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Posts Tagged ‘Pakistani’

Pakistani woman, Vietnamese war veteran

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Ngo Thi Bi Bi, an 80-year-old Pakistani citizen, made great contributions to Vietnam during its resistance wars against France and the US, thus, the president of Vietnam allowed her to change her citizenship to Vietnamese.

Le Ba Can, Secretary of the District 1 Party Committee, Ho Chi Minh City, presents flowers to Ms Ngo Thi Bi Bi at a congress of the district’s Fatherland Front Committee.

She became an invalid in the anti-French resistance war and then continued to serve during the revolution against the US.
 
She was born Mahamas Bi Bi. Her mother was from Hanoi and her father was a Pakistani merchant who traded in Saigon and Hanoi during the period leading up to the August Revolution of 1945.
 
The daughter of two bloodlines became a revolutionary solider in the anti-French resistance war under sensational circumstances.
 
It was unfortunate when her mother passed away, as she had just turned ten years old.
 
French colonists came back to occupy Saigon and Hanoi from 1945-1946, causing much difficulty for Mr. Mahamas’ business, so he went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, bringing his daughter along.
 
In the country of temples, he missed his wife and searched for a Vietnamese tutor to bring up Bi Bi, who he loved very much.
 
Ngo Thi Nam, who had just arrived in Cambodia from Vietnam, agreed to work for him and be his daughter’s tutor.
 
Nam was a revolutionary soldier from the Mekong Delta province of Cuu Long, Vietnam, who came to Cambodia to seek shelter because French detectives had sought her.
 
French detectives followed her to Cambodia so she had to return to Chau Doc District in the Mekong Delta An Giang Province.
 
Nam did not have the heart to leave Bi Bi alone in Cambodia, with her father going off to trade in another province, so the tutor brought Bi Bi with her back to Vietnam.
 
At that time, Bi Bi was only 13 years old, apart from her father and live with the tutor, an adoptive mother, and she followed Viet Minh (Vietnam Independence League) from that day.
 
She followed her adoptive mother in conducting revolutionary activities in the vicinity of Gia Dinh.
 
Unluckiness came to her again when her adoptive mother passed away due to a serious illness.
 
Thenceforth, she was reared in a liberated area in Hoc Mon-Ba Diem-Phuc Hoa by many adoptive mothers and sister figures, who were revolutionary soldiers, before reuniting with her father in Saigon
 
She became a messenger of the 15th Platoon and then of the 308th Regiment commanded by Huynh Van Mot when she turned 16 years old.
 
She helped many officers to travel secretly in and out of inner Saigon, and supplied chemicals, foods, clothes and many other goods to revolutionaries.
 
She also gave medicine and information to officers arrested at the Catinat police station.
 
While running errands for the 308th Regiment on Ong Co paddy field, now in Binh Thanh District, in 1948-1949, she was severely injured when enemy airplanes detected revolutionary soldiers, dropping bombs and firing down shots.
 
In the anti-American war, her health was not good but she made her house a place for officers to stay and organize meetings. She also adopted many children of war martyrs.
 
Now she lives alone in Ben Thanh Ward, Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, and has enjoyed benefits from preferential polices for war invalids since the country’s reunification in 1975.

Source: SGGP

Pakistani Taliban urge rejection of foreign flood aid

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2010 at 7:21 am

Pakistan’s Taliban have denounced all foreign aid for victims of the country’s catastrophic flooding, and said they can match the latest US pledge of 20 million dollars.


“We condemn American and other foreign aid and believe that it will lead to subjugation. Our jihad against America will continue,” a spokesman for the group, Azam Tariq, told AFP by telephone.


“The government should not accept American aid and if it happens, we can give 20 million dollars to them as aid for the flood victims,” he said.


“We will ourselves distribute relief under leadership of our chief Hakimullah Mehsud among the people, if the government assures us that none of our members will be arrested.”


The floods have been most devastating in the Taliban’s stronghold in the northwest. Across Pakistan they have left six million people dependent on humanitarian help for their survival, the United Nations said.

A flood-affected Pakistani child eats at a roadside in Sukkur

The United States announced Tuesday it would increase its flood aid by another 20 million dollars to 55 million dollars, while the UN said it would launch an international appeal for several hundred million dollars.


The world body believes 1,600 people have died in the floods while the Pakistani government has confirmed 1,243 deaths.


US aid so far has included 436,000 halal meals and 12 pre-fabricated bridges, while the White House said that US helicopters had helped to save more than 1,000 lives in Pakistan.


