Another Terrorist Incident In Kazakhstan

Five militants, two police killed in Kazakhstan clash

Five militants and two members of an elite police force were killed in a clash in southern Kazakhstan amid concerns about rising Islamist unrest in the normally stable Central Asian state
AFP
The clash that left seven people dead took place during a special operation against suspected militants in a village just outside Kazakhstan’s largest city and former capital of Almaty, where prosecutors said they had been planning attacks.

The spokesman for general prosecutors Nurdaulet Suindikov said the militants hid in a house in the village of Boraldai but then they were surrounded by the security forces as residents were evacuated for their own safety.

“Two members of the special Arystan battalion of the national security committee were killed,” he said in the capital Astana.

“After refusing to give themselves up and providing armed resistance, five members of the terrorist group were killed, including their leader.”

He said that the group had been behind the murder of two police on November 8 and were planning new “violent acts” in Almaty. There were no civilian casualties in the clash.

The clash came three weeks after seven people were killed in the southern Kazakh city of Taraz when a suspected Islamist went on a shooting rampage and then blew himself up.

Such unrest has until recently been highly unusual in majority Muslim but secular Kazakhstan, which under strongman leader Nursultan Nazarbayev has earned a reputation as by far the most stable country in Central Asia.

Around 70 per cent of Kazakhstan’s 16.5 million people are Muslims and Kazakh authorities have repeatedly expressed concern about Islamic extremism sweeping in from other Central Asian states and Afghanistan.

Iran Military Shoots Down U.S. Stealth Drone–State TV

Eyes: 'The Beast of Kandahar' i.e. the secretive RQ-170 surveillance drone, was said to have filmed the daring raid and transmitted it back to the President in real time

‘The Beast of Kandahar’ i.e. the secretive RQ-170 surveillance drone

Iran military shoots down U.S. drone: state TV

 TEHRAN

(Reuters) – Iran’s military has shot down a U.S. reconnaissance drone aircraft in eastern Iran and has threatened to respond to the violation of Iranian airspace, a military source told state television Sunday.

“Iran’s military has downed an intruding RQ-170 American drone in eastern Iran,” Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam state television network quoted the unnamed source as saying.

“The spy drone, which has been downed with little damage, was seized by the Iranian armed forces.”

Iran shot down the drone at a time when it is trying to contain foreign reaction to the storming of the British embassy in Tehran Tuesday, shortly after London announced that it would impose sanctions on Iran’s central bank in connection with Iran’s controversial nuclear enrichment program.

Britain evacuated its diplomatic staff from Iran and expelled Iranian diplomats in London in retaliation, and several other EU members recalled their ambassadors from Tehran.

The attack dragged Iran’s relations with Europe to a long-time low.

“The Iranian military’s response to the American spy drone’s violation of our airspace will not be limited to Iran’s borders,” the military source said, without elaborating.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails to resolve the nuclear dispute.

Iran has dismissed reports of possible U.S. or Israeli plans to strike Iran, warning that it would respond to any such assault by attacking U.S. interests in the Gulf and Israel.

Analysts say Tehran could retaliate by launching hit-and-run strikes in the Gulf and by closing the Strait of Hormuz. About 40 percent of all traded oil leaves the Gulf region through the strategic waterway.

Iran said in July it had shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane over the holy city of Qom, near its Fordu nuclear site.

(Additional reporting by Ramin Mostafavi, Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Tim Pearce)

Two hundred and first Russian Forces in Tajikistan Develop Rapid Reaction Forces

[This new military exercise in Central Asia is Russian forces honing their new Rapid Reaction Force, to be operational by the American Afghan withdrawal projection date 2014.  The coming Peace Mission-2012 is the natural progression of the training acquired in the Center-2011 (“Центр-2011″) Caspian war game exercise, which were conducted in September.   We can expect to see more of these war games in the future, as Russian forces develop the concept of a quick reaction battalion, to intercept narco-terrorists, or their products.]

Two hundred and first HDR in Tajikistan run for new methods of elimination of militants in the mountains

RIA Novosti

New methods of detection, blocking and destroying guerrillas in the highlands will be worked out by military personnel two hundred and first Russian military base in Tajikistan during the exercise “Peace Mission-2012″.

On it informs RIA Novosti reported with reference to the spokesman Commander of the Central Military District of Russia, Colonel Jaroslav Roshchupkina.

The military did not specify the nature of both new and old methods of fighting with militants, as it is classified information, according to RIA Novosti.

“The special anti-terrorist operation in the teachings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)” Peace Mission-2012 “will test new methods of detection, blocking and destruction of illegal armed formations” – said Roshchupkin.

The interviewee said that these exercises will be worked out, including the common approaches of the SCO member states for use of troops in case of activation of militants in the mountains.

