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.

NATO’s Plans for Afghanistan Include Cleaning-Out Waziristan

Nato plans push in eastern Afghanistan to quell Pakistan-based insurgents

Exclusive: Isaf aims to reduce threat to Kabul by insurgent groups and has not ruled out cross-border raids into Pakistan

Pakistani islamists burn effigy of Barack Obama

Pakistanis burn an effigy of Barack Obama in Lahore: resentment of Nato after the death of 24 soldiers last week has plunged co-operation between the allies into doubt. Photograph: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Nato commanders are planning a substantial offensive in eastern Afghanistan aimed at insurgent groups based in Pakistan, involving an escalation of aerial attacks on insurgent sanctuaries, and have not ruled out cross-border raids with ground troops.

The aim of the offensive over the next two years is to reduce the threat represented by Pakistan-based groups loyal to insurgent leaders like the Haqqani clan, Mullah Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur. Nato hopes to reduce the level of attacks in the eastern provinces clustered around Kabul to the point where they could be contained by Afghan security forces after transition in 2014.

The move is likely to add to the already tense atmosphere following the recent border post attack by Nato helicopters that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. On Thursday, Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, ordered his troops to return fire if they came under attack again by its ally.

While drawing down forces in Helmand and Kandahar, the US will step up its presence in eastern provinces bordering Pakistan, bringing the long-festering issue of insurgent sanctuaries in the Pakistani tribal areas to a head. The message being given to the Pakistani military is that if it cannot or will not eliminate the havens, US forces will attempt the job themselves.

Western officials had been encouraged by the fact that a blitz of drone strikes against commanders loyal to insurgent leaders Jalaluddin and his son Sirajuddin in Miran Shah, the capital of North Waziristan, and against forces loyal to Mullah Nazir in South Waziristan, had produced few civilian casualties and no reaction from the Pakistanis. Consequently, an increase in cross-border raids by special forces – and even the withdrawal of the Pakistani army to create a free-fire zone – have not been excluded.

“The Pakistanis may not have the strength to defeat the Taliban and the Haqqanis on their own, even if they wanted to,” a western diplomat said.

It is unclear to what extent the killing of 24 Pakistan soldiers will have on the Nato strategy. An investigation is underway into the incident, which appears to have started with an exchange of fire between Pakistani and mixed Afghan-Nato forces, with the latter calling in air support. Nato sent in aircraft believing the fire from the Pakistani side was from insurgents.

As a consequence, Pakistan has closed supply routes used by the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and barred the US from using a Pakistani air base to launch drones. However, Nato officers said that Pakistani forces had been co-operative in a similar incident on Tuesday, helping prevent it from escalating.

Isaf statistics published earlier this week showed a 7% drop in insurgent attacks across Afghanistan in the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period last year. The decrease in the Helmand area was 29%. But in the eastern provinces the figures show a 21% rise in attacks, now the most violent area, accounting for 39% of all attacks.

The Isaf commander, General John Allen, said the need to confront the sanctuaries in Pakistan was “one of the reasons we are shifting our operations to the east”.

In an interview in Kabul, Allen, a US marine, did not give specifics of the strategy and said nothing about cross-border operations. The day before the fatal border clash, he had met Kayani, to discuss cross-border co-operation ahead of the eastern surge, clearly hoping the move against the sanctuaries would be a joint effort.

Allen said he did not know what the long-term consequences of last Saturday’s clash would be, describing it as a “tragedy”, but made clear that the push to the east would continue.

“Ultimately the outcome we hope to achieve in the east is a reduction of the insurgent networks to the point where the ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] can handle them, reducing them in 2012, if necessary going after them in 2013,” Allen said.

“I wont go into the specifics of the operations but as we consolidate our holdings in the south and as the population centres there in the Helmand River valley and in [Kandahar], we will conduct substantial operations in the east … the idea being to expand the security zone around Kabul.

“In particular we are going to pay a lot of attention to the south of Kabul – Wardak, Logar, Ghazni, Zabul. Because in the end if you have a population in the south that feels secure and it’s secured by the ANSF, and you have a population in the east in and around the centre of the gravity of Kabul, and those two are connected by a road so you have freedom of movement, you have a pretty good outcome.”

