Archive for the ‘al-Qaida’ Category

Ex-Gitmo detainee joins al-Qaida in Yemen

January 23, 2009

An Internet posting purportedly by al-Qaida in Yemen says the group’s No. 2 is a Saudi national who is a former Guantanamo detainee.

The Yemeni group — known as “al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula” — posted the statement this week on a militant Web site that regularly carries al-Qaida messages.

It says the man returned to his home in Saudi Arabia after his release from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba about a year ago and from there went to Yemen to join the terror group.

The Internet statement identified the man as Said Ali al-Shihri and says his prisoner number at Guantanamo was 372.

The posting could not immediately be verified, and Yemen and Saudi Arabian authorities would not immediately comment on it.

–Associated Press

Related:
Pentagon: 61 ex-Guantanamo inmates return to terrorism
.
 “Torture” Debate is Academic, Abstract Until Real National Crisis Imminent

Advisers say Obama preparing to close Gitmo

January 12, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to issue an executive order his first week in office — and perhaps his first day — to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to two presidential transition team advisers.

It’s unlikely the detention facility at the Navy base in Cuba will be closed anytime soon. In an interview last weekend, Obama said it would be “a challenge” to close it even within the first 100 days of his administration.

But the order, which one adviser said could be issued as early as Jan. 20, would start the process of deciding what to do with the estimated 250 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects and potential witnesses who are being held there. Most have not been charged with a crime.

By LARA JAKES, Associated Press Writer

Related:
 Talks on Iran, a delay on Guantánamo, Economy: Barack Obama’s agenda for his first 100 days

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090112/a
p_on_go_pr_wh/obama_guantanamo

Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border

December 26, 2008

It is difficult to determine what exactly is going on between India and pakistan just now.  News sources say Pakistan has cancelled all army leave and has started to move troops toward the border with India.  But yesterday, Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani said there was ‘absolutely no chance of war” with India.  Pakistan and India are both flying war aircraft in close proximity with one another making the situation very tense…. began moving thousands of troops away from the Afghan border toward India on Friday amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks, intelligence officials said.

Related:
 India, Pakistan Hysteria and Jaundiced Eye:
Distrust, Discontent Since Mumbai Has Not Abated

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Pakistan

The move represents a sharp escalation in the stand off between the nuclear-armed neighbors and stands to weaken Pakistan’s U.S.-backed campaign against al-Qaida and Taliban close to Afghanistan.

Two intelligence officials said the army’s 14th Division was being redeployed to Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border. They said some 20,000 troops were on the move. Earlier Friday, a security official said that all troop leave had been canceled.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

By SEBASTIAN ABBOT, Associated Press Writer

Indian officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

An Associated Press reporter in Dera Ismail Khan, a district that borders the Afghan-frontier province of South Waziristan, said he saw around 40 trucks loaded with soldiers heading away from the Afghan border.

India is blaming Pakistan-based militants for last month’s attacks on Mumbai. Islamabad has said it will cooperate in any probe, but says it has seen no evidence backing up India’s claims.

Both countries have said they hope to avoid military conflict, but Pakistan has promised to respond aggressively if India uses force, an option the Indian government has not ruled out.

Pakistan has deployed more than 100,000 soldiers in Waziristan and other northwestern regions to fight Islamic militants blamed for surging violence against Western troops in Afghanistan.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081226/ap_on_re_a
s/as_pakistan;_ylt=As.nsBzyzQ9kaZgnr9ldh3FvaA8F

Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12
/26/india.pakistan.tensions/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Pakistan: Turning Military Away From Taliban, Afghanistan and Toward India?

Afghanistan could get 30,000 new US troops

December 20, 2008

The top U.S. military officer said Saturday that the Pentagon could double the number of American forces in Afghanistan by next summer to 60,000 — the largest estimate of potential reinforcements ever publicly suggested.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that between 20,000 and 30,000 additional U.S. troops could be sent to Afghanistan to bolster the 31,000 already there.

This year has been the deadliest for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion to oust the Taliban for hosting al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Suicide attacks and roadside bombs have become more dangerous, and Taliban fighters have infiltrated wide swaths of countryside and now roam in provinces on Kabul’s doorstep.

By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm., ... 
Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, seen, during a press conference at a U.S base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008. The top U.S. military officer says that up to 30,000 extra American troops could be sent to Afghanistan next year.(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

U.S. commanders have long requested an additional 20,000 troops to aid Canadian and British forces in two provinces just outside Kabul and in the south. But the high end of Mullen’s range is the largest number any top U.S. military official has said could be sent to Afghanistan.

