Tag Archive | "Al-Qaeda"

Karzai: “To the American people, give them my best wishes…; to the U.S. govt, give them my anger, my extreme anger”

NEW YORK, MARCH 3 — The Washington Post’s Kevin Sieff scored the first American newspaper interview with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in two years, and it’s rather emotional:

Afghanistan war was ‘not in our interests’…it was not fought with his country’s interests in mind. “Afghans died in a war that’s not ours,” Karzai told WP in the candid interview, published on Sunday, just a month before an election to pick his successor.

Karzai Washington Post interview Karzai: To the American people, give them my best wishes...; to the U.S. govt, give them my anger, my extreme anger

Karzai is of the opinion that Al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization that the Taliban was allegedly harboring, is “more a myth than a reality” and that the majority of individuals arrested were innocent of any crimes.

He was quoted as saying he was certain the 12-year-old war, America’s longest and launched after the attacks of September 11, 2001, was “for the U.S. security and for the Western interest.”

Recently, Karzai has become increasingly outspoken not only about the amount of civilian casualties he has witnessed in the course of the war, but also his own theories as to who may be responsible for some of the suicide bombings that are continuing to this day.

Karzai, according to an Afghan official quoted by the Post, reportedly thinks that US forces were behind recent insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, such as a bomb blast earlier this month that killed 21 people, including three Americans, in Kabul.

US Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham expressed surprise over the remarks, telling the Post that Karzai’s reported assertions are “a deeply conspiratorial view that’s divorced from reality … It flies in the face of logic and morality to think that we would aid the enemy we’re trying to defeat.”

WP’s Sieff reports: “Hamid Karzai was in the midst of negotiating a security agreement with the United States when he met a 4-year-old girl who had lost half her face in an American airstrike. Five months later, the Afghan president’s eyes welled with tears as he described visiting the disfigured little girl at a hospital. He took long pauses between words. Sitting behind his desk Saturday night, the man who has projected a defiant image toward the West suddenly looked frail. “That day, I wished she were dead, so she could be buried with her parents and brothers and sisters” – 14 of whom had been killed in the attack – he said.

“In an unusually emotional interview, the departing Afghan president sought to explain why he has been such a harsh critic of the 12-year-old U.S. war effort here. He said he’s deeply troubled by all the casualties he has seen, including those in U.S. military operations. He feels betrayed by what he calls an insufficient U.S. focus on targeting Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. And he insists that public criticism was the only way to guarantee an American response to his concerns. To Karzai, the war was not waged with his country’s interests in mind. ‘Afghans died in a war that’s not ours,’ he said in the interview, his first in two years with a U.S. newspaper.”

Said Karzai to the departing WaPo journalists after the interview in Kabul: “To the American people, give them my best wishes and my gratitude. To the U.S. government, give them my anger, my extreme anger.”   (MAMOSA Report)



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Taliban insurgency likely after US leaves Afghanistan: Report

Islamabad, Feb 21 (MAMOSA Report) — Kabul will need more troops than currently envisioned to provide security as Taliban insurgents will increasingly threaten Afghan stability after international forces withdraw in December, says a new study conducted by a US-based non-profit research and analysis group called Center for Naval Analyses.

The CNA report also says that a small group of al-Qaeda members would continue to be active in Afghanistan, having intermarried with local clans and forged ties with Afghan and Pakistani militants.

The assessment, conducted by the center and obtained by journalists on Thursday, warned that plans to shrink the size of the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) to 228,500 from the current 382,000 would put the US policy of preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for extremists “at risk”.

“We recommend that the international community establish a new plan to fund and sustain the Afghan security forces at an end strength of about 373,400, with a proportionally-sized assistance mission [including advisers], through at least 2018,” said the report by the center.

afghan national security force Taliban insurgency likely after US leaves Afghanistan: Report

An Afghan National Security Forces member salutes as he marches by his senior officers at graduation from the Explosives Hazardous Readiness course in Kabul

The 378-page report, requested in a law passed by Congress, will pressure the legislature to consider additional support for Afghan forces for several more years as the United States and Nato are currently trying to finalize the shape of any international military mission that would stay in Afghanistan after December to support the Afghan security forces.

According to Intelligence estimates advances made by American forces since the 2010 troop surge in Afghanistan will be rolled back by 2017, even if Kabul and Washington sign a security agreement maintaining an international military contingent, a Dawn report said.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the top Pentagon spokesman, told a news conference the department had received the report but was not yet prepared to discuss its findings.

