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Why does Zainuddin want to kill Baitullah?
[The News (Pak) Top Stories] The sudden projection and tall claims of an anti-Baitullah Mehsud militant leader from South Waziristan, Qari Zainuddin Mehsud, have created many questions in the diplomatic circles of Islamabad.

In interviews to various media organisations on Thursday, Qari Zainuddin and his deputy Haji Turkistan had alleged that Baitullah was an American and Indian agent, he had killed Benazir Bhutto and that the real Jihad was going on in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan. Many diplomats contacted Foreign Office and Interior Ministry officials as well as media persons, seeking answers to their questions. Some Western diplomats were particularly confused over the claim that Baitullah was an American agent and that he had killed Benazir Bhutto. These diplomats were asking a question that if Baitullah was involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, does that mean that the American authorities were also involved in the conspiracy.

An East European diplomat also asked that on one side President Asif Zardari visited the Nato headquarter in Brussels while on the same day the Pakistani establishment allowed Qari Zainuddin to speak to the media, defending Jihad against Nato troops in Afghanistan.

Qari Zainuddin had claimed in an interview that he had developed differences with Baitullah after the death of Abdullah Mahsud. However, the story of the real differences between the two is full of allegations and revelations. According to some sources very close to Qari Zainuddin, the Pakistani establishment wanted to kill Abdullah Mehsud because he was involved in the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers. The establishment hired the services of Baitullah in 2005 against Abdullah, who had spent 23 months in Guantanamo. Abdullah was finally killed on July 24, 2007 in Zhob. Close aides of Abdullah alleged that Baitullah had helped security forces in tracing him. One Masoodur Rehman Mehsud had once alleged that Baitullah had killed Abdullah. In the meantime, Baitullah killed Masoodur Rehman through a remote control bomb in South Waziristan.

These tribal elders see no difference between Baitullah and Zainuddin. They fear that the establishment had first used Baitullah against Abdullah, and now they were using Zainuddin against Baitullah and ultimately both of them would be killed.
Qari Zainuddin is the elder son of Masoodur Rehman Mehsud and he has decided to take revenge for the murder of his father.

He is heading the Abdullah Mahsud Group>Abdullah Mahsud Group. He is a former Khasadar (member of the tribal police) and active in Shakai area of South Waziristan. He killed Yahya, the younger brother of Baitullah Mehsud, on October 27, 2008 in Bannu. In retaliation, Baitullah killed a close aide of Qari Zainuddin, Muhammad Yousuf, on October 29, 2008 in Tank area.

Zainuddin recently contacted some Mehsud tribal elders but most of them are reluctant to cooperate with him. They question that if Abdullah was killed by Pakistani security forces then why the leader of his group was cooperating with the establishment? These tribal elders see no difference between Baitullah and Zainuddin. They fear that the establishment had first used Baitullah against Abdullah, and now they were using Zainuddin against Baitullah and ultimately both of them would be killed. They also fear that Qari Hussain will replace Baitullah as the new Taliban commander.

Many Mehsud tribal elders were contacted by the political administration of South Waziristan, seeking help for Qari Zainuddin. One tribal elder had reportedly told an official of the administration: "Don't fool us. President Zardari is assuring cooperation to Nato and you are asking us to cooperate with a person who is asking us to go and fight Nato in Afghanistan".

Ever wonder what ex gitmo inmates do to cope with unfair incarceration?
The Pentagon on Monday released the names of six former Guantanamo detainees who U.S. officials say re-emerged as Islamist fighters in Afghanistan after their release from the U.S. military prison in Cuba.
The Defense Department said three of those released from the prison for suspected militants resurfaced as senior Islamist fighters in Afghanistan while a fourth was later identified as having been a Taliban deputy defense minister.
The Defense Department said three of those released from the prison for suspected militants resurfaced as senior Islamist fighters in Afghanistan while a fourth was later identified as having been a Taliban deputy defense minister.

The six were among 30 former detainees who the Pentagon said have rejoined the fight against U.S. and coalition forces since their release from Guantanamo. All told, about 390 detainees have been released or transferred from the prison. "While we have long maintained that we would like to close Guantanamo, there are a number of highly dangerous men who if released would pose a grave danger to the public," explained Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon.

