The Pendleton Panther

Archive for the ‘News – Pakistan’ Category

At least seven Taliban deaths were confirmed on Wednesday in a bombing involving two U.S. unmanned aerial vehicles.  The seven insurgents were hunkered down in a Taliban military base located in northern Pakistan.  These drone attacks are part of a growing trend of UAV utilization by the U.S. military as their use has increased by 47% since Obama’s inauguration.  The terrorist stronghold was located in the Waziristan region of Pakistan, usually home to the nomadic tribes that call the province home.  It is unknown at this time the ranks of the seven casualties.  Air strikes are very unpopular with the Pakistani as it is believed that dropping bombs and shooting missiles causes more collateral damage than ground based assaults.  The truth is, however, that stray bullets go much farther than the blast radii of any of these surgical strikes.   Pakistani government has denounced cooperation with these aerial attacks to its public, but has recently been obliging in coordinating these strikes.

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Pakistan

Nearly 13 people were killed and a dozen injured in the northwest part of Pakistan this past Saturday. The attack occurred right at a security checkpoint in Mingora, one of the largest cities in Pakistan. The Taliban are said to be responsible for the attack as they continue to bring misery to those around them. The Taliban as we know is one of the most dominant terrorist groups in the world, many of which believe is headed by Osama bin Laden. Reports read that a man approached the security checkpoint and security began to open fire when the man refused to stop moving. In a matter of an instance he “detonated” explosives and many innocent people were blown to pieces. To make matters worse for the Pakistan civilians, a day before the blast occurred, there was another suicide bombing in Lahore that killed nearly 44 people and injured 100. Even after all the bombings and killings, threats continue to be pouring into Pakistan and it seems as though peace will never be an answer.

Victim of the suicide attacks

Two blasts which targeted military vehicles went off today and killed at least 43 people.  The two suicide bomb blasts were only 15 seconds apart and it happened near a crowded market known as the RA bazaar.  Lahore police official Chaudrhy Shafiq said that the two suicide bombers detonated vests full of explosives as they walked up on the two military vehicles.  More than 95 people were injured from the two explosions.  Just four days earlier in Lahore, Pakistan a suicide car bomb went off that killed 13 people and injured over 80.  This recent attack happened amongst several waves of violence that were against military offensives carried out by Islamic extremists.  The recent violence has killed over 600 people total.  “The nation and its security forces need to keep morale high,” said Rana Sanaullah, law minister for Punjab province, where Lahore is located. “We can only win this fight with unity.”  People that witnessed the recent suicide bombing were frightened.  Shopkeeper Muhammad Hafeez heard the blasts from inside his shop about 200 yards from the site. “Both blasts were huge,” he said. “I also heard gunshots. We stayed inside our shops out of fear, then later shut everything down.”

The list of wanted Taliban leaders is now seven names shorter.   After Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was captured in Pakistan last week, a combined Allied and Pakistani effort to root out the remaining 15 terrorist leaders heading the Afghan Taliban succeeded in reducing the number of targets to eight.  All seven captures were made either by or with the help of Pakistani police, showing that the crackdown on Taliban activity in Pakistan that the US has sought is coming to fruition.  This blow to the leadership council is expected to be very damaging to the Taliban in the short run and may have long term consequences depending on who assumes command of the weakened organization.  In the meantime, however, Pakistan is just that much safer.  A Taliban spokesman claims that all arrests are fictional and nothing more than propaganda, but it’s hard to argue with pictures like this.

Taliban forces assembled in Afghanistan.

The United States military scored an immense victory recently as they succeeded in capturing Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is the Taliban’s Top Military Commander and second in command behind Mullah Mohammad Omar who was the founder of the Taliban. This critical move made by the United States is a vital turning point in the current war on terror. He was arrested and apprehended in a Pakistani-CIA co-operation that made a big move into the midst of Southern Afghanistan in the port city of Karachi. Since the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, Baradar is the highest ranking Taliban leader to have been arrested by the United States. Karachi is the biggest city in Pakistan and there had been many rumors circulating that various high ranking officers in the Taliban resided there. However, the Taliban has repetitively denied all claims saying that Baradar was still with them, but would not present any evidence to prove their case. They stated that it was all propaganda against them.

armed soldiers outside Pakistan's army headquarters in Rawaipindi

Soldiers Pakistan's army headquarters in Rawaipindi.

In Lahore, Pakistan there were teams of gunmen that coordinated to attack three law enforcement facilities in Lahore, which is the cultural capital of Pakistan. Also, some car bombs exploded on Thursday  in two cities near the Afghan border and killed 39 people due to the “anti-government” violence.  No group of terrorists has claimed the responsibility, even though they think that the Pakistani Taliban did it since lately they have claimed that they did many other attacks prior to this one. President Asif Ali Zardari says that even though there has been many attacks over the past two weeks, that will not deter the government from their mission that they have right now, which is to eliminate the violent extremists. This day of so much violence shut down the daily and normal life that the people have in Lahore. All the government officers were commanded to close, all the big markets were closed, the roads were empty and all the people stayed home. Sadly, because everyone is terrified of these late unfortunate events that have been going on for the past two weeks.

$7.5 Billion is nothing to sneeze at, but it would seem that many Pakistani citizens are doing just that.  In a recent Gallup poll, 85% of people living in Pakistan think that the nation should accept the massive amount of aid that would be given to them by the Kerry-Lugar bill.  Only 25% of those polled even think that the billions would improve the life of the average Pakistani.  Pakistan is wary to accept the money as they are less than eager to satisfy some of the conditions.  Senator John Kerry asserts that the conditions will do nothing to infringe on Pakistan’s sovereignty, but exist only to ensure cooperation in counterterrorism and procure direct access to Pakistani Nationals involved with nuclear proliferation.  The Institute of Policy Studies in Islamabad, however, goes so far as to call the tone of the bill downright humiliating.  The poll taker, Mr. Galini, conceded that his nation may seem ungrateful, but argues that there is a limited amount of good that foreign aid can do.


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