But critics say that as the worst floods in living memory spread across Pakistan, the official relief effort has been woefully slow, and Islamic charities have been stepping into the breach.


Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Taliban faction is a key architect of extremist violence that has killed more than 3,570 people across Pakistan in three years.


However Daniel Feldman, a senior State Department official working on Afghanistan and Pakistan, on Tuesday dismissed reports of extremist groups providing aid to needy Pakistanis as “quite overblown”.


Referring to US efforts to win public support in a country where anti-American feeling runs high, Ward said the US government tries to “brand as much as possible” of its aid.


“In this crisis, in the face of this disaster, we very much want the Pakistani people to know that the people of the United States are behind them, are helping,” Ward said.


Beyond the northwest, about 1.5 million people have been evacuated in the south and a large swathe of fertile farmland has been destroyed in the central province of Punjab.


Parts of the northwestern Swat valley, where Pakistan fought a major campaign to flush out Taliban insurgents last year, were still cut off Tuesday by road, as were parts of the country’s breadbasket in Punjab and Sindh.


But weather cleared Tuesday, allowing Pakistani, US and Afghan helicopters to distribute relief items and rescue people stranded in the northwest.


UN officials said aid would focus on six million people who need emergency help to survive, while 14 million in all are said by Pakistani authorities to be facing direct or indirect harm.


The UN has warned that children are among the most vulnerable victims, with diarrhoea the biggest health threat and measles a serious concern.

At the Ali Wahan relief camp about 20 kilometres (13 miles) east of Sukkur in Sindh province, there were barely a dozen flood survivors and a clinic with limited stocks of basic medicine.

“There are no facilities for families to live in this camp. My husband has gone to arrange some transport and we’ll leave,” said Mai Jannat, 35.

Doctor Nazir Ahmed at the camp said patients were suffering from gastroenteritis, stomach and eye diseases.

President Asif Ali Zardari is now back home after courting massive criticism for not cutting short a visit to Britain and France, although it was unclear if he would visit flood-hit areas.

Source: SGGP

Pakistani woman, Vietnamese war veteran

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 3:17 pm




Pakistani woman, Vietnamese war veteran


QĐND – Thursday, July 29, 2010, 20:39 (GMT+7)


Ngo Thi Bi Bi, an 80-year-old Pakistani citizen, made great contributions to Vietnam during its resistance wars against France and the US, thus, the president of Vietnam allowed her to change her citizenship to Vietnamese.

She became an invalid in the anti-French resistance war and then continued to serve during the revolution against the US.


She was born Mahamas Bi Bi. Her mother was from Hanoi and her father was a Pakistani merchant who traded in Saigon and Hanoi during the period leading up to the August Revolution of 1945.


The daughter of two bloodlines became a revolutionary solider in the anti-French resistance war under sensational circumstances.


It was unfortunate when her mother passed away, as she had just turned ten years old.


French colonists came back to occupy Saigon and Hanoi from 1945-1946, causing much difficulty for Mr. Mahamas’ business, so he went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, bringing his daughter along.


In the country of temples, he missed his wife and searched for a Vietnamese tutor to bring up Bi Bi, who he loved very much.


Ngo Thi Nam, who had just arrived in Cambodia from Vietnam, agreed to work for him and be his daughter’s tutor.


Nam was a revolutionary soldier from the Mekong Delta province of Cuu Long, Vietnam, who came to Cambodia to seek shelter because French detectives had sought her.


French detectives followed her to Cambodia so she had to return to Chau Doc District in the Mekong Delta An Giang Province.


Nam did not have the heart to leave Bi Bi alone in Cambodia, with her father going off to trade in another province, so the tutor brought Bi Bi with her back to Vietnam.


At that time, Bi Bi was only 13 years old, apart from her father and live with the tutor, an adoptive mother, and she followed Viet Minh (Vietnam Independence League) from that day.


She followed her adoptive mother in conducting revolutionary activities in the vicinity of Gia Dinh.


Unluckiness came to her again when her adoptive mother passed away due to a serious illness.


Thenceforth, she was reared in a liberated area in Hoc Mon-Ba Diem-Phuc Hoa by many adoptive mothers and sister figures, who were revolutionary soldiers, before reuniting with her father in Saigon.


She became a messenger of the 15th Platoon and then of the 308th Regiment commanded by Huynh Van Mot when she turned 16 years old.


She helped many officers to travel secretly in and out of inner Saigon, and supplied chemicals, foods, clothes and many other goods to revolutionaries.


She also gave medicine and information to officers arrested at the Catinat police station.