Pentagon officials said the detainees lied about their past by claiming to be farmers, truck drivers, cooks, small-scale merchants or low-level combatants -- assertions that were sometimes backed up by fellow inmates.
Pentagon officials said the detainees lied about their past by claiming to be farmers, truck drivers, cooks, small-scale merchants or low-level combatants -- assertions that were sometimes backed up by fellow inmates.
And swallowed uncritically by a gullible press...
The disclosure comes as the Pentagon prepares a major analysis of classified detainee records that could be used to rebut critics who have called for the prison's closure by saying many of the 775 detainees who have been held at Guantanamo are innocent. Defense officials said the large-scale analysis has been under way for several months and could result in the release of new unclassified information on detainees by early summer.

The Guantanamo prison now has about 385 inmates. Records on 517 current and former detainees show that 95 percent have been members of or associated with al Qaeda or the Taliban and that 73 percent participated in hostilities against U.S. or coalition forces, defense officials said. The analysis is a response to a series of highly critical reports by Seton Hall University law professor Mark Denbeaux, which determined only a small number of Guantanamo detainees had fought against U.S. forces.

Among the six detainees identified on Monday was Mohamed Yusif Yaqub, who the Pentagon said assumed control of Taliban operations in southern Afghanistan after his release from Guantanamo, and died fighting U.S. forces on May 7, 2004.

Abdullah Mahsud was released only to become a militant leader within the Mahsud tribe in southern Waziristan with ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda. He directed the October 2004 kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in Pakistan, the Pentagon said.

Maulavi Abdul Ghaffar became the Taliban's regional commander in Uruzgan and Helmand provinces after his release and was killed in a raid by Afghan security forces on September 25, 2004, the Pentagon said.

Abdul Rahman Noor was released in July 2003 and was later identified as the man described in an October 7, 2001, interview with Al Jazeera television network as the "deputy defense minister of the Taliban," the Pentagon said.

Taliban plan more suicide attacks in Pakistan
Intelligence agencies report that Taliban commanders plan to carry out 12 suicide attacks in various parts of Pakistan, which has already been rocked by a series of suicide bombings this year. According to intelligence reports submitted to the Interior Ministry, the attacks have been planned by Taliban commanders such as Baitullah Mahsud, Abdullah Mahsud, Sheikh Khalid Mahmood and Nazir Wazir.

The reports also name five of the 12 expected suicide bombers and their targets. They say that Nurani, a resident of Ghazni district in Afghanistan, has been given the task to carry out a suicide attack in Islamabad or Sargodha. Gul Jan, who belongs to the Mahsud tribe in South Waziristan, has reportedly been tasked with an attack in Lahore. Miatol, who belongs to a Punjabi tribe, is stated to be planning an attack in Dera Ismail Khan. Ziaul Haq, a resident of Shand Estate, is reported to be preparing a suicide blast in the Bahawalpur region. Mohammad Zaman, a resident of Waziristan, is said to be planning attacks in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

Taliban-linked militants based in the Waziristan tribal region, including Baitullah, have been blamed for several suicide attacks in Pakistan. Baitullah vowed revenge attacks after the Pakistan Army struck a suspected Al Qaeda hideout in South Waziristan on January 16, killing some 80 alleged militants. Four soldiers were killed in a suicide attack on a military convoy seven days later. Since then there have been suicide attacks in Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar and DI Khan.

Another report, submitted to the Interior Ministry, says that the current wave of suicide attacks in Pakistan indicates that terrorists are targeting senior security officials and politicians who support President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s policy of “enlightened moderation”. Last Tuesday, a man assassinated Punjab Social Welfare Minister Zil-e-Huma in public in Gujranwala, allegedly because of her strong support for the enlightened moderation policy. In lights of the reports, the Interior Ministry has directed the provincial and district authorities concerned to tighten security.

The True Face of Jehadis: Inside Pakistan's Network of Terror

Deadly double game
The True Face of Jehadis: Inside Pakistan's Network of Terror by Amir Mir
Reviewed by Sreeram Chaulia

Pakistan's status as the frontline state for worldwide jihad is central to its governmental institutions and their absolute command over society. The role of the establishment in injecting religious fanaticism and hatred is a classic case of ideological
mobilization of society in the name of God. Journalist Amir Mir's new book uncovers the overt and covert roots of Pakistan's
descent into intolerance and terrorism and its deadly impact on South Asia and beyond.