Kargil to be a major Indian Air Force base

Kargil to be a major Indian Air Force base

Kargil to be a major Indian Air Force base
Learning lessons from the 1999 war with Pakistan, India is all set to develop the Kargil airfield as a full-fledged transport base by 2016, by when the Indian Air Force (IAF) aims to operate both medium and heavy-lift planes from there.

It also plans to operate combat aircraft from Kargil sometime in the future.

The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, said at the annual press conference on Monday ahead of the Air Force Day on October 8 that the IAF will expand the 6,000-foot runway in Kargil to enable operations of all major transport aircraft such as the Soviet-origin IL-76 heavy-lift planes, the newly-ordered C-17 heavy-lift aircraft from the US, and the just-acquired C-130J Super Hercules.

Soviet-origin medium-lift AN-32 transport planes are already being operated from the Kargil airfield, in the northern part of Jammu and Kashmir, since the 1999 war with Pakistan.

Kargil was the primary theatre of battle during that conflict when Indian troops forced a retreat of Pakistani regulars who had clandestinely occupied heights that were vacated by India during winter.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had activated the airfield in 1996 for civilian aircraft operations and it was under the Airports Authority of India (AAI) till the Kargil war, when the military operations began there.

Since then, the IAF has been operating the AN-32s from the airfield, apart from the Jammu and Kashmir government using it for operating tourist flights.

The IAF chief said as plans for Kargil base progressed, they would like to operate fighter jets from the air field there, “but that is still a distance away”.

Browne said IAF was also planning to develop the Nyoma air base close to the border with China in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir into a fighter base and the plans had been approved by Defence Minister AK Antony.

“The Nyoma plans will soon go to the Cabinet Committee on Security for final approval,” he added.

The development of these air bases are part of the IAF’s plans for developing its infrastructure in northern and northeastern India.

Nyoma already has a 12,000-foot runway and the air base is at an altitude of 13,300 fleet.

The IAF is at present operating AN-32s from Nyoma, apart from helicopters.

“We want to develop Nyoma into a base from where we can carry out fighter, transport and helicopter operations. Once the facilities come up, we can do a fair amount of defensive and offensive operations from there,” Browne added.

Source: New Delhi – Monday, October 03, 2011 – IANS – http://zeenews.india.com

Photo Story: For the first time ever, the Indian Air Force landed an AN-32 transport aircraft at the Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground in eastern Ladakh, just 23 km from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. The touchdown by the medium lift transport aircraft signifies India’s capability to move its troops quickly to the forward areas, whenever required. The IAF move comes in the wake of reports of recent Chinese intrusions into the Indian side of the LAC, including airspace violations by their helicopters and painting Mandarin letters on rocks in red. The AN-32 aircraft, flown by Shaurya Chakra awardee Group Captain S C Chafekar and carrying Western Air Command (WAC) chief Air Marshal N A K Browne and Northern Army Commander Lt Gen P C Bhardwarj, landed at Nyoma at 0625 hours, WAC spokesperson Flt Lt Priya Joshi said in New Delhi.

Nyoma ALG is situated at an altitude of 13,300 feet above sea level and is the third such ALG opened by IAF in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir in the last two years. The ALGs opened earlier were Daulat Beg Oldi, the world’s highest airfield at 16,200 feet, in May last year and Fuk Che in November that year. The IAF had, before this AN-32 landing, used Nyoma airstrip only for helicopter operations. Only recently, the IAF took up work to convert it into an ALG for transport fixed-wing aircraft operations by laying a compacted airstrip, IAF officials said. “After deliberating on all aspects and carrying out aerial and ground reccees, it was concluded that Nyoma could be developed for fixed wing operations as well,” Joshi said. An Engineer Regiment of the Army’s 14 Corps executed the task of developing the ALG to standards required for fixed wing operations.

