View Full Version : Pakistan Connection Seen in Taliban's New Tactics

30 Jul 05,, 20:03

Pakistan Connection Seen in Taliban's New Tactics
By Paul Watson
Times Staff Writer

July 28, 2005

ASADABAD, Afghanistan Telephone and power lines haven't reached the villages clinging to the craggy mountainsides of Kunar province. Digital phones and computer chips are even further beyond the shepherds' imaginations.

So when sophisticated bombs detonated by long-range cordless phones began blowing up under U.S. and Afghan military vehicles on mountain tracks, investigators knew they had to search elsewhere for the masterminds.

Afghan officials immediately focused on nearby Pakistan and its military, whose Inter-Services Intelligence agency helped create the Taliban in the early 1990s and provided training and equipment to help the Muslim extremists win control over most of the country.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf joined the Bush administration's war on terrorism and publicly turned against the Taliban immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. But Afghan officials allege that Taliban and allied fighters who fled to Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 are learning new, more lethal tactics from the Pakistani military at numerous training bases.

"Pakistan is lying," said Lt. Sayed Anwar, acting head of Afghanistan's counter-terrorism department. "We have very correct reports from their areas. We have our intelligence agents inside Pakistan's border as well.

"If Pakistan tells the truth, the problems will stop in Afghanistan. They say they are friends of Americans, and yet they order these people to kill Americans."

At least 38 U.S. troops have died from hostile fire in Afghanistan this year, higher than the annual combat death toll for any year since the invasion.

Musharraf has denied that his military supports the Taliban or any other Afghan insurgents and the Bush administration and U.S. military spokesmen continue to praise Pakistan's role in combating terrorism.

Pakistan's army recently added 4,000 troops to the 70,000 soldiers patrolling the rugged, nearly 1,500-mile, border between the countries in what it says is a determined effort to stop infiltrations of Afghanistan.

Pakistani Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, a military spokesman, said it was ridiculous to suggest that Pakistan had a secret operation to train insurgents to build complex electronic bombs.

"This is just a figment of some absurd mind, nothing else," Sultan said.

High-tech bombs similar to those being found in Afghanistan have killed Pakistani soldiers too, he said. More than 250 Pakistani troops have died in border operations in the last year, Sultan said.

"We haven't found any sanctuary, so far, where such items probably could be made," he said, adding that Pakistan's military didn't know where the sophisticated bomb-making technology was coming from.

Anwar, the Afghan official, who has worked in intelligence for 27 years, acknowledged that there was no smoking gun linking insurgents in Afghanistan to Pakistan's military intelligence.

Yet despite the Pakistani military's assertions, increasing numbers of guerrillas are crossing into eastern and southern Afghanistan, Anwar and other Afghan officials said.

"Last year, the enemy wasn't able to attack our checkpoints or plant so many mines," Anwar said. "This year, they have become very strong."

Anwar said reports from intelligence agents across the border and 50 captured prisoners describe an extensive network of militant training camps in areas of Pakistan's federally administered North Waziristan tribal area where government forces are firmly in control.

Tauda China, a village in the area, which is home to Pushtun tribes, is the site of one camp where Inter-Services Intelligence agents trained militants, Anwar said. He alleged that there were as many as six other camps in the surrounding valley, which is closed to outsiders and guarded by Pakistani troops and armed Afghans.

"Our agents have been there," Anwar said. "They tried to enter the valley and the soldiers didn't allow them."

Zulfiqar Ali, a Pakistani journalist who freelances for the Los Angeles Times, recently reported that at least some training camps that were closed on Musharraf's orders have been reopened.

The government denies that there are training camps. But Ali, who also writes for the Pakistani magazine the Herald, visited one camp and found armed militants with fresh recruits as young as 13 undergoing 18-day "ideological orientation" and weapons training. Several sources said 13 militant camps had been reactivated in the Mansehra region alone in the first week of May.

Militants said their official funding had continued during Musharraf's ban, but the camps had been abandoned and falling apart until this spring.

"Our transport fleet is back, electricity has been restored and the communications system is in place," a militant guide reportedly boasted to Ali.

The reported reopening of militant training camps in Pakistan coincides with the discovery of the high-tech bombs in Afghanistan.

Two months ago, Afghan security forces discovered six high-tech bombs in the town of Sarowbi, east of Kabul, the Afghan capital. The triggers consisted of long-range cordless phones attached with black electrical tape to electronic boxes, which Anwar believes convert the ringing phone's signal into an electrical charge, detonating the explosives.

"These phones are Pakistani-made phones," he said.

Since March, when heavy winter snow in the insurgents' hide-outs began to melt, the Taliban and its allies have been intensifying attacks on military and civilian targets in Afghanistan.