In the Foreword, Khaled Ahmed of The Friday Times describes how the jihad in Kashmir had a deleterious effect on Pakistani society. Massive state-sponsored public indoctrination in favor of holy war against India produced "a society deeply influenced by the rhetoric of jihad". The denial mode and "fantasy for jihad" among ordinary Pakistanis today is the result of decades of brainwashing and deficit of objective information about terrorism.

After the Afghan war, Kashmir's "liberation" became the sole agenda of thousands of Pakistani terrorists. By 1995, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) collaborated with the Jamaat-e-Islami to raise a Taliban-type force of young Pakistani students to fight Indian forces in Kashmir. Since September 11, 2001, Islamabad has been "struggling hard to control the jihadi monster it created". (p 6) With the state's active connivance, Pakistani support structures continue to breed more jihadis. The leaders of Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) "enjoy full freedom of movement and speech despite an official ban". (p 8) Terrorist training camps flourish with renewed vigor on both the Indian and Afghan borders of the country.

The suicide bombers who tried to assassinate Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf in December 2003 belonged to JeM and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI). They colluded with Pakistani air force, army and military intelligence personnel, an indication that "jihadi tentacles have spread far and wide" and boomeranged on their own masters. (p 21) Since the soldiery hails from the ranks of the urban and rural poor, it is practically impossible for it not to be infected by the virus of Islamist bigotry being propagated by thousands of deeni madrassas (religious seminaries). Musharraf's half-hearted attempts to give the army a liberal outlook acceptable to the West barely ruffle the deeply ingrained zealotry that runs in its veins. Pro-jihad officers occupy the top echelons of the military, making a mockery of the so-called "purges" in favor of moderation.

The murder of journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002 was masterminded by Sheikh Omar Saeed, a double agent of the ISI and JeM who was previously involved in terrorist attacks on high-profile targets in India. Musharraf himself admitted that Pearl had been "over-intrusive" in his investigations. Saeed had foreknowledge of the September 11 terrorist strikes and immediately informed Lieutenant-General Ehsanul Haq, then ISI director and corps commander for Peshawar. Saeed's capture spurred ISI higher-ups to intervene and obstruct his interrogation findings from being made public. Holding him in an isolated cell "helps Musharraf keep a key witness out of American, British and Indian hands". (p 43)

Since the end of 2003, JeM seems to have lost the favor of ISI because Washington is convinced of its links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Abdul Jabbar, the former right-hand man of JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar, was released by security agencies in 2004 to set him up in open conflict with his mentor. LeT founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is now in the good books of the establishment since he is "agreeable to waging a controlled jihad in Indian Kashmir whenever asked to do so". (p 66) The government cooperates fully with LeT fundraising, public rallies, recruitment and training. The terror outfit's sprawling 80-hectare headquarters in Muridke has been transformed into a "mini-Islamic state" where uninterrupted jihad is planned.

Hafiz Saeed's confidants are convinced that Musharraf will abandon neither terrorism nor the military option on Kashmir. The military regime is avoiding any action against LeT on the pretext that it has no links with Jamaat-ul-Dawa, the powerful political patron whose hand has been revealed in terror as far afield as Indonesia and Iraq. Mir notes that as LeT focuses on "global jihad outside Pakistan, it has a free hand to operate within the country". (p 72)

HuM's al-Qaeda connections are second to none. The naib ameer (commander) of the group, Muhammad Imran, announced openly in a courtroom that it was a brainchild of the Pakistani rangers and intelligence agencies. When HuM supremo Maulana Fazlur Rahman was taken into custody in 2002, Pakistan refused to oblige US demands for a debriefing. As soon as international pressure eased off, he was set free. Unlike Qari Saifullah Akhtar's HuJI, Rahman is still allowed to call the shots on jihadist foreign policy.

Notwithstanding splits and desertions in HM, its leader Syed Salahuddin remains fully in control because of the ISI's backing. At present, he operates from Rawalpindi with "instructions to wait and see". (p 91) He has received clearances from Jamaat-e-Islami to assume a new role as a politician in Indian Kashmir. The Jamaat's own cadres and office bearers are aiding al-Qaeda's surviving members and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami across Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Tableeghi Jamaat, supposedly a preaching organization, is clandestinely assisting jihadist forces with the blessings of Pakistan's elite bureaucracy, military, scientists and intelligence agencies. HuM, LeT and HuJI recruit through Tableegh in the guise of spreading Islamic theology. US intelligence believes that Tableegh is the fountainhead of the Pakistan-based jihad infrastructure.