While running errands for the 308th Regiment on Ong Co paddy field, now in Binh Thanh District, in 1948-1949, she was severely injured when enemy airplanes detected revolutionary soldiers, dropping bombs and firing down shots.


In the anti-American war, her health was not good but she made her house a place for officers to stay and organize meetings. She also adopted many children of war martyrs.


Now she lives alone in Ben Thanh Ward, Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, and has enjoyed benefits from preferential polices for war invalids since the country’s reunification in 1975.


Source: SGGP


Source: QDND

Pakistani plane crashes with 150 on board

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm

ISLAMABAD, July 28, 2010 (AFP) – A Pakistani passenger plane with 150 people on board crashed in a ball of flames in densely wooded hills while trying to land in Islamabad during bad weather on Wednesday, aviation officials said.

AFP file photo shows a Pakistan army helicopter in Islamabad.

Police said bodies were scattered across the hills near the scene of the smouldering wreckage in inaccessible hills, shrouded in heavy cloud and fog during a downpour.


Up to five people were confirmed dead but five injured survivors have been recovered, according to a senior minister.


Airblue spokesman Raheel Ahmed told AFP the Airbus A-321 took off from Karachi bound for Islamabad with 144 passengers and six crew members on board.


“Apparently the cause of the crash is bad weather, but we leave that to the investigators,” he told AFP.


“We are now preoccupied with rescue work and striving to take care of the relatives of the passengers who were on board.”


Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that at least five injured people had been taken to hospital by helicopter.


“We are trying to get details about the passengers. It’s a big tragedy. It’s really a big tragedy,” Malik told Express TV.


“Rescue teams have reached the area. They are fully equipped. They are scanning the entire area. Those wounded or survivors are being provided assistance and arrangements are have been made to take them to hospitals.”


Civil aviation spokesman Pervez George said Airblue flight 202 took off from Karachi, Pakistan’s financial capital, at 7:45 am (0245 GMT) and had been preparing to land in Islamabad when it crashed.


“When it was preparing to land, it crashed in the Margalla Hills,” he said.


Thick smoke could be seen rising from an inaccessible region in the densely wooded hills, where helicopters circled overheaded and rescue services dispatched ambulances to the nearest roads, an AFP correspondent said.


City police chief Bani Amin said police were informed of a loud explosion and fire sweeping through the hills that dominate the Islamabad skyline, before confirmation that a passenger plane had crashed.


“The site of crash was inaccessible. We have sent teams. It is a forest. Rescue teams have been sent. Helicopters have also been deployed. It is difficult to take out each and everybody immediately,” he told Geo.


Pakistan enjoys a relatively good aviation safety record.


The most recent fatal passenger plane crash was a Pakistan International Airlines Fokker F27 plane that came down on July 10, 2006, killing 45 people in the first major aviation accident in Pakistan for more than three years.


Before that the deadliest civilian plane crash involving a Pakistani jet was a PIA Airbus A300 that crashed into a cloud-covered hillside on its approach to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, killing 167 people in September 1992.

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Source: SGGP

Pakistani woman, Vietnamese war veteran

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 at 7:18 am

Ngo Thi Bi Bi, an 80-year-old Pakistani citizen, made great contributions to Vietnam during its resistance wars against France and the US, thus, the president of Vietnam allowed her to change her citizenship to Vietnamese.

Le Ba Can, Secretary of the District 1 Party Committee, Ho Chi Minh City, presents flowers to Nguyen Thi Bi Bi at a congress of the district’s Fatherland Front Committee.

She became an invalid in the anti-French resistance war and then continued to serve during the revolution against the US.
 
She was born Mahamas Bi Bi. Her mother was from Hanoi and her father was a Pakistani merchant who traded in Saigon and Hanoi during the period leading up to the August Revolution of 1945.
 
The daughter of two bloodlines became a revolutionary solider in the anti-French resistance war under sensational circumstances.
 
It was unfortunate when her mother passed away, as she had just turned ten years old.
 
French colonists came back to occupy Saigon and Hanoi from 1945-1946, causing much difficulty for Mr. Mahamas’ business, so he went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, bringing his daughter along.
 
In the country of temples, he missed his wife and searched for a Vietnamese tutor to bring up Bi Bi, who he loved very much.
 
Ngo Thi Nam, who had just arrived in Cambodia from Vietnam, agreed to work for him and be his daughter’s tutor.
 
Nam was a revolutionary soldier from the Mekong Delta province of Cuu Long, Vietnam, who came to Cambodia to seek shelter because French detectives had sought her.
 
French detectives followed her to Cambodia so she had to return to Chau Doc District in the Mekong Delta An Giang Province.
 
