pak/afghan border fence yoyos lives


For generations, families on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border worked together to till the fields of wheat, corn and rice that spread across the rugged plains.

With no physical boundary between the countries, the families joined forces every year to desilt the canal that irrigated the lands. They shared not only ethnic and blood bonds, but also the harvests from the fertile soil.

But a year and a half ago, the cross-border farming came to a stop. The Pakistani army began erecting a chain-link fence topped with coils of razor wire.

Syed Gul, a Pakistani farmer who owns 20 acres that straddle both sides near the Pakistani town of Kharlachi, cannot access the Afghan side, and Pakistani soldiers have told him not even to approach the land that lies inside Pakistan because getting too close to the fence would constitute a security breach.

“The land has been made barren since the government fenced the border,” said Gul, 55.

The barrier is part of the Pakistani government’s response to long-standing criticisms that it has failed to control the movement of militants across the porous border.

Its border management plan, launched in 2017, calls for a divider along all 1,600 miles of the frontier, with backing by closed-circuit television cameras and drone footage, along with hundreds of checkpoints. The army said in January that about 560 miles of fence had been completed at a cost of about $460 million.

The region, which consists of 10,400 square miles of tribal land, was once considered a haven for Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant outfits. Some 3 million civilians have been displaced there over the past decade.

The area has been relatively calm since the army launched an offensive beginning in 2014 that it said cleared out the insurgents.

Islamabad says the fencing will disrupt militants plotting terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But in an impoverished and undeveloped region, where farming and illicit cross-border trade were among the only sources of income, the fence has upended lives.

Gul’s Pashtun ethnic group has seen both sides of the border as its homeland for centuries. Pashtuns moved freely across it during the British colonial era, even after the 1893 Durand Line agreement formally demarcated the boundary.

“We never considered it a border between two countries,” Gul said. “People did not seek verbal permission from the officials patrolling the border when they needed to work in their fields on the Afghanistan side.”

Pakistanis from certain tribes living along the border once needed only a “red pass” issued by the Pakistani tribal affairs department in the city of Peshawar that allowed unlimited movement back and forth across the border. The pass was gradually withdrawn in the 1970s and 1980s, but since then most Pakistanis crossed into Afghanistan without visas.

“I got on the bus with my friends in Peshawar and went to Kabul by bus to watch Indian movies in the cinema,” recalled Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, a 65-year-old trader in Peshawar.

The fence has cut off thousands of families who share the same culture, traditions, language, religion and land. Many people in Pakistan’s tribal region sold their lands inside Afghanistan when the border management plan was introduced.

“We sold 100 acres of land in Paktika” — a border province in eastern Afghanistan — “at a throwaway price,” said Dilawar Wazir, a resident of Pakistan’s South Waziristan tribal district.

Official trade between the two countries has also fallen, harming Afghanistan’s landlocked and war-battered economy. Pakistani exports to Afghanistan, which amounted to $2.6 billion in 2010-11, fell to $1.4 billion last year, according to government statistics.

Ibrahim Shinwari, a small businessman living in the Khyber tribal district, said Pakistan’s border plan has left 2,500 people jobless in the border town of Torkham, formerly a major transit terminal for goods between the two countries that was also used by U.S.-led international forces to bring supplies into Afghanistan.

Six out of nine restaurants in Torkham have closed, he said, and the daily flow of vehicles crossing in and out of Afghanistan has slowed from the thousands to the hundreds.

“No more is the place buzzing with economic activity as it once did,” Shinwari said. “All that hustle and bustle has died down into economic depression.”

Azmat Hayat, former director of the Area Study Center at the University of Peshawar, said that before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the border was ignored.

“The Durand Line is a reality because of the changing geostrategic situation in the region,” Hayat said.

Traditions are also dying, with families on either side of the border unable to celebrate festivals together or visit the houses of sick or deceased relatives on the other side to offer condolences.

“It has brought an end to family relations,” said Nadir Manan, a Pakistani who said he couldn’t attend the recent wedding of his niece in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s former ambassador to Afghanistan, Rustam Shah Mohmand, called the fencing “disastrous” and said it violated more than a century’s worth of agreements between the countries to allow free movement, particularly of families with historical ties to the land.

“The government cannot stop cross-border movement of terrorists by erecting the fence,” Mohmand said. “It just cuts off families and will cause acrimony between the two countries.”




pakistan finishing border fence


press trust of india – islamabad

business standard

january 28, 2019 (5 months ago)


The Pakistan Army has said that the fencing of a substantial portion of the over 2,600-km-long Afghan border has been completed and the rest will be finished by next year to check the movement of terrorists.

Pakistan has spent billions of rupees for putting fence on the porous border.

Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said that the fencing of the entire border will be completed next year with the cost of about Rs 70 billion, Radio Pakistan reported.

Gafoor said that of the total 2,611 km, fencing of 900 km has been completed.

He said besides fencing, the project also includes gadgets and surveillance equipment to keep strict vigilance on illicit movement from across the border.

“The fence has amply helped to check the movement of terrorists from across the border and it would further assist after completion of the project,” Ghafoor said in an interaction with a group of media during a visit to border tribal district of North Waziristan

Media representatives visited Ghulam Khan, Miranshah and other parts of North Waziristan for the first time after the military operations.

He said the fence had helped check the movement of terrorists from across the border and the situation would further improve after the completion of the project.

