Regional Scenario: Central Asian ‘Muslim’ states fear Pakistan

Regional Scenario: Central Asian ‘Muslim’ states fear Pakistan

– by Shiraz Paracha

Central Asia’s richest and largest state Kazakhstan is following a strict visa policy for Pakistan and Afghanistan at the same time offering further relaxations in visa regulations to nationals from Western and several non-Western countries.

Pakistan has an image problem in the former Soviet republics. The current floods and the continuing violence has further exacerbated Pakistan’s image. To the people of Central Asia and other countries in the region Pakistan is a trouble spot.

It is an irony that the six “Muslim” Central Asian states prefer to keep a distance from Pakistan despite the fact that Pakistan played a crucial role in their independence.

Following the split of the Soviet Union, Pakistani military generals thought that they would control poor and backward Central Asia. The plan was to bring the six Central Asian states under the Pakistan’s sphere of influence. Time has proved how wrong the Pakistani generals were. In the early 1990s, Pakistan took Central Asia for granted. Islamabad looked down at Central Asian countries. Now it is the other way round. Many Central Asians pity Pakistan. Almost every day, they watch television and realize that Pakistan is home to millions of hungry, poor and helpless people. Central Asians fear that troubles from Pakistan can come into their societies.

Pakistan has cultural and historical links with Central Asia and friendly relations with China. Being a gateway to the Middle East, Africa and East Asia, Pakistan offers excellent economic and trade opportunities to members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Pakistan can be an effective on forums such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Central Asian Cooperation Organization (CACO).

However, despite its ideal geopolitical location and the huge trade and economic opportunities it can offer to Eurasian countries, Pakistan has failed to establish warm relations and build bridges of understanding with the CIS, particularly the six Central Asian sates.

Pakistan has missed several opportunities due to misadventures of the Pakistani generals. Pakistan does not have an effective and successful foreign policy because its military is obsessed with security and the military sets foreign policy priorities. Pakistan’s foreign policy is not formulated by professionals, visionary politicians or intellectuals.

Semiliterate generals and foreign office clerks, who are proficient in English language, control the country’s foreign policy.

It is unfortunate that instead of using innovative and creative ways to develop friendly relationship with the CIS countries, Pakistani missions in the region have been busy in India bashing. Pakistan embassies in the CIS organize Kashmir days and waste money on useless anti-India propaganda not realizing that India had been a Soviet ally and she still enjoys warmer relations with all the 12 CIS member-states, which were part of the Soviet Union.

Many CIS residents resent Pakistan’s role in the 1980s Afghan War against the former Soviet Union and its support for the Taliban regime. Pakistan is perceived as a hub of religious extremism. People in almost all of the former Soviet states lost loved ones during the Afghan War. The common perception is that Pakistan was instrumental in the US proxy war against the Soviet Union.

Later, Pakistan’s support for the Taliban regime created a fear that Pakistan was trying to spread the Taliban brand of Islam to secular societies of the ex-Soviet Union. Such fears led to a negative image of Pakistan among many in the CIS region. The public in countries such as Kazakhstan, Georgia, Ukraine and Russia would like to see their countries modern and secular. Some in the CIS countries may disagree with Western policies and Western values but most want to learn from the West in economic and social development sectors.

Violence and other forms of criminal activity, including drugs and human trafficking, are also associated with Pakistan. The country is seen as an unstable and dangerous place that is home to terrorism and extremism. Businesses and government circles in the CIS, especially Kazakhstan and Russia, the two most important countries in the region, have little understanding of Pakistan and its people.

Unfortunately, Pakistani missions in the region seem to have failed to do the necessary ‘image PR’. Staff of Pakistani diplomatic missions in the CIS region is usually lazy and unhappy. Many Pakistani diplomats prefer to work in Western countries. A posting in the CIS region amounts to a demotion.

Most Pakistani diplomats do not communicate in local languages and some do not respect native cultures. Some members of Pakistani diplomatic missions in the CIS region allegedly promote personal business interests. Some are involved in activities that are contrary to their work.

Last year, I attended a cultural event hosted by the Indian Embassy in Kazakhstan where the Indian Ambassador gave his speech in three languages—Kazak, Russian and English. He impressed his audience. Indian cultural centres are very active in building bridges with the CIS countries.

Turkey is the most active Muslim country in Central Asia. It has invested heavily in infrastructure development, especially in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Another focus of Turkish investment is education sector. Several Turkish universities have opened in the region, while hundreds of Turkish shops, cafes and businesses have been established in Central Asia following the split of the Soviet Union. Growing Turkish influence is vivid in several areas of Central Asian daily life.

Israeli companies are also very active in Central Asia and in other countries of the region. Soon I will write a separate article on Israeli interests in the CIS. Even Iran, too, has cultural centres in important countries of the CIS.

Military generals, policy-makers and some in the Pakistani media still believe that they defeated the Soviet Union and the six Central Asian states owe their independence to Pakistan. It is a dangerous and flawed view that is not based on reality. Pakistan must stop looking down at the CIS countries, particularly at the Central Asian states.

Pakistanis need to understand that in the Post Cold War world, Pakistan has emerged as a state that is epicenter of violence and religious hatred. The public in Central Asia as well as in Russia fear Pakistan. If Pakistan wants to build strong long-term relations with the CIS countries, it must put its own house in order first.  It needs plans to focus on building a softer image of Pakistan in the CIS.

Simultaneously a campaign should be launched within Pakistan about the huge economic potential and strategic importance of the CIS.

Pakistan can also learn from the positive legacy of the USSR to overcome domestic problems. Unlike developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, most of the CIS states have well-developed health and education systems and solid infrastructures such as roads, rail networks and communication lines. The region is also very rich in natural and human resources.

Pakistan can buy cheaper electricity from Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. It is possible to lay power transmission lines between Pakistan and Tajikistan via China. Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan can supply Pakistan with cheap oil and gas products. Pakistan will hugely benefit, if it could provide India with a corridor to import energy from Central Asia. Such measures will bring peace and prosperity.

President Asif Ali Zardari is paying attention to build mutually beneficial relations with Central Asia and China but he has limitations. The military will not allow President Zardari bring long-term changes that might reduce military’s hegemony over foreign affairs.

The military will resist tooth and nail if a civilian government in Pakistan ever tried to provide India with a corridor for importing energy from Central Asia, such a move, though, will be in the best interest of Pakistan and its people. But the interest of Pakistan and the interests of Pakistani military are two different ends of a pole. One can only hope that the military mindset will change.

The relationship between Pakistan and the CIS can be mutually beneficial at other levels as well. Unlike the West most former Soviet states have secular, classless and tolerant societies. Many of these countries also enjoy cultural and social harmony in terms of common language and social bonds among communities. Pakistan can learn positive lessons from the Soviet experience. At the same time, Pakistan, too, has a lot to offer.

If rule of law has been a major strength of Western societies, belief in Eastern and Muslim value systems has saved the Pakistani society from breakdowns. Most former Soviet states no longer have the Soviet time rule of law nor do they have a value system they can draw on to protect their societies. The Soviet value system is fading and there seems to be a value system vacuum in many of the CIS countries, which are now faced with social disorder and chaos.

Pakistan has a wonderful social system based on love, loyalty and respect. Family, community and friendship bonds are central to the social system. Former Soviet society lacks such values and bonds. Promotion of such positive values through media can help create a good name for Pakistan in the CIS.

Art and literature have been very important in Soviet society. Messages through artistic forms can work well in the former Soviet Union. Love, warmth, faithfulness and the sprit of sacrifice in human relations are central themes of Pakistani literature. Pakistani television dramas, novels, poetry and other forms of literature that highlight the importance of family and human connections could have a great effect on public opinion in the CIS. Such a campaign could certainly help improve the image of Pakistan in the Commonwealth.

If Pakistan adopts a long-term public relations strategy of image building, it would bear fruits in other fields as well. But it MUST be based on transparency and honesty.

(Shiraz Paracha is an international journalist and political analyst.
His email address is: shiraz_paracha@hotmail.com

Tajiks Stopped From Traveling To Iran, Pakistan For Religious Courses

Tajiks Stopped From Traveling To Iran, Pakistan For Religious Courses

Many thousands of Tajiks study at religious schools abroad, including at least 4,000 in madrasahs such as this one in Pakistan.Many thousands of Tajiks study at religious schools abroad, including at least 4,000 in madrasahs such as this one in Pakistan.

September 08, 2010
By Farangis Najibullah
Dozens of Tajik students, professors, and scholars were taken off a Tehran-bound plane at Dushanbe’s airport as they were traveling to Iran on various religious education programs, officials in Dushanbe have said.

Officials removed the group from the plane on September 4, but did not publicly comment on the issue until today.

Education Ministry officials said the authorities had acted because they did not have enough information about the aim of the trip to Iran.

Rajabali Sangov, head of the ministry’s department of international relations, told RFE/RL’s Tajik Service that the ministry received a vague letter from the Iranian Embassy in Dushanbe informing them that 71 Tajik students and professors, among others, were traveling to Iran to undergo short-term educational courses.

