|The next step should be their incorporation into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The security state will resist it but FATA is destined to be part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. We need to abide by the dictates of history, geography, language and culture. Please do not try to swim against the flow. We saw several times that you cannot.
The writer belongs to Waziristan.
[Description of Source: Lahore Daily Times Online in English -- Website of the independent, moderate daily, run by Media Times (Private) Ltd., owned by Shehryar Taseer, son of Salman Taseer, former slain governor of Punjab province. Rashed Rahman is the editor-in-chief. The same group owns and publishes weekly newspaper The Friday Times and Urdu daily Aaj Kal. Strong critic of radical and jihadi elements. Provides extensive coverage of activities of jihadi/militant groups. Caters to the educated middle class, with an estimated circulation of 20,000.; URL: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk.]
Pakistan Army: TTP Leaders Receiving Training From Afghan Militants, Officials
SAP20110911127019 Karachi The Express Tribune Online in English 11 Sep 11
[Report by Naveed Hussain / Zia Khan: "Border incursions: Suspicions grow about Afghan support for TTP"]
[Text disseminated as received without OSC editorial intervention]
ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Pakistan's military believes the fugitive leaders of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are receiving outright support from militants as well as officials in Afghanistan, where they have found a safe haven.
The suspicion comes in the wake of an upsurge in cross-border incursions in Pakistan's border regions led mainly by TTP militants and backed by their Afghan collaborators.
"The TTP senior cadres Maulana Fazlullah, Maulvi Faqir Muhammad and Abdul Wali, aka Omar Khalid, have been receiving support from local Afghan authorities and miscreants," the military's chief spokesperson Major-General Athar Abbas told The Express Tribune.
Maulana Fazlullah, also known as Mullah Radio, was the chief of TTP in Swat, while Maulvi Faqir and Omar Khalid headed the group in Bajaur and Mohmand, respectively.
Military officials have gone so far to accuse the authorities in northeastern Afghanistan of being complacent in these raids - a claim vehemently denied by Afghan officials.
The military itself does not directly blame them, but analysts believe some Afghan Taliban may be aiding their Pakistani namesakes, with or without approval from the group's top hierarchy.
Hundreds of TTP insurgents had fled the military operations in the tribal regions of Bajaur, Mohmand and Malakand Division of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to find a safe haven in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan.
The exact number of TTP militants in Afghanistan is not known but Maj-Gen Abbas said that 200 to 300 militants have been mounting cross-border attacks in Dir and Chitral districts, suggesting they have a massive presence there.
"Militants from Bajaur and Mohmand are mostly based in Nuristan where they are hosted by an Afghan militant group, led by Qari Ziaur Rehman - a leader of the Salfi Taliban who are thought to be the closest ally of al Qaeda," a senior military official told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity.
Salfi Islam is the bedrock of al Qaeda's ideology, which is also followed by the Taliban controlling Kunar and Nuristan. This ideological convergence brought the two closer to each other.
Qari Zia is believed to be once a close confidante of Osama bin Laden and hosted him once after his epic escape from the Tora Bora mountains in 2001.
Peshawar-based security analyst Brigadier (retd) Muhamaad Saad believes the Taliban are not a monolithic entity. "They can be divided into three broad categories: Kandahari Taliban, led by Mullah Omar; Pakti Taliban, led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani; and Salfi Taliban," he said. "It's the Salfi Taliban who pose a real threat to Pakistan. They may not be obeying the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar." But the Afghan Taliban deny any schisms in the movement. "All mujahideen are united under the leadership of Mullah Omar," Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid told The Express Tribune by phone from an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.
A respected cleric who runs an Islamic seminary in Shekandai, a village on the border between Chitral and Nuristan, endorses Mujahid's claim. "There is no evidence of Qari Zia's group defying the authority of Mullah Omar," said Maulana Jamal Abdul Nasir.
Two years ago, the Nuristan Taliban had kidnapped a Greek professor from Chitral. And they had offered to free him in return for the release of three Afghan commanders - Ustad Yasir, the second-in-command of the 1980s jihadi leader Abdul Rasool Sayyaf, Maulana Rehmatuddin Nuristani, a local commander from Nuristan and Maulvi Abdullah Akhund from Kandahar.
"This shows there are no differences between the Salfi Taliban and those led by Mullah Omar," said Maulana Nasir. The Afghan Taliban do not interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan's neighbouring countries. "No member of Taliban can go against the movement's policy," Mujahid said - blaming the TTP for all cross-border incursions. He also denied Qari Zia's group was sheltering the TTP militants.
The governor of Nuristan province also appears to be exonerating the Afghan Taliban. "The Afghan Taliban have never carried out cross-border attacks in Pakistan," Tameem Nuristani told The Express Tribune by phone from his home.