He acknowledged that Taliban rebels remained a threat.

“We never take our eyes off the Taliban insurgency or the threat they pose, not just to us and to our allies, but to the Afghan people.”

The CNA report also found that Afghan security forces will continue to have gaps in critical military capabilities next year and beyond, including air support, logistics and intelligence gathering and analysis.

“We therefore conclude that international enabler support – to include advisers – will be essential to ANSF through at least 2018,” it said.

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India, China, Russia Hold Trilateral Meeting on Afghanistan

New York/Islamabad (MAMOSA Report), Jan 17 – Russia, China and India met on Thursday to discuss Afghanistan post-US and Nato withdrawal by the end of 2014, as they fear it may lead to the reemergence of Taliban and other al-Qaeda linked elements.

“The present and future contours of South Asia regional security extend to their borders, so naturally they have a stake in Afghanistan’s stability” commented Mushtaque Siddiqi, Group Editor of Mamosa.


india china russian afghani India, China, Russia Hold Trilateral Meeting on Afghanistan

According to reports, the three countries agreed that Afghanistan’s stability and security are important to the region against the backdrop of US plan to remove its troops from the war-torn country, raising fears of the reemergence of Taliban and other al-Qaeda linked elements.

The trilateral meeting held in Beijing by the three major emerging powers in the region followed the first India-China dialogue on Afghanistan held last year to discuss mutual concerns and ideas to address problems emanating from US troop withdrawal.

“The three sides exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and agreed that security in Afghanistan is important to the country and the region,” officials said about the talks.

“They reiterated support for a strong, united, stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. They also agreed to meet again,” they said.

Like India, China, too, is concerned over the reemergence of al-Qaeda and its likely impact on Muslim Uygur majority Xinjiang province, that borders Afghanistan and Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir.

China is battling a major separatist movement led by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an al-Qaeda affiliate group, in the province.

China, which looks to play a major role in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops, has invested in mines as well as infrastructure development there.

Replying to a question on today’s meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said, “The development of situation in Afghanistan is closely related to the peace and stability in the region.”

“China is ready to work together with all relevant parties to take part in the peaceful reconstruction and reconciliation in Afghanistan, so as to jointly maintain peace and stability,” Hong said.

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Pakistan’s War – Part I

This is the first post in a series on Pakistan’s struggle against militancy.


Almost a decade in, the rebellion by the Pakistani Taliban against Islamabad shows no signs of flagging. Tough, savvy, and agile, the insurgents have expanded their campaign from the isolated northwestern tribal regions all the way to urban centers in the south such as the port city of Karachi. Their declared agenda has grown with each success: they first demanded acceptance of their control over large swathes of the tribal areas; they then denied the authority of Islamabad across Pakistan altogether; today, influenced by Al Qaeda’s rhetoric, they boast of sending fighters to wars in Arab lands and attacking the United States.

taliban militants Pakistans War   Part I

We need not accept all their grandiose declarations at face value. When it comes to global terrorism, in particular, there is a chasm between their rhetoric and their capacity. The only terrorist plot on American soil they can claim is of the failed Times Square Bomber in 2010. The evidence of Taliban involvement in Middle Eastern battlefields is ambiguous at best. And their operations are constrained by an overall pool of fighters that is small: estimates vary because data is hard to collect and the definition of an active fighter is murky but at any given time there may only be between ten and twenty thousand rebel fighters.

But the insurgents have substantially expanded their campaign within Pakistan itself. They have strategic clarity where Islamabad does not and their aspirations have been whetted by the confusion of the state. In recent years the rebels have complemented their fight against Pakistani armed forces in the tribal areas with a systematic campaign of terrorism in towns and cities across the country. To this end the insurgents have leveraged and expanded a vast ‘infrastructure of extremism’, which originates in decades of state sponsorship of non-state militant groups.* The network includes combat trainers, militant recruiters, funders, suicide jacket makers, indoctrinators and foot soldiers who have access to training camps, safe houses, telephone getaway exchanges, madrassahs (some, not all) and highly sophisticated media communications facilities across the length and breadth of Pakistan. The insurgents are not cave dwellers: they are adept organization builders who have institutionalized the production of terrorism as one weapon in their broader war against the state.

