Taleban Government Appoints Two New Ministers



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Already, Kiani's behind-the-scenes maneuvers have been credited with the reinstatement in 2009 of current Pakistan chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was twice sacked by Musharraf.
Given the military's tremendous clout, its disagreements with the civilian leaders are not inevitable. An example is a less pronounced disagreement over the way forward in the FATA, which currently is the biggest theater for the Pakistani military. In August 2009, Zardari announced reforms of its century-old, British colonial-era legal and administrative regime. But the military vetoed the announcement, according to senior politicians who see Kiani as loyal to the army's political interests.
The current desperate humanitarian crisis at home might prompt calls for a more direct political role for the military. In that light, Kiani's biggest challenge yet could prove to be continuing to buck tradition by supporting the civilian government and ensuring that the political system remains on course.
With a clean break from the legacies of his predecessors, Kiani's military brilliance could serve Pakistan well as it continues down a path of democracy.

[Description of Source: Hong Kong Asia Times Online in English -- Online newspaper focusing on political and economic issues from an "Asian perspective," with over 50 contributors in 17 Asian countries, the United States, and Europe, and a branch office in Bangkok; successor of the Hong Kong/Bangkok-based print daily Asia Times that closed in 1997, it claims an average of 100,000 daily site visitors, with 65% of the audience based in North America, and 22% in the Asia-Pacific region; tends to be critical of the United States; URL: http://www.atimes.com]

Pakistan: 12 Killed, 15 Injured in Two Drone Strikes in North Waziristan
SAP20100824034004 Karachi Dawn Online in English 24 Aug 10
[Report by unidentified Dawn correspondent: "Two drone attacks in N. Waziristan; 12 dead"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
MIRAMSHAH: At least 12 people, four women among them, were killed and 15 others injured in two drone strikes in parts of the North Waziristan tribal region on Monday.
A US drone fired three missiles on a suspected compound in Dandy Derpakhel area. The missiles also hit a house adjacent to the compound, killing three men and four women and injuring 15 others.
The injured, including children, were taken to hospitals in Miramshah.
Dandy Derpakhel is located near the Afghan border and considered to be a stronghold of the Haqqani network.
The locality has come under drone attacks several times in the past in which relatives of 'Commander' Jalaluddin Haqqani were killed.
In the second strike on Monday, five people were killed when two missiles fired by a US drone hit a place in Derga Mandi area.

[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: Captors of British Film Producer Silent on Fate of Third Hostage
SAP20100911103001 Karachi Dawn Online in English 11 Sep 10
[Bureau report: Kidnappers free Qureshi but keep quiet on fate of third hostage]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
PESHAWAR, Sept 10: The mysterious captors of British documentary film producer Asad Quereshi, after setting him free, presumably on getting a huge ransom, have gone completely silent on the fate of another hostage, former ISI official and known Taliban supporter, Col (retd) Ameer Sultan Tarar.
More commonly known among the Afghan and Pakistani militants as Colonel Imam from the days when he worked as an under-cover agent to assist Afghan Mujahideen and later the Taliban, the former ISI official had accompanied the British-Pakistani journalist in the Waziristan area more than four months ago.
The third member of the group, another former ISI official-turned Islamist campaigner, Squadron Leader (retd) Khalid Khwaja was murdered by the captors after he was accused of being a "double agent".
Asad Quereshi has now been set free after months of secret negotiations and, according to one security official, on payment of a huge ransom.
The official said that a ransom of Rs14 million had been paid to Sabir Mehsud.
The claim could not be independently verified but the official, who asked not be identified, said the deal was struck after protracted negotiations through intermediaries.
However, no one seems to know where Col (retd) Imam was being kept, whether he was still in the captivity of the same group or has been handed over or "sold" to another militant faction in the militant-infested tribal region.
Although a few weeks ago a video of Col Imam was released by the captors, who identified themselves as 'Asian Tigers', but officials and local correspondents say that since the release of journalist Asad Quereshi there has been no word from the captors.
The little known 'Asian Tigers' group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and accused three of being spies, threatening to kill them if their demands were not met that included release of their comrades and ransom.
Khalid Khawaja was shot dead in April and his body was found in Mirali. Khawaja's son immediately blamed Usman Punjabi for masterminding his father's death and accused a senior TV anchor in Islamabad of orchestrating the murder.
But in a new turn of events Usman Punjabi and his five associates were killed in a shootout with the Sabir Mehsud group in Dandi Darpakhel on August 28.
It is not clear as to what prompted the clash between the two militant groups but a security official said a dispute over ransom money triggered the shootout.
Sabir Mehsud is an associate of the TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud and wields wide influence in North Waziristan and is believed to enjoy cordial ties with almost all militant groups, including Hafiz Gul Bahadar.
There were some speculations that Siraj Haqqani - son of Afghan Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani - may have played some role in extricating the four men from the Usman Punjabi group, which had set a deadline for the execution of Mr Qureshi.
But , the fate of Col. Imam remains unknown. It's also not clear if he was being held because the ransom demand was not being met, or because he knew too much about the captors or the circumstances in which Khalid Khwaja had been killed.
But, there are some speculations, though no corroboration, that Col. Imam may be enjoying the 'hospitality' of the Haqqanis and that he is in safe hands - now that he is no longer in the captivity of Usman Punjabi and his comrades which some officials believe were more ferocious than most of the radical groups operating in the tribal region.

