Tag Archives: Pakistan

Tigerhawk and Trailmix: Hawking Obama Up

Hawking Obama Up

Tigerhawk has some speculation today about solving piracy, it’s much like what I said last year. In light of the need to “hawk” Obama up, this does present even more opportunity than the Taliban in Pakistan for Obama to appear strong without any geopolitical ramifications.

Since Obama is already taking the war to our enemies in Pakistan with drones despite the rumblings from Pakistan, this wouldn’t be over the top for him to do. On the other hand, campaigns against piracy can be very problematic and politically cumbersome in their own right, as President Jefferson found out in an earlier era.

UPDATE: Fox News just stated that General Petraeus has announced that there will be “increased US military presence in the Horn of Africa area within 48 hours”.

UPDATE: In the “All’s Well that ends well” department: An Early Military Victory for Obama. Meanwhile the true Military test is really shaping up in Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda is proposing quaqmire.

Lou Dobbs and Chris Hitchens Take on UN and OIC Blasphemy Laws

Freedom Under Fire

Hate laws, speech codes, blasphemy laws and the like are just plain wrong. They are as wrong as banning scarves or religious books as some in Europe wish to do. One of the best features of our constitution is the clear, concise codification of unalienable individual rights. There is a right to hate in america and there is a right to criticize the ones that hate; and I would have it no other way. Stifling individual rights is the quickest way to emulate Euro-style serfdom in the US.

The recent move by the Organization of Islamic states and the UN to codify anti-blasphemy laws  specifically for Islam into charters binding on all member nations is discussed in this video from CNN.

A couple of notes on this: Lou Dobbs does get something wrong here, Pakistan’s government right now is a duly elected Parliamentary government, one of the few in the Islamic world. It is a weak parliamentary government and under extreme stress right now due to the Nawaz wing protests and the breakaway ungoverned tribal provinces.

Chris Hitchens was also in a dust up recently, and I side with him on it even though he was attacking someone else’s extreme speech through the action of defacing a Nazi sign in Lebanon. Michael Totten gives the best summary of the event.

India Releases Names and Pictures of Mumbai Terrorists

The names and pictures of the Mumbai Terrorists have now been publically released by Indian Authorities, story at BBC.

Pakistan Raids Lashkar e Toiba Camp

Just breaking, Pakistan has raided a Lashkar e Toiba camp, who are believed by most world intelligence agencies to be responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks. This comes just in the wake of Secretary of State Rice stating unequivocably on Wolf Blitzer’s program that there was “No doubt that the attacks were planned in Pakistan.”

Story from Reuters:

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani security forces on Sunday raided a camp used by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), two sources said, in a strike against the militant group blamed by India for last month’s deadly attacks on Mumbai.

Local man Nisar Ali told Reuters the operation began in the afternoon in Shawai on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, the capital of the Pakistani side of disputed Kashmir region.

“I don’t know details as the entire area was sealed off, but I heard two loud blasts in the evening after a military helicopter landed there,” Ali said.

An official with the Jamaat-ud-Dawa charity, which is linked to LeT, said security forces had taken over the camp.

India has demanded Pakistan take swift action over what it says is the latest anti-India militant attack emanating from Pakistani soil. No comment on the raid was immediately available from Indian officials

Update: According to Syed at Asia Times other Let and JuD offices have been raided. A word of warn about Syed: he will put AQ / Taliban spin and agitprop out, so some of this is factual, some not. [e.g. when he implies that we might drive LeT into AQ arms, we know they are already there and have been allied since at least Sept. 2007.]

UPDATE:  Little Green Footballs has discussion.

US to UN Soon: Hamid Gul is a Terrorist

As a followup to yesterday’s story on Hamid Gul, Bill Roggio has made some queries and has a solid report up at The Long War Journal. Well worth your your time to read.

The Confession on Mumbai: Timeline

There’s now a leaked confession in India from the one live terrorist out to the news, and it made the rounds yesterday. It came out very fast, and I’ll withold judgement on its veracity until more of the real evidence comes out. The confession does lay out a realistic timeline, but there are a few gaps I find in it.

Normal terror Logistics, and the fact that the terrorist shot more than 250 rounds they were supplied with tells me there were more than the 10 stated. I would suspect there are others who did just logistics work and facilitation, and there are the unknown financiers. Those are the real leads that need to be followed up on, the weapons used, the RDX, the grenades, etc. did not materialize out of thin air, someone bought them.