Giving a break-up, Gafoor said that about 1,200km of the total 2,600km border with Afghanistan was in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the rest is in Balochistan province.

The work on the erection of about 1200 km chunk, the most sensitive portion out of the total 2,600km border with the war-torn country, had commenced last year.

The fence has made it difficult for terrorists to cross the border. It will stop

cross-border terrorism and uncontrolled movement of the people even if the law and order situation gets worst again in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops, The News International reported.

In December, President Donald Trump decided to pull a significant number of American troops from Afghanistan.

Earlier, briefing the media representatives at Corps Headquarters Peshawar, Commander 11 Corps Lt Gen Shaheen said after the end of war in the area, the troops are now in the process of consolidation.

He said ninety five per cent work of resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons has already been accomplished.

He said following the operation against militants, there is no “No Go Area” in the tribal region.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



India PM Inaugurates Parliament House

New Afghan Parliament House donated by the people of India…


by Koushik Das

InSerbia Network News

Dec. 26, 2015


On his way back to India from Russia, Prime Minister Modi arrived in the Afghan capital to inaugurate the new Parliament House. Upon his arrival in Kabul, the visiting premier received a warm welcome, as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was present at the airport. Before inaugurating the new House, Modi and Ghani held delegation-level talks at the Afghan Presidential Office, popularly known as Dilkosha Palace, to discuss different aspects of bilateral ties. Later, Prime Minister Modi addressed the Afghan Parliament.

The Indian premier said it was unfortunate that the construction work of the Parliament building, which was started in 2009, missed three completion deadlines since 2011 and went over-budget by double the original costing of USD 45 million. Meanwhile, he assured the Afghan parliamentarians that India would always back the war-ravaged country’s effort to ensure peace. At the same time, he said that Afghanistan “will succeed only when terrorism no longer flows across the border”. The PM told the House: “We must support Afghanistan without timelines because a new cloud of extremism is rising, even as the old ones continue to darken our skies.”

Prime Minister Modi also sent a strong message to Pakistan that is often accused by Afghanistan of sponsoring the Taliban insurgency, saying: “There are some who did not want us to be here. There were those who saw sinister design in our presence here. But we are here because you had faith in us.”

Modi further assured Afghanistan that India, which has invested around USD 2 billion in aid and reconstruction in the country and trained scores of Afghan officers, would continue providing financial helps to Afghanistan in the coming years. Addressing the Parliament, he announced 500 scholarships for children of martyrs of Afghan armed forces. “Afghanistan with abiding faith in tradition of Jirga has chosen democracy against challenges that would have defeated lesser people,” he told the House.

For his part, President Ghani called the friendship between India and Afghanistan “antiquated and bound by a thousand ties”, stressing that Kabul would always be grateful to New Delhi for its “valuable assistance” as his country weathers “hard times”. “I am pleased to welcome Prime Minister Modi to Kabul. Though, India and Afghanistan need no introduction, we are bound by a thousand ties. We have stood by each other in the best and worst of times,” added the Afghan president.

Later, the Indian PM also held separate talks with Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Dr Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai. Incidentally, Modi arrived in Kabul just a couple of days after India delivered three of four Russian Mi-25 helicopter gunships to Afghanistan.

On Friday evening, the Indian PM also made a surprise visit to Pakistan. After landing in Kabul from Moscow, Modi called his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to wish him Happy Birthday. Sharif told Modi: “Why don’t you drop by since you will be flying over my country?” Modi readily agreed and reached Lahore at around 5pm (local time). At the airport, the Indian premier was received by Prime Minister Sharif with a warm hug. They took a helicopter to reach Sharif’s ancestral home “Raiwind Palace” in Jati Umra, where his granddaughter’s wedding was on. The two PMs discussed different bilateral issues and agreed to continue and enhance contacts, and work together to establish good neighbourly relations. After spending one hour at Sharif’s residence, Modi left for India and reached New Delhi at 7:30pm (local time). Prime Minister Sharif, too, accompanied Modi back to the Lahore airport to see him off.

Upon his arrival in New Delhi, Prime Minister Modi tweeted: “Spent a warm evening with Sharif family home. Nawaz Sahab’s birthday and his granddaughter’s marriage made it a double celebration”. Apart from Premier Sharif, two big leaders from both countries had their birthday on December 25. Tenth Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior, while Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born on December 25, 1876. Jinnah, the lawyer-turned-politician, died on September 11, 1948.

Different Pakistani political parties have welcomed Modi’s surprise visit, as he, in a dramatically spontaneous gesture, becomes the first Indian PM to visit Pakistan since Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2014. However, the Indian opposition parties have raised a serious question – Can Modi’s unorthodox brand of diplomacy lead to lasting peace? We have to wait to see how surprise plays its role in Prime Minister Modi’s Pakistan policy.



Terror Probe Points At Pakistan


Hollie McKay

December 07, 2015


The investigation into the jihadist couple who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino last week is pointing to Pakistan as the likely source of the pair’s radicalization, a development that threatens to expose once again the tenuous relations between the U.S. and the country accused of once harboring Al Qaeda founder and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

Investigators are focusing on Tashfeen Malik, who married Syed Rizwan Farook after meeting him online and coming to the U.S. on a fiancee visa, and are particularly interested in a period from roughly 2007 to 2014 that she spent in her native Pakistan. It is during that time when she may have become radicalized, adopting the extremist ideology that she may have spread to her American-born husband. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that investigators have interviewed more than 300 people and are working with Pakistan and other foreign governments as part of the far-reaching probe. Pakistan’s interior minister also announced the country had launched its own investigation.