[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]



AFP: US Drone Strike in Pakistan Reportedly Kills 11 Militants
SAP20100915018002 Hong Kong AFP in English 0227 GMT 15 Sep 10
[AFP Report: "US drone strike kills 11 militants in Pakistan: officials"]
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, Sept 15, 2010 (AFP) -- US drones fired off a volley of missiles targeting Al-Qaeda linked fighters in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan Wednesday, killing at least 11 militants, security officials said.
The pre-dawn attack -- the third in less than 24 hours -- was directed at the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based group which is one of the toughest foes for foreign forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.
"Several US drones fired seven missiles at two militant compounds early this morning, killing at least 11 militants," a senior security official told AFP. "The missile strike targeted militants of the Haqqani network."
The attack took place in the village of Dargah Mandi village on the outskirts of Miranshah, the main town in the troubled North Waziristan tribal district where US missiles killed 15 militants in two separate attacks Tuesday.
Another security official in Peshawar and a local intelligence official confirmed Wednesday's strike and the death toll.
"They were Pakistani Taliban attached to the Haqqani group," the intelligence official in Miranshah said.
Residents said there was panic in the village as the noise of drones was heard just before dawn.
"As the US drones came over the village people started shouting and running here and there shouting 'run, drones have come,' a local tribesman told AFP, requesting anonymity for fear militants might harm him.
Residents said the targeted houses were owned by a local tribesman Bacha Khan, who had rented them out to militants, and were destroyed in the attacks.
Created by Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani and run by his son Sirajuddin, the network is linked to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and has become a particularly prickly thorn in the side of US-led forces trying to bring security to eastern Afghanistan.
A fresh surge in US missile strikes has killed 75 militants since September 3 in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, which Washington has branded a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous spot on Earth.
On Tuesday, 11 militants were killed in a drone attack on the village of Bushnarai in Shawal district, a known stronghold of Taliban warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur which is populated by Arab fighters.
Another four militants were killed that day in Qutabkhel village south of Miranshah when US drones fired missiles on militant vehicles, officials said.
With Pakistan struggling to cope with devastating floods that have hit 21 million people in the country's worst humanitarian disaster, Islamist militant violence has picked up in recent weeks with a wave of major bombings.
The Taliban last week threatened Pakistani security forces with more suicide attacks to avenge US missile strikes, which have become a key tactic in the US-led fight to reverse the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
An Islamist militant bombing campaign has killed more than 3,700 people and fanned instability across nuclear-armed Pakistan since July 2007.
Under US pressure to crack down on Islamist havens along the Afghan border, Pakistan has in the past year stepped up military operations against largely homegrown militants in the area.
Officials in Washington say the drone strikes have killed a number of high-value targets including Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and help protect foreign troops in Afghanistan from attacks plotted across the border.
The US military does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy pilotless drones in the region.
Over 1,070 people have been killed in more than 125 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008, including a number of senior militants. However, the attacks fuel anti-American sentiment in the conservative Muslim country.
Al-Qaeda announced in June that its number three leader and Osama bin Laden's one-time treasurer Mustafa Abu al-Yazid had been killed in what security officials said appeared to be a drone strike in North Waziristan.

