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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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Reports of Indians training Baloch dissidents

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

ISLAMABAD: More than 100 Pakistani Baloch dissidents have been sent to India by the Indian consulate located in Kandahar (Afghanistan) for six-month training, The News learnt here on Friday.

“We have credible reports that the Indian consulate in Kandahar dispatched more than 100 Pakistani Baloch dissidents during the second week of December 2009 for six-month training in India,” an intelligence source told The News on condition of anonymity.

The source said the men sent for training in India were selected from areas bordering Pakistan as well as Baloch nationals residing in different camps in Kandahar maintained under arrangements of the Afghan and Indian intelligence operatives.
“They have been promised a monthly salary of $500-1,000 on their return to Afghanistan,” the source said. “They will be imparted training in the fields of sniper shooting, handling of technical equipment such as GPS,

wireless sets and intelligence gathering techniques,” he added.

The source said they had credible reports that upon completion of training under the Indian trainers, half of the strength of the anti-Pakistan elements would report to Commander Abdul Raziq, in charge of Sarhadi Leva (border police) in Spin Boldak close to Chaman while the remaining strength would be placed under Sarhadi Leva post commander in Shorawak district of Kandahar.

“Our informers have also revealed that the handlers of the dissident Baloch elements plan to assign different targets in Balochistan and Sindh provinces to the trained Baloch militants for sabotage and terrorist activities,” the source said.

When contacted for comments, Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Gul, former director-general of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), said it might not be the first batch of Baloch dissidents sent to India for training.

He said that India, the arch-rival of Pakistan, was supporting the Baloch dissidents for the past many years.

“The Indians are sitting right at our back and initially they deployed nearly 20 intelligence detachments with a fulltime brigadier being in charge of these detachments,” he said, quoting his own sources in Afghanistan.

The RAW network has been operating in Pakistan since long and it is not surprising that they have hired the Baloch dissidents to destabilise Pakistan, the former general stated.

“Ever since the Taliban were ousted from power and foreign troops landed in Afghanistan in late 2001, the Indians have been using the Afghan soil for sabotage and terror acts in Pakistan,” he said.

The News

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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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