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Instability In Pakistan- Merged Thread

CougarKing

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geo said:
Unilateral decision to Invade Pakistan is just gonna create a situation where the Muslim world will declare a global JIHAD against everyone else....

I think what Obama meant by intervening in Pakistan, he meant just placing troops in the Waziristan region and also possibly also helping in the training and equipping of the Pakistani Army to combat Al-Qaeda and Taliban elements there; I don't think he meant occupying the whole of Pakistan, but that's just what I conclude from this article; however, whether or not Musharraf or his successor will allow such an intervention is another story altogether.
 

midget-boyd91

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Midget's take on 'possible' happenings:
Invade Waziristan? Can 'o worms would be the understatement of the year for that one. The Muslim world declares war on us (the Muslims and their leaders anyways. Muslim state leaders likely wouldn't have their nation declare anything other than condemnation) and Pakistan falls deeper into turmoil. Depending on who is head of state and head of the military at the time, Pakistan's military could very well oppose the U.S/NATO move.

Pakistan in turmoil, and the bulk it's military fighting in Waziristan, India could very easily come barreling across the Line of Control/seperation into Kashmir's Northern Areas region "once and for all." I don't imagine China would take too kindly to that, but I also don't imagine they'd be willing to get themselves into a fight where the U.S/NATO is a potential combatant.
Like I said, that's just my take on dim possibilities. Go ahead and pick away, I'll probably learn something new.

Midget
 

Mike Baker

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Two confess to roles in Bhutto killing

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- -- Two suspects arrested last week confessed to a Pakistani judge Wednesday that they helped arm the suicide bomber blamed for assassinating Benazir Bhutto, an Interior Ministry spokesman told CNN.

The two men -- identified as Hasnain Gul and Rafaqat -- told the judge in a court appearance that they provided Saeed Bilal with a house, transportation, a pistol, and the suicide jacket he allegedly used in the December 27 attack that killed the opposition leader and nearly two dozen others, spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said.

Pakistani authorities have said Bilal fired a gun on Bhutto before detonating his suicide jacket as she left a political rally in Rawalpindi.

Pakistani and British investigators concluded that Bhutto died when the force of the suicide blast caused her to slam her head onto an escape hatch on her SUV.

Bhutto's family has dismissed the government's assertion that she was not shot by an assassin's bullet, but the family has refused to allow an autopsy on the slain opposition leader.

The two suspects were arrested last Thursday in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of Pakistan's military leadership outside Islamabad, where Bhutto was killed, Cheema said.

Police are still holding Aitzaz Shah, 15, and Sher Zaman, who were detained last month in Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province.

Pakistani officials have been vague on Shah and Zaman's links to Bhutto's killing, and have said they have not been named as official suspects.

Pakistan's government has concluded Bhutto's assassination was orchestrated by Baitullah Mesud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban who has ties to al Qaeda -- a conclusion the CIA supports.

Two recent nationwide polls in Pakistan found a majority of Pakistanis believe President Pervez Musharraf's government had a role in her killing.

At a news conference Tuesday, Cheema pointed out that the government does not deny someone fired a shot toward Bhutto before detonating his explosives, but added that person did not act alone.

"You will get to know there were other people in the area," Cheema said. "It was not just a single person."

He said Pakistani investigators "have made very good progress" in determining who planned the assassination.

"We are going to break the whole chain and we are confident we're going to reach the perpetrators," Cheema said. "We will exactly tell you who are the people behind this unfortunate incident."
 

a_majoor

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The relativism around this issue is just amazing. It is not ok to invade Pakistan to take out a very dangerous international terror and crime network, but it is (seemingly) ok to invade the Sudan for humanitarian reasons? (Correct answers, yes, and no).

Unless Pakistan either invites ISAF, NATO or the United States to come on in, or the government of Pakistan collapses (or a Taliban like group overthrow the government of Pakistan and take military or quasi military action against the West), there is no legal reason for us to intervene. Even if these conditions are met, this is still a very momentous decision, since the resources needed to do the job will be vast and the stakes very high.

Even very "selective" targeting by SOF teams and UAV's would still have the potential to go horribly wrong, no matter how effective it potentially might seem at first.

