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September 5, 2011

ISPR: PAK-US COOPERATION NABS 3 AL QAEDA TERRORIST

Filed under: Defense,ISPR,USA — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 7:39 am
Senior Al Qaeda leader Younis Al Mauritani arrested in Quetta by Inter Services Intelligence

Senior Al Qaeda leader Younis Al Mauritani arrested in Quetta by Inter Services Intelligence working with US intelligence.

In an intelligence driven operation by Inter Services Intelligence in coordination with Frontier Corps Balochistan, a senior Al Qaeda leader, Younis Al Mauritani mainly responsible for planning and conduct of international operations, was nabbed alongwith two other senior Al Qaeda operatives, Abdul Ghaffar Al Shami (Bachar Chama) and Messara Al Shami (Mujahid Amino) from suburbs of Quetta. Al Mauritani was tasked personally by Osama Bin Ladan to focus on hitting targets of economical importance in United States of America, Europe and Australia. He was planning to target United States economic interests including gas/oil pipelines, power generating dams and strike ships/oil tankers through explosive laden speed boats in International waters.

Through this critical arrest yet another fatal blow has been delivered to Al Qaeda. This operation was planned and conducted with technical assistance of United State Intelligence Agencies with whom Inter Services Intelligence has a strong, historic intelligence relationship. Both Pakistan and United States intelligence agencies continue to work closely together to enhance security of their respective nations.The intimate cooperation between Pakistan and United States Intelligence agencies has resulted into prevention of number of high profile terrorist acts not only inside Pakistan/United States but elsewhere also in world.

SOURCE: http://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&id=1827#pr_link1827

March 4, 2011

MILITANTS BOMB MOSQUE DURING FRIDAY PRAYER

Filed under: Taliban,terrorism — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:21 am

As if there was any more proof necessary that the religion of jihadi militants Taliban and al-Qaeda is ANTI-ISLAM and ANTI-MUSLIM there is the PROOF in the bomb attack against peaceful Muslims saying Friday prayers.

A bomb attack on a packed mosque in militant-infested northwest Pakistan killed at least 11 people and wounded over 20 others after it ripped through Friday prayers, police and medics said.Hundreds of people were coming out of the mosque or waiting for a charity meal when the blast hit, police said, adding that the bomb had been planted inside the building near the town of Nowshera.

Witnesses described scenes of panic, the mosque’s windows and doors blown out by the strength of the explosion and blood sprayed on the building walls.

“I was distributing rice among the devotees when suddenly a huge blast occurred and I remember seeing people running and falling in panic,” Suleman Shah, 30, a jeweller, told AFP.

An AFP reporter at the site said: “There were blood marks in the mosque and cooked rice was scattered at some places. The blast had mangled the ceiling fans and all doors and windows of the mosque building were broken.”

Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants launch daily attacks across northwest Pakistan and the tribal belt that Washington has branded the most dangerous place on Earth.

More than 4,000 people have died in suicide and bomb attacks across Pakistan since government forces launched an offensive against militants in a mosque in Islamabad in 2007.

The mosque in Friday’s attack is located in a shrine named after Muslim saint Akhund Panju Baba, in Akbar Pura town, on the outskirts of Nowshera.

“The death toll is 11 now as two of the wounded men passed away,” Abdul Hameed Afridi, head of the Lady Reading hospital in Peshawar, the main city in the region, told AFP.

The death toll was earlier put at nine.

There was one child among the dead, he said, adding that 21 wounded were being treated at the hospital, four of whom were critical.

December 29, 2010

NEW TERROR SYNDICATE THREATENS PAKISTAN

Filed under: Defense,Taliban,terrorism — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 11:11 am

In the past one lashkar was different from another lashkar and each could be treated differently with regards to its position towards the state. But today that has changed. New evidence reveals that a new terror syndicate is threatening Pakistan’s sovereignty as traditionally independent and opposing militant groups are joining forces to attack Pakistan’s military and government according to a report in The New York Times.

Increased cooperation among insurgent factions also is being reported inside Pakistan, where many of the extremist organizations are based or where their leaders have found a haven.

American and NATO officials said they had seen evidence of loose cooperation among other insurgent groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Tehrik-i-Taliban.

