Saturday, September 20, 2008

Marriott Hotel suicide attack

It is once again that we've seen a truck loaded with explosives (some say it was a car) ramming into the building. Last time it was FIA center in Lahore and more than 50 died that day. This time it is a favorite hotel for foreign visitors as well as local elite. From the photographs and the video it is very clear that nothing of the hotel is left except for the carcass. It is a sad reminder of things going too bad for us.

Who can blow up fellow Muslims in the holy month of Ramazan Sharif?

Our brand new Security Macho and Zardari-favourite, Mr. Rehman Malik, tells us that it can't be a Muslim. Well, most probably it is a Muslim from somewhere in FATA or probably Swat valley, where intense military operation is under way. So called Pakistani Taliban and their friends, Mujaheddin, have been fighting our forces, blowing up girls' schools, killing men suspected of aiding USA; trucks carrying oil supplies from Karachi inside Afghanistan for NATO forces have been targeted; trains carrying supplies have been derailed. And we've seen lot of other attacks openly being carried out against our various security agencies. And yet we have no solution. Just before this devastating attack (some say a 1000 Kg of explosives may have been used to create a 15ft deep Crater) we were listening to Mr. Zardari telling us that he has this vision to fight out the terrorists. And lo, terrorists struck again, this time in a zone marked as 'Red'. Either we've lost every sense of the term or we just can't stop these marauding men. I am perplexed about the efficiency of our security apparatus. If we spend so much on them, what we get in return is more fatal suicide attack. This is surely the biggest and most powerful suicide attack in the world, as far as my knowledge is concerned.

Can we ever come out of this mess?

I have earlier stated that it is USA's policy to first create conditions which are suitable for attacking a country. It can only be done when a country becomes so weak that it cannot save the lives and properties of its citizens. With so many fatal suicide attacks it seems that USA is underway. But we have no evidence at this point that USA (or India) is behind this attack. Pakistanis tend to blame lot of things on both these countries. It looks, by the style of it, that it was carried out by a group of men who've lost everything in this world. Maybe they came from Waziristan where USA have been killing innocent men, women and children at will using drones. Maybe they came from once-peaceful Swat valley where Pakistan Army is carrying out a massive search and kill operation. Maybe the men behind the steering wheel came from some outdated madrassah or from some disoriented family. We cannot be sure. We have so many suicide bombings now that it is a routine work and probably our security agencies are not deeply studying the causes of such massive attacks. And that's bad news for all of us who want to know who is behind it and why. (I am ruling out poverty-stricken men because purchasing 1000Kg explosives is not for the poor or the weak).

One thing which I have noted is that more we take aid from USA / EU more our country comes under attack. It is a familiar pattern. Whenever some big American appears in Islamabad some sort of attack is carried out somewhere in the country. Off course we cannot rule out RAW's work, but it surely is related somehow to the aid we receive (economic, military, knowledge base, co-operation, etc.). And someone somewhere in the country is not happy when our govt. unabashedly receives aid bowl. But to justify suicide bombing as a measure of protest would be taking things too far.

So, can we disallow Americans (and their tragic aid) for at least three months on our soil and see the results? Just for the sake of experiment if nothing else.

p.s. This bombing and bloodshed of so many Muslims just after Iftar must have made RSS and BJP Hardliner Hindus quite happy. And surely pressure to bomb Pakistani market places must have eased on RAW. Just an idea...


Ameer Hamza said...

From Dawn of 21st Sep, 2008:

'The attack outside the five-star Marriott Hotel — not far from key government buildings such as the parliament house, the presidency, the prime minister’s house and Pakistan Television headquarters — happened early in the evening shortly after Iftar and hours after President Asif Ali Zardari addressed a joint session of the two houses of parliament where he said Pakistan would not allow the use of its territory for terrorist activities.


'There was no immediate report of any foreigner killed in the blast that set off fires, apparently due to gas leakages, in most of the five-floor hotel in Islamabad’s F-5 sector. But police and doctors said some foreigners were among the wounded taken to hospitals.

'An Iftar dinner, also attended by President Zardari, was being held at the prime minister’s house at the time of the blast, which shook the whole of Islamabad, causing panic in markets and residential districts.