 

Colin Parkinson

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I suspect the play will be tell Pakistan to live up to it's responsibilities to prevent people from crossing it's borders, likely some pressure through the UN in this regard. If the Taliban get to cocky they might just do something stupid like declare themselves and the tribal areas as a Independent state (they are for all intents and purposes) This would open up the area for a response, measured of course, likely cruise missiles, air strikes arty and SF. You might see limited ingress in hot pursuit or to secure a strategic point along the supply routes. The area is also not made up of one group but of many and it is likely the focus of NATO would be keeping the passes open and they would encourage the tribes in those areas to come to a understanding. These are the same area with the most infrastructure to lose as well, so they might decide that it is better to deal with the devil and live in comfort rather than fight a holy war in -20 with no where to live.

If NATO hardens up and they maintain an active presence in Afghanistan then the ANA will continue to grow and increase in effectiveness. The ANP and the government will hopefully both get their act together in that time to exploit the gains made by the ANA and NATO.
 

geo

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In the BBC news tonight - they have two people who have admitted to providing pistol and vest to the Kamikaze who "did" Bhutto.  They are saying the suspects claim it has to do with the Gov't assault on the Red mosque last year
 

gordjenkins

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May be Scotland Yard did contribute after all ?

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Bhutto assassins say attack was revenge for Pakistani mosque siege
By Indo-Asian News Service on Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Two Pakistani militants arrested in connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto have confessed that were seeking revenge for the death of a comrade killed in a commando assault on Islamabad’s Red Mosque in July 2007, a police official said Wednesday.

The confessions of Hasnain Gul and Rafaqat, who were arrested last week and admitted planning the gun and suicide bombing attack on Bhutto Dec 27 in the city of Rawalpindi, calls into question government claims that the attack was ordered by a Taliban commander in north-west Pakistan allegedly linked to Al Qaeda.

In the most detailed account of an assassination that rocked Pakistan to its core, Abdul Majeed, head of a Pakistani police investigation team, told a press conference late Wednesday that Gul had been in close contact with militant friends in Pakistan’s volatile North-West Frontier province (NWFP) since last summer.

Gul volunteered to organize attacks on government and military targets in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad, after learning that a fellow militant was killed in the Red Mosque incident, Majeed said.

Gul then organized a team including two suicide bombers to kill Bhutto after learning she would be addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh.

“The motive for carrying out the suicide attack on Bhutto was because she was returning to Pakistan with the support of a foreign power,” Majeed told reporters, apparently referring to the US, which helped broker the deal with embattled Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on Bhutto’s return home from self-exile.

Majeed said Gul posted bombers on the park’s two main gates, one of whom, identified for the first time as Balil, got close enough to Bhutto to fire three shots at her with a pistol before blowing himself up within two metres of her vehicle.

British investigators have concluded that Bhutto, who was standing through the vehicle’s rooftop escape hatch and waving to supporters, died from cracking her skull after recoiling from the blast.

The other bomber, who Majeed identified as Ikram Ullah, did not blow himself up as the initial attack was successful. Ullah fled Rawalpindi and went to the NWFP’s tribal areas, where the Taliban, Al Qaeda and local militant groups have safe havens.

Majeed said Gul had organized at least two other suicide attacks on Pakistani military targets in 2007, one of which killed 11 people.

He also said Gul provided both bombers in the Bhutto assassination with suicide vests, and personally gave Balil the pistol and a pair of dark sunglasses. Video footage and photographs clearly showed the attacker wearing dark sunglasses and pointing a pistol at Bhutto.

But Majeed declined to answer when asked whether Gul confessed to planning the attack under the orders of Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud, who Musharraf and US intelligence officials have claimed was behind the hit.

“We are still investigating this,” he told reporters. “As soon as there is some progress, we will share information with you.”

Bhutto’s assassination has been mired in controversy because of conflicting government accounts of how she died and who was responsible.

Her family and political supporters claim that rogue elements within Musharraf’s government killed her to prevent her from winning an unprecedented third term as prime minister in elections now rescheduled for next Monday.

Musharraf insists that Mehsud ordered Bhutto’s assassination and said the Taliban commmander had trained hundreds of suicide bombers at his base in the tribal areas to target the government, military and political figures.