Lashkar is a Punjabi group and is considered one of the most serious long-term threats inside Pakistan. The Punjabi groups, many of which were created by Pakistani intelligence to fight against India’s interests in Kashmir, now appear to be teaming up with Pashtun groups like the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban to fight their creators, the Pakistani intelligence and security services.

Pentagon and military officials who routinely engage with their Pakistani counterparts said officials in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, agreed with the new American and NATO assessments.

“This is actually a syndicate of related and associated militant groups and networks,” said one American officer, summarizing the emerging view of Pakistani officials. “Trying to parse them, as if they have firewalls in between them, is really kind of silly. They cooperate with each other. They franchise work with each other.”

Just as the American support for al Qaeda as proxy fighters in Afghanistan during the Cold War has come back to haunt it in the case of 9/11 and other attempted attacks on American soil, so our own support for militia groups as proxy fighters to liberate Kashmir has turned its venom upon us.

March 23, 2010

On whose side are the Taliban apologists?

Filed under: Defense,Taliban — Tags: , , , , , , , — admin @ 6:30 am
Imran Khan and Shahbaz Sharif: Taliban Apologists

Imran Khan and Shahbaz Sharif: Taliban Apologists

by Babar Ayaz in Daily Times

To give apologists of the Taliban and jihadi groups among the politicians and journalists the benefit of the doubt, let us presume that either they are politically naïve or they are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Their usual refrain is that the Taliban’s terrorism would go away if the government stops taking foreign dictation. I wish it were that simple. Statements of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Saad Rafiq, Imran Khan and many fellow journalists reflect this mindset and one is amazed how they tend to forget the historical and ideological background of the rise of militant Islam in Pakistan. Blaming the government in this regard is just political point scoring, though sadly on a wrong issue.

Nobody can deny their assertion that interference in the national security policy should not be allowed. But for a moment let us assume we have no US interference in deciding our policy regarding the local and Afghan Taliban. And there is no pressure to wind up the India-specific terrorist networks. Suppose the PML-N is in power trying to work out the national security policy, if at all the GHQ would permit them to enter this sacred zone. In this situation, would they be able to deliberately gloss over the historical and ideological basis of the terrorists’ war against the state?

They will have to analyse the objectives of the people of Pakistan, the Afghan Taliban and the local jihadi organisations and then see whether these objectives are reconcilable with the interest of the majority of Pakistanis.

Once burdened with the power to rule, their analysis would have to be dispassionate, not idealistic. Their government’s ultimate responsibility would be to protect the democratic rights of the people and work towards raising their living standard. I am sure the PML-N realises that in a country where almost every third person lives below the poverty line, we cannot afford to fight the world in the name of promoting an Islamic caliphate.

So let us see what the major actors of this sad saga want:

1) The people of Pakistan: end of Talibanisation and religious extremism in the country; putting a stop to interference in Afghanistan; protection of Pakistan’s legitimate interests in Afghanistan; good relations with the Afghan government and the US; normalisation of relations with India.

2) The local Taliban and jihadi organisations: control over all the tribal areas to begin with, and enforcement of their version of shariah by force; support of the Afghan Taliban’s war against the US and Afghan government; fighting with Pakistani forces if they try to stop militants from joining the Afghan war and entering India for terrorist attacks; continue to support to al Qaeda; bring down the Afghan government; oust the US and NATO forces from Afghanistan; and liberate Kashmir through an armed struggle.

3) The Afghan Taliban: Take over Afghanistan by force and establish a government with their brand of shariah; resist any move by Pakistan to stop them from using its territory as a hinterland.

4) Al Qaeda: Help the Taliban in restoring their government in Afghanistan; continue using Afghanistan as their headquarters to export Islamic revolution through the barrel of the gun to the world; bring down the Pakistani government, which does not support al Qaeda’s ideals.

Now if we look at these demands keeping in view the interest of the people of Pakistan, it is clear that whether we listen to the US or we make indigenous policies, no compromise can be made with the Taliban and jihadis.

First, the people of Pakistan are Muslims, but they do not approve of extremism. They support democracy, which in essence is pluralistic and means tolerance of dissent.

Second, it does not suit Pakistan to help the Afghan Taliban who want to enforce religious fascism in Afghanistan and annoy the West.

Third, Pakistan has to stop interference in Afghanistan. There can be no two views about it. The UN Resolution 1373 “decides also that all states shall: refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts, including by suppressing recruitment of members of terrorist groups and eliminating the supply of weapons to terrorists.”

True, Pakistan should neither support the Taliban nor the US and NATO forces. But this would only be possible if the Taliban stop using Pakistan as their base and join the Afghan democratic process.

Fourth, Pakistan’s legitimate interest can only be protected in Afghanistan if there is a stable government in Kabul. A prerequisite of achieving this objective is to find a regional solution instead of a Pakistan-India proxy war in Afghanistan.

Fifth, we have to have good relations with the Afghan government. Those who suggest that we should stop supporting the Karzai government tend to forget it is recognised by the entire world and the UN.

Sixth, Pakistan cannot afford to have adversarial relations with the US and other Western countries. There is no reason that we should be fighting with them. Almost the entire economy of Pakistan is dependent on these countries. Over 50 percent exports go to these countries, leave alone the investments and loans, which we get from them. Any conflict with them would lead to sanctions that would mean closure of industries and immense damage to the economy — directly hurting the poor.

Last, no country is supporting the al Qaeda agenda because it is not in sync with 21st century political, social and economic values. Also, their terrorist means and Salafist ideology is unacceptable to the majority of Muslims around the world.

Apologists of the Taliban should realise that no matter who is ruling, it is high time that these terrorists should be dealt with. There should be no confusion that it is the agenda of the people of Pakistan. This is what Pakistan needs. Just because the US is saying the same thing does not mean we should foolishly tell the Taliban that we are on their side. There are no two options. Of course talks with the local and Afghan Taliban are possible if they renounce violence and join the democratic process in their respective countries. The interest of the people of Pakistan should be at the top of our list instead of anti-government and anti-US emotions. The Taliban have offered a deal to the Punjab government. It has a Faustian choice that no apologist can afford to make.

March 2, 2010

Pakistan Military Captures Key Taliban/Al-Qaeda Complex

Pakistani military on Afghan border

The military continues to see successful operations carried out against Talibani militants, cleaning up the borders and tribal areas and ensuring the safety and security for Pakistani innocents.

The latest news comes as army captures a key Taliban and Al-Qaeda complex along the Afghan border. 75 militants were killed, including a number of foreigners from Egypt, Uzbekistan, Chechnia, and Afghanistan who had invaded Pakistan to cause murders and violence.

Dawn reports on the scene from Damadola:

(more…)

March 1, 2010

Conspiring With The Enemy?

Rana Sanaullah

SSP

A disturbing report in Daily Times today says that Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah took Sipah-e-Sahaba (SSP) leader Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi on a ride in his car and visisted the extremist organization’s madrassa. This organization has been banned by the government, but still Rana Sanaullah is visiting and treating its leader as a V.I.P.  What can be the excuse for this?

The Daily Times says,

Mr Sanaullah was on a by-election campaign for a provincial assembly seat in Jhang, but it cannot be said with certainty if he paid a visit to the seminary for electoral purposes or deep-rooted extremist linkages. Even if it was for purely electoral purposes, should the law minister have taken along a sectarian leader with him on an election campaign?

Obviously, the answer is no. Even if it was only for purely electoral purposes, this is unacceptable because it gives some false authority to SSP as a legitimate organization when it is clearly not one. Actually, not only is this organization banned but it is known to be a principal ally to militant groups that are attacking and killing our innocents.

According to a report, ‘Pakistan: The Militant Jihadi Challenge’ by the International Crisis Group published in 2009, “The recent upsurge of jihadi violence in Punjab…demonstrates the threat extremist Sunni-Deobandi groups pose to the Pakistani citizen and state…Punjab-based radical Deobandi groups like the SSP and its offshoot Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ) provide weapons, recruits, finances and other resources to Pakistani Taliban groups…The SSP and LJ are also al Qaeda’s principal allies in the region.”

Rana Sanaullah should have not contact with groups like SSP except as working to forever remove their menace from Pakistan’s soil. That a government official would be conspiring with the enemy – even in looks only – is beyond understanding.

The Punjab government has long been in denial over the presence of terror outfits in Punjab, particularly South Punjab. The audacity of the PML-N to call itself a ‘progressive’ party — at best, it is a centre-right party — when it is pursuing such policies should serve as a wake up call for the people of Pakistan. If we want to rid our country of extremist ideology, our lawmakers should set an example instead of giving official patronage to terror outfits. An appeal to the Punjab government: stop living in denial and take effective measures to make our country safe from extremist elements.