Despite being allies in the war on terror, the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan has been plagued by mistrust, and the current probe could expose further cracks in cooperation. Osama bin Laden is believed to have lived for years in his Abbottabad compound, possibly with the knowledge of government authorities, prior to the May 2011 Navy SEAL raid in which he was killed. Now, the U.S. is believed to be putting heavy pressure on Pakistan to cooperate on its end of the investigation into the deadliest terror attack on American soil since 9/11.

“It’s time that Pakistan matures up and accepts some responsibility,” a source with knowledge of discussions between U.S. and Pakistani officials told “At this stage, Tashfeen’s training is all leading back to Pakistan.”

Although Malik spent much of her youth in Saudi Arabia, where her father was an engineer, she lived after 2007 in her native Pakistan, where she also resided during the time she met Farook online. Authorities in the U.S. and Pakistan are probing her ties to an extremist and influential imam in Islamabad to try to understand the roots of her radicalization.

A newly surfaced photo, first obtained by ABC News and showing Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook going through customs at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, underscored the international  undertone of the probe into events proceeding Wednesday’s terrorist attack. The photo is believed to show the pair arriving from Saudi Arabia in 2014.

Malik, 29, was born to a wealthy family in Pakistan’s southern Punjab province, moved to Saudi Arabia as a child and returned to Pakistan to study pharmacology in 2007. Classmates of Malik at Bahauddin Zakariya University told the Los Angeles Times that while Malik was enrolled at the school, she also studied at Al Huda, a chain of religious institutes affiliated with ties to North America.

“She used to go to attend sessions in Al Huda almost every day,” one of Malik’s former classmates told the Times.

While Pakistan has pledged to work with the U.S., there are signs the government is clamping down on the media’s effort to get answers. On Monday, Pakistani police barred local and international media from entering the pharmacy department where Malik studied. Police inspector Muhammad Ali said the reporters did not have valid documents to work in the city. The university administration deployed extra private security guards outside the facility and after an argument with some reporters, university security officials called in the police. The police escorted the two journalists out of the campus.

There also have been reports Malik may have worshiped at Islamabad’s infamous “Red Mosque.”

The mosque’s controversial cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, who oversees a web of 27 seminaries in Malik’s native Punjab province, has been a lightning rod for years, and even stoked outrage in Pakistan last year when he refused to denounce the Peshawar school attack that left 148 people dead, including 100 children, referring to it as “an understandable response” to the government expedition against Taliban-aligned groups.

But in a message to, a representative for the Red Mosque vehemently denied any link to Malik, calling implications otherwise “baseless” and “propaganda” to harm their reputation.

“Lal Masjid chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz has condemned the San Bernardino attack saying, ‘Islam does not permit attacks on innocent people,’” the representative stated.

A source with knowledge of discussions between U.S. and Pakistani officials said the U.S. is putting renewed pressure on Pakistan to expose and eradicate the radical elements that have operated largely unimpeded there. In addition to the questions surrounding Bin Laden’s post-9/11 movements in Pakistan, the nation is still imprisoning Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the physician who helped the CIA verify that Bin Laden was hiding in plain sight, living near a military facility.

“Pakistan is activating all its consulates trying to determine if other Tashfeens are out there,” the insider, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told “The Pakistan Army has been working to halt the terrorist money flow, but this is all much bigger than what we see on the surface.”

In the U.S., authorities are focused on who may have helped the couple — who lived on Farook’s $51,000-per-year salary as a county restaurant inspector — assemble an arsenal that included handguns, rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition and extensive bomb-making supplies and equipment. One man who reportedly legally purchased the two assault rifles the pair used to shoot Farook’s co-workers at the Inland Regional Center has been identified, but is not believed to have knowingly participated in the terror plot.

So far, federal investigators believe the plot was inspired, but not directed, by foreign terrorist organizations. President Obama said in a Sunday evening address that no evidence pointed to the two being part of a “broader conspiracy here at home.”

It is doubtful the couple could have financed their terror activity on Farook’s salary, said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas. He told Fox News authorities are interested in determining whether the couple had financial help from terrorists either in the U.S. or overseas. The limited salary of a county employee has aroused suspicion that the cache of weapons found in the couple’s Redlands apartment — including pipe bombs and ammunition — may have been purchased with funds from a foreign source, McCaul said.

“I believe on his salary, he was not able to buy this on his own,” McCaul said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Retired FBI Special Agent, Robert Chacon, said the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan is complex, especially when it comes to fighting terrorism.

“The U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been a tale of mistrust and facades for a long time,” Chacon told “The outward, public relationship between the governments does not always match the covert working relationships between the U.S. intelligence community and the Pakistani intel agencies.”

Radical Islamist groups operate almost as autonomous mini-governments in Pakistan, said Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst at Clarion Project, a New York-based non-profit that monitors the worldwide terror threat.