He said the letter came only the day before the group was planning to get on a flight to Tehran. Sangov said the ministry found out that none of the group had official permission from the relevant authorities to leave their studies or jobs to go abroad.

“If they were indeed going with educational programs, why didn’t they inform the Education Ministry about their plans?” Sangov asked.

“After all, the ministry is in charge of educational matters and projects in Tajikistan. Besides, most of them are students and teachers and they were going away at the beginning of the academic year,” he added.

“They should have informed education officials that they were going to be absent for some time. They were to spend one month in Iran, and we don’t know what exactly they would study there.”

‘Bring Them Home’

It’s not the first time Tajik officials have stopped students from traveling abroad to study at foreign religious schools.

Late last month, the ministry canceled its earlier decision to send 10 Tajik students to Pakistani madrasahs, citing “technical” reasons and a “lack of clarity” in their learning programs.

The moves came days after President Emomali Rahmon urged parents to remove their children from foreign madrasahs.

President Emomali Rahmon urged Tajiks to bring their children home to study.

During a trip to southern Khatlon province shortly before the new academic year started, Rahmon said foreign madrasah graduates could pose security threats to the country.

“We have opened our own religious university, and we prepare our mullahs right here,” Rahmon said, and implored parents to bring any of their children studying abroad home, “otherwise the majority of them would turn into extremists and terrorists in five, 10 years time.”

“They don’t only study religion there,” the president said. “They will come back and create problems for the nation and government.”

Religious Renaissance

People in the predominantly Muslim country have attained considerable religious freedom since the collapse of communism nearly two decades ago.

Tens of thousands of mosques have been built, thousands of Muslims have been given an opportunity to perform the hajj pilgrimage each year, and major celebrations in the Islamic calendar have been approved by the government as public holidays.

At least 20 official Islamic madrasahs and an Islamic university operate in the country. In addition, hundreds more students attend religious schools in countries like Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

However, Rahmon’s secular government has come under criticism in recent years for restricting Islamic practices.

Security and law enforcement agencies have conducted raids on mosques and private houses to prevent mullahs from running unsanctioned religious classes. Officials have outlawed the Islamic head scarf, or hijab, in schools and public offices.

And this week, Tajikistan’s Council of Islamic Ulema, a pro-government independent religious body, urged imams not to call children and students for prayers in mosques.

The council insists its only aim is not to harm school attendance, as some prayers take place during school hours. Yet the call has outraged some imams, who say the authorities are unhappy with the steadily increasing number of children turning up for mosque prayers.

Importing Extremism?

The authorities have repeatedly highlighted the threat of extremism and terrorism posed by graduates of foreign religious schools, notably by those who attend unofficial madrasahs.

Authorities say officially 2,000 Tajiks are studying at foreign madrasahs through educational grants and quotas, and intergovernmental agreements.

But regional media estimate that several thousand more students have been sent privately to foreign religious schools. An estimated 4,000 Tajiks reportedly study in Pakistani madrasahs alone.

Tajikistan’s embassy in Islamabad has repeatedly expressed its concern that some of the students have ended up in underground schools run by extremist groups.

Tajikistan has banned a number of religious groups, including the Salafi movement, which the government claims is being run by foreign madrasah graduates with radical ideas.

Many such graduates, however, insist the authorities’ fears are baseless.

Dushanbe resident Said Muhammad Ghozi says he studied in a madrasah in Pakistan along with his four brothers in the 1990s. Now his sons and several of his nephews study at the same religious school.

“We didn’t study anything remotely radical there,” Ghozi said. “Our educational program solely focused on Islam and also on computer studies.”

Many others in Tajikistan, however, share the government’s concerns.

Abdullo Rahnamo, a Dushanbe-based analyst of religious and social issues, says that unfortunately, there have been real security threats posed by graduates of foreign schools, particularly those who attend underground schools, and promote the ideas of different religious sects upon their return.

RFE/RL’s Tajik Service contributed to this report

Imaginary “Islamist” Group Takes Credit For Tajik Suicide Blast

Islamist group claims Tajikistan suicide blast: website

Wed, Sep 08, 2010
AFP
HANBE – A previously unknown Islamist group claimed responsibility on Wednesday for a deadly suicide car bombing in Tajikistan last month that killed two police officers.

A shadowy group calling itself Jamaat Ansarullah said it had carried out the bombing in the northern city of Khujand as revenge for attacks against Muslims, in a letter posted on the kavkazcenter.com website.

“The operation was conducted in response to the killing and humiliation of our brothers and ordinary Muslims which have taken place outside of this God damned place,” the letter said.

“As a result of the operation, according to our preliminary data, at least 50 apostates have been killed or wounded.”

Kavkazcenter.com, a pro-militant website which often acts as a mouthpiece for statements by Islamist groups in the region, said it received the claim of responsibility in an unsolicited email.

It was not possible to immediately verify the claim.

Late last month a pair of suicide bombers rammed an explosives-packed car into a police station in Tajikistan’s second city of Khujand, killing two and wounding at least 25.

That blast came after Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon sacked his long-time security boss following a humiliating prison break in which a group of 25 Al-Qaeda-linked militants escaped and killed six guards.

Police in Tajikistan, the poorest country to emerge from the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly two decades ago, had blamed both attacks on militants from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

A bombing at a nightclub on the outskirts of the capital Dushanbe this week has further heightened tensions and led to speculation that violence from neighbouring Afghanistan could be spilling across the border.

Tajikistan, where a civil war between Islamist forces and backers of Rakhmon’s secular government killed tens of thousands following the collapse of the Soviet Union, shares a porous 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Afghanistan.

CIA in Honduras: the Practice of Selective Terror

[This is a complete revival of Reagan’s deadly foreign policy strategy of using terrorists and calling them “freedom fighters.”  Sometimes the CIA/Special Forces death squads are called terrorists whenever agency strategists need to invent a new enemy, while they are called “freedom fighters” or “contras,” whenever we need local cover for an invasion.  This is the same strategy now being used in south and central Asia, by both Obama and Putin.]

CIA in Honduras: the Practice of Selective Terror

CIA in Honduras: the Practice of Selective TerrorNil NIKANDROV (Russia)

President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya was displaced slightly over a year ago in a coup staged by the local oligarchy and the US intelligence community. The coup came as a punishment for Zelaya’s alignment with H. Chavez and other populist Latin American leaders. Since the time, the news flow from Honduras abounds with stories of political assassinations, the victims being activists of trade unions, peasant and student organizations, and the National Popular Resistance Front opposing the pro-US regime of Porfirio Lobo. Ten journalists who expressed support for the ousted Honduran president have been killed this year alone.

The most recent case of the type was the murder of Israel Zelaya, 56, who was kidnapped by an armed group which easily crossed by car numerous police checkpoints set up as a part of the security-tightening campaign. The journalist was taken to a secluded location, tortured, and shot two times in the head and once – in the chest.

Dozens of similar incidents show that a program of ”political cleansing” is underway in Honduras. Killers selectively target potential leaders capable of galvanizing protesters. Peasant leader Maria Teresa Flores, 50, was the coordinator of the Council of Peasant Organizations of Honduras and a proponent of an agrarian reform including the abolition of latifundias and the establishment of rural cooperatives. She was kidnapped, and a week later her bullet-ridden body with numerous traces of machete strikes and one hand cut off was found by the roadside in the Comayagua department.

Only a fraction of the cases of political assassinations in Honduras become widely known. The operations are carried out in secrecy by specially trained and lavishly paid death squads staffed by police agents, bandits, and professional killers of Honduran origin or brought in from Columbia. These days, mass graves of opponents of the current regime are discovered in Honduras increasingly often. It is an established pattern that political murders become widespread wherever the US “helps restore democracy”. Berta Oliva, president of the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras, told the media a few days ago about the discovery of another mass grave with the bodies of over 100 people reported missing in June-August, that is, after the coup that propelled P. Lobo to power.

Leader of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP) Carlos H. Reyes charges that the decisions to kill opposition leaders are made at the top level of the Honduran administration with direct involvement of key US Embassy officers. It is no overstatement considering that preemptive terror implemented by the state is a practice openly endorsed by Washington. Invoking cases of assassinations of foes of the US in Asia and Africa, The New York Times maintained on August 15 that the geography and scale of the CIA secret wars “against terrorists” expanded under B. Obama compared to what the agency was allowed to do under G. Bush. The article contained no mentioning of the assassinations in Latin America, but it is an open secret that CIA operations targeting the regimes unfriendly to the US in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador are at full swing. Serious efforts are being made to strengthen the subversive terrorist networks in the above countries where agents are receiving intense on-site training.

Fighting against the Central American insurgencies and guerrilla groups in the 1960ies – 1980ies, the Pentagon and the US intelligence community developed efficient approaches of the “struggle against terror”. Priority used to be given to decapitating the groups and neutralizing their support bases. In that epoch, peasants and Indians were routinely intimidated, forced to flee or even killed en masse in the regions of heightened guerrilla activity. The methods were later borrowed by the Columbian army and applied under the guidance of US advisers in the country’s internal conflict to undermine the potentials of FARC and ELN. So far there are no guerrilla groups in Honduras, and the Honduran administration noiselessly relies on the omnipresent death squads – which act under the US Embassy staff’s supervision – to bleed the opposition.