He also put the blame squarely on the TTP. "Look, they (Pakistani Taliban) have killed hundreds of people in bomb and suicide attacks across Pakistan, they're Pakistan's enemy," he added. Nuristani, however, conceded that the TTP militants have found 'safe havens' in Kunar and Nuristan. Asked why the Afghan authorities do not move against them, Nuristani said, "Like Waziristan, we, too, have areas where the government's writ does not exist."
Scores of Pakistani military and paramilitary troops and policemen have been killed in cross-border raids by militants in Dir and Chitral districts. Last month, dozens of people were killed in militant attacks on security check posts in Chitral. And earlier this month, dozens of young men from Bajaur Agency were seized by TTP while they strayed across the border in Nuristan during an outing.
What is Pakistan doing to stop such raids?
"In Dir (Upper and Lower) extra troops have been deployed to man the border region. And in Chitral, new check posts are being set up at a bridge connecting the region with Afghanistan. We are sending huge reinforcements there," said Maj-Gen Abbas.
The unnamed senior military official said the military was also encouraging formation of village defence committees in Chitral on the pattern of Amn committees (qaumi lashkars) in the tribal regions. But he conceded that local residents were unwilling to join, fearing reprisals from the militants.
[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: Taliban Successful in Causing Maximum Damage Before US Departure
SAP20110919142002 Islamabad Ausaf in Urdu 18 Sep 11 p 10
[Article by Navid Masood Hashmi: "Horrible Attack of Taliban at US Embassy and NATO Headquarters"]
The aggressive designs that Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States and US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, have expressed against Pakistan lend us an estimate that how much the security of Pakistan is important in the eyes of the US rulers. By the way, these Americans are made of peculiar "stubborn clay," even after incurring double trouble and loss at the hands of Taliban of Mullah Muhammad Umar in Afghanistan, when the Americans feel vexed, they start censuring Pakistan.
They timidly lose heart at the sight of the mere shadow of the Afghanistan Taliban. But they show their anger to Pakistan as if Pakistan was their personal property. Now when the entire world is acknowledging the fact that the so-called superpower and its allies have met the humiliating defeat at the hands of Mujahid Taliban of Mullah Umar, the United States should also quickly admit this fact that it has become a ''zero-power'' against the Afghanistan Taliban and that the true superpower are the Taliban who have inflicted worst defeat on the entire NATO Forces, including the United States.
Ever since the United States has declared the drawdown of its troops from Afghanistan: ''Taliban'' of Mullah Umar are making all-out attempts to show such a comprehensive and complete hospitality to the US and NATO Forces, respectfully present in Afghanistan, which ensures that the troops should honorably return, packed in coffins, and on the shoulders of others, instead of walking on their own feet. Moreover, what is wonderful is that the Taliban are amazingly successful in this strategy as well.
The conscience-traders, intellect sellers of the US basket, pen-sellers and secular ''dollar-mongers,'' living in Pakistan, must be surprised and shocked at watching this wretched situation of their master, the United States. But I earnestly and heartily advised them that instead of spectating the lambasting of their master, the United States, at the hands of the Taliban, they should reach Kabul in order to pay due honor to their dollars. There they should start ''quarrel'' with the Taliban of Mullah Umar in support of the Americans. After all, there should be some limit to the treachery.
The Taliban of Mullah Umar, without the help of any government of the world, including Pakistan, without the support and assistance of intelligence agencies, just relying on the faith in one God, have inflicted a crushing defeat on the NATO countries and thus proved that they have the force of their faith and support of God with them. They have proved that when true believing Muslims battle against the unjust and aggressive infidels in the Jihadi battlefields, then legions of Heavenly Angels join their ranks to support them.
In fact, Haqqani Network is nothing in itself. It is an excuse and lame excuse for the US attack on Pakistan. Otherwise, everyone knows that Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, the iron man of Afghanistan, is a part of the Taliban holy warriors under the command of Mullah Umar. God willing, I will write on the subject of Maulvi Haqqani in next column. In today's column, just consider a few reports that the foreign media published about the horrible attacks of the Taliban on the US Embassy and NATO Headquarters, situated in the most sensitive zone of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan; and think whether now the United States still has the right to be called as superpower?
The reports received from Kabul corroborate that recently, during their action, at least 10 Taliban suicide attackers, equipped with automated weapons, RPG rockets, and hand grenades have targeted the diplomatic zone in the most sensitive area of Kabul in a highly organized manner. No one was willing to extend any correct information about the actual situation of this battle, even after the eight hours of the attack. However, the western diplomatic sources and newspapers and magazines have declared this incidence a continuation of the Wardag truck bomb attack, associated with the 9/11 anniversary. During that incident, the US official had con firmed that this attack had injured the 90 US Troops and several parts of the building of Forward Operating Base in Syedabad have turned into a heap of debris and dust.