In late January, authorities arrested a would-be teenage bomber, along with his handler, who reportedly confessed to being the next in line to attack Bhutto had she survived the Rawalpindi attack.
 

daftandbarmy

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My God. Does anyone else think that this is going to be a problem for Afghanistan, and elsewhere? The place will likely turn into a massive Jihadi Generator...

Pakistan Asserts It Is Near a Deal With Militants

A 15-point draft of the accord would lead to the gradual withdrawal of the Pakistani military from part of the tribal region of South Waziristan.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/25/world/asia/25pstan.html?th&emc=th
 

The Bread Guy

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:tsktsk:

ISAF attacked by cross-border artillery fire
ISAF news release PR# 2008-277, 21 Jun 08
News release link

KABUL, Afghanistan - An ISAF forward operating base (FOB) and an Afghan National Army compound in north-eastern Paktika Province were attacked with indirect fire from across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border today.

Three rounds of indirect fire landed in the vicinity of the ISAF FOB and three rounds landed inside an Afghan National Army compound.

ISAF forces determined the origination of the rounds to be in Pakistan and returned artillery fire in self-defence.

The engagement started at approximately 5:15 p.m. local and the Pakistan military was immediately notified when ISAF forces came under fire.

No casualties have been reported.

 

GAP

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Kinda a dumb way for retaliation.....they gotta know that return azimuth fire is gonna come back to haunt them, among other things....
 

Old Sweat

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This probably isn't the start of the Third World War version 2.1, but it ain't a good sign. It is may be retaliation for the hit on positions inside Pakistan, but that's a guess. As long as this shooting back and forth stays low key, both sides' face is saved. If it escalates is a different matter.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Regarding the thread title, do we know for sure that it was Pakistani artillery that fired across the border?  The three rounds of "indirect fire" could have been fired across the border by agencies other than the Pakistani Army.

Perhaps I am being obtuse or naive, but I didn't see that the new release stated that it was Pakistani artillery (it may well could have been, but I am just throwing that out there).
 

Scoobie Newbie

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Well we all know how accurate the press is when they call LAV's tanks so perhaps as T2B hinted, it could have been Taliban mortar men.
 

The Bread Guy

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Good point, all - thanks Bruce for the edit.

First the "tit", now a bit more on the "tat", shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act.

NATO Returns Fire Following Attack From Pakistan
NATO forces return fire across Afghan border at insurgents in Pakistan

AMIR SHAH, Associated Press, 22 Jun 08
Article link

NATO forces returned fire across the Afghan border at attackers in Pakistan, officials said Sunday, an incident that could stir tension between Washington and Islamabad over the response to militants in the lawless border region.

NATO said three rounds of "indirect fire" landed near an alliance outpost in Afghanistan's Paktika province Saturday afternoon. Three more landed in an Afghan army compound. No casualties were reported.

A NATO statement said its forces determined that the rounds were fired from inside Pakistan and returned artillery fire "in self-defence."

Pakistan's military was notified immediately after the initial attack, it said.

Afghan and U.S. officials blame surging violence in Afghanistan in part on efforts by the new Pakistani government to make peace with militants on its side of the mountainous frontier....

More on link

Here's all I could find in PAK media so far....

Nato-Taliban border clash
Dawn, 21 Jun 08
Article link

MIRAMSHAH, June 21: Tension gripped Miramshah in N. Waziristan on Saturday after clashes broke out between Nato forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.

Sources said the gunbattle took place near the Ghulam Khan checkpost and the area reverberated with loud explosions. They said that artillery shells had landed near the mutual territory which triggered fear among area people.—Correspondent

AFP adds: A spokesman for the Nato-led forces in Kabul said that one of its bases and a local army compound had been attacked from across the border with Pakistan.

- edited to add PAK media story -
 

kilekaldar

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Pakistan bombards suspected Taliban hideouts

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080628/pakistan_afghan_080628/20080628?hub=TopStories

Updated Sat. Jun. 28 2008 8:37 AM ET



KHYBER AGENCY, Pakistan -- Pakistani forces bombarded suspected militant hideouts with mortar shells Saturday as the government launched a major offensive against Taliban fighters threatening the main city in the country's volatile northwest, officials said.

