Posts Tagged ‘ Pakistan ’

Afghanistan: an end in sight?


I don’t buy into the claim that the war in Afghanistan was illegal, immoral or that it wasn’t worth going in there and kicking some Taliban butt.

That said, we’re not really getting anywhere, are we? Thus, the following is probably the best course of action.

THE US and Afghan governments have begun secret* three-way talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told The Wall Street Journal, disclosing an important breakthrough in efforts to end the 10-year war.

Mr Karzai, whose government had protested being left out of recent talks between Washington and the insurgents, added he believes most Taliban are “definitively” interested in a peace settlement.

Now an assertation by Karzai doesn’t exactly carry much weight IMO, but let’s hope he’s right on this occaision. It looks like this report out of the Pentagon backs what Karzai is saying.

The Pentagon on Wednesday offered new details of its plan for shifting from a combat mission in Afghanistan to one focused on training and advising Afghan forces as they gradually shoulder more of the combat burden.

The Army identified five U.S.-based brigades, as well as an Army Reserve organization, that will be reconfigured and sent to Afghanistan between April and August to “generate, employ and sustain” Afghan forces.

The Army called this a “new mission” after more than 10 years of fighting in Afghanistan.

And there’s this interesting and hopefully positive development, as well.

Karzai’s comments came as he prepared to meet the leaders of neighbouring Pakistan and Iran in Islamabad on Thursday for a summit set to focus on security issues, including the Taliban insurgency and support for it from within Pakistan. He did not give any further details about the contacts.

Now I’m no military strategist hotshot, but I really don’t think the West has to worry too much about Taliban strikes on our home soil or Iran cutting off its oil supplies if the US/NATO has a less active role in the region. Iran needs the money and/or gold more than ever thanks to sanctions; gold which they’re reportedly using to by grain (from Australia no less) and which others are reportedly using to buy Iranian oil.

*BTW, the talks aren’t really “secret” are they when word of them is splashed across the WSJ and the Australian.

Memo to China: Pakistan fired first


So China’s main state-controlled newspaper The People’s Daily comes out blasting the US for the death of 24 Pakistani soldiers the other day.

An influential state-run Chinese newspaper has accused the United States of violating international law and fanning the flames of terrorism after NATO strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The strongly-worded editorial, which was published on Tuesday in the People’s Daily – mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist party – came after Beijing said it was “deeply shocked” by the strikes, which have exacerbated tensions between Islamabad and Washington.

“The United States and NATO have violated international law and international norms,” the paper said in an editorial condemning the attacks.

“This shows… that at crucial moments, the United States will not show the slightest hesitation to violate the sovereignty of another nation to ensure its ‘absolute security’.”

And on and on it went without the slightest hint of irony (irony considering China sells missile technology to Iran which in turn gives the missiles to terrorist groups such as Hizbollah).

Nice going on the War on Terror there, China.

And besides, it’s likely that the US did not instigate the bungled attack.

Both sides said they believed they were attacking insurgents along the border. A senior Pakistani defense official acknowledged that Pakistani troops fired first, sending a flare, followed by mortar and machine-gun fire, toward what he said was “suspicious activity” in the brush-covered area below their high-altitude outpost barely 500 yards from the border.

And before Pakistan gets its burqa in a knot, it would do well to remember the US is an ally – an ally to the tune of around two billion bucks a year. And that will be $3 billion next year.

And what does the US get in return apart from bleeting demands for an apology?

US senator John McCain:

“Pakistan’s intelligence agency continues to support the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups that are killing US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of the material used to make improvised explosive devices originates from two fertilizer factories in Pakistan.”

Charming. And remember it was this ally that let China have a look at the downed SEAL Team 6 helicopter.

Oh, yeah. Thaaaaat helicopter; you know, the one that was used to get the world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, who had been “hiding out” in a compound just outside Pakistan’s capital for about 10 long years.

All told?

China and Pakistan need to STFU.

UPDATE

More on the strained US-Pakistan relationship. The alternative is worse.

Did elements in Pakistan help North Korea get its nukes?


Saw this on the front page of the Chosun.com newspaper today (the actual newspaper, no pic, sorry, but here’s a link).

Here’s that letter again, a bit bigger.

With added text description:

U.S. officials confirm that he long directed North Korea’s defense procurement and nuclear weapons efforts, putting him in a position to know the events the letter depicts.