The bloated US mission in Tegucigalpa functions as a de facto parallel Honduran government, largely overshadowing the official one. US ambassador Hugo Llorens appointed under G. Bush is artistically playing the role of an honest diplomat totally uninvolved in the coup that led to the ouster of the legitimate president of Honduras. Llorens can count on Lobo’s understanding as the new Honduran president is highly receptive to Washington’s initiatives and readily distances himself from the Latin American populist regimes. And, of course, Lobo rejects the ALBA integration project and H. Chavez’s “XXI century socialism” and – for Washington’s peace of mind – even shies away from discount energy deals with Venezuela, the resulting damage suffered by the Honduran economy notwithstanding.

US military diplomats – Defense Attaché Colonel Robert W. Swisher, Special Tactics Group commander Colonel Kenneth F. Rodriguez, Palmerola Airbase liaison officer Steve Argenthal, and others – are known to contribute a lot to the governance in Honduras. Several dozens of US military intelligence officers are spying on the Honduran National Popular Resistance Front jointly with other US intelligence community staff operating under the cover of the US Embassy, the Peace Corps, DEA, etc. The CIA station in Honduras headed by US Embassy political counselor Silvia Eiriz is at the helm of the activity.

There are obvious reasons behind Washington’s involvement in the Honduran crisis. Toppling Zelaya stopped the drift of Honduras towards a strategic alliance with the Latin American populist regimes, but the intensifying resistance mounted by the supporters of the ousted president is likely to confront Lobo’s administration with serious problems. Zelaya’s Patriotic Alternative and the threat of nation-wide strikes highlight the ineptitude of the current Honduran government.

For Washington, the return of Zelaya would mean a new headache. Secretary General of the Organization of American States Jose Miguel Insulza hopes to see Zelaya reinstated to prevent the emergence of a precedent allowing rightists to throw a legitimate president out of his own country. Zelaya is doing what he can to stage a comeback: he submits appeals to Honduran media nearly on a daily basis calling for unity of protesters and disproving the allegations leveled at him by the US media.

At the moment the official and the shadow administrations of Honduras are bombarding Zelaya with charges. Allegedly, he misappropriated millions of dollars handed out to Honduras by Venezuela as economic aid. There is no clarity what happened to his personal presidential Lexus and to portions of the budget of his administration. Zelaya is aware that in the case of his return to Honduras he will have to defend himself in court.

The surge of terror in Honduras is also a factor Zelaya has to reckon with. He is the number one target for the death squads, and threats are relayed to him via various channels that going back home would be a major risk.

At present Zelaya has the guest status in the Dominican Republic. For Washington, the optimal scenario would be Zelaya’s consent to stay where he is – at the fancy La Romana resort frequented by millionaires and pop idols. Zelaya does not give in, though, keeps in touch with the populist leaders, and ignores Washington’s displeasure. With Chavez’s help, Zelaya became the Petrocaribe coordinator responsible for safeguarding independence and democracy. Holding the post makes it easier for him to travel around the region and to promote the National Popular Resistance Front.

CIA agents in the Dominican Republic are watching Zelaya day and night, sending reports with details of his meetings, phone calls, and e-mails to Langley. The US Embassy’s political section – A. Margulis, T. Fitzgibbons, and A. Norman – put collecting information about Zelaya and about his contacts with Chavez high on their agenda. Zelaya is surrounded by CIA agents and sophisticated surveillance systems, and the Dominican police readily shares information with the US. Chief of Dominican police Gen. R.G. Gusman is regarded by the CIA as a partner and enjoys the agency’s sponsorship. In a couple of decades, journalists will probably unearth facts about the CIA personal donations to Gen. Gusman. Some findings are already in the media: the police will get $3m to fight drug trafficking and other types of crime plus $250,000 to buy computers and various equipment.

The CIA would readily dispense with even greater sums of money to make sure Zelaya is debarred from Honduras. The US double standards in countering terrorism are common knowledge, and for Washington wars and provocations are acceptable instruments in political games. Most likely Zelaya has already got a Black Spot from the CIA and a team of cleaners is waiting for the moment…

Task Force 373 – The One Death Squad We Admit To

Afghanistan war logs: Task Force 373 – special forces hunting top Taliban

Previously hidden details of US-led unit sent to kill top insurgent targets are revealed for the first time

US soldiers pursue militants in Helmand provinceUS soldiers pursue militants in Helmand province. The shadowy Task Force 373 meanwhile focuses its efforts on more than 2,000 senior Taliban figures on a target list. Photograph: Adrees Latif/ReutersThe Nato coalition in Afghanistan has been using an undisclosed “black” unit of special forces, Task Force 373, to hunt down targets for death or detention without trial. Details of more than 2,000 senior figures from theTaliban and al-Qaida are held on a “kill or capture” list, known as Jpel, the joint prioritised effects list.

In many cases, the unit has set out to seize a target for internment, but in others it has simply killed them without attempting to capture. The logs reveal that TF 373 has also killed civilian men, women and children and even Afghan police officers who have strayed into its path.

The United Nations’ special rapporteur for human rights, Professor Philip Alston, went to Afghanistan in May 2008 to investigate rumours of extrajudicial killings. He warned that international forces were neither transparent nor accountable and that Afghans who attempted to find out who had killed their loved ones “often come away empty-handed, frustrated and bitter”.

Now, for the first time, the leaked war logs reveal details of deadly missions by TF 373 and other units hunting down Jpel targets that were previously hidden behind a screen of misinformation. They raise fundamental questions about the legality of the killings and of the long-term imprisonment without trial, and also pragmatically about the impact of a tactic which is inherently likely to kill, injure and alienate the innocent bystanders whose support the coalition craves.

On the night of Monday 11 June 2007, the leaked logs reveal, the taskforce set out with Afghan special forces to capture or kill a Taliban commander named Qarl Ur-Rahman in a valley near Jalalabad. As they approached the target in the darkness, somebody shone a torch on them. A firefight developed, and the taskforce called in an AC-130 gunship, which strafed the area with cannon fire: “The original mission was aborted and TF 373 broke contact and returned to base. Follow-up Report: 7 x ANP KIA, 4 x WIA.” In plain language: they discovered that the people they had been shooting in the dark were Afghan police officers, seven of whom were now dead and four wounded.

The coalition put out a press release which referred to the firefight and the air support and then failed entirely to record that they had just killed or wounded 11 police officers. But, evidently fearing that the truth might leak, it added: “There was nothing during the firefight to indicate the opposing force was friendly. The individuals who fired on coalition forces were not in uniform.” The involvement of TF 373 was not mentioned, and the story didn’t get out.

However, the incident immediately rebounded into the fragile links which other elements of the coalition had been trying to build with local communities. An internal report shows that the next day Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Phillips, commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, took senior officers to meet the provincial governor, Gul Agha Sherzai, who accepted that this was “an unfortunate incident that occurred among friends”. They agreed to pay compensation to the bereaved families, and Phillips “reiterated our support to prevent these types of events from occurring again”.

Yet, later that week, on Sunday 17 June, as Sherzai hosted a “shura” council at which he attempted to reassure tribal leaders about the safety of coalition operations, TF 373 launched another mission, hundreds of miles south in Paktika province. The target was a notorious Libyan fighter, Abu Laith al-Libi. The unit was armed with a new weapon, known as Himars – High Mobility Artillery Rocket System – a pod of six missiles on the back of a small truck.

The plan was to launch five rockets at targets in the village of Nangar Khel where TF 373 believed Libi was hiding and then to send in ground troops. The result was that they failed to find Libi but killed six Taliban fighters and then, when they approached the rubble of a madrasa, they found “initial assessment of 7 x NC KIA” which translates as seven non-combatants killed in action. All of them were children. One of them was still alive in the rubble: “The Med TM immediately cleared debris from the mouth and performed CPR.” After 20 minutes, the child died.

Children

The coalition made a press statement which owned up to the death of the children and claimed that troops “had surveillance on the compound all day and saw no indications there were children inside the building”. That claim is consistent with the leaked log. A press release also claimed that Taliban fighters, who undoubtedly were in the compound, had used the children as a shield.

The log refers to an unnamed “elder” who is said to have “stated that the children were held against their will” but, against that, there is no suggestion that there were any Taliban in the madrasa where the children died.

The rest of the press release was certainly misleading. It suggested that coalition forces had attacked the compound because of “nefarious activity” there, when the reality was that they had gone there to kill or capture Libi.

It made no mention at all of Libi, nor of the failure of the mission (although that was revealed later by NBC News in the United States). Crucially, it failed to record that TF 373 had fired five rockets, destroying the madrasa and other buildings and killing seven children, before anybody had fired on them – that this looked like a mission to kill and not to capture. Indeed, this was clearly deliberately suppressed.

