Category: AfPak region

What makes terrorists a big force in Pakistan: A Poreg analysis

(Poreg.org) Punjab province, the largest of the four provinces of Pakistan, and traditionally the dominant player on the country’s political scene, is in the news these days, for all the wrong reasons. It is ruled by the Pakistan Muslim League faction led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. His brother, Shahbaz Sharif, is the chief minister. About a month ago, leading daily, Dawn reported that a provincial minister was hobnobbing with the leadership of a banned Sunni militant organisation. The report has since become a full- blown controversy, drawing into its vortex several high ranking ministers, who have blandly justified

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Petraeus replaces ‘loose canon’McChrystal as Afghan commander

President Obama has named Gen. David Petraeus to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top US military commander in Afghanistan. The change, though a stunning development, is unlikely to result in any change in the strategy that U.S. and its NATO allies have been pursuing. Indeed, there was some relief in Washington. Chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee, Senator Carl Levin, said Petraeus is the right choice to lead the US war effort in Afghanistan, while Republican Senator on the committee, John McCain of Arizona, said ‘There is a role for the military in our society and that role

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Afghan interior minister, intelligence chief resign

Afghan Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar and intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh resigned on Sunday, Presidential Palace said on Sunday, May 6. President Karzai accepted the two resignations, an official communique stated. The resignation came in the wake of Taliban attack on Peace Jirga held by President Karzai for what he called consultations on the next steps for lasting peace in the war ravaged country. The three-day conference concluded on Friday. Opening day ceremony on Wednesday was marred by Taliban attacks which did not derail the deliberations. Two attackers were killed and another was detained. Deputy to Interior Ministry, Mohammad Munir

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Afghanistan: Flawed Peace Strategy*

Kabul is hosting a three –day Peace Jirga (June 2-4) of about 1500 delegates from all over the country handpicked by the Karzai government to pump prime its plans for a much –desired Afghan reconciliation. It coincided with reports that Saudis and Iranians are bankrolling the Taliban groups operating from Waziristan. An estimated 920 million pounds poured in from Saudi private backers alone and all that money reached the targeted groups through Pakistani channels. Expectedly, the West, particularly the United States, has thrown its weight behind the Peace Jirga. First, the West is keen to secure the broadest possible endorsement

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Pakistan: Renaming NWFP Opens Pandora’s Box

By Samuel Baid Pakistan National Assembly (Lower House) on April 9 has passed the 18th Constitutional amendment almost unanimously. At the time of writing, the 100-Member Senate (Upper House) is discussing the same. The current meeting seeks to undo the damage Gen Ziaul Haq’s Eighth amendment (1985) and Gen Parvez Musharraf’s 17th amendment (2003) did to the 1973 Constitution. Gen Zia had altered 90 and Gen Musharraf 26 Articles of the Constitution. It was an agreement between their self-exiled and exiled former Prime Ministers, Ms Benazir Bhutto and Mr Nawaz Sharief respectively in 2006 in London to restore the original

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UN probe indicts Pak Army, ISI

The UN report on the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, submitted early April, has clearly accused ISI of spawning and supporting terrorist groups in the region. The report said terrorist organisations like the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) targeted not only India but also the US and other western countries at the behest of ISI. According to the report“ the bulk of the anti-Indian activity was and still remains the work of groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has close ties with the ISI. A common characteristic of these jihadi groups was their adherence to the Deobandi Sunni sect of

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Time for Indian initiative for a CBM summit with Pakistan and Afghanistan*

By Malladi Rama Rao Look at the absurdity of the situation. Delhi has not deployed its army side-by-side the NATO forces in Afghanistan. In fact, it has been resisting the American pressure to send its troops for more than a decade. Also, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh government is not helping Karzai’s army and police in any operation against Pakistan. Laying a road, building or running a hospital and connecting villages by wireless phone pose no threat. Yes, the amount involved is huge at $1.3 billion by Pakistan standards but it has brought back to India over 100 body bags and

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US, EU differ over Pak role in Afghanistan but agree on LeT threat

The United States and its European allies have developed differences over Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan particularly in the wake of arrest of Mullah Baradar and some other Taliban leaders in Karachi but there is agreement that the Lashkar-e-Taiba is emerging as the terror outfit No. 1. US coordinator for counter terrorism Daniel Benjamin has welcomed the Baradar’s arrests as ‘ a very important bit of counter- terrorism action. In fact, he said the US was actually grateful to Pakistan for arresting Mullah Baradar, the Taliban leader next only to Mullah Omar. But German special envoy for Afghanistan, Bernd Mutzelburg, has

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Wave of terror hits Lahore

By Tushar Ranjan Mohanty At least 57 persons, including eight Security Force (SF) personnel, were killed and more than 90 were injured as twin suicide blasts, moments apart from each other, ripped through the heart and cultural city of Pakistan, Lahore’s R. A. Bazaar in the cantonment area on March 12. The bombers struck during Friday prayers at around 12:50pm. The first bomber targeted an Army patrol unit near a mosque. Gunshots were also heard following the attack. As rescuers rushed to help victims, another bomber struck some two minutes later, near the R. A. Bazaar bus stand, only a

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Pakistan is biggest worry: Biden

Pakistan is biggest worry, said US Vice-President Joe Biden and added, ‘ the security situation in Pakistan worries me the most, more than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran’s nuclear programme. “Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, what worries you the most?” he was asked in an interview with the CNN. “What worries me the most is Pakistan”, Biden deadpanned. “Pakistan?” asked the interviewer. “You heard me say this for the last 10 years,” said the US Vice President, who had headed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before the 2008 presidential elections. “I think it’s a big country. It has nuclear

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Jihadist CBRN Threat: by Scott Stewart

Global Security and Intelligence Report from Stratfor In an interview aired Feb. 7 on CNN, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she considers weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of an international terrorist group to be the largest threat faced by the United States today, even bigger than the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran. “The biggest nightmare that many of us have is that one of these terrorist member organizations within this syndicate of terror will get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction,” Clinton said. In referring to the al Qaeda network, Clinton noted

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