The letter opens with the author’s condemnation of the death of the wife of North Korea’s top representative in Islamabad, Gen. Kang Tae Yun. She was struck by shotgun pellets while standing beside her husband, and the letter blames U.S., South Korean, and Pakistani intelligence agents — a claim that all three governments have rejected.

A U.S. intelligence official said the letter’s correct account that a North Korean with experience in four countries would replace Kang is among the details that convinced him of its authenticity. Others, including a South Korean official and a senior U.S. official, said the signature appeared authentic. The senior U.S. official also said the substance of the letter was consistent with the U.S. government’s understanding of events.

It looks like North Korea may – may – have done a deal with elements in the Pakistani military over a decade ago, basically a swap of North Korea’s missile technology for Pakistan’s nuclear weapon technology.

In scenes reminiscent of a James Bond movie, millions of dollars and even jewels such as rubies and diamonds were exchanged.

CNN:

A purported 1998 letter from a North Korean military official suggests that North Korea obtained nuclear technology not just through a renegade Pakistani nuclear expert, but also by paying bribes to top Pakistani generals.

Analyst Simon Henderson, with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he was forwarded the letter four years ago by A. Q. Khan — often called the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.

“I was astounded,” said Henderson, who has corresponded with Khan but is only now sharing the letter with the media. “I thought to myself, this is either absolutely authentic, or a most amazing forgery.”

CNN was unable to confirm the authenticity of the document.

SF Gate:

The emergence of a single-page letter supposedly written by a senior North Korean official 13 years ago has become the strongest evidence yet suggesting that Pakistan’s top military officials were involved in the secret sale of equipment to North Korea that enabled it, years later, to begin enriching uranium.

The letter is said to have been written to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani who built the world’s largest black market in nuclear weapons technology, by Jon Byong Ho, a North Korean whom U.S. intelligence has long put at the center of the North’s trade in missile and nuclear technologies. It reports that the chief of the Pakistani Army at the time, Gen. Jehangir Karamat, had been paid $3 million and asked that “the agreed documents, components, etc.” be placed on a North Korean plane that was returning to Pyongyang, the North’s capital, after delivering missile parts to Pakistan.

The Independent:

The godfather of Pakistan’s atomic bomb has claimed that some of the country’s top generals were complicit in transferring nuclear weapons technology to North Korea, receiving millions in kickbacks from the pariah regime.

In a letter released by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the disgraced nuclear scientist, the North Korean ruling party appears to confirm that it paid more than $3.5m (£2.2m) to the serving army chief and at least one other senior general.

Khan issued a tearful confession on Pakistani state television in 2004. He was subsequently pardoned by the then military ruler General Pervez Musharraf. Khan lives under house arrest. No military officials have been charged with complicity. The two generals named in the letter fiercely denied the allegation, and denounced the letter as a forgery. General Jahangir Karamat, a former army chief, said that he never received the $3m claimed. The general added that the letter was Khan’s latest attempt to “shift blame on to others”.

Either way, Pakistan can hardly be trusted as an ally. Lest we forget, OsamaBin Laden was killed in his compound… in Pakistan.

And how about the India/Pakistan nuclear standoff in 2001-2002?

And they complain about US drone attacks in their territory against Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.

It almost seems like Pakistan is taking an each-way bet. Either that, and/or there are diametrically opposed internal forces in operation, and we’re not being told much about it.

No wonder. They have nukes.

2+2?


I’m not saying anything “bad” is the case, but it’s kinda iffy when Pakistan receives $20 billion in US aid, builds a weapons grade nuclear facility at breakneck speed, but then analysts say they don’t know how Pakistan is paying for it.

It’s sus.

Or is it the Brits helping to pay for it?

James Delingpole:

Yesterday I was on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show sparring with Cristina Odone about Dave’s mooted compulsory foreign aid levy on the British taxpayer. She was arguing – with some high level support from Lord Gummer – that it was a good thing, part of our moral obligation to the world, and really not that much money all things considered. I was arguing that, no, actually, £8 billion now (rising to £11.4 billion in 2015) is quite a lot of money and that in these dark economic times the very last thing our government ought to be doing is hosing down ungrateful foreigners with cash we haven’t got.

