Posts Tagged ‘South Waziristan’

44 US drone hits in Pakistan killed 700 civilians in 2009

January 4, 2010

The Peninsula,  Jan 2, 2010Web posted
Source ::: INTERNEWS

PESHAWAR: Of the 44 Predator strikes carried out by the American drones in the tribal areas of Pakistan in 12 months of 2009, only five were able to hit their actual targets, killing five key Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but at the cost of around 700 innocent civilian lives.

According to the figures compiled by the Pakistani authorities, the Afghanistan-based US drones killed 708 people in 44 predator attacks targeting the Pakistani tribal areas between January 1 and December 31, 2009. For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by the American drones, 140 civilian Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 percent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were innocent civilians.

The success percentage for the drone hits during 2009 is hardly 11 percent. On average, 58 civilians were killed in these attacks every month, 12 persons every week and almost two people every day. Most of the hits were conducted on the basis of human intelligence, reportedly provided by the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen, who are spying for the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.

Of the five successful predator attacks carried out in 2009, the first one came on January 1, which reportedly killed two senior al-Qaeda leaders – Usama al-Kin and Sheikh Ahmed Salim, both wanted by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Kin was the chief operational commander of Al Qaeda in Pakistan and had replaced Abu Faraj Al Libi after his arrest in 2004.

The second successful drone attack was conducted on August 5 in South Waziristan that killed the most wanted fugitive chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud along with his wife. The US State Department had announces a $5m head money for information leading to Baitullah , making him the only Pakistani fugitive with the head money separately announced by Islamabad and Washington.

US steps up drone attacks, assassinations in AfPak “surge”

December 28, 2009

By Bill Van Auken, wsws.org,  Dec 28, 2009

Missiles from US Predator drones struck a village in Pakistan over the weekend, killing at least 13 people. The attack coincided with reports of intensified operations by US Special Forces killing squads on the Afghanistan side of the border.

Amounting to targeted assassinations, these forms of warfare are the most evident feature in the first stages of the “surge” ordered earlier this month by President Barack Obama, who is sending at least 30,000 more US troops into Afghanistan.

The methods are indicative of a dirty colonial-style war to suppress resistance to an occupation that is aimed at establishing Washington’s dominance in the energy-rich and strategically vital region of Central Asia.

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US forces mounted secret Pakistan raids in hunt for al-Qaida

December 22, 2009

Former Nato officer reveals secret night operations in border region which America kept quiet

Declan Walsh in Islamabad, The Guardian/UK, Dec 21, 2009
Demonstrators in Quetta set US flag on fire

Demonstrators in Quetta protest against US threats to extend drone strikes into the Balochistan region, which US military chiefs fear is becoming a Taliban ‘hub’. Photograph: Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images

American special forces have conducted multiple clandestine raids into Pakistan‘s tribal areas as part of a secret war in the border region where Washington is pressing to expand its drone assassination programme.

A former Nato officer said the incursions, only one of which has been previously reported, occurred between 2003 and 2008, involved helicopter-borne elite soldiers stealing across the border at night, and were never declared to the Pakistani government.

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Pakistani army offensive devastates tribal communities

October 28, 2009

By James Cogan, wsws.org, Oct 28, 2009

The ongoing Pakistani military offensive into the tribal agency of South Waziristan is having a devastating impact on the entire civilian population. Villages and towns are literally being bombed into rubble and tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee for their lives.

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Amnesty International Calls on Pakistani Army to Stop Harassment of Mehsud Tribe

October 23, 2009

Amnesty International, October 22, 2009

WASHINGTON – October 22 – The Pakistani military must stop its harassment of civilians from the Mehsud tribe as they flee the government’s latest offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in the northwest of the country, Amnesty International said today.

The Pakistani military refused to allow Mehsud members to use major roads in fleeing the conflict zone, witnesses told Amnesty International. Some of the tribe members are involved in the senior leadership of the Pakistani Taliban.

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Pakistan Feels the American Raj

October 22, 2009

Eric Margolis, The Huffington Post, Oct 21, 2009

Pakistan’s powerful army just launched a major ground and air offensive against rebellious Pashtun tribes in wild South Waziristan which Islamabad claims is the epicenter of the growing insurgency against the US-backed government of Asif Ali Zardari.

The eight-year war in Afghanistan has now set Pakistan on fire. What began in 2001 as a supposedly limited American anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan has now become a spreading regional conflict that involves the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Iran and Russia.

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Pakistan government unprepared for South Waziristan displacement crisis

October 21, 2009

Pakistan Army troops prepare to leave for patrolling during a curfew in Bannu, Pakistan, 17 October 2009.

Pakistan Army troops prepare to leave for patrolling during a curfew in Bannu, Pakistan, 17 October 2009.

© AP GraphicsBank

Amnesty International, 19 October 2009

The government of Pakistan remains woefully under-prepared for a displacement crisis in South Waziristan as civilians flee the region following three days of heavy fighting, Amnesty International said on Monday.

Tens of thousands of residents have escaped the conflict zone after Pakistan’s army launched a new offensive against suspected Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces on Saturday in the northwest of the country.

Many are seeking refuge in the neighbouring areas of Dera Ismail Khan and Tank but Amnesty International research teams on the ground report a glaring lack of facilities to support the influx of displaced families.