Dawood Ibrahim, a billionaire gangster and Islamic extremist, lived with Pakistani government protection in Karachi for several years. Islamabad's claim that he is no longer around is discounted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as "a face-saving exercise because it is in its interest not to give the don up". (p 109) Mir discloses that Ibrahim may have moved to Islamabad after the September 11 attacks.

On the monster of sectarian violence, Mir comments that "fundamentalist Islam remains at the heart of the Musharraf establishment's strategy of national political mobilization and consolidation" (p 114) The former head of the anti-Shi'ite Sipah-e-Sahiba (SSP), Maulana Azim Tariq, maintained a cozy working relationship with the ISI for more than a decade before being mysteriously killed in 2003. The SSP not only ran amok against minorities in Pakistan but also sent thousands of jihadis to fight in Indian Kashmir. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a spinoff of the SSP with highly vicious killers, might be working as al-Qaeda's "Delta Force" in Karachi.

The surprise rise of the religious right in the 2002 elections in Pakistan was attributable to the encouragement of the Musharraf regime. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) has a special relationship with the military by sustaining the latter's Afghan and Kashmir policies. The MMA provides Islamabad an alibi to argue that it cannot moderate its policies in Kashmir to the degree that Washington desires.

The 10,000-odd deeni madrassas of Pakistan continue to churn out radical terrorists by the dozens every day. The government is unwilling to act against the madrassas for fear of unsettling its religious allies. The army sees in the large number of madrassa-trained jihadis a valuable asset for its proxy war against India. Mir asserts that "the Pakistani military dictator's priority has never been eradication of Islamic extremism". (p 147)

Sectarianism and virulence are not limited to madrassas alone. Public schools in Pakistan instruct students on jihad and martyrdom to construct "a national chauvinistic mindset". (p 152) Jihadist journalism committed to pan-Islamic discourses receives state subsidies and jihadist publications thrive on government advertisements. Thanks to this propaganda barrage, al-Qaeda enjoys in Pakistan a virtually bottomless pool of ad hoc members, donors and harborers, particularly in Karachi. Many within the Pakistani security apparatus bear direct responsibility for the resurgence of the Taliban, which masses in the Waziristan, Chaman and Kurram Agency areas to cause mayhem across the Afghan border and then retreat to the safety of Pakistani territory.

Mullah Omar himself is said to be hiding in the tribal areas close to Quetta. In April 2004, the Pakistani army made peace with Taliban commander Nek Mohammad in an amnesty agreement mediated by two MMA parliamentarians. Abdullah Mahsud, the most wanted commander of the Taliban in South Waziristan has a brother and four cousins in the Pakistani army. According to the US 9-11 Commission Report, Pakistan benefits from the Taliban-al-Qaeda relationship as Osama bin Laden's camps trained and equipped fighters for the insurgency in Kashmir. Mir remarks that the United States' "reluctance to act against Pakistan and make it pay a prohibitive price for helping jihadi terrorists encouraged the Musharraf regime to keep the jihadis alive and active". (p 186)

Al-Qaeda's Abu Zubaydah, captured in 2002, claimed that the late head of the Pakistani air force, Mushaf Ali Mir, had prior knowledge of the September 11 terrorist plot. Mir had allegedly struck a deal with al-Qaeda in 1996 to supply arms and offer protection, a pledge that was renewed in 1998 in the presence of Saudi intelligence boss Prince Turki. Mir's plane crashed in 2003 without explanation and it is speculated that the US forces carrying out anti-Taliban operations had shot it down near Kohat because of his links with al-Qaeda.

Investigations into the September 11 plot revealed that ISI's then-head, hardliner pro-Taliban Lieutenant-General Mahmood Ahmad, ordered Sheikh Omar Saeed to wire US$100,000 to Mohammad Atta, the chief hijacker. In October 2001, Musharraf forced Ahmad into retirement after the FBI displayed credible evidence of his involvement in the terror attacks and knowledge that he was playing a "double game". So frustrated was the FBI with the calculated blockading of counter-terrorist operations by the ISI that it formed its own secret Spider Group of former Pakistani army and intelligence operatives to monitor fundamentalist activities through the length and breadth of Pakistan.