'Places as far away as 30kms from the hotel reverberated with the thunder of the explosion. Almost all the 290 rooms of the hotel, which was occupied by both local and foreign guests, were gutted.

'Four foreigners — one American, two Saudis and one Filipino — were killed and seven — two Saudis, three Germans and two British nationals — were wounded.

'Outside the hotel, the blast destroyed over 150 cars parked within a radius of 500 feet, uprooted a number of trees and electricity poles, and damaged nearby buildings, including the Frontier House, the Evacuee Trust Building, and those housing the Federal Public Service Commission, Pakistan Television, and government residential buildings.'

Ameer Hamza said...

The secret life of a doomed hotel: remembering Islamabad's Marriott

It's hard not to get emotional and very difficult to play the dispassionate journalist as I sit here, watching the Marriott Hotel burn on my computer screen courtesy of online news. Initial reports say rescuers still can't reach the upper floors. How many colleagues, friends, acquaintances lie buried in the wreckage is unclear.

It's the holy month of Ramadan, and the suicide truck bomber struck in the evening, just as hundreds of people would have been gathering to break the daily fast. Having attended such gatherings at the hotel, I suspect most of the crowd would not have been the Western infidels so detested by the extremists, but Pakistanis - and Muslims.

By Mark Corcoran of ABC's Foreign

For me all roads once led to the Marriott, in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan. For six years the hotel was like a second home - as I worked on assignments in Pakistan or stopped off in transit on my way back to Australia from the madness of neighbouring Afghanistan.

Architecturally, the hotel building was unremarkable, 1970s vintage. But location is everything, and the Marriott was minutes away from the National Assembly, the Prime Minister's residence, Government bureaucracy and the headquarters of Pakistan's all-powerful spy agency, the ISI.

The billing as Islamabad's first five-star luxury hotel was somewhat overstated. The aesthetic of the place was no different to thousands of anonymous business hotels the world over. But that's my perspective. Outside the glass doors, the view from the street - where most of Pakistan's 170 million people live - the Marriott was, for many, an enduring symbol of everything that was wrong with their corrupt, dysfunctional nation.

What made this hotel special for the privileged few was the commodity being traded day and night in the foyer, cafes and restaurant: information.

Information, as they say, is power, and in Pakistan, power is a life and death struggle.

The 'real deal'

The Marriott, as American diplomats and spies were fond of saying, was "the real deal".

Hollywood may have created "Rick's Café" of Casablanca fame - a fictional world of intrigue - but the characters who inhabited the Marriott were playing out a real life drama, a latter day version of the "Great Game" to control Southwest Asia.

It often seemed that Pakistan was run from this hotel to the strains of the incessant hotel muzak.

This was a neutral ground for competing politicians, diplomats, warlords, drug lords, peddlers of nuclear weapons technology, and perhaps a few who fell into all those categories.

In a single day, I could exchange nods across the foyer with military strongman General Pervez Musharraf, who'd tried to convince me that his coup overthrowing civilian rule was necessary, or observe charismatic cricket star turned politician Imran Khan glide in to work the room, never failing to charm visiting Western journalists - despite the fact that so many of his countrymen had written him off as a political failure.

Alcohol was a tool of the trade even in an Islamic state such as Pakistan. At first it was brought to my room in a brown paper bag - after I filled out a government form declaring myself to be an unstable foreign alcoholic.

Later, hotel management discretely opened a windowless basement bar - one of the few venues in the capital to serve alcohol. Occasionally I'd disappear into this gloom for a quiet drink with the army officers-turned spies who were running Pakistan's secret wars in Afghanistan and Indian-occupied Kashmir. Many had embraced the extremist zeal of the militants they sought to control and exploit - yet they still enjoyed a scotch or a beer when I was paying.

Staggering back to my room, I'd be kept awake at night by the blaring music from the hotel function centre out the back, as Pakistan's leading families cemented alliances by marrying off their sons and daughters in colourful, elaborate weddings.

Then there was the hotel staff. Many had spent most of their working lives at the Marriott. They were happy to join in the theatre and tip me off when a "player" would swing in through the front doors, with a self important entourage armed to the teeth, all ignoring the screeches of the metal detector.