It is easy to get ensnared in the web of this sprawling infrastructure. This past November, I interviewed a former senior Pakistani police officer who has investigated terrorism cases for over twenty years. He told me about a 16 year old caught with two hundred and fifty kilograms of explosives in a failed assassination attempt on former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf. When he asked the boy why he became a suicide bomber, the boy replied: “Maybe all of you are right when you say ‘madrassah students hate us’ but we are your kids. Our maulvi told us that killing Musharraf would send us to heaven but no one told us any differently.” Some would-be-bombers (and their families) are true believers; some are coerced; some are brainwashed; some are mentally ill; some are paid off; some are poor, some are middle class; some see no place in society for themselves and find they can play a role as a martyr. There is no one defined, predictable route to militancy but the insurgents have shown flexibility in sucking potential recruits in.

The insurgent advance has been aided by the significant disparity between their capabilities and experiences relative to the civilian security forces. Insurgents are battle tested and have far more advanced weaponry than the demoralized policemen who, at the frontlines of the urban war, have effectively become cannon fodder in any confrontation. The rebels also tend to be much better paid. The owner of a security services company in Lahore that provides armed guards, many of whom are former police officers, told me his information suggests that the rank and file Taliban fighter gets paid at least twice the monthly salary of a low-grade police officer. The late Hakimullah Mehsud, who sat at the top of the rebel chain of command before being dispatched by a U.S. drone strike, owned a luxurious eight room compound in the tribal area of North Waziristan where his family resided and which was valued by one estimate at one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, a significant sum in Pakistan.

It is unsurprising, then, that state control in Pakistan’s cities is eroding. A series of recent jailbreak videos released by the insurgency’s propaganda arm show armed assaults on outgunned, overwhelmed prison authorities in cities such as Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. The rebels have eviscerated many governance structures at the local level through assassinating government officials, local power brokers, and civil society activists; manipulated election outcomes by selectively targeting political parties; leveraged alliances and partnerships with an assortment of non-state groups outside the tribal areas, whether on the basis of shared ideology or short-term expediency or both; and participated in a vast range of criminal enterprises that have filled their coffers with proceeds from drug trafficking, kidnapping, bank heists, and racketeering.

The degree of insurgent infiltration varies by city. An editor at one of the country’s largest dailies told me that of the one hundred and seventy eight local union councils (the administrative unit of local governance) in Karachi, perhaps in as many as sixty or seventy the police could not enter because of de facto control by non-state actors, of whom the Taliban form a rapidly growing constituency. History and geography matter here: where the state is weaker, opportunities for insurgents are greater.Local mafias, drug lords and crime bosses, often allied with local political parties, inhibited the state’s writ in Karachi long before the Taliban showed up. The situation in Karachi is not therefore analogous to, say, the city of Lahore in the province of Punjab, where the provincial government has a tighter grip, due in part to greater investments in civilian law enforcement and service delivery. Nevertheless, Karachi is the country’s largest city and its financial hub, and its ongoing subversion provides a template for the escalation of urban war elsewhere.

The insurgency’s ability to overthrow the state faces some basic barriers. Pakistan is a big country of more than one hundred and eighty million people and outright insurgent control outside the border areas, which have a unique history of semi-autonomy, is still limited. The Pakistani state can claim the seventh largest army in the world which has in recent years launched a series of offensives that have wrested back some territory in the northwest. And the Taliban model has limited ideological appeal —most of all where citizens have actually experienced rebel rule.

Nor is the Pakistani Taliban a monolithic movement. It is best understood as a loosely organized coalition of like-minded factions alternately cooperating and competing for recruits, funds, and credibility. Groups sometimes pay allegiance to high ranking rebel commanders and sometimes declare independence; they are often engaged in fierce turf battles with each other. Individual gangs may have strong leaders but these do not necessarily exercise day-to-day operational control. These entities are decentralized networks rather than rigid top-down structures: after terrorist attacks individual factions often do not claim immediate responsibility because they have to ask around to make sure who carried out the operation. Limits on the insurgency’s capacity for coordination and divisions among its factions can create an opening for effective state action.

But even if the full on ‘failed state’ scenario seems implausible at this time, the fact is that the rebels do not have to overthrow the state to win. They are attenuating the relevance of an already-weak state and they are aggravating divisive trends in Pakistani society. The country has sustained enormous damage already: Over the last decade, tens of thousands have died at the hands of insurgents; millions have been displaced due to clashes between insurgents and government forces; the country’s Ministry of Finance estimates direct and indirect economic costs upwards of sixty five billion dollars since 2001 as a result of conflict; even foreign cricket teams don’t tour the country anymore.

