Category Archives: Pakistan

US adds Taliban commander involved in IED, suicide attacks to terrorism list

English: IED DETONATOR — A U.S. Marine Corps e...


The US Treasury Department has added a Taliban commander who builds bombs and deploys suicide bombers against Coalition and Afghan forces to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

The Taliban commander, who was identified as Abdul Samad Achekzai, or Samad, is “a key official in the Taliban’s IED [improvised explosive device] supply network,” Treasury stated today in a press release announcing the designation.

“As recently as mid-2010,” Samad “was responsible for and tasked with IED component procurement and storage, detonator construction and IED training in support of Taliban fighters in western and southern Afghanistan,” Treasury said.

In addition to serving as a senior IED facilitator, manufacturer, and trainer, Samad also directed assassinations and suicide attacks. Treasury linked Samad to 11 suicide attacks against Afghan and Coalition forces in 2010 and 2011.

Samad is an Afghan national whose current address is in “Baluchistan Province, Pakistan,” Treasury said. The Taliban’s leadership is known to be based across the border in Pakistan. Many senior and midlevel Taliban leaders operate from Baluchistan, including in Quetta, the provincial capital, and in the border town of Chaman. Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have allowed the Taliban to operate from Quetta, Chaman, and other locations in Baluchistan, and they support Taliban operations in Afghanistan.

Despite 10 years of war in Afghanistan, Samad is the first Taliban commander to have been added to the US’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists for involvement in IED activities.


55 Pakistanis killed in violence in Khyber

Typical highly decorated Pakistani transport t...


At least 55 Pakistanis were killed in the contested tribal agency of Khyber today in a suicide bombing outside a mosque and an ambush on a military outpost. The outburst of violence takes place just two weeks after Khyber’s political agent said military operations have “broken the back” of terrorists operating in the tribal agency.

In the first attack, the Lashkar-e-Islam, a radical, Taliban-like group that operates in Khyber, killed 10 Pakistani soldiers after ambushing a military checkpoint in Khyber’s Tirah Valley. Pakistani troops manning the outpost returned fire and claimed to have killed 23 Lashkar-e-Islam fighters.

In the second attack, a Taliban suicide bomber detonated his vest outside a mosque in the Tirah Valley known to be frequented by members of the Lashkar-e-Islam. Twenty-two people were reported killed. The Lashkar-e-Islam claimed that only six of their fighters were killed in the attack.

The Taliban claimed credit for the suicide attack, and said it was carried out to avenge the deaths of several Taliban fighters at the hands of the Lashkar-e-Islam last month,according to the BBC.

Today’s attacks cap a week of violence in Khyber, which included the killing of two women and a child in an IED attack on Feb. 29, and a clash on Feb. 24 that resulted in the deaths of seven Lashkar-e-Islam fighters and three Pakistani soldiers.


Iran offers 80,000 bpd oil on deferred payment

Islamabad—In a welcoming development Iran has offered to supply 80,000 barrels of crude oil per day (BPD) to Pakistan on deferred payment along with credit line of $ 250 million for laying the portion of pipeline of IP gas project in Pakistan ’s territory.

Dr Asim Hussain told this to the media persons here on Tuesday. He said, Pakistan had asked for $ 500 million credit for materializing the IP project on time, but Iran facing economic sanctions by US has committed to give $ 250 million loan to complete the mega project.

The IP gas line project is scheduled to be operational by December 31, 2014.

The Special Assistant said that his ministry had sought opinion from central bank of Pakistan over the lucrative offer of Iran to provide 80,000 barrels of crude oil on three month deferred payment as the government wants foreign exchange forward cover by State Bank of Pakistan against the import of oil from Iran.

Meanwhile Iraq has also offered Pakistan crude oil supply on deferred payment and to this effect he may go to Iraq by mid of March to negotiate the import of oil.

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Crashed drone wreckage destroyed in missile strike in Pakistan

English: Air Force officials are seeking volun...

MIRAMSHAH: Around 400 Pakistani soldiers and dozens of political administration officials in North Waziristan’s Mir Ali subdivision narrowly escaped a drone attack on Saturday night when a missile fired by a spy plane hit the wreckage of the US drone that had crashed in the area on Saturday.

“We were looking for the wreckage of the drone in Machikhel village, Mir Ali, and were almost close to the debris of the destroyed aircraft when one of the drones flying over the area fired a missile and hit two missiles lying on the ground,” a senior official of the local administration said.

An official of the political administration said local militants were believed to have fired and shot down the spy plane and even reached there to get hold of some of its wreckage before the government officials could arrive in the village.

The tribal sources said the militants were congratulating one another for downing the CIA-operated spy plane. The North Waziristan Taliban, led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, last year made a claim that their fighters had shot down a US drone in the Dattakhel area and later rewarded the shooter with a car.

41 Afghan child suicide bombers rescued – govt

KABUL — The Afghan government said Monday that police had rescued 41 children from becoming suicide bombers as they were about to be smuggled across the mountains into Pakistan.
Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told a news conference that the children aged six to 11 had been released on February 15 from the clutches of four insurgents in eastern Kunar province.
He told AFP their families “were fooled by terrorists”, who promised to send them to seminaries in Pakistan where they would be “brainwashed” and “prepared for suicide bombings against Afghan and international troops in Afghanistan”.
Police arrested the four suspects and the children were returned to their families, the spokesman said.


Boosting air defence: F-16s replace Americans at Jacobabad airbase

By Zahid Gishkori

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF), in a significant move, has equipped the newly renovated Jacobabad airbase with close to three dozen F-16s, including the advanced Block 52+ version of the aircraft.

Pakistan has spent over $3.75 billion on both the revamping of Jacobabad airbase and the acquisition of new planes, officials told The Express Tribune. The air force is in a better position to encounter any threats after acquiring the new F-16s which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, they added.

Defence analyst Lt General (retd) Talat Masood said this was a significant development especially as it had come months after the Americans had quit the airbase. Masood, however, warned of a shift in the strategic balance of the region, saying “India’s new aircraft deal with France would leave Pakistan far behind”. For all intents and purposes, he said, Pakistan should continue its cooperation with the US to enhance its defence capability. “Pakistan and the US are reciprocal when it comes to regional stability in South Asia,” he added.

India is all set to reach an agreement with France over the purchase of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) costing over $12 billion, making it the largest international defence deal by value in recent years, according to Indian media. Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had formally announced the completion of Jacobabad Airbase on February 12. The Chief of Air Staff said that all American personnel, including the Training Support Team for the new F-16s, have left after training PAF pilots and other technical staff.

“The new F-16 Block 52 fleet will pave the way for establishing the balance of power in the region,” said General Kayani.

“This airbase is now the largest platform for modern aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” a senior PAF official told The Express Tribune. “It’s an outcome of years long cooperation between Pakistan and the US.”

Pakistan had purchased 18 new F-16 Block 52+ aircraft, while 14 used F-16s were supplied free of charge by the US. The US Training Support Team consisted of over 200 personnel, including staff to train PAF personnel on making the aircraft operational. PAF has also recruited over 4, 000 employees for the newly renovated strategic airbase which is located close to the western frontier bordering both Iran and Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.