‘Clashes along India’s border with Pakistan are “extremely serious and provocative” and not conducive to improving relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday.
The comments came nearly two weeks after New Delhi called off top level diplomatic talks, protesting against Pakistan’s meetings with separatists from the disputed region of Kashmir.
Exchanges of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Indian- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir have intensified in recent weeks, claiming lives of several people, including soldiers.’
- Indian Defense Minister: Pakistan incursions in Kashmir provocative
- Indian Broadcasting Minister: Pakistan should mend its ways, avoid tension with India
- Modi Rebukes Pakistan After Cancellation of Talks
- India and Pakistan trade blame as Kashmir tensions simmer
- 2,000 in shelters as Kashmir border troops spar
- Skirmishes Put Feeling of Wartime on India-Pakistan Border
- Pakistan envoy defends meeting Kashmiri separatists in India
- India cancels Pakistan talks in row over Kashmir
‘India’s prime minister on Tuesday accused Pakistan of waging a proxy, terrorist war because it was too weak to fight a conventional one, a day after India accused its traditional rival of violating cease-fire agreements in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to provide Indian troops with more weapons, saying they were suffering more casualties from “terrorism than from war.”
“Pakistan has lost the strength to fight a conventional war, but continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism,” Modi said in an address to Indian army soldiers and officers in the city of Leh. He also announced that a national war memorial would be installed in the region. The pugnacious comments appeared to mark a reversal from friendlier tones struck in the days after Modi and his Hindu-nationalist party won Indian elections in a landslide in May. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was among regional leaders who attended Modi’s inauguration.’
‘When the White House went public with its catching-bin-Laden story, they told every media outlet just about every detail of the raid possible. They even allowed a Hollywood blockbuster to be made about the event. There was so much leakage of information that Dianne Feinstein called for a criminal investigation. Among the leaks was the information that the CIA had recruited doctors to collect DNA samples to help find bin Laden by going door to door to vaccinate people. The Taliban learned of this and started banning vaccines. Now, there is a huge resurgence of polio in Pakistan. The Resident discusses.’ (The Resident)
‘Pakistani protesters continue to mass around the capital city of their “long march,” with PTI leader Imran Khan at the head, promising Sunday will be a “decisive day” in the history of Pakistan.
Saturday was already an historic day in its own right, after the Lahore courts ordered murder charges to be brought against sitting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Punjabi Province leader Shahbaz Sharif.
The charges are related to the order of a deadly crackdown against supporters of preacher Muhammad Tahrir-ul Qadri in June. Qadri, an anti-Taliban preacher, also made several anti-corruption speeches critical of the Sharifs and their associates, and has been involved with the long march.’
- Pakistan PM and brother to face murder charges
- Pakistan Peoples Party has asked Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to step down
- Imran Kahn: Sunday will be decisive day in Pakistan’s history
- Pakistan anti-government protests draw determined crowd
- Pakistan protest leaders insist Prime Minister should go
- Pakistan clashes after ‘shots fired’ at Imran Khan
- Siege mentality grips Pakistan ahead of Independence Day
- Pakistan government offers last-minute deal but fails to avert protest
- Beware Pakistan’s Possible Democracy Death Spiral
- Pakistan Rallies to Test Government, Its Democracy
- Imran Khan: Martial law not the solution for Pakistan’s problems
- Dissident Pakistani cleric to join opposition demonstration
- Pakistan Opens Murder Case Against Cleric
- Imran Khan to reveal proof of election rigging
- Imran Khan: Will shut whole country if put under house arrest
- Wary Pakistan puts military in charge of capital’s security
- Shehla Raza: No martial law till 3 elections under NRO
‘An investigative project shows that 323 out of a little over 700 identified victims of US drones in Pakistan are reported to be civilians, including 99 children.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s ‘Naming the Dead project’ – which was launched last year — has now recorded the names of more than 700 of the 2, 342 people reportedly killed by CIA drones in Pakistan.
According to the Bureau’s website, it uses open source materials to monitor and record all drone attacks in covert war situations, including Pakistan.’
‘At least 32 people died in three CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, making this the bloodiest month since July 2012. The strikes all reportedly occurred in and around Datta Khel in North Waziristan.
The high death toll from just three attacks dramatically increased the casualty rate – the average number of people killed in each strike on average. This month the casualty rate was 10.7 people per strike. That is more than double the rate for June (4.6) and the highest since April 2011, when 24 people died in two attacks.’