Nothing was impossible for them. Once, caught without transport while covering the fighting between Pakistan and Indian troops on Kashmir's "Line of Control", I was offered a hotel courtesy car, complete with uniformed chauffer. The elderly driver usually took diplomats wives shopping. Instead he found himself dodging Indian artillery fire on a mountain road with an increasingly anxious ABC crew. Implacable throughout, he only briefly displayed a flicker of anger when I attempted to apologise for getting him into this mess. "But I'm an Afridi" - he replied. This brief statement of tribal identity said it all: born and raised on the fierce border with Afghanistan, near the Khyber Pass, there was nothing he'd seen on my little expedition that was going to rattle him. But he chided, "You must pay for bullet holes or damage to hotel transport."

Survival instincts

I write this tonight from the safety of a suburban home in Australia. The floors and attic are filled with vibrantly coloured Afghan and Pakistan rugs bought from the carpet wallahs who ran the rug shops along the Marriott's ground floor arcade.

The real bargains lay far from the hotel, in their warehouses off in the backstreets. Most of the traders, like the owner of the Marriott, were from Islam's Ismaili sect: astute, outstanding businessmen and great survivors.

For the price of a rug and a few hours of my time sitting on a warehouse floor, I'd receive endless cups of tea and political tip-offs that often proved remarkably accurate. After all, the carpet business runs on good intelligence and the carpet wallahs live and work in one of the toughest markets in the world.

I only hope that their survival instincts didn't fail them on Saturday night.

Change for the Marriott came after 9/11. As the Americans gathered their forces to invade Afghanistan, the hotel became media headquarters of the world.

Hundreds of foreign media established a surreal Tower of Babel in the hotel. TV networks fought for space on the roof to erect plywood studios, guests slept on stretchers three to a room. The function centre became a paying dormitory - and the room rate, like the punditry, seemed to escalate on a daily basis.

As CNN anchors shared their insight with the world from their rooftop plywood stage, South American journalists down in the foyer, watching the broadcasts on TV, transcribed every word before relaying back to anxious readers back home.

The foyer transformed into the theatre of the absurd. There was the chic French TV crew kitted out in the flowing robes of traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez; and the American reporter complaining that he couldn't bring his gun into the hotel.

With the fall of Kabul the circus moved on, but the Marriott had changed.

After 9/11 the security barriers went up outside the hotel, but no one seriously believed it would stop a determined teenager on a one-way ticket to martyrdom.

I began to demand rooms at the back of the building, off the ground floor, but not so high that I couldn't climb down in an emergency. For many Marriott regulars, it was a case of not if, but when, it would be attacked. In 2004 an explosion in the foyer wounded several people, then last year, a security guard died after challenging a suicide bomber at the gate.

The Marriott Hotel was also the place where I formed friendships with Pakistani journalists, academics and human rights activists, all striving to explain the chaos of their nation to the world. Many live close to the hotel. They would have certainly heard the bomb go off - if they were fortunate enough not to have been caught in the blast.

As the chaos recedes, they will get on with the business of explaining the how's and the why's of this atrocity. They'll infuriate the Islamic extremists who tolerate no criticism of their absolutist world.

Unlike me, a privileged visitor, they choose to continue living and working in Pakistan, facing the constant threat of the assassin's bullet or bomb - over the safer, quieter life of exile. They are some of the bravest people I know.

Pink Floyd said...

You Paki have a terrible sense of humor. Indian muslims feeling threatened from RSS or BJP hardliners is understandable but since when Pakis began to feel threatened from RSS or BJP. Isn't blaming RAW enough?

But let me tell you why RAW is not behind this despicable act. It is not that RAW is not capable to do so. It is just that it is not in India's interest to have an unstable Pakistan. The prospect of nuclear arms falling in the arms of a mad mullah is way too scary for us. Again it is not that we have found a new found love for Pakistani establishment or that we have stopped believing Pakistanis or Pakistan Army are not already mad zealots but it is just that we Indians are more used to Paki Army.

