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Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Jason Ditz

US Claims Massive ‘Militant’ Deaths and Almost No Civilian Casualties

The CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, something which has become an enormous issue over the past year and a half, have been an enormous source of controversy, both legal and practical.

The US, for its part, maintains that the drone strikes have caused no more than 30 civilian casualties, while killing over 500 militants. The claims seem common among US officials, in keeping with the narrative of precision drone strikes.

But they are tough to swallow for children killed and maimed in the almost constant bombardment. And for villagers the claims that friends and relatives are “suspected militants” are tough to reconcile with reality, as are the claims of US precision.

They also don’t jibe with figures from Pakistan’s own intelligence agencies, which estimate that the US actually killed 700 civilians in 2009 alone, while killing only a handful of confirmed militants. The number of civilians wounded in all these attacks is unknown, but significant.

It is unsurprising, then, that the strikes continue to inflame anti-US sentiment across Pakistan, and US claims that the victims are almost universally “militants” is likely only making matters worse, in the face of enormous evidence to the contrary.

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Does “CIA Post In Karachi” Mean Blackwater?

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment

WASHINGTON: Pakistan allowed the US Central Intelligence Agency to set up a post in Karachi and the data collected by this post led to the arrest of a key Taliban commander and two ‘governors’, officials said.

Describing this as “a high-level of cooperation between the United States and Pakistan,” The Washington Post reported on Friday that it signalled a major change in Islamabad’s attitude towards the Taliban movement.

This enhanced cooperation between the CIA and the ISI led to the arrests of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban’s second in command, and two Taliban shadow governors for northern Afghanistan, the report said.

“The ISI and the CIA are working together, with the Americans providing actionable intelligence and the Pakistanis acting together with them” to hunt the insurgency’s leaders, a Pakistani official told the paper.

The Post noted that Pakistan’s decision to aggressively search for Afghan Taliban leadership reflected a shift that had been in the works since autumn last year when US President Barack Obama wrote to President Asif Ali Zardari.

The letter offered additional military and economic assistance and help in easing tensions with India.

The Post noted that with US facilitation, India and Pakistan had agreed to restart their stalled talks. President Obama’s letter also contained a warning that Pakistan’s use of insurgent groups to achieve policy goals would no longer be tolerated.

The arrests of Mullah Baradar and other leaders represented “major progress,” a US intelligence official told the Post. “No one has forgotten Pakistan’s complex history with the Taliban. But they understand how important this is to the United States, the region and to their own security.”

The CIA post in Karachi intercepted communications which were later handed over to ISI officials. The two agencies then planned a joint operation to catch Mullah Baradar and ‘governors’.

Final agreement on the operation came in the last week of January.

The detentions, which have taken place since early last week, were initially kept secret to allow intelligence operatives to use information gleaned from the captured men to reach other militants.

The Post claimed that the arrests offered evidence of something that has long been suspected: Top Afghan Taliban leaders have found refuge across Pakistan, particularly in its cities, something the government long denied.

Coutesy: DAWN

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False Flag-Inside job: Indian intelligent agent was involved in Mumbai blast

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

An Indian newspaper ‘The Hindustan Times’ indicates a former Maharashtra electrician, now suspected of being the Indian handler to 26/11, was a former informant for domestic police and intelligence agencies. The presence in Pakistan of Syed Zabiuddin Ansari (29) also represents domestic-intelligence gaps as India prepares to reopen talks with Pakistan after the killing of 180 people in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. The only son of six children of an insurance agent from the dusty, central Maharashtra town of Gevrai, Ansari is one of a handful of missing, radicalised Indians capable of being used by Pakistani terrorists or their state handlers in a future attack, which intelligence and police officials across India now nervously anticipate.

As a double agent, Ansari lead the Intelligence Bureau and the Maharashtra Police to the biggest arms haul outside Jammu and Kashmir in the last 10 years, security sources told HT, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. Ansari led police to at least 43 kg of RDX (Research and Development Explosive), 16 AK-47 rifles and 4,000 rounds of ammunition concealed in computer cabinets on the outskirts of the Maharashtra city of Aurangabad on May 10, 2006. Ansari, now believed to be holed up in Karachi, fled in a blue, Tata Indica immediately after and was never seen again. “If he [Zabiuddin Ansari] had helped further, we could have unearthed the entire link,” said Sunil Deshmukh, a police inspector who was part of the raiding party. “We believe he escaped to Pakistan via Bangladesh.

He has risen in the LeT (Lashkar-e-Tayyebba) hierarchy since then.” Last week, Home Minister P. Chidambaram for the first time acknowledged one of the 26/11 handlers was Indian, though he said it wasn’t clear who “Abu Jindal” was because Pakistan refused to provide a voice print. India has no recording of Ansari’s voice, Maharashtra police chief A.N. Roy confirmed to Hindustan Times. The giveaways, says intelligence agencies, were the Hindi words “Abu” used with the Urdu-speaking terrorists who ravaged in Mumbai on 26/11. Two examples: He used “sarkar” instead of “hukumat”; referred to 26/11 being “the trailer”, an English term — subsumed into Bambaiyya Hindi — that baffled the terrorists. Indian suspected of 26/11 role once worked for India’s Intelligence Bureau: Indian intelligence officials believe Ansari is likely to be “Abu”, but because of the sensitive nature of the information, they would not reveal what led them to this conclusion.

Ansari’s story was pieced together by HT from various police and intelligence sources.
With terror groups itching to replicate 26/11, connecting these dots is increasingly important: Like Ansari, key radicalised Indians spread across Pakistan, the Middle East (and, increasingly, East Asia), can be used to aid attacks on India.
After Ansari escaped in 2006, his recruiter, Mohammed Amir Shakeel Ahmed (33), was arrested. He told interrogators that their Nepal-based Lashkar handler, had also suspected Ansari of being a double agent.
A police source said Ansari, while helping police, also recruited the first jihadi from Maharashtra, Mirza Baig, to be killed by forces in J&K;in late 2005.

Specific information is hard to come by, but Ansari likely went over to the dark side after a series of religious riots in Maharashtra led men like him to believe terror was their only hope against what they saw as injustice against Muslims.
The other men on the run, mostly from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala, also slipped out through Bangladesh, followed similar paths to radicalisation.
Most are educated, and some were professionals before they turned to jihad. In the 1990s, groups of radicalised

Muslim youth went to Pakistan for training. That phenomenon appears to have ebbed, but some officials are not sure.
“We haven’t come across people going to Pakistan in large numbers of late, but nothing can be inferred from that — that it is not going on,” said Roy. (Hindustan Times)