For all of Musharraf's denials, his government "clearly seems guilty of exporting terror to different parts of the world". (p 257) British and Indian intelligence have nailed down proof of the ISI's jihadist mafia imprint in several terrorist attacks of the past two years. The "real problem is sympathy for Islamic extremism in Pakistan's military and intelligence establishments". (p 261)

Banned Islamic charities such as Al-Rashid Trust, Al-Akhtar Trust and Ummah Tameer-e-Nau took full advantage of the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistani Kashmir and resumed their so-called welfare activities, with deadly consequences. Confident about their future as covers for jihadist funding and nuclear trading, they freely admit that "despite the US action, the Pakistani government has not imposed any restriction on our working". (p 275) Musharraf does not want to hack at his own feet and deny himself the force multipliers from jihadist ranks by genuinely ending their stranglehold over Pakistan's resources.

The evidence compiled by Mir in this book throws light on the real reasons Musharraf manages to stay in power in spite of ostensibly reversing Pakistan's Taliban and Kashmir policies after September 11, 2001. But for his great "double game" of cooperation with the US and simultaneous obstructionism to help jihadis, a political typhoon would have long swept him out of the top seat.

The True Face of Jehadis: Inside Pakistan's Network of Terror by Amir Mir. Roli Books, New Delhi, 2006. ISBN: 81-7436-430-7. Price: US$8.75, 310 pages.

Afghanistan/South Asia
Paramilitary fort attacked in Waziristan
Two missiles on a paramilitary fort were fired in volatile North Waziristan Agency on Sunday night. The attack did not cause any casualty. The army and paramilitary troops returned fire. According to AFP, the rockets, fired from across the border, landed in a plant nursery near an army camp in the same area where troops last week raided a suspected Al Qaeda compound. Just kilometres away from the rocket attack, troops continued to surround the compound.

Meanwhile, supporters of two tribal militants clashed in Jandola near neighbouring South Waziristan Agency on Monday. Two persons were wounded, sources said. They said that clashes erupted in the town when armed men of wanted militant commander Abdullah Mahsud abducted two supporters of his former comrade Baitullah Mahsud, the one-legged former detainee of the Guantanamo Bay who is still on the wanted list.

Afghanistan/South Asia
Surrender or face military action, Paks tell Mahsud
The eentsy weentsy spider went up the water spout...Pakistan has told a former Guantanamo Bay inmate wanted for the kidnapping of two Chinese men to surrender by January 15 or face a military onslaught, officials said yesterday. Abdullah Mahsud was given the deadline on Monday by a Pakistani army commander in charge of hunting down Al Qaeda-linked militants in the tribal region of South Waziristan.
"Drop the rod and come out witcher hands up, Mahsud!"
Meanwhile Pakistani security forces captured an Uzbek suspected Al Qaeda member in a nearby region on the Afghan border, also on Monday, while his five Chechen comrades managed to flee. Mahsud, 29, has been on the run since and Pakistan recently offered a five-million-rupee reward for information leading to his capture. Pakistani commander Lieutenant-General Safdar Hussain warned that if Mahsud and his fellow militant Baitullah did not lay down their arms before mid-January "stern military action would be taken against them".
"No lashkar drums for you this time!"
The general told a tribal delegation on Monday to get rid of foreign militants hiding in South Waziristan, adding: "You should kick them out of your areas or hand them over to us."
"Or you can just kill them, it's okay with us."
The Uzbek Al Qaeda suspect was captured in neighbouring North Waziristan after Pakistani troops intercepted a car heading towards Afghanistan's Khost province, officials in the region's main town Miran Shah said. One of them, identified as Abdullah, surrendered after an exchange of fire on Monday night while five others made off under cover of darkness, local administration official Jamil Khan told AFP. The authorities impounded their vehicle and recovered two assault rifles, he said.