“If the U.S. discovers that she and her social circle were involved with this radical infrastructure, Pakistan will try to absolve itself of responsibility by saying that the extremists it harbors condemn 9/11 and ISIS,” Mauro predicted. “We have to respond by telling Pakistan that that it isn’t good enough. You are not an ally if you condemn terrorism but promote the ideologies that causes terrorism.

“Last night, President Obama said that the Muslim world’s obligation doesn’t stop with condemning ISIS-type violence; that Muslims must go further and reject the interpretations that conflict with modern values,” Mauro added. “He’s right, and that’s why we should make no distinction between those who sponsor organized terrorist groups and those who sponsor the ideology these groups are founded upon.”



Pakistan Seeks Good Karma


by Muhammad Tahir

Xinhua News

Sept 30, 2014


ISLAMABAD, Sept. 30 — Pakistani leaders are hopeful to develop good neighborly relations with the new Afghan government as the years of tensions have proved unhelpful to effectively counter serious security challenges.

In his farewell speech last week, former President Hamid Karzai blamed both the United States and Pakistan for the continuing war with the Taliban insurgents. This blame game continued for a long time over the cross-border shelling, lack of cooperation to jointly fight terrorism and alleged hideouts of the Taliban militants in both countries. The lack of trust harmed all efforts for reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban and Karzai admitted his failure to carry forward the reconcilary process.

Karzai also pointed out that peace with the Taliban is not possible without the help of the U.S. and Pakistan. Cross-border attacks have caused a serious blow to bilateral relations and Afghan Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani raised the issue of the alleged Pakistani “rocketing into Afghanistan” at his U.N. General Assembly’s address last week. This shows a deterioration in bilateral relations, as Kabul preferred an international forum rather than using bilateral diplomatic channels.

Kabul claims Pakistani rockets affect “civilians” in eastern Kunar province. Pakistan, however, denies it fired rockets into civilian areas and says its forces only target positions of the militants who attack Pakistani border posts. Karzai seemed to be upset at what he described as, “Pakistan’ s lack of cooperation” to encourage the Taliban to enter into peace talks with his government.

Islamabad, for its part, added that they do not have control over the Taliban and that it can only play the role of a facilitator. Pakistani officials insist they have freed over 50 Taliban detainees, including some senior leaders and former ministers, at the request of Karzai and his peace council to accelerate the reconciliation process, however, all the freed Taliban refused to join the intra-Afghan dialogue.

For its part, Pakistan says it is disappointed at “Afghanistan’ s failure to stop the Pakistani Taliban from entering the Afghan side of the border.” Security officials insist that many Pakistani Taliban fighters who have fled to Afghanistan following military operations in the tribal regions and Swat valley, now operate from the Afghan border region. Afghanistan-based Pakistan Taliban insurgents are being blamed for cross-border attacks on check post and villages. Pakistan military spokespeople have claimed that the Afghan gov’ t has not helped to stop fleeing militants from crossing the border from North Waziristan tribal region, where the security forces are battling local and foreign militants.

Pakistani forces launched the biggest offensive in the region in June to flush out the militants from their last major sanctuary. Afghanistan itself and the U.S. had also been calling for the operation, as they claimed al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network also had hideouts in North Waziristan.

As political tensions had a negative impact on bilateral relations over the past 13 years, the two countries now have a good opportunity to bury the hatchet and deal with the post-NATO situation. Any instability in Afghanistan will directly affect Pakistan’s fragile security situation.

Pakistan made the wise decision to represent itself at the highest level in attending the swearing-in ceremony for President Ashraf Ghani on Monday. President Mamnoon Hussain was the only head of the state among the nearly 200 foreign guests who attended Afghanistan’s historic first ever democratic transition. President Mamnoon Hussain held separate meetings with President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and ” conveyed Pakistan’s commitment to working closely with the new government for the promotion of common goals,” the Foreign Ministry said late Monday at the conclusion of his day-long visit to Kabul.

“Underlining the importance Afghanistan attached to its relations with Pakistan, President Ashraf Ghani reiterated his perspective that both countries should have a ‘special relationship,'” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Dr. Abdullah also expressed his desire for the new government to forge a cooperative and forward-looking relationship with Pakistan. Statements from the leadership of the two countries have raised hopes for a new tension-free beginning, as their cooperation could enable them to meet the ongoing serious security challenges they would be facing after the foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan in less than three months.



Afghans Beckoned To Zap Hideouts


edited by Xuxin

Xinhua News



ISLAMABAD — Pakistan on Thursday reiterated its call on neighboring Afghanistan to eliminate “hideouts of the Pakistani militants on the Afghan side of the border.”

Security officials insist that Pakistani Taliban leaders, who have fled the country as the result of military operations, now operate from the Afghan border regions.

On Tuesday, the military said a group of 90 to 100 militants from Afghanistan’s Khost and Paktika province attacked a border post in North Waziristan and killed four paramilitary troops.

The Foreign Ministry Wednesday summoned the Afghan charge d’ affaires and a protest was lodged on the attack.

The spokeswoman told reporters in Islamabad on Thursday that Pakistan had lodged a formal protest after the attack from Afghanistan into Pakistani territory from across the international border.

“We have asked Afghanistan in very clear and categorical terms to eliminate the terrorist sanctuaries that have taken root in Afghanistan in various provinces there,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam said at her weekly briefing.

