This is a fantastic book review in the Guardian (1 July 2017) by Owen Bennett-Jones.
The investigative reporters have produced a revelatory work about al-Qaida members in hiding in Pakistan and Iran between 2001 and 2011. At the time of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, Osama bin Laden was in an Afghan cave, unable to get a decent TV satellite signal and forced to follow developments on the radio. The contrast between his situation and his impact was to be a theme of the next decade until, eventually, the Americans caught up with him in the raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. It’s a decade that The Exile describes with a remarkable amount of impressive new detail.
Investigative reporters Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy start with a detailed account of Bin Laden’s movements. When the US air strikes began, he flitted through various locations in Afghanistan, all the while trying to manage the movements of his wives and children. He was on his way to a meeting with Mullah Omar in Kandahar on 7 October 2001 when a US drone came close to killing them both. From there he moved to an underground complex in the Tora Bora mountains near the Pakistan border. The US assaulted Tora Bora but, again, Bin Laden managed to slip away, and on 14 December 2001 he turned up in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Feeling too exposed there, he moved back to Afghanistan in February 2002 before reaching northern Pakistan in the summer. There he lived with one of his wives, Amal, and their nine-month-old daughter Safiyah in the remote village of Kutkey, home to the in-laws of his courier and guard, Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti. Continue reading
Posted in Afghanistan, Benazir, Guardian, OBL, Pakistan, Politics, South Asia
Tagged Al-Qaida, Islam, Pakistan, Pakistan Army, Terrorism
As reported in the media, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has stayed the execution of three APS attack facilitators. The report from Dawn can be extracted as: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the execution of three men convicted by military courts for their involvement in the Army Public School attack. The three men — Mohammad Zubair, Ali Rehman and Taj Mohammad — were convicted of facilitating and abetting the deadly attack in Dec 2014 that killed over 140, mostly children.A two-member bench comprising Justice Dost Muhammad and Justice Qazi Faez Isa ordered a stay on the implementation of the military court decision. The families of the convicts had challenged the military court verdict through petitions filed in the Peshawar High Court (PHC), however, after PHC dismissed the appeals, they moved the Supreme Court through Advocate Latif Afridi. During the hearing, Afridi claimed that the high court did not even open the record and dismissed the appeals without hearing them. The court issued notices to the attorney general and jail branch, and directed the former to explain the dismissal of the appeals. The hearing was subsequently adjourned to Feb 16. On Dec 2 last year, four terrorists Continue reading
Security is the source of global concern these days and Pakistan is one of the worst affected countries in that regard. Below are the details of the security situation in Pakistan. Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) brings out an annual security report at the end of each year, which is widely disseminated in Pakistan and abroad. The report comprehensively compiles data on violent incidents, comparative analysis of various security variables, the changing targets and tactics of militants, strategies of the government and the nature of its response to the security challenges. Pakistan Security Report 2015 (see overview) includes not only the number of conflict-related incidents for the entire year, but also prioritizes the major actors of instability as well as analyses the perpetrators’ tactics and the security forces’ response. The report highlights the progress made by the government on eliminating militancy Continue reading
Pakistan is one of nine states to possess nuclear weapons, and it is the only Muslim majority country to do so. Pakistan began development of nuclear weapons in January 1972 in the Bhutto era. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons development was in response to neighboring India’s development of its nuclear programme. As of 2014, Pakistan has been reportedly developing smaller, more tactical nuclear weapons for potential use on the battlefield exclusively. This is consistent with earlier statements from a meeting of the National Command Authority (which directs nuclear policy and development) saying Pakistan is developing “a full-spectrum deterrence capability to deter all forms of aggression.” Communication of 30 September 2015 from the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the Agency concerning the export control policies of the Government of Pakistan and a Statutory Regulatory Order. The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was sent a communication dated 30 September 2015 from the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the Agency attaching a note on ‘Pakistan Strategic Export Controls and Revised Control Lists’ and the Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) 276 (I)/2015 amending Continue reading
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi looks set to receive yet another rockstar reception in the west, this time he is visiting London (the so-called home of democracy). In reality, Modi is an abusive and twisted Hindu fundamentalist who makes his Muslim counterparts look puny. His anti-Christain and anti-Muslim policies have made poor and overpopulated India a bigger nightmare than it already was. Here is an excellent piece by Pankaj Mishra entitled Narendra Modi: the divisive manipulator who charmed the world, extract as written by him: In 2005, when Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the wealthy Indian state of Gujarat, local police murdered a criminal called Sheikh Sohrabuddin in cold blood. At an election rally in 2007 for the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP, Modi assured his citizens that Sohrabuddin “got what he deserved”. What should be done, he asked, to a man found possessing illegal arms? The pumped-up crowd shouted back: “Mari nakho-mari nakho!” (Kill him, kill him!) The lynch mob’s cry was repeated in a village near Delhi last month as zealots beat to death a Muslim farmer they suspected – wrongly – of keeping beef in his house. While Modi makes a Continue reading
Please read our post on strikes on British jihadis in Syria here. Read our post on first ever Pakistan army strike which killed three high profile militants (by a UAV named “Burraq”) in the Shawal valley of the Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border here. Equally, two interesting studies have emerged on drone warfare and strikes. Examining the dilemmas surrounding drone warfare, in their study Limiting Armed Drone Proliferation, Micah Zenko and Sarah Kreps argue “that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish such rules and norms, while the number of states with armed drones remains relatively small.” They are strong proponents of a strategy that lays down clear limits on the sale and use of armed drones in order to reduce the prospects of the proliferation of these weapons and to prevent their use becoming widespread. Another, more recent, study from June 2015 by the Center for a New American Security entitled A World of Proliferated Drones Continue reading
Pakistan’s army has dominated the state for most of its 66 years. It has locked the country in an enduring rivalry with India to revise the maps in Kashmir and to resist India’s slow but inevitable rise. To prosecute these dangerous policies, the army employs non-state actors under the security of its ever-expanding nuclear umbrella. The Pakistan army started three wars with India over Kashmir in 1947, 1965, and 1999 and failed to win any of them. It has sustained a proxy war in Kashmir since 1989 using Islamist militants, some of whom have now turned their guns against the Pakistani state. The Pakistan army has supported non-Islamist insurgencies throughout India as well as a country-wide Islamist terror campaign Continue reading