U.S. official summoned after drone rampage over Eid

U.S. official summoned after drone rampage over Eid

ANITA JOSHUA

Pakistan on Thursday summoned a senior official of the U.S. embassy in Islamabad to register its protest over the flurry of drone attacks in North Waziristan right through the Eid holidays.

Since last Saturday — when the festivities began after the month of fasting — unmanned drones operated by the CIA fired missiles on the tribal agency on four days; even attacking the same target twice.

“The U.S. Embassy was today démarched on recent drone strikes in North Waziristan. A senior U.S. diplomat was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and informed that the drone strikes were unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. It was emphatically stated that such attacks were unacceptable,” said the Foreign Office in a statement.

After the first attack on Saturday, the Foreign Office had issued a protest statement. Pakistan has long held that drone attacks are counter-productive and has demanded that they be stopped immediately.

The U.S., for its part, has shown no signs of relenting though its drone policy — particularly stepped up by the Obama administration — has drawn criticism at home also.

With this latest round of drone visits coming at a time when speculation is rife about the Pakistan Army launching an operation against terrorist hideouts in North Waziristan, the probability of the latter is reportedly gaining currency among the locals.

Dawn reported that locals were weighing their options with some already moving to neighbouring Bannu and others shifting to Afghanistan. People in the tribal areas can easily move to Afghanistan by way of a policy of easement rights.

Also, there were reports quoting the spokesman of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as stating that military offensive would start on August 26. He was also quoted as saying that the TTP would counter the offensive. Though the U.S. has been pressuring Islamabad to launch a broadside against the Haqqani network — held responsible for many of the brazen attacks inside Kabul — the general assumption in Islamabad is that the military operation will essentially target the TTP, which has claimed responsibility for many attacks inside Pakistan including the recent breach of the Kamra airbase.

Raymond Davis Assault Trial Threatens To Reveal Contacts With Pakistani Taliban, Lashkar e-Jhangvi

[SEE: Davis had ‘close links’ with Taliban: Report  ;  Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Warned Those Working to Rescue Raymond Davis]

Lawyer Claims CIA Meddling In Agent’s Colorado Assault Case

Raymond Davis in court (credit: CBS)

Raymond Davis in court (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – It was a fight involving two men and a parking space in Highlands Ranch, and now there are claims the CIA wants to end the case before it gets to the courtroom.

Raymond Davis is scheduled to go on trial on assault charges in Douglas County next month. He is the CIA contractor who was held in a Pakistan jail for nearly two months last year. He killed two Pakistani men in what he said was self defense.

The attorney for the victim in the case involving the parking space claims the CIA is now getting involved.

The district attorney’s office adamantly denies it, but the lawyer based in Los Angeles for the alleged victim in the case, Jeff Maes, says the district attorney wants to downgrade the charges against Davis, or perhaps reach a plea deal and believes it’s at the request of the CIA.

After nearly two months in a jail in Pakistan, Davis was freed when some $2 million in so called blood money to the victim’s families was paid for his release. Davis was then acquitted of the murder charges.

“They want to keep out of the public realm exactly who Raymond Davis is,” Maes’ attorney Larry Klayman said.

Davis’ exact role in Pakistan was never made clear. He became the subject of numerous protests and frayed diplomatic relations.

Several months after Davis was free he got into a fight with Maes. Felony charges were filed after it was determined Maes suffered serious injuries.

“My injuries occurred as a result of the assault on Oct. 1.,” Maes said. “I had a lower back prior injury, but not thoracic and the vertebrae in my neck.”

A letter from Maes’ doctor states the injuries were from the fight. It was sent to the district attorney. It’s meant to refute claims by an expert hired by Davis’ side that some of the injuries were pre-existing.

“For the federal government to be pressuring the state to let Davis off light would not only be unfair and not only manifest injustice, I think it would amount to an obstruction of justice under these circumstances,” Klayman said.

Davis’ lawyer told CBS4 he doubts Klayman can substantiate his claims that the CIA is getting involved. The district attorney’s office insists the CIA has not made any attempt to influence any decision in the case or has even contacted them.

25 Shia, Dragged from Another Bus and Executed Near Gilgit

Pro-Taliban militants slaughter at least 25 Shia Muslims in Pakistan 

Heavily armed pro-Taliban militants have shot dead at least 25 Shia Muslims at point blank range after pulling them off buses in northern Pakistan, officials say.

The incident took place in the hills of Babusar Top, around 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of the capital Islamabad.

The buses had been traveling between Rawalpindi and mainly Shiite northern city of Gilgit.