In addition to the rising number of U.S. deaths, about 700 people, including Afghan civilians, soldiers and insurgents, have died in the escalated fighting.

In late June, suspected Taliban guerrillas ambushed a four-man Navy SEAL reconnaissance unit high in the Hindu Kush mountain range of Kunar province. Only one of the SEALs survived the attack, and only by good fortune, according to the Pentagon's account. A rocket-propelled grenade blast knocked him down a mountainside, and despite his wounds he managed to escape to a village that gave him shelter.

Sixteen U.S. troops sent to rescue the SEALs died when insurgents shot down their helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Lt. Naqibullah Nooristani, operations commander for Afghan troops fighting alongside U.S. forces in Kunar, said the Taliban and its allies were proving so resilient because they were receiving improved training and equipment just across the border in Pakistan.

The guerrillas who escaped after attacking the U.S. troops left behind trash that suggests they have a good supply chain, Nooristani said.

"When our soldiers got up on the mountain, we saw empty cans of Pepsi and old running shoes, which means they changed into new ones for the operation," the lieutenant said, sitting on the edge of a cot where he sleeps next to his desk.

"They have Pepsis in the mountains while I can't find them here in the city," Nooristani said. "That means they are well supported."

The lieutenant estimated there were 300 Taliban fighters just in the Pec valley northwest of Asadabad, the provincial capital. Thousands more are fighting in several other border provinces in eastern and southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said.

Police recently found four remote-controlled bombs in the luggage of an Afghan taxi passenger traveling on the main road from Jalalabad, near the Pakistani border, said Anwar, the Afghan counter-terrorism chief. The detonators were small, silver-colored explosive capsules that were made in Pakistan, he said.

The man transporting the bomb components, Sanaullah Khan, was from Parwan province, north of Kabul.

Under interrogation, Khan said he had entered Afghanistan with four Pakistani men after receiving training at a camp in Shamshatu, near Peshawar, Pakistan, Anwar said, reading from an interrogator's report.

Khan provided few details about the training camp, Anwar said.

Shamshatu is the site of a large U.N. camp for Afghan refugees. As recently as this spring, Pakistani newspaper reports said 90% of the camp's residents were loyal to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister and warlord whose Hizb-i-Islami militia is now allied with the Taliban against the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan.

Khan told investigators he had received the explosive devices found in his bag from a Pakistani whom he identified as Fazal Rabi. He said Rabi lived at the camp and was "very well connected with Al Qaeda," according to the interrogation report.

Lt. Gen. Moin Faqir, who oversees the Afghan army's operations as central corps commander, said his forces first started seeing bombs with computer components six months ago in Kunar province.

"It is not easy to use these mines unless you are well trained for it," he said.

Unlike conventional land mines that have plagued Afghanistan for decades, these new devices are not triggered by the pressure of wheels rolling over them, Faqir said.

Instead, they are designed to explode directly under the vehicle's passenger cab, increasing the chances that a relatively small explosion would maim or kill. They are also easier to conceal than regular land mines.

Faqir said he could not say with certainty who was providing the equipment and training to build the new bombs.

"I think we all know where these mines are from," he added with a pained smile.

The Afghan general chose his words carefully. A uniformed U.S. military advisor was sitting on a couch next to him, taking notes on everything he said. Without using names, Faqir made it clear he thought the source of the sophisticated bombs was an enemy of the worst kind because it pretended to be an ally.

"No one should have two faces with his friend," he said, adding that such people would suffer shame and destruction. "Once you shake hands with somebody, you should stand with him till the end."

30 Jul 05,, 20:34
:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:

The general is right Pakistani govt is lying. I mean they always claim that they give "diplomatic support" :)

Now two neighbours, India and Afganistan are confirming the obvious. Pakistanis of course are still in shock and denial. :biggrin:

It realy stinks to finally realize that Pakistanis live in a screwed up country that prides itself on sending Jehadis al round the place.

30 Jul 05,, 21:11
Ahmad Rashid of "Taliban" fame seems to be saying that Musharraf/Pakistan has done jack about Taliban/Alqaeda.


By Ahmed Rashid in Lahore

A complex three way game between the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan is undermining the war on terror and hindering nation and democracy building, writes journalist Ahmed Rashid in his latest guest column for the BBC News website.

The shooting down by the Taleban of a Chinook transport helicopter packed with US Special Forces close to the border with Pakistan has once again raised the spectre of increased three way tensions between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States.
At least 16 Americans were killed in what was the largest loss of American lives in Afghanistan since the defeat of the Taleban in 2001.

