Tag Archive | "TTP"

Samjhota Express ‘RDX” used in Peshawar blast

Intelligence information and investigation has revealed that the explosives used in Peshawar blasts were similar to the RDX used in the ‘Samjhota Express’ incident in India.

The explosive material - Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) - was used in Khyber Bazaar bomb blast.

Sources confirmed to TheNation that texplosive material used in the deadly bomb blast which took place at Khyber Bazaar Peshawar last month, was identical to what had been used in exploding Samjhota Express in India.

Sources say the Pakistani security agencies have found concrete evidences to prove Indian involvement in Khyber Bazaar blast in which VBIED was used.

Sources close the development revealed that the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was behind the terrible blast which left more than 42 innocent people dead and 100 others wounded, including women and children.

“Lt Col Prohit of the Indian Army who is the prime accused in the Samjhota Express explosion case, was the expert and qualified to handle VBIED and its manufacturing process,” sources said.

Sources further disclosed that the security agencies had nabbed several suspects in connection with the Peshawar blast during the recent crackdown from different parts of the country.

“Investigations are underway as the arrested suspects are being grilled. The investigators have found some important leads during the interrogation,” a source privy to the investigators said, but did not mention any further details due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The recent revelations have strengthened the contention that Col Prohit and his team was also responsible for the Samjhauta blast.

Last year, the prosecutor had told an Indian court that Prohit had procured RDX from Jammu and Kashmir while used part of it in Samjhauta blasts. However, the prosecutor retracted the claim the next day under duress.

The Indian government had promised after the Samjhota Express tragedy that it would share its findings with Pakistan. However, little has been shared with Pakistan, sources maintained adding, in the Joint Anti Terror Mechanism (JATM) meetings, India had also admitted that it had “run against a wall” in the investigation.

With the involvement of Hindu extremist groups resurfacing in the wake of the blasts, it has been reported that a team comprising police and CBI officials had zeroed in on Hindu extremist groups in Indore in connection with the Samjhauta Express blasts in 2007 in which 68 people, mostly Pakistanis, were killed. Investigators have found that certain items such as suitcases, bottles and batteries used in the blasts were purchased from Indore.

Interestingly, while most Muslim suspects in terror cases are charged under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), Prohit and his co-accused were not booked under it according to a court decision on 31 July.

Ironically, the Indian spy agencies are secretly patronising Hindu hardliners to destabilise Pakistan by setting up training camps in several parts of India. On the other hand Indian government and agencies have launched malicious campaign against Pakistan and its security agencies alleging that Pakistani intelligence agencies are using Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for conducting attacks on Indian economic hubs by pumping money to terrorist network as part of its propaganda campaign. Recently, the Indian prime minister proclaimed that tumultuous situation in Pakistan raised the possibility of terrorist attacks in India. Such an attempt is aimed at detracting the world opinion against Pakistan.

It is worth mentioning that the India is tarnishing Pakistan’s image abroad by trumpeting and whipping up Mumbai firing incident.

The Khyber Bazaar suicide blast was the most devastating as according to the experts the explosives used in the explosion were not more than 50 kg but it went off amid one of the busiest markets functioning in provincial capital, causing the worst damage.

At least 100 kg explosive material was used in another suicide attack on Syed Fakhr-e-Alam Road on September 28, the less destructive one, which killed 18 people, experts said.

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Pakistan army plans to enter Taliban strongholds

PKonweb Monitor

Pakistan army is one to two weeks away from winning control of all major roads in its assault on Taliban fighters in the tribal region of South Waziristan, and will then move to take on the militants in their mountain strongholds, says a report.

In the first stage of the month-old South Waziristan operation, 28,000 troops have captured key highways and all the significant towns in the region, Major General Athar Abbas said in an interview at army headquarters yesterday. “In the second phase, we go and chase and eliminate them from the pockets and their hideouts,” he said after militants attacked a spy agency office in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing 20 people.

The army started the campaign, the biggest yet against militant insurgents, on Oct. 17. The U.S. is pressuring Pakistan to clear the area of Taliban guerrillas, who it says are using bases there for attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The Taliban “keep calling it a tactical retreat, but in fact it was a rout,” Abbas told Bloomberg in Rawalpindi, the military headquarters city adjacent to the capital, Islamabad. “You don’t leave behind your personal weapons and ammunition” in an organized withdrawal, he said, as the army has found the guerrillas doing in Waziristan.