“After checking [their] papers, [the attackers] opened fire,” said Khalid Omarzai, the local administration chief in Mansehra.

Hundreds of Shia Muslims have been killed in various parts of the violence-hit country over the past few months.

The incidents of sectarian violence forced the government to deploy troops and impose a curfew in the northern towns of Gilgit-Baltistan some months ago.

Activists have urged the Pakistani government to represent the will of the Pakistani people by arresting those involved in the recent massacres and ending the curfew in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The country’s Shia leaders have also called on the government to form a judicial commission to investigate the crimes.

The killing of Shias is to such extent that it has caused international outrage, with rights groups and regional countries, including Iran, expressing concern over the ongoing genocide.

Protests against the ongoing brutal massacre of innocent Shia Muslims in Pakistan have been held in countries across the world including the US, the UK, and Canada.

Local sources say thousands of Shia Muslims have been killed in various regions of the militancy-hit country over the past few years.

NK/SZH/JR/IS

The War In Quetta Is A Carbon Copy of the War In Syria

[Quetta has really been under siege lately, or, more accurately, the Hazara (Shia) of Quetta are marked for death and anyone who is near them becomes a target, as well.  The panoramic photo below is what remains of the house of Dr Azam Mengal, located in the Faizabad area of Quetta, after 80 and 100 kg of explosives detonated on his doorstep.  According to the Baloch Hal report below, “Dr Azam Mengal was currently in Dubai, and had rented the house to some people belonging to Noshki.”  Noshki has been the focal point for much of the target killings of Balochistan.

This reported attack is just the latest in a series of bombings directed at the Shia community in Quetta.  Now the Army claims to have foiled an even worse attack on some unspecified target, with the seizure of 12,000 kilos of explosives, 15 suicide vests, RPGs and detonators (SEE: Major terrorist plot foiled by security forces in Quetta).  These attacks are undoubtedly the handiwork of “America’s Islamists” (although they could also be called “Saudi Islamists,” or “Pakistan’s Islamists”), since the Sunni terrorist armies they have trained are the single force that is striving to ignite “Holy War” against the Shiites in the Greater Middle East.  America’s partners in this venture remain the same ones today, who have been killing Shias and other “infidels” in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.]   

click on image for full view

Quetta Blast Kills Five, Injures 11

The Baloch Hal Monitoring Desk 

QUETTA: Five people, including two women and two children, were killed and 11 others were injured on Sunday after an 80kg explosive being driven around by a suspected militant accidentally went off before he could reach his intended target. “We have found a severed head, believed to be of a militant who was killed in the blast,” police officer Mukhtar Ahmed told reporters following the incident that ripped apart a house in the Faizabad area of the provincial capital. “The target was not clear. We have launched an investigation to identify the militant. Police are also interrogating the owner of the house,” he added.

Abdul Razzaq, in-charge of the bomb-disposal squad in Quetta, told reporters that the car was carrying between 80 and 100 kg (180-220 pounds) of explosives. According to police details, the explosion occurred outside the house of Dr Azam Mengal, located on Killi Faizabad, Sariab Road. Following the explosion, flames engulfed and eventually gutted the entire house. Three cars and two other houses in the vicinity were also badly damaged. The 11 victims were shifted to the Civil Hospital and Bolan Medical Complex (BMC) by Edhi ambulances and were identified as Hassan Nasir, Zahid, Bibi Samina, Bibi Abida, Laraib, Zehra, Nadra, Yasin and Shafiullah. According to hospital sources, their condition is said to be critical.

Following the explosion, police and the FC personnel reached the scene and cordoned off the area. DIG Operations Wazir Khan Nassar told reporters that an 80kg explosive in the car had caused the explosion and massive destruction. He added that Dr Azam Mengal was currently in Dubai, and had rented the house to some people belonging to Noshki.

Upon receiving news of the incident, President Asif Ali Zardari strongly condemned the blast and said that such dastardly acts of terrorism would not deter the people’s determination to root out terrorism from the country. The president expressed sorrow over the loss of lives and directed that the best medical care be provided to the casualties.Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and Minister of State for Information Syed Samsam Bukhari also condemned the Quetta bomb blast.

Muhammad Ejaz Khan adds: The powerful bomb blast, which killed at least five persons, including children, on Sunday went off at around 11:50am. The thud of the explosion was heard several kilometres away in the provincial capital. Panic gripped the area soon after the blast, and frightened people could be seen running around after the powerful explosion.

Confirming the number of deaths, official sources said that five persons were killed in the powerful bomb explosion. The condition of some of the injured is stated to be precarious, hospital sources said.

