The Singularity and the Singularity Institute

I’m posting this for my Mom, who asked about the Singularity, and what it’s all about this weekend. This is the most concise explanation that I can find, from the Singularity Institute. She’s a big Isaac Asimov fan, so grasped the concept but this gives her better explanation than I did.

Strange Goings on at Taftan Border Crossing

There have been more Taliban arrested transiting out of Pakistan into Iran this last week, and in the nearby town of Quetta a third journalist from an Urdu Daily has dissappeared.
From the Daily Times:

QUETTA: An Urdu newspaper journalist “disappeared” on Monday from the Pakistan-Iran border town of Taftan – the second journalist from the same paper to have gone missing in a week.

Muhammad Asif Baloch, editor of Quetta-based Daily Azadi, said Hameed Baloch’s family had said he was abducted. “No one knows about his whereabouts but one thing is certain, that he has been abducted because of his bold reporting,” he said.

The last time activity was up at Taftan the terrorist traffic was flowing the other direction — into Pakistan. Shortly after that we had Lal Masjid and more in-country terrorism than Pakistan saw the previous six years.

So this probably means at least some forces are moving out of country. I would suspect a couple of destinations – Afghanistan for the Spring offensive, or back to Iraq for a new attempt at a “Tet-style” offensive. Why go to Iran to get to Afghanistan? The direct passes that aren’t frozen closed are being watched, or they could be picking up supplies enroute.

The disappeared Journalists? Maybe they know something about who, when and where.

On the other hand, it all could be unrelated coincidence.

Taliban Destroy Second Cell Tower reports a second cell tower destroyed by the Taliban in Helmand. He has some speculation about why, and I will add to it after the blockquote below:

Taliban fighters destroyed a cellular phone tower in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, making it the second time insurgents attacked a cellular tower this week. Fresh reports indicate a third tower, located in Helmand’s Sangin district, was also destroyed but officials have yet to confirm the attack.

Last Monday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid warned Afghanistan’s five major cellular carriers to stop providing service at night or face attacks by the Taliban.

The Taliban have long believed Afghanistan’s wireless phone providers allow Afghan and Coalition forces to trace phone calls made by Taliban operatives.

I would also speculate that segments of the populace don’t care much for the Taliban, and report their movements via cell phones. The “night shut down” demanded is the time the Taliban are most active, and when contraband is transported.

More from Dawn

Pakistan to Launch Offensive in Wake of Three Suicide Attacks?

The Taliban and Al Qaeda have made their strategy clear by three massive suicide attacks in the past four days that murdered over 85 muslims, and which maimed many others. Another attack on an army outpost also occurred and they burnt the out post down. One of the suicide attacks was on a meeting of tribal elders in which they were discussing raising a Lashkar, or tribal army, to drive foreign fighters out.

So even before the newly elected government is formed and before they have adopted any new policies the Takfirists are attacking them one side, while begging a hudna (false truce in which one side regroups) on the other.

NDTV-India reports that Pakistan is gearing up for a major offensive against the terrorists that attack inside Pakistan. They indicate Baitullah Mehsud’s Taliban in South Waziristan as the target.

This is a speculative news report in which they say Pakistan’s offensive will be “US-Aided” and in which sources are not named, so this could be carefully sprinkled agitprop, since the new government has been talking about holding meetings with the Taliban in other reports. It could also be a mis-interpretation of the role the military trainers the US is sending will take.

From NDTV:

The decision to go after the militants followed a recent increase in terrorist attacks in the country.

The proposed military offensive, according to diplomatic and US sources, is aimed at curbing the growing influence of the Taliban commander linked to al-Qaida, Baitullah Mehsud, in the tribal areas, particularly Waziristan.

Reports in the US media yesterday said that Washington is sending 100 military trainers to Pakistan who may also participate in operations against the militants

Until sources are named, or other indicators appear you have to characterize this as rumor or agitprop.

UPDATE: Dawn is also reporting a new offensive coming.

Other Rumors:

The Adam Gadahn Death Rumor is now denied, but we still haven’t heard who died in the February 28th strike near Wana.