More than 500 militants have been killed in the offensive, while 55 soldiers have died, he said.

The offensive has provoked suicide bombings and commando raids by militants that have killed about 400 people in towns and cities, including the capital, over the last six weeks. Terrorist attacks had already increased after former Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a missile strike by a drone aircraft in the Waziristan area in August.

The army operation in South Waziristan is targeting the Tehreek-e-Taliban, the group now led by Hakimullah Mehsud that Pakistan blames for 80 percent of terrorist attacks on its soil.

Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani while talking to his top commanders three days ago said attacks by militants were acts of “cowardice and frustration,” as they were unable to face the military.

Today, he visited Ladha and Sararogha in South Waziristan to meet the field commanders and troops engaged in Operation Rah-e-Nijat.

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Kayani asks US to stop drone attacks

RAWALPINDI: Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on Friday again demanded from US to stop drone attacks and provide drone technology to Pakistan.

Sources said that the Chief of the Army Staff expressed these views during his meeting with the US advisor on National Security, James Jones on Friday at the GHQ.

A host of issues came under discussion like Pak-US Defense ties, the war against terrorism, situation in Afghanistan, internal and regional security and others.

During the meeting, the COAS briefed James Jones about the ongoing operation in South Waziristan. He expressed his concern on eliminating check posts at the Afghan side on the Pakistani border.

Pakistan, he said, has paid a heavy price in the war against terrorism, adding that the drone attacks must be halted immediately.

The issues relating to the new Afghan government and others were discussed with James Jones.

James Jones said that US will keep on cooperating with Pakistan thick and thin, urging that the ongoing SWA Operation is of utmost importance, adding that the National Security is most vital.

(News Sourced from: Regional Times)

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JIRGA with Saleem Safi on Geo: Nov 5

How justified and kosher is Taliban war in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Guests: Qazi Hussain Ahmed (JI), Ijaz Qadri, Prof. Sajid Mir, Allama Muhammad Ameen, Allama Muhammad Ahmed, Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan, Dr. Khalid Masood

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“We are NOT”

The Taliban and al-Qaeda have denied involvement in the Peshawar bomb blast and said they do not explode bombs in bazaars and mosques.

According to a statement of al-Qaeda, they are not involved in the killing of innocent people. According to al-Qaeda sources, the elements, who want to defame Jehad and refugees, are behind the Peshawar bomb blast.

The al-Qaeda sources say they would continue Jehad against America and its agents across the world. The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in an email sent to the media also condemned the Peshawar blast and denied its involvement in the Meena Bazaar explosion.

{Source: The News}

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Dr. Danish discusses Suicide attacks, South Waziristan operation, US role in it, with Fauzia Wahab (Secy Info PPP) and Dr. Fareed Paracha (Dep Secy Gen Jamaat Islami)

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SAWAL YEH HAI with Dr. Danish on ARY: OCT 24

What kind of ‘Great Game’ is being played in South Waziristan; Is US betraying Pakistan? Parliament’s ambivilance to security situation. Balochistan crisis and the ‘Great Game’. Guests: Zaid Hamid (Defense Analyst); Zafar Hilaly (Ex-Amb to US), Maria Sultan (Security Analyst)

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60 Taliban leaders escaped to Middle East via Karachi?

Around 60 of the Taliban’s second-cadre leaders – who fled Swat during the army’s ‘Operation Rah-e-Rast’ – used Karachi as a transit route to head out to Middle East countries, Daily Times has learnt.

When armed activists of Sindh’s nationalist parties blocked roads on the Punjab-Sindh border in a bid to stop the influx of internally displaced persons – fearing that several of them could be Taliban in disguise – the Taliban’s second-cadre leadership travelled to the provincial capital by trains and then flew to Middle Eastern states via Karachi airport.

Reliable sources told Daily Times that sleeper cells of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Karachi facilitated at least 60 leaders of the Taliban and arranged for tickets to the Middle East.

Some of those who travelled to the Middle East were close to Taliban leaders Muslim Khan and Maulana Fazlullah and were part of the TTP’s decision-making processes because of their influence.

