of the video, contact GSG_GVP_VideoOps@rccb.osis.gov or the OSC Customer Center at (800) 205-8615. Selected video also available at OpenSource.gov.]
Doha Al-Jazirah Satellite Channel Television in Arabic at 0503 GMT on 15 October carries the following announcer-read report:
"Al-Jazirah correspondent in Islamabad has said that unidentified gunmen attacked three Pakistani security offices in Lahore, eastern Pakistan, this morning. The offices were the Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency [FIA], a police training center, and a training center for the Elite Forces of the Pakistani Police. The FIA attack resulted in killing five people; two officers, a policeman, and two assailants. In a telephone call made to a local Pakistani satellite channel, the Taliban Movement claimed responsibility for the attacks.
"The Lahore attacks came a few hours after a suicide bomber driving a booby-trapped car attacked a police station in Kohat in northwestern Pakistan, resulting in killing 10 people and wounding 12 others, including civilians."
Immediately afterward, Al-Jazirah carries a seven-minute live satellite interview with Ahmad Zaydan, Al-Jazirah's bureau chief in Islamabad. Speaking of the Lahore attacks and casualties, Zaydan says that the Taliban Pakistan "has shifted its military operations" to Lahore, the Punjab region, which is considered to be "the hub of the Pakistani Army," adding: "This shift worries the Pakistani Army as its hub is in danger. The first attack targeted the FIA, which the Taliban gunmen believe to be one of the dangerous offices where interrogation of Al-Qa'ida figures and key Taliban leaders takes place in coordination with the United States. Some say that two gunmen, and others say four, stormed and entered the FIA, and probably took some hostages. The confrontations that took place at the FIA resulted in killing two FIA officers and one security member. Some say that seven people have been killed thus far."
He continues by saying: "The second attack targeted the Pakistani police training center in Lahore in Manaman area," adding that "the available information says that one security member was killed in the attack on the academy."
Detailing, Zaydan adds: "The third attack targeted the headquarters of the Elite Forces of the Pakistani Police. Clashes are still raging on inside the headquarters, and it seems that the gunmen managed to storm the headquarters of the Elite Forces of the Pakistani Police. The Pakistani Army and commandos were dispatched to the building to contain the situation."
He goes on to say: "A suicide bomber driving a bobby-trapped car targeted a police station in Kohat, resulting in killing 10 people and wounding 12 others, including some civilians. Drone planes believed to be US carried out a missile attack against a house believed to be harboring a group linked with the Jalaluddin Haqqani who is fighting the US forces in eastern Afghanistan. Four people were killed in the attack."
Asked if there is "political debate on the increase in these qualitative operations and the large-scale security breaches" in Pakistan, Zaydan says: "There is wide political debate in Pakistan over the situation." He goes on to say that "the Pakistani people do not trust their political leadership and military command on many issues," including poverty, unemployment, lack of services, and so on. He adds: "This made the Pakistani people lose confidence in their political leadership. In addition, major political parties that have influence in the Pakistani arena did not participate in the latest elections. There is a wide gap between the ruler and the ruled, especially after the Kerry-Luger bill, which the Pakistani people and the opposition political parties view as dangerous and seriously harming the Pakistani national security and interferes in the details of the Pakistani political and military affairs."
Asked if there is any connection between these incidents and the visit by the Pakistani foreign minister to Washington to discuss the US financial aid, Zaydan says: "Some link these incidents to the visit, saying that the Pakistani Government has been making subsequent concessions to the United States on the so-called war on terror. Hence, the Taliban fighters or the armed elements that are said to have joined the Tal iban, such as the Muhammad Army, (?Al-Askar Tayba), or the well-trained Punjab armed groups, perhaps have found that this is a grand opportunity because the popularity of the Pakistani Government and the Pakistani military institution is declining, especially because the military operations led by the Pakistani Army in the Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, which lasted for two or three months, did not result in a clear defeat of the Taliban Pakistan." He concludes: "The Taliban Pakistan Movement and the Taliban militants want to capitalize on this tension and the decline of the Pakistani Government's popularity to be able to implement their political and military agenda."