Eyewitnesses told The News that the billowing smoke could be seen following the loud bang of the explosion. Due to the explosion, a portion of the house caved in as well. “I saw nothing but darkness. When I opened my eyes in the hospital, I was being treated,” said one of the injured while talking to reporters.

DIG Police Wazir Khan Nasar confirmed that the explosion had taken place inside a vehicle near the house, and added that police had launched an investigation into the incident. The names of the other deceased are yet to be confirmed because the deceased recently shifted to the house, said police officials. (CourtesyThe News International)

Karzai Government Chews Own Arm Off To Escape American Handcuffs

[There can be no peace in Afghanistan until Pakistan allows it.]

Former Defense Minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak-Creative Commons

Afghan Parliament Questions Defense Failure to Counter Cross-Border Attacks

Ministers blamed for not doing enough to prevent rockets raining down from neighbouring Pakistan.

By Hafizullah GardeshMina Habib –

 

Afghanistan’s defence minister Abdul Rahim Wardak has resigned after parliament called for him to go, along with Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi.

 

Wardak’s announcement on July 7 came four days after legislators passed a vote of no confidence in him and Mohammadi, whose ministry controls the Afghan National Police.

 

President Hamid Karzai said he would respect parliament’s views and remove the two ministers, but he asked them to stay on in a caretaker capacity while he found replacements. Wardak refused to carry on in this lesser role.

 

The two security-sector ministers had faced mounting criticism for their apparent failure to counter cross-border attacks from Pakistan.

 

Rockets continued to fall on the eastern Kunar province throughout July, as senior Afghan officials pointed the finger at the Pakistani military rather than Taleban militants, saying that only Islamabad had access to the munitions used.

 

Pakistan has denied the allegation, while the United States Defence Department and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, have indicated that insurgents may be to blame.

 

On July 20, rockets killed three men and a woman in Kunar province, according to the Afghan foreign ministry. On July 22 and 23, nearly 400 rockets were fired from Pakistani territory into Kunar’s Dangam district. More have fallen since.

 

Kabul has previously threatened to refer Islamabad to the United Nations Security Council if the bombardment, which began in May, does not stop. (See Afghans Say Pakistan Behind Cross Border Fire.)

 

Kunar provincial governor Fazlullah Wahedi said nearly 2,000 rockets had landed in recent months. As well as killing civilians, the attacks had displaced hundreds of families.

 

“The central government should address this issue seriously. The bombardment has made the public very anxious,” Wahedi told local media.

 

This week, Afghanistan’s interior minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and army chief-of-staff Sher Mohammad Karimi, appeared before the Meshrano Jirga, or upper house of parliament, to discuss the Kunar attacks.

 

Mohammadi presented photographs of munitions that had landed and claimed that only the Pakistani military possessed armaments of this type, including 155-mm artillery shells.

 

Karimi assured senators that the Pakistani military was behind the shelling, and claimed the assault was intended to pressure Kabul into accepting the Durand Line, a poorly-defined border established by an 1893 agreement. Kabul does not recognise the line, which Pakistan would like to see formalised as the official frontier.

 

Karimi also questioned why the US was not doing more to address the situation.

 

“I don’t know why the Americans are ignoring this issue,” he told the Meshrano Jirga. “Maybe the Americans are afraid because Pakistan has nuclear weapons, or maybe they are old friends and [America] doesn’t want to clash with them.”

 

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman George Little said America was working closely with Afghanistan and Pakistan to try and limit violence along the border. Little suggested that insurgents were to blame, according to press reports on July 25.

 

“We have obviously been in constant contact with the Afghan government to work on these issues and we have put pressure on the enemy that operates along the border,” Little told a press conference in Washington.

 

The US embassy in Kabul declined to comment on the issue, saying it fell within ISAF’s remit.

 

On July 24, ISAF condemned what it called “cross-border insurgent indirect-fire attacks” and said it was working with the Afghan defence ministry and the Pakistani government to stop them.

 

The Pakistani embassy in Kabul has denied any state involvement in the attacks. Embassy press officer Akhtar Munir said insurgents operating on either side of the border could be firing the rockets in the hope that Afghans would blame Pakistan.

 

Kunar is mountainous and heavily forested, and borders Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, over which Islamabad has limited control.

 

Officials in Islamabad have accused insurgents of staging attacks into Pakistan from Kunar. They say the Pakistani Taleban have found refuge in parts of eastern Afghanistan from which most Afghan and American forces have withdrawn over the last two years, and are now using the area as a springboard for cross-border attacks, according to a New York Times report.