On its part Afghanistan also claims that rockets are fired into its border areas from Pakistani side of the border. Kabul also alleges Afghan Taliban are hiding in Pakistan, the charge denied by Islamabad.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson avoided response to recent Afghan allegations that Pakistani intelligence agencies are ” sending fighters to Afghanistan.”

“Pakistan is a mature country. We are a very important country we have to behave in a mature manner. It does not behave use to respond to all baseless allegations,” she said.



Punjabi Taliban Surrender Arms


edited by Mu Xuequan

Xinhua News



ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Taliban’s fraction ” Punjabi Taliban” on Saturday announced to give up militancy permanently and vowed to start welfare work in the country, local media reported.

According to the reports, the militant wing distributed a pamphlet in the northwestern areas of the country, in which its leader Asmatullah Muawiya announced that they would not take part in militant activities in Pakistan any more.

Muawiya said they have decided to give up militancy and to surrender their arms.

The chief of the Punjab Taliban of the country’s eastern Punjab province also urged other Taliban leaders and fighters to follow their precedent to lay down arms and come to table for negotiations to solve their issues.

Muawiya said they are abandoning the armed struggle to start preaching and welfare work in the country, especially in the flood- hit areas.

Rustam Shah Mohmand, an analyst, said that Punjabi Taliban’s decision would be a big blow to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s ( TTP) because majority of the hardcore fighters were coming from the Punjab province.

In August last year, the TTP central committee dismissed Punjab ‘s chief Muawiya from his post over welcoming table talks offer by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In response to the TTP’s decision, Punjabi Taliban rejected the TTP’s central council decision by saying that their group has its own entity.

The group was accused by police for attacking Sri Lankan cricket team in the country’s eastern city of Lahore in March, 2009, but the group never claimed the attack.

There was no response from government officials so far.

The announcement from the fraction came at the time when Pakistan’s armed forces are conducting their operation successfully against the militants in the northwestern tribal region of North Waziristan.

According to the Pakistan army, more than 1,000 terrorists have been killed and dozens of others arrested, while a number of hideouts and command and control centers of the militants have been destroyed so far in the operation.



Pakistan Military Shatters NW Taliban


by Muhammad Tahir

Xinhua News



ISLAMABAD — A military offensive in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region has blown apart the network of the Pakistani Taliban and foreign militants as the country has seen a substantial decrease in attacks and fatalities.

Taliban’s continued deadly attacks forced the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to go after the Taliban insurgents in North Waziristan, their biggest sanctuary, in June this year after they ended a temporary ceasefire. They had declared a 40-day ceasefire in March as the government had given a last chance to peace and had started talks with the Taliban.

Nawaz Sharif had received widespread support among the major political parties and the parliament for the military operation that was needed to make it a success. General public also threw weight behind the decision because the Taliban’s violent extremism had brought large scale killings and huge economic losses.

Top military leaders are satisfied at the outcome of the operation over the past three months as security forces have cleared most of the areas in major towns from the Taliban.

The military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa says about 1,000 militants have so far been killed and dozens of their training centers and bomb-making factories destroyed. Most of the main towns including Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan, and Mir Ali, the militants’ stronghold have been cleared and the forces have consolidated positions.

Some Taliban are thought to have either fled to neighboring Afghanistan or moved to nearby tribal regions.

The main achievement of the operation is a substantial decrease in suicide attacks and bomb blasts in the country since the operation had been launched three months ago. The Taliban threat has subsided but not completely ended.

They have carried out several attacks on the country’s three airports in this period to take revenge of the military operation. However a sense of fear among the general that had gripped Pakistan due to the Taliban attacks now falls down.

The much-anticipated operation has now denied what was previously described “safe heavens” in North Waziristan. Many Taliban have either been killed or fled the region. The Pakistani army chief, General Raheel Sharif, who twice visited North Waziristan, has vowed not to allow the militants return to the region.

The operation also led to cracks within the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan as the banned group is now divided in at least four groups. The internal rift has weakened the outfit and it is not in a position to pose a serious challenge to the security forces.

The TTP leaders had been involved in infighting in recent weeks. A splinter group has allegedly claimed lives of nearly 200 Taliban militants including several senior commanders.

A senior Taliban leader, who was heading the group in the biggest province Punjab, announced on Saturday that he has ceased militancy and will now preach a “peaceful Islam.” Political watchers described the dramatic announcement by Asmatullah Muaweya to return to peace as the outcome of the operation.

Muaweya group had been blamed for several high profile attacks in the country.

The Pakistani Taliban, remnants of al-Qaida and dozens of other foreign and militants groups had been using North Waziristan as their biggest sanctuary for training and planning attacks in the country, across the border into Afghanistan as well as in other countries.

The majority of the foreign militants had arrived in the region after the U.S. launched military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001.

Several suicide bombers arrested alive in Pakistan have admitted that they had received training in North Waziristan. A Pakistani-born U.S. citizen, Faisal Shahzad, who was arrested in connection with the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt in May 2010, had disclosed that he had received training in North Waziristan.

A Jordanian national, who had attacked the CIA center in Afghanistan’s Khost province in December 2009, appeared in a video along with then Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud. Mehsud was killed in a U.S. drone attack last year.



