Lady al Qaeda: The World’s Most Wanted Woman

siddiqui1_1

The Taliban wanted to trade Bergdahl for her. The Islamic State offered to swap Foley. Why does every jihadi group want the U.S. to free Aafia Siddiqui? 

BY SHANE HARRIS:

Two years ago, a group of senior U.S. national security officials received a tantalizing proposal from officials in Pakistan. If the United States would release a Pakistani woman serving a lengthy prison sentence in Texas for attempted murder, Islamabad would try to free Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been missing since 2009 and was thought to be held in Pakistan by Taliban forces.

According to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the proposal, President Barack Obama’s national security advisors swiftly rejected the offer. To free the prisoner, Aafia Siddiqui, who’s linked to al Qaeda and was convicted in 2010 of attempting to kill Americans in Afghanistan, would violate the administration’s policy of not granting concessions to terrorist groups, the officials concluded. It would also put a potentially dangerous fighter back on the street. Siddiqui, 42, who’s known in counterterrorism circles as “Lady al Qaeda,” has been linked to 9/11 ringleader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and was once on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists list. Educated in the United States — she studied at M.I.T. and received a doctorate from Brandeis — Siddiqui was arrested in 2008 in Afghanistan carrying sodium cyanide, as well as documents describing how to make chemical weapons and dirty bombs and how to weaponize Ebola. When FBI and military officials tried to question Siddiqui, she grabbed a weapon left on the table in her interrogation room and fired upon them.

Although U.S. officials never seriously considered trading Siddiqui, she has been a perennial bargaining chip for terrorists and Islamist militants who’ve made her release a condition for freeing a number of American and European prisoners over the years. The militants had repeatedly threatened to execute Bergdahl if Siddiqui wasn’t set free. And the

Islamic State terrorists who murdered American journalist James Foley last week had demanded Siddiqui’s release to spare his life.

On Tuesday, the Islamic State again demanded her freedom, this time in exchange for a 26-year-old American woman kidnapped last year in Syria while working with humanitarian aid groups. Officials believe the Islamic State is holding at least four American prisoners, including journalist Steven Sotloff. The militants have also insisted upon a $6.6 million ransom for the young American woman, whose family doesn’t want her identified. The Islamic State’s demands were first reported by ABC News.

While the White House has steadfastly refused to put Siddiqui’s release on the table in negotiating for American prisoners, a team inside the Defense Department has proposed trading her for American captives, according to a U.S. lawmaker.

“We are aware of at least one entity in the Defense Department that has developed possible options to trade Siddiqui. And we can say with certainty that the option was weighed for Bergdahl and several others in captivity,” said Joe Kasper, a spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R.-Calif.), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and a former Marine who has criticized the Obama administration for not doing more to free American prisoners.

A heated debate over whether the U.S. government should pay ransoms or conduct prisoner swaps in order to free American captives erupted after Foley’s murder. The United States, unlike many European countries, doesn’t pay ransoms. Some terrorism experts say that Americans are less likely to be kidnapped as a result. But some former prisoners and their families want the government to pony up if doing so will free Americans.

Kasper said the Siddiqui option in Bergdahl’s case never reached Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “That’s a real shame, because right or wrong on trading Siddiqui, all valid options should be explored and exhausted,” he said.

Read more at Foreign Policy

Also see:

‘Honor’ Killings: A New Kind of American Tragedy

Amina-Ajmal-Honor-Killing-Evidence-Photoby Dr. Phyllis Chesler:

A new kind of American tragedy is taking place in a Brooklyn Federal Courthouse.

Both the defendant, standing trial for conspiracy to commit murder abroad in Pakistan, and the main witness against him, his daughter Amina, wept when they first saw each other. Amina’s extended family stared at her with hostility. As she testified, Amina paused, hesitated, and sobbed. She and her father had been very close until he decided that she had become too “Americanized.”

This Pakistani-American father of five, a widower, worked seven days a week driving a cab in order to support his children; this included sending his daughter, Amina, to Brooklyn College.

This is a successful American immigrant story—and yet, it is also a unique and unprecedented story as well, one which demands that Western law prevail over murderously misogynistic tribal honor codes.

At some point, Mohammad Ajmal Choudry sent Amina to Pakistan so that she might re-connect with her “roots”—but he had her held hostage there for three years. During that time, Amina, an American citizen, was forced into an arranged marriage, ostensibly to her first cousin, who probably expected this marriage to lead to his American citizenship. Such arranged marriages, and arranged specifically for this purpose, are routine. They are also factors in a number of high profile honor killing cases in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

For example, the Texas born and raised Said sisters, Aminah and Sarah, refused to marry Egyptian men as their Egyptian cab-driver father Yasir wanted them to do and he killed them for it. Canadian-Indian, Jaswinder Kaur, refused to marry the man her mother had chosen for her and instead married someone she loved. Her widowed mother and maternal uncle had her killed in India. They have been fighting extradition from Canada for more than a decade.