The offensive in the Khyber tribal region marked the first major military action Pakistan's newly elected government has taken against the militants operating in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

The government had said it preferred to try to defuse tension with the groups through negotiations, but with threats by Islamic militants to the city of Peshawar growing in recent weeks, the military decided to take action. Khyber also is a key route for moving U.S. military supplies into neighboring Afghanistan.

By Saturday afternoon, the paramilitary Frontier Corps began shelling suspected militant hideouts in the mountains in Khyber, said local official Muhammad Siddiq Khan.

Fasih Ullah, a police officer in Khyber, said 700 Frontier Corps. troops moved into Khyber late Friday for the operation.

A round-the-clock curfew was imposed in the Bara area bordering Peshawar, and heavy contingents of troops blocked the main road into Khyber, said Mujeeb Khan, a senior local official.

"All bazaars are shut and residents have been asked not to come out of their homes," he said.

Tauseef Haider, a top official with the Frontier Constabulary, said his forces had brought in reinforcements and heavy weapons to protect Peshawar and its more than 1 million residents from insurgents who might try a counterattack.

"Since the operation is going on in the tribal area, that is why we have to be extra cautious," he said from the constabulary's brick outpost in Shahkas, on the edge of the tribal area just outside of Peshawar. "We have increased our strength we will not let any militant come this way."

Across from the outpost was an expanse of flatland covered in bushes and foliage in front of undulating hills that turned into mountains.

In a sign of expected resistance, a Taliban-linked group said an offensive in the area will only create more problems.

"If the government thinks there is any issue to address, that should be resolved through talks, not by the use of force," said Munsif Khan, spokesman for the Vice and Virtue Movement. "We are ready for talks with the government."

Vice and Virtue, led by militant leader Haji Namdar, is suspected of carrying out operations against coalition soldiers across the border in Afghanistan. Namdar has sought to impose his own strict brand of Islamic law in the region. However, he is at odds with Baitullah Mehsud, who is seen as the leader of the Taliban in Pakistan.

Menghal Bagh's fighters have waged attacks in Peshawar in what provincial officials say was an attempt to intimidate the population and show the group's ability to wield influence outside the tribal regions. Bagh's followers have also been blamed for threatening convoys of supplies bound for coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Mahmood Shah, a former security chief in Pakistan's tribal regions, said the Taliban control the country's entire tribal belt and "everyone now is waiting for some action from the federal government."

"The situation is such that (the Taliban) are all around Peshawar. They are on our doorstep," Shah said. "The situation is like water flowing into a field and until you have some obstruction to stop it you will drown. We are drowning."

Two weeks ago, a Taliban force from Khyber sent its militants into Peshawar and kidnapped 16 Christians who were later released.

Misrri Khan, who works for a tribal paramilitary force that patrols Khyber, said the militants kidnapped 16 of his fellow officers and threatened to behead them -- and then take more captives -- if they did not abandon their checkpoints in the area. Khan said the force refused.

February elections brought a new civilian government to power, eclipsing former army strongman and staunch U.S. ally President Pervez Musharraf. In a shift in policy, the new administration has supported peace efforts with Taliban militants to try to curb an explosion in violence in the northwest over the past year.

But Pakistan's Western allies are increasingly concerned that easing up military pressure on the militants has given them more space to operate -- letting them strengthen their position in Pakistan's border regions and giving them more freedom to attack U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was in Peshawar on Saturday on a trip he said was unrelated to any impending operation.

In a brazen show of force Friday, a group of militants in the Bajur region executed two men accused of spying for U.S. forces in front of 5,000 residents.

The body of a third accused spy was discovered riddled with bullets at the side of a road in Bajur, said Fazal Rabbi, a security official in the area. A note attached to his body said anyone else involved in spying would meet the same fate, he said.

At meetings in Peshawar on Friday, federal and provincial representatives hammered out the details of the Khyber operation. They also discussed the situation in the restive Swat area, where the provincial government has signed a peace deal with a radical pro-Taliban cleric, provincial officials said.