According to Wall Street Journal: "The US investigators have confirmed that the explosion of the 9,000 kg explosive-laden truck wreaked mortal havoc in the radius of a half km and every building within the radius of 300 meter reduced to debris and ashes.
After the 48 hours of this incident, the diplomatic buildings and headquarter of Afghanistan intelligence were also targeted in the heart of Kabul. The locals said that initially they heard the sounds of six major blasts and subsequently the atmosphere was burdened with the smell of ammunition and then gunfire kicked off in every direction."
The German Magazine Darespy Jell said: "First of all a van was targeted by a rocket and later on two suicide attackers conducted their action which caused a tumult in this critically sensitive zone everywhere and under the shield of this chaos, the actual warrior squad of Taliban succeeded in reaching its target."
The global magazine Vanguard said in its report: "Although there were not many Taliban, but it seems that they had come to translate their highly well-thought planning into reality on the strong grounds. In an expert manner, the Taliban fighters took the cover of different buildings and successfully targeted embassies and the Afghanistan Intelligence through RPG rockets, light machine guns, and hand grenades. They used the suicide jackets wherever they felt a need for. It led to a tremendous chaos and turmoil in the diplomatic and the most sensitive zone. After battling for long against the US, NATO, and the Afghanistan Forces, Taliban took hold of such a high building from where the US Embassy was clearly visible. The Taliban targeted the US Embassy from the rooftop of this building."
In its report, Vanguard said that it seems that Taliban had more than one covering teams whose responsibility was to escort the five-member suicide attacking group closest to the specific target so that they could carry out their plan easily.
The information that Taliban spokesman has shared with the media states that under this plan, on Monday immediately after the midday prayers, Taliban launched an operation in Abdul Haq Square which lasted for several hours. During this operation, the Taliban targeted the jawans of the Foreign Security Forces as well as those people on the path who are doubtlessly believed to have come to the embassy with a certain objective and they were certainly not the ordinary common citizens. Keeping it aside that how the government responded to this sudden attack, it was immediately announced through the media that the common people should stay away from this place, go inside their houses and keep the doors shut lest they should incur some loss.
Some groups of the world media claimed that the real target of this operation was the US Embassy where several rockets have been fired inside that caused damage and destruction. But it cannot be said with certainty that how much loss the Americans have earned during this attack.
However, the Taliban spokesman said that the primary target of Taliban was the US Embassy, the NATO Headquarter and the Afghanistan Intelligence Headquarters. The AFP said that regarding this attack in the heart of Kabul, the experts and particularly the military analysts believe that now Kabul no more has some particular security because not once or twice, but dozens of times, the Taliban have conducted operations at the style of commandos and every time the security of Kabul and its most sensitive zone turned out to be a wall of sand.
The British Magazine Daily Mail said: "Taliban had invaded the British Council in Kabul just two weeks ago and this invasion was for the celebration of the independence of Afghanistan from the British colonialism on 19 August. But despite this attack, the security in Kabul was not aligned along the best and professional lines and once again, the Taliban targeted the embassies in the most sensitive locations."
[To be continued]
[Description of Source: Islamabad Ausaf in Urdu Daily supportive of jihadi groups and a hard-line Pakistan policy on Kashmir. Extensively covers extremist groups, catering to religious and anti-US groups, with a circulation of 40,000. Provides good coverage of activities of militants in Waziristan and other tribal areas. Ausaf is also published from Frankfurt and London besides Pakistani cities of Lahore, Multan, and Muzaffarabad.]
Asia Times: 'Haqqani Network Sours Pakistan-US Ties'
CPP20110920715053 Hong Kong Asia Times Online in English 0859 GMT 19 Sep 11
[Asia Times Report by Amir Mir: "Haqqani Network Sours Pakistan-Us Ties "; headline as provided by source]
ISLAMABAD - The gradually warming Pakistan-United States ties have suddenly turned sour in the aftermath of the September 13 brazen terrorist attack on the US Embassy in Kabul, which senior American military and government officials have squarely blamed on the North Waziristan-based Haqqani militant network, led by Sirajuddin Haqqani.
As Washington and Islamabad struggle to redefine their relationship in the aftermath of a series of testing developments this year, beginning with the January 27 arrest of an undercover US Central Intelligence Agency agent from Lahore, followed by the May 2 killing of the fugitive al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a US military raid in Abbottabad, the Kabul attack has cast serious doubts on the American claims of progress in the "war against terror".
This has prompted US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to warn that the United States could do everything it could to defend American forces from the Pakistan-based Haqqani militants staging attacks in Afghanistan, including operations inside Pakistan.
Panetta's warning was followed by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's decision to cancel his planned trip to the United States that was scheduled for September 16.