Amina, who grew up in New York from the time she was nine years old, did not want to be held hostage to this marriage. Indeed, Amina had found a man whom she loved and wished to marry.

Plucky Americanized Amina fled the arranged marriage within a month. With the help of a relative, the U.S. State Department, and ultimately, the Department of Homeland Security, Amina left Pakistan and went into hiding in the United States.

She had to. Her father had threatened to kill her if she did not return to her husband, give up her boyfriend, or return to her father. Mohammad may have pledged Amina’s hand without her knowledge, long, long ago.

A female relative’s sexual and reproductive activities are assets that belong to her father’s family, her tribe, her religion. They are not seen as individual rights.

Acting as if one is “free” to choose whom to marry and whom not to marry means that a woman has become too Westernized, or, in Amina’s case, too “Americanized.” This is a capital crime.

From Mohammad’s point of view, his beloved daughter had betrayed and dishonored him. She had “un-manned” him before his family. The desire to marry whom you want or to leave a violent marriage are viewed as filthy and selfish desires. Many Muslims in the Arab and Muslim world; Hindus and Muslims in India; and Muslims and, to a lesser extent, Sikhs in the West share this view and accordingly, perpetrate “honor killings.”

I do not like this phrase. An honor killing is dishonorable and it is also murder, plain and simple. It is a form of human sacrifice. It is also femicide–although sometimes boys and men are also murdered. I would like to call them “horror” murders.

Read more at Breitbart

 

Assault on Pakistan Airport Signals Taliban’s Reach and Resilience

Relatives and colleagues of airport security personnel killed in the attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, gathered near the coffins after funeral prayers. ATHAR HUSSAIN / REUTERS

Relatives and colleagues of airport security personnel killed in the attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, gathered near the coffins after funeral prayers.
ATHAR HUSSAIN / REUTERS

By DECLAN WALSH:

London –  Only a week ago the Pakistani taliban appeared to be on the ropes. Violent rivalries had split the insurgency in two. Peace talks with the government had collapsed. Military jets had pounded militant hide-outs in the tribal belt.

A squad of militant commandos, disguised as government security forces, stormed Karachi’s international airport after dark. They carried food, water and ammunition, apparently in preparation for a long siege, and big ambitions: perhaps to hijack a commercial airliner, government officials said Monday, or to blow up an oil depot, or to destroy airplanes on the tarmac.

The 10 attackers were dead five hours later, shot by soldiers or blown up by their own suicide vests. Yet the audacious nature of the assault shook Pakistan to its core, offering a violent reminder that for all its divisions, the Taliban remain an astonishingly resilient force.

It has kept a reach far beyond its tribal redoubt along the Afghan border, with an ability to penetrate the country’s busiest airport in the largest city. And the discovery that Uzbek jihadis were among the attackers underscores how, even in splinters, the Taliban can draw on an international militant network to conduct sophisticated attacks — which means trouble not just for Pakistan’s government and military, but for American interests in Afghanistan.

The determined attack seems to bear out earlier warnings by counterterrorism experts that the Taliban split two weeks ago was unlikely to erode the group’s capacity for mayhem.

“It’s become a hydra-headed monster,” said Najmuddin Shaikh, a retired head of Pakistan’s foreign service. “They had limited success in Karachi, but maybe that was just our good luck.”

Key to the Taliban’s strength is the web of alliances it has cultivated with fellow militant groups in North Waziristan, the tribal district along the Afghan border that since 2001 has evolved into a vibrant global hub of jihadi money, ideology and fighters — Punjabis, Chechens, Arabs, Central Asians, Afghan Taliban and a smattering of Westerners.

The Taliban’s major ally is the Haqqani network, a formidable force in the Afghan insurgency that held the American soldier Bowe Bergdahl hostage for five years until his release on May 31. But they have other allies too — fighters whose militancy was born elsewhere, but who have joined in the Taliban fight.

Chief among them are the Uzbeks, hard-bitten fighters who followed Osama bin Laden into Pakistan after September 2001, and who have since become an important element of the Taliban insurgency, offering Pakistan fighters what experts call a deep bench of militant training and expertise.