‘Drone blowback is real. Over the past five years, terrorists have attempted serious attacks on American soil that were motivated in part by U.S. drone strikes abroad. We know this because the apprehended terrorists have been loud and clear about their motives. As Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad, whose car bomb failed to explode in Times Square in May 2010, said at his arraignment:
Until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan and stops the occupation of Muslim lands … we will be attacking U.S. The drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don’t see children … They kill women, children — they kill everybody.
A foiled plot to blow up the New York subway, led by Afghan-born, Queens-raised Najibullah Zazi, also speaks to the growing anger over drone warfare. According to courtroom testimony from the would-be perpetrators, they conceived their effort as revenge for the drone attacks in northwestern Pakistan, where U.S. strikes have killed some 2,800 people. Just how many of those killed were Al-Qaeda fighters and how many civilians is not precisely known. But the connection between drones abroad and danger at home is not hypothetical: It’s a demonstrable fact. And yet our national security experts tend to treat these attempted terrorist attacks as if they were of no relevance to Washington’s increasing use of lethal unmanned aircraft.’
- Drones Risk Putting US on ‘Slippery Slope’ to Perpetual War
- The Drone Program Could Be Putting the Whole World at Risk
- The era of American drone supremacy is fading
- Six-month update: US covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia
- Can the President Strike an American Anywhere in the World?: Drone Memo Raises Troubling Questions
- So That’s Why They Kept the Drone Kill Memo Secret
‘As Hamas head Khaled Mashaal indicated in Doha Wednesday night that Hamas was ready for a “humanitarian cease-fire,” the security cabinet met to discuss the direction of the military action inside Gaza, as well as the diplomatic efforts to stop it.
Mashaal continued to lay down conditions for the cease-fire, calling for lifting the blockade that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007 and reopening the border crossings. He said Hamas would not accept any cease-fire that bypasses the demands of the movement and other resistance groups in the Gaza Strip.’
- Israeli envoy: Our soldiers deserve a Nobel Peace Prize
- Right-wing rabbi’s ruling: Israel may totally destroy Gaza if necessary
- “Most” killed in Gaza “deserved it” even though they were children and civilians, says Israel’s Danny Ayalon
- Livni: Israel to finish tunnels assault before truce
- Israel detains soldiers after WhatsApp leaks about Gaza casualties
- More than 50 Israeli reservists refuse to serve
- Netanyahu Defends Deaths of Civilians in ‘Historic’ Gaza War
- Israel firing experimental weapons at Gaza’s civilians, say doctors
- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: Time to Take Back Gaza
‘Pakistan’s parliament passed a law on Wednesday giving security forces sweeping powers to clamp down on militancy, but some activists and legislators criticized the provisions as too harsh. The legislation, known as the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, must now be signed into law by the president. The debate over the law follows months of high-profile Taliban attacks and this month’s offensive by the Pakistani military against militant sanctuaries in the remote border region of North Waziristan. Opposition senators had managed to water down some of the law’s most punitive clauses, said Senator Afrasiab Khattak.
“It is still a very harsh law though,” Khattak said by telephone. “We will be raising these issues again when the law comes up for renewal in two years.” The revised legislation, he said, allows suspects to be held for questioning for 60 days without charges being laid instead of 15 days permitted at present. Senior police officers will be empowered to issue orders to shoot to kill suspects. It allows prisoners to be held at secret facilities but provides for some judicial oversight. Warrantless searches are allowed, but the evidence and cause must be presented in court within two days. In its original form, the bill was far more harsh.’
- Pakistani officials: any militants in North Waziristan a target, even Haqqanis
- Pakistan steps up operation to clear Taliban ‘safe haven’ from its border
- Pakistan army begins ground offensive in North Waziristan capital
- A Long History of Rebellion in the Mountains of Pakistan
- Where have all Pakistan’s militants gone?
- Flamboyant Pakistani cleric Qadri denies military backing
- UN: Polio spread feared as nearly 500,000 Pakistanis uprooted
- Prominent Pakistan cleric threatens to lead ‘revolution’
- Police told to use rubber bullets to handle protest rallies
- China Applauds Pakistan’s Anti-Terror Operation
- Pakistan army in for long haul in offensive against Taliban
- Pakistan Launches Major Offensive Against North Waziristan
- Pakistanis Fear Worst Is Yet to Come After Taliban Airport Attack
- Facebook Under Fire for Temporarily Blocking Pages in Pakistan
- Twitter Agrees to Block ‘Blasphemous’ Tweets in Pakistan
‘Having drawn down the number of drone strikes against Pakistani territory to almost nothing in recent months, the US was surprisingly aggressive today [June 11th] in North Waziristan, launching two strikes in 24 hours, killing 16 people. The first attack killed six “suspects,” in Dargah Mandi, destroying a truck and setting a nearby house on fire. The second strike hit in Dande Darpakhel village, killing 10 people and wounding four others.
