Al-Qaeda head Osama Bin Laden was ‘within grasp’ of US

November 30, 2009 at 7:58 am | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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Osama Bin Laden (centre) with Ayman al Zawahiri (left) in an image broadcast by al-Jazeera in October 2001

Osama Bin Laden is believed to be hiding in Pakistan‘s tribal areas

US forces had Osama Bin Laden “within their grasp” in Afghanistan in late 2001, a US Senate report says.

It says calls for US reinforcements were rejected, allowing the al-Qaeda leader to “walk unmolested” into Pakistan’s unregulated tribal areas.

The report was prepared by the Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff.

It says the failure to kill or capture Bin Laden had far-reaching consequences and laid the foundation for the protracted Afghan insurgency.

The report comes as President Barack Obama prepares to announce a long-awaited decision on sending troop reinforcements to Afghanistan.

 

 

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‘Well Wisher ” Bin Laden!

September 15, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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Bin Laden prods US to end ‘hopeless’ Afghan war
15.09.2009 04:33
Bin Laden prods US to end 'hopeless' Afghan war

Osama bin Laden said in a new audiotape that President Barack Obama‘s strategy in Afghanistan is “hopeless” and called on Americans to resolve the conflict with al-Qaida by ending the war there and breaking the U.S. alliance with Israel, Associated Press reported.

In the message marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the al-Qaida leader avoided his usual rhetoric of jihad and instead took a more analytical tone, claiming its differences with the U.S. stemmed from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But analysts said Monday that the message’s tone and its unusually short length – only 11 minutes, far shorter than others released by al-Qaida to mark the anniversary – was an indication that al-Qaida was struggling to maintain interest eight years after its most shattering terror attacks.

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Obama’s Options In Pakistan

May 20, 2009 at 11:40 am | Posted in Afghanistan, Lifescape, Military Operations, Muslims, US-Af-Pak Affairs, War | Leave a comment
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afghanistan
Image by Army.mil via Flickr

In 2007, a Guantánamo military commission reviewed prisoner No. 008, also known as Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, a designated enemy combatant, who stated at the review that  he had “never been America’s enemy and I never intend to be.” and transferred him to Afghanistan’s government, which set him free.

This spring, under the name Mullah Abdullah Zakir, he has resurfaced as one of the most vicious and effective Taliban commanders in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand Province, where thousands of recently deployed U.S. troops are now arriving to join the battle.

As a parable of the United States and its enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Rasoul’s case has a familiar, circular quality. The miscalculations across five Administrations are by now generally understood: near-unequivocal support for anti-American militias during the nineteen-eighties; averted eyes as Pakistan pursued its covert nuclear ambitions; the abandonment of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal; the failure to recognize the menace of Al Qaeda during the nineteen-nineties; erratic investments in Pakistan’s democracy, economy, and civil society; and, most recently, a war in Afghanistan after 9/11 which did not defeat Al Qaeda or the Taliban but chased them into Pakistan, where they regrouped and have proceeded to destabilize a country now endowed with atomic bombs.

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Pakistan Steps Back From The Brink

March 17, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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Cropped from :Image:Secretary of Defense Willi...
Image via Wikipedia

The promised reinstatement of Pakistan‘s chief justice defused a protest movement threatening the U.S.-allied government, but it could still spell trouble for the country’s  president.

160309_pakistan-protest1

Musharraf had , it may be recalled ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry in 2007 after he blocked a privatization deal, investigated the fate of hundreds of people allegedly held incognito by security agencies, and even questioned the legality of the ex-general’s rule.

Lawyers celebrate at the residence of Chaudhry

But the move backfired as lawyers, rights activists, liberal media pundits — as well as the general’s political opponents — mounted a dogged campaign for an independent judiciary that turned the  judge into democratic icon.The very same constellation has now humbled Zardari

It’s the first time in the history of Pakistan that a movement launched by the middle class (as represented and lead by anti-government lawyers’ campaign) has proved successful.

It has at least for now prevented further turmoil in nuclear-armed Pakistan, where the government had failed to stem militancy and revive a flagging economy.

The US Embassy praised the decision as “statesmanlike,” but it also was a significant concession that showed the weakness of US-allied President Asif Ali Zardari, who had long refused to restore the independent-minded Chaudhry despite demands by lawyers and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. Already, attempts to quell the protest movement — through arrests and bans on rallies — have exposed cracks in the ruling party. Although he has a healthy majority in parliament, Zardari’s retreat on the issue will raise questions about his future, while it will enhance the standing of his chief rival, former prime minister Sharif.