Read more at New York Times

Al Qaeda remains in Afghanistan despite drawdown plans

Naseer Ahmed/Reuters

Naseer Ahmed/Reuters

LWJ, By 

Eli Lake’s report at The Daily Beast, titled “As Obama Draws Down, Al Qaeda Grows in Afghanistan,” is today’s must read article. A quick excerpt:

As President Obama outlines what he promises to be the end of the war in Afghanistan, new U.S. intelligence assessments are warning that al Qaeda is beginning to re-establish itself there.Specifically, the concern for now is that al Qaeda has created a haven in the northeast regions of Kunar and Nuristan and is able to freely operate along Afghanistan’s only major highway–Route One, which connects the airports of Kandahar and Kabul.

“There is no doubt they have a significant presence in northeast Afghanistan,” Mac Thornberry, the Republican vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told The Daily Beast. “It’s a lot of speculation about exact numbers, but again part of the question is what are their numbers going to be and what are there activities going to be when the pressure lets up.”

If Thornberry’s warnings prove correct, then Obama is faced with two bad choices. He either breaks his promise to end America’s longest war or he ends up losing that war by withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan too soon, allowing al Qaeda to re-establish a base of operations in the country from which it launched 9/11.

For years, the official intelligence community estimate was that a little more than 100 al Qaeda fighters remained in Kunar Province, a foreboding territory of imposing mountains and a local population in the mountains at least that largely agrees with al Qaeda’s ascetic Salafist philosophy.

But recent estimates from the military and the U.S. intelligence community have determined that al Qaeda’s presence has expanded to nearby Nuristan and that the group coordinates its operations and activities with allies like the Pakistan-based Taliban and Haqqani Network.

 

Read the whole thing. Long War Journal readers will know that for years we have reported on al Qaeda’s extensive presence in Afghanistan; al Qaeda’s collusion with the Taliban, Haqqani Network, the Pakistani Taliban, and other groups; and US and Coalition efforts to dismantle the network using targeted raids.

And we’ve repeatedly criticized the often-repeated meme that al Qaeda has just 50-100 fighters in Afghanistan. Using press reports, press releases from the International Security Assistance Force, and al Qaeda’s own statements, we have detected the presence of al Qaeda and allied groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Jihad Group, and Lashkar-e-Taiba in 17 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Sadly, in June 2013 ISAF stopped issuing press releases on its raids that targeted al Qaeda, cutting off one important source of information that detailed al Qaeda’s presence.

Now, I’d argue that al Qaeda isn’t expanding into Kunar and Nuristan, but has merely capitalized on the US pullback from Kunar that took place beginning in 2009 [see this report from 2011 for some background on the withdrawal]. Keep in mind that the US began this withdrawal even as special operations forces were actively targeting what ISAF identified as al Qaeda “camps” in the province. For more on this, see LWJ report, ISAF captures al Qaeda’s top Kunar commander, from April 2011.

It seems that some US officials are finally starting to come around to the analysis of al Qaeda’s presence that has long been provided by The Long War Journal. Unfortunately, that may be too little and too late, as President Obama has set the stage for the US to exit Afghanistan and significantly reduce, if not end, its capacity to target al Qaeda and allied groups in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Horror in Pakistan: Pregnant Woman Stoned by Family

 02-450x337by Arnold Ahlert:

Those looking for the real war on women–as opposed to the one promoted by the American left and their media enablers—should focus their attention on Pakistan and Sudan. In the former nation, a 25-year-old pregnant woman has been stoned to death by members of her own family, with her father dubbing the atrocity an “honor killing.” In the latter nation, a 27-year-old woman has been sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. She was also pregnant, and has given birth while awaiting her sentence to be carried out. The common thread in both cases is as predictable as it is disturbing: the religion of Islam and the endemic mistreatment of women practiced by far too many of its followers.

Farzana Parveen was killed in broad daylight by nearly 20 members of her family before a crowd of onlookers outside the High Court in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan. As she walked up to the court’s main gate with her husband Mohammad Iqbal, relatives waiting for the couple’s arrival fired shots in the air and attempted to snatch her away. When she resisted, the attackers, who included her father, two brothers and her former fiancé, started beating her and her husband, before escalating the attack with bricks obtained from a nearby construction site.

Parveen subsequently sustained severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to police.

All of the attackers but her father, Mohammad Azeem, escaped. He surrendered to the police and admitted taking part in the killing. He had no remorse. “I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it,” the father was quoted as saying by police investigator Rana Mujahid.

Parveen had been engaged to her cousin, but married Iqbal instead, following an engagement of several years. In response, her family registered an abduction case against Iqbal, and Parzeen was to appear in court to argue that she had married him of her own free will, according to her lawyer Mustafa Kharal. Arranged marriages are the norm among conservative Pakistanis. Marrying for love is a transgression that ostensibly dishonors the family.

Iqbal, who started seeing Parveen following the death of his former wife with whom he had five children, claimed the couple was “in love.” He further alleged that her family wanted to extract money from him before allowing the marriage to take place. Instead, “I simply took her to court and registered a marriage,” Iqbal explained.

Parveen’s murder is hardly an anomaly. According to Pakistani rights group the Aurat Foundation, as many as 1,000 Pakistani women are killed every yearby their families in such honor killings. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan released a report last month revealing that 869 women were murdered in honor killings in 2013, but the Aurat Foundation insists the number could be far higher because the totals are based solely on newspaper reports. The Pakistani government does not compile any honor killing statistics.

Read more at Front Page

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Wave of Blasphemy Arrests, Riots Against Christians in Pakistan

police in PakistanBY RYAN MAURO:

Prosecutions based on blasphemy laws continue to skyrocket in Pakistan. Four evangelical Christians have just been arrested, shortly following the pressing of blasphemy charges against 86 lawyers. These incidents come after the May 7 murder of a defense attorney whose client was charged with blasphemy.

International Christian Concern reports that the four Christians, consisting of three women and a pastor, were arrested on May 18 after they distributed religious material at a railway station. A group of radical Muslims confronted them, at which point the police intervened and arrested the Christians and charged them with blasphemy.

An eyewitness says that hundreds of Islamists assembled after the Christians were taken away and “attacked” the local Christians in the city of Mirpus Kas. They also staged protests demanding their prosecution and that the police transfer custody to the “faithful” to be dealt with.

The complaint was filed by a leader of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat,another name for Sipah-e-Sahabah, which is formally banned in Pakistan. The group has carried out dozens of attacks on Shiites and is linked to Al Qaeda, but is still permitted to participate in elections and its leader even won a seat in parliament.

The charges stem from a protest by the lawyers against a senior police official named Umar Daraz earlier this month. The lawyers were upset because seven police officers were arrested for illegally arresting one of their colleagues and physically abusing him, but Daraz was left unscathed.

During the protest, the lawyers called Daraz a dog and referred to him by his first name, Umar. Again, a member of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, exploited Pakistan’s blasphemy law. He said that the lawyers defamed Islam by using Daraz’s first name because it is also the first name of the Second Caliph. As ridiculous as that is, charges were filed on May 13.

Read more at Clarion Project

CNN: U.S. Facing a ‘Triple Threat from Al Qaeda’

BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
May 20, 2014 5:47 pm

CNN’s Pentagon corespondent Barbara Starr reported Tuesday on a “triple threat from al Qaeda” the United States faces in Pakistan, Syria and Yemen.

Syria has become a “hot bed” for training camps and planning of external attacks, and a “growing threat” from al Qaeda exists in Yemen. Starr said there is a concern al Qaeda there are capable of attacking the U.S. embassy in Yemen, as well as inside the U.S. itself.

Also, an American-born terrorist known as Abdullah al-Shami is essentially the head of al Qaeda’s external planning operations in Pakistan and is being closely monitored by American intelligence.

“This is not al Qaeda on the run,” Starr said. “This is someone they’re watching very closely.”

Al Qaeda in Afghanistan And Pakistan: An enduring threat

By 

Editor’s note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony to the House Committee of Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade on al Qaeda’s network in Africa and the threat it poses to the US.

Chairman Poe, Ranking Member Sherman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the enduring threat posed by al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is widely assumed that al Qaeda’s presence in South Asia does not, in fact, pose an enduring threat to American interests. The slaying of top al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, and more than a decade of war and other counterterrorism operations have supposedly hobbled the organization. However, while I have no doubt that al Qaeda has sustained heavy losses, I do not think that bin Laden’s heirs are a spent force. On the contrary, al Qaeda lives.

In the hearing today I am going to build on my previous testimony before this subcommittee last July. During that hearing (“Global Al Qaeda: Affiliates, Objectives, and Future Challenges”), we discussed the structure of al Qaeda and the challenges we face in the future. Today, I wish to emphasize five main points:

1. Al Qaeda is an international network that is comprised of a “general command,” regional branches, as well as various other organizations and personalities.

It may seem odd, but more than a dozen years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, there is no commonly accepted definition of al Qaeda. The term “core” al Qaeda is often used, but this concept is a Western invention and imprecisely defined. And the way it is employed does not accurately convey how al Qaeda is structured. When analysts and officials speak of the “core” of al Qaeda, they are generally referring to Ayman al Zawahiri and the lieutenants who surround him in South Asia. Some go even further, arguing that Zawahiri is the only “core” al Qaeda leader left. Such arguments are not based on evidence.

Al Qaeda operates what it calls a “general command,” which consists of the organization’s senior leadership and their lieutenants, several committees, a Shura (advisory) council of the group’s most trusted advisers, as well as a supporting staff that includes, for example, couriers. We regularly see statements issued by al Qaeda’s “general command,” but few stop to ask what al Qaeda means by this. The “general command” performs various administrative functions, in addition to overseeing the organization’s international operations. For instance, al Qaeda’s amniyat is part of the group’s internal security and counterintelligence apparatus. The amniyat in northern Pakistan is notorious for hunting down suspected spies.

 Nasir al Wuhayshi,

Nasir al Wuhayshi,

This cohesive organization is not confined to South Asia. Jihadists who are, by any reasonable definition, “core” al Qaeda members are dispersed throughout the world. For example, Nasir al Wuhayshi, who heads al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is as “core” as they come, having served as Osama bin Laden’s protégé and aide-de-camp. In addition to serving as the emir of AQAP, Wuhayshi is the general manager of al Qaeda, which is a “core” function in al Qaeda’s hierarchy, that is, within the “general command.” The general manager of al Qaeda is given broad powers to oversee the organization’s operations.

The “general command” of al Qaeda has designated several regions for waging jihad, and an emir is appointed to oversee the organization’s efforts in each of these regions. The emir of each region has much latitude in deciding how to organize his group’s day-to-day efforts, but he swears bayat, an oath of allegiance, to al Qaeda’s overall emir (currently Zawahiri). The emirs of each region report to al Qaeda’s senior leadership, including the general manager. What many refer to as al Qaeda’s formal “affiliates” are really branches of al Qaeda that have been assigned to fight in these regions. The formal branches of al Qaeda, each designated its own region, are: al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), AQAP, the Al Nusrah Front in Syria, and Al Shabaab. All of them have sworn loyalty to Ayman al Zawahiri. In addition to these regions, al Qaeda also maintains facilitation networks in countries such as Iran.

Thus, the brief sketch of al Qaeda I have drawn here is one of a much more cohesive international organization than is often assumed. Like all other human organizations, however, al Qaeda has faced obstacles in trying to hold this network together. For instance, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) was al Qaeda’s branch inside Iraq, but the group’s emir had repeatedly disobeyed orders from the “general command.” This led to ISIS being disowned by the group. ISIS is currently fighting the Al Nusrah Front and its allies in Syria.

In addition to the formal branches of al Qaeda, there are other organizations that are part of al Qaeda’s international network even though they have not publicly sworn bayat to the leadership. Indeed, al Qaeda has often hidden its precise organizational relationship with groups that are being groomed for an alliance. Both the Al Nusrah Front and Al Shabaab, now formal branches of al Qaeda, did not make their operational connections to al Qaeda’s senior leadership known at first. Al Qaeda also employs multiple brands so as to obfuscate the extent of its influence. In Yemen, for instance, AQAP adopted the name “Ansar al Sharia.” This brand name was intended to convey the idea that the group is the true protector and enforcer of sharia law. Other groups calling themselves Ansar al Sharia have been established in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. There are still other groups that have adopted al Qaeda’s ideology, but are probably not operationally connected to the “general command” or al Qaeda’s branches.

I begin with this overview because the enduring threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan extends far outside of the region.

2. Al Qaeda is, at its heart, a clandestine organization, but careful analysis reveals that it has a deep bench of talent from which it draws.

Since its founding in 1988, the organization has attempted to conceal its operations. This has made it difficult to assess some very basic aspects of al Qaeda. The group does not, for instance, publish an organizational chart or make its total roster known. If you watch al Qaeda carefully enough, however, you can see that the group has consistently replaced top leaders lost in the 9/11 wars. In some cases these replacements are not as competent, while in other cases they may even surpass their fallen comrades.

Nasir al Wuhayshi, the aforementioned general manager of al Qaeda, is a seasoned veteran who replaced others in that role after they were killed or captured. Wuhayshi is, by all appearances, an all too competent leader. Still, the American-led counterterrorism effort has certainly disrupted al Qaeda’s international network, delivering severe setbacks in some areas. Al Qaeda’s problems with ISIS stem, to a large degree, from the fact that the U.S. and its allies took out its predecessor organization’s top leadership in 2010. The leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) were loyal to al Qaeda’s “general command” but were replaced with leaders who had not been vetted by al Qaeda’s senior leaders.