The internal report was marked not only “secret” but also “Noforn”, ie not to be shared with the foreign elements of the coalition. And the source of this anxiety is explicit: “The knowledge that TF 373 conducted a HIMARS strike must be protected.” And it was. This crucial fact remained secret, as did TF 373’s involvement.

Again, the lethal attack caused political problems. The provincial governor arranged compensation and held a shura with local leaders when, according to an internal US report, “he pressed the Talking Points given to him and added a few of his own that followed in line with our current story”. Libi remained targeted for death and was killed in Pakistan seven months later by a missile from an unmanned CIA Predator.

In spite of this tension between political and military operations, TF 373 continued to engage in highly destructive attacks. Four months later, on 4 October, they confronted Taliban fighters in a village called Laswanday, only 6 miles from the village where they had killed the seven children. The Taliban appear to have retreated by the time TF 373 called in air support to drop 500lb bombs on the house from which the fighters had been firing.

The final outcome, listed tersely at the end of the leaked log: 12 US wounded, two teenage girls and a 10-year-old boy wounded, one girl killed, one woman killed, four civilian men killed, one donkey killed, one dog killed, several chickens killed, no enemy killed, no enemy wounded, no enemy detained.

The coalition put out a statement claiming falsely to have killed several militants and making no mention of any dead civilians; and later added that “several non-combatants were found dead and several others wounded” without giving any numbers or details.

This time, the political teams tried a far less conciliatory approach with local people. In spite of discovering that the dead civilians came from one family, one of whom had been found with his hands tied behind his back, suggesting that the Taliban were unwelcome intruders in their home, senior officials travelled to the stricken village where they “stressed that the fault of the deaths of the innocent lies on the villagers who did not resist the insurgents and their anti-government activities … [and] chastised a villager who condemned the compound shooting”. Nevertheless, an internal report concluded that there was “little or no protest” over the incident.

Concealment

The concealment of TF 373’s role is a constant theme. There was global publicity in October 2009 when US helicopters were involved in two separate crashes in one day, but even then it was concealed that the four soldiers who died in one of the incidents were from TF 373.

The pursuit of these “high value targets” is evidently embedded deep in coalition tactics. The Jpel list assigns an individual serial number to each of those targeted for kill or capture and by October 2009 this had reached 2,058.

The process of choosing targets reaches high into the military command. According to their published US Field Manual on Counter Insurgency, No FM3-24, it is policy to choose targets “to engage as potential counter-insurgency supporters, targets to isolate from the population and targets to eliminate”.

A joint targeting working group meets each week to consider Target Nomination Packets and has direct input from the Combined Forces Command and its divisional HQ, as well as from lawyers, operational command and intelligence units including the CIA.

Among those who are listed as being located and killed by TF 373 areShah Agha, described as an intelligence officer for an IED cell, who was killed with four other men on 1 June 2009; Amir Jan Mutaki, described as a Taliban sub-commander who had organised ambushes on coalition forces, who was shot dead from the air in a TF 373 mission on 24 June 2009; and a target codenamed Ballentine, who was killed on 16 November 2009 during an attack in the village of Lewani, in which a local woman also died.

The logs include references to the tracing and killing of other targets on the Jpel list, which do not identify TF 373 as the unit responsible. It is possible that some of the other taskforce names and numbers which show up in this context are cover names for 373, or for British special forces, 500 of whom are based in southern Afghanistan and are reported to have been involved in kill/capture missions, including the shooting in July 2008 of Mullah Bismullah.

Some of these “non 373” operations involve the use of unmanned drones to fire missiles to kill the target: one codenamed Beethoven, on 20 October 2008; one named Janan on 6 November 2008; and an unnamed Jpel target who was hit with a hellfire missile near Khan Neshin on 21 August 2009 while travelling in a car with other passengers (the log records “no squirters [bodies moving about] recorded”).

Other Jpel targets were traced and then bombed from the air. One,codenamed Newcastle, was located with four other men on 26 November 2007. The house they were in was then hit with 500lb bombs. “No identifiable features recovered,” the log records.

Two other Jpel targets, identified only by serial numbers, were killed on 16 February 2009 when two F-15 bombers dropped four 500lb bombs on a Jpel target: “There are various and conflicting reports from multiple sources alleging civilian casualties … A large number of local nationals were on site during the investigation displaying a hostile attitude so the investigation team did not continue sorting through the site.”

One of the leaked logs contains a summary of a conference call on 8 March 2008 when the then head of the Afghan National Directorate of Security, Amrullah Saleh, tells senior American officers that three named Taliban commanders in Kapisa province are “not reconcilable and must be taken out”. The senior coalition officer “noted that there would be a meeting with the Kapisa NDS to determine how to approach this issue.”

It is not clear whether “taken out” meant “killed” and the logs do not record any of their deaths. But one of them, Qari Baryal, who was ranked seventh in the Jpel list, had already been targeted for killing two months earlier.

On 12 January 2008, after tracking his movements for 24 hours, the coalition established that he was holding a large meeting with other men in a compound in Pashkari and sent planes which dropped six 500lb bombs and followed up with five strafing runs to shoot those fleeing the scene.

The report records that some 70 people ran to the compound and started digging into the rubble, on which there were “pools of blood”, but subsequent reports suggest that Baryal survived and continued to plan rocket attacks and suicide bombings.

Numerous logs show Jpel targets being captured and transferred to a special prison, known as Btif, the Bagram Theatre Internment Facility. There is no indication of prisoners being charged or tried, and previous press reports have suggested that men have been detained there for years without any legal process in communal cages inside vast old air hangars. As each target is captured, he is assigned a serial number. By December 2009, this showed that a total of 4,288 prisoners, some aged as young as 16, had been held at Btif, with 757 still in custody.

Who are TF373?

The leaked war logs show that Task Force 373 uses at least three bases in Afghanistan, in Kabul, Kandahar and Khost. Although it works alongside special forces from Afghanistan and other coalition nations, it appears to be drawing its own troops from the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and to travel on missions in Chinook and Cobra helicopters flown by 160th special operations aviation regiment, based at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia.

Parisienne Penshioners March Against Planned Cuts

PARIS – Agence France-Presse
French Labour minister Eric Woerth is pictured prior to an interview during the French television channel TF1 evening news on Tuesday. Between 2.5 million and three million strikers turned out on Tuesday to march in rallies across France. AFP photo
French Labour minister Eric Woerth is pictured prior to an interview during the French television channel TF1 evening news on Tuesday. Between 2.5 million and three million strikers turned out on Tuesday to march in rallies across France. AFP photo

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday prepared his response to a national day of protest that saw more than a million workers march in the streets against his plan to raise the retirement age.

Sarkozy says he is open to tweaking his proposed legislation, currently before parliament, but has vowed to stand firm on the bill’s key element – the raising of the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62, his biggest reform priority as he eyes re-election in 2012.

As he prepared for a cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon at which he was due to give a response to Tuesday’s protests, labor unions were also planning to meet to decide their next move.

Unions have vowed further action if he does not bend and the political opposition raised the pressure on him on Wednesday.

“The government must start again from scratch with this reform, which is both unjust and ineffective,” the leader of the main opposition Socialists, Martine Aubry, told France 2 television.

She added that “the president of the republic must listen” to the protestors, whose numbers were estimated at 1.12 million nationwide by the interior ministry and at more than 2.5 million by labor leaders.

This topped a similar protest on June 24, when police said 800,000 marched and the unions two million.

Tumultuous session

As the protests rumbled on Tuesday, the bill was presented to a stormy session in parliament, greeted with angry exchanges between the opposition and Sarkozy’s right-wing support.

Aubry on Wednesday called on them to “halt the parliamentary debate” while counter-proposals by unions and the opposition are heard.

Bernard Thibault, the head of the CGT union, told television station TF1 on Tuesday that the demonstration would force the government to rethink.

“Millimeter by millimeter, things are moving,” he said.

Some critics of the reform however were pessimistic about the chances of forcing Sarkozy to back down. The leader of the FO union Jean-Claude Mailly told France Info radio on Wednesday he had “not many illusions.”

The government says the reform can save 70 billion euros ($90 billion) by 2030 at a time when France’s public deficit, at around eight percent of GDP, is well above the eurozone target of three percent.

At 62, the minimum retirement age would still be well under the average of around 64 in the OECD group of wealthy democracies, despite France having one of the world’s longest life expectancies.

But French workers also pay high social charges on their salaries, and on an hour-by-hour basis are among the world’s most productive.

Sarkozy has been weakened by a summer of scandal and his personal approval rating – around 34 percent according to several polls – is at an all-time low, two years before the 2012 presidential election.

tajik kingpin

[SEE: Russia detains fugitive Tajik businessman]

In the remand Khujand beaten suspect

In the remand Khujand beaten suspect

September 29, 2008
Akmal Mirzoyev

Voice of Freedom, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

In the remand prison in Khujand (northern Tajikistan) took place the next beating of a suspect – Tolib Juraev was brutally beaten by jail.According to his wife, before she was on a date with her husband and gave him 100 Somoni (about $ 30) and supposedly this circumstance gave rise to severe beatings.