 

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported on July 24 that “terrorists” had launched 15 attacks from Kunar and Nuristan provinces against Pakistani border posts and villages over the last year. The newspaper claimed that 105 soldiers and civilians had been killed in the attacks.

 

Kabul has largely confined its response to the shelling to formal diplomatic channels.

 

President Hamid Karzai and the incoming Pakistani prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told a press conference in Kabul in July that they had discussed the attacks, though a more junior Afghan official was left to issue a sterner public statement.

 

Jawed Ludin, deputy foreign minister for political affairs, conveyed Kabul’s “serious concerns” to Pakistani ambassador Mohammad Sadiq on July 22. He warned that the bombardment “would have a significant negative impact on bilateral relations, especially in light of the broad range of important issues related to peace, security and economic cooperation”, according to a foreign ministry statement.

 

Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi said the administration understood the public’s concerns, but was keen to avoid reacting emotionally to what was a complicated issue,

 

“We understand our people’s feelings but the issue is very complex…. We are doing whatever is in the country’s national interest,” he said. “Some decisions have been made in this regard and some orders have been issued to the security agencies, but we cannot divulge the details.”

 

Some Afghans are frustrated that their foreign allies have not done more to stand up for Afghanistan, especially after Karzai and US president Barack Obama signed a strategic partnership agreement earlier this year. In the agreement, which paved the way for continued cooperation until 2024, the US said it would view any external aggression against Afghanistan with “grave concern”. (For more on the deal, see Afghan Parliament Approves US Partnership.)

 

Faizi said Afghan officials had raised the Kunar bombardment several times in meetings with senior NATO and ISAF officials, while interior ministry spokesman Mohammad Sediq Sediqi confirmed that officials had presented evidence of Pakistan’s alleged involvement to their foreign allies.

 

But according to an official in the presidential office, the commander of ISAF and US forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, remains unconvinced. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Allen had told the Afghan authorities several times that they lacked sufficient proof of Pakistani involvement.

 

The official said that while the situation was very complicated, the US and NATO were displaying “negligence and ignorance” regarding the attacks.

 

Atiqullah Amarkhel, a defence expert and retired general, said a stronger government in Kabul might have lobbied more successfully for western help. He added that the US was heavily reliant on Pakistan’s support in Afghanistan, which might make it reluctant to accuse Islamabad of involvement.

 

On July 31 the US and Pakistan signed a deal on shipments of supplies to the international forces in Afghanistan, prompting Washington to release over one billion dollars in frozen military aid, the Associated Press reported. This ended a crisis that began in November 2011 when Islamabad closed its borders to freight for NATO troops in Afghanistan, after American airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

 

Wahid Mozhda, an Afghan political analyst, said that even if it knew Islamabad was implicated in the shelling, Washington might be reluctant to confront it given its reliance on the transit route.

 

“The… least expensive transit route for American troops here in the region goes through Pakistan. The US needs Pakistan to achieve its long-term goals in the region,” Mozhda said. “I am confident that with the technology at their disposal, the Americans know where the rockets coming into Afghanistan are being fired from, but they don’t want to upset Pakistan,” he said.

 

Hafizullah Gardesh is IWPR’s Afghanistan editor. Mina Habib is an IWPR-trained contributor in Kabul.

 

Source: IWPR

 

Link:iwpr.net/report-news/heads-roll-afghan-parliament-questions-defence-failures

Karzai, US Condemn Bombing of Hazara Mosque, Without Clarifying It Was Shia

[The handiwork of Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan.  Remember, these Sunni terrorists consider all other faiths to be unbelievers, “Kafirs,” who are enemies of God.  Thank you Faqir Mohammed.]

 

Afghanistan mosque bomb blast leaves at least 19 injured source

Karzai, US condemn mosque bombing

by Pajhwok Report

KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai and the US embassy in Kabul on Saturday strongly denounced Friday’s blast inside a mosque in the Chaparhar district of eastern Nangarhar province.

Nineteen people were injured in the explosion during Friday’s prayers in the Dawlatzai village, where the bomb had been planted in the mosque’s mehrab (arch).

“Targeting fasting worshippers by planting bombs in mosques is a clear insult to the holy religion of Islam,” Karzai said in a statement. The attack proved the enemies of Afghanistan wanted to torture the innocent people, he added.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Kabul said the attack against an innocent congregation during the holy month of Ramazan further demonstrated the insurgents had no respect for the safety and security of the Afghan people.

“Our sympathies go out to those affected by yesterday’s bombing, and we wish a speedy recovery to the wounded,” a statement from the embassy said.