“The successful landing of a fixed wing aircraft at Nyoma marks the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Army to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army,” she said. “The joint development of Nyoma, braving the extremely difficult working conditions and hostile weather, is yet another step towards enhanced jointmanship between the two services,” she added. Joshi said Nyoma was developed with an aim to connect the remote areas of Ladakh region to the mainland. “This would also ensure that movements in the area continue when the road traffic gets affected, during the harsh winters besides enabling improved communication network in the region, facilitating economical ferrying of supplies as well as promotion of tourism to the general area,” she added. (http://hotbird76.wordpress.com)

Clinton’s Kargil crisis secret–US intervention was not voluntary

[SEE:  Clinton, Sharif agree on Kashmir withdrawal  ; Kashmir Crisis Was Defused on Brink of War  ] ;  [SEE:  Kargil diplomacy]

Revealed: Clinton’s Kargil crisis secret

- Autobiography says US intervention was not voluntary, prompted by Sharif

K.P. NAYAR,  June 22, 2004

Clinton to Sharif: Better have a good reason to come on July 4

Washington, June 21: Contrary to common belief, President Bill Clinton did not intervene on his own in the Kargil dispute in 1999 to bring about a withdrawal of Pakistani forces and avert a war between India and Pakistan.

The former President says in his autobiography that “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan called and asked if he could come to Washington on July 4 to discuss the dangerous standoff with India that had begun several weeks earlier when Pakistani forces under the command of General Pervez Musharraf crossed the Line of Control (LoC)”.

The autobiography, My Life, is to be published on Tuesday, but an advance copy of the book, which promises to be America’s publishing sensation of the year, was obtained by The Telegraph on Sunday night.

Clinton’s first person account of US diplomacy and his summit meeting with Sharif in Washington at the height of the Kargil conflict throws authoritative light on America’s approach to India-Pakistan issues and is certain to be a factor with the new policymakers in New Delhi as they weigh their positions on the vexing trilateral issues involving India, Pakistan and the US.

Clinton writes in his memoirs that following the now-exiled Pakistani Prime Minister’s plea to be allowed to visit the White House: “I told Sharif that he was always welcome in Washington, even on July 4, but if he wanted me to spend America’s independence day with him, he had to come to the US knowing two things: first he had to agree to withdraw his troops back across the LoC; and second, I would not agree to intervene in the Kashmir dispute, especially under circumstances that appeared to reward Pakistan’s wrongful incursion.”

According to the former President: “Sharif said he wanted to come anyway. On July 4, we met at Blair House”, the residence for state guests adjacent to the White House.

“Sharif was concerned that the situation Pakistan had created was getting out of control… Once more, Sharif urged me to intervene in Kashmir, and again I explained that without India’s consent it would be counterproductive, but that I would urge (Prime Minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee to resume the bilateral dialogue if the Pakistani troops withdrew. He agreed and we released a joint statement saying that steps would be taken to restore the LoC and that I would support and encourage the resumption… of bilateral talks once the violence had stopped.”

The rest is history. The broad premise of what Clinton writes about his Kargil diplomacy was revealed two years ago by Bruce Riedel, Clinton’s special assistant for South Asia on the National Security Council, in a policy paper for the University of Pennsylvania, but Clinton’s first person account is significant for its confirmation that the US was not doing India any good turn by securing a Pakistani withdrawal of forces from territory it occupied.

In recent years, the Kargil experience with the US has been repeatedly used by those who favour an Indo-US alliance to argue that New Delhi could be a strategic beneficiary of any such alliance.

Clinton’s book reveals that the US was unwilling — at least at that stage — to do anything beyond what it had already done to help India and that it was Sharif’s desperation for a settlement that forced Washington into the picture. Indeed, Sharif had to force himself on Clinton to make peace with India.

Those who favour an Indo-US alliance also cite the Bush administration’s subsequent pressure on Pervez Musharraf to end cross-border terrorism to argue for such an alliance, though their claims have lately been pricked by Washington’s decision to grant Pakistan the status of a major non-Nato ally.

Clinton reveals in his memoirs that his major consideration in dealings with Sharif was that “I needed his cooperation in the fight against terrorism”, the very same rationale of the Bush administration in support of Musharraf, the author of Kargil.

“Before our July 4 meeting”, writes Clinton, “I had asked Sharif on three occasions for help in apprehending Osama bin Laden… We had intelligence reports that al Qaida was planning attacks on US officials and facilities… perhaps in the US as well. We had been successful in breaking up cells and arresting a number of al Qaida members, but unless bin Laden and his top lieutenants were apprehended or killed, the threat would remain.”

