CENTCOM Wants You To Consider Khyber-Pahtunkhawa As “Silk Road” Gateway To Central Asia

KP termed a gateway for Central Asian countries

CentralAsiaOnline.com is a website sponsored by USCENTCOM to highlight movement toward greater regional stability both through bilateral and multilateral cooperative arrangements.

By Zahir Shah

PESHAWAR- Khyber Pahtunkhawa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have a bright future ahead as a gateway to Central Asia and Afghanistan as these countries need this area for access to Indian Ocean for trade and economic activities, experts say.

“KP and FATA are of great interest to the landlocked Central Asian States and Afghanistan for access to the Indian Ocean as the KP provide the shortest access route”, Chief Collector Customs (North) Nisar Ahmad told a seminar on ‘Border Divide and Customs Connects’ in Peshawar January 27 .

He said terrorism has badly shattered the economies of KP and FATA but the future for this region is bright as it would be the hub of an economic boom as an easy access route for Central Asiato Middle East and European Markets.

He said that the government also has a vision for a National Trade Corridor, the Peshawar-Torkham Expressway, the Northern By-pass and agreements with Central Asian countries to facilitate the traffic of goods, people and services in the region.

Emirates Has Security Links with Israeli Private Security Contractors

Emirates ‘has security links with Israel’

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 27 (UPI) — The United Arab Emirates, an economic giant and rising military power in the Persian Gulf, is reported to have discreet ties with private security companies in Israel to protect its oil fields and borders.

The Intelligence Online Web site reports that the country’s Critical National Infrastructure Authority has had business dealings with several Israeli firms since it was established in 2007, even though the emirates has no diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

“Trade between the two countries, principally in the area of security, amounted to nearly $300 million last year,” Intelligence Online reported Jan. 12.

CNIA is based in Abu Dhabi, the main oil-rich emirate in the federation. It’s the capital of the United Arab Emirates and handles the federation’s military and security affairs.

“The Israeli businessman most active in Abu Dhabi is Mati Kochavi, owner of the Swiss-registered company AGT, which sold the emirates surveillance cameras, electronic fences and sensors to monitor strategic infrastructure and oil fields.”

That contract was reportedly worth $800 million.

But these ties may be threatened because of a dispute between Abu Dhabi and Israel’s Aeronautics Defense Systems, founded in 1997 and which has been involved in several international arms scandals in recent years.

An exhibitor demonstrates a United Arab Emirates target-drone for ground artillery practice on the opening day of the Eurosatory international exhibition for Land and Land-air Defene in Villepinte, north of Paris, June 12, 2006. The show is to run until June 16. (UPI Photo/Eco Clement)

This centers on a 2011 deal between CNIA and ADS under which the Israeli outfit would sell the infrastructure authority combat-capable unmanned aerial vehicles like those used against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

But the deal turned sour when it was found that ADS had failed to secure approval from the Israeli Defense Ministry’s military sales division, known as SIBAT, to export the UAVs to an Arab state. The dispute has “infuriated the emirate, which had paid a $70 million advance on the contract,” Intelligence Online reported.   ( read HERE)

Qari Zain’s Abdullah Mehsud Remnants Firing Rockets from Hills On Military Academy At Abbottabad?

[On at least two occasions, the Pak. news has carried reports on Qari Zainullah Mehsud’s relatives and Abbottabad–one report told of Qari Zain’s relatives being relocated there after his assassination (he is buried there), another report revealed that some of them had been arrested from the mountains nearby (SEE:  The Waziristan Sideshow Gets Underway).]

Kakul attack

The phrase ‘getting a rocket’ is a euphemism for a severe reprimand, and it has found both a literal and metaphorical iteration in Friday’s rocketing of the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) at Kakul, Abbottabad. Three rockets fired from Khola Deri in nearby hills hit the boundary walls of the PMA but caused little damage and no casualties. Police sources said a total of nine rockets were fired from several locations and have referred to the recovery of ‘rocket stands’ and ‘cases’. The firing points were as close as 500 metres from their target. Five rockets seem to have landed in open fields and one damaged the upper portion of a house, causing widespread panic among residents of the area. All of this happened in a place which is supposedly the most secure in the entire country, is home not just to the PMA but the Balochistan Regiment, the Army Medical Corps and the Frontier Force Regiment Centre – none of which makes it impervious to attack.

