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kams
12 Jan 07,, 13:21
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's leaders are Holed up in a secure hide-out in Pakistan, from which they are revitalising their bruised but resilient network, U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte said.

In an unusually direct statement on the whereabouts of the militant group's top echelon, Negroponte told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that Pakistan is the centre of a web of al Qaeda connections that stretches across the globe into Europe.
"Al Qaeda is the terrorist organisation that poses the greatest threat to U.S. interests," the U.S. director of national intelligence said in his annual assessment of worldwide threats against the United States and its interests.


"They are cultivating stronger operational connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leaders' secure hide-out in Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe," he said.

It appeared to be the first time in congressional testimony that Negroponte has singled out Pakistan as the locale for the headquarters of the network. It is accused of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington that killed about 3,000 people in 2001.

Up to now, U.S. officials have said that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri are hiding somewhere along the rugged mountainous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Negroponte did not cite bin Laden or Zawahri by name and did not say where in Pakistan U.S. intelligence believes al Qaeda leaders are hiding.

Negroponte, who became U.S. intelligence chief in April 2005 and will soon leave to become deputy secretary of state, told the same panel a year ago that al Qaeda's leadership posed a threat to the United States from bases in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border area.

"We have captured or killed numerous senior al Qaeda operatives, but al Qaeda's core elements are resilient. They continue to plot attacks against our homeland and other targets with the objective of inflicting mass casualties," he said on Thursday.

U.S. officials have long complained about Islamist militant activity in Pakistan, which has been blamed as a source of increasing Taliban and al Qaeda attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan.


"Pakistan is our partner in the war on terror and has captured several al Qaeda leaders. However, it is also a major source of Islamic extremism," Negroponte said in written testimony submitted to the panel.

"Eliminating the safe haven that the Taliban and other extremists have found in Pakistan's tribal areas is not sufficient to end the insurgency in Afghanistan but it is necessary."

He noted the political problems facing Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf due to a potential for tribal rebellion and a backlash by Islamic political parties opposed to the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"With elections expected later this year, the situation will become even more challenging for President Musharraf and for the U.S.," Negroponte said.

Negroponte Revelations (http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2007-01-12T073634Z_01_N1280747_RTRUKOC_0_UK-SECURITY-USA-THREATS-QAEDA.xml&pageNumber=0&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage2)

Hmmm, may be US should donate F-22 Raptor to Pakistan, so that they can combat al-qaeda. :rolleyes:

kams
12 Jan 07,, 13:25
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan said on Friday the United States had not given it any information about the presence of al Qaeda leaders, following remarks from U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte that they were holed up in Pakistan.

"We have no such information nor has any such thing been communicated to us by any U.S. authority," Pakistan's military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan told Reuters.

Pakistan's foreign ministry issued a response to Negroponte's comments, saying he should have mentioned that successes against al Qaeda were made possible by Pakistan and the focus should "remain on cooperation instead of questionable criticism".

It also contradicted Negroponte's assertion that al Qaeda operatives elsewhere were being controlled from Pakistan.

"In breaking the back of al Qaeda, Pakistan has done more than any other country in the world," spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.


Pakistan denies (http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=63242007)

Geee. Treacherous west...:rolleyes:

highsea
12 Jan 07,, 16:09
Hmmm, may be US should donate F-22 Raptor to Pakistan, so that they can combat al-qaeda. :rolleyes:How about we donate some bunker-busters directly to al-qaeda instead...;)

kams
12 Jan 07,, 19:05
How about we donate some bunker-busters directly to al-qaeda instead...;)


I believe that will happen the minute you know the location;) . It will be followed by a press release detailing how Pakistani Army broke the back of al qaeda:biggrin: .

Julie
13 Jan 07,, 03:28
KABUL, Jan. 12 -- The bodies of two dozen Islamic insurgents killed in a clash with NATO and Afghan army forces near the border with Pakistan were sent back Friday to Pakistan, where Taliban leaders asked that they be given funerals as "martyrs," according to news reports here.

The reports appeared to bolster Afghan and U.S. assertions, repeatedly denied by Pakistani officials, that Pakistan's tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan have provided a safe haven for Islamic militia groups seeking to destabilize the Western-backed government of Afghanistan.

The funeral preparations were reported to take place in villages in Pakistan's North Waziristan region, where last September Pakistani officials brokered a truce they said was aimed at curbing Islamic extremist activities in the area. Afghan and NATO officials have said cross-border insurgent infiltration has actually increased since then.