A Somewhat Enlightening Perspective






The Wahabis of SAUDI KINGDOM have now their puppet as new prime minister of Pakistan. In my book “DIVIDE PAKISTAN TO ELIMINATE TERRORISM”, I had mentioned about the involvement of Saudi Kingdom in financing global terrorism and using Pakistan’s soil for this purpose. The Wahabi children of Abu Sufyan and Mawiya who represent the Saudi Kingdom in 21st century would now move forward to fulfil their ambitions of eliminating Iran and Syria under the auspices of Wahabi cum Punjabi army of Pakistan. General Zia had already made a policy of not allowing Shias to reach to higher ranks within Pakistan’s army. That policy is still in force. Now, Saudi Kingdom needs their puppet Wahabi Nawaz Sharif to follow their instructions and use the Punjabi Wahabi army against Iran and Syria. Perhaps, this is the beginning of downfall of Pakistan which was delayed due to PPP’s government. In my opinion, the disintegration of Pakistan is possible through communal riots and rising of masses against the Wahabi doctrine. Shias and true Sunnis who love Ale-Rasool AS can join hands in combatting these Saudis. It is a fact that Pakistan’s existence is unnatural and as such Pakistan needs to be divided immediately to avoid any big disaster. The Wahabi elements have already united against the lovers of Ale-RasoolAS. It is expected that the Syrian war will now be fought on Pakistan’s soil. It is my expectation that around 100,000 more people will die during 2014 in Pakistan. Punjabi army is determined to crush the Shias living in Pakistan because Punjabi army has chosen to become dogs of Saudi Kingdom instead of acting as protectors of citizens of Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif is a symbol of WAHABI-ISM in Pakistan and a planted CALIPH of SAUDI KINGDOM. Nawaz Sharif considers himself not less than a king and he has demonstrated this feeling on many occasions. The undiminishing pride and ever escalating sense of superiority on the part of Nawaz Sharif clearly show that Nawaz Sharif will go for a foul play on large scale and Pakistan will ultimately disintegrate due to this GREAT MISTAKE. On the other side of Pakistan politics, though Altaf Hussain is being blackmailed because of his involvement in the murder of Dr. Imran Farooq by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in exchange of his cooperation with Nawaz government and “solidarity” with Punjabi army, it is my pray that Altaf Hussain must die his natural death as soon as possible. Altaf Hussain has become a great hurdle in the way of freedom of Urdu speaking nation. Making of an independent state (REPUBLIC OF JINNAHPUR) has been delayed due to Altaf Hussain being alive. The whole MQM has been hijacked by Altaf Hussain and therefore nobody in the MQM is ready to talk about independence. Those who had talked about independence are no longer with MQM at the moment. Some of them are still monitoring the current situation and a revolt is on the cards depending on how soon Altaf Hussain must leave this world with his British passport to be placed on his chest inside his coffin. Time has now come for Mohajir youth not to relax but be ready for encounter with Punjabi army. The mohajir youth should not look at Altaf Hussain but decide on their own. Wahabis are now knocking our doors to eliminate lovers of Ale-Rasool AS and repeat the history of Karbala. The Saudi Kingdom is the real sponsor of international terrorism and now they are active in USING NAWAZ SHARIF to complete their pending work. Saudi Kingdom wants to destroy Iran and want to use Punjabi army for this purpose. Indeed Punjabi army has no problem too as they also consider lovers of Ale-Rasool AS as their biggest enemies. So, who will confront the Punjabi army? It is only the Urdu speaking nation who can confront Punjabi army by making an independent country called JINNAHPUR and pave way for further disintegration of Pakistan. Altaf Hussain is no longer sincere with Mohajir nation and wants to save his own skin i.e to avoid implication in the murder of Dr. Imran Farooq. Altaf Hussain is now politically IMPOTENT and USELESS for any bold political decisions. Mohajir nation must rise to achieve their own freedom. Punjabi army which is the army of Saudi Kingdom in reality is ready to follow the footsteps of YAZEED and under the auspices of Nawaz government, Punjabi army will do its best to ensure that Urdu speaking nation remains as an isolated nation without any political right to decide its own freedom.

Afghan General Defends Tactics


Abubakar Siddique / RFE/RL correspondent

Gandhara News

August 19, 2014


General Abdul Raziq, the security chief in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar, is a controversial figure. Afghan and Western officials see him as a bulwark against Taliban attempts to return to their former Kandahar stronghold, but critics accuse him of committing grave rights abuses in his dealings with insurgents.

In an interview with RFE/RL correspondent Abubakar Siddique, Raziq defended his violent campaign against the insurgents, who he claims are fighting a proxy war for Pakistan’s security service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, or ISI.

RFE/RL: Credible sources in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, which borders Kandahar, recently told us that your Adozai clan is involved in a festering blood feud with the Taliban hiding in Balochistan. They claim that this rivalry is behind frequent murders in the region. How do you respond to these allegations?

General Abdul Raziq: These murders are not the work of the Taliban. They are all carried out by Pakistan’s ISI to pressure us so that we cooperate with them in certain ways.

RFE/RL: But these sources told us that you are behind the killing of Taliban leaders such as their influential ideologue Maulana Abdullah Raziq, who was killed in Balochistan’s capital, Quetta, in December. Is this true?

Raziq: The Taliban have their own internal problems. The Taliban are divided into many factions. Some of them work with the ISI, while others work with various militant networks. So these are their internal problems.

But the Afghan tribal leaders who are frequently assassinated in that region, most of them are not known to us. The ISI is behind all this because they want to pressure us one way or the other. They have made us several offers to entice us into cooperation with them. They have told us that doing so will end our problems.