Here’s the purported timeline from the confession at The Malaysian Insider:

Azam said he was member of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, but the Kashmir- based Pakistani militant group has denied any role in the attacks.

Founded as a guerilla group to fight the Indian army in Kashmir, the group was banned by the Pakistani government after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, but reportedly continues to enjoy the backing of some Pakistani politicians and security officials.

A native of Faridkot in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir, Azam revealed the names of his fellow terrorists, all Pakistani citizens: Abu Ali, Fahad, Omar, Shoaib, Umer, Abu Akasha, Ismail, Abdul Rahman (Bara) and Abdul Rahman (Chhota).

But the 10 men were apparently not the only ones directly involved: Another group, he claimed, had checked themselves into hotels four days before, waiting with weapons and ammunition they had stockpiled in the rooms.

The 10 men in Azam’s group were chosen well: All were trained in marine warfare and had undergone a special course conducted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Preparations were also detailed, and started early.

Azam and eight others in the team made a reconnaissance trip to Mumbai several months before the attacks, pretending to be Malaysian students. They rented an apartment at Colaba market, near one of their targets, the Nariman House.

The chief planner of the attacks also visited Mumbai a month before to take photographs and film strategic locations, including the hotel layouts.

Returning to Pakistan, the chief plotter trained the group, telling them to ‘kill till the last breath’.

Surprisingly, the men did not expect themselves to be suicide terrorists. Azam said they had originally planned to sail back on Thursday – the recruiters had even charted out a return route, stored on a GPS device.

On the evening of Nov 21, Azam’s group set off from an isolated creek in Karachi in a boat. The next day, a large Pakistani vessel with four Pakistanis and crew picked them up, whereupon the group was issued arms and ammunition.

Each man in the assault team was handed six to seven magazines of 50 bullets each, eight hand grenades, one AK-47 assault rifle, an automatic loading revolver, credit cards and a supply of dried fruit. They were, as some media put it, in for the long haul.

A day later, the team came across an Indian-owned trawler, Kuber, which they boarded. They killed four of the fishermen onboard, dumped their bodies into the sea, and forced its skipper Amarjit Singh to sail for India.

The next day, they beheaded the skipper, and one of the gunmen, a trained sailor, took the wheel and headed for the shores of Gujarat, India.

Near Gujarat, the terrorists raised a white flag as two officers of the coast guard approached.

While the officers questioned them, one of the terrorists grappled with one of them, slit his throat and threw his body into the boat. The group then ordered the other officer to help them get to Mumbai.

On Nov 26, the team reached the Mumbai coast.

Four nautical miles out, they were met by three inflatable speedboats. They killed the other coast guard officer, transferred into the speedboats and proceeded to Colaba jetty as dusk settled.

The Kuber was found later with the body of the 30-year-old captain onboard.

At Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade – just three blocks away from Nariman House – the 10 men got off, stripped off the orange windbreakers they had been wearing and made sure to take out their large, heavy backpacks.

It was there that they were spotted by fisherman Prasan Dhanur, who was preparing his boat, and harbour official Kashinath Patil, 72, who was on duty nearby.

“Where are you going?” Patil asked them. “What’s in your bags?”

The men replied: “We don’t want any attention. Don’t bother us.”

Thinking little of it, Dhanur and Patil, who said they did not see the guns hidden in the backpacks, did not call the police, and watched the 10 young men walk away.

Then the carnage started.

On hitting the ground, the 10 men broke up.

Four men headed for the Taj Mahal Hotel, two for The Oberoi Trident, two for Nariman House and two – Azam and Ismail – for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus by taxi.

At the railway station, Azam and his colleague opened fire, targeting Caucasian tourists while trying to spare Muslims.

The two gunmen also destroyed the CCTV control room, throwing grenades into it.

It was here that Azam was photographed, dressed in light-grey combat trousers and sneakers, a rucksack on his back, toting his AK-47.

According to one security expert, the way he carried the assault rifle revealed months of training.

The two men left the main hall of the railway station littered with bodies and pools of blood, then moved on to Metro Cinema and then to the Girgaum Chowpatty area in a stolen Skoda.

It was there that their plans started to unravel.

At the Girgaum Chowpatty area, Azam and Ismail were intercepted by anti-terror troops from the Gamdevi police station, and they ended up trading shots.

Azam managed to shoot dead assistant police inspector Tukaram Umbale, while one of them also gunned down anti-terror squad chief Hemant Karkare.

Ismail, however, was eventually killed, while Azam himself was shot in the hand. Pretending to be dead, he fell, and the two men were taken to Nair Hospital.