To call this assault something of an embarrassment is a considerable understatement. Let us not forget that Osama bin Laden spent several years living in quiet obscurity within hailing distance of the PMA, so we should perhaps not be surprised that a group of malcontents and ne’er-do-wells are able to set up and discharge rockets in an area which is said to be the most heavily patrolled in the entire country. Admittedly the terrain surrounding Abbottabad is ideally suited to covert infiltration and the mounting of attacks such as this – the hills are heavily wooded and difficult to move around in without an intimate knowledge of the terrain; but even so mounting an attack on this scale is a considerable logistical achievement pointing to an effective command and control structure and a supply of appropriate materiel. The attack also underscores both how limited is the ability even of our most highly trained forces to inhibit or deter terrorist activity; and just how well organised and effective the terrorists are at conducting asymmetric warfare. The fact that there were no casualties and little damage is almost immaterial. Those that set up this attack have proven beyond a doubt their operational potential – they may need to refine their targeting but there is no reason to suspect that they could not mount a repeat performance. They gave us a rocket, a disfavour that might prove difficult to return.

Peshawar Police Foil Someone’s Hideous “Wet Dream,” Intercept Arms Depot On Wheels

Car packed with arms seized, accused arrested

PESHAWAR: The city police here on Sunday foiled a bid of terrorism by seizing huge quantity of arms and ammunition during a successful raid on Inqilab Road and arrested one accused on the spot.

SHO Chamkani police station said that a suspected car coming from Dara Adam Khel in FR Kohat was intercepted on Inqilab Road and recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunitions. The arms include guns, revolvers and rounds etc.

Police arrested accused Taj, resident of Badabair and started investigation.(APP)

Afghan President Karzai Attempts To Preempt “Taliban Negotiations” Sideshow In Qatar

Afghan President Hamid Karzai ‘plans talks with Taliban’

By Quentin Sommerville and Bilal Sarwary

BBC News, Kabul

President Hamid Karzai (27 January)
President Karzai was angered by the Qatar process

The Afghan government is planning to meet the Taliban in Saudi Arabia in an attempt to jump-start peace talks, the BBC has learned.

The landmark meeting will come in the coming weeks, before the establishment of a Taliban office in Qatar, according to Western and Afghan officials.

The Taliban have refused previously to recognise the government of President Hamid Karzai.

Senior officials in Kabul say the Taliban have agreed to the meeting.

The militant group, contacted by the BBC, refused to comment on the move.

The Taliban have so far insisted they would only talk to the US and other allies of the Kabul government.

A senior Afghan government official told the BBC: “Even if the Taliban office is established in Qatar, we will obviously pursue other efforts in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey.”

He continued: “Saudi Arabia has played an important role in the past. We value that and look forward to continued support and contact with Saudi Arabia in continuing the peace process.”

President Karzai was angered by US and Qatari efforts to kick-start the peace process without consulting his government fully.

In December, he recalled the Afghan ambassador in Doha. A delegation from Qatar is expected to arrive in Kabul shortly in an attempt to mend fences.

Prisoner exchange?

As reported by the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, a number of Taliban officials have already arrived in Qatar.

The delegation includes Sher Mohammad Stanakzai, the Taliban’s former deputy foreign minister and Shabudin Dilawari, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Tayeb Agha, a close aide of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

However, details for the establishment of a permanent office have still to be finalised.

Michael Semple, a former EU envoy to Kabul who was expelled in 2007 for talking to the Taliban (SEE:  What exactly were Mervyn Patterson and Michael Semple doing in Helmand?), told BBC radio that the Taliban were “confused by the lack of coherence” between the Afghan government and the international community.

“There’s a risk that the Taliban sit there and think there’s some kind of divide-and-rule going on from the international side… and that actually no negotiated deal is possible and that they are far better off maintaining the coherence of their leadership which at the moment, frankly, looks rather more coherent and united than anything on either the Afghan government or international side,” he said.  (SEE: Dissecting the Anti-Pakistan Psyop)

There are worries that the Taliban are using the political office to raise funds, and as a ploy to buy time before foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

The Shitty Little Zionist Plan To Co-Opt China and Become the Center of the World

“The preferred option was for the work to be done by Chinese state-owned contractors, the ministry’s website says.
“The professional capability of the Chinese companies in the construction of railway systems and transport networks is among the best in the world,” the site quoted transport minister Yisrael Katz as saying.
It said Katz met China’s transport minister in Beijing in September and the two agreed to prepare a joint proposal for the Eilat link.”