I can assure you that such pressures have no effect. We cannot be pressured this way because death is a determined fact. So they are engaging in a futile effort.

RFE/RL: Why would the ISI want to pressure you?

Raziq: They want to increase their influence inside Afghanistan. They have their own objectives in Afghanistan, which are against the interests of our country.

But we cannot let them reach their goals. We are ready to pay every price for defending our homeland. We cannot let anybody interfere in our country.

RFE/RL: During the past decade, Afghan leaders have repeatedly said that Taliban leaders are planning attacks inside Afghanistan from hideouts in Quetta and other parts of Pakistan. In your view, why has the United States and the rest of the international community failed to persuade Pakistan to do its part to restore peace in Afghanistan?

Raziq: It is the responsibility of our central government to do so. But the whole world knows that all the Taliban — foot soldiers and leaders–are in Pakistan. All the Taliban dead and wounded are taken back to Pakistan.

Everything they do happens with the permission of the ISI. I have no doubt that they cannot do anything without ISI’s approval and the ISI can prevent them from doing what they are doing. It is because of ISI’s pressure that they come here and die in vain.

RFE/RL: In recent months the Taliban have attempted large attacks in Kandahar and neighboring provinces in southern Afghanistan. What has been the impact of these attacks?

Raziq: In Kandahar and in Helmand, ethnic Punjabis [from Pakistan] are now leading battles [against our forces]. The Punjabis are the trainers and Punjabi doctors accompany the fighters. [The hard line Pakistani jihadist organization] Lashkar-e Taiba is leading this campaign. Basically, these are all ISI operatives who now work in this way.

RFE/RL: What proof do you have that Punjabis from Pakistan are fighting inside Afghanistan?

Raziq: We have documents and we have captured fighters. We also have the dead bodies of fighters.

RFE/RL: You reportedly told journalists this week that government forces should shoot Taliban fighters instead of arresting them. Don’t you think such tactics are a violation of Afghan laws?

Raziq: We have seen this report, but I didn’t say anything like this. During recent days we have captured 65 Taliban fighters, and all of them are being detained in Kandahar’s prison. They are our prisoners and we are questioning them. We also captured some 22 wounded Taliban fighters. We could have killed them but we didn’t.

Anyone who comes here to fight our forces must be eliminated or should surrender. Our soldiers, obviously, cannot surrender to them. This cannot happen. Our soldiers must defend our country.

RFE/RL: Reports by Western media and rights watchdogs have accused you of committing grave human rights abuses. How would you respond to such criticisms?

Raziq: This is all hearsay. I can never tell my soldiers to surrender our homeland to the enemy. If we surrender a remote checkpoint to them, they will move to occupy a whole district. If we abandon a district to them, they move in to occupy a whole province. This leaves us with no choice but to defend our homeland.

RFE/RL: Do you ever see peace returning to Afghanistan?

Raziq: I don’t see any hope for peace in Afghanistan. All the efforts towards peace are a waste because we can’t have peace in our homeland unless we stop Pakistan from interfering in our country. Without holding Pakistan accountable, thinking of establishing peace here is futile.


important blog:


The Pakistan Offensive


by Aoun Sahi & Shashank Bengali

Los Angeles Times

July 30, 2014


A six-week Pakistani army offensive has succeeded in disrupting the militant groups that have long enjoyed free rein in the rugged North Waziristan tribal region along the border with Afghanistan, Obama administration officials say.

But proof of the operation’s success, they say, will be whether groups such as the notorious Haqqani network are allowed to reconstitute themselves in North Waziristan or elsewhere and again plot attacks against U.S.-led forces in neighboring Afghanistan or elsewhere.

Previous Pakistani offensives in the tribal belt have either ignored groups like the Haqqanis — who are blamed for deadly attacks against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan — or allowed them to return. U.S. military officials believe that top levels of Pakistan’s security establishment back the Haqqanis as a proxy force to maintain influence in Afghanistan.

But with most U.S. forces withdrawing from Afghanistan at the end of the year, the U.S. military’s ability to battle the Haqqani network is expected to diminish sharply. Obama administration officials have pressed Pakistan’s military leaders in a series of meetings this month to ensure the group does not escape the current operation.

“We keep telling them they must go after all the terrorists and that they cannot cherry-pick,” said a senior U.S. official who requested anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks. “We’ve been quite emphatic about that.”

Pakistan insists that no insurgent groups will be spared in the offensive, which began in mid-June and has resulted in the deaths of more than 500 militants and the seizure of large weapons caches and bomb-making factories, according to unconfirmed Pakistani army reports.

But some officials say that insurgents fled the area before the start of the offensive, which had been rumored for several months.

U.S. officials have not received photographs or other visual evidence from Pakistan showing it has directly targeted the Haqqani network. In the end, the senior U.S. official said, “We end up having a good conversation but the bottom line is we have to be convinced there is no reconstituting of terrorist facilities and safe havens.”

Some analysts believe that Pakistan is taking action now because of a provision in the 2015 Pentagon budget that could withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in counter-terrorism funding unless Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel certifies that Pakistan has “significantly disrupted the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani network.”

