Friday, March 30, 2007
This is an incomplete incident map for week 288 of the War on Terror. As it is right now it's too ambiguous, so I'm trying to come up with a way to show if each incident represents a "victory" or a "defeat". I'm also going to switch to a more detailed map, and meddle with the transparency levels of the smoke some more. Thoughts?
Saturday, March 24, 2007
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Clashes between Pakistani tribesmen and foreign militants near the Afghan border this week have left up to 160 people dead, including about 130 Uzbek and Chechen fighters, the provincial governor said Friday.
Ali Mohammed Jan Aurakzai, the top government official in Northwest Frontier Province, said between 25 and 30 tribesmen also had died in fighting that started Monday in the South Waziristan tribal region and was continuing Friday.
The government says the bloodletting shows the success of its decision to use local tribesmen to root out foreign militants linked to Al Qaeda. However, experts say it also exposes authorities' lack of control of a region also used by the Taliban to support attacks in Afghanistan.
Aurakzai, a retired Pakistani army general, said tribal militants had captured another 63 foreigners and were hunting 200 more who had scattered into the area's mountains.
"Our forces are not involved. Local tribesmen are not allowing foreigners to live in their areas," he told reporters at his British colonial-era residence in the regional capital, Peshawar.
The death toll from the fighting in several towns in South Waziristan has risen rapidly, and had stood at about 135 on Thursday. Officials say the two sides have observed brief truces to allow for the burial of dead, but that attempts by local militant leaders to broker an agreement to halt the fighting had failed.
Hundreds of Central Asian and Arab militants linked to Al Qaeda fled to this semiautonomous region after the collapse of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and forged alliances with local tribes. Other Uzbek Islamists opposed to the regime of President Islam Karimov in their homeland have reportedly since joined them from Uzbekistan.
Aurakzai said that Tahir Yuldash, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a militant opposition group, was in the area when fighting started but would not say what had happened to him.
As part of its support of the U.S.-led war on terror, Pakistan launched military operations in 2004 to wipe the foreign militants out. They succeeded in busting camps used by Al Qaeda but suffered hundreds of casualties and failed to expel the foreign fighters.
The military said at the time that Yuldash, one of Uzbekistan's most wanted men, was wounded but escaped during a raid on a suspected Al Qaeda camp near Wana, South Waziristan's main town.
More recently, Pakistan has cut deals with pro-Taliban militants and urged local tribal elders to police the region themselves.
That has sparked concern that Taliban and other militants now have freer rein to launch crossborder attacks into Afghanistan on U.S. and NATO forces. American officials are also worried it has allowed Al Qaeda to regroup.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday that the fighting between tribal groups and foreign fighters could help defeat extremists.
Some analysts, however, say militants with links to Taliban and Al Qaeda are involved on both sides of the current conflict, which also pits local tribes against each other, and that blood feuds could deepen insecurity in a region viewed as a possible hiding place for Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri.
This is very interesting. It looks like al Qaeda may be starting to run out of places to hide. Something similar is happening in 'Iraq, where two tribes recently joined a Sunni tribal alliance dedicated to evicting al Qaeda.
Via FOX News.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Zemarai said he was driving seven of his relatives home and was several hundreds metres away from the soldiers' vehicles when they opened fire.
"The first three bullets hit my car and the fourth one hit my 12-year old son in the side of his head."
The Afghan interior ministry said Nato troops had opened fire on a minivan "which apparently tried to overtake the troops or maybe the car was too close to the troops".
Zemarai has denied trying to overtake the convoy and said he was unaware of any warning shots.
Bays said he later counted four bullet holes in the bodywork of the damaged vehicle.
"The boy is the latest innocent victim of a Nato mistake and his father has said he would join the Taliban or any other group that would force foreign troops from his country," Bays said.
The area's police chief told Al Jazeera he was "deeply disturbed" by the incident involving International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) troops.
He said: "We've had this sort of problem all over Afghanistan.
"I hope the Afghan government deal with this seriously."
Bays said the police chief was later threatened with dismissal for speaking out over the killing.
A child was also hit and killed by a Nato vehicle in a convoy in the eastern
This is one of the problems involved in overstretching our resources. While I have not seen any figures (yet), I believe that it is primarily troops who have been deployed multiple times without any time in between to recuperate who do this. The father's comment that he would be willing to join the Taliban because of this demonstrates how crucial it is that we stop this practice of treating our soldiers like machines.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Fighting had previously broken out between the two groups on March 6.