Read more at Long War Journal

The War on Terror: Is Pakistan the real enemy?

Author Carlotta Gall looks to Pakistan to find the real source of terror.

Author Carlotta Gall looks to Pakistan to find the real source of terror.

By Andrew E. Harrod:

“Why are the Americans fighting us here,” British journalist Carlotta Gall recounted Afghans asking, “when the real cause of the problem is across the border” in Pakistan.  Gall discussed this vital question examined in her newly published book, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014, during an April 11, 2014, Hudson Institute panel.

The infrastructure “that kept the insurgency going all these years” during the United States’ long, post-September 11, 2001, war in Afghanistan was in Pakistan, Gall observed on the basis of years reporting there.  “What Pakistan is doing is costing lives” in “trying to play both sides” of Afghanistan’s war, even as periodic falling outs between Pakistani security forces and Afghan militant groups claim Pakistani casualties.  Thus American-led military operations in Afghanistan merely “targeted the symptoms of the disease.”

Symptomatic of Pakistani support for jihadist groups in Afghanistan and elsewhere was the “normal, if secretive life” of Osama bin Laden for many years in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was “managing” bin Laden, Gall concluded on the basis of her knowledge of ISI operations.  In particular, bin Laden’s compound had no escape route outside of the front entrance in what Gall’s fellow panelist, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani, described as a “primarily garrison town.”   This suggested to American officials and others that bin Laden expected warning in case of attack, such that the eventual American killing of bin Laden took place without Pakistani foreknowledge.  Pakistan “did not want to be the traitor” in the eyes of some Muslims by giving up bin Laden to the United States, Gall argued.

Long before the Americans, Gall contrasted, Pakistani journalists could have found bin Laden in Abbottabad.  “Pakistani journalists know a lot more than they are writing,” yet, as opposed to Afghan journalists, have well-founded fears of government detention, torture, or worse.  “Stop writing what you are writing,” is often the Pakistani government message to journalists.  Pakistani families who talked to Gall about abrupt phone calls informing that a missing son had become a shahid or martyr in an Afghan suicide bombing also received subsequent ISI visits.

“Know your enemy” is the “first key thing” in any conflict, Gall observed, yet the United States failed properly to analyze Pakistan before becoming involved in Afghanistan.  “Why don’t they know them better,” Gall particularly wondered with respect to American ignorance of ISI.  Ironically, a CIA official had suggested to Gall that close CIA-ISI cooperation in years past had actually precluded American spying on the ISI.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

Pakistan: State Sponsor of Terrorism?

by Christine Williams:

“The civilian government there [Pakistan] doesn’t control military policy, strategic policy… the army and the intelligence service do.” — Chris Alexander, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Pakistan’s High Commission to Canada rebuked Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander for calling Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. “Pakistan is not a state sponsor of terrorism, as naively alleged by Mr. Alexander, but is itself a victim of terrorism, determined to fight this menace and extend every possible co-operation to our neighbors and allies in this regard,” said Press Counselor Nazia Khalid.

Alexander, who served as Canada’s ambassador in Afghanistan and authored the book, “The Long Way Back: Afghanistan’s Quest for Peace,” stated on a CBC television news program that “[t]he civilian government there [Pakistan] doesn’t control military policy, strategic policy… but the army and the intelligence service do…. and they have denied the obvious, postponed this reckoning for years with so many terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda.”

 

Chris Alexander, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (2nd from right), pictured in 2005 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, during his time as Ambassador. (Image source: Screenshot from Chris Alexander YouTube video)

Alexander stated that the international community urgently needs to address the situation in Pakistan, as it is connected to other trouble spots including Syria, Iraq and Russia.

Alexander’s reference to Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism is far from naïve. It was further highlighted by his press secretary, Alexis Pavlich, who stated: “It is not just that these terrorist groups continue to operate from Pakistani territory: they also enjoy official, albeit covert, sanction and support from some within Pakistan’s state apparatus.”

A report by the Council on Foreign Relations, “Pakistan’s New Generation of Terrorists“, suggests there is nothing naïve about Alexander’s warnings about Pakistan. Its commitment to counterterrorism came into question in May 2011, when U.S. commandos killed al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden at a compound not far from Islamabad, and it was discovered that members of al-Qaeda’s leadership, as well as the Afghan Taliban, were living and operating out of Pakistan’s tribal areas and had combined forces with several militant insurgent groups, including the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network, believed to be supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.