Nam did not have the heart to leave Bi Bi alone in Cambodia, with her father going off to trade in another province, so the tutor brought Bi Bi with her back to Vietnam.
 
At that time, Bi Bi was only 13 years old, apart from her father and live with the tutor, an adoptive mother, and she followed Viet Minh (Vietnam Independence League) from that day.
 
She followed her adoptive mother in conducting revolutionary activities in the vicinity of Gia Dinh.
 
Unluckiness came to her again when her adoptive mother passed away due to a serious illness.
 
Thenceforth, she was reared in a liberated area in Hoc Mon-Ba Diem-Phuc Hoa by many adoptive mothers and sister figures, who were revolutionary soldiers, before reuniting with her father in Saigon
 
She became a messenger of the 15th Platoon and then of the 308th Regiment commanded by Huynh Van Mot when she turned 16 years old.
 
She helped many officers to travel secretly in and out of inner Saigon, and supplied chemicals, foods, clothes and many other goods to revolutionaries.
 
She also gave medicine and information to officers arrested at the Catinat police station.
 
While running errands for the 308th Regiment on Ong Co paddy field, now in Binh Thanh District, in 1948-1949, she was severely injured when enemy airplanes detected revolutionary soldiers, dropping bombs and firing down shots.
 
In the anti-American war, her health was not good but she made her house a place for officers to stay and organize meetings. She also adopted many children of war martyrs.
 
Now she lives alone in Ben Thanh Ward, Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1, and has enjoyed benefits from preferential polices for war invalids since the country’s reunification in 1975.

Source: SGGP

80 dead as gunmen attack Pakistani mosques

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2010 at 5:12 am

Gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed two Pakistani mosques belonging to a minority sect in Lahore, bringing carnage to Friday prayers and killing around 80 people.


Squads of militants burst into prayer halls firing guns, throwing grenades and taking hostages in the deadliest attack on the city of eight million, which has been increasingly hit by Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked violence.


Both mosques belonged to the Ahmadi community, which Pakistan has declared non-Muslim. Although the estimated minority of two million has been attacked by Sunni extremists before, the magnitude of Friday’s assault was unprecedented.

Pakistani police help an injured colleague outside a mosque in Lahore.

The United States condemned what it called “brutal violence against innocent people”.


“We also condemn the targeting and violence against any religious group, in this case the Ahmadi community,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters in Washington.


EU diplomatic chief Catherine Ashton said she was “appalled”.


Pakistan’s leading rights group said the community had received threats for more than a year and officials blamed the attack on Islamist militants, who have killed more than 3,370 people in bombings over the last three years.


“Terrorists have attacked mosques. They are firing and using grenades. They have taken people inside the mosque hostage,” district civil defence official Muzhar Ahmed told AFP from the scene in the bustling Garhi Shahu neighbourhood.


The attacks sparked more than two hours of gun battles with police and commandos, as bursts of heavy gunfire rocked the neighbourhoods and rescue services raced through the streets to tend to the victims.


“The prayer leader was delivering a sermon inside the hall when I suddenly heard distant gunshots,” Bilal Ahmed, a worshipper, told AFP after fleeing with his life from the mosque in Model Town.


“Then the firing became louder and closer and people started running here, there and everywhere to save themselves. Gunmen had entered the prayer hall and they were moving towards upper floors.


“The attackers were youths with beards who were not covering their faces. The floor was full of blood and broken glass,” Ahmed said.


As the gun battles ended in both locations, officials spoke of scenes of carnage — particularly in Garhi Shahu, where dozens of bodies were found.


“Around 80 people have been killed,” Sajjad Bhutta, the top city administrative official in Lahore, told reporters.


Doctor Rizwan Nasir, head of the rescue services in Lahore, said 108 people were wounded as police continued to search for any remaining attackers.


Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants have orchestrated a three-year bombing campaign in Pakistan to avenge military operations and the government’s alliance with the United States over the war in neighbouring Afghanistan.


Friday’s attacks were the worst in Pakistan since a suicide bomber killed 101 people on January 1 at a volleyball game in Bannu, which abuts the tribal belt along the Afghan border that Washington calls an Al-Qaeda headquarters.


Nine attacks have killed around 265 people in Lahore since March 2009, a historical city, playground for the elite and home to many top brass in Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence establishment.

The precise number of attackers at Garhi Shahu was not immediately clear, but police said there were at least three in Model Town.

“They came into the mosque from the back and started firing. They were armed with hand grenades and suicide vests and other weapons,” Rana Ayaz, a senior local police official, told AFP.

Officials said one of the attackers blew himself up and two were arrested — one of them a teenager. The other was seriously wounded.

Founded by Ghulam Ahmad, who was born in 1838, the Ahmadi sect has a number of unique views including that Ahmad himself was a prophet and that Jesus died aged 120 in Srinagar, capital of Indian-ruled Kashmir.

The 2009 US State Department report on human rights says that 11 Ahmadis were killed due to their faith during the year.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said it had warned of threats against the Ahmadi community centre in Lahore and demanded “foolproof security and protection” from the government.

It expressed concern over “the increasing sectarian dimension” of militancy in Pakistan, which it called “a big security threat to the entire society”.

Religious violence in Pakistan, mostly between majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shiites, has killed more than 4,000 people in the past decade.

Source: SGGP

Pakistani Taliban behind failed New York attack: US

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 at 4:52 am

The United States charged for the first time Sunday that the Pakistani Taliban was behind a Pakistani-American’s failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in the heart of New York City.


“We’ve now developed evidence that shows that the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attack,” Attorney General Eric Holder said on ABC television’s current affairs talk show “This Week.”


“We know that they helped facilitate it. We know that they probably helped finance it, and that he was working at their direction.”


Faisal Shahzad, the 30-year-old son of a Pakistani air force officer, was pulled off a plane to Dubai and arrested Monday for allegedly leaving a sport utility vehicle rigged to explode in New York’s Times Square on May 1.


The United States has responded by stepping up pressure on Pakistan to crack down on Islamic extremists operating in safe havens in tribal areas along Pakistan’s rugged border with Afghanistan.


The New York Times said General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, urged Pakistan’s General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in Islamabad on Friday to quickly begin a military offensive in North Waziristan, the stronghold of Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.


And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton starkly warned of “very severe consequences” if a terror attack against the United States were traced back to Pakistan.


“We’ve made it very clear that if — heaven-forbid — an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences,” Clinton told CBS’s “60 Minutes” program to air later Sunday.


Clinton said there had been a “sea change” in cooperation by Pakistani authorities but she added, “We want more.”


John Brennan, the White House deputy national security adviser, charged that Shahzad was trained and funded by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP.


“He had extensive interaction with the TTP. And this is something that we are, again, looking at very carefully, understanding the extent of that interaction and the extent of the direction and guidance that was given to him,” he told Fox News Sunday.


Brennan portrayed Shahzad as having been influenced by the “murderous rhetoric” of Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, but told CNN’s ‘State of the Union” show that he had been “very cooperative” under questioning.


He said Shahzad had traveled back and forth six times to Pakistan over the past decade, working with the TTP over a period of several months on his latest trip, which stretched from mid-2009 to his return to the United States in February.


“What we are trying to do is determine now exactly who helped him, who worked with him and making sure we are able to uncover and then to address successfully these individuals who are trying to carry out other attacks,” Brennan said.


He told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that individuals in Pakistan “have been identified as being complicit in this.”


“Again, we’re working with the Pakistanis right now,” he said. “We’re trying to stay ahead of this curve. We’ve been able to find out things that we didn’t know in the immediate aftermath of this attempted attack.


The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the failed attack a week ago, but it was initially discounted because the plot was so sloppily executed and the bomb so primitive it appeared to be the work of an amateur acting alone.


But US authorities have since concluded that the Shahzad case reflects a change in tactics by Islamic extremists, who have been hammered over the past year by a deadly onslaught of US missile strikes.

When coupled with Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab‘s alleged attempt to blow up a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day with explosives sewn in his underwear, the New York bombing signaled a shift to the use of hastily trained individuals to carry out attacks.

“Abdulmutallab was a singleton on that plane, but he obviously had the links back to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Shahzad in Times Square had links back. But he drove that vehicle to Times Square alone,” Brennan said on Fox.

He told CNN other people with roots in the south Asian region had been noted traveling back and forth.

“It shows they are trying to take advantage of individuals who may have been able to come to the United States and in some instances acquire United States citizenship. We have to remain on guard against that.”

US lawmakers unveiled legislation Thursday to strip naturalized Americans of their citizenship if they are thought to have joined extremist groups like Al-Qaeda.

Source: SGGP

Beyond Times Square: Pakistani Terrorism Targets U.S.

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Not long ago, a bomb attack on New York City‘s Times Square would have had intelligence officials and terrorism experts checking off the usual suspects among the sources of terrorist plots against the U.S. – Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq. But these days, says a top counterterrorism official, “when I hear of a terrorist plot, I can count back from 10, and before I get to zero, someone will bring up the P word.”


That’s P for Pakistan.



Over the past couple of years, more plots against U.S. targets have emanated from or had a strong connection to Pakistan than any other country. Says the counterterrorism official, who was briefed on the hunt for the Times Square bomber but is not authorized to speak with the media: “It was totally predictable that the smoking Pathfinder would lead to someone with Pakistan in his past.”



Nor would it come as a surprise if it were revealed that Faisal Shahzad, who has claimed to investigators that he was working alone, was in fact linked to an ever lengthening list of extremist groups operating in Pakistan’s northern wilds. These groups, whose attacks had long been confined to the Indian subcontinent, are now emerging as a deadly threat to the U.S. and its allies. As the core of al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, wilts under the constant pounding from the CIA’s Predator drone campaign, Pakistani groups are mounting operations deep into the West.


A surveillance photo captured in Times Square shows a Nissan Pathfinder sports utility vehicle (R) containing a bomb in this New York Police Department image released to Reuters on May 2

Such groups as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) have not yet notched major successes against U.S. targets to match Hizballah’s bombings in 1980s Lebanon or al-Qaeda’s destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. But they have lately mounted operations of great audacity and sophistication. LeT has been operating in Europe for at least a decade, initially raising funds from the large Pakistani diaspora in countries like Britain and France and later recruiting volunteers for the jihad against Western forces. At least one of the plotters of the 2005 London subway bombings was an LeT trainee, and British investigators believe the group has been connected to other plots in the U.K.



The TTP, which claimed credit for Shahzad’s failed bombing, was behind the suicide bombing that killed seven CIA agents in Afghanistan late last year. And in 2008, in the most spectacular attack by a Pakistani-based group on Western targets, LeT bombed and shot up a railway station, a hospital, two five-star hotels and a Jewish center in Mumbai, killing more than 160 people, including six Americans. Afterward, Indian authorities scanning a computer belonging to one of the Mumbai plotters found a list of 320 targets worldwide; only 20 were Indian.

Now, security officials fear, Pakistani jihadis are spreading their operations across the Atlantic, recruiting U.S. citizens to their cause just as Britons were recruited a decade ago. If that assessment proves accurate, the Times Square bomb plot could be the first of more to come.



An Evolving Threat
What are the wellsprings of Pakistani radicalism? In the 1980s, many fervently Islamic groups were set up in Pakistan to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, however, these groups and their spin-offs did not lay down their arms but instead turned their attention to Pakistan’s old enemy, India. Encouraged by Pakistani civilian, military and intelligence authorities, LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed and others refashioned themselves as freedom fighters in the cause of Kashmir, the Himalayan territory claimed by both India and Pakistan. Pakistani officials regarded the jihadis as a proxy in their conflict with India, and Islamabad provided groups like LeT with land, funding and even military training, though it was understood that they could not attack targets in Pakistan or get involved in any operations against the U.S., Pakistan’s ally. Though there was some low-key cooperation between the Pakistani groups and al-Qaeda, it didn’t merit much attention from Washington.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, however, the Bush Administration began to look more closely into bin Laden’s alliances. Washington pressured the Pakistani government of General Pervez Musharraf to crack down on LeT, Jaish and others, which by then were on the State Department’s list of proscribed terrorist organizations. But the government in Islamabad allowed the groups to continue operations – in December 2001, LeT attacked the Indian Parliament in an audacious move that nearly brought the two countries to war – with only cosmetic changes to their names. LeT, for instance, merged with its charitable foundation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawah.



Gradually, the Pakistani groups began to broaden their targets beyond the Indian enemy. LeT propaganda, for instance, began to focus on links, real and imagined, between India, Israel and the U.S. By the mid-2000s, the group’s leader, a former Islamic-studies professor named Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, began to call for a jihad against the West using language similar to those of the fatwas issued by bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders. LeT fighters began to venture out of their comfort zone, joining the fighting in Iraq.



At the same time, a new group of radicals, the TTP, had begun to emerge along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. While LeT, Jaish and other older groups were dominated by Pakistan’s majority Punjabi ethnic group, the TTP was overwhelmingly Pashtun, the dominant ethnic group in Afghanistan. And the TTP never had any qualms about challenging the Pakistani state as well as NATO troops in Afghanistan. In 2007 its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, ordered the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and attacks on military targets; he also unleashed a wave of suicide bombings in Pakistani cities. While Pakistani authorities have continued to take a somewhat tolerant view of the Punjabi groups, their attitude toward the TTP is another matter. The army began to crack down on the group in 2008, and in the summer of 2009, a CIA drone took out Baitullah Mehsud. His successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, was thought to have been killed in another drone strike in January, but he re-emerged last week to claim responsibility for the Times Square attack.



Militants in Our Midst
How plausible is that? U.S. officials were initially dismissive of the TTP’s claims but began to reconsider once it emerged that Shahzad had been trained in bombmaking at a camp in Waziristan, which is Mehsud’s stronghold. There is no doubt that the TTP and other Pakistani groups are now recruiting among Americans. Last October, the FBI arrested a Pakistani American, David Coleman Headley, and a Pakistani Canadian associate, for plotting to attack the Copenhagen offices of a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. More shockingly, the FBI said that Headley had been involved in the Mumbai attacks too (he had scoped out the hotels and the Jewish center for LeT) and was planning to bomb the U.S., British and Indian embassies in Dhaka, Bangladesh, before local authorities discovered the plot. In March, Headley pleaded guilty to all charges; he is now waiting to be sentenced.



The Headley revelations alarmed the Obama Administration’s security team. In January, Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s top counterterrorism official, said in a speech to the Cato Institute in Washington that “very few things worry me as much as the strength and ambition of LeT.” The next month, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that LeT was “becoming more of a direct threat … placing Western targets in Europe in its sights.”



The TTP is certainly doing so. In 2008, it plotted to bomb the public-transport network in Barcelona, though the operation was busted before it got much beyond the planning phase. If Shahzad was indeed acting on Mehsud’s instructions, then the TTP has come closer to successfully executing a large-scale operation on American soil than any group has since Sept. 11, 2001.



Exporting Jihad
It’s fair to say that many analysts remain skeptical of the ability of a group like the TTP to operate outside Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mehsud lacks the kinds of networks cultivated by the Punjabi groups among Pakistanis living in the West. The TTP’s fighters also tend to be poor, unsophisticated peasants from the mountains, ill equipped for foreign assignments. Besides, Mehsud and his fighters now find themselves under attack from the air (the CIA drones) as well as on the ground (the Pakistani military) and may not have the freedom to think big. They’re much more likely to seek U.S. targets close at hand: in April, the TTP attacked the U.S. consulate in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.



But the TTP is working on ways to export terrorism. The group’s training camps in Waziristan are a magnet for Western jihadis, including U.S. citizens. Once trained, some return home and become executors of the TTP’s global ambitions. It’s likely that the camps attended by both Najibullah Zazi, who confessed to planning attacks on the New York subway system last year, and Shahzad, the alleged Times Square bomber, were run by the TTP. Others will no doubt follow in their footsteps. Ashley Tellis, a South Asia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says there’s no reason to doubt Mehsud’s determination to mount attacks in the U.S. “His group has taken very big hits from the drone campaign,” he says. “He’s looking for payback. We have to watch the TTP very carefully.”



LeT has the same intent but much greater capabilities. It has larger international networks and access to more sophisticated urban and educated recruits – people like Headley, who can move freely in American society. Its foreign operations tend to be better planned, often in collaboration with other groups, like al-Qaeda and Jaish.



Perhaps LeT’s greatest strength is the patronage it continues to receive from the Pakistani military and intelligence services. And it enjoys genuine popularity in large parts of the country, where it offers social services that the government cannot provide. After the devastating 2005 earthquake in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, LeT volunteers were often the first to arrive on the scene and provide valuable assistance. Like Hizballah in Lebanon, LeT and other Punjabi jihadist groups wield a combination of military and political power that makes them practically untouchable.


How can the Pakistani groups be combatted? Bruce Riedel, a counterterrorism expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, says the Administration’s best bet is to launch a “global takedown” of Pakistani jihadi cells outside Pakistan, especially in Britain, the U.S. and the Middle East. “These external bases are the most threatening to us, much more than their operations in Pakistan,” he says. As British authorities – who have had more experience with this challenge than those in the U.S. – know very well, such a takedown involves long, hard work by a host of law-enforcement agencies. And while the good guys are increasing their capabilities and understanding of the threats facing them, so are the bad guys. The Times Square bomb plot didn’t go as planned. But as Riedel says, “We can’t rely on them to be bad bombmakers forever.”

Source: SGGP

Suicide attack on Pakistani Shiites kills 33

In World on December 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

The death toll from an overnight suicide attack on a Shiite Muslim procession in Pakistan‘s biggest city rose Tuesday to 33, in violence blamed on extremists trying to hamper the fight against militants by sparking a sectarian war.


Angered over Monday’s attack, Shiites set fire to buildings and dozens of vehicles in Karachi, a sign of frustration by the minority sect, which has suffered frequent attacks by Sunni extremist groups who regard them as heretical.


TV footage showed firefighters struggling to extinguish blazes Tuesday. Sagheer Ahmed, the provincial health minister, said the death toll from the attack had risen to 33. Pakistani television stations said that three people who were hospitalized died overnight of their injuries.








People walk in a market area burned by angry protesters after a suicide attack on aShiite Muslims mourning procession, Monday, Dec. 28, 2009 in Karachi, Pakistan

Pakistani authorities say sectarian groups have teamed up with Taliban and al-Qaida militants waging war against the government in a joint effort to destabilize Pakistan. More than 500 people have been killed in attacks since mid-October when the army launched a major anti-Taliban offensive in the country’s northwest.


“A deliberate attempt seems to be afoot by the extremists to turn the fight against militants into a sectarian clash and make the people fight against one another,” said President Asif Ali Zardari in a statement.


Karachi has largely been spared the Taliban-linked violence that has struck much of the rest of the country, a fact that analysts believe is driven by the group’s tendency to use the teeming metropolis as a place to rest and raise money. But the city has been the scene of frequent sectarian, ethnic and political violence.


The suicide bomber who struck Monday targeted thousands of Shiites marching through the streets to observe Ashoura, the most important day of a monthlong mourning period for the seventh-century death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein.


“I fell down when the bomb went off with a big bang,” said Naseem Raza, a 26-year-old who was marching in the procession. “I saw walls stained with blood and splashed with human flesh.”


Residents in apartments near the blast site tossed down body parts that had been cast into their homes from the explosion, while birds dove down to pick at the flesh amid damaged vehicles and motorbikes.


Authorities found the intact head and torso of the suicide bomber on the third floor of a nearby office building, where it had crashed through a window, said bomb disposal squad official Munir Sheikh. Some 35 pounds (16 kilograms) of high explosive were used in the bombing, he said.


No group claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack, but Interior Minister Rehman Malik pointed his finger at a cluster of militant groups, including the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaish-e-Mohammad, that he said have a joint goal to destabilize Pakistan.


“These are people who are against democracy, against our religion, against our Pakistan,” said Malik.


Malik appealed to the Shiite community to cancel processions for the next two days.


Monday’s bombing was the third explosion in as many days to hit Karachi, although authorities attributed a blast that wounded 30 on Sunday to a buildup of gas in a sewage pipe.


Protests broke out after that blast too, with Shiites torching at least three vehicles.


On Saturday, another blast near a Shiite procession wounded 19 people. Authorities attributed that explosion to a firecracker that was so powerful it left a crater in the road.


A suicide bomber struck a Shiite procession Sunday in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, killing eight people and wounding another 80. The bombing was a rare sectarian attack in an area police say has little history of militant violence.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Gunmen kill Pakistani working at Iranian Consulate

In Uncategorized on November 12, 2009 at 10:28 am

Gunmen killed a Pakistani working at the Iranian Consulate in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Thursday, adding to security fears in the country as it presses an offensive against the Taliban along the nearby Afghan border.


No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which follows the abduction of an Iranian diplomat in Peshawar in November 2008. He remains a hostage.


Iran is mostly a Shiite Muslim country. The victim was also a Shiite Muslim. Sunni Muslim militants like the Taliban and al-Qaida believe Shiites are infidels and often target the sect. In the 1980s, Iran was alleged to have funded radical Shiite groups in the country.


The attackers opened fire on Abul Hasan Jaffri near his home in a central part of Peshawar, police official Mohammad Kamal told The Associated Press.


Jaffri, who was the director of public relations at the consulate, died at a military hospital, he said. The gunmen escaped after the shooting.








A Pakistani Army helicopter flies over the northwest tribal district of Mohmand in August

Peshawar is one of Pakistan‘s most dangerous cities and a hotbed of militant and criminal activity.


In 2008, gunmen ambushed a car carrying the Afghan consul toward his home in Peshawar, killing the driver and abducting the envoy, who was had recently been selected as the next ambassador to Pakistan. He has also not been released. Suspected militants killed a U.S. aid worker there last year.


Peshawar has been the target of several of the attacks sweeping the country in recent weeks in apparent retaliation for the offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan.


A car bombing in a crowded market outside Peshawar on Tuesday killed 26 people. A suicide bomber killed three policemen in Peshawar on Monday, and a similar attack a day earlier on a market outside the city killed 12 people, including a mayor who once supported but had turned against the Taliban.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share