The biggest recipient of our foreign aid largesse is currently Pakistan to which over the next four years we will be sending a total of £1.4 billion. This is roughly the same amount that Pakistan has earmarked to spend on a new fleet of Chinese made submarines; these will go nicely with the two squadrons of Chinese J-10 fighters which Pakistan has also bought at a cost of $1.4 billion. So, in effect, our foreign aid donations are helping to underwrite the military expansion of the country which until recently was shielding the world’s number one Islamist terrorist, organised the massacre in Bombay and is doing so much to fund the Taliban insurgency killing and maiming our forces in Afghanistan.

Roleplay


It can be an effective weapon in a teacher’s arsenal of methods used to teach. But this one may be taking that last metaphor a bit too literally.

The Mail Online where I found this video is shocked, but before rushing off to that YouTube Smackdown link in the sidebar, consider the bloke who originally published it on his facebook page. He doesn’t exactly come across as a promoter of terrorism.

Much more likely it is indeed one of those art reflects life scenarios.

Not the best activity a teacher could be doing? Perhaps.

But let’s remember the origins of “Ring a Ring a Rosey”.

If true, how can we trust Pakistan?


This isn’t the first time Pakistan have been strongly suspected of at best, playing a double game or at worst actively working against our interests. You may remember a piece from a few months back purporting Osama bin Laden is “living well” in north west Pakistan, protected by locals and elements of Pakistan’s ISI (intelligence service).

Then there was Obama making a pretty poor decision IMHO to release the Taliban’s #2 who was in Pakistan.

And now, this:

THE reclusive one-eyed chief of the Afghan Taliban Mullah Mohammed Omar was treated for a heart attack in Pakistan with the help of its intelligence service, the Washington Post says.

The spiritual leader of the Islamist insurgency, who went deep underground after the 2001 US-led invasion, suffered a heart attack on January 7 and was taken to a hospital near Karachi for several days, the Post said, citing a report by a private intelligence network run by former US security officials.

The network, operating as a private company known as “The Eclipse Group,” said its source was an unnamed physician in the hospital.

“While I was not personally in the operating theatre… my evaluation based on what I have heard and seeing the patient in the hospital is that Mullah Omar had a cardiac catheter complication resulting in either bleeding or a small cerebral vascular incident, or both,” the physician was quoted as saying.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

The doctor added that Omar appeared to have suffered some brain damage and had slurred speech following the operation.

The report said Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency had “rushed him to a hospital in Karachi, where he was given heparin (an anticoagulant) and operated on.”

Geez. When they’re not “fixing” the cricket, they’re “fixing” the war, which will be “won” hard enough as it is.*

*If that last link doesn’t work, it’s because the Korean education Dept. won’t let their computers go to Rolling Stone, along with a plethora of other sites. Why sites like Rolling Stone, wired.com, and the Guardian homepage, for example, are banned is a mystery.

Osama bin Laden “living well”


A top NATO official reckons he’s doing just fine in house in northwest Pakistan, protected by locals and some elements of the Pakistani intelligence service. The same goes for #2, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Pakistan, unsurprisingly, denies this.

Osama bin Laden is alive and well and living comfortably in a house in the north-west of Pakistan protected by local people and elements of the country’s intelligence services, according to a senior Nato official.

The latest assessment contradicts the belief that the al-Qaeda leader is roughing it in underground bunkers as he dodged CIA drones hunting him from the air.

“Nobody in al-Qaeda is living in a cave,” according to an unnamed Nato official quoted by CNN.

And further down in the report…

Earlier this month a leaked White House report accused its ally Pakistan of playing a double game by avoiding “military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or al-Qaeda forces in North Waziristan”.

Well isn’t that just great.

UPDATE

More news about our “friends” at the ISI:

Pakistan’s powerful intelligence services were heavily involved in preparations for the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008, according to classified Indian government documents obtained by the Guardian.

A 109-page report into the interrogation of key suspect David Headley, a Pakistani-American militant arrested last year and detained in the US, makes detailed claims of ISI support for the bombings.

Under questioning, Headley described dozens of meetings between officers of the main Pakistani military intelligence service, the ISI, and senior militants from the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

He claims a key motivation for the ISI in aiding the attacks was to bolster militant organisations with strong links to the Pakistani state and security establishment who were being marginalised by more extreme radical groups.

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