Afghanistan/South Asia
Backdoor negotiations in South Waziristan?
Are high-level Pakistani military officers conducting secret negotiations with militants based in Waziristan? Corps commander Peshawar Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain labeled his visit to South Waziristan as routine, denying media reports that he went there for a secret meeting with wanted militants' commander Abdullah Mahsud, asserting, "It is baseless. I was surprised by those reports in two Urdu newspapers. It was just a normal visit to Jandola, Wana and Kaniguram to meet the troops and review the situation. I would call a press conference if such a meeting took place.

Modifying the pious denial somewhat, Hussain did admit that during his "normal" visit he met with South Waziristan tribal elders and notables, including Abdullah Mahsud's close relative retired Col. Yaqub Mahsud. Hussian added, "Through them I have conveyed messages to Abdullah Mahsud and other militants to stop fighting and help the government to restore peace in the area. I still believe in a peaceful, long-term solution to the problem through negotiations. These are indirect contacts. Abdullah Mahsud's relations are in touch with me and also with him. But there has been no meeting between me and Abdullah Mahsud." Hussain castigated the Pakistani media for wrongly confirming such a meeting. Mahsud is proving an international embarrassment for the Pakistani authorities, as he is suspected of sheltering more than 100 Uzbek, Chechen, Tajik, Afghan and Arab militants. Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has said he would kill Abdullah Mahsud if he could because of the damage his actions caused to Pakistan's close relations with China by kidnapping the Chinese engineers.

Afghanistan/South Asia
Criminal elements fighting Pakistan forces in South Waziristan
Corps Commander Peshawar Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain said on Saturday that criminal elements not Jihadis were fighting against security forces in South Waziristan Agency.
"It's just that they're Arab criminal elements, and Uzbek criminal elements. And, of course, our own home-grown criminal elements..."
Corps Commander Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain and General Officer Commanding Maj-Gen Niaz Khattak, along with a selected group of journalists, visited areas recently occupied by the troops in the wake of operations launched against foreign terrorists in Spinkai Raghzai and Karvan Manzaa areas of Mahsud tribe. After purging the Wazir tribe areas of insurgents, the security forces have entered into decisive battle against foreign terrorists in Mahsud areas of South Waziristan Agency.
I thought they were criminal elements. Make up your mind.
Addressing troops at hill tops at Spinkai Raghzai and Karvan Manzaa, the corps commander praised the high morale of the Jawans and said they were fighting against elements who had fled their native countries and taken refuge here for carrying out subversive activities using the name of Jihad for their ulterior motives. "They are not Jihadis, they are simply criminals and have no concern with religion Islam," he added.
Ahah. So that's it. It all depends on what the definition of "jihadi" is...
The corps commander said things recovered from the hide-outs of the terrorists, like flags of al-Qaeda, literature in foreign language, audiotapes with Arabic marking, typical Uzbek dresses, propaganda material, huge cache of arms and ammunition, after the operations clearly manifest that they were foreigners as the local tribals did not use such equipment. More interestingly, he told the troops that security forces seized fresh cooked rice at 12 noon from a bunker. "Had they been Muslim or Jihadis, they would have been fasting by that time," he added.
No Ramadan for the tough guys, eh?
He said: "Neither we would allow anybody to use our soil for carrying out subversive activities nor we needed permission or certificate from any one for entering these areas. It is our country and we are custodians of the country's borders. It is part of our duty to counter internal threats as well." Safdar declared that fighting against terrorists would continue till their complete elimination from the area. "We are searching different areas in the agency to flush them out." He said local tribesmen were fully cooperating with the security forces but due to fear, they hesitated in apprehending the aliens. The corps commander said political process was also under way and would soon bring about positive results. He said he had made best efforts to convince warlord Abdullah Mahsud to mend his ways and pave the way for speedy development of the backward tribal areas.
If you give him a shot to the head, that'll mend his ways.
However, he paid no heed to our contentions and was adamant on polluting the peaceful atmosphere.
"Well... Relatively peaceful, anyway."
He said the kidnapping of the Chinese engineers was a sorrowful act, adding China is a time tested friend of Pakistan and is extending a helping hand in the construction of dams and road infrastructure in the country in general and the NWFP in particular.
"And they have a very large army. Really large."
Later, the journalists were also shown the arms and ammunition confiscated by the security forces during last two days from the hide-outs of terrorists which included HMG, rocket launchers, rockets, hand grenades, mortar shells, IEDs, foreign literature, dresses, etc.