Afrasiab Khattak, chief negotiator for the provincial government, told the AP that the province is considering a second military operation in Swat, where militants forced out by an army offensive last year are now regaining a foothold.
 

McG

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Pakistani forces take control of area in Khyber
Updated Sun. Jun. 29 2008 8:48 AM ET
The Associated Press

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Paramilitary troops returned Sunday to posts they had been forced to abandon and Pakistani forces widened their offensive against militants operating in a volatile tribal area along the Afghan border, an official said.

The government launched the operation Saturday because the militants in the Khyber region presented an "immediate problem," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said. The militants began threatening the nearby city of Peshawar and ambushing supply convoys bound for U.S.-led coalition troops in Afghanistan.

The military operation appears to be a shift in strategy by Pakistan's new government, backing its calls for peace deals in the tribal areas with the threat of forceful action against militants who get out of line.

The United States has criticized the move for peace deals, saying it gives militants the freedom to regroup for attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Speaking to reporters in Lahore, Gilani defended the peace deals, but warned that authorities will resort to force "if (the groups) backtrack from their agreements and damage state property."

Troops from the paramilitary Frontier Corps, backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, quickly cleared militants out of the Bara region, said Muhammad Siddiq Khan, a local official.

A tribal paramilitary force that had been forced to abandon its posts in the region several months ago returned to the checkpoints Sunday, he said.

The Frontier Corps met no resistance as it moved into other areas outside Bara, destroying militant bases along the way, he said.

On Saturday, authorities shelled militant hideouts and blew up the headquarters of militant leader Menghal Bagh, who had apparently fled. Another possible target was Haji Namdar's Vice and Virtue Movement, which is suspected of attacks against coalition soldiers in Afghanistan.

Officials in Kabul welcomed the operation in Khyber and reiterated their suspicion that a surge in violence in Afghanistan was partly due to the lack of pressure on militants in Pakistan's tribal areas.

"We endorse this operation, we want this operation to be continued and we want this operation to be successful," Afghanistan's Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said.

NATO spokesman Brig. Gen. Carlos Branco said "everything that can minimize the threat in Afghanistan is good for us."

"We know that as long as insurgents can operate safely on the Pakistan side of the border, then there cannot be security in Afghanistan," said Mark Laity, another alliance spokesman.

Baitullah Mehsud, the top Taliban leader in Pakistan, said he was suspending talks between his allies and the government in the wake of the offensive and implied his forces could cause trouble in Pakistan's main cities.

Maj. Gen. Alam Khattak, head of the Frontier Corps, hinted this would not be the only operation against militants and other officials said the volatile Swat region could be next.

On Sunday, a remote-controlled bomb blast killed two soldiers on a foot patrol in Swat's Matta area, a former militant stronghold, army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said.

Pro-Taliban fighters have battled security forces in Swat in recent months, despite a peace deal between militants and the new provincial government.
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080629/pakistan_border_080729/20080629?hub=TopStories
 

Colin Parkinson

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Does Pakistan have any regular troops in the area? My understanding is they are all Frontier scouts, a lightly armed para-miltary organization. I don't think they have any heavy weapons.
 

tomahawk6

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The government still holds their high value prisoners after the seige.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080710/wl_sthasia_afp/pakistanunrestnorthwestpolice

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) - Pro-Taliban militants ended their siege of a police station in restive northwest Pakistan when troops arrived early Thursday, police said.

Police said they requested reinforcements after around 200 militants surrounded a police station in the Hangu district of Northwest Frontier Province late Wednesday to demand the release of seven suspected extremists.

"The Taliban ended the siege of the police station around 3:00 am (2100 GMT) when troops started arriving," local police station chief Jehangir Khan told AFP.

An intelligence official said the detainees were among the close circle of tribal warlord Baitullah Mehsud, who has been accused of plotting the assassination of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto. Mehsud denies the charge.

Authorities have imposed a curfew in the area and troops were patrolling the streets, residents said.

Hangu district, which has a history of violence between minority Shiite and majority Sunni sects, is close to tribal areas bordering Afghanistan where pro-Taliban militants are active.

Separately, the government signed a truce agreement with Islamic militants in Khyber tribal district late Wednesday after a 10-day paramilitary operation in the area, officials said.

 
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