“In the teaching of” Peace Mission-2012 “will be attended by military units of the 201st RBD, stationed in Tajikistan,” – said the official.

Since the founding of the SCO member states held several joint military exercises under the name “Peace Mission”.

The first exercise took place in August 2003 (not part of Uzbekistan): The first phase was carried out in Kazakhstan, the second – in China.

In August 2005, the territory of Russia (city Chebarkul Chelyabinsk region) were carried out joint military exercises between China and Russia, exercises in the SCO framework were held in 2007.

In 2009, the exercise “Peace Mission” were phased in Russia (Khabarovsk) and China (Shenyang Military District in the north-east of the country, combined-arms ground Tyunan).

“Peace Mission-2010″ held at the Training Ground Army of Kazakhstan “Matybulak” in Zhambyl region (south-east). In 2011, in East Military District of Russia was “Peace Mission-2011″.

Karzai accuses Pakistan of stalling talks with Taliban

Karzai accuses Pakistan of stalling talks with Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (C) and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle answer journalists upon Karzai’s arrival on December 2, 2011 at the Koeln/Bonn military airport, in Cologne , wetsern Germany, ahead of a major international conference on the warr-torn country. – AFP Photo

BONN: Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused Pakistan, which is boycotting an international conference on Afghanistan starting Monday in Bonn, of sabotaging all negotiations with the Taliban.

“Up until now, they have sadly refused to back efforts for negotiations with the Taliban,” Karzai told Der Spiegel weekly in comments reported in German and due to be published on Monday.

The Bonn meeting will seek to chart a course for Afghanistan after the Nato withdrawal, but a boycott by Pakistan has dealt a stinging blow to hopes for a roadmap.

Pakistan is seen as vital to any prospect of stability in the war-ravaged country a decade after US-led forces ousted the Taliban, which had offered safe harbour to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

But Islamabad pulled out after the killing of 24 soldiers in Nato air strikes on two Pakistani posts a week ago, although sources close to the German foreign ministry said it would be kept informed of progress at the conference.

Karzai also appealed for continued aid to his war-ravaged nation after 2014 — when Nato troops are due to pull out.

Stressing that Afghanistan will be “more than ever on the frontline,” he said: “If we fail in this war, which threatens all of us, it will mean a return to the situation before 9/11.” The Afghan leader conceded that “sadly we have not been able to provide security and stability to all Afghans, this is our greatest failure.” Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasoul appealed Saturday for international support for his country after Nato troops pull out.

“After 2014, we will continue to need long-term support from our friends in the international community,” Rasoul said at a discussion forum in Bonn.

His German counterpart Guido Westerwelle vowed at the forum that the world would not abandon Afghanistan, while also stressing the importance of the role of women in the county, where they currently face major discrimination.

In an interview to appear in Sunday’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, Westerwelle again voiced his regret over the Pakistani boycott of the conference, which will gather delegates from 100 nations.

“Pakistan has more to gain from a stable and peaceful Afghanistan than any of its neighbours,” he said.

In Bonn on Saturday, several thousand people — 4,500 according to organisers — demonstrated in protest at the conference and the German army’s role in Afghanistan.

Are British Interests Worsening the Pakistani/US Confrontation?

[In the following report, taken from the Telegraph, the lead-in to the report makes a false claim, which is not substantiated anywhere in it.  The British press often seems to take the position of trouble-maker, or pot-stirrer in Pakistan/US disagreements.  This position has even been exposed in British military efforts in Afghanistan (SEE:  What exactly were Mervyn Patterson and Michael Semple doing in Helmand? ).  The Afghan story was about a covert effort to create a fake “Taliban,” to turn into a counter-force and spy organ, to send into S. Waziristan. 

Have connections within the originally British Pakistani officer corps given London the ability to manipulate events on the ground?  This report, claiming both Pakistani and US confirmation (before the US completes its inquiry), is intended to escalate the situation.  Why would the British Crown wish to see a conflict begin between the two “allies”?  In order to finish my speculation on British trouble-making in Pakistan, I remind readers of the following incident involving known British institutional meddling–(SEE:  Gen. Kayani’s trip to speak before the British International Institute for Strategic Studies).  The following excerpts from separate sources speak volumes about the IISS, and what it is all about.  The question must be asked–

“Is Gen. Kayani a member of IISS?”] 

almost shadow UN agency, seeking to affect global diplomatic and military policy. Its current membership boasts 3,000 elite individuals garnered from the worlds of government, business and academia in over 100 countries. The IISS additionally has 200 corporate and business members representing industries such as oil, investment banking, telecommunications, media outlets, aerospace, defense, energy, environment and numerous others, as well as 35 government ministries, 55 different research facilities and military personnel.