A major chunk of the population of Malakand work as labourers in the Middle East. Early in the 1990s when Sufi Muhammad organised the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), several people joined his organisation. After the 9/11 attacks, Sufi Muhammad took around 10,000 TNSM activists to fight American forces in Afghanistan. He was arrested on his return from Afghanistan. The TNSM lost its hold, and several of its activists left for the Middle East to find work.

However, after the Taliban resurgence, most of the leaders – some of whom were close aides of Sufi Muhammad – came back and joined hands with the Taliban to pursue a “pious cause”, collecting funds for the TTP and fighting for the extremist group.

However, when the military launched an operation in Swat to flush out the Taliban this year, the group became disorganised, and those had arrived from the Middle East initially shifted to IDP camps in Peshawar.

Fearing they would be caught, they then travelled in small groups to Karachi by train along with their visas and other documents, said the sources, adding that they later fled to Gulf states. The Karachi wing of the TTP – an entity said to be well organised – facilitated all of them.

According to the sources, the Karachi TTP hosts Taliban from other provinces, and provides logistics support and recruits new members. However, the Karachi TTP has no operational wing, meaning it does not have permission to carry out any attacks.

In an interview with Daily Times, Abu Talha – name changed on request – sitting in a mud house, surrounded by five people, two of them clean-shaven, introduced himself as the leader of the Taliban in Karachi, and said that it was “the duty of every Muslim to facilitate other Muslims”.

He claimed that the Taliban in Karachi were “as organised as anywhere else”.

Agreeing with the ideology of Hakeemullah Mehsud, he said his group would launch a struggle for Sharia even at the cost of thousands of lives. He said that the Karachi Taliban were not allowed to carry out operations.

Professor Khadim Hussain, who has been researching issues of related to Taliban and militarisation, strongly believes that Karachi is the hub of Taliban activities and in the existence of sleeper cells in the city.

“Most of the Taliban leaders in Malakand and Southern Punjab come from seminaries in Karachi,” claimed Hussain.

“After a research, we found that a major chunk of the leaders and foot soldiers in Malakand migrated to Karachi in a systematic manner after the military launched an operation,” he said. “We found that the commander of Pir Baba in Buner, Shahid, migrated to Karachi along with his accomplices after the operation,” he said. Law enforcement and security agencies in the city also admit that Taliban sleeping cells exist in the city.

{Source: Daily Times}

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South Waziristan clashes kill 60 militants

Security forces pounded Taliban bases from the air and bore down on their leader’s hometown on Sunday, intensifying a major offensive against the militants which it said had killed 60 militants.

More than 100,000 people have fled South Waziristan, part of the tribal belt on the Afghan border that US officials call the most dangerous place on earth, staying with relatives or renting accommodation to escape the fighting.

Thousands of al-Qaeda-linked fighters are holed up in the tribal belt, where the army says the offensive is concentrated on strongholds of the Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) movement.

On the second day of the offensive, Taliban armed with rockets and heavy weapons put up strong resistance at Sharwangi, an area of impenetrable forest high in the mountains as fighter jets bombed positions, officials said.

The military said 60 Taliban followers had been killed, although the region is cut off from the outside world and information on militant casualties is impossible to independently verify.

‘In last 24 hours, reportedly 60 terrorists have been killed in operation Rah-e-Nijat,’ the military said in a statement.

‘Casualties of security forces are five soldiers (dead) and 11 are injured.’

Ground forces launched the three-pronged push on Saturday, starting a much-anticipated assault in a bid to crush networks blamed for some of the worst attacks that have killed more than 2,250 people over the past two years.

‘The resistance is not as stiff as we were expecting, maybe because we are still moving and not yet reached the strongholds of the Taliban like Kotkai, Makin, Ladha and Kanigurram,’ one military official told AFP.

About 20,000 to 25,000 troops headed into action after Pakistan vowed to act after attacks left more than 170 people dead in less than two weeks.

Jets carried out fresh air strikes on Sunday at Ladha and Makeen in the north, backing up troops who encountered resistance on the ground, a military official told AFP in the northwest on condition of anonymity.

He said five Taliban hideouts were destroyed. Another official said the army captured militant-held village Spinkai Raghzai, erecting a checkpoint en route to Kotkai, the home town of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud.

Numerous offensives against militants in the tribal belt have met with limited success, costing the lives of 2,000 troops and ending generally with peace agreements that critics say simply gave the enemy a chance to re-arm.