Meanwhile, a well-known that the employees themselves SIZO secret from each other, but very willing to take money from the prisoners, bringing them food, cigarettes, clothing, bedding and even alcohol and drugs. And the sin of the prisoner is not that big, given the severe conditions of detention in such institutions in Tajikistan.

Tolib Juraev have a sibling Nizomu Djuraeva, more recently, a very wealthy and influential man Sughd region of Tajikistan. Down below was the director general Dzhuraev Isfarin chemical plant “Kimie” while the owner and head of several commercial enterprises. Along with this he was deputy chairs Sogd regional Majlis (local parliament).

Earlier this year, prosecutors field he was charged with stealing 400 thousand TJS, as well as creating a criminal group who performed a number of years for criminal acts. This caused a considerable stir the public opinion of the country and, as usual, divided.Some argued that the easy money and power had turned his head N. Dzhurayev and he’s really a criminal; some have argued that someone jealous of his wealth and influence, and “sewed” it to yourself to take someone else’s property. It is obvious that the truth lies somewhere in between, because stealing is not always alone, and, perhaps, thread investigation will lead to his accomplices.Therefore, usually in such situations turns out that one does who has more rights. Or money.

In June this year for the next session of the Regional People’s Deputies Sugd with Nizom Dzhuraeva were removed elected position and, accordingly, he lost his parliamentary immunity. The consequences of such an act are clear – for them was to follow the arrest and detention, investigation, lengthy confinement in a detention facility, which can cost a minimum, health, and for many people – and life itself. To live up to the court, and most importantly, to prove there innocence or at least to punish only for their own, and not someone else’s crime, not far from all.

N. Juraev did not wait for developments on the script of law enforcement agencies and promptly and completely disappeared without a trace from the investigation. Procurator of the case were numerous arrests. From prosecutors to obtain reliable information could not be, but popular rumor claims that arrested nearly 20 people, whose number fell, and the brother of ex-deputy Tolib Juraev.

At present, this case is considered in Sughd Assize Court and the defendants held about 35 defendants. Ill-treatment of prisoners demonstrated in this case. Counsel Tolib Dzhurayev known lawyer who has legal practice not only in Tajikistan, but also outside it, Solidzhon Juraev, seeing the deplorable state of his client, called an ambulance and secured the withdrawal of forensic examination.

How to tell family Tolib Juraeva, materials of the beating is currently sent to the prosecutor Sughd.

China Plan to Link Middle East to Central Asia to Beijing by Railway Begins in Iran

China Plan to Link Middle East to Central Asia to Beijing by Railway Begins in Iran

Lawrence Mijares – AHN News Contributor

Tehran, Iran (AHN) – Chinese Transport Minister Liu Zhijun is expected to visit Iran Sunday to sign a $2 billion contract to build a 360-mile-long railway linking key Iranian destinations that could later join to existing Iraq and Syrian railway networks and extending to the Mediterranean Sea.

Iran is forging ties with neighbors such as Tajikistan, Iran and Afghanistan as a strategy to rebuild itself as a trade center, ultimately forging a regional alliance that could support it against NATO countries.

  • The railway route, ending near the border of Iraq, would also benefit 5,000 Iranians who make daily pilgrimages to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq.

    Nicklas Swantrom, executive director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University, observed that the project would also greatly benefit China. “It also makes political sense, because while technically the U.S., Europe or Russia could block China’s sea routes, it would also have a land route. And by tying your neighbor’s infrastructure to you, it brings them closer.”

  • China Building Railway to Iran

    China to build $2bn railway for Iran

    China is poised to sign a $2bn (£1.3bn) deal to build a railway line in Iran in the first step of a wider plan to tie the Middle East and Central Asia to Beijing.

    By Malcolm Moore in Shanghai

    Tibet train - China to build $2bn railway for Iran

    The Chinese have already built a railway line serving Tibet, above, and now plan a modern variant on the old ‘Silk Road’ through Central Asia Photo: AP

    China’s railways minister, Liu Zhijun, is expected to visit Tehran this week to seal the deal, according to his Iranian counterpart, Hamid Behbahani.

    “The final document of the contract has already been signed with a Chinese company and the Chinese minister will visit Iran on September 12 to ink the agreement,” said Mr Behbahani.

    The new line will run from Tehran to the town of Khosravi on the border with Iraq, around 360 miles as the crow flies, passing through Arak, Hamedan and Kermanshah.

    Eventually, the Iranian government said, the route could link Iran with Iraq and even Syria as part of a Middle-Eastern corridor. That could also benefit the 5,000 Iranians who make pilgrimages each day to the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in Iraq.

    Nicklas Swanstrom, the executive director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said the contract to build the line was the first step for China to build an entire rail infrastructure for central Asia.

    “It makes sense that if you build railways in Iran, you then get deals to stretch the lines into central Asia,” he said, referring to a “very concrete plan” to run a railway from Iran through the landlocked countries of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and eventually to Kashgar in China, in a modern “silk route”.

    That line would give the central Asian states vital access to Iran’s port of Chahbahar on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and could also eventually give China a vital overland freight route to Europe.

    “For China, it could cut the cost of transporting goods to Europe by 5pc or 6pc,” said Professor Swanstrom.

    “It also makes political sense, because while technically the US, Europe or Russia could block China’s sea routes, it would also have a land route. And by tying your neighbour’s infrastructure to you, it brings them closer,” he added. “It decreases Russia’s influence in the region, and definitely decreases the influence of the US and Europe.”

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, raised the idea of the new railway earlier this year at a summit in Tehran.

    Transport ministers from Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran are expected to gather in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital formerly known as Stalinabad, next month to firm up a deal for a 1,225-mile route. The Asian Development Bank is funding a feasibility study for the project.

    Iran is determined to forge tighter links with its neighbours, and rebuild itself as a trade hub, in order to build a regional alliance that would support it against Nato countries.

    At the beginning of last month, Mr Ahmadinejad said Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Iran should join forces to become “an obstacle” to Western influence in the region.

    Iran has pointedly not signed up to European Union plans for a trade corridor through Europe, the Caucasus and Asia, and has instead busied itself with bilateral agreements with its neighbours. Reza Rahimi, the Iranian vice-president, has promised to cut freight times between Europe and China from two months by sea to 11 days by land.

    In addition, the current sanctions on Iran allow China, which relies on the Persian state for 15pc of its energy needs, to drive a hard bargain on the construction contract for the line.

    China is rapidly expanding its own high-speed rail network and has unveiled plans for lines that will connect Beijing with London, both through Russia and through central Asia.

    China Railway Group, the largest railway construction company, has also recently revealed it has had “early stage contact” with South African companies about undertaking rail projects in South Africa.

    Ayni Air Base Opens After India Renovates It With American Money

    President inaugurates renovated Ayni airfield


    03.09.2010 15:44

    Author: Avaz Yuldoshev

    DUSHANBE, September 3, 2010, Asia-Plus — On Friday September 3, President Emomali Rahmon attended an official ceremony of opening of the renovated Ayni airfield belonging to the Ministry of Defense (MoD).

    The Ayni airfield is located in Hissar district, just some ten kilometers west of Dushanbe.  It was used as a military base during the Soviet era, but its infrastructure has deteriorated significantly since then.  The airfield was renovated in mid 2000s under financial support and technical assistance of India.

    According to presidential press service, some 70 million

    Former Guantanamo Inmate “al Qaida” Enjoyed Special Privileges

    [Ibrohim Nasriddinov, one of the former Guantanamo inmates and escape ringleader merited easy life in hold area.  Unexplained quantity of arms and camo uniforms provided cover after escape.  This guy smells like CIA.]

    MoJ penitentiary department questions guarding safety system of GKNB-run detention center


    31.08.2010 12:56

    Author: Nargis Hamroboyeva

    DUSHANBE, August 31, 2010, Asia-Plus  — Yoqub Salimov and Ghaffor Mirzoyev are being held at the pretrial detention facility run by the penitentiary department of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and they could not join the prison escapees even if they wished, a reliable source at the MoJ penitentiary department said in an exclusive interview with Asia-Plus.

    We will recall that Yoqub Salimov was once Tajikistan’s interior minister, ambassador to Turkey, and chairman of the state customs committee.  He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in April 2005.  After a five-month trial, the Supreme Court found Salimov guilty of treason, banditry, and abuse of office.

    Lieutenant-General Ghaffor Mirzoyev, once the former commander of the 3,000-strong Presidential Guard and the former head of the Drug Control Agency, was jailed for life in August 2006 on charges ranging from tax evasion, corruption, abuse of power, plotting a coup and the murder of a police officer in 1998.

    The source noted one of prison break masterminds, Ibrohim Nasriddinov, who is also known as Qori Ibrohim, was transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Tajikistan in March 2007.  In March 2007, he was sentenced to 23 years in prison on murder and weapons charges.  Nasriddinov was accused of supporting Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and receiving terrorist training in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    “Nasriddinov was serving his sentence in a high-security penal colony in Qurghon Teppa, while last year, he was transferred to the pretrial detention facility run by the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) for further investigation,” said the source, “Nasriddinov was considered “privileged” inmate, being given an easy time.  He even could freely move about the pretrial detention facility at night.”