Though the Pakistani government is back to the old strategy of labeling everyone slain “suspects,” none of the victims in either attack were actually named, and there was no indication the US even suspected they had a high-profile target in sight. There has been speculation that the recent calm was in part due to almost having killed POW Bowe Bergdahl in previous strikes in the region, and some were predicting Bergdahl’s recovery might give the US a free hand to escalate the attacks again. Whether today’s attacks portend a new escalation or are a one-off situation remains to be seen.’
‘Amid a deadly backlash again vaccinations and a resurgence of polio in Pakistan, the White House has promised that the CIA will never again use an immunization campaign as a tool of spycraft. “I wanted to inform you that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) directed in August 2013 that the agency make no operational use of vaccination programs, which includes vaccination workers,” President Obama’s top counterterrorism and homeland security advisor, Lisa Monaco, wrote to the deans of 12 public health schools.
“Similarly, the Agency will not seek to obtain or exploit DNA or other genetic material acquired through such programs,” Monaco wrote. “This CIA policy applies worldwide and to U.S. and non-U.S. persons alike.” The Central Intelligence Agency had enlisted a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, to collect intelligence under the guise of an immunization effort in the city of Abbottabad as part of planning for the high-risk May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound there.’
‘The World Health Organization has designated the spread of polio in Asia, Africa and the Middle East a global public health emergency requiring a coordinated “international response.” Three countries pose the greatest risk of further spreading the paralyzing virus: Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria. In an unusual step, the W.H.O. recommended all residents of those countries, of all ages, to be vaccinated before traveling abroad. The organization also said another seven countries — Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria and Somalia — should “encourage” all their would-be travelers to get vaccinated. Until recently, polio had been nearly eradicated thanks to a 25-year campaign that vaccinated billions of children. In Pakistan, the increase in polio is being linked to a secret CIA ploy used in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. With the help of a Pakistani doctor, the CIA set up a fake vaccination campaign in the city of Abbottabad in an effort to get DNA from the bin Laden family. The Taliban subsequently announced a ban on immunization efforts and launched a string of deadly attacks on medical workers. We are joined by two guests: Rafia Zakaria, a columnist for DAWN, Pakistan’s largest English newspaper, who has been covering the rise of polio in Pakistan since the bin Laden raid; and one of Pakistan’s leading polio experts, Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta.’ (Democracy Now!)
‘Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Monday lambasted the US and ‘some other states’ for their attempts to create rift between Iran and Pakistan. “There are hands at work that intend to cause differences between the two friendly and intimate nations through different methods, including stirring insecurity at the lengthy common borders. We shouldn’t allow the big opportunity existing for the expansion of the relations between the two countries to be lost,” Khamenei told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a meeting. He underlined the need for further development of ties between the two countries and laid special importance on the implementation of joint ventures, like Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project. ‘
‘U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has always been about maintaining dominance over the region, keeping the governments relatively weak and dependent (and undemocratic), and ensuring access to and control over the vast oil and gas resources of the region. The terrorist backlash against this imperialistic and often violent foreign policy is mostly a distraction for U.S. strategists, despite the fact that it became the primary ideological justification for increased U.S. interventionism in the region.
At this point, U.S. policy is perpetuating a dangerous contradiction. Strategists would like to think that this imperialism can be implemented without the blowback of violent extremists and without certain U.S. “allies” directly supporting these terrorists. But it, apparently, cannot be done. Don’t hold your breath for a change in policy to relieve this cognitive dissonance.’
The film – which has been three years in the making – identifies the unit conducting CIA strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, which operates from a secure compound in a corner of Creech air force base, 45 miles from Las Vegas in the Mojave desert.
Several former drone operators have claimed that the unit’s conventional air force personnel – rather than civilian contractors – have been flying the CIA’s heavily armed Predator missions in Pakistan, a 10-year campaign which according to some estimates has killed more than 2,400 people.
- Pass the Drone Strike Transparency Act
- New bill would force Barack Obama to publish US drone strike casualties
- Can Any Court Hold U.S. Accountable For Killing Americans Overseas with Drone Strikes?
- Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Drone Killings of US Citizens
- Killer Drones in a Downward Spiral?
- Ex-Pilot: US operates global drone war from German base
- Delays in Effort to Refocus C.I.A. From Drone War
- Europe Shows Resistance to US Drone Policies
Relatives of a nine-month old baby charged with attempted murder in Pakistan have taken him into hiding, one said on Tuesday, in a case that has thrown a spotlight on Pakistan’s dysfunctional criminal justice system. Baby Musa Khan appeared in court in the city of Lahore last week, charged with attempted murder along with his father and grandfather after a mob protesting against gas cuts and price increases stoned police and gas company workers trying to collect overdue bills.
“Police are vindictive. Now they are trying to settle the issue on personal grounds, that’s why I sent my grandson to Faisalabad for protection,” the baby’s grandfather, Muhammad Yasin, told Reuters, referring to a central Pakistani city. The baby is on bail and due to appear at the next hearing on April 12 but Yasin said he was not sure if he would take him to court for the case.
An artists collective has unfurled a massive poster showing a child’s face in a heavily bombed area of Pakistan in the hopes that it will give pause to drone operators searching the area for kills.
According to #notabugsplat, named after the description given to kills on the ground when viewed through grainy video footage, the artists – with help of villagers – unfurled the giant poster in a field in the Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan.
Are drone strikes creating more enemies for America than they are killing extremists? That’s the question at the heart of new bipartisan legislation aimed at requiring the executive branch to issue an annual report detailing the combatant and civilian death toll from missile strikes by U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles. Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, a frequent critic of “war on terrorism” policies, introduced the “Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act.” The goal? Find out who is dying in drone strikes.
…The measure calls for an annual report on the number of combatants and civilians killed or injured in strikes by remotely piloted aircraft. It also aims to require that the administration define what it considers “combatants” and “civilians.” And it seeks a full accounting of casualties over the past five years… The bill would exclude strikes in “theaters of conflict” — which really just means Afghanistan, Schiff said. That’s because singling out drone strikes, as opposed to bombings, raids and firefights, is of “less significance in a war zone than in a third country,” he explained.
- House Bill Seeks Data on Who US Drone Strikes Kill
- Micah Zenko: Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies
- U.N. rights forum calls for use of armed drones to comply with law
- UN report calls for independent investigations of drone attacks
- VICE on HBO: Children of the Drones
- Collapse of available bases could push the U.S. to revamp its failed counterterrorism strategy
- UN Report Identifies 30 Drone Strikes That Require ‘Public Explanation’
- Obama’s Broken Promise to Shift Drone War to Defense Department
- Obama’s itchy trigger finger on drone strikes: what happened to due process?
- Robert Fisk: Why is the World Turning a Blind Eye to US Drone Strikes?
- “The CIA Which Should Be A Foreign Intelligence Agency Has Turned Into Paramilitary Killing Organization”
- Michael Ratner: US Drones Reaping Death by Sim Card
- Norman Solomon: If Obama Orders the CIA to Kill a U.S. Citizen, Amazon Will Be a Partner in Assassination
- Medea Benjamin: The Dangerous Seduction of Drones
- Tweaking the Constitution to Make Extrajudicial Killing Easier
- Alberto Gonzales Calls for Limits on Drone Strikes
- Mike Rogers: Drone limits put Americans at risk
- 6 Unanswered Questions About Obama’s Drone War
The State Department is planning to spend $400,000 in taxpayer funds to buy a sculpture for the new American embassy being built in Islamabad, Pakistan, according to contracting records.
The work, by noted American artist John Baldessari, depicts a life-size white camel made of fiberglass staring in puzzlement at the eye of an oversize shiny needle — a not-so-subtle play on the New Testament phrase about the difficulty the wealthy have in entering the kingdom of heaven.
Officials explained the decision to purchase the piece of art, titled “Camel Contemplating Needle,” in a four-page document justifying a “sole source” procurement.
India will get tougher on territorial disputes with China and in its old rivalry with Pakistan if opposition leader Narendra Modi becomes the prime minister in May after a general election, two of his aides said. Modi, a Hindu nationalist who is the front-runner to win the five-week election starting on April 7, has taken an aggressive tone against the two neighboring nations. On the campaign trail, he has warned Beijing to shed its “mindset of expansionism” and in the past he has railed against Pakistan, an Islamic state, for attacks by Muslim militants in India…
India, China and Pakistan are all nuclear powers. They are also jockeying to take positions in Afghanistan as Western troops start to withdraw from the war-torn nation after a 12-year insurgency. India has fought three wars with Pakistan and had a 1962 border skirmish with China. It came close to a fourth war with Pakistan in 2001 but since then, its foreign policy has been mostly benign. Modi has painted the ruling Congress party, which has been in power for more than 50 of the 67 years since India became independent, as weak on national security. However, the country is one of the top buyers worldwide of military hardware, purchasing about $12.7 billion in arms during 2007-2011, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, everything from basic military goods to an aircraft carrier.
After the killing of Osama bin Laden, Pakistan vehemently denied any knowledge that the most wanted terrorist operative in the world had lived in a protected compound in Abbottabad just a few short miles from Pakistan’s military academy. Nobody really believed them. Senior U.S. officials would, when asked by the press, give the Pakistani government a verbal licking, but only in vague terms that declined to confirm what seemed obvious to everyone: that Pakistan did know of bin Laden’s hideout there.
New York Times journalist Carlotta Gall, who spent more than a decade reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan has pretty well confirmed that Pakistan not only knew of bin Laden’s presence, but actively protected him. More than that, the U.S. government knows they knew, and the Pakistanis know they know they knew.
India remains the world’s largest arms buyer by a huge margin, even as regional rivalries spur the flow of arms to other countries in Asia, according to a report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). India increased its arms imports by 111 percent in the past five years compared with 2004–08, and it now accounts for 14 percent of the world’s arms imports. The mainly Russian-supplied flow of arms to India dwarfs the imports of its regional rivals China and Pakistan, the second- and third-largest buyers.
…The United States and Russia dominate arms exports — over half the market, combined — but their business has diversified and shifted focus from Europe toward emerging world powers such as India, Brazil and China. Even as European imports declined by a full quarter over the past five years, the volume of global arms sales climbed 14 percent in 2009 through 2013 compared with the previous five-year period, SIPRI found. Because arms sales fluctuate year to year, SIPRI uses a five-year average to provide a more stable measure of trends.
‘Egypt’s arrest and trial of three Al-Jazeera journalists, charged with assisting the Muslim Brotherhood, has prompted outcry around the world. The case helps highlight growing dangers to journalists worldwide, especially in countries caught in war or turmoil. In 2013, 119 members of the press died while on assignment. Alison Bethel McKenzie of the International Press Institute and David Rohde of Reuters join Jeffrey Brown to discuss the hazards.’ (PBS Newshour)
Despite unpopularity there for his frequent drone attacks, President Barack Obama is the new face of contraband Viagra in Pakistan. Pakistan, where Viagra is banned, has a thriving black market for erectile dysfunction drugs. The little blue pills are often smuggled in through Afghanistan, and take up shelf space alongside drugs of dubious quality and origin.
Agence France-Presse, whose reporter calls Obama an unwitting “symbol of power and virility,” shows covers of the contraband drug alongside interview with merchants. Shopkeepers claim various reasons that clients buy the drugs; one explains that “they improve the duration of those who have destroyed their youth through masturbation.”
The provincial government in Pakistan’s northwest state of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has said it has ended a more than three-month blockade of a NATO supply route to Afghanistan over contentious US drone strikes in the country, citing change in policy, Aljazeera reported. Until Thursday, the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, led by cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, had been blocking the route to pressure Washington to end drone attacks targeting armed groups in the region bordering Afghanistan. Khan himself has led these protests and has been a vocal critic of drone attacks in Pakistan.
In a statement, Khan’s party said it ended the protest after seeing a change in the US drone policy. Their decision also comes days after a Pakistani court ordered authorities to end the blockade of transit goods into landlocked Afghanistan. The party’s top leadership also “felt that the pressure of the blockade had already resulted in a shift in the Obama administration’s drone policy and as a result drones had been stopped for the present”, the statement read. It also said it ended the protest to respect the court order.
Party official Fiaz Ahmad Khalil said the blockade lasted 97 days. “We are happy that the American government has stopped drone attacks, and we are also positively responding by ending our protest,” Khalil said. Khan’s party launched the blockade after a US drone strike in November killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.
- Pakistan: US Won’t Let Us Finish Iran Gas Pipeline
- US Claims to Curb Drone Strikes at Pakistan’s Behest
- Former Pakistani general says US seeks to ruin his country
- Robert Fisk: The world cannot turn a blind eye to America’s drone attacks in Pakistan
- Former military ruler Musharraf in court for treason trial
- Musharraf admits to have accepted ‘some’ US conditions after 9/11
- US-desired operation’ to be against country’s interests, says Imran
At least 95 people were killed and 388 others injured in 40 bomb blasts in Pakistan during February as the militants carried on terrorist attacks across the country, according to official statistics. Out of total 40 bomb attacks, six were of suicide nature that killed 34 people and injured 118 others in different areas of the country.
According to the statistics, the number of causalities during February were almost 44 percent less than the causalities occurred in January 2014. On month-on-month basis, comparison showed that the number of killing in bomb blasts during Feb. 2014 decreased by almost 38 percent compared to the same period last year.
During February, no high profile official came under attack, but militants targeted civilians, security forces and police. The worst attack of the period came on Feb. 13 when a suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying police personnel in the country’s southern port city of Karachi, killing 14 personnel and leaving 58 others injured.
- PM Nawaz ponders ceasefire after Taliban announcement
- Pakistani Taliban Call For 30 Day Ceasefire (Video)
- Nisar: Govt to use ‘other options’ if Taliban talks fail
- Altaf Hussain calls for military takeover
- Gen Raheel says army fully capable to counter any internal or external threat
- Pakistani Taliban say government must embrace Islamic law
- Executions Kill Pakistan-Taliban Peace Talks
- Clerics support anti-polio drive
- Inside Pakistan army’s bomb school
- Sunni-Shiite Violence In Pakistan Soars
- Balochistan: The untold story of Pakistan’s other war
- Breaking Down the Malala Conspiracy Theories
The document is the fullest official record of drone strikes in Pakistan to have yet been published. It provides rare insight into what the government understands about the campaign.
It also provides details about exactly when and where strikes took place, often including the names of homeowners. These details can be valuable to researchers attempting to verify eyewitness reports – and are often not reported elsewhere. But interestingly, the document stops recording civilian casualties after 2008, even omitting details of well-documented civilian deaths and those that have been acknowledged by the government.
Last July the Bureau published part of the document for the first time. This documented strikes, which hit the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan between 2006 and late 2009, and revealed that the Pakistani government was aware of hundreds of civilian casualties, even in strikes where it had officially denied civilians had died.
The reports are based on information filed to the FATA Secretariat each evening by local Political Agents – senior officials in the field. These agents gather the information from networks of informants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the area bordering Afghanistan.
Now the Bureau has obtained an updated version of the document, which lists attacks up to late September 2013.
An attempt to launch the memoir of the Pakistani schoolgirl who became a global icon after being shot in the head by the Taliban in her home province has been scuppered by opposition from local politicians.
Malala Yousafzai‘s book was due to be launched at an event on Monday at Peshawar University but organisers were forced to scrap it after the intervention of two senior members of the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (KP).
The episode underlines the antipathy among many Pakistanis towards the 16-year-old who campaigned for education in the face of Taliban opposition.
While she has been hailed in the west for her campaign against extremism, in Pakistan she is widely regarded with suspicion, with many people believing conspiracy theories that the story of the Taliban attempt to assassinate her as she travelled to school in October 2012 was untrue or exaggerated.
Al-Qaeda has staged a remarkable comeback in Iraq in the last year. Former National Security Advisor Jim Jones has called it “al-Qaeda’s renaissance.” This year, most if not all American forces and those of our allies in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will finally come home from Afghanistan. Will al-Qaeda have another renaissance in South Asia?
There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before 9/11—the terror organization moved into Iraq only when Osama bin Laden saw George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were getting ready to invade Iraq in 2003. He set a trap. By 2006 Al-Qaeda in Iraq had plunged the country into civil war, pitting Shia against Sunni. Only the brave efforts of American Marines and GIs prevented the complete collapse of the state. Now al-Qaeda has come back in Iraq, raising its black flag over territory once fought over so hard by Americans.
Can the same tragedy be repeated in Afghanistan and Pakistan? The longest war in American history will largely end for Americans this year. It will not end for Afghans or Pakistanis. Pakistan will continue to be the principal supporter and patron of the Afghan Taliban, the enemy that we have been fighting for so long. Pakistan provides the Taliban with safe haven and sanctuary to train and recruit its fighters and protects its leaders, including Mullah Omar. The Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, helps train and fund the Taliban.