Again RAW is accountable to the government of India and it cannot act on its own whims. So when Indians or GOI blames ISI for our internal mess, there is a lot of credibility in it because unlike RAW, ISI is not answerable to anyone. It is a parrallel power center misusing taxpayers money, yours money. In all democratic nations, there is no government machinery which is not accountable to its people. The only other powerful organizations which is not accountable to its people or government are terrorist organization and ISI fits the bill of a terrorist organization.

The mess what you see in Pakistan today is not Americas or Indian's creation but ISI's creation. It is ISI who created Taliban and today the same despicable zealots are hitting you hard. Situation in your country is quite confusing and maddening in that when your army is fighting Taliban in FATA, ISI provides material, monetry and moral support to Taliban. You unfortunate Pakis have two domestic enemies. ISI and Taliban. Disband ISI or make it accountable and then fight Taliban.

Ameer Hamza said...

Pink Floyd:

Comments have historical relevance. But to say that RAW has been maintained very good moral standards concerning Pakistan just because it is answerable to Indian govt. is taking things too far.

This means, that RAW and Indian Army has a direct mandate from Indian tax-payers to kill as many Muslims in Kashmir as possible. Just because Indian Army does that proves nothing beyond some very obvious points.

Pakistan is spiraling out of control but foreigners including Indians and Americans have this habit of saying that ISI is behind everything. There is no evidence whatsoever about all this.

It is true that in the past ISI along with Saudi money and American CIA tech. support Talibans were armed to beat Russians. And then Americans left leaving a mass void for everyone to do something or the other. Pakistan's borders were left un-secure due to this rising internal mess inside Afghanistan. Therefore, ISI decided to continue their support for Talibans in Afghanistan. We now understand that it was a terrible mistake and lot of Afghans suffered a lot but it was necessary in Pakistan's interest.

Now, the militants you see inside Pakistan blowing things up may not be belonging to a single ideological mindset. It is a pot pourri of lot of ideas and lot of plans about which we may not yet know. Using ISI as a single scapegoat won't solve any problems.

And you are right about unstable Pakistan. Instability in Pakistan would mean lot of things for Indians. Another blog is required for this.

Ameer Hamza said...

By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Was there a top secret and mysterious operation of the US Marines going on inside the Marriott when it was attacked on Saturday evening? No one will confirm it but circumstantial evidence is in abundance.

Witnessed by many, including a PPP MNA and his friends, a US embassy truckload of steel boxes was unloaded and shifted inside the Marriott Hotel on the same night when Admiral Mike Mullen met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and others in Islamabad.

Both the main gates (the entrance and the exit) of the hotel were closed while no one except the US Marines were either allowed to go near the truck or get the steel boxes unloaded or shift them inside the hotel. These steel boxes were not passed through the scanners installed at the entrance of the hotel lobby and were reportedly shifted to the fourth and fifth floors of the Marriott.

Besides several others, PPP MNA Mumtaz Alam Gilani and his two friends, Sajjad Chaudhry, a PPP leader, and one Bashir Nadeem, witnessed this mysterious activity to which no one other than the PPP MNA objected and protested.

A source present there told The News that after entertaining them with refreshments at the Nadia restaurant at midnight when Mumtaz Alam, along with his friends, was to leave the hotel, he found a white US embassy truck standing right in front of the hotel's main entrance.

Both the In-gate and the Out-gate of the hotel were closed while almost a dozen well-built US Marines in their usual fatigues were unloading the steel boxes from the truck. No one, including the hotel security men, was either allowed to go near the truck or touch the steel boxes, which were being shifted inside the hotel but without passing through the scanners.

Upon inquiry, one of the three PPP friends who was waiting for the main gates of the hotel to open to get his car in, was informed that the suspicious boxes were shifted to the fourth and fifth floors of the hotel. Mumtaz Alam was furious both at the US Marines and the hotel security not only for the delay caused to them but also for the security lapse he was witnessing.

On his protest, there was absolutely no response from the Marines and the security men he approached were found helpless. Mumtaz Alam told the hotel security official that they were going to endanger the hotel and its security. He was also heard telling his friends that he would never visit the hotel again. He also threatened to raise the issue in parliament.