    In any pretrial detention facility, recesses are inside the cells, while in the GKNB-rub detention center they are outside the cells, the source said.  “On the night of August 22-23, Nasriddinov with other inmate, who allegedly had to go to toilet, probably came up to the prison guard on duty and killed him, breaking his hands and legs.  Two other prison guards were severely beaten.  Seizing the keys, the prison break organizers opened all cells but not all inmates joined them.  Only 25 prisoners escaped,” the source supposed.

    He also noted that the penitentiary department of the Ministry of Justice was surprised at availability of a large number of weapons and camouflage uniform at the pretrial detention facility run by the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) that were seized by the escapees.

    “Moreover, the escapees had three hours to shave, freshen up themselves and dress in camouflage,” the source stressed.

    Only three servicemen guarded the GKNB-run pretrial detention facility that night and the escapees easily overcame them, he added.

    Kyrgyzstan Reels From the Stench of Narco-Dollars

    [The biggest drug lords sit in banks and government offices, wherever the drug pipeline flows.  (SEE: Bringing Down the International Criminal Syndicates–Drug Pipelines).]

    Drug trafficing: Kyrgyzstan in ambush

    08/09-2010 12:54, Bishkek – 24.kg news agency , by Alexander ZELICHENKO

    The number of hectares under poppy cultivation as well as drug production is declining in Afghanistan, the reports issued by NATO and international organizations said.

    What is it – a new biological weapon or malicious fungus that struck drug fields? Is it a result of “saffron” projects, when farmers grow a scarce and expensive plant needed for cookery instead of poppy? Or maybe, it is finally yielded results of billion dollars allocated to the economy of Afghanistan!?

    It does not really matter. First of all, as the practice shows, the drug production, figuratively speaking, like overflow water from one vessel to another: if you succeed to combat drug production in one place, it immediately increases in another. It is possible that, Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan may follow Afghanistan’s poppy production way in response to the demands of the drug market.

    Even more, the existing stock potions accumulated Afghanistan, according to experts, may secure current intensity of drug market for 10 years.

    Either way, Kyrgyzstan, due to geopolitical factors and economic nature, continues experience strong negative impact of the Afghan drug trafficking. Moreover, in recent years drug trafficing is becoming more aggressive, emerging as the main source of threats to the gene pool, it feeds transnational organized crime, terrorism, extremism and unprecedented drug related corruption cases. Moreover, it becomes almost the main factor ever threaten the national security of the country.

    However, the abolition of an independent unit to combat drug trafficking of the Interior Ministry of Kyrgyzstan in 2008 and the Drug Control Agency in October 2009 – obviously only exacerbated the situation. Now it does not matter whether this decision was of criminal nature or it was caused by strategic blunders. The fact is that the efficiency of drug trafficing control has been decreased by at least 50 per cent.

    Anecdotal evidence says that “drug lords” rule in Kyrgyzstan (as political scientists and journalists prefer to title trivial drug pushers), and the country has become a de “narco-State”. The hyperbole, replicated by national and international media, demonizes the state causing irreparable damage to the political image of the country on the international arena.

    I remember the slogan replicated not so long ago in Urals, in many cities “City without Tajiks – the city without drugs”. The slogan is dirty and obviously fascist. The same attempts could be traced also in Kyrgyzstan: time after time international conferences focused on polemics of politicians, even among the most high-caliber officials, right up to the heads of parliamentary committees of the State Duma.

    The reason is in migrant workers in Russia (according to some data more than half a million Kyrgyz citizens work in Russia) and the related problems of a criminal nature, unemployment and others. But we must solve them not through the stigma and discrimination of the nation, accusing it of “drug related problems”.

    Let’s be plain, the so-called drug lords have been trying to influence policy and enter into the power structures for many years. Let us recall the series of gang wars of recent years that affected even some of the gods. At that time, political beau-monde went all out to mentioning political background instead of a banal crime.

    But is it only drug dealers, according to rumors, who stand behind the events of April-June 2010? Do they really need such a massive tension and bloodshed?

    During the war of 1990, for example, the “Balkan route” has been completely frozen, which primarily was used for transportation of 80 per cent of opiates to Western Europe. It would seem, no customs or border guards – no problems for drug trafficking! But no. When I was traveling to the Balkans, I clearly understood the reason “why so”.

    … Having investing $ 100 million, a drug lord X brings his heroin cargo to the West. When the cargo enters the war zone, the caravan is attacked and eventually disappears. Then X is conducting its own investigation and discloses the massacre. It was a “warlord” – Y – with fifteen hell-raisers. Later on he invested a few million in “punitive operation”, the drug lord X has cruelly wiped up with them, but tons of heroin as well as millions of dollars have been lost forever. Is it better to use long-punched corrupt drug routes?

    Drug corruption really represents a particular threat. According to the degree of negative impact on the lives of society, this phenomenon is not inferior to drug consume. The effects of heroin could not be seen immediately. Drug corruption also undermines the very foundations of the state already now.

    Security officials are believed to profit from the drug trade – they do not just “protect” drug pushers, they also earn money. They do carry drugs – the notion of “red heroin” (belonging to the law enforcement agencies) has firmly entered the lexicon of local drug addicts. Once brought by corrupt routes, it is sold at dumping prices in Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad cities, shipped to Kazakhstan and Russia.

    As you can see, the situation is complicated. But the mere fact that Kyrgyzstan does not hide it and police colonel, a member of Illicit Drug Trafficking Control has made public statement about it – speaks for itself.

    A Decree of the President of transition period dated 17 August, 2010, on establishment of the State Drug Control Service will deal primarily with international drug trafficking in the country.

    The decision stands high in conditions of severe budget deficits, lack of funds for the reconstruction of destroyed cities. Herewith, the government increases support of the Main Department for Drug Trafficking Control under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

    The tasks for the nearest future are to establish a coordinating body, to develop and adopt a law on counter drug policy that would determine the area of work and the responsibility of every ministry and department involved in drug counteractions, as well as proposing the creation of – Internal Investigations Service on the base of the CSTO Anti-Drug Center. Its task will be to identify corrupt “windows” in the cross-border procedures. Thus, they have already developed a special mechanism for this purpose.

    However, I will not give you the statistics in regard to seizures and detentions. But it suggests that counter narcotic fight continues – only for the first days of September officers seized more than 4 tons of drugs.

    The Government demonstrates serious intentions. Well this sounds encouraging.

    Malik Promises Military Response To Terror In Balochistan

    Malik Threatens to “Crush” BLA, BSO

    The Baloch Hal News

    QUETTA: The Federal Interior Minister, Mr. Rehman Malik, has threatened to take action against the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and the Baloch Students Organization (BSO) using brute force to “crush” those outfits as he held both the organizations responsible for increasing number of target killings in Balochistan.

    Talking to media at Quetta Airport here on Tuesday, Rehman Malik said the government made efforts to prevail the militants in polite manner retraining durable peace and stability. For this purpose the Government had given them opportunities but in vain. Now Government will use force to restore peace in Balochistan because the incident of bomb blasts and target killings increased, he added.

    The Interior Minister argued that the militant organizations like the Baloch Liberation Army and the BSO had taken over the role of democratic political parties disrupting the normal political process in Balochistan.

    Rehman Malik claimed that removal of check posts in Balochistan had caused an increase in arms smuggling to provincial capital. He said that the government did not reverse it decision keeping in view the demands of people of Balochistan. “I have not come here to revive the 21 check posts of Frontier Crops but to decide what to do for revival of the peace process,” the Minister said.

    The Baloch Liberation Army and Baloch Students Organization had replaced of political parties in Balochistan thus law enforcement agencies need to take action against them,” said Rehman Malik. Now government will take tough measures against the militants till the writ of government is restored, the Minister said.

    Rehman Malik has said that he was given a task by Prime Minister to revive peace process in Balochistan like the one in Karachi where according to him peace had been restored. “I have come here to evolve a strategy and use force where needed in Balochistan,” he added.

    He said Lashkar-i-Jhangvi is behind the Quetta and Lahore blasts. It is going to out of control if not crushed immediately. “We have to break up the triangle of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and Al-Qaeda on war footing basis because without this peace can not be restored.”

    The Minister condemned the deadly suicide attack and said investigations are on different angle to establish that who had permitted to change the route of the procession.

    He said he was not against the religious procession. He said it should be downsized as police could not protect a two mile long religious process and every one in the rally.

    The Minister said he will not support a complete ban on the procession personally.

    Interior Minster said he will hold meetings with religious scholars from different schools of thought soon after the Eid and device a strategy to ensure protection of human life and reduce human losses.

    Responding to a query, Malik says “I know all the issues can not be settled by using force but now government is compelled to click this option.” Many people have become victim of target killing now there is need to clean the dirty elements from the society because Balochistan is one of the units of Federation and it was the responsibility of government to maintain order here.

    On another query he said that out come of Aghaz-i-Huqooq Balochistan package was fine and government carrying development activities in this province, “if people have reservation then they must inform the government.”