Israel plans overland Asia-Europe train route

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP PHOTO/SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/POOL)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP PHOTO/SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/POOL)

JERUSALEM: Israel’s government on Sunday began examining a plan for a rail link between its Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts, offering a new route for Europe-Asia trade that could compete with the Suez Canal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a passenger line through the desert would for the first time put Israel’s southern Red Sea resort of Eilat a two-hour rain ride from Tel Aviv, 350 kilometres (220 miles) away.

“In addition there will be a line for carrying goods from Asia to Europe,” Netanyahu told a meeting of his cabinet. “It has created very great interest in among the emerging powers, China and India, and others.”

He said that new rail and road networks would join the Eilat line to northern Israel and also become “a junction between continents.”

“It is therefore of strategic importance, both nationally and internationally,” he said, adding Sunday’s discussion would be the first of at least two on the subject.

Of the proposals prepared by the transport ministry, the preferred option was for the work to be done by Chinese state-owned contractors, the ministry’s website says.

“The professional capability of the Chinese companies in the construction of railway systems and transport networks is among the best in the world,” the site quoted transport minister Yisrael Katz as saying.

It said Katz met China’s transport minister in Beijing in September and the two agreed to prepare a joint proposal for the Eilat link.

Israeli officials say a so-called “Med-Red” railway could also be used for future exports of gas to India, and possibly China, from Mediterranean fields currently under development.

The two biggest Israeli finds, Tamar and Leviathan, lie respectively about 80 and 130 kilometres (50 and 80 miles) off the northern port city of Haifa.

Tamar is believed to hold at least 8.4 trillion cubic feet of gas (238 billion cubic metres), while Leviathan is believed to have reserves of 16 trillion cubic feet (450 billion cubic metres).

In June, an Israeli company announced the discovery of two new natural gas fields, Sarah and Mira, around 70 kilometres (45 miles) off the city of Hadera further south along the Mediterranean coast.

Someone Kidnapped “Wild Card” Afghan Peace Council Member–“Taliban” Are Blamed

Afghan peace council member kidnapped by Taliban

Mirwais Harooni

Reuters

KABUL (Reuters) – The Taliban have kidnapped a member of Afghanistan’s peace council during a bid to promote talks in the volatile east, underscoring the difficulty negotiators face in winning support for nascent negotiations from the Taliban front line.

Mavlawi Shafihullah Shafih, a low level member of the High Peace Council set up by President Hamid Karzai to liaise with insurgents, disappeared on Friday in the Asmar district of the eastern province of Kunar, authorities said on Sunday.

Shafih, a former education department head in neighboring Nuristan province, had travelled from Kabul to meet insurgents and encourage them to join the peace process after Taliban leaders proposed opening a representative office in Qatar.

“As soon as he left his car Taliban captured him,” said Shahzada Shahid, another member of the 70-member council who had travelled to the Kunar capital of Asadabad in an effort to free Shafih with support from community elders.

Shafih’s abduction comes four months after the head of the High Peace Council, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated by an insurgent carrying a bomb hidden in his turban. The attack wounded four people, including Masoom Stanekzai, head of the council’s secretariat.

It also comes after an offer by the Taliban’s leadership to open an office in Qatar to lay the ground for possible peace talks with the United States and its main allies, including the Afghan government.

Fazlullah Wahidi, the provincial governor for Kunar, said Shafih had been carrying a letter from a senior member of the peace council to give to insurgents in Kunar, which lies along the rugged and porous border with Pakistan.

A Taliban spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Mohammad Ewaz Naziri, the Kunar police chief, said Shafih had not alerted authorities of his visit.

“He went to Asmar without informing us. We don’t know where and how he went missing,” he said.

Two senior council members told Reuters last week that they believed the Taliban were willing to soften hardline ideologies in order to end the war with NATO and Afghan forces ahead of the departure of foreign combat troops in 2014.

But Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, the council’s adviser on foreign relations, said while he saw signs of moderation among the Taliban leadership, a peace deal had the potential to split front-line fighters with more hardline views.

(Editing by Rob Taylor and Robert Birsel)