At 0543 GMT, the channel carries an update on the casualties of Lahore attacks as a screen caption: "Al-Jazirah correspondent: The death toll of the attacks on security headquarters in the Pakistani city of Lahore rose to 11."
At 0601 GMT, the channel carries a four-minute satellite interview with political analyst Manhal al-Hariri, from Islamabad.
Commenting on the attacks, Al-Hariri says: "The qualitative attack on the Pakistani Army headquarters in Rawalpindi and today's attacks on the FIA and the police academy are considered big operations compared to the gunmen's tactics. The Taliban Movement's claim of responsibility for the attack affirms its strong presence on the Pakistani arena following reports saying that its new leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed."
Asked about the means the Pakistani Government might use to retaliate against these operations, Al-Hariri says: "The Pakistani Army is ready and is waiting for the zero hour to launch its battle in Waziristan, just like it did in the Swat areas." Citing Pakistani officials, Al-Hariri says that these attacks are meant to divert the government's attention from attacking tribal areas.
Anchorman Al-Habib al-Ghuraybi asks: "To what extent does this official campaign come in response to US demands, given the fact that the US financial aid to Pakistan has become contingent upon the latter's efforts to fight the so-called terrorism?" Al-Hariri responds by saying: "Undoubtedly, the Pakistani Government is under great pressure." He adds that "the Pakistani foreign minister is trying to alert US officials to the gravity of the internal situation in Pakistan, and that Pakistan needs the aid the United States promised to extend to Pakistan to be able to fight the militant groups and the Taliban Movement."
At 0709 GMT, the channel carries another live satellite interview with Ahmad Zaydan in Islamabad to give an update on Lahore attacks.
Zaydan says: "Pakistani police sources told Al-Jazirah that the attacks on the FIA headquarters and the police training academy in Lahore were over. The sources added that more than 19 people were killed -- including gunmen, policemen, two FIA officers, and civilians -- and more than 30 people were wounded. Clashes are still raging on in the headquarters of the Elite Forces of the Pakistani Police. It is believed that more than seven gunmen attacked the headquarters from the backside. Some reports say that female gunmen participated in the attack, but this has not yet been confirmed. Some believe that hostages were taken in the headquarters of the training center of the Elite Forces of the Pakistani Police." He goes on to say: "These incidents, according to many experts and observers, show the weakness of the Pakistani police in Lahore in countering these armed operations."
Zaydan goes on to say that "some experts think that the gunmen have two main goals; namely, targeting the Pakistani police and army because they are the first defense line" and "targeting the main cities, specifically the Punjab region."
Asked about the official Pakistani political stand on such "these major security breaches," Zaydan responds by saying: "The only reaction made by Pakistani officials was that of the Punjab law minister, who said that the operation failed and the gunmen were unable to achieve their goals. This is definitely a general and loose statement."
Al-Jazirah at 0900 GMT carries the following announcer-read report: "Al-Jazirah correspondent in Islamabad has cited Pakistani security sources as saying that the attacks the Taliban Pakistan gunmen carried out against the three security headquarters in Lahore were over after the Pakistani Army took control of the situation. These attacks resulted in killing 25 people -- 9 gunmen, 12 policemen, and four civilians."
Immediately afterward, Al-Jazirah runs a two-minute video report by Ahmad Zaydan, who begins by saying: "Three well-planned attacks were carried out in the same way and in one city, Lahore, the capital city of the Punjab region, which became the target of Taliban gunmen these days."
He adds: "It is noticeable that the gunmen's strategies in cities has changed from using suicide bombers and booby-trapped cars to attacks launched by suicide fighters, in addition to targeting the Punjab region, the hub of the Pakistani army and bureaucracy."
Then Imtiyaz Gul, Pakistani expert in armed Islamic groups in Pakistan, speaking in English with Arabic voiceover translation, translated from Arabic, is shown speaking of the Taliban gunmen. He says: "Perhaps they want to prevent launching a military operation in southern Waziristan. They use this tactic to divert the attention of the Pakistani security forces to main cities and towns. This tactic will force the Pakistani security forces to divert their attention from Waziristan."
Zaydan goes on to say: "Such a tactic will disperse the efforts of the army and security forces fighting several battles against gunmen. Military experts have concerns that the control has moved from the hands of the Pakistani Army to gunmen's, given the well-planned attacks against main cities such as Rawalpindi and Lahore, in addition to Taliban Punjab's new role in the conflict."

[Description of Source: Doha Al-Jazirah Satellite Channel Television in Arabic -- Independent Television station financed by the Qatari Government]

Newseye: TTP Operatives Apprehended in Karachi; Run-Off Elections in Afghanistan
SAP20091027105001 Karachi Dawn News in English 1600 GMT 21 Oct 09
[Karachi Dawn News television in English at 1500 GMT on 21 October relays live regularly scheduled "Newseye" program. Dawn News anchorperson Nadia Zafar reviews, discusses, and analyzes major developments of the day with government ministers, officials, opposition leaders, and prominent analysts in this program.]
Program: "Newseye"
Reception: Good/Fair
Duration: 60 minutes

Segment I

Zafar opens the program by saying that former Attorney General Latif Khan Khosa appeared before a panel of Supreme Court judges accusing Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of bias and misconduct after he removed Khosa from the office of the Attorney General. Khosa was suddenly removed from his office when a convict accused Khosa of taking three million rupees in bribe to help him in the Supreme Court, during the tenure of Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar. Corruption charges on Khosa triggered court proceedings against him and the convict says there are two witnesses in this regard who can testify that Khosa indeed took a bribe.
Zafar speaks with Shaiq Usmani, former judge of Sindh high court, and seeks his comments on the matter. Usmani says it is a common practice in courts that whenever a lawyer is charged with anything, he tends to accuse the judge of bias. The appointment of the attorney general is a political matter and if there is any removal it can only be attributed to either the president or the prime minister. The chief justice has absolutely no role in the appointment or the dismissal of the attorney general. There were mere allegations made against Mr. Khosa and nobody said that he was guilty, so he should have calmly defended himself instead of making an emotional outburst. Usmani says the legal procedure requires Khosa to file a written reply to the allegations against him. Khosa can also make an application saying that he fears that the chief justice sitting on the bench is biased and that he does not want him to hear the case. However, whether the judge accepts the application or not is up to him.
Usmani further says that there is corruption at the lower levels in the judiciary and in court offices where money changes hands either in a gratuitous form or as speed money, and in many cases a bribe is taken on the pretext of payment to the judges, while in some cases lawyers use this pretext as an excuse to extract more money from the clients. It is very rare that such a practice is seen at the highest level, and the chief justice is therefore very right in taking up the matter, as it is a question of the honor of the judiciary. It is a serious allegation and the matter must be investigated threough court proceedings; the court will decide on the record presented before the court and, if need be, witnesses can be called to testify and prove what they have said. It is a good decision to hear the case in an open court and not in-camera, because the public are very inquisitive about a case like this. Khosa is on record as saying that he "cannot even imagine" paying a bribe to a judge, so this aspect is clear; it is only a matter of proving that the money did exchange hands, as the convict has stated in his affidavit, and if it is proved, then the people responsible for such an action will be severely punished.
Segment II
Zafar says notorious Al-Qa'ida operative Abu Musa Misri has been killed during the operation in Waziristan. Dawn News' correspondent Zahir Sherazi supplies the details and says Misri was an expert in making suicide jackets and has reportedly been killed along with two other people in a suspected drone strike in North Waziristan -- an area controlled by the Jalaluddin Haqqani network of the Taliban, who are operating inside Afghanistan and targeting NATO and US forces with the help of the local Taliban in this area. North Waziristan has been the prime target of US drone strikes, which have left a number of top Al-Qa'ida operatives and top Taliban commanders dead. Sherazi further says that security forces have captured Kotkai village, which is the hometown of banned TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) Chief Hakimullah Mehsud and was a Taliban stronghold. People fleeing the area say that the militants are being targeted by both ground troops and jet fighters.

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