Posts Tagged ‘Pakistani army and militants’

Death squads, disappearances and torture in Pakistan

September 16, 2009

Washington’s  “good war”

Bill Van Auken, wsws.org, Sept 16, 2009

As the Obama administration prepares a major escalation of the so-called AfPak war, reports from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, near Afghanistan’s eastern border, provide a gruesome indication of the kind of war that the Pentagon and its local allies are waging.

While touted by Obama and his supporters as the “good war,” there is mounting evidence that the Pentagon and the CIA are engaged in a war against the population of the region involving death squads, disappearances and torture.

The Pakistani army sent 20,000 troops into Swat, part of the country’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP), last April to wage war against ethnic Pashtun Islamist movements (routinely described as the Pakistani Taliban) that have supported fellow Pashtuns across the border who are resisting the US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan.

Continues >>

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UN: Nearly 190,000 flee Pakistan battles

October 15, 2008

UN says nearly 190,000 flee Pakistan offensive against Islamic militants

ASIF SHAHZAD | AP News, Oct 14, 2008 11:13 EST

Nearly 190,000 people are reported to have fled fighting between Pakistani troops and militants near the border with Afghanistan, the United Nations said Tuesday as fresh clashes in the area killed 17 militants.

Meanwhile, police in the frontier region released a man of dual American-Pakistani citizenship they had arrested Monday in the volatile border region.

Authorities originally described the 20-year-old as a U.S. citizen traveling without the permission foreigners need to enter the region, which has seen of months of fighting between militants and security forces and is considered a possible hiding place for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

“After interrogation we found out he holds dual nationality,” Charsadda district police chief Waqif Khan. “He was roaming in that area just due to his lack of knowledge about the sensitivity there.”

Fighting is spreading across Pakistan’s rugged northwest as the government tries to crack down on insurgents blamed for soaring attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan and a bloody campaign of suicide bombings against military and western targets within Pakistan.

Most of the clashes are taking place in Bajur, where the Pakistani military launched a major offensive in early August.

The U.N.’s refugee agency said at least 20,000 Pakistanis and Afghans have fled from Bajur into eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province since the fighting began.

Citing Pakistani statistics, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement that 168,463 other people had fled to other parts of northwestern Pakistan during the offensive. The agency said it was not able to independently confirm the figure.

It said most refugees, on both sides of the border, were staying with host families. But the agency said it was helping those who are staying in several temporary camps in Pakistan.

In the latest violence in Bajur, Pakistani fighter jets pounded militant trenches on Tuesday, killing five suspected insurgents, while overnight artillery and mortar attacks left 12 extremists dead, said government official Muhammad Jamil Khan. Two pro-government tribesmen also died in the fighting, he said.

Pakistan’s secular, pro-Western government says it is trying to forge a national consensus on how to combat terrorism. However, many Pakistanis blame the violence on their country’s support for U.S. policy in its pursuit of al-Qaida and the Taliban.

On Tuesday, a small group of Islamic political parties announced that suicide bombings were not permitted under Islam, a declaration likely to please the government. Pakistan has been plagued by such attacks, including one that killed former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and 20 other people in December 2007 and a blast at the Marriott Hotel last month in which more than 50 died.

“We, the religious scholars, believe that the suicide bombings in Pakistan are illegitimate. Islam does not allow it,” said a leader of the alliance, Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi.

But Naeemi also called on the government to halt its military operations in the border region and allow a fact-finding mission of religious scholars to visit there.

Source: AP News