Many Afghan and some senior American officials insist that the resurgent Taleban are finding sanctuary and support from elements in Pakistan.

The diplomatic tensions are not surprising. It's been the bloodiest summer in Afghanistan for four years.

It's been the bloodiest summer in Afghanistan for four years

And other pressures have been piling up on Islamabad after comments by US Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Chief Porter Goss that they know where Osama Bin Laden is and that he is not in Afghanistan.

Diplomatic crisis

Both seem to be saying that Bin Laden is in Pakistan.

While Afghan leaders feel vindicated by such comments and have stepped up their criticism of Islamabad, Pakistan has taken acute umbrage.

On 21 June President George W Bush telephoned President Pervez Musharraf and urged him to talk to President Karzai to stave off a worsening diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The bout of telephone diplomacy temporarily cooled down the war of words but tensions have continued to simmer.

The reality is that a complex three way game between the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan has gone on since 11 September.

It has been dominated by their ruling elites' self-interest veiled as national interest, rather than any alliance against terrorism.

The tug of war between their conflicting interests continues to hamper joint efforts to combat terrorism and provide a serious commitment to furthering nation and democracy building.

For President Bush the priority has been capturing Bin Laden and other senior al- Qaeda leaders, overriding concerns about nation building in Afghanistan or carrying out a strategic plan to prevent a Taleban resurgence.

Altered priorities

For the first two years after the defeat of the Taleban the US committed hopelessly meagre resources to rebuilding Afghanistan and had few intentions to re-establish state institutions such as the army and police, preferring to rely on warlords to keep the peace.

Even the US priority of capturing Bin Laden became secondary as military manpower and surveillance facilities were shifted from Afghanistan to the war in Iraq.

Although US priorities have now changed for the better in Afghanistan, the legacy of its past policy failures are visible in rampant drugs production, a strengthened Taleban and growing anti-Americanism amongst ordinary Afghans due to the lack of benefits provided to them.

Mr Karzai has resented past US strategy as he has viewed the major threats to Afghanistan and his own political survival as emanating from a resurgent Taleban backed by Pakistan and Afghanistan's warlords.

For him the actual threat was posed by al-Qaeda was minimal. Mr Karzai also considered the war in Iraq as extremely dangerous for Afghanistan's future because it provided a major and unnecessary diversion of the West's resources and commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan.

Real war

For Mr Karzai the real war on Islamic militancy is still based on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, not in Iraq as President Bush believes.

However due to his indecisiveness Mr Karzai never pushed the envelope with the Americans to see the realities on the ground.

Moreover his overweening dependence on the Americans has angered conservatives at home and his neighbours.

Rather than use US clout to build a regional alliance with his neighbours and persuade them to stop interfering in Afghanistan, he signed a strategic partnership pact with Bush in May just as tens of thousands of Afghans were demonstrating against the US for its treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo.

The timing was awful and the pact could have waited until the US role in Guantanamo, Iraq and even Afghanistan was less controversial.

American frustration with Mr Karzai rests on his failure to build an organized political base for himself, despite the success of last year's presidential elections.

Double game

Now he goes into the parliamentary elections in September without a political party, a national platform or a clear ideology.

By blaming Pakistan for his problems he takes the heat off his own political shortcomings.

Pakistan's military regime has certainly - despite diplomatic denials - provided sanctuary and support to the Taleban since they retreated into Pakistan after their defeat in 2001.

Gen Musharraf has played a determined double game with the Americans convinced that this is in the army's interest.

Islamabad knows its alliance with the US is short term, predicated on the war on terror - as long as it lasts.

Washington's real interest is in building up rival India as a bulwark in the region - something the Pakistani military is desperate to delay if not scuttle.

Thus the military feels it has every reason to keep the Americans bogged down in Afghanistan by sustaining the Taleban, while keeping Washington on side by helping hunt down al-Qaeda.

Pakistan has only moved against al-Qaeda after enormous American pressure has been applied.

Although the military has lost over 500 troops in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) hunting down the Arab and Central Asian components of al- Qaeda, it has not moved at all in Balochistan province where the Taleban have re-established themselves.
Nor has the military suppressed those Pakistani extremist groups fighting for the Taleban or in Kashmir.

It is also in the military's self-interest to keep Bin Laden alive and on the run, even if it does not do so deliberately.

Political survival

The army's political alliance at home is with the Islamic parties who rule the NWFP and Balochistan and have been avid supporters of the Taleban since the 1990s.

By interfering as little as possible with their support to the Taleban, Musharraf ensures his own political survival and he assuages Islamist officers in the army that he is no stooge to the Americans.

This political game has gone on for far too long and had led to Islamic militancy thriving in the region.