On the face of it, he called off the visit because "he personally wanted to supervise ongoing relief efforts in flood-hit areas of Sindh province". However, there are clear indications that strained relations between the two countries led to the move; he was to address a United Nations General Assembly session in New York.
The main reason for calling off the visit was US President Barack Obama's refusal to meet Gilani on the sidelines of the UN session. The Pakistan Embassy in Washington had tried hard to arrange a meeting. Panetta's fulminations too are said to have persuaded Gilani that this was not the best time to go.
A few hours after calling off his US visit, Gilani said on September 17: "Now it's time that the United States should do more." This was in response to the US's lack of satisfaction with efforts by Pakistan in their fight against the Taliban and their demand that his government should do more. Gilani said Pakistan had already contributed enormously to the fight against terrorism and stressed that the US should "do more" instead.
The US Embassy assault in Kabul that kept the heavily guarded city center under siege for almost 20 hours and literally turned it into a battle zone was the longest sustained incident in the capital since the launching of the war against the Taliban a decade ago in October 2001.
Fifteen people were killed and six foreign troops wounded in the assault. The Taliban attackers managed to get hold of a high-rise building site that towers over the US Embassy and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Kabul, firing rockets and spraying gunfire well inside the highly-secured diplomatic zone, which by and large houses foreign embassies and military headquarters.
The third major terrorist attack in Kabul by the Taliban since June 2011 raises questions about the ability of the Afghan security forces that are supposed to take over responsibility from foreign troops. The timing of the Kabul attack suggests that it was also aimed at improving the bargaining position of the Afghan Taliban led by their amir , Mullah Omar. The attack also raises questions about secret reconciliation efforts being made by the Americans to strike a deal with the Afghan Taliban, who have already claimed responsibility for the September 13 US Embassy assault.
While blaming the Haqqani network - which is loosely associated with the Afghan Taliban - for the assault, Afghan Interior Minister Bismillah Mohmmadi claimed that mobile telephones used by the six attackers who fought off Western and Afghan forces for almost a full day showed they were in touch with people outside the country.
"The evidence we have received shows they were communicating and were led from outside Afghanistan," said Mohmmadi in a video released to journalists by his ministry. He did not identify the country involved, but US ambassador Ryan Crocker and the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John R Allen, said they believed the attack was launched by the Pakistan-based Haqqani network.
Earlier, Afghanistan's National Intelligence Directorate (NDS) had claimed following the June 28 terrorist attack targeting the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul that it was also carried out by militants of the Haqqani network with the help of their handlers in Pakistan.
As per the NDS claim, in an intercepted phone call, Badruddin Haqqani, a top leader of the terror network, was heard directing one of the fighters and laughing during the hotel attack that killed 11 civilians and two policemen as well as nine members of the attacking team. Badruddin is an operational commander in the Haqqani network who also sits on the Taliban's Miram Shah shura (council).
Named after its founding leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, the Haqqani network is an Afghan militant group that is based out of North Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.
The network has been active mainly in the east of Afghanistan in Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Ghazni Wardak and even Kabul provinces.
Although it is a separate militant group, it pledges allegiance to Mullah Omar and has a history of links to the Pakistani intelligence establishment since the days of the Afghan jihad against the Soviets in the 1980s.
Jalaluddin Haqqani, now in his sixties, is a former anti-Soviet resistance commander known for his ruthless effectiveness as a fighter. His ties to Pakistan, and his base in the Miram Shah area of North Waziristan, go as far back as his exile during the government of Sardar Daud in the early 1970s.
He was initially among the many militant leaders who formed the Hizb-e-Islami. But when the Hizb fractured in the late 1970s, Haqqani followed Maulvi Yunis Khalis rather than Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and became one of the most important commanders in the Hizb-e Islami (Khalis), or HIK.
A battle-tested leader
When Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan in 1979, like many Afghan leaders, Jalaluddin took his family and fighters to Pakistan and settled in North Waziristan, which borders his native Khost province.
He subsequently received significant support from the American Central Intelligence Agency and from the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and built up a sizable and competent anti-Soviet militia force by the mid-1980s.
The current ties between the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban date back to the days of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan led by Mullah Omar. The Taliban seized power in 1996 and were ousted by the US-led invasion in late 2001.
As Jalaluddin has aged, his elder son Sirajuddin has taken over the responsibility of carrying out cross-border operations in Afghanistan. Sirajuddin has eclipsed his father in power and influence and he rivals more senior leaders for leadership of the Taliban. In many ways, he is smarter and more respected than far more senior Taliban leaders.
According to US military commanders, the Haqqani network is the most resilient in Afghanistan and one of the biggest threats to the US-led forces.
Following WikiLeaks' July 2010 publication of 75,000 classified documents, it was revealed that Sirajuddin Haqqani was in tier one of the International Security Assistance Force's Joint Prioritized Effects List - its "kill or capture" list.