Also on Friday, Afghan police reported that a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into two others on a highway south of Kabul, injuring two people. The two-vehicle convoy was carrying foreign police advisers, according to Associated Press reports. One adviser and an Afghan civilian were injured, the news agency reported.

In Washington, the U.S. national intelligence director, John D. Negroponte, told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pakistani tribal areas were functioning as a haven for terrorists and that Pakistani officials needed to do more to control them.

In response, officials from Pakistan's foreign and interior ministries denied their country was offering shelter to extremists. A Pakistani military spokesman said that the country's army forces had fired on trucks carrying Islamic insurgents toward the Afghan border and that Pakistan was "keen to stop" such cross-border infiltration.

The bodies of fighters sent back to Pakistan included both Pakistanis and Afghans, according to news reports. They were said to be casualties of a major clash Wednesday between NATO and Afghan troops and Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan's Paktika province. NATO said 150 insurgents had been killed, while Afghan officers put the figure at 80.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/12/AR2007011201255.html

highsea
13 Jan 07,, 07:33
I believe that will happen the minute you know the location;) . It will be followed by a press release detailing how Pakistani Army broke the back of al qaeda:biggrin: .Kams, you watch.

I expect there is going to be a change of scenery for many Taliban/AQ fighters and supporters very soon.

Ray
13 Jan 07,, 17:57
Highseas,

Seen lemmings?

Seen rats?

There is no Pied Piper of Hamlin town in Brunswick by the famous Hanover city nor the River Wieser anywhere near the badlands of Pakistan!! ;) ;)

Hari_Om
16 Jan 07,, 10:06
Negroponte Revelations (http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2007-01-12T073634Z_01_N1280747_RTRUKOC_0_UK-SECURITY-USA-THREATS-QAEDA.xml&pageNumber=0&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage2)

Hmmm, may be US should donate F-22 Raptor to Pakistan, so that they can combat al-qaeda. :rolleyes:

AMRAAMs would be as good ;) :

Pakistan Chooses Raytheon's Proven Air Defense Missiles To Secure Borders (http://www.worldaffairsboard.com/showpost.php?p=329656&postcount=1)

Hari_Om
16 Jan 07,, 10:19
Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley seems to think along the same lines as John Negroponte :

U.S. Gen.: Insurgent chief in Pakistan (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070113/ap_on_re_as/Afghanistan)

As does Maj. Gen. Freakley’s boss, Lt. Gen Karl Eikenberry :

Taliban step up cross-border attacks: U.S. military (http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2007-01-16T084801Z_01_ISL240273_RTRUKOC_0_US-AFGHAN-USA-TALIBAN.xml&WTmodLoc=NewsHome-C1-topNews-6)

All of which is neither here nor there as to quote Sec. State Rice :eek: :

I think Pakistan has been an excellent ally (http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2007/78675.htm)

highsea
16 Jan 07,, 15:31
Pakistani Army Kills Suspected Terrorists in Raids

By Khalid Qayum

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The Pakistani army killed ``many'' suspected terrorists in attacks at three bases in the country's northwestern tribal region, a military spokesman said.

``We had reports 25 to 30 terrorists were in the training camps,'' army spokesman General Shaukat Sultan said in a telephone interview from the capital, Islamabad. ``Many of them, including non Pakistanis, were killed in the raid by gunship helicopters'' in South Waziristan, close to the border with Afghanistan, he added.

Pakistan joined the U.S.-led war on terrorism in 2001 and has deployed about 90,000 soldiers in the border region to combat insurgents. Afghanistan has accused its neighbor of failing to control the frontier and allowing al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters to operate from camps in the tribal area, a charge Pakistan's government denies.

John Negroponte, the U.S. director of national intelligence, said Jan. 11 that the al-Qaeda network has a ``secure hideout'' in Pakistan. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz rejected Negroponte's remarks and said in an interview two days ago with Cable News Network that Pakistan is committed to fighting terrorism.

Five compounds in the Zamzola area of South Waziristan were under surveillance for several days after intelligence agencies reported terrorists were training there, the army said in an e- mailed statement. Three of the compounds were destroyed at about 7 a.m. Islamabad time today, killing most of the terrorists present, the statement added.

Neither Sultan nor the statement said whether the suspects were linked to al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

Afghan Visit

The raids come as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits Afghanistan for talks with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the government of President Hamid Karzai on how to tackle the Taliban insurgency.

President Pervez Musharraf yesterday pledged tighter control of the 2,430-kilometer (1,510-mile) border and ordered customs officers to screen and document every crossing, the official Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

About 12,000 vehicles and more than 30,000 people cross the border daily, APP reported, after Musharraf met with key Cabinet ministers and officials from the army and intelligence agencies.