According to a Reuters report , in late 2011, the Obama administration created a special unit based in Kabul to coordinate efforts against the Haqqani militant group. The organization had been named in “some of the most audacious attacks of the Afghan war,” including storming hotels popular with foreigners; bombing the Indian embassy in Kabul, and a 2011 attack on the U.S. embassy.

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when Pakistan joined Washington presumably as an ally in combatting terrorism, analysts have accused Pakistan’s security and intelligence services of playing a “double game” and aiding militant groups fighting NATO in Afghanistan. In 2002, supporters of the Afghan Taliban sought refuge in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Five years later, over a dozen disparate militant groups united under the umbrella of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban. It was led by Baitullah Mehsud of South Waziristan, whom Pakistani authorities accused of orchestrating the December 2007 assassination of Pakistan’s former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. Authorities produced an intercepted audio communication in which Mehsudreportedly confirmed that his men were responsible for the attack.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Canada Confronts Pakistan on Bleak Human Rights Record

Pakistan Christian pers.

Canada also demanded that Pakistan address mistreatment of minorities such as Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis

BY TAHIR GORA:

The Pakistani Consul-General in Toronto, Muhammad Nafees Zakaria, was not happy when he had to listen to Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander. The Minister’s message was clear: Pakistan must address its human rights violations and mistreatment of minorities such as Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis.

Alexander was speaking to the International Christian Voice’s event in memory of Pakistani parliamentarian Shahbaz Bhatti, who was assassinated by the Taliban three years ago for demanding an end to the country’s blasphemy law. The blasphemy law is like a black sword hanging over the heads of Pakistan’s minorities. There is even a shameful declaration form for Ahmadi Muslims that declares them to be non-Muslims at the Consul-General’s Toronto office.

Alexander mentioned the Pakistani state authorities’ bleak record on free press. He talked about a journalist, Saleem Shahzad, who was allegedly killed by the notorious intelligence agencies.

Pakistani Consul-General Zakaria did not say a single word about repealing the blasphemy law. He didn’t even say he’d deliver the message to the Pakistani government. He couldn’t even bring himself to tell Canadian parliamentarians that he’d pass on their concerns to Islamabad, even if he doesn’t agree with Alexander.

Instead, Zakaria blamed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan for the problem of the Taliban in Pakistan. He framed the Taliban as a product of the covert U.S. effort against the Soviets, leaving Pakistan innocent and noble. This is a common excuse used by the Pakistani establishment that doesn’t want to take responsibility for their involvement in creating the problem of the Taliban and other extremists.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Sanctions needed against Pakistan’s spy agency

USSoldierPakistanSoldiertoonBy A. D. Kendall:

When dealing with undesirable behavior by foreign governments, the U.S. has increasingly employed narrowly targeted sanctions against individual officials of those governments, from human rights abusers in Syria to Russian leaders responsible for the annexation of Crimea.

But the same logic has yet to be applied to the ISI, Pakistan’s terrorist-sponsoring intelligence agency, which, compared to Russia and Syria, has posed a more direct threat to U.S. forces and civilians through the ISI’s sponsorship of terrorism against our troops in Afghanistan and through the safe haven it provided to Osama Bin Laden.

New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall revealed last week that, “Soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad,”  and that the ISI ran a special desk to “handle” Bin Laden.

The Bin Laden revelation is only the tip of the iceberg.  The Taliban itself was created by Pakistan, which allowed Al Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a base for hatching the 9/11 plot.  The perpetrators of the 26/11 terrorist attacks against Mumbai that left over 160 dead were also “clients and creations of the ISI.”

In an intercepted conversation, former ISI chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani was heard describing Jalaluddin Haqqani, leader of the terrorist Haqqani network, as a “strategic asset.”  That is the way that Pakistani intelligence has looked at jihadists for decades—that holy warriors provide strategic depth and variety to the conventional armed forces along Pakistan’s borders.  They regard terrorism as a tool in a broader arsenal against Pakistan’s foes, making the country a state sponsor of terrorism in the truest sense of the phrase.

Read more at The Terror Finance Blog

Face the Truth: Pakistan Is Not An Ally

pak

The U.S. government is in dire need of an intervention: its friends need to get it to seek professional help for its addiction to shoveling huge amounts of money to old Cold War allies that aren’t really allies at all. The problem is that the only friends who could stage such an orchestrated effort are just as far gone themselves.

By Robert Spencer:

Journalist Carlotta Gall, who reported from Afghanistan for the New York Times for twelve years, reported Wednesday that

“soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. ‘He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,’ the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so.”

He shouldn’t have been. It has been obvious for years that the Pakistanis have been aiding the same jihadists that the U.S. government has been giving them billions of dollars to fight. The New York Times reported on that at length back in 2008. And now we learn that not only did Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of the Pakistani government’s spy service, knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, but also that so did many other top officials in the Pakistani government.