January 31, 2010

Could Extremist Pakistani Bloggers be FBI Moles?

Filed under: hypernationalists — Tags: , , , , , , , — admin @ 1:56 pm

Guest Post By Yahya Hussainy

The David Headley aka Daoud Gilani case has been in the media for a few months now. There have been numerous stories about how Headley was not just an extremist but rather a double agent used by US authorities to help fish out other extremists.

The Headley case highlights how sometimes the people taking the hardest line are actually doing so to entice others with extremist potential into revealing themselves. As Al-Qaeda and other Jihadi groups have turned to the internet for recruitment of future foot soldiers, the FBI and the CIA are also using websites to check out who thinks what and who might be a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer.

Given the large number of anti-American and even pro-Jihadi Pakistani websites, I have often wondered if some of the more extreme Pakistani bloggers are also “trolling” to find who in the Pakistani diaspora might actually be a potential Jihadi. Some of the bloggers are so outrageously irrational in their attacks on the US, Israel and India that their authenticity becomes clearly suspect.

Yes, the US allows everyone under the First Amendment of its constitution to express opinions. But didn’t many extreme opinion-holders get visited by the FBI immediately after 9/11? It is a known fact that the FBI keeps track of American Nazis and anti-Semites in case they go beyond expressing extreme opinions and actually start acting on them. Why do we assume that is not happening with Pakistani and Muslim blogs?

Sometime ago it was revealed that a widely accessed pro-Jihadi website www.jihadunspun,com was actually run by CIA to help identify Jihadi sympathizers.

So which of the Pakistani bloggers express extreme emotions not because they have these views but rather as a means of “trolling” for others who might be actual extremists? I am sure readers can identify many on the basis of their own suspicions. My own favorite is RupeeNews blogger Moin Ansari who mixes anti-American, anti-Jewish, anti-Indian and anti-everybody rhetoric with his own peculiar mix of sexual innuendo and conspiracy theories. We all know sex sells so if a professional from the intelligence community or law enforcement was helping someone run a blog or website to attract most possible readers and to use that as a technique of drawing up a list of Muslims and Pakistanis with extremist views, a website that mixes sexy headlines with conspiracy theories and hardline ideology could be a likely product.

Now, I have no way of knowing who does or does not work for the agencies and I am not saying that Moin Ansari or RupeeNews are indeed part of the undercover internet-blog strategy of any agency. For all I know, Mr Ansari might just be whatever he claims to be. My only experience with him is that he can dish out a lot of harsh criticism but cannot take any. The last time I posted about him he didn’t take it in good humour or even as me using my right of comment like he does his.

I am just saying that if Moin Ansari was trying to fish out extremists, headlines from RupeeNews.com like  Did Pakistani PM Gillani grope Sherry Rehman?, Kashmala Tariq turns up heat: Bites more than she can chew?, Sex Antics of Mohandas Gandhi: His Failures, Pedophilia, Adultery, Incest, Sexual Perversion & Fetishes, Sex Life of Indira Gandhi of India: The Indian Matahari,  Indira’s tryst with seduction, Wives that slept with Gandhi would be the perfect attractions for angry young Pakistanis living in America ready for jihad.

So, dear readers, start looking at the hardline and angry Pakistani bloggers with a new angle. Are they really expressing their views or are they moles trying to help the Great Satan –and its South Asian satellite–they criticize so much to identify young men who might hate America, Israel and India enough to wage jihad against them?

January 29, 2010

Haqqani: Give Pakistan Armed Drones

The Americans have already pledged to transfer to Pakistan the UAV drone technology to do reconnaissance and intelligence. According to The Nation, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the USA Husain Haqqani is telling the Americans to give Pakistan the armed technology so that Pakistan can target the militants that are attacking us ourselves.

“The government of Pakistan has repeatedly said that we would like to have the capability to be able to identify and take out targets on ground,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani told National Public Radio. Pakistan, he stressed, prefers to do everything on the Pakistani side of the border itself.

“And the reason is very simple: We have a military capability in certain areas and in some areas we lack certain technical capabilities and we would like that technical capabilities for ourselves.”

The Pakistanis are committed to fighting militants in the Afghan border region but it is unfair to characterize Pakistan as a base for al-Qaeda-linked elements, since militants straddle both sides of the porous and challenging border, he clarified.

Haqqani made a very interesting statement also that people are against drone strikes because innocents are sometimes caught in the crossfire. If Pakistan’s military had the technology of armed drones then we would be able to target the militants with our better intelligence and eliminate the problem of innocent deaths while destroying the jihadis.

January 22, 2010

USA Secretary of Defense Pledges Faithfulness to Pakistan

USA Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

USA Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

USA Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has pledged faithfulness to a partnership with Pakistan in comments to military officers today. The following report is from Dawn newspaper:

The United States has no designs on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons or ”a single inch of Pakistani soil,” US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Pakistani military officers Friday, adding that fighting terrorists along the Afghan border is in Pakistan’s interest as well as Washington’s.”We have enemies in common along the border, but we also have many other interests in common,” Gates said, and the Pakistani military has choices to make about its resources and focus just as the US armed forces have done.

Addressing the legacy of mistrust and what he called an ”organized propaganda campaign” to misrepresent US intentions, Gates used carefully calibrated phrasing to tick off some of the allegations against the United States in wide circulation in Pakistan.

”I fully understand why some of you may be skeptical about the US commitment to Pakistan,” Gates told officers at Pakistan’s National Defense University.

Many in his audience came of professional age in the 1990s, when the United States had cut off military ties to Pakistan and largely ignored the growth of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The United States wants Pakistan to take on Taliban militants who use its territory as a refuge, but Gates’ rhetoric on the subject during two days of talks in the Pakistani capital was notably mild.

He said he was deeply impressed with Pakistan’s military offensive against militants within its borders.

”The leadership will make the decisions” about when or whether they are going to do something. ”That’s just fine with me,” Gates said during an interview with Pakistani and US journalists.

Asked whether the US was winning in the long battle against al Qaeda terrorism, Gates said the United States has made progress but hasn’t won yet. He said al Qaeda and what he calls a syndicate of affiliated groups are less capable of large-scale, coordinated attacks than they once were and in many cases their leadership has been killed or captured.

The Obama administration has taken a softer tone with Pakistan in recent months, praising the country’s unprecedented assault on militants inside its borders and dropping public appeals for Pakistan to focus on the militants along its western border.

In his speech to military officers, Gates said the US seeks no military bases in the country and has no desire to control Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

”The United States does not covet a single inch of Pakistani soil,” Gates said.

In meetings Thursday with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, the country’s army chief and others, Gates called the antiterror operations a success so far, ”and he acknowledged to all of them that we realize that has come with a great deal of sacrifice for the military,” Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said following the sessions.

”We are not trying to prescribe a timeline by which they must do things,” Morrell said.

The Pakistani army said Thursday it cannot expand its offensive against militants for at least six months, after time to consolidate gains made against militants who primarily target Pakistan. Remarks from the Army’s chief spokesman did not rule out the offensive that would more directly benefit the United States.

”We are not talking years,” Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas told reporters traveling with Gates. ”Six months to a year” would be needed before Pakistan could consolidate the gains it has made against militants in other parts of the country and then consider going farther, he said.

January 6, 2010

Pakistan, US Join Forces Against Taliban Threat

US Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Army Chief Gen. Kayani

US Gen. Stanley McChrystal with Army Chief Gen. Kayani

American General Stanley McChrystal was full of praise for Gen. Kayani and the Pakistani military when he spoke to reporters at the residence of the US Ambassador on Monday. Additionally, the US General said about the fight against Taliban that the Americans will be working jointly with Pakistan’s military to defeat the militants attacking Pakistan.

The Daily Times is encouraged by these developments as well as the changes to policy being made by American President Barack Obama. Still, though, the editors have some important suggestions for the Americans. Namely, they need to continue doing more to build trust among the people and show that they are not going to abandon them. Also they have some advice for those government officials who may try to use Taliban as an asset and part of its ‘strategic depth’ policy – this is undermining the Army’s efforts to stop the violent attacks.

Joint Pak-US action against Taliban in the offing

Pakistan and the United States are working on a plan to take joint military action against Taliban and launch coordinated attacks on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border, according to Gen Stanley McChrystal, Commander of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan.

He was talking to reporters at the residence of the US ambassador on Monday evening after holding talks with military commanders here and visiting Swat.

“In fact, we are developing a joint campaign plan so that we approach the entire problem together and as much as possible we can make our efforts synergistic.”