Equally important, the insurgency’s successes have had a wider demonstration effect. Many militant groups in Pakistan that are not in revolt against the state have their own private, sectarian agendas. In a general atmosphere where it is perceived that violence can be committed with impunity, the operations of these organizations have expanded. As a result the country is turning into a theme park of religious and political violence. Pakistan may not be a failed state but it is certainly a fracturing society, the fissures beginning to widen between Deobandi and Barelvi, Sunni and Shia, an indication of the general tendency towards polarization.

If these trends are not arrested in the coming years a new social and political order may emerge. The Pakistani state will still exist and it will still be the single strongest player across the country’s territory, but its monopoly over force will gradually be reduced to scattered cantons. Divided sectarian communities will live under multiple, conflicting sovereignties that alternate between the state, insurgents, and criminals, the balance between them constantly renegotiated, region by region, through a combination of guerilla war, urban battle, targeted assassinations, backdoor political deals, and protection payoffs that purchase the peace, if only for a time.

*‘infrastructure of extremism’: This was the characterization used in the report by the Abbottabad Commission (leaked by Al Jazeera) which was constituted by Islamabad to inquire into the circumstances leading to Bin Laden’s assassination by American special forces.  (3QuarksDaily)

Posted in Opinion Comments

More Proof Al Qaeda Acts Like A Corporation

ISLAMABAD (MAMOSA Report), Dec 31 – Al-Qaeda is obsessed with documenting the most minute expenses. Experts say that each branch of the terror group replicates the same corporate structure, and that this strict blueprint has helped al-Qaeda not just to endure but also to spread.

In more than 100 receipts left in a building occupied by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu earlier this year, the extremists assiduously tracked their cash flow, recording purchases as small as a single light bulb. The often tiny amounts are carefully written out in pencil and colored pen on scraps of paper and Post-it notes.

un PEACEKEEPERS TIMBUKTU More Proof Al Qaeda Acts Like A Corporation

The accounting system on display in the documents found by The Associated Press is a mirror image of what researchers have discovered in other parts of the world where al-Qaeda operates, including Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. The terror group’s documents around the world also include corporate workshop schedules, salary spreadsheets, philanthropy budgets, job applications, public relations advice and letters from the equivalent of a human resources division.

Taken together, the evidence suggests that far from being a fly-by-night, fragmented terror organization, al-Qaeda is attempting to behave like a multinational corporation, with what amounts to a company-wide financial policy across its different chapters.

The picture that emerges from what is one of the largest stashes of al-Qaeda documents to be made public shows a rigid bureaucracy, replete with a chief executive, a board of directors and departments such as human resources and public relations.

Read all of it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/30/al-qaeda-bookkeeping_n_4519274.html

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MQM’s Altaf links Jamaat-i-Islami to Taliban, al Qaeda

MAMOSA Report, Dec 3 – Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain warned concerned authorities today that Muhajirs had never called for separation, but the racial discrimination against them should come to an end. He asserted that if the situation got out of hand, no army or law enforcement agency would be able to pull things back.

“Our forefathers made Pakistan and we want to save Pakistan”, Altaf said.

The MQM chief said neither Muhajirs demanded separate homeland nor would they demand in future. He said Mutahida Qaumi Movement should not be labeled as anti-Pakistan as Muhajirs are peace loving people and believe in patience, Dunya News reported.

altaf mqm MQMs Altaf links Jamaat i Islami to Taliban, al Qaeda

“Things will get out of hand if discrimination against Muhajirs continued. Even armed forces of the country would not be able to control the situation then”, Altaf said according to Dawn and Express News Tribune.

The MQM chief in his fiery speech also revealed that a large number of Taliban and al Qaeda operatives have relocated to upscale areas of Karachi. Cautioning the general masses of the ‘development’, he said his party, along with the armed forces, was ready to defend every corner of the country.

Altaf claimed that the upper echelon of Jamaat-e-Islami had shared close affinities with the dead TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud.

“Major [Sanaullah] Niazi was murdered by Hakimullah Mehsud,” stated Altaf Hussain. “Hakimullah Mehsud dies and the very next day, JI chief Munawar Hasan says the man for butchering so many of our soldiers is a martyr!”

“Why has the JI not been declared banned already?”

“Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Jamiat Taliba have extremely close links with banned enemy outfits,” the MQM chief alleged.

