Taliban Resorting To Regular Suicide Bombing In Pakistan

June 8, 2009 at 7:36 am | Posted in Muslims, Taliban, Terrorism | 1 Comment
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A suicide bombing at a rescue centre in Islamabad killed and injured several rescue workers

Suicide bombing is taking place in Pakistan with sickening regularity.

Yesterday,Sunday,June 7, it was a soft target of Islamabad’s Rescue  15 building, where a suicide bomber climbed the compound wall  and exploded himself killing and injuring rescue workers. It seems that Taliban is targeting mostly  soft-security centers.  Nothing much was left standing at the rescue center.

Only the previous day, Taliban had carried out an explosion on an army convoy escorting prisoners into the North West Frontier Province‘s main city of Peshawar.

Meanwhile, the army  says it has Mullah Fazlulla, the local Taliban leader is in its sight and it is closing in on him.

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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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Pak Cleric Calls For Talibanizing Pakistan

April 18, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Lifescape | 1 Comment
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Location of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamab...
Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) Red spot marks the spot of confrontation

Thousands of men and boys in turbans and tunics streamed toward the Red Mosque, the site of a bloody confrontation with Pakistani security forces in July 2007, to hear Maulana Abdul Aziz invoke the martyrdom of those who died in the military siege and urge others to sacrifice their lives for Islam.

The gray-bearded Aziz, who arrived under police escort, stopped short of calling for violence and described his cause as a “peaceful struggle.” But there was an implicit threat in his message and a mood of barely suppressed eagerness for action in the crowd, which included many young Islamic seminary students.

“If the government wants peace and stability, it should adopt the Islamic system,” Aziz said. “But if it chooses the path of aggression and force, it will further aggravate the situation.”

Aziz, who took over the Red Mosque after his father’s assassination in 1998, is known for his hard-line religious views. In fiery speeches to followers over the years, he has advocated the strict separation of men and women in accordance with rules that he said are set forth in Islamic law. He once issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against a female government official for publicly hugging a man who was not her husband.

Aziz and his brother and deputy, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, had also supported the Taliban‘s rise to power in neighboring Afghanistan in the 1990s, according to Pakistani officials, and by 2007, they were committed to turning Pakistan into a Taliban-style Islamic state.

In the months before the standoff, in which Ghazi was killed, the two clerics initiated a string of actions to provoke the government, including stockpiling weapons in their compound and sending students from the mosque’s religious school out on moral vigilante missions. ad_icon

On Friday, Aziz and other speakers hailed the imposition of sharia law in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat region, which Parliament and President Asif Ali Zardari approved Tuesday in an effort to mollify extremist Taliban forces who have waged a terrorist campaign there for the past two years…

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Taliban Exploit Class Rifts in Pakistan

April 17, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
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Around 3,000 people gathered for a rally in the Swat Valley of Pakistan on April 10 in support of the bill paving way for the implementation of Islamic law there.

Around 3,000 people gathered for a rally in the Swat Valley of Pakistan on April 10 in support of the bill paving way for the implementation of Islamic law there.

The Taliban have advanced deeper into Pakistan by engineering a class revolt that exploits profound fissures between a small group of wealthy landlords and their landless tenants, according to government officials and analysts here.

Supporters of Islamic law on Thursday in the Swat Valley, a Pakistani region where the Taliban exploited class rifts to gain control.

The strategy cleared a path to power for the Taliban in the Swat Valley, where the government allowed Islamic law to be imposed this week, and it carries broad dangers for the rest of Pakistan, particularly the militants’ main goal, the populous heartland of Punjab Province.

In Swat, accounts from those who have fled now make clear that the Taliban seized control by pushing out about four dozen landlords who held the most power.

To do so, the militants organized peasants into armed gangs that became their shock troops, the residents, government officials and analysts said.

The approach allowed the Taliban to offer economic spoils to people frustrated with lax and corrupt government even as the militants imposed a strict form of Islam through terror and intimidation.

“This was a bloody revolution in Swat,” said a senior Pakistani official who oversees Swat, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by the Taliban. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it sweeps the established order of Pakistan.”

The Taliban’s ability to exploit class divisions adds a new dimension to the insurgency and is raising alarm about the risks to Pakistan, which remains largely feudal. …more

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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.

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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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In Pakistan, Swat Valley police give up in face of Taliban attacks

February 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Lifescape | 2 Comments
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Fazlullah's madrasa at Imam Dherai, Swat.
Image via Wikipedia

Taliban struck a police station Wednesday. Many police are resigning because of death threats.

Leaving: A policeman stood guard in Pakistan‘s northwestern Swat Valley in 2007. Taliban threats have sharply reduced police ranks.
Tariq Mahmood/AFP/GEtty Images/NEWSCOM


Fazal Rehman’s childhood dream was to be a police officer. But after a dozen years on the force in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, he has finally turned in his badge.

During his training, Swat, which is located in the North West Frontier Province, about a five-hour-drive from Islamabad, was an idyllic place. Known as the “Switzerland of Pakistan,” it was renowned for lush valleys, ragged mountainsides, and snowcapped peaks.

But in the past two years, Swat has been caught up in the throes of a violent insurgency that has repelled tourists and is forcing locals to manage their lives around curfews and bans – and prompting many to leave the area.

The latest violence struck Wednesday, when militants attacked and destroyed a police station, capturing – and later releasing – some 30 paramilitary soldiers and policemen. A Taliban spokesman said the Taliban had gotten promises from the men that they would quit their jobs.

Mr. Rehman resigned about four months ago when, he says, the situation became unlivable for him and other police officers. “My colleagues were being targeted and beheaded,” he says. “I thought enough was enough, and decided to switch careers.”

The local Taliban, who have organized themselves into a party titled the Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, are targeting all pro-state elements – police, government officials, the Army. Led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah, the Taliban have issued repeated warnings to police officers. Last October, the Taliban distributed several pamphlets urging policemen to resign or face the consequences….

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