One does not know whether the PPP MNA revisited the hotel after that mysterious midnight but his brother Imtiaz Alam, who is a senior journalist, was in the same hotel when the truck exploded at the main gate of the hotel. Imtiaz Alam had a lucky escape and found his way out of the hotel with great difficulty in pitch darkness.

One of the lifts he was using fell to the ground floor just after he forced the door open on the 4th floor and got out of it.

Ameer Hamza said...

By Asif Haroon Raja
Monday, 22 September 2008.
Asian Tribune

When Gen. Musharraf submitted to U.S. pressure after 9/11 and ditched the Taliban in Afghanistan, he provided air bases as well as logistics support and shared intelligence with CIA. He allowed CIA and FBI to recruit agents in FATA and other places and to establish their outposts. The focus of ISI and other agencies was shifted towards hunting and nabbing so-called terrorists all over the country, in monitoring dissident elements within the army and in political wheeling and dealings. The CIA acquired all the links ISI and MI had both sides of the Pak-Afghan border and gradually took most agents on ISI payroll within its fold. By virtue of having better technology and means the CIA was able to take over intelligence acquisition and dissemination system. As a consequence the troops operating in FATA became entirely dependent upon CIA inputs. Taking advantage of complete liberty of action, CIA succeeded in buying the loyalties of many tribal chiefs and notables in FATA by doling out dollars in sacks since it knew that the Pashtun could not be crushed by force but could be purchased. Those not falling in line were got killed.

In FATA, Nek Muhammad was first cultivated and provided logistic support. When he entered into a peace deal with Pak Army in July 2005, he was killed using precision guided missile. Abdullah Mehsud, an Afghan war veteran who had also fought the Northern Alliance in October-November 2001 was captured and brainwashed during his two years internment in Guantanamo Bay. He was released after agreeing to work on terms dictated by CIA and he soon was able to takeover the leadership role. His death at Zhob at the hands of Pak security forces was a loss for CIA.

Baitulah Mehsud and Fazlullah had not taken part in Afghan jihad and do not qualify to head Taliban; yet 30 year old Baitullah has managed to create Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Fazlullah calls the shots in Swat. Mulla Omar had never shown interest in establishing any links with Pakistani Taliban and had warned Nek Muhammad not to operate under the brand name of Taliban. It is being questioned as to how come Baitullah, Fazlullah and their spokesmen desperately wanted by Pakistan security forces have escaped the hawk eye of USA, particularly after they have been seen giving detailed interviews to media and using their cell phones? ISI had once given six figure coordinates of Baitullah and yet no Hellfire missile was fired on his hideout by CIA. The TTP that has spread its influence in all the seven agencies of tribal belt and in neighboring settled districts of NWFP has succeeded in making inroads into Punjab, particularly southern Punjab. Large number has been recruited from Chiniot, Bahawalpur, Dera Nawab, Bahawalnagar, Faisalabad, Sialkot and other places.

After Shakai peace deal with the militants in South Waziristan in July 2005, Pakistan was subjected to a calculated slander campaign. Having pushed more than one hundred thousand troops into the furnace of FATA it was scoffed at for not doing enough to control militancy in FATA. Pakistan was also accused of nuclear proliferation and IAEA kept up the pressure to hand over AQ Khan for interrogation. Musharraf accepted the charge and forced AQ Khan to make a confession to defuse the heat. The religious extremist threat was blown out of all proportions and it was repeatedly stated that Pakistan's nuclear assets had become unsafe. Musharraf accepted this charge as well and promised to fight extremism and terrorism with full force.

After declaring Pakistan as the most dangerous country, FATA was declared as the most dangerous place on earth. Pakistan was blamed for growing turbulence in Afghanistan since in the view of U.S. military leaders and Karzai Pak army was not doing enough to control militancy. The phenomenon of missile attacks by drones commenced in January 2006 when a suspected target in Damadola was attacked killing scores of innocent civilians. Another deadly missile attack was launched on a Madrassa in Bajaur in October that year killing 80 students. Ever since, this phenomenon continues unabated.

Once the ISI was freed from the wild goose chase of so-called terrorists and came under pressure on account of missing persons, it started to concentrate on its primary task in the troubled spots. To its horror it found far too many militant groups and criminal gangs operating under the guise of religious militants and cultivated by foreign agencies.