Altaf went on to name two activists Dr Arshad and Kashif Hussain from JI and IJT respectively, whom he claimed were liaising with terrorists and were killed in drone attacks in 2008 and 2009.

He demanded that the Sindh and federal governments declare both parties banned.

Express News reported that Munawar Hasan did not offer any comment on, or denial of Altaf Hussain’s claims.

JI’s Secretary General Liaquat Baloch did however comment, saying Altaf’s speeches had no connection to reality.

Posted in Pakistan Comments

Is Pakistan putting its reputation as an Al Qaeda safe-haven at risk?

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Nov 14 – The killing of Nasiruddin Haqqani, an important fundraiser for an Al Qaeda aligned militant network in Pakistan that bears the name of his father, the notorious warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani, in an Islamabad Pakistan suburb last week makes one wonder if the country’s hard-earned reputation as a safe spot for mortal enemies of the US is coming to an end.

The Pakistani military may have received $17 billion in US aid since 2001, largely in the name of fighting terrorism, but that didn’t stop the garrison town of Abbottabad near Islamabad from playing home to Osama bin Laden and his entourage.


Nasiruddin Haqqani killed1 Is Pakistan putting its reputation as an Al Qaeda safe haven at risk?

The US-government funded Radio Free Europe carries a piece today that asserts that Haqqani had a better deal than Bin Laden, who was reported at least to never leave his compound and to avoid contact with outsiders.

Even compared to bin Laden, who hid in a safe house within sight of a prestigious military academy in Abbottabad, Haqqani’s case stands out. He appears to have been living luxuriously in Islamabad, with several homes there, and often frequented the capital’s markets and restaurants.

Retired Pakistani Army Brigadier General Mehmood Shah says the circumstances of Nasiruddin Haqqani’s death — he was shot on the street as he bought bread at a bakery — are deeply troubling for Pakistan.

“The big question now is what was he doing in Islamabad?” Shah says. “We were assuming that the Haqqani network only operated in [the remote tribal region of North Waziristan. And even there they were thought to be based close to the border with Afghanistan.”

What’s going on here? The Killing of Haqqani on Nov. 10 was just a week after a US drone strike killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud – a killing that infuriated the Pakistani government, at least in public.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the US killing of Mehsud would get in the way of peace talks between Pakistan and the Taliban.

But while the government says it wants to end the war with Taliban militants in the country’s lawless northwest, it seems that Al Qaeda fellow travelers who operated mostly in Afghanistan find the convenes of Islamabad more congenial.

Haqqani’s death is a reminder that Pakistan remains a safe and happy place for finance and resupply for the Afghan militants determined to kill NATO forces in Afghanistan and upend their plans – $17 billion a year or no $17 billion a year.

Posted in Pakistan Comments

Pakistani American charged for wanting to fight in Syria

NOV 13 – A Pakistani American living in North Carolina is facing federal charges that he sought to join an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Basit Javed Sheikh, 29, of Cary, is charged in a federal criminal indictment with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

He was arrested on Nov. 2 at the Raleigh-Durham airport just before boarding the first of a series of flights that would take him to Lebanon.

basit javed sheikh pakistan Pakistani American charged for wanting to fight in Syria

There was no indication the man’s alleged acts were part of a larger terror conspiracy.

Sheikh told an FBI informant he was going to join the group called the Nusrah Front in Syria, an FBI agent said in a sworn affidavit obtained by The Associated Press.

Sheikh was assigned two federal public defenders to represent him during a court hearing last week.

For five months this year, Sheikh, also known as Abdul Basit, posted messages and videos on Facebook expressing support for jihadi militants fighting Assad’s forces in the bloody, 3-year-old Syrian civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people, said the affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Jason Maslow. In August, Sheikh began an online relationship with an FBI undercover employee on a Facebook page promoting Islamic extremism, the affidavit said.

Sheikh told the covert FBI employee in early September that he’d bought a one-way ticket to travel to Turkey in hopes of making contact with people who would get him to Syria.

Sheikh said he backed out because “he could not muster the strength to leave his parents,” the affidavit said.

Sheikh said he had traveled to Turkey last year hoping to join the fight in Syria, but became dispirited by his experience with people who claimed to be part of the US-backed Free Syrian Army.

If convicted, Sheikh could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison and fined $250,000 including three years supervised release.

Posted in Overseas Pakistanis, USA Comments


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