Government security forces were not involved, Arshad said.
Amid the fighting, three children were reportedly killed and about 20 more wounded when a stray mortar hit their school bus.
Hundreds of foreign fighters, including Uzbeks, Chechens and Arabs, fled to the semi-autonomous tribal lands on the Pakistani side of the border after US-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in
Most of the tribesmen, who inhabit both sides of the Pakistani-Afghan border, have given refuge to the men despite government efforts to remove them.
The fighting this month indicates that, in at least one area, relations have broken down.
Arshad said: "It's a success of the government strategy ... the tribesmen are fed up with them because they and their activities adversely affect their lives and business."
An intelligence official in Wana said the Uzbek fighters had cut off a road to the west of the town and security forces would take action to clear it if they did not withdraw in 24 hours.
The cause of the latest fighting was not clear, but the tribal leader and his men had been demanding that the foreign militants lay down their arms, a security official in the area said.
The militants have killed many people across the region over the past few years, including pro-government tribal leaders and people they accuse of spying for US forces in
Via al Jazeera.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Robert Doumar, a district judge, said: "There is substantial evidence in this case presented by the expert testimony that the government of
The judge is still to decide on the amount of compensation
Experts testified that
Lawyers representing the Sudanese government declined to comment after Wednesday's ruling.
Doumar said that he would issue a written opinion later to fully explain his ruling.
Shalala Swenchonis-Wood, whose brother died in the attack, said on Wednesday: "Words can't express the loss my family has gone through.
"It's not financial, it's not material, it's always the things, the little things you don't see."
The families want $105m in damages, but potential damages could be reduced to $35m.
The judge, however, has said he is inclined to apply the 'Death on the High Seas Act', which permits compensation for economic losses but not for pain and suffering.
Four experts on terrorism, including R. James Woolsey, CIA director from 1993 to 1995, also testified to support the families' position that al-Qaeda needed the African nation's help to carry out the attack.
"It would not have been as easy - it might have been possible - but it would not have been as easy,'' Woolsey said in a videotaped statement.
The experts cited testimony from other trials, a declassified Canadian intelligence report, US state department reports and their own studies as they testified that
They also accused
Via al Jazeera.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Via al Jazeera
Monday, March 12, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
I do remember reading on al Jazeera that Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, had issued a statement saying that Hamas had "surrendered" in the recent Mecca talks. Hamas protested that it had done no such thing.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
In Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden celebrated his 50th birthday, with Taliban troops around the country praying for him to live another "200 years". A spokesman for the Taliban described the prayers as "long"¹. The Taliban has also stated that it will "slaughter" a captured journalist unless two of its spokesmen are released and the Italian government sets a withdrawal date. It has given Italy one week to comply. The journalist, Daniele Mastrogicomo, has been accused of being a coalition spy, a charge his colleagues deny.
Friday, March 9, 2007
Speaking of reading, Pakistan has threatened to "curtail or completely stop its cooperation with the United States" in the War on Terror if Congress passes a law making aid contingent on cooperation in the War on Terror.
RAND has said that the Pakistani government may be secretly backing the Taliban.
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
In Afghanistan, Coalition forces began Operation Achilles, a major attempt to regain control of the south. One British soldier has been killed so far. The operation has already begun to yield fruit, in the form of several captures of Taliban and al-Qaeda officials.
One of the officials, Taliban commander Mullah Mahmud, was apprehended while demonstrating a surprising trend towards a more tolerant view of sexual mores on the part of the Taliban, as al-Jazeera has reported he was dressed in, of all things, a burqa. It is unknown what attitude his wife has taken towards his cross-dressing.
Monday, March 5, 2007
Sunday, March 4, 2007
A US convoy was attacked by a suicide minivan today in Jalalabad. It caused no injuries, but the US soldiers panicked, opening fire on surrounding civilians, including cars passing by on the freeway. The final toll was 8-10 killed, 35 wounded. The incident was followed by large protests.
It was later discovered that the Coalition, which has denied wrongdoing, attempted to suppress video evidence of the incident.
Al Jazeera correspondent John Cookson said in reference to the incident, "The bombers are hoping to destabilize Afghanistan further and cause fear and unease among the general population. Meanwhile, the Taliban are consolidating control of the south and promising security."
Endangering the civilian population and then offering to protect or rebuild is a fairly popular tactic among terrorist organizations, for reasons that elude me.