Those who are genuinely surprised by this news probably also think that Islam is a Religion of Peace that has been hijacked by a Tiny Minority of Extremists. After all, this is the country where the jihad terror leader Hafiz Saeed, on whom the U.S. has placed a $10 million bounty, lives openly and comfortably. International Business Times reported in early March that Saeed “lives as a free man in Lahore,” even though he is “chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JUD), a parent organisation of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET). The organization was implicated in the 2008 attacks on Mumbai in India, which claimed 166 lives.” Not only that, but “Pakistan had twice placed Saeed under house arrest since 2001, but had let him go under suspicious circumstances.” And today, “JUD operates quite visibly in parts of Pakistan, with its own website and a twitter page.”

Meanwhile, Sky News reported in January that “Pakistani officials have reportedly used a secret counter-terrorism fund to buy wedding gifts, luxury carpets and gold jewellery for relatives of ministers and visiting dignitaries.” This is better than funneling to the terrorists themselves the money that the Pakistani government received from the U.S. to fight terror, but it shows how seriously the Pakistani authorities have taken their role in the “war on terror”: not seriously at all.

Read more at Front Page

See also:

  • Video – Documentary: Pakistan Double Cross on Terrorism - includes two part article by written Patrick Poole in 2012 exposing a 20 year influence operation by the Pakistani ISI and Ghulam Nabi Fai that may explain US foreign policy towards Pakistan

Falsely Accused of Blasphemy, Source of Islamist Outrage: Just Another Pakistani Christian’s Story

Twenty-six year old Adnan Prince (Adnan Masih), falsely accused of blasphemy and imprisoned in Pakistan. (Photo credit: The Voice Society via World Watch Monitor)

Twenty-six year old Adnan Prince (Adnan Masih), falsely accused of blasphemy and imprisoned in Pakistan. (Photo credit: The Voice Society via World Watch Monitor)

by  (@Cuchulain09)

World Watch Monitor (WWM), a service that provides news on worldwide persecuted church, on December 16, 2013 reported on a visit with Pakistani Christian Adnan Prince (or Adnan Masih) at his jail cell in Lahore.

Prince, aged 26, was arrested under the dreaded charge of blasphemy, Pakistan Penal Code’s Section 295, parts A, B and C – for allegedly outraging religious feelings, defiling the Koran and defaming Mohammed. This easily-manipulated charge, under which so many Pakistani Christians (not to mention many Muslims) have suffered, carries a sentence of either life imprisonment or execution.

LeT flagWWM reported that the accusation came when Prince found a copy of a book written by Maulana Ameer Hamza, the leader of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a political arm of the jihadi organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, which claimed responsibility for the Mumbai bombings, while he was filling in for his brother at the Diamond Glass shop in Lahore on October 7, 2013.

Prince, who has a Master’s degree in English literature and training from United Pentecostal seminary, began to read Hamza’s book entitled  I asked the Bible why the Qur’ans were set on fire (Urdu: Mein ney Bible sey poocha Qur’an kyun jaley), and take notes inside it.

Literature majors the world over will know the impulse to underline and take notes while reading a book. If, however, one is in Pakistan, and particularly if one is Christian, one should be very circumspect about writing in any book, let alone a book with the word Qur’an in the title.

Sure enough, a Muslim co-worker saw him, and, says WWM – using the phrase repeated o’er and o’er — “took offense.” The man, Abid Mehmood, reported Prince to the local police station for marking the book with “abusive words against the Prophet of Islam,” Prince recounted to WWM. Morning Star Newsanother Christian news service, reported that Mehmood also notified the JuD, who issued a fatwa against Prince.

The young Christian, who is married and the father of two little girls, told WWM that he had done nothing wrong. He explained, “I found the book quite erroneous, giving incorrect information about Christianity. So I wrote comments with Biblical references in several places, but no abusive language was used.”

Once the declaration of blasphemy has been made in Pakistan, no amount of factual evidence, rational thought, or logic ever seems to make a difference in how things play out. Prince fled for his life, but returned to Lahore on November 6, after police arrested his mother, brother, aunt, and uncle and warned they would not be released until he turned himself in.

Read more at Juicy Ecumenism

A BBC FIlm: Nuclear Secrets & Pakistan’s Terror Trader

download (64)Clarion Project:

A step-by-step account about how Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan stole nuclear secrets from the Dutch, built Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and put the world at the mercy of rogue regimes now in the possession of nuclear weapons.