In order to defeat militancy all three players have to create better mechanisms of levelling with each other - discussing their priorities, their concerns and perceived national interest.

As long as the players pull in different directions - the Taleban and al-Qaeda will thrive.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/07/08 16:11:11 GMT


30 Jul 05,, 21:18
prove it........or shut the f**k up.

30 Jul 05,, 21:32
prove it........or shut the f**k up.

You are asking that to Paul Watson, the LATimes reporter, or to Ahmad Rashid, the famous auther of the book Taliban, and also a preeminent Pakistani analyst?

Since so far the the two articles I have posted, one is from Watson, and the other from Rashid.

Or are you asking me to go to Pakistan do and do my own investigation and not rely on what Latimes reporter or Ahmad Rashid have written?

30 Jul 05,, 21:51

Gone are the days when U.S. officials said vaguely that bin Laden was somewhere on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA director, Porter Goss, have said that they know where bin Laden is and that he is not in Afghanistan - implying he is in Pakistan. Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to Kabul who is now the U.S envoy in Baghdad, has been more blunt and said that bin Laden is in Pakistan.

President Pervez Musharraf's army has captured 500 Al Qaeda militants and handed them over to the United States, and has lost more than 500 soldiers fighting Al Qaeda in the rugged tribal areas. But the reality is that Musharraf has little incentive to catch bin Laden - and it may even be in the military's interest to keep him alive, without necessarily knowing where he is.

Pakistan's military fears that its alliance with the United States is a short-term one, based on cooperating in the war on terrorism, while Washington's long-term ally in the region is India, Pakistan's rival, with which the United States signed a 10-year strategic defense pact on June 29. According to this logic, America cannot dump Pakistan as long as the war on terrorism continues and bin Laden remains to be captured.

The Pakistani Army is also angry at President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan for giving India a strategic foothold in his country and at the Americans for doing nothing to stop it. Pakistan's government claims that India is using Afghan soil to support an insurgency by nationalists in Baluchistan Province.

Pakistan's military is keen to maintain its political influence on the Afghan Pashtun population in eastern Afghanistan, something it has done since 1989 and is loath to give up.

So turning a blind eye to bin Laden's whereabouts and to Taliban recruitment inside Pakistan gives the army leverage over both Washington and Kabul. That leverage was evident during last year's presidential elections in Afghanistan: Only after a private meeting between Musharraf and President George W. Bush did Taliban attacks mysteriously cease for the duration of the elections.

At the same time, Musharraf's own political survival partially depends on not catching bin Laden. Pakistan is witnessing far greater anti-Americanism and sympathy for bin Laden than ever existed in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The army's top brass has no interest in provoking the terrorist mayhem and increased extremism that would certainly follow if bin Laden is caught or killed on Pakistani soil.

Meanwhile Musharraf has kept the fundamentalists at home on his side by allying himself with Pakistan's largest Islamic fundamentalist parties, who idealize bin Laden and rule the two provinces bordering Afghanistan. If bin Laden were caught, the fundamentalists might break that alliance and leave Musharraf politically isolated.

(Ahmed Rashid is the author of ''Taliban'' and, most recently, ''Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia.'')

30 Jul 05,, 23:33
prove it........or shut the f**k up.


31 Jul 05,, 04:43
It is not surprising that there should be a Pakistani connection.

It is a strategic imperative for Pakistan to have Afghanistan in its sphere of influence since it allows Pakistan strategic depth.

The new regime and Afghanistanis are averse to having Pakistan breathing down its neck, since the last time when Pakistan did have something to do with Afghanistan, it was through the Taleban, who repressed the Afghanis society.

It was too overpowering and radical an Islamic experience for the Afghanis.

Likewise, the US too does not want the Pakistanis entering Afghanistan since that would negate the good work done to undo the horrifying era of the Pakistani aided Taleban.

It serves the US interests to have a turbulent Pakistan since it permits US presence in the general area which overlooks the CAR, which is an important area from the US strategic point of view (DPG) as also from the trade point of view (NEP).

It also squeeze Iran from both West (Iraq) and East (Afghanistan).

Therefore, though an oxymoronic sitaution (so to say), it serves US interests.

Like it or not, it is the US that calls the shots in the world. Call it the Great White Satan if you wish but it is time that people who are opposing the US realise that its Pax Americana and so they should STFU or else..........

31 Jul 05,, 12:15
both and all....if you have evidence, provide it in an international court of law.

Officer of Engineers
31 Jul 05,, 13:53
both and all....if you have evidence, provide it in an international court of law.
The point of that would be? The ICJ does not punish and it certainly would not stop the alleged activities.