But police soon spotted him breathing and quickly evacuated the hospital’s casualty ward, and brought in the anti-terror squad to interrogate him.

In the end I won’t be surprised if other Kashmiri groups like Harkat ul Mujahideen, Harkat ul Mujahideen al Islami, Jaish e Muhammed, and Al Qaeda are involved. All of these groups including Lashkar e Toiba declared loyalty to Al Qaeda in September 2007. Any or all of the above could have aided with planning, logistics, finance, or training, and it’s likely that one of these groups did.

Iran Receives Praise For Terror Aid to Al Qaeda: Zawahiri Letter

In an intercepted letter to Iran, Ayman Al Zawahiri praises Iran for their aid in setting up the terror cells in Yemen responsible for the recent US Embassy attacks there. In the past both Al Qaeda and the Taliban have sheltered in Iran, and without Iran’s logistics and weapons aid it’s doubtful that they can be effective in Pakistan and Afghanistan now that AQ is shut off from their ISI sugardaddies by the new Pakistan government. Story at The UK Telegraph:

Delivery of the letter exposed the rising role of Saad bin Laden, son of the al-Qaeda leader, Osama as an intermediary between the organisation and Iran. Saad bin Laden has been living in Iran since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, apparently under house arrest.

The letter, which was signed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s second in command, was written after the American embassy in Yemen was attacked by simultaneous suicide car bombs in September.

Western security officials said the missive thanked the leadership of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards for providing assistance to al-Qaeda to set up its terrorist network in Yemen, which has suffered ten al-Qaeda-related terror attacks in the past year, including two bomb attacks against the American embassy.

In the letter al-Qaeda’s leadership pays tribute to Iran’s generosity, stating that without its “monetary and infrastructure assistance” it would have not been possible for the group to carry out the terror attacks. It also thanked Iran for having the “vision” to help the terror organisation establish new bases in Yemen after al-Qaeda was forced to abandon much of its terrorist infrastructure in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

There has been intense speculation about the level of Iranian support for al-Qaeda since the 9/11 Commission report into al-Qaeda’s terror attacks against the U.S. in 2001 concluded that Iran had provided safe passage for many of the 9/11 hijackers travelling between Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia prior to the attacks.

Senior Al Qaeda Leader Targetted in Bannu Missile Strike

Reports from Bill Roggio and AFP both say we might have gotten another member of Al Qaeda’s Shura council, Abdullah Azam al-Saudi. A good way to go into the Thanksgiving holidays.

UPDATE From The News:

BANNU/PESHAWAR: Four people were killed and five others sustained injuries when the US drones targeted a house in Janikhel area of Bannu district in the wee hours of Wednesday. The attack marked the first-ever US missile strike in the settled areas of the country.

Of those killed in the attack on the house of a local, Paran, in Zindi Alikhel area of Janikhel Union Council, is stated to be Abdullah Azam al-Saudi, a senior member of the al-Qaeda network. The report, however, could not be confirmed from official sources.

If the reports of the death of Abdullah Azam al-Saudi in the missile attack prove to be correct, he would be the second high-profile al-Qaeda operative killed in the US missile strikes inside the Pakistani territory.

Bannu District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Alam Shinwari told The News from his office in the southern district that the missile hit the house of a local in Janikhel around 3:45 am, killing four persons and injuring five others.

The owner of the house, he added, was among those wounded in the attack. Janikhel had become a de facto tribal area for the past several months after militants spilled over there from the North and South Waziristan agencies as well as from the Bannu Frontier Region. The area had almost become a ‘no-go area’ for the police.

According to some reports, three among those killed in the attack were foreigners, including two Uzbeks and a Saudi national. Some of those wounded were also said to be foreigners but their names could not be ascertained.

Reacting strongly to the US attack in Bannu, the MPA hailing from Janikhel, Adnan Wazir, announced to submit an adjournment motion in the legislature against the air strike. “No one among those killed in the attack was a foreigner nor were they terrorists. Innocent locals were killed in the attack, which is a violation of the borders of the country,” Adnan Wazir said

JaniKhel is about 12-15 miles S by SW of Bannu proper as a crow flies, the google earth pics are low res for that area, not much to see. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge. The strike likely occurred in the vicinty of the three markers A, B, C, and the white line designates the direction to Bannu.