‘The operation will continue until the objectives are achieved. The army has blocked all entry and exit points of Waziristan,’ said army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas.

Commanders have outlined an offensive lasting six to eight weeks, with the goal of finishing before the onset of harsh winter snows.

There are an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 TTP fighters in South Waziristan and up to 25,000 across Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt, which has a history of fierce independence and a powerful culture of revenge.

Its tribesmen famously resisted the British in the 19th century and its mountain terrain is pockmarked with goat tracks, caves and thick forest.

‘War in Waziristan will not be a simple one. Waziristan is like a black hole,’ Rahimullah Yusufzai, a tribal affairs expert, told AFP.

US officials say al-Qaeda fled into the tribal areas after US-led operations toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 and is now using the area as a base for plotting attacks on the west and the region.

The offensive by security forces was accompanied by an indefinite curfew slapped on parts of South Waziristan, officials said.

Since August, more than 100,000 civilians have been registered by local authorities after fleeing South Waziristan, normally home to 600,000 people, said a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), Ariane Rummery.

‘Over the last five days, 3,065 families (around 21,000 people) registered… before this latest influx there had been about 80,500 people or 11,000 families,’ she told AFP.

Pakistani officials say the number of displaced could rise to 200,000 people, who are staying mostly with relatives or renting rooms in the neighbouring districts of Tank and Dera Ismail Khan.

{Source: AFP}

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Hakimullah Mehsud behind current attacks

The increase in the number of terrorist attacks in the NWFP, the Punjab and Islamabad could be due to the rise of Hakimullah Mehsud, the new leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

In fact, his appointment as the TTP head following Baitullah Mehsud’s death in a US drone attack on August 5 had alarmed those who knew him, had met him or followed his career as a militant. They were concerned that Hakimullah was a far more dangerous and unpredictable man than Baitullah. He was also different than Maulana Waliur Rahman, the second most important TTP commander who is considered a mature person.

In fact, some TTP supporters wished that Waliur Rahman, who in the past was associated with Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s JUI-F, would become the new chief of the organisation and steer it towards a constructive course instead of pursuing its destructive path. Waliur Rahman eventually became the head of the TTP in its South Waziristan stronghold and appears to be actively involved in the planning of the attacks by the Taliban militants across the country.

However, the force behind the suicide bombings and the more spectacular attacks by groups of militants on military and police installations could be Qari Hussain, a cousin of Hakimullah. He seems to have been given a free hand to plan and execute attacks now that Hakimullah is the TTP boss. Qari Hussain is often called Ustad-e-Fidayeen, or teacher of the suicide bombers who are admiringly referred to as Fidayeen by the militants for sacrificing their lives for a cause.

On at least three occasions in the past, Qari Hussain was pronounced dead by civil and military officials and the claim was duly published in sections of the press. But he is alive and reporters who recently interviewed Hakimullah and Waliur Rahman in Srarogha area in South Waziristan also met him. However, he as usual refused to grant an interview or be photographed.

Hakimullah, who is in his late 20s, is different than Qari Hussain, as he has been granting interviews and allowing photographers and camera crews to take his pictures. A militant who attended the ceremony where he got engaged to a girl in Orakzai Agency recalled that Hakimullah asked his men jokingly to listen to the BBC Urdu service that evening as it may broadcast news of his engagement. He thought Hakimullah felt that anything he did or said was important enough to be carried by the media. The engagement ceremony itself showed Hakimullah’s boisterous nature as his fighters used heavy weapons to fire in the air and hosted a feast to celebrate the occasion.

Hakimullah had threatened to avenge Baitullah’s death. The attacks on the military, including the one against the GHQ in Rawalpindi, could be described as part of its campaign of revenge as the TTP has been arguing that the US drones carry out the attacks in Waziristan with the cooperation of Pakistan’s security forces. But the attacks on police and other law-enforcement agencies are apparently aimed at creating demoralisation in their ranks and showing the power of the TTP and its Jihadi allies from Punjab. Then there are the terrorist strikes in public places where common people are killed and private properties are destroyed. These are designed to create fear and make the government appear helpless. Or it is possible that the suicide bombers carry out such attacks in bazaars after being stranded and unable to reach their intended targets.

{Source: The News}

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US threatens airstrikes in Balochistan

PKonweb Report

The United States is threatening to launch airstrikes on the Taliban leadership it says is holed up in Quetta. The US has told Pakistan that it may start launching drone attacks against the Taliban leadership in the city of Quetta in a major escalation of its operations in the country, The Telegraph reported today.

Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, said the US had so far been unable to provide detailed intelligence to target the Quetta Shura. He said: “We need real-time intelligence. The Americans have never told us any location.”

US State department and intelligence officials delivered the ultimatum to Asif Ali Zardari, last week as he visited the US for the United Nations’ security council sessions and the G20 economic summit.

According to the Guardian, Islamabad government has argued that the Quetta Shura, led by Mullah Mohammad Omar, does not harm Pakistan. It has said that dealing with other militants such as those in the Swat valley was a higher priority, Daily Telegraph reported.

But last week Anne Patterson, America’s ambassador to Islamabad, told the Daily Telegraph that the offensive in Swat was not targeting the insurgents posing the greatest danger to Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The threat from Washington comes amid growing divisions in the US capital about whether to send more troops to Afghanistanor reduce them and start targeting the terrorists.

In a leaked strategic assessment of the war, top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal warned that he needed reinforcements within a year to avert the risk of failure.

Although no figure was given, he is believed to be seeking up to 45,000 troops by the end of this year.

Last week McChrystal denied any rift with the administration, saying “a policy debate is warranted”.

The Biden (US VP) camp argues that attacks by unmanned drones on Pakistan’s Tribal Areas, where many Al Qaeda leaders are thought to be hiding, have been successful.

Sending more troops to Afghanistan has only inflamed tensions.

The Times story quoted “senior Pakistani officials in New York” as saying that the US had asked to extend the drone attacks to areas of Balochistan, including Quetta.

There has been tacit cooperation over the use of drones although publicly Islamabad denounces their use.

Some British officials told the Times that drone attacks on Quetta would be “unthinkable”.

Western intelligence officers have alleged that Taliban sympathisers have helped some of the insurgency’s leaders to move to Karachi, where it would be impossible to strike with Drones due to populace density and political sensitivity.

Observers are of the view the US already have tacit approval from Islamabad on Drone strikes inside Pakistan on ‘actionable intelligence’ based high value targets. Islamabad denies such agreement exists.

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MERAY MUTABIQ with Dr Shahid Masood: SEP 26

Details unravel of conditions-filled Kerry-Lugar bill for $1.5B aid to Pakistan. Guests: Shamshad Ahmed Khan (Former Foreign Secy), Azeem M. Mian (Jang correspondent NY), Shaheen Sehbai (Washington-based The News, Jang, Geo Group Editor)

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    History of corruption and political revenge, NRO, etc. Guests: Faisal Raza Abidi (PPP), Siddiq-ul-Farooq (PML-N), Khalid Ranjha (PML-Q) and Justice (R) Tariq Mahmood.

  • MERAY MUTABIQ with Dr. Shahid Masood: Nov 21
    November 22, 2009 | 2:18 am

    A MUST WATCH: Govt publishes NRO beneficiary list as Nov 28 approaches when NRO will expire. Guests: Roedad Khan (Ex-Bureaucrat), Ansar Abbasi (Analyst), Md Saleh Zafir (Analyst)

  • SAWAL YEH HAI with Dr. Danish: Nov 21
    November 22, 2009 | 1:47 am

    Govt published list of NRO beneficiaries. Guests: Syed Naveed Qamar (PPP), Haidar Abbas Rizvi (MQM), Mushahid ullah Khan (PML-N) and Marvi Memon (PML-Q)

  • DUNYA TODAY with Dr. Moeed Pirzada: Nov 21
    November 22, 2009 | 1:30 am

    A MUST WATCH: Dr Maleeha Lodhi’s interview on Gen James Jones (Natl Security Advisor to Obama) delivery of Obama’s special letter to President Zardari asking Pakistan to take on the Afghan Taliban who attack US forces inside Afghanistan from Pakistan’s tribal areas.

  • TONIGHT with Najam Sethi: Nov 21
    November 22, 2009 | 1:19 am

    A MUST WATCH: Najam Sethi holds a no-holds-barred discussion with Gen. (R) Rashid Qureshi (Ex-DG ISPR) who later became spokesman of Gen (R) Musharraf until the end.

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