[Description of Source: Hong Kong AFP in English -- Hong Kong service of the independent French press agency Agence France-Presse]

US drone attack kills 12 militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan 15 Sep
SAP20100915950008 Karachi Geo TV website in English 0013 GMT 15 Sep 10

C:
Text of report by leading private Pakistani satellite TV channel Geo News website on 15 September


Miranshah: US drones fired off a volley of missiles targeting Al-Qa'idah linked fighters in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan Wednesday [15 September], killing at least 12 militants, security officials said.
The pre-dawn attack - the third in less than 24 hours - was directed at the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based group which is one of the toughest foes for foreign forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.
"Several US drones fired seven missiles at two militant compounds early this morning, killing at least twelve militants," a senior security official told media. "The missile strike targeted militants of the Haqqani network."
The attack took place in the village of Dargah Mandi village on the outskirts of Miranshah, the main town in the troubled North Waziristan tribal district where US missiles killed 15 militants in two separate attacks Tuesday.
Another security official in Peshawar and a local intelligence official confirmed Wednesday's strike and the death toll.
Residents said there was panic in the village as the noise of drones was heard just before dawn.
"As the US drones came over the village people started shouting and running here and there shouting 'run, drones have come,' a local tribesman told media, requesting anonymity for fear militants might harm him.
Created by Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani and run by his son Sirajuddin, the network is linked to Al-Qa'idah and the Taleban and has become a particularly prickly thorn in the side of US-led forces trying to bring security to eastern Afghanistan.
A fresh surge in US missile strikes has killed 69 militants since September 3 in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, which Washington has branded a global headquarters of Al-Qa'idah and the most dangerous spot on earth.
On Tuesday, 11 militants were killed in a drone attack on the village of Bushnarai in Shawal district, a known stronghold of Taleban warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur which is populated by Arab fighters.
Another four militants were killed that day in Qutabkhel village south of Miranshah when US drones fired missiles on militant vehicles, officials said.
With Pakistan struggling to cope with devastating floods that have hit 21 million people in the country's worst humanitarian disaster, Islamist militant violence has picked up in recent weeks with a wave of major bombings.
The Taleban last week threatened Pakistani security forces with more suicide attacks to avenge US missile strikes, which have become a key tactic in the US-led fight to reverse the Taleban insurgency in Afghanistan.
An Islamist militant bombing campaign has killed more than 3,700 people and fanned instability across nuclear-armed Pakistan since July 2007.

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

Pakistan: Officials say 3 US Drone Strikes Kill 26 in 24 Hours in N Waziristan
SAP20100915052005 Islamabad The Nation Online in English 15 Sep 10
[Unattributed report: "3 US Drone Attacks Kill 26 in 24 Hours in Pakistan"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
US drones fired off missiles targeting militants thrice in 24 hours in North Waziristan tribal area, killing at least 26 persons, security officials said. US drones fired off a volley of missiles in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan Wednesday, killing at least 11 militants, security officials said.
The pre-dawn attack -- the third in less than 24 hours. "Several US drones fired seven missiles at two militant compounds early this morning, killing at least 11 militants," a senior security official told AFP. "The missile strike targeted militants of the Haqqani network."The attack took place in the village of Dargah Mandi village on the outskirts of Miranshah, the main town in the troubled North Waziristan tribal district where US missiles killed 15 militants in two separate attacks Tuesday.
Another security official in Peshawar and a local intelligence official confirmed Wednesday's strike and the death toll.
"They were Pakistani Taliban attached to the Haqqani group," the intelligence official in Miranshah said.
Residents said there was panic in the village as the noise of drones was heard just before dawn.
"As the US drones came over the village people started shouting and running here and there shouting 'run, drones have come,' a local tribesman told AFP, requesting anonymity for fear militants might harm him.
Residents said the targeted houses were owned by a local tribesman Bacha Khan, who had rented them out to militants, and were destroyed in the attacks.
Created by Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani and run by his son Sirajuddin, the network is linked to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and has become a particularly prickly thorn in the side of US-led forces trying to bring security to eastern Afghanistan.
A fresh surge in US missile strikes has killed 75 militants since September 3 in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, which Washington has branded a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous spot on Earth.
On Tuesday, 11 militants were killed in a drone attack on the village of Bushnarai in Shawal district, a known stronghold of Taliban warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur which is populated by Arab fighters.
Another four militants were killed that day in Qutabkhel village south of Miranshah when US drones fired missiles on militant vehicles, officials said.
Over 1,070 people have been killed in more than 125 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008, including a number of senior militants. However, the attacks fuel anti-American sentiment in the conservative Muslim country.