Sayyid Imam Calls Zawahiri a Liar and Cursed Before God


In a book being published serially, Sayyid Imam points out the lies and double-dealing of Ayman Al Zawhari, and challenges him to a cursing before God. See here at Jihadica, partial list below:

  • Zawahiri repeatedly says I wrote the Document [the Tarshid] under the supervision of the U.S. and the Jews. He is a liar and I call him to a mubahala. I swear to God that I wrote the Document to help Islam and if Zawahiri has lied about this, may God curse him.
  • What Zawahiri says about the Document he also said about Bin Laden. Zawahiri accused UBL of being an agent of Saudi intelligence working among the Islamic movements when UBL didn’t support them with money in 1995. Zawahiri thinks everyone is a traitor like him.
  • Zawahiri accused me of being an agent of Sudanese intelligence. I swear that I heard Zawahiri say to me in Sudan at the end of 1993 that he had to carry out 10 operations for the Sudanese in Egypt and that he received $100,000 from them to that end. If he denies it, I call him to a second mubahala: I swear Zawahiri said this and if he denies it, may God send his curse down upon him.
  • He began working for the Sudanese a year after I cut off my ties with Islamic Jihad. He paid the Islamic Jihad group in Egypt to carry out operations there. I sat with them and warned them that it was futile and not required by Islamic law, but Zawahiri persisted. He and his brother swore they would go fight in Egypt until they died, but they did not; they let others die there instead.
  • For those not knowing who this person is, he wrote the book on Jihad originally used to train Al Qaeda, and is one of Ayman Al Zawahiri’s oldest associates.
    [ Editor: note that underlying this is not just fear of Allah, and it’s not just personal. A mubahala involves Zawahiri’s family as well, and who is to say how Allah’s will in the curse would be wrought? See this section from Wiki:

    Muhammad called them to Mubahala(Cursing), where each party should ask God to destroy the lying party and their families. Muhammad, to prove to them that he is a prophet, brought his daughter Fatimah and his surviving grandchildren, Hasan and Hussein, and Ali ibn Abi Talib and came back to the Christians and said this is my family (Ahl al-Bayt) and covered himself and his family with a cloak

    ]

    h/t Internet Hagganah

    First Snow in Pakistan

    Snow is falling in the higher passes as people prepare for winter, and the country faces the economic downturn being seen worldwide. Many pin it on the downturn in the US, but the housing bubble burst in the US is really not the whole of it, it’s just another symptom. The downturn we see now is really the spreading wake of two years of sustained high energy prices. Pakistan got an IMF loan to weather the economic drought, and the government is having the usual sniping in their chambers as everyone tries to deflect blame and flames. There have been crackdowns and arrests of Foreign exchange operators, as the government tries to prevent money from fleeing the country (note to intel types: think on who would be refugee under the current scenario, and why money would be leaving…)

    The war in Bajaur and Swat continues at low key, and there is supposed to be an operation underway to tackle Mohmand agency. On the border of Mohmand in Charsadda, a suicide bomber in a van attacked a school being used by Police and paramilitaries, killing four at the gate and himself. Authorities blocked the Peshawar-Bajaur road while they investigated. There are now “Peace activists” in a camp in Peshawar led by a black turban as well. That would bear some watching, on the other hand it could just be a poseur trying to sell shuttlecock burqas…

    The authorities arrested an Afghanistan Taliban ex-minister trying to leave for Dubai under false papers, the detainee was civil aviation deputy minister during the period the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan.

    President Zardari is attending the UN interfaith conference and met with Sect’y Condoleeza Rice on the sidelines. The goverment has stabilized a bit in the wake of the IMF loan and after making the decision to proceed with the operations in Bajaur. While US missile strikes have become routine the outcry has lessened as suicide bombings continue and the urban core areas feel threatened.

    The TTP taliban appear a bit fractured even though they are fighting to hang on in Swat and Bajaur, it appears that some are trying local warlord ploys. Any of the splinter groups will still take orders from Al Qaeda however the influence of Baitullah Mehsud has lessened in some areas, notably Khyber Agency.

    What’s ahead? Expect more frontier unrest as food and fuel goes scarce in some areas due to fighting, the usual Taliban road blockages and hijackings, as well as the summer harvests running low during January-February. Border incursions to the north in Afghanistan will problably lessen and Taliban transiting north will swing wide through Iran to get around the frozen passes if they go at all with the war in the frontiers. I am seeing indications which are not yet clear of a shift in strategy, watch for movement at all Pakistan borders — this might be the beginning of an exodus.

    This report was compiled from various news stories in The International News and the Daily Times

    Update: TTP Claims the Suicide Bombing