They were the ones involved in carrying out gruesome beheadings of security personnel and torching girls' schools to defame the real Taliban who had a peaceful agenda. Besides CIA and RAW, even Iran and Uzbekistan had developed their tentacles in Balochistan, Swat and Kurram Agency. Most of the pro-Pakistan groups had been purchased or neutralized and those not coming to terms were eliminated by groups sponsored by CIA. Things had gone topsy-turvy and ISI found itself at a loss how to differentiate between friend and foe.

It is when the ISI began to recover the lost ground and renewed its old contacts in FATA and started to expose and block clandestine activities of CIA, RAW and RAM that all hell broke lose on ISI. Instead of feeling ashamed of what they were doing, USA had the cheeks to start making hue and cry that ISI was linked with the Taliban and that it must be emasculated. The three colluding partners lost their cool when the Indian Embassy in Kabul was subjected to a suicide attack on 7 July 2008. The trio fumed with anger and blamed ISI without even carrying out preliminary investigations. It was alleged that the perpetrator of suicide attack belonged to Gujranwala. Adm. Mike Mullen and Deputy Director CIA Stephen Kappes came huffing and puffing to Islamabad on 12 July and expressed their concern in strong words. Both Gen Tariq and Gen Kayani were told to bring the ISI to heel and to control militancy on their side of the border. The details of suicide bomber provided by the visitors proved false. It transpired later on that it was a bomb planted in a parked jeep which was detonated with the help of a remote control and was masterminded by Mossad.

In the meanwhile Bush gave a green signal to Pentagon to extend the sphere of operations in Afghanistan into neighboring FATA in July. He said that besides Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan is the third battleground. The military was told to hit targets whenever any actionable intelligence was available without notifying Pakistan. U.S. troops started to man mobile posts all along Pak-Afghan border with Paktika as their main forward base camp. These hostile steps were taken in spite of the fact that the new government under Zardari had abandoned its policy of dialogue and resumed the policy of force against the militants. After a month-long Frontier Corps-led operation in Khyber Agency, the army was employed in Hangu to control the unrest. In continuation of the offensive policy, the army launched powerful operations in Swat in July and in Bajaur on 6 August backed by jetfighters, gunship helicopters, tanks and artillery guns and started to make rapid progress against the well entrenched militants. Operations in these two restive areas are still going in with full steam and several hundred militants have been killed. Instead of getting pleased, the Americans got disturbed since they never intended to control militancy but to spread the flames of militancy into cities and create anarchic conditions.

The month of September saw intensification of missile attacks and each attack resulted in loss of innocent lives. To create fear and panic among the peaceful residents of Waziristan and also to target pro-government elements, missile attacks were intensified and each attack killed innocent men, women and children.

The idea was to antagonize pro-government Waziris and also to force them to migrate as had happened in case of Bajaur. To further up the ante, Pakistan was declared as a battleground and a first ever ground attack was carried out by U.S. troops on the night of 3 September at Angoor Adda killing 15 men women and children. A deadly missile attack was conducted on pro-Pakistan Jalaluddin Haqqani house in North Waziristan on 8 September killing 25 inmates mostly women and children. He was blamed for carrying out attack on Indian Embassy.

The intruding drone was forced to beat a hasty retreat on 12 September when Pakistani jets got airborne and started to track it. A ground attack on 15th was also thwarted by the troops and locals. So far, 62 border violations have been carried out by U.S.-ISAF forces including 36 after the takeover by PPP government in March 2008. So far 30 missile attacks have been made killing innocent people. In none of the attacks any Al-Qaada operative or militant Taliban was killed.

The nexus in Kabul is working upon a scripted plan to make FATA lawless and beyond the control of security forces, push militancy into settled areas and then into major cities and thus create a civil warlike situation to prove their contention that Pakistan was the most dangerous country in the world and that the extremists were on the verge of taking over power and nuclear weapons. After inflaming South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Mohmand Agency, Khyber Agency, Darra Adam Khel, Kurram Agency, Hangu and Swat, Bajaur Agency was built into a stronghold of militants where huge cache of arms and ammunition was dumped. By virtue of being located at the crossroad of the tribal belt and also linked with Dir, Swat and Afghanistan, it was to act as bulwark and a launching pad to provide reinforcement to other areas.