Islamists sweep Egypt elections

[The victory of the Egyptian salafists and Islamists represents a victory for Saudi Arabia.  The Saudi counter-offensive to head-off democratic and "moderate Islamist" Arab Spring-type political forces is seeking to recover that which was lost, with the ouster of Mubarak (SEE:  The old Arab system fights back).  It remains to be seen, whether the House of Saud still operates under CIA coordination in these covert moves (SEE: Safari Club ), or whether it is working towards a Middle East Caliphate on its own initiative.]

Islamists sweep Egypt elections

Agence France-Presse
Cairo
Early results from Egypt’s first post-revolution election showed Islamist parties sweeping to victory, including hardline Salafists, with secular parties trounced in many areas. Partial figures trickled in for the areas of the country that voted in record numbers on Monday and Tuesday, confirming earlier predictions that Islamist parties would win at least two thirds of the ballots cast.

In Port Said, the moderate Islamist alliance led by the previously banned Muslim Brotherhood triumphed with 32.5% of votes for parties, while the hardline Al-Nur party gained 20.7%, the state-owned Al-Ahram daily said.

The liberal Wafd party won 14%, while another Islamist party Al-Wassat, which advocates a strict interpretation of Islamic law, recorded 12.9%, according to Al-Ahram.

In the southern Red Sea district, the Brotherhood’s alliance won 30%, while secular coalition the Egyptian Bloc came in second with 15%, said Al-Ahram.

Full results were initially meant to have been published on Wednesday but have been delayed several times. The election commission promised on Friday evening at a chaotic press conference to post them on its website.

There appeared few bright spots for the liberal secular movement which played a key role in the overthrow of the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak in February after an 18-day uprising.

It has since splintered and has been outgunned by the more organised Brotherhood, well known to Egyptians as a result of its decades of opposition to the Mubarak regime and its extensive charitable and social work.

Mohammed Abdel Ghani, a liberal candidate, told the independent Al-Shorouq newspaper that his movement needed to counter Islamist propaganda that “non-Islamist candidates were infidels.”

In Cairo, the rising star of the movement, Amr Hemzawi, won a seat in the upmarket Heliopolis district, but elsewhere leading figures of the revolution were either struggling or had been beaten.

In Tahrir Square, the epicentre of protests against Mubarak, demonstrators had returned last week to protest against the military rulers who took over when the strongman quit but their numbers had dwindled to a few hundred on Saturday.

According to independent daily Al-Masri Al-Yum, no women were elected in the first round, with television presenter Gamila Ismail, actress Tayssir Fahmi and Wafd candidate Nihal Aahdi all eliminated.

Aahdi told the paper that the failure of women candidates was because “religious parties dominate Egyptian society and the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists dominated the results.”

It was only the opening phase of a parliamentary election that is taking place in three stages, but the returns reveal the political trends that will shape the country’s transition to democracy.

For the lower house of parliament, the rest of the country will vote in a further two stages later this month and in January. An upper house will then be elected in another three stages.

Voters are required to pass three votes for members of the new lower house: two for individual candidates and one for a party or coalition.

All but four of the individual contests in this week’s election will go into a run-off scheduled for Monday because no candidate gained an outright majority.

The prospect of an Islamist-dominated parliament raises fears among liberals about civil liberties, religious freedom in a country with the Middle East’s largest Christian minority, and tolerance of multi-party democracy.

Independent Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Abou Ismail told a television interviewer this week that he would prevent “men and women from sitting together in public,” press reports said.

Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, set to form the largest bloc in parliament, have repeatedly stressed their commitment to multi-party democracy and inclusiveness, and have pledged to ensure freedoms.

The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party says it strives for a “civil state, defined as a non-military non-religious state… that respects human rights” according to its political programme.

The Brotherhood and other political parties are expected to face a fierce power struggle with the army to ensure the complete transfer of power to the new civilian leaders.

The FJP has already said it expects to be asked to form a new government to replace a military-appointed administration due to be announced later on Saturday.

Army leaders last month named 78-year-old Mubarak-era politician Kamal al-Ganzuri as caretaker prime minister.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Commentary/2011/Jul-25/The-old-Arab-system-fights-back.ashx#axzz1fVUxmajm