Chaudhry will be reinstated on March 21 when the incumbent retires. He had  refused to vacate his official residence after his dismissal when Musharraf declared emergency rule in a desperate move to extend his presidency for another term. Along with Chaudhry’s reinstatement “there will also be a constitutional package.” The constitutional package being worked out was expected to include the formation of a commission to review judicial appointments and the lifting of central government rule in Punjab, setting the stage for the provincial assembly to elect a chief minister.

The political crisis gripping the Muslim nation had alarmed the United States and Britain, which fear any slide into chaos would help the Taliban and al Qaeda become stronger in Pakistan. Western diplomats had tried to make Zardari pull out of a collision that could destabilise the year-old civilian coalition and force a reluctant army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, to intervene.

A relatively calm,perhaps deceptively so, future awaits now Pakistan.

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Hard Task For Holbrooke

February 8, 2009 at 9:07 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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Taliban Flags on the Pakistan side of the bord...
Image by talkradionews via Flickr

Richard Holbrooke, President Barack Obama‘s

troubleshooter for Pakistan and Afghanistan, will visit Islamabad on

Monday before going to Kabul and New Delhi to devise a grand strategy

to rid the region of Islamist militancy.

Inexperienced in South Asia, the veteran diplomat is arriving in an unfamiliar region at a time of flux.

Elections are due in India by early May, and in Afghanistan in

August, while relations between Islamabad and New Delhi are fraught

following an attack by Pakistani militants on the Indian city of Mumbai

two months ago.

U.S. and NATO forces are struggling to quell a resurgent Taliban

movement in Afghanistan, and the Afghan-Pakistan border is still

regarded as the region where al Qaeda is most likely to hatch another

September 11 plot….

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India a terribly soft state: US experts

January 30, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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india pakistan flag-off
Image by radicaleye via Flickr

India will be vulnerable to more terrorist attacks along the lines of Mumbai, terrorism analyst Brian Jenkins from RAND and Ashley
Tellis have told the US Senate‘s committee on homeland security.

“India will continue to face a serious jihadi terrorist threat from Pakistan-based terrorist groups. However, India lacks military options that have strategic-level effects without a significant risk of a military response by Pakistan. Neither Indian nor US policy is likely to be able to reduce that threat significantly in the short to medium term,” they said.

Tellis said, “LeT represents a threat to regional and global security second only to al-Qaida. Although LeT is linked in popular perceptions mainly to the terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir, the operations and ideology of this group transcend the violence directed at India.” He cautioned that US should work with India to deal with terrorism from Pakistan, otherwise India would be tempted to take steps that could endanger regional security.

“To the chagrin of its citizens, India has also turned out to be a terribly soft state neither able to prevent many of the terrorist acts that have confronted it over the years nor capable of retaliating effectively against either its terrorist adversaries or their state sponsors in Pakistan,” the two experts said. Jenkins added that the poor quality of India’s response to the terror attacks, intelligence failure and inadequate counter-terrorist training and equipment added to India’s misery.

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Obama’s First Foreign Policy Mistake

January 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Lifescape, Reactions | Leave a comment
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Obama’s first foreign policy

mistake: Analyst Agencies

Washington The statement by President-elect Barack Obama regarding American intervention in Kashmir is his first “foreign policy mistake”, a leading US expert on South Asia said on Tuesday. A Kashmir initiative by America, however “veiled”, can undermine improving Indo-US ties, Selig S Harrison, director of Asia Programme at the Center for International Policy and a senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International, said an opinion piece published in The Washington Times.

“President-elect Barack Obama has made his first big foreign policy mistake – pledging US intervention in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan,” he wrote.

In an interview to the Time magazine in October last year, Obama had said that Kashmir is a place he wanted to “devote serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach”.

Harrison, who specialises in South Asia and East Asia for past 50 years, said Obama would face resistance from not only India, but also Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.

“By questioning Indian control of the Kashmir Valley, the United States would strengthen jihadi forces in both Islamabad and Srinagar, the capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. More importantly, it would undermine improving US-India relations,” he argued.

“A US Kashmir initiative, however veiled, would poison relations between New Delhi and Washington,” he said.

Harrison said the rationale for intervention is that fear of India requires Pakistan to strengthen its western front in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban.

But the reason for Pakistani support of the Taliban and jihadi forces in Kashmir is that its military and intelligence agencies are riddled with Islamists, he said.

“The appointment of a high-level regional envoy in South Asia to promote cooperation among India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in combating al-Qaeda and its allies would be desirable in the aftermath of Mumbai. But Kashmir indeed would be a tar pit for such an envoy,” Harrison said.

source

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