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War Next Door Creates Havoc in Pakistan

October 19, 2009

by Eric Margolis, The Toronto Sun, Oct 18, 2009

Pakistan, increasingly destabilized by the U.S.-led war in neighbouring Afghanistan, is getting closer to blowing apart.

Bombings and shootings have rocked this nation of 167 million, including a brazen attack on army HQ in Rawalpindi and a massive bombing of Peshawar’s exotic Khyber Bazaar.

Pakistan’s army is readying a major offensive against rebellious Pashtun tribes in South Waziristan. Meanwhile, the feeble, deeply unpopular U.S.-installed government in Islamabad faces an increasingly rancorous confrontation with the military.

Like the proverbial bull in the china shop, the Obama administration and U.S. Congress chose this explosive time to try to impose yet another layer of American control over Pakistan as Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama appears about to send thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

Tragically, U.S. policy in the Muslim world continues to be driven by imperial arrogance, profound ignorance, and special interest groups.

The current Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, advanced with President Barack Obama’s blessing, is ham-handed dollar diplomacy at its worst. Pakistan, bankrupted by corruption and feudal landlords, is being offered $7.5 billion US over five years — but with outrageous strings attached.

The U.S. wants to build a mammoth new embassy for 1,000 personnel in Islamabad, the second largest after its Baghdad fortress-embassy. New personnel are needed, claims Washington, to monitor the $7.5 billion in aid. So U.S. mercenaries are being brought in to protect U.S. “interests.” New U.S. bases will open. Most of this new aid will go right into the pockets of the pro-western ruling establishment, about 1% of the population.

Washington is also demanding veto power over promotions in Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence agency, ISI. This crude attempt to take control of Pakistan’s proud, 617,000-man military has enraged the armed forces.

It’s all part of Washington’s “AfPak” strategy to clamp tighter control over restive Pakistan and make use of its armed forces and spies in Afghanistan. Seizing control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the key to its national defence against much more powerful India, is the other key U.S. objective.

However, 90% of Pakistanis oppose the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, and see Taliban and its allies as national resistance to western occupation.

Violence

Alarmingly, violent attacks on Pakistan’s government are coming not only from once-autonomous Pashtun tribes (wrongly called “Taliban”) in Northwest Frontier Province, but, increasingly, in the biggest province, Punjab. Recently, the U.S. Ambassador in Islamabad, in a fit of imperial hubris, actually called for air attacks on Pashtun leaders in Quetta, capital of Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province.

Washington does not even bother to ask the impotent Islamabad government’s permission to launch air attacks inside Pakistan.

Along comes the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Big Bribe as most irate Pakistanis accuse President Asif Ali Zardari’s government of being American hirelings. Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, has been dogged for decades by charges of corruption. His senior aides in Pakistan and Washington are being denounced by what’s left of Pakistan’s media not yet under government control.

Washington seems unaware of the fury its crude, counter-productive policies have whipped up in Pakistan. The Obama administration keeps listening to Washington-based neoconservatives, military hawks, and “experts” who tell it just what it wants to hear, not the facts. Ottawa does the same.

Revolt

As a result, Pakistan’s military, the nation’s premier institution, is being pushed to the point of revolt. Against the backdrop of bombings and shootings come rumours the heads of Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence may be replaced.

Pakistanis are calling for the removal of the Zardari regime’s strongman, Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Many clamour for the head of Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington, my old friend Hussain Haqqani, who is seen as too close to the Americans. One suspects the wily Haqqani is also angling to get the U.S. to help him become Pakistan’s next leader.

The possibility of a military coup against the discredited Zardari regime grows. But Pakistan is dependent on U.S. money, and fears India. Can its generals afford to break with patron Washington?

© 2009 Toronto Sun

Eric Margolis is a columnist for The Toronto Sun. A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World

Pakistan descends deeper into civil war

October 16, 2009

By Peter Symonds, wsws.org, Oct 16, 2009

As the Pakistani military gets set to launch a major offensive into the tribal agency of South Waziristan, Islamist militants carried out coordinated high-profile attacks yesterday on police facilities in the city of Lahore.

Teams of gunmen disguised as police officers struck two police training centres and the provincial headquarters of the Federal Investigation Agency. At least 28 people were killed, including 19 police officers. Two of the targets had already been attacked in the previous 18 months.

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At Least 14 Killed as US Drone Strikes South Waziristan

August 12, 2009

Taliban Spokesman Insists Only Civilians Were Killed

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, August 11, 2009

A US drone strike into the South Waziristan Agency of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) struck a house in the village of Ladda, killing at least 14 people and wounding several others. The village was near last Wednesday’s drone strike, which officials claim killed TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Pakistani officials say the house attacked today was a “militant hideout” or conversely a “training ground,” but a spokesman for an unnamed Taliban-style organization in the area insisted it was a civilian residence and only civilians were killed in the strike.

It was the first US attack in the region since last week’s strike, and the status of Baitullah Mehsud is still unknown. Pakistani and US officials insist they are certain he was killed, but they also claimed to be certain Hakimullah Mehsud, one of his aides, was killed in a battle days later. Hakimullah has since emerged to insisted that neither he nor Baitullah is actually dead.

TTP spokesman Maulvi Omar says that Baitullah is being held at an undisclosed relative’s house and that he is ill. Baitullah has diabetes and has sometimes been in failing health as a result.


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