10,000 Indian troops are stationed in Afghanistan under the garb of supervising construction of road Jalalabad-Port Chahbahar project that has now been completed. Whereas India has officially declared 14 Indian consulates in Afghanistan, on ground they have 107 in which 20 intelligence units are burning their midnight oil to destabilise Pakistan. Many mercantile shops run by Indians have an intelligence office in the rear. In Wakhan, a religious Madrassa run by Indian Muslim clerics is functioning since 2002 under the patronage of RAW and Mossad. Very young boys, mostly orphans, destitute or homeless are recruited. Recruits are mostly Afghans, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Caucasians. The latter being fair skinned and resembling Europeans are trained to hit targets in Europe or in USA to once again create a 9/11 like situation.

Reportedly, 10,000 ideologically motivated terrorist and suicide bombers have been trained. Besides receiving military training, they have also been made to learn Pashto and customs of the Pashtun. They are regularly infiltrated into troubled spots of Pakistan. Posing as volunteers they join the rank and file of militants to fight the army. They are the ones who are destroying schools, CD shops, bridges and other installations and carrying out brutal beheading of captured personnel. The idea is to create chaos and confusion and also to defame the real Taliban that have not come under their influence. They are also responsible for creating cleavages within the people of FATA and in disrupting peace deals. In Kurram Agency, Afghan officers and soldiers are actively involved in the sectarian conflict by way of providing arms and ammunition to Shias belonging to Tori tribe and physically participating in duels with Sunnis. In Swat, Fazlullah led militants are supplied with war munitions as well as fighters.

Likewise, dissident tribal chiefs in Balochistan including late Akbar Bugti were also taken on board. The CIA helped in reincarnating BLA and providing all sorts of war munitions to Baloch militants belonging to Bugti, Marri and Mengal tribes and establishing over 60 Farari camps in Balochistan. Shamsi airbase that was handed over to USA in October 2001, houses Blackhawk helicopters primarily engaged in monitoring the entire length of Iranian border. CIA has cultivated Sunni Iranian Baloch Jandullah group (not the one that had operated against 5 Corps commander). It is anti- Iranian regime and was utilized by CIA to carryout acts of sabotage in Iran through Zahidan. Iran has now constructed a stone wall all along its border to prevent cross border terrorism from Baluchistan. It has clouded Pak-Iran relations since the latter feels that such activities could not have been undertaken without the blessing of Pak government.

It is now clear that our so-called friends have been playing a double game. Now that USA has bared its teeth and let its intentions known, to pretend that it would stop short of achieving its objectives will be like living in fools' paradise. It is simply degrading to unashamedly say that we cannot fight the Americans. It is also preposterous to assume that Pakistan may not survive without American support. Pro-American elements within Pakistan on U.S. payroll have been parroting this theme since creation of Pakistan to safeguard their vested interest. North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Iran, Somalia are living examples who have survived despite adopting hostile posture against USA. It is high time that we gird up our loins and put our act together to face up to the challenge boldly.

The army under Gen. Kayani has expressed its resolve to confront the threat and safeguard country's sovereignty irrespective of the consequences. It is now up to our week-kneed rulers oblivious of the ominous threat and still busy in power game as to how they stand up to the test. It will be naive to expect that the threat will be warded off with diplomacy alone. We must make USA realize that it will become exceedingly difficult for U.S. led allied troops to operate in Afghanistan if Pakistan opts out of fighting U.S. war of terror and refuses to provide transit facility to carry oil and food supplies to its troops in Afghanistan. The magnitude of dependence can be gauged from the fact each day over 400 containers ply from Karachi and Quetta to Afghanistan transporting food, munitions and 300 million gallons of fuel for U.S.-Nato troops in Afghanistan. We may also consider bridling CIA's unchecked activities and closing down four bases in control of USA.

Asif Haroon Raja is a defence and a political analyst. This article was first published by the Asian Tribune.

Pink Floyd said...

Why ISI is a state within the state without being accountable to no one and how it it inimical to Pakistan's interest.

Read the web link as stated below: