Manawan operation ends; Commandos overpower terrorists

Manawan operation ends; Commandos overpower terrorists

MANAWAN (updated on: March 30, 2009, 15:56 PST): Security forces on Monday declared victory over attackers who besieged a police academy, firing into the air in jubilation, an AFP reporter witnessed. At least three bearded men in vests put their hands in the air and surrendered to the small group of armed security forces and commandos on the rooftop of the main academy building just outside the city of Lahore.

The forces shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater), flashed V for victory signs and pumped bullets into the air, a traditional sign of celebration, nearly eight hours after attackers stormed the compound.

Ambulances, which had lined up outside the police academy, started to enter the training ground within minutes of the declared victory.

Agreement on “Southern Stream” to be signed in late April

Agreement on “Southern Stream” to be signed in late April

30. March 2009. | 10:02

Source: EMportal

The agreement on the realization of the “Southern Stream” gas line project will be signed by the end of April in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, in the attendance of heads of all states that the gas line will pass through

The agreement on the realization of the “Southern Stream” gas line project will be signed by the end of April in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, in the attendance of heads of all states that the gas line will pass through, communicated the Serbian Ministry of Power Supply.

It has been stated that at Friday’s session of Serbian Minister Petar Skundric and Deputy Director General of Gazprom Alexander Medvedev it was said that the final itinerary of the “Southern Stream” will be presented and the increase of the capacity announced, from the originally planned to some 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually, to the growing demand of the European market for that fuel.

Skundric and Medvedev have agreed to intensify the negotiations on the joint completion of the gas storage in Banatski Dvor.

Obama Buys Allies Where the U.S. Has No Friends:Black Agenda Report

Obama Buys Allies Where the U.S. Has No Friends

To hear this Black Agenda Radio commentary, click the flash player above.  to download an MP3 copy for broadcast or personal use, click here.

afghanA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The U.S. plans to double the Afghan army and police, to 400,000 men, through the sheer magnetic pull of money. But, as the old song goes, money can’t buy you love.” At root, the Obama/ Petraeus plan for Afghanistan is bribery on a massive scale, a “surge” of billions of dollars to convert the desperately unemployed into U.S.-allied fighters. The plan only looks halfway intelligent in comparison to the early Rumsfeld Iraq plan, which was based on the assumption that the US would be greeted as Afghanistan’s “liberators.”

Obama Buys Allies Where the U.S. Has No Friends
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

“As the old song goes, money can’t buy you love.”

The Obama plan for Afghanistan, like General David Petraeus’s plan for Iraq, boils down to using massive bribery – ten or twenty billion dollars, or more – to create a political and military ally in a country that doesn’t want the U.S. to be there. There’s really nothing mysterious or out of the ordinary about the strategy. The Obama/Patraeus plan for Afghanistan was also the George Bush plan for Iraq in the last two years of the Republican administration, and only appears to be some kind of stroke of brilliance when compared to the Donald Rumsfeld plan to subdue and colonize Iraq in the early years of the Iraq war.
Rumsfeld’s plan was defeated because it was based on thoroughly racist assumptions. The first assumption was that Iraqis would be universally overjoyed to be occupied by the Great (White) American Father – that they would gladly surrender their national sovereignty and put up no long-term resistance. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney and all the Bush minions had not a shred of a doubt that the Iraqis desired nothing more than to become a colony of the United States. When Baghdad was burning, consumed in flames set by the Iraqis themselves after American forces captured the city, Secretary Rumsfeld announced, and truly believed, that the Iraqis were “celebrating” having been conquered by the U.S.A. He assured the American people that only a few of Saddam Hussein’s most fanatically loyal “dead-enders” would put up further resistance to the American occupation. That essentially racist belief – that colored people desire to be ruled by white people – convinced the Bush administration that it could keep U.S. troop levels in Iraq low – that the vast majority of Iraqis wanted to be occupied by foreigners.
Rumsfeld stuck with his assumption until the American occupation was transformed into a siege of the Americans. Finally, Rumsfeld lost his job. In counter-insurgency terms, the war had been lost.

“General Petraeus’s so-called troop “surge” was only possible because Sunni fighters were getting paychecks from the United States occupation force.”

But America’s war was not the Iraqi’s war. Shia Muslim political parties had their own agenda, and waged a savage war of ethnic cleansing and sectarian annihilation. The Americans didn’t want Iraqis of any religious persuasion running their own country, but they were unable to control events. What happened next was not part of an American plan. Shia Muslim forces had captured 75 percent of Baghdad and Sunni Muslims were on the ropes. At least one hundred thousand former Sunni resistance fighters – virtually the entire force that had earlier brought low the American war machine – agreed to join the U.S. payroll. They made peace with the Americans to escape the wrath of the Shia – and to feed their families. General Petraeus’s so-called troop “surge” was only possible because there were few Sunni fighters to surge against. They were getting paychecks from the United States occupation force.
President Obama hopes to buy off various groups of fighters in Afghanistan in the same way. The U.S. plans to double the Afghan army and police, to 400,000 men, through the sheer magnetic pull of money. But, as the old song goes, money can’t buy you love – in Afghanistan or Iraq – especially when it competes with people’s natural desire to run their own countries. Only racists believe otherwise.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to http://www.BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

Major attacks in Pak since July 2007

Major attacks in Pak since July 2007

Published: March 30, 2009

Following is a timeline of major attacks in Pakistan since July 2007, after gunmen stormed a police academy outside the city of Lahore in an assault officials say has killed at least 20 people.
2007
July 15: Suicide attacks kill at least 47 people in northwest Pakistan, including 26 at a police recruitment centre
July 19: Three suicide attacks kill more than 50 people. The deadliest targets Chinese workers in southwestern Pakistan, but kills only locals
October 18: Bomb attacks targeting two-time former premier Benazir Bhutto kill at least 139 people in Karachi, just hours after she returns to Pakistan for the first time in eight years. She survives unhurt
December 21: At least 50 are killed in an attack on a mosque in the northwest of the country
December 27: A gun and suicide bomb attack kills Bhutto and nearly two dozen of her supporters as she leaves a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. The interior ministry later says another 58 people died in a wave of unrest triggered by the former premier’s assassination
2008
February 16: Suicide car bomber strikes a rally by Bhutto’s party in the northwestern tribal town of Parachinar, killing 37
February 29: A suicide bomber kills 44 people in Mingora, the main town in the troubled Swat valley, during the funeral of three policemen killed by a roadside bomb earlier in the day
March 2: Suicide bomber kills 43 at a meeting of anti-militant tribal elders in the northwestern district of Darra Adam Khel
March 10: Suicide attackers detonate two huge truck bombs in Lahore, killing 26 people and partly demolishing the Federal Investigation Agency building in the city

July 6: Suicide bomber kills 15 people in an attack on police in Islamabad during a rally to mark the anniversary of an army raid on the radical Red Mosque
August 21: Twin suicide attacks kill at least 57 people outside Pakistan’s main arms factory in Wah, near Islamabad
September 6: Suicide bomber kills 33 people at a security checkpoint near Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province
September 20: At least 60 people are killed when a suicide attacker rammed a massive truck bomb into the gates of the five-star Marriott hotel in Islamabad
October 10: A suicide bomber blows himself up at a meeting of anti-Taliban tribal leaders in a Pakistani region of Orakzai district, killing at least 40 people
December 5: At least 27 people are killed and dozens injured when two bomb blasts struck crowded markets in northwest Pakistan
December 28: At least 41 people are killed in a bomb blast at a polling station in the town of Buner on the edge of the Swat valley in northwest Pakistan.
2009
February 5: 35 people are killed when a suspected suicide bombing hits a crowd of Shiite worshippers outside a Pakistani mosque in Dera Ghazi Khan
February 20: Thirty people are killed in a suicide bombing at a funeral procession for an assassinated local Shiite Muslim leader in Dera Ismail Khan in northwest Pakistan
March 3: Gunmen mount a brazen, coordinated attack on Sri Lanka’s touring cricket team in Lahore, killing eight Pakistanis as well as wounding seven players and a coach.
March 27: A suicide bomber attacks a packed mosque in the northwestern town of Jamrud at prayer time, killing around 50 people and wounding dozens more.
March 30: Gunmen storm a police training compound at Manawan, near Lahore, unleashing a fierce battle with security forces that kills at least 20 people.

Manawan police centre death toll reaches 26 as operation continues

Manawan police centre death toll reaches 26 as operation continues

LAHORE: Masked gunmen stormed Manawan police academy Monday, unleashing a fierce firefight that has left at least 26 dead in an echo of the commando-style assault on Sri Lanka’s cricket team.

Armed with grenades and assault rifles, and some of them dressed in police uniform, the attackers shot their way into the camp near Lahore and were continuing to trade fire six hours later with security forces.

Bodies of policemen were lying face down on the parade ground as rescuers carried out casualties on sheets and gunfire rattled round the compound at Manawan.

Paramilitary soldiers, armed and wearing flak jackets and helmets, opened fire and fanned out around the perimeter of the site, which was surrounded by scores of police cars and armoured vehicles, Geo news reported. People gathered outside the centre were boosting the morale of the operation forces engaged in carrying out the operation against terrorists.

“The number of killed is at least 26,” police officials told journalists, adding that around 90 were rushed to hospital. The security officials said the number of deaths could rise due to the crossfire. There were also television reports of hostages being taken, but that could not be confirmed.

“There were three or four back-to-back blasts from hand grenades and rocket launchers,” policeman Mohammad Riaz told Geo news from inside a room where he was barricaded with others.

“They directly targeted us. Suddenly there were bodies all around me,” one injured policeman told Geo news from his hospital bed.

Eyewitnesses said that half the assailants were in police uniform and half in civilian clothing. They were armed with hand grenades and rifles, and killed security guards at a rear entrance to get in.

Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik suggested homegrown terror movements were responsible.

“The nation knows these terrorist organisations,” he told Geo news, adding: “The question is — from where they are getting grenades, guns and rocket launchers in such a large number?”

Indian officials condemned the latest attack, saying it threatened security across the region and that its military was on alert for any “spillover.”

“We are deeply concerned. We condemn these terror attacks, we condemn all terror attacks and we offer our sympathies to the government and the people of Pakistan,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters.

Militants Swarm Lahore Police Academy

Elite troops outside the academy

Elite troops arrived 90 minutes after the fighting began

There was confusion outside the Manawan police training academy in Lahore, Pakistan, for at least 90 minutes after the gunmen stormed the place.

Some kind of coherent response developed only later, with elite police commando units, the paramilitary rangers as well as army troops surrounding the compound.

Policemen interviewed by TV crews on the spot said the attack came during the morning parade hour when more than 800 trainees were out, all unarmed.

The militants entered the sprawling compound, apparently by scaling the boundary wall, and threw grenades at the parading trainees.

Ilyas, a police constable and eyewitness, told reporters: “We were exercising in the training ground inside the compound when we heard a blast.”

“A great cloud of dust blew over us and I felt something hit my face. When I touched my face there was blood all over.”

“Then I saw a man firing a Kalashnikov running towards us. He had a beard and his face was partially covered by a bandanna. Three of my colleagues fell down in the burst of firing. I just turned and ran. Thank God, I managed to get away.”

Police sub-inspector Mohammad Riaz, one of the trainers who is holed up inside the school, told a TV reporter that he was trapped inside with “10 to 12 people, including policemen and recruits”.

He said the attack happened when a police parade was going on around 0730. About 750 policemen were participating in the parade, he said.

“I was in my room. Suddenly there was an explosion. Then a second, and a third. Some three or four big explosions, after which firing from heavy weapons started,” said Mr Riaz.

“They [probably] first threw in some grenades or rocket propelled grenades from outside the wall. The recruits started running. I saw them running. I tried to get out [of the room], but then heavy weapon fire started from all directions.”

“I couldn’t judge where it was coming from. All the windowpanes of the building were broken. Then we took shelter in a room and stayed there until the rescue people arrived.”

Mr Riaz said the attackers were present at “three or four positions”.

“Two or three men are on the second floor [of the building], some are on the third floor above, said the policeman, who said he was armed with a gun.

Some of the trainees did manage to escape, one of them with a bullet in his leg.

TV cameras peeping from over the boundary wall captured motionless images of five or six policemen, lying on the ground in the parade area.

They appeared dead, though some may have been only injured.

Some civilians were also hit and injured on the road outside the compound, apparently when the attackers fired in the direction of police security at the gate along the road.

Rescue workers have been able to take some of the injured out of the school in armoured personnel careers.

Speculation

Despite growing incidents of militant attacks across the country, the school only had peacetime security in place at the time.

Besides, some experts interviewed on TV said the training schools usually had small armouries, with old weapons not fit to counter the modern weapons of the militants.

A senior retired police official, Afzal Shigri, said it was not known whether the trainees were new recruits or trained officials on mid-service training.

He said new recruits were unlikely to challenge the attackers, but if there were any trained police officers in there, they might find a way to overcome the attackers even without any arms.

But defence analyst Lt-Gen (rtd) Talat Masood said that Pakistani policemen did not match the level of physical endurance and motivation that the militants had displayed time and again.

When the elite forces arrived 90 minutes later, they were welcomed by the crowd of spectators outside the school with loud chants of Allah-O-Akbar (God is Great).