    UN initiates plan to combat terrorist threats in Central Asia

    English.news.cn
    UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) — To step up efforts to combat terrorism in Central Asia, a UN body tasked with countering terrorism on Tuesday launched a new initiative to strengthen efforts to assist Central Asian countries in their efforts to combat terrorism.

    Currently the region’s five countries, which include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, have been spared large-scale terrorist attacks, Miroslav Jenca, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative and head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), said in a press briefing here.

    But various extremist, terrorist and criminal organizations have the potential to intensify their activities due to instability in the wider region and porous borders through which extremism and criminal networks penetrate the region, Jenca said, noting that the launch of the project is “very timely,” given the proximity of Afghanistan to the region as well as recent events in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

    “Prevention of terrorism in Central Asia is key not only to protecting the well-being of populations and ensuring national and regional stability, it is also a matter of global concern, given that the wider region is fast becoming the main front on the global war against terror,” he said.

    A series of expert meetings will be held in the region in the following months to enhance cooperation and international partnership, which should lead to the adoption of a joint plan in 2011.

    The UN General Assembly will meet on Wednesday to review the UN global strategy to counter-terrorism for the second time.

    That strategy, unanimously adopted by the General Assembly in 2006, focuses on four key pillars of action: tackling the conditions conductive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; building state capacity and bolstering the role of the UN, and ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law against the backdrop of the fight against terrorism.

    According to Geoffrey Shaw of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the current response mechanisms are “well established and robust, but have no room for complacency.”

    “Systems can always be fine-tuned,” Shaw said in the press briefing here on Tuesday.

    “We all know that hard power measures alone have not succeeded to stop terrorist attacks. Now it is particularly imperative that the use of force to fight terrorism should be combined with prevent measures to stop potential terrorist recruitment, training and attacks before they happen,” said Jean-Paul Laborde, chairman of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), who was also present at the briefing.

    Therefore, Laborde asked member states to double their efforts in implementing the strategy, which consists of measures against the spread of capacity building and soft power measures such as political exclusion, education, interested dialogue, socio- economic marginalization, lack of governance, respect for human rights and preventive diplomacy.

    “For the strategy to be implemented successfully it should be well known by all member states in the field which is not the case at this moment,” said Laborde, noting that awareness needs to be spread.

    “The thread of terrorists getting access to using chemical, biological, nuclear weapons is real and immediate,” said Shaw.

    On average the IAEA receives a report every two days of a new incident involving improper use of nuclear or radioactive material, Shaw told reporters, pointing out that access to weapons of mass destruction is frightening, because “if they have it, they’ll use it.”

    Editor: Lu Hui

    Raisani’s Anarchic Balochistan

    The dead body of a senior Baloch lawyer Zaman Marri, who was “kidnapped” on August 19, 2010, was finally found in Mastung district. The family members of the veteran lawyer identified him when his body was taken to the Bolan Medical College Complex in Quetta. Doctors say Zaman had been tortured before being shot at with bullets.

    The Baloch nationalist parties, while strongly condemning the killing of the seasoned lawyer, have held the state intelligence agencies responsible for whisking Zaman away and killing him. A large number of enraged people attended Zaman’s funeral held in Quetta. They directly blamed the government for singling out Baloch professionals and killing them during illegal detention.

    The trend of receiving the dead bodies of the missing Baloch persons is very alarming. More and more missing persons’ dead bodies are recovering with clear signs of torture and brutality on them.

    This perturbing trend has significantly worried the family members of those who have gone missing and nothing is known about their whereabouts yet. The family members fear these missing persons, if not recovered immediately, will also be mercilessly killed.

    Zaman was in fact not an ordinary lawyer. He was already well-known among the lawyers of Balochistan who had been boycotting the courts’ proceedings and observing black days to press the government to ensure his timely release. On the top of it, the Balochistan High Court (BHC), after coming under intense pressure from lawyers’ bodies, took suo moto notice of the kidnapping. Even a suo moto notice did not help in ensuring the kidnapped lawyers’ safety. This particular incident should embarrass the country’s judiciary which is totally powerless before the criminals. The judiciary is unable to press the police and other law enforcement agencies to take timely action.

    Lawyers in Balochistan have recently come under radar of the kidnappers. Previously, a high court lawyer Ifthakar-ul-Haq was kidnapped from Quetta but released by his captors after much struggle. Another lawyer from Khuzdar, Munir Mirwani, is still in the custody of his abductors. These cases have enormously contributed to the sense of insecurity among the lawyers of Balochistan.

    If a prominent lawyer like Zaman Marri, in support of whom lawyers’ bodies and political parties stood and the judiciary took a strict stance, did not return home safely, one wonders what is going to happen to the relatively unpopular missing students and political activists who have “disappeared”.

    It is a great disgrace that all these gruesome cases, which were not even seen during the dictatorial regime of General Pervez Musharraf, are taking place during a democratic government. It is more depressing that the cream of Baloch society is being regularly targeted at a time when Balochs are serving as the governor and the chief minister of Balochistan.

    Besides the greed of power, there is nothing that justifies chief minister Raisani’s continuity in his office. He has proved to be an ineffective administrator. He has become unpopular among the Balochs and the government functionaries. The Frontier Corps (FC) does not either respect him nor does it abide by him. These are simply the visible signs  of Raisani’s unpopularity.

    While taking charge of the office, the chief minister had promised to prioritize law and order. Target killings, sectarian violence and the coldblooded murder of innocent Balochs have become the order of the day. The chief minister is utterly unable to stop these violent cases. Likewise, none of the ministers in his cabinet demonstrates an iota of commitment towards the improvement of the situation in the province.

    That said, the issue of the missing persons is getting worse day by day in remote districts of Balochistan as well. There is no word about the whereabouts of two political activists and one school teacher in Panjgur, who were recently whisked away allegedly by the Frontier Corps (FC) from the district headquarter hospital.

    Balochistan has become ungovernable for Raisani and his cabinet. Governing a province surely does not only mean to issue statements of condemnation and meet delegations at the Chief Minister Secretariat. If the chief minister does not have the ability to meet ever-increasing public expectations, then the best way is to step down and let others serve the province.

    Who are the true patrons of the IMU?

    Who are the true patrons of the IMU?

    In recent months, news reports were increasingly mention IMU – Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. And it was connected with the terrorist attack in the Uzbek Khanabad in Andijan and in particular with more than three months of clashes in the Rasht region of Tajikistan. With someone’s light hand of the Tajik opposition, fighting with the government, both are accused of collaboration with the IMU, as recognized by many countries as a terrorist organization.

    Actually the history of the IMU, its appearance in Tajikistan, and his crimes are known. Clandestine form groups of Islamists from the Ferghana Valley (Uzbekistan’s part of it), we finally organized themselves in Tajikistan due to the fact that the Government, Mr. Rakhmonov does not control its territory. According to one of the leaders of the IMU Tokhir Yuldash “in 1992-1997 IMU in Tajikistan advocated GTR against the Government of Tajikistan, and then because of the departure from jihad and disagreement about reconciliation, dissociated itself from the GRT.”

    However, this does not in any way mean that the IMU detachments peacefully and quietly withdrew from the RT. They stayed and partially remain in the territory of Tajikistan so far. This is evidenced by militant attacks this extremist organization, committed in 1999 and thereafter repeatedly in the territories of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Statements by the Tajik authorities for lack of IMU in Tajikistan can not stand criticism, if only because for all the years of the E. Rakhmon authorities have never controlled the country completely. Even after 2primireniya “in 1997, some regions of the country remained the domain of one or other illegal armed groups.Fresh evidence of this is the situation in Tavildara, as much written about lately.

    Moreover, it is known and that the Tajik authorities are patronized and used the IDE for their own purposes. The same Mirzo Zieev, recently killed in Tavildara, when he was a minister in the E. Rakhmon assisted by detachments of the IMU seized the foreigners as hostages in their acquisition of redemption and the subsequent calm their departure from the scene. From reliable sources it is known that only the Japanese hostages, the militants have 1 million U.S. dollars from the Government of Japan. More militants as it dissolved. This financial makeup, made possible by the mediation Government Minister E. Rakhmonov, perhaps, and later allowed to carry out the IMU militants attacked several villages of the Tashkent region of Uzbekistan. Shortly thereafter, President Laszlo Solyom rewarded Mirzo Zieeva next military rank and retired he had gone already in the rank of lieutenant-general.

    Speaking about the relationship between the IMU and UTO (United Tajik Opposition) can not fail to mention that unlike the IMU, in spite of the ideological hegemony in this union Tajik Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRP), was still part of general relativity has remained more nationalistic and parochial organization than Islamist . The same general rahmonovsky M. Zieev was known for saying “free the Bukhara and Samarkand from slavery” (2).