It added the US would continue to work with the Afghan people and government for a stable, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan that no longer has to suffer from terrorist acts.

myn/mud

Balochistan the Center of Anti-Pakistan Global Intrigues

Interior Minister Rehman Malik. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Describing the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) as a ‘killing machine’, Interior Minister Rehman Malik accused extremist organisations and banned outfits in Balochistan on Thursday of acting on directives from abroad and with complete support and assistance from Afghanistan.

“The BLA is a killing machine which is overhauled in Afghanistan and all its spare parts come from Afghanistan,” the interior minister said in a speech in the Senate on the ‘law and order situation in Balochistan’.

Referring to his recent meeting with Hamid Karzai, he said the Afghan president had indirectly admitted that his country had a role in Balochistan and that the Kunar province from where most of the infiltration into Pakistan were taking place was under the control of the US and Nato forces.

The minister told the house that the Afghan president had asked him to facilitate talks with the Haqqani network and in return he would request the US and the Nato forces to stop cross-border movements from the Kunar area to Malakand and other adjacent areas.

“I told the Afghan president that there are training camps in your country and I can provide you the list of those persons who receive $468 (for it),” he said without elaborating.

“We cannot separate the Balochistan problem from the world power game. The issue is grave. If we are negligent, history will not forgive us. We will have to find a solution collectively before it is too late,” the minister said, adding that the powers which wanted to see a destabilised Pakistan had prepared a roadmap.

Indian links

Mr Malik alleged that Baramdagh Bugti, a grandson of Akbar Bugti, was involved in kidnapping and killing people. Despite this, he said, he had accepted the invitation for a meeting with Baramdagh Bugti in Tajikistan, but it was cancelled at the eleventh hour by the Baloch leader.

The minister said that Mr Bugti celebrated the New Year in India and refused to meet him. He said Baramdagh Bugti had informed him from India about having received a message from the Indian establishment advising him not to see him.

The minister also criticised the US for giving special treatment to India. “We are partners in the war on terror, but India is receiving facilities,” he said.

Mr Malik said he was surprised why Washington and the United Nations were concerned about human rights violations in Balochistan whereas such violations were also taking place in the other three provinces of the country. “Why the US and the UN are interested only in the affairs of Balochistan? Why there are international seminars only on the Balochistan issue?”

The minister categorically blamed the BLA and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi for the situation in the province. He alleged that the BLA had murdered a number of workers engaged in development activities in Balochistan. Giving official figures, he said, 138 personnel of the Frontier Corps (FC), 89 policemen and 872 civilians had been killed in violent incidents in Balochistan in 2011, and the BLA had claimed responsibility for most of the killings.

Responding to criticism on FC’s role in Balochistan, he said the FC had been given under the control of the chief minister and it was there only to assist police. Moreover, he said, the FC was assisting police only in five per cent area of the province. “If criticism on the FC continues, I will withdraw the FC and send it to borders,” he threatened.

The interior minister again requested Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch to arrange an in-camera session of the upper house in which, he said, the members would be able to get a briefing from officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Foreign Office and the interior ministry on the role of foreign countries in the region.

Mr Malik also called for some changes in the Balochistan Package announced by the government two years ago.

Sinister dimension

Taking part in the debate, Farhatullah Babar of the PPP stressed the need for resolving the issues of forced disappearances and dumping of bodies to end insurgency in Balochistan.

“Although the issue has plagued the whole country there is a sinister dimension to it in Balochistan that has given rise to a perception that Baloch dissidents are being eliminated while the powers-that-be have become impervious to both sane advice and the dictates of laws,” he said.

Mr Babar said this was evident from the fact that whenever directions were issued and law-enforcement agencies were asked to recover the missing persons, dead bodies were dumped in response.

He proposed that the state should not live in a state of denial and must admit that people were disappearing in a mysterious manner.

He demanded that the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances be published and its recommendations implemented. He suggested that Pakistan should sign the International Convention on Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The PPP senator said that according to reports a team of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will visit Pakistan in September. “We should facilitate the visit of the UN team and use the opportunity to remove misperception and to demonstrate that the government is serious about solving the problem,” he added.

Mutilated bodies

Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party claimed that so far 400 mutilated bodies of the missing persons had been found in Balochistan. He said the Balochistan situation was similar to that of East Pakistan. He said there was a complete constitutional breakdown in the province where no government existed at all.

Leader of the Opposition Ishaq Dar of the PML-N alleged that the rulers in Balochistan were only interested in corruption and 80 per cent of the allocated development funds had gone into the pockets of different people.

The interior minister will conclude his speech on Friday.

Meanwhile, the house passed a resolution condemning the atrocities being committed against Muslims in Myanmar.