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War on Terror

There is wide acclaim today among Indian strategic analysts and diplomatic editors that New Delhi has scored a major diplomatic victory in Afghanistan and that its "influence" in Kabul has "peaked". This victory has come on the back of Washington's strategic pro-India tilt and, in the period since end-2001 to date, India's earmarking of a staggering US$1.2 billion as assistance for Afghan "reconstruction", says Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar who was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service.

 

The Pakistani government has ordered major military offensives against the Islamist groups in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), which are allegedly assisting the insurgency against US and NATO forces over the border in Afghanistan. The operations follow the visit to Washington by Prime Minister Yousuf Rusa Gilani last month, during which the Bush administration demanded a crackdown

 

The Bush Regime with its comic huffings and puffings is unaware that it has made itself the laughing stock of the world, a comedy version of the Third Reich. By Paul Craig Roberts, Vdare.com & Mary Shaw, Countercurrents.org

 

The F.B.I. seems convinced that it has finally solved the long-festering case of who mailed the anthrax letters that killed five people in 2001. Yet its description of the evidence pointing to a mentally disturbed Army bioweapons expert as the sole culprit leaves us uncertain about whether investigators have pulled off a brilliant coup after a bumbling start, or are prematurely declaring victory, despite a lack of hard, incontrovertible proof.

 

NEW YORK -- The almost forgotten war in Afghanistan, that was supposed to have been won in 2001, has roared back to life with a vengeance. More American soldiers are now dying in Afghanistan than Iraq.  As resistance to the US-led occupation of Afghanistan intensifies, the increasingly frustrated Bush administration is venting its anger against Pakistan and its military intelligence agency, Inter-Service Intelligence, better known as ISI, writes renowned syndicated columnist Eric Margolis.

 

KHAR, Pakistan - At least 30 militants and seven Pakistani paramilitary troops died in clashes near the Afghan border, where helicopter gunships and mortars pounded insurgent hide-outs Friday, officials and residents said.

By Habib Khan, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

After being partners for years in the war against terror, the American and Pakistani security establishments have begun to have serious misgivings about each other, writes olumnist Shafqat Mahmood in The News, Islamabad.

 

THE mysterious case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated neuroscientist who worked for several years with the hallowed Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Bostono, is perhaps the most bizarre ever to emerge from Bush’s war on terror...There are so many holes in this tale that the Air Force One could pass through them, says an EDITORIAL in Khaleej Times Online 

 

BAJAUR—Pakistani Security forces have killed 25 Taliban militants and injured 35 in a bloody clash between the forces and the militants while the forces have taken hold of Taliban strong hold Loisam.

 

Two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and after almost no consultation with anyone outside Vice President Cheney's office, President Bush signed an executive order setting up an extra-judicial system of military commissions, ostensibly to bring tough and swift justice to terrorists. Nearly seven years, a series of Supreme Court rulings, and multiple congressional capitulations later, a somewhat modified system finally rendered its first decision yesterday, in the case of a minor al Qaeda functionary. It was at best a mixed verdict for everybody. Jerry Markon writes in The Washington Post: "A military jury on Wednesday found a former driver for Osama bin Laden guilty of supporting terrorism but not of conspiring in terrorist attacks, handing the Bush administration a partial victory in the first U.S. war crimes trial in a half a century. Wite House Watch by Dan Froomkin

 

The US and NATO struggle to maintain troops even as the Taliban reclaim southern and eastern Afghan provinces. With Afghanistan now more dangerous for foreign troops than Iraq, the United States military decided this week to bolster the presence of US Marines in the country.

The move, the latest in a series, comes just three days after five North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) soldiers were killed in a series of roadside bombings in Afghanistan that underscored the Taliban's resurgence in the country's southern and eastern provinces. The increased deployments indicate the US's mounting frustration with NATO for not providing more troops to tackle the Afghan insurgency.

 

The basic flaw in the US strategy of fighting the war against Taliban has been exposed in an article in the New York Times on July 27, 2008 by Thomas Schweich who was till recently deputy assistant secretary for counter-narcotics campaigns in the state department. While understandably his focus is on the narcotics issue he makes out a strong case that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won without cutting off the resource base of Taliban — the poppy crop. He is highly critical of President Hamid Karzai for being soft on poppy cultivation, the drug lords and the poppy farmers and is equally unsparing about the attitude of the Pentagon whose first priority is winning the war while letting the narcotics problem be sorted out by somebody else, writes Delhi-based strategic affairs analyst K. Subrahmanyam.

 

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has charged unnamed forces of hatching plots against the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and warned that weakening the spy agency was tantamount to weakening the country and the armed forces.

 

Whatever else the ISI may be able to do, with its fearful capacity to pull off clandestine projects, it does not seem to have the power to perk up Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's performance as a travelling salesman for Pakistan, writes Ghazi Salahuddin  in The News, Islamabad.

 

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government has promised to “weed out” elements in its intelligence service sympathetic to the Taliban, after a US claim of collaboration that includes the service’s involvement in the bomb attack on India’s embassy in Kabul last month which left 58 dead.

 

The demand by the Boston-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) that the US Congress and British Parliament investigate a report in a leading US magazine that the CIA was maintaining a secret detention centre on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, where a key US base is located, once more highlights US abuses of basic rights. An editorial in The News, Islamabad.

 

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is increasing pressure on Pakistan’s fledgling civilian government to bring the country’s spy service under civilian control, according to American and Pakistani officials. A report in The New York Times by By HELENE COOPER and MARK MAZZETTI.

 

What has to be remembered is that unchecked military operations are not a solution to militancy, rather they are the best means to mobilise genuine fighters for militant groups, says Dr Masooda Bano, a Pakistani research fellow at the Oxford University.

 

Due to the fighting in the northern areas, Pakistan now has a large population of Internally Displaced People (IDPs). Their precise number is difficult to estimate, says an editorial in The News, Islamabad.

 

Well-known Pakistani security analyst NASIM ZEHRA's take on the ISI flip-flop in Pakistan.

 

The PPP Government’s recent attempt to club the ISI with the IB and make both “accountable” to the unelected advisor to the interior ministry, Rehman Malik, was very clumsy. But it is neither surprising nor insignificant, writes veteran Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi.

 

Heightened intelligence capability, sustained and built over a period of time, which is able to keep pace with the growing threat, skilful investigation and forensics, particularly at the state level, sharing intelligence, national identity cards, CCTVs at important places, speedy justice which is also seen to be fair, a system of governance that delivers what it is supposed to and a media that does not compete for TRP ratings over such issues: All this and more will have to be put in place for us to succeed. India must get ready to detect, deter and destroy this menace before it destroys us, writes Vikram Sood, India’s former external intelligence chief and now a regular columnist.

 

The frustrating cycle of a deal, followed by renewed conflict, has been played out in Swat -- as has happened elsewhere. After a brief lull that lasted several weeks, a full-fledged operation has begun in the area. Up to five soldiers, including a major, and at least 48 militants have lost their lives. The local Taliban have also claimed 25 security personnel, presumably the persons taken hostage during a militant attack on a security checkpost in Matta Tehsil have been killed. An editorial in The News, Islamabad.

 

American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to United States government officials. The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region. A report by MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT in The New York Times

 

Pakistani response to the New York Times report about links between the ISI and militants was quick and sharp and varied. A CIA official reportedly showed evidence of these ties to Pakistan government members in Islamabad recently. NewAgeIslam.com presents a selection of these responses from three Pakistan newspapers, The Dawn, The News and The Daily Mail.

 
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