Gen McChrystal said strong partnership between the US and Pakistan was critical for counter-insurgency operations on both sides of the border.

“The most important thing we can do is to coordinate our operations with the Pakistan Army and then there is, of course, going to be political coordination.”

In contrast to some other US officials, who have been lecturing Pakistanis on the need to ‘do more’ in the fight against extremist elements, Gen McChrystal repeatedly called for ‘partnership’ between the two countries and said that differences should not detract them from their aims.

Referring to the often-discussed trust deficit between the two countries, he said the level of mistrust had declined but it needed to be narrowed.

Surprisingly, Gen McChrystal, did not broach either the Haqqani Network or the Quetta Shura – the two problems that have posed serious challenges to cooperation between the two countries.

Pakistan Army, which is engaged in a campaign against militant groups operating from its soil, has been accused of ignoring Afghanistan-focussed groups, prompting critics to claim that Islamabad being fearful of growing Indian influence in the war-torn country, was trying to preserve these factions as future assets for keeping its influence in Afghanistan.

Gen McChrystal, who was all praise for the military’s counter-insurgency campaign and the leadership of Army Chief Gen Kayani, said he had no reasons to doubt Pakistan Army’s sincerity.

“I’m hopeful of the time when the Haqqani Network, which is causing damage inside Afghanistan, is taken on by both of us jointly to reduce the damage they are causing. It is important that we together do that.”

About the Quetta Shura, he said that the best course was cooperation with Pakistan military. He opposed any direct action against the Shura.

“Taliban that threaten Afghanistan need to be pressured everywhere … Partnership with Pakistan is the best road to that as we strengthen the strategic partnership … that is the best way I think.”

He said that successes against Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan were interlinked and could not be achieved in isolation. “If Afghanistan suffers from instability it is going to be contagious.

“Everybody has a stake in coming out well.” On the issue of India using Afghanistan to destabilise Pakistan, he said, the complaints needed to be addressed. Although he said he did not have enough information to confirm or deny the allegations.

“If perceptions drive people to mistrust then there is a need to work on them.”

Shrinking trust deficit

Afghan Coalition Commander General Stanley McChrystal has said that the trust deficit between the US and Pakistan is shrinking, but things could get better. He said that enhanced cooperation in the war on terror between the two countries as well as Pakistan and Afghanistan could help bridge the trust deficit. McChrystal refuted the notion that there were any differences with Pakistan over the US troop surge in Afghanistan. Bridging the trust deficit between the two allies in the war on terror is critical if the Taliban and al Qaeda are to be eliminated. The terror threat cannot be eliminated until and unless the Pakistani establishment revisits its stance of deliberately or through neglect letting the Afghan Taliban operate from Pakistani soil. Though the Pakistan Army has launched a successful military offensive against the local Taliban, it may still consider the Afghan Taliban an asset and part of its ‘strategic depth’ policy. This has worsened the situation for Afghanistan and the foreign troops there. The military operations have undoubtedly put pressure on the border, which is why some of the key al Qaeda operatives have been forced to flee the area and take refuge in Yemen and elsewhere. This poses a threat to worldwide peace.

That said, it is also important to take a closer look at the US strategy in Afghanistan. President Obama may have adopted a different policy vis-à-vis Afghanistan but it has yet to prove itself in the field. Success in Afghanistan cannot be achieved until and unless some lacunae are addressed properly. The Bush administration’s military strategy was to seek out the enemy, which created some problems as the enemy was not only inherently elusive but could also melt into the local population with ease. This led to collateral damage and increased the anti-US sentiment in Afghanistan. Despite the troop surge, the Obama administration’s policy is more focused on protection of the Afghan people and development of the war-torn country. While this is a positive policy shift, President Obama must realise that such a one-sided strategy cannot be successful since it may end up abandoning large tracts of the uninhabited countryside to the Taliban. Winning the hearts and the minds of the Afghan people will not lead to a complete annihilation of the Taliban. For that, the US needs more boots on the ground. The US also needs a credible partner in Afghanistan on the political front. Karzai’s fraudulent elections have made him lose whatever credibility he had left. This in turn puts the Americans in a difficult situation. No amount of troop surge or new policies can succeed until and unless the government in Afghanistan is acceptable to the local people. The prospects of success in Afghanistan seem bleak for the moment.

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