Afghanistan/South Asia
Guy released from Guantanamo Bay behind problem in Waziristan
Tribal militants maintained pressure on security forces in different parts of South Waziristan for the seventh day on Wednesday. Reports reaching here from the region quoted informed sources as saying that bodies of six soldiers and 11 wounded troops had been airlifted from Luddah Fort near the Makin bazaar, which has been under a security siege for several days. Official sources here said the soldiers belonged to the 44 Baloch Regiment and were taken to Peshawar in two helicopters. It was not clear when and where the casualties occurred, but there are suggestions that these were linked to the Tuesday evening's ambush of a military convoy near Jandola. An official of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) in Peshawar denied the casualty report. Local sources said that four civilian tribesmen died in the Makin bazaar area as a result of shelling by troops.

Heavy exchanges of fire have been reported in the area and security forces and militants backed by volunteers of the Mahsud tribe were attacking each others' positions in Makin, Karwan Minza and Asman Minza. The sources said that paramilitary forces had secured hill-tops around Makin and pounded suspected locations with heavy artillery. They said that several fortress-like mud-houses also came under attack. Helicopter gunships were seen hovering over Wana, the regional headquarters of the agency, throughout the day. Meanwhile, tribal militant Abdullah Mahsud has claimed that his 'supporters' killed 15 troops and destroyed three vehicles during an assault on a military convoy in the Sarwekai area on Tuesday. Talking to this correspondent on phone from an undisclosed place in the region on Wednesday, he said that a Punjab Regiment personnel had been captured during clashes in the Sarwekai area. He identified the captured man as Mohammad Shaban. "The life of Mohammad Shaban is under threat if the government does not stop the military action in Waziristan," he warned. Abdullah Mahsud, who was recently released from the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, earlier claimed that his supporters had captured 43 soldiers. This claim has been refuted by the ISPR.
Why did they release him. To look good in front of Amnesty International or what. Now lives are being lost to get a hold of that bastard again. Dont release any one they are all bad.

No source on this.

Good question, though. The more reason to keep the Gitmo thugs in the calaboose, no matter how loudly the "international community" whines. I'd say, if Belgium wants them released, they should be released to the custody of Belgian politicians. If Amnesty International wants them released, the AI staff should take them in.

Afghanistan/South Asia
Pakistan beseiges al-Qaeda base
The Pakistani military has tightened a cordon around a suspected al-Qaeda training base in South Waziristan that it bombed on Thursday. The army says 50 militants were killed in the raid. Local witnesses say there were many civilian casualties. The military said it had also killed another six militants and arrested five in overnight clashes. Checkpoints were set up on roads around the main South Waziristan town of Wana after Thursday's raid on the camp near Dila Khula, a village about 25km (15 miles) to the north-east.

Helicopters flew over Dila Khula, a stronghold of the Mehsud tribe which the government says is sympathetic to al-Qaeda militants. Access to the main market in Wana was blocked. Authorities started demolishing shops there belonging to Ba Khan, a tribal leader from whose area soldiers have allegedly been attacked in recent weeks. Military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan said: "Punitive action means people can be sent to prison, their house or shop can be demolished. This all is done by the political administration." General Sultan said the military had a video showing the training of militants and would show it "at an appropriate time".

The general said the overnight skirmishes were in the Kaniguram area. He said there had been losses to security forces but declined to give any details. One commander of militants, Abdullah Mahsud, told the BBC's Haroon Rashid that they had destroyed several army vehicles near the bombed base and that a number of soldiers had been killed.
Haroon Rashid's a good reporter. He goes around incognito, listening to what the people are really saying...
The militant leader said hundreds of armed fighters were ready for future attacks on military and government installations. He vowed to take revenge for Thursday's killings. Security has also been tightened up after clashes in the North-West Frontier Province capital, Peshawar. Jets and helicopter gun ships had pounded the suspected training camp on Thursday. The military said 90% of those killed were Uzbeks and Chechens, along with some Arabs. However, local residents said bombs were dropped on a morning prayer gathering and the casualty figures were much higher.
... many of them puppies, kittens, and baby ducks...
One journalist said villagers gathered to survey the damage of a first strike, when Pakistani air forces struck a second time. The army denied there were significant civilian casualties.

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