Pakistan has more than 900 check posts on its side of the frontier, while Afghanistan has only 100, Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Sherpao told the meeting yesterday in Rawalpindi.

Musharraf instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to coordinate efforts to strengthen the border with the government in Kabul, the report said.

Security System

He ordered the installation of a ``state-of-the-art'' system to record all movement across the frontier, APP said, without providing further details.

Musharraf also ordered authorities in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to increase the number of personnel to tackle ``foreign elements'' more effectively, the report said.

The U.S. and Afghan governments say the border region is a haven for al-Qaeda leaders.

Osama bin Laden may have fled into the area from Afghanistan in 2001 after the Taliban regime was ousted. Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's No. 2, said he escaped a U.S. air strike on a village near the Afghan border in January 2006, according to a videotape broadcast at the time by al-Jazeera television.

Pakistan says it has arrested about 600 suspected terrorists since 2001. About 80 gunmen were killed in an Oct. 30 army raid on an Islamic school compound in Bajur, which the government says was a training camp for would-be suicide bombers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khalid Qayum in Islamabad at kqayum@bloomberg.net .

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=a5S46IA6UH6U&refer=home

kams
16 Jan 07,, 16:12
Highsea,

Don't you think Negroponte should issue such statements much more frequently?:biggrin:

highsea
16 Jan 07,, 20:13
^^^ Daily!

Ray
16 Jan 07,, 20:44
It is really a mystery to me as to how Pakistan can continue to insist that it is not the base of terrorists and yet the US reveals at regular interval that it is!

Pakistan is a frontline ally of the US and so the US will surely avoid embarrassing her. Hence, if the US does state that Pakistan is the base and haven for terrorists, then surely it must be the truth, especially when the US has more sophisticated ways to obtain info while Pakistan has very good and sound reasons to hide it!

Julie
17 Jan 07,, 16:11
PAKISTANI SANCTUARIES

U.S. military officials in Kabul told reporters traveling with Gates command and control of the Afghan insurgency came from the Pakistani side of the border, where Pakistani forces have also been battling militants.

Pakistan was the main backer of the Taliban during the 1990s but officially stopped helping the hardline Islamists after the September 11 attacks, when it joined the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

But while Pakistan has arrested or killed hundreds of al Qaeda members, including several major figures, Afghanistan and some of its allies say it has failed to take effective action against Taliban leaders, their networks and sanctuaries.

NATO said a prominent Taliban commander was arrested in a Tuesday night raid in Helmand province. The force declined to identify him but said he was the first known Taliban leader arrested by NATO and Afghan forces.

The Afghan government said on Tuesday authorities had arrested a Taliban spokesman and aide to fugitive leader Mullah Mohammad Omar after he crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan.

In a video recording of part of his interrogation released by Afghan authorities, the spokesman, Mohammad Hanif, said Omar was living in the Pakistani city of Quetta where he was being supported by Pakistan's main spy agency.

Despite some doubts about Pakistani moves against the Taliban, a NATO spokesman said help from Pakistan led to the killing of a top Taliban commander in a U.S. strike last month.

The commander killed in the December 19 air strike in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, Akhtar Mohammad Osmani, was the most senior Taliban killed by U.S. forces since 2001.

NATO spokesman Brigadier Richard Nugee also cited a Pakistani attack on a militant camp in its South Waziristan tribal region on Tuesday as an example of efforts to coordinate with Pakistan.

Gates, who left Afghanistan later on Wednesday, said Pakistan was "an extraordinarily strong ally" in the war on terrorism but militancy on the Pakistani side of the border would have to be dealt with.

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2007-01-17T145128Z_01_ISL241073_RTRUKOC_0_US-AFGHAN.xml&pageNumber=1&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage3

Tronic
18 Jan 07,, 04:31
This,

In a video recording of part of his interrogation released by Afghan authorities, the spokesman, Mohammad Hanif, said Omar was living in the Pakistani city of Quetta where he was being supported by Pakistan's main spy agency.

and then this statement by NATO spokesman

Despite some doubts about Pakistani moves against the Taliban, a NATO spokesman said help from Pakistan led to the killing of a top Taliban commander in a U.S. strike last month.

some unique relations Pakistan shares with NATO.... is this a double game? or is someone just trying to keep Pak in the same camp with regular pat on the backs, every little while... followed up by goodies like F-16s, P-8s, and a package of Amraams...