[Description of Source: Islamabad The Nation Online in English -- Website of a conservative daily, part of the Nawa-i-Waqt publishing group. Circulation around 20,000; URL: http://www.nation.com.pk]


Pakistan: Thirty Killed in 3 Drone Strikes in North Waziristan
FEA20100915009320 - OSC Feature - The Express Tribune Online 15 Sep 10
[For a copy of the video or assistance with multimedia elements, contact GSG_GVP_VideoOps@rccb.osis.gov or the OSC Customer Center at (800) 205-8615.]
[The Express Tribune Online, 15 Sep] Miram Shah: At least 30 people have been killed in three drone strikes in various areas of North Waziristan Agency in the last 24 hours.
In the third incident since Tuesday [14 September] morning, the US drones fired 10 missiles in the Dargah Mandi area of Miram Shah that killed 14 people.
Earlier on Tuesday, the drones launched two strikes in the Shawal and Qutub Khel areas of the Agency that resulted in the death of 16 people.
The pre-dawn strike -- the third in less than 24 hours -- was directed at the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based group that is one of the toughest foes for foreign forces in neighboring Afghanistan.
"Several US drones fired seven missiles at two militant compounds early this morning, killing at least five militants," a senior security official told AFP. "The missile strike targeted militants of the Haqqani network."
The strike took place in the village of Dargah Mandi on the outskirts of Miram Shah, the main town in the troubled North Waziristan tribal district, where US missiles killed 15 militants in two separate strikes on Tuesday.
Another security official in Peshawar and a local intelligence official confirmed Wednesday's strike and the death toll.
Residents said that there was panic in the village as the noise of drones was heard just before dawn. "As the US drones came over the village people started shouting and running here and there shouting 'run, drones have come,' a local tribesman told AFP, requesting anonymity for fear that militants might harm him.
Created by Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani and run by his son Sirajuddin, the network is linked to Al-Qa'ida and the Taliban and has become a particularly prickly thorn in the side of US-led forces trying to bring security to eastern Afghanistan.
A fresh surge in US missile strikes has killed 69 militants since 3 September in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt, which Washington has branded the global headquarters of Al-Qa'ida and the most dangerous spot on earth.
The US sees drone strikes as an effective measure against high-profile targets while Pakistan has continuously said that the strikes are against the sovereignty of the country.
[Description of Source: Karachi The Express Tribune Online in English -- Website of a newspaper partnered with the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times. It is part of the Lakson Group, which includes Daily Express and Express News Television in Urdu and Express 24/7 Television in English. The group's media wing has no known political affiliations and operates as a moderate, independent commercial media organization. The newspaper claims its mission is to defend "liberal values and egalitarian traditions"; URL: http://tribune.com.pk]

Pakistan: Afghan Taliban Negotiating Peace Between 2 Warring Tribes in Kurram


SAP20100916118001 Karachi Dawn Online in English 16 Sep 10
[Report by Zulfiqar Ali: "Taliban trying to end tribal clashes in Kurram":for assistance with multimedia elements, contact OSC at 1-800-205-8615 or oscinfo@rccb.osis.gov]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
PESHAWAR: A Taliban faction fighting US forces in Afghanistan is trying to end a tribal dispute which has resulted in severe clashes in Kurram Agency.
According to sources, Taliban of the Jalaluddin Haqqani group are in contact with elders of rival tribes and talks between the Haqqani group and elders from Upper and Lower Kurram were held before Eidul Fitr.
"Two trustworthy people of Jalaluddin Haqqani took part in the talks," they said, adding that the next round of talks was expected soon.
They said elders of Turi and Bangash tribes had said that they would attend further talks only if nine people kidnapped after an attack on two vehicles in Lower Kurram in July were freed and safety of passengers travelling between Parachinar and Peshawar was guaranteed.
"These measures are necessary to build confidence among the tribes and prepare the ground for future talks," an elder said.
He said the Taliban had told them that they wanted reconciliation among the tribes and had approached all groups to start negotiations.
The sources said the Taliban had been in contact with local tribes for some time but the talks had not produced any result so far.
The first round of talks was held in Balishkhel village in March last year and was attended also by Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
Another team of Taliban visited the area in September last year.
According to the sources, a relative of a former governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and his local business partner facilitated the talks which ended without achieving anything.
It may be mentioned, Nato officials and the Afghan government made similar efforts and invited elders of various tribes to Paktia province of Afghanistan in May last year to urge them to resolve their disputes.
Violent clashes have been taking place in the Kurram valley since November 2007 and thousands of people have been killed or injured and hundreds of families have been displaced.
The area is cut off from the rest of the country and local people travel on the Thall-Parachinar road in convoys protected by security personnel.
The government brokered a peace deal and an agreement to end violence was signed in Murree in October 2008, but there has been no let-up in violence in the valley.
Insiders said the aim behind Taliban's reconciliation efforts was to secure the strategic region and turn it into a safe route to Afghanistan.
Kurram valley borders Afghanistan from three sides, Paktia on its west, Nangarhar on the north and Khost on the south.
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