    According to the Tajik politician Hakim Abdullo Rahnamo “during the civil war in Tajikistan, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan was part of the United Tajik Opposition, but after the peace with the government of the armed forces of the opposition participated in the displacement of the IMU from the territory of our country. For the leaders of the IMU have accused them of deviating from the principles of holy war. ” (3)
    Given the foregoing, it is difficult to assume that the Uzbek and Tajik Islamic opposition to boil in a pot. Rather, the Government of Tajikistan has used, but based on recent events, continues to use those and others for their own purposes. In Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to find any significant number of IMU for a long time and quietly eliminated. These countries are rather rigidly control their territory. This is evidenced by reports of detention, as well as the elimination of militants in the territory of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan in recent months. Penetration of the same fighters in these countries is only possible from Tajikistan or via Tajikistan. Tajik-Afghan border for many years guarded solely by our border guards. Accordingly, if the militants and seep into Tajikistan and later in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, it was only due to “lax” Tajik border guards. Border guards are known, are subject to the Government. That the Minister of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan, July 22, 2009 acknowledged that “because of the difficulties of the relief and long joint borders with Afghanistan is practically impossible to fully control the border with Afghanistan.”

    One can not exclude the fact that the IMU uses drug through Tajikistan to finance and sustain its existence and readiness of their militias, to recharge your weapons.And the availability of this traffic is a testament to incompetence or some benefits of our border guards. Not excluded, and some political sensitivity of this situation. Is not this a sort of imaginary “deterrent”, used Tajik Uzbek authorities against neighbors, hinting at some “experts”? (4). After all, it is no secret of stress and a few zealous attitude of President Rakhmon to neighboring Uzbekistan. Poverty is caused by bad leadership the country Rakhmonov, natural disasters, like the cold, which brought unprecedented deprivation Tajik common people, passing neighbors, perpetual begging “the leader of the Tajik Peace must have its justification. And it is – machinations of the IMU and its allies from among the companions of yesterday and today’s breakaway Rakhmon Tajik opposition. Then what to do with the statement by E. Rakhmon that there is no opposition, and that we are all one people, and that twelve years after the signing of the Agreement on Reconciliation in a country ruled by a spirit of unity and cohesion of the entire nation, all Tajiks? Is not it better instead of the phrase-mongering, expensive costing the treasury, to spend money to strengthen and improve the external borders of the country? Dig a hole to another, as diplomatic as if to say, has always been counterproductive to business. And Tajikistan is so necessary for a stable and competent leadership. Especially now, when people knew the price of words and the true situation in the country.

    PS Recently, an official of the Tajik press notes new roll: the emphasis in covering the events in the Rasht region is now being done on the detected and destroyed by government forces citizens of Russia. What could it mean?

    1. http://www.ozodi.org/content/Tahir_Yuldash. message/1777689.html
    2. http://www.ozodi.org/content/article/1775062.html?spec=3 # relatedInfoContainer
    3. http://www.centrasia.ru/newsA.php?st=l247734080
    4. http://www.centrasia.ru/newsA.php?st=1247775900

    Ahad Jahongir
    djakhongirov@mail.ru

    Russia’s Asian Games

    Asian Games Russia

    Азиатские игры России

    Sergei Yezhkov

    Notes in the margin, which we now propose to the reader, in no case do not claim to political research, especially on clearly and unequivocally expressed in these assumptions. It is rather an invitation to reflect together on the exciting topic by scrolling down to the nuances of the memory of the recent “revolutionary change” in one of the countries of Central Asia, trying to understand their causes, goals and objectives …

    Analyzing the recent events in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, comparing the facts, more and more inclined to conclude that these are links in one chain, and that someone has decided to once again use the post-Soviet Central Asia as a bargaining chip in the global geopolitical game with far-reaching, but not always calculating their consequences. All too conspicuous a certain synchronicity in opposing the government and opposition in Kyrgyzstan, tensions in Tajikistan and the response by the political leadership of Russia.

    Remember, they did not oust Kyrgyz opposition to the south legitimate president, Russia’s prime minister immediately expressed his Government’s willingness to cooperate with the revolutionaries, the de jure coup. It seems that the famous Colonel departments, temporarily change the form of private papers on the dress, at a minimum was initially informed of the impending coup and personalities, it was organized. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain the fatherly tone of prime minister against the conspirators.

    Then came the new series of receptions Kyrgyz leaders in the Kremlin, which resulted in pledges to support the millions of dollars unselfishly passed freedom-loving people of Kyrgyzstan. In this note, in the mouths of Russian leaders have never voiced the slightest reproach counterparts in the illegal overthrow of the government.

    Along with reports of intensified contacts of Russian-Kyrgyz, Russian media, in the zone of influence of the information field which is still in the majority of the former Soviet Union, began to colorfully paint grim picture of the apocalypse of regional significance, predicting imminent collapse of the government in Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Say, the people of those countries, inspired by the example of neighbors, from one day to overthrow the hated their rulers, and will follow the bright path of democratic development. We can assume that journalists are simply used an excuse but it can be assumed and the probability of planned massive psychological attack.

    Then – the active phase of inter-ethnic conflict, is clearly a long time and being prepared carefully from the outside, and not lying in the plane of the real relationship between Uzbeks and Kirghiz, centuries lived side by side. Pogroms, arson and murder in the Osh region of Kyrgyzstan started the last day of the SCO summit, ending in Tashkent. If we assume that Russia’s political leadership was informed of impending coup, it can be concluded that there was known and further “homework” Kyrgyz Democrats, including ethnic cleansing, which under certain circumstances could seriously destabilize the situation in Uzbekistan. This did not happen, but only because in Uzbekistan at that time seems to have calculated such a probability. Hence – immediate response. The deployment of the tent camps in the Fergana Valley for a limited time reception, drawing attention to the conflict of international structures. And that, and another allowed to reduce losses to a minimum the inevitable, and the probability of destabilization – to absolute zero.

    In Tajikistan, outwardly social and political situation was relatively stable. But it looks and it is relative. Without waiting for the implementation of the apocalyptic scenario, and actively pushes in the information space, there were sentenced to long prison terms for the opposition, the official version of Dushanbe, were preparing a coup. Among the prisoners were citizens of the Russian Federation. It seemed that a couple of days and Rakhmon reveal details of the planned, but preventing a conspiracy, calling its specific customers.

    Not disclosed and not named. One day the prisoners escape from detention center in Dushanbe. Escape organized clearly, correctly, as the textbook. By coincidence, in jail escapees found army uniforms, weapons, vehicles, and then freely leave the territory. The political leadership of Russia immediately makes a statement about their willingness to brotherly Tajikistan possible assistance in apprehending criminals. The Tajiks are pretending to believe in the sincerity expressed intentions.

    Dynamics increases. No sooner had the press discuss the details of the escape, as a bomber in the car packed with explosives rammed the police building in Khujand.Then immediately apply a version of involvement in the terrorist act of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan or other dark forces that have set themselves to the violent overthrow of the secular authorities in Tajikistan and neighboring states. Evidence to support that involvement, no. However, the version already thrown and live an independent life. For some reason, to anyone and it never occurs that the bomber could be very far from religious fanaticism. No one in the order of theoretical reasoning does not say that modern technologies of mental processing of the individual, taken up by secret services of some States is quite capable during the day to make a normal person a fanatic …

    But this is not all. Between briefly listed the events in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, third-rate political scientist, whose name anyone says nothing, puts the Internet article that examines a possible power struggle in Uzbekistan in connection with the alleged imminent departure from the political scene of Islam Karimov. Lists the names of the most likely contenders from among the representatives of power structures. In other words, a political scientist, as it brings the reader to think about the imminent change of government in Uzbekistan. Interest is not new, and could not pay attention to another of political delicacies. You can, if it was not the situation, dynamic on the perimeter of the southern borders of the country, causing in Uzbekistan legitimate concerns. However, this circumstance can be regarded publication as an attempt to throwing in the minds of citizens of Uzbekistan the idea of the imminent change in this country. The fact that the analyst is almost unknown, only confirms the assumption.

    A reasonable question: why Russia, in the opinion of the author, more than others may be interested in regime change in Central Asian states that emerged from the post-Soviet space? Why does not the U.S. or supporters of the construction of the Caliphate?

    If we talk about the United States, this country has long developed a reliable mechanisms of interaction with any partner and any modes. In this case, they do not need to change one ruler to another. Of trouble more. As supporters of the construction of the Caliphate, they are likely to reconsider the tactics of combat, focusing on a phased process of religious people and, temporarily abandoning the open armed intervention in the affairs of states in the zone of interests.

    Management of today’s Russia has neither the American experience, or patience supporters of religious form of government. Moreover, for all the 19 years since the Soviet collapse, it has failed to establish reliable mechanisms of interaction with the Central Asian rulers, guaranteeing the sustainability and stability in the region of compliance of Russian political and economic interests. But not the only reason. It seems that the current Russian leaders recklessly identify themselves with the top leadership of the USSR the middle of last century. They are obsessed with the idea of collecting the broken lands of the empire, if not within the boundaries of 1917 but at least partially within 1991.

    Stupidity, absurdity? Maybe so. But do not rule out (and it’s not just my opinion) that in the silence of the Kremlin offices have long developed a plan for “voluntary” reunification of the Central Asian states with Russia. According to the Kremlin, it is probably the weakest link.

    Not sure. Moreover, not sure …