Now that they have begun such an operation, “the Pakistanis are making an argument in Washington that they should be given continued coalition support,” C. Christine Fair, author of “Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War,” told the Times of India in an interview this week. Pakistan has received $28 billion in U.S. military and economic aid since 2002, and additional expenditures would be “outrageous,” she said.

Pakistan has not given a timetable for the offensive, which began with airstrikes and has proceeded to ground operations in Miram Shah and Mir Ali, the largest towns in North Waziristan, which are now mostly controlled by the military.

Pakistani officials declined to comment specifically on the Haqqani network, which analysts regard as one of the most experienced insurgent groups fighting in Afghanistan. The group, led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, is under the umbrella of the Afghan Taliban but is seen as being more closely linked to Al Qaeda’s central leadership.

U.S. military leaders have long believed that Pakistan did not target the Haqqani network before because it does not carry out attacks in Pakistan. Afghan authorities also accuse Pakistan of sparing the Haqqani network in the current offensive, arguing that no senior commander in the group has been reported killed.

Last week, a spokesman for the Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, alleged that Pakistan’s security establishment had shifted Haqqani fighters to safe places before the operation began, prompting swift denials from Pakistani officials.

At a news conference the next day, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said Afghanistan, whose army is struggling to contain a domestic Taliban insurgency, should take action against militants fleeing over the border from Pakistan.

“It is … our expectation that action would be taken on the Afghan side to check the fleeing terrorists and not to allow Afghan territory to be used by anti-Pakistan elements,” Chaudhry said.

Tribal leaders who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals from the militants have said the Haqqanis and other groups fled North Waziristan in the days before the operation began. With less than one-third of the tribal region reportedly under government control, many fighters are believed to have taken refuge in other areas of North Waziristan, including Datta Khel, the site of recent U.S. drone strikes, and in the thickly forested Shawal valley.

Rahimullah Yusufzai, a Pakistani journalist who closely follows militant groups, said the current operation has displaced the Haqqani network but the insurgents, who typically operate in groups of about 20, would eventually be able to regroup and plot attacks in Afghanistan from elsewhere in the area.

“It would take some time for them to establish their training and communication facilities at some other place,” he said, and targeting Afghan border provinces such as Khowst and Paktika soon “would not be a problem for them.”


Special correspondent Sahi reported from Islamabad and Times staff writer Bengali from Mumbai, India.


Nearly A Million Refugees


International Rescue Committee

July 29, 20014


Nearly a million people have been forced to leave their homes in North Waziristan, a region of northeast Pakistan, since June 14. More than 95,000 have fled to the Afghan province of Khost and another 17,000 to neighboring Paktika province. Many of these refugees lack clean water and shelter, according to recent assessments by the International Rescue Committee. Because the IRC has worked in Khost since 1993, we have been able to access districts that even the United Nations can’t reach.

An International Rescue Committee (IRC) survey of 70 villages found that most refugees are living alongside local families; however, due to a lack of space and gender sensitivities, many must sleep in unroofed courtyards. In response, the IRC has handed out more than 1,000 tents to provide these displaced people with shelter from the elements.

“The immediate priority has been providing people with shelter to escape the sun, wind and rain, as well as supplying clean water and toilets to prevent illness,” says Allen Greenway, IRC’s Afghanistan country director. “In addition, it has been vital to supply refugees with the bare necessities, because the majority fled with little more than the clothes on their back.”

Fleeing by foot

“We came here with nothing and we have no idea how long we will stay,” says Lal*, one of the refugees now living with his family in an IRC-supplied tent. “We were in such a rush to get out we left everything behind. No cars would take us so we travelled to Khost by foot. The women’s slippers were quickly torn and many had to travel barefoot, which left them with terrible blisters. We carried water in bottles but the adults dared not drink any, in case the children might die of thirst.” Lal was not able to take his sick mother on the arduous journey and she has since died.

Lack of clean water

Assisting the refugees is straining the limited finances of host families. Villagers have told the IRC that instead of refilling their water tanks just once a week, they now pay to fill them every two days.

In the coming weeks, the IRC will be drilling more water boreholes in villages that are hosting the largest number of refugees and paying refugees and local people to maintain taps and wells to guarantee a supply of clean water.

Many local communities also lack sufficient latrines, increasing the risk of diarrhea and other diseases. The IRC has provided over 300 temporary latrines and will be paying local people to build permanent ones.

The IRC has also given more than 2,500 families essential items to replace what they left behind, including bedsheets, tablecloths, jerry cans, gas canisters, emergency lights, soap, shampoo, washing powder, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Loss of education

While local schools are accepting refugee children, Mullah*, a refugee elder, explained the difficulties Pakistanis still face providing quality education for their children.

“We are happy with the local support, but there are a lot of differences in the curriculums between Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he says. “Our children have to read and write in Urdu or English, while in Afghanistan the curriculum is in Pashto and Dari.”

Explains Greenway, “The longer these refugees remain in Afghanistan, the more important it will be for them to find work in order to afford lodgings, and make sure children get back in school and are not robbed of their education. A real worry is how we will be able to support people if they are still unable to return home before the temperatures plummet, especially as local people have warned that they won’t have enough food to support the refugees throughout the winter.”

The IRC began working inside Afghanistan in 1988 and reaches over 4 million people in more than 4,000 communities, focusing on community-driven reconstruction projects, education and emergency relief to people who have been forced to flee their homes.

*Full names not used for privacy reasons