The IISS is the vehicle for MI6-Tavistock black propaganda, and wet jobs (an intelligence over name denoting an operation where bloodshed is required), adverse nuclear incidents and terrorism, which goes to the world’s press for dissemination, as well as to governments and military establishments.

Membership in the IISS includes representatives of 87 major wire services and press associations, as well as 138 senior editors and columnists….

The IISS is nothing more than a higher echelon opinion maker, as defined by Lippmann and Bernays. In the writing of books, and in newspapers, IISS was formed to be a coordinating centre for not only creating opinions, but to get those opinions and scenarios out much faster and to a far greater audience than could be reached by a book for example…. “

 

Pakistan friendly fire deaths were due to “errors” by US officers

American officers gave the wrong coordinates to their Pakistani counterparts as they sought clearance for the air strike that killed 24 friendly troops last weekend, admit officials in both countries.

A destroyed border post after cross-border NATO air strike

A destroyed border post after cross-border NATO air strike on the Pakistani border on a mountain in the Mohmand tribal district 

Rob Crilly in Islamabad and Ashfaq Yusufzai in Charsadda

 

Nato and American officials have expressed regret but have refused to apologise until an investigation is completed into the incident near the Afghan border, which has triggered a crisis in relations between the US and Pakistan. Officials have previously offered varying accounts of the event as the two countries try to shift the blame.

But yesterday a senior Pakistani military officer told The Sunday Telegraph that a border co-ordination unit – established to avoid exactly this sort of tragedy – was given incorrect details of a suspected Taliban position.

“The strike had begun before we realised the target was a border post,” he said. “The Americans say we gave them clearance but they gave us the wrong information.” It is understood that American officers have not disputed the Pakistani account of what went wrong.

The American pilots had been confident in their targets as they flew out of the night sky, towards a mountain ridge that marked the border with Pakistan.

Afghan and US commandos hunting Taliban training camps inside the eastern edge of Afghanistan had called in air support as they came under fire from the Pakistani border.

The co-ordinates had been checked with a Pakistani officer to ensure there were no friendly troops in the area, the pilots believed, and the Apache attack helicopters and lone AC-130 gunship had been given the go-ahead to unload their deadly payload on the mountainside.

But as dawn arrived it became clear that a terrible mistake had been made.

Twenty-four Pakistani soldiers lay dead, their border posts were a smoking ruin and a crucial alliance had been poisoned, unleashing a wave of anti-American anger in Pakistan, which has halted co-operation against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

All year their fragile alliance has lurched from crisis to crisis. In January a CIA contractor shot dead two men in Lahore.

Then a secret mission to kill Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil in May provoked an angry response, with American military trainers expelled and US diplomats complaining of harassment.

The latest calamity has provoked an angry reaction among ordinary Pakistanis, who already feel their country’s contribution to the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban is being forgotten.

Daily demonstrations are being held around the country. Protesters in Karachi have burned an effigy of Barack Obama and That leaves a weak, moderate government in Islamabad trying to maintain an awkward balancing act, placating the rabble rousers while keeping the door open to a rapprochement with Washington.

Pakistan’s leaders have closed the country’s borders to Nato supply convoys, announced a boycott of an international conference in Bonn to plot a course for the future of Afghanistan and begun a review of all relations with the US and Nato.

The Pakistani military has also offered a strong response as it tries to rebuild its reputation after a series of blows, not least failing to spot the US helicopters that brought a special forces team deep into its territory to kill the al-Qaeda leader. Last week it circulated revised rules of engagement stating that soldiers can return fire if attacked by Nato forces – although the move is seen as an attempt to assuage public opinion, rather than up the ante along the Afghan border.

Nowhere is the mix of grief and anger more obvious than among the 24 families whose sons were killed by a supposed ally.

In the north-western town of Charsadda, Asfandyar Khan told The Sunday Telegraph how proud his son Najeebullah had been in 2005 to get a soldier’s uniform and to help make his country safe.

He fought against the Pakistan Taliban, clearing them from the Swat Valley in 2009 when militants approached to little more than 60 miles from the capital Islamabad, before being transferred to the Afghan border post where he died.

“He was very happy to fight against the Taliban as he wanted to take on the Pakistan’s enemy”, said Mr Khan, sitting outside his mud brick home set among lush, green fields.

A newly dug grave is decorated with flowers.

Now he must decide whether to ask his other son to leave the army.

But most of all he wants his government to end its close association with the US and its war in Afghanistan.

“Soldiers are losing confidence over the weakness of the government. They are demoralized and only a befitting response to the US can restore the confidence in government,” he said.

Pakistan’s prime minister has said there can be no more “business as usual” with the US.

And most analysts believe the relationship is facing its toughest test since the two countries were thrown together in alliance by 9/11.

Imtiaz Gul, a journalist and author who has written about the border area, said the US had to recognise Pakistan’s sensitivity to American treatment.

“This is not about money or a bigger say in Afghanistan,” he said. “This is about a country that feels underappreciated and hurt, so the way to patch it up is about addressing that emotional need.” But with an investigation not due to report until December 23, there is no sign that this crisis will end soon.

Turkmenistan Hosts Meeting To Develop Action Plan For Implementing UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Success of Efforts in Central Asia to Counter Terrorism Can Inspire Other Regions, Give Practical Meaning to Global Strategy, Says Secretary-General

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the ministerial meeting on the development of a Central Asian plan of action to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, delivered by Miroslav Jen?a, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 29 November:

I thank the Government of Turkmenistan for hosting this important ministerial meeting of Central Asian countries on the Plan of Action for implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Over the past year, the States of Central Asia have demonstrated vision and resolve in coming together to discuss how the Global Strategy can best produce results on the ground. I welcome your commitment and congratulate you on your achievements in this important endeavour.

The draft Plan of Action covers all the key issues related to the region’s struggle against terrorism and extremism. It also reflects the four pillars of the Global Strategy and includes all the necessary elements that build trust and promote regional cooperation over the long term.

I would like to acknowledge the work done by the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia in contributing to this joint Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force-European Union project. I would especially like to thank the European Commission and Norway for their longstanding support for United Nations counter-terrorism activities.

At the high-level symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation that I hosted in September in New York, all Member States, including those from Central Asia, underscored the importance of increasing cooperation and solidifying partnerships between States, international and regional organizations and other stakeholders to counter the threat of terrorism more effectively.

Our collective resolve must not stop with the adoption of this Plan of Action. With the plan as our guide, we must continue to increase cross-border collaboration, foster inter-agency coordination and strengthen engagements with all relevant international partners. The full range of relevant United Nations entities, under the framework of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, are committed to support you in your national, regional and international efforts.

The success of your efforts today, and in the future, can inspire other regions to develop implementation plans of their own. Such regionally-driven initiatives are especially promising ways to give practical meaning to the Global Strategy. I look forward to working with all partners towards implementation that makes a difference. Please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.

Pakistan military ordered to return fire if attacked by Nato forces

Pakistan military ordered to return fire if attacked by Nato forces

Pakistan’s army chief issues new directive following recent deaths of 24 soldiers in Nato helicopter assault on border posts

Pakistan's army chief General Ashfaq Kayani

Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, has told his troops that any aggression should be responded to ‘with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences’. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan‘s military commanders have ordered their troops to return fire if they come under attack from Nato forces, raising the prospect of further deadly clashes along the country’s border with Afghanistan.

General Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan’s army chief, gave the new order in response to the recent deaths of 24 soldiers when their border posts came under fire from Nato helicopters.

Kayani is under immense pressure from within his own ranks over the two-hour bombardment by the helicopters of an ally, to which the Pakistani air force did not respond. The incident piled further humiliation on a military still stung by the US special forces operation in May that killed Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan.

“I want to emphasise and leave no ambiguity in the rules of engagement for everyone down the chain of command,” Kayani said in a letter to his troops.

“When under attack, you have full liberty of action to respond with all capabilities at your disposal. This will require no clearance at any level.

“I have very clearly directed that any act of aggression will be responded to with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences.”

The communique, issued in Urdu, will be read out by local commanders to their soldiers.

Kayani also said that the air force did not respond to the Nato attack “due to breakdown of communication with the affected posts”.

The move effectively transforms the role of more than 100,000 Pakistan troops deployed along its western border from counterinsurgency to border protection duty.

The Nato attack happened on the border between the Afghan province of Kunar and the Mohmand part of Pakistan’s tribal area. The border posts were 300 metres inside Pakistani territory.

Pakistan claims the attack was “unprovoked” and continued even after it alerted Nato to the fact that its post was coming under fire.

US officials have claimed a combined Afghan and US special forces squad operating close to the border came under fire from suspected militants on the Pakistani side, and that they responded by calling in air support.

But a senior Pakistani military officer said US officials supplied the wrong co-ordinates for the proposed strike, and then launched the attack “without getting clearance from the Pakistani side”.

“It was an unprovoked and indiscriminate attack by US helicopters and fighter jets,” he said.

He denied an account by American officials, carried in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, that they had checked the location with Pakistan first and the fatal strike had been given the go-ahead.

An investigation by the US military is under way.

In retaliation for the incident, Pakistan has blocked the transit of Nato supplies through its territory, ended the US use of an airbase and is boycotting next week’s high-level international meeting on Afghanistan in Bonn.

Pakistan’s co-operation is considered vital to stabilising Afghanistan and pushing the Taliban into peace talks.