Mullen said that increase would include combat forces but also aviation, medical and civilian affairs support troops.

“So some 20,000 to 30,000 is the window of overall increase from where we are right now,” he told a news conference at a U.S. base in Kabul. “We certainly have enough forces to be successful in combat, but we haven’t had enough forces to hold the territory that we clear.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081220/ap_on_re_as/as_afgha
nistan;_ylt=Am98binsbEpvKEKM7ZnGlQZ34T0D

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US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has ordered the deployment of an additional combat aviation brigade to Afghanistan early next year, officials have said.

The decision to send about 2,800 soldiers, equipped with both attack and transport helicopters, comes as part of an effort to counter the insurgency.

BBC

Three or four combat brigades are to follow in late spring or early summer.

The top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, Gen David McKiernan, has requested at least 20,000 extra troops.

There are currently 31,000 US troops in the country, 14,000 of whom are part of the 51,000-strong Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7792899.stm

History, dissent cloud Pakistan’s Mumbai reaction

December 19, 2008

The black-and-white flag of Jamaat-ud-Dawa still flutters over a relief camp for survivors of an earthquake that hit a remote corner of Pakistan in October.

But bearded medics who work with the group had vanished from the huddle of tents and mud huts when a half-dozen police showed up to close the operation following allegations the charity was linked to militants blamed for the deadly Mumbai attacks in India.

How Pakistan deals with the Islamic group — popular among many for its aid to the needy — is a key test of its pledge to help investigate the Mumbai tragedy and, more broadly, to prevent militants from using its soil to attack both India and Afghanistan.

The U.S. and the U.N. say Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group India says trained and sent the gunmen who attacked India’s commercial capital last month, killing 164 people and straining what had been improved relations between the countries.

Lashkar-e-Taiba has been an unofficial ally of the Pakistan army in Kashmir, a disputed territory claimed by both India and Pakistan.

Some believe the moment has come for Pakistan, which also backed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, to make clear it has abandoned a shadowy policy of using militant proxies as a foreign policy tool.

The country stands before a “moment of change in people’s attitudes and thinking” toward militants, Sen. John Kerry said Tuesday in Islamabad.

Pakistan must see that Lashkar-e-Taiba has “morphed into a more al-Qaida-esque and radicalized entity” that is damaging the country’s interests, said Kerry, incoming chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081219/ap
_on_re_as/as_pakistan_curbing_jihad

REFILE - ADDING SENATOR KERRY'S TITLE U.S. Senator John ... 
U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (L), designated head of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, talks with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad December 16, 2008.REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (PAKISTAN)

Pakistan: Offensive Near Afghanistan Only “Limited Success”

December 14, 2008

From atop a craggy hillock, the silver-haired Lt. Col. Javed Baloch gestures toward a small black opening in a sandstone outcropping. It’s the mouth of a cave.

Two minutes later a powerful explosion rattles the hillock, and a massive plume of grayish-white smoke rushes skyward.

Cave by cave, the Pakistani army is trying to blow up the underground labyrinth running from tribal areas toward the border with Afghanistan to keep militants away.

This is the front line of Pakistan’s battle against militants on its own soil. The three-month-old offensive is the country’s most aggressive effort to date, countering U.S. and Afghan charges that it is not doing enough to root out Taliban and al-Qaida fighters who crisscross the border. It is also the Pakistani military’s first foray into the Bajur region, where militants are dug in and have in places set up a parallel administration.

By KATHY GANNON, Associated Press Writer

Pakistani Taliban militants seen here in Mamouzai in November, ... 
Pakistani Taliban militants seen here in Mamouzai in November, 2008.(AFP/File/Tariq Mahmood)

An Associated Press team traveled with the Pakistani military deep into a tribal area late last month, almost to the Afghan border. The operation shows the army can put pressure on militants and even wrest some territory back from them, but it may never be able to drive them out from a rugged area of nooks and crannies. More militants are already sneaking in from Afghanistan as reinforcements, and U.S. troops in Afghanistan have installed 68 motion sensors along the border to try to detect them.

The battle is for Bajur, a key base and transit route for Arab and other foreign militants headed for Afghanistan. Here a CIA drone once targeted al-Qaida’s No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, without success.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081214/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan
_on_the_front_line;_ylt=Al9lRxT21jPGWi3h5vX2VgpvaA8F

Lawless Somalia Chaos: President Fires Premier

December 14, 2008

Somalia’s president fired his prime minister Sunday and accused him of paralyzing the government with “corruption, inefficiency and treason.” Hours later, as the government veered toward collapse, Islamic insurgents held a brazen news conference in the capital and vowed never to negotiate with the leadership.

President Abdullahi Yusuf announced his decision in Baidoa, one of the few towns the government still controls.

Above: President Abdullahi Yusuf  Ahmed

Islamic militants accused of ties to al-Qaida have taken over most of the country.

“The government has been paralyzed by corruption, inefficiency and treason,” Yusuf said. He will name a new prime minister in three days, he said.

The prime minister, Nur Hassan Hussein, promised to challenge his dismissal, saying the president lacked the authority to fire him and that Somalia itself lacked a legal government because too many ministers have already resigned.

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN, Associated Press Writer

“The president was speaking in his usual personal capacity, which is always contrary to the country’s existing rules and regulations,” Hussein told The Associated Press.

Later in the day, Sheik Muktar Robow, a spokesman for the al-Shabab insurgent group, held a news conference in the capital, Mogadishu, in open disregard for the government.

Blindfolded Ali Hussein, who was accused of beheading his mother, ... 
Blindfolded Ali Hussein, who was accused of beheading his mother, is prepared for execution as the crowd watches in Bulo Marer , Somalia, Saturday, Dec.13, 2008. Fighters loyal to the Islamist insurgent group al Shabaab on Saturday afternoon publicly executed two men accused of killing their parents, the first such punishment since the Islamists took control of Lower Shabelle region in the South of Mogadishu. The first execution occurred in Bulo Marer, a trading post in Lower Shabelle region where Ali Hussein, who was accused of beheading his mother, was shot by a firing squad of three men.(AP Photo/ Mohamed Sheikh Nor)

“We will never talk to the government and will never accept any political power sharing. Our aim is only to see Islamic law running this country,” Robow said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081214/ap_on_re_af/af_somalia

Britain promises more anti-terror aid to Pakistan

December 14, 2008

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Sunday pledged more technical support and funding to help Pakistan and India battle terrorism in the wake of the attacks in Mumbai that killed more than 160 people.

Brown made the offers as he made whirlwind visits to both nations’ capitals and tried to calm tensions following the assaults, which India has blamed on a Pakistani-based Islamist group.

By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer

Prime Minister Gordon Brown attends at a joint press conference ... 
Prime Minister Gordon Brown attends at a joint press conference with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the Presidential Palace in Islamabad, during his visit to Pakistan, on Sunday December 14, 2008.(AP Photo/PA, Lewis Whyld)

Brown urged the nuclear-armed rivals to cooperate to peacefully resolve the crisis, which the U.S. fears could divert Pakistan’s attention away from battling al-Qaida and Taliban militants along its border with Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, Brown met with President Asif Ali Zardari and promised the Muslim nation new bomb-scanning technology, forensic assistance, help improving airport security and other support. He also announced a $9 million program to help fight the causes of extremism and strengthen democracy, including trying to reach out to and educate Pakistani youth to avoid radicalization.

“We will continue to expand our counterterrorism assistance program with Pakistan, and it will be, more than ever, the most comprehensive anti-terrorism program Britain has signed with any country,” Brown said at a joint news conference with Zardari.

Brown also said more would be done with both India and Pakistan to share police data on terror suspects and groups.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081214/a
p_on_re_as/as_south_asia_brown_visit

Foes ready to test Obama overseas

December 13, 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev chose the day after Barack Obama‘s election victory to brandish a threat of ballistic missiles. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said of the president-elect: “I hope he doesn’t end up being one more imperialist.”

As for Al-Qaida, it likened Barack Obama to a favored slave doing his master’s bidding.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, greets former U.S. ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, greets former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, left, during a meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, predicted the new president would quickly be tested by a dangerous world. That test might come from anywhere, but attention has focused on North Korea, Iran, Russia and Venezuela, and the al-Qaida terror group.

By PAUL HAVEN, Associated Press Writer

Obama’s Republican opponent, John McCain, called him too inexperienced to be president. So did Hillary Clinton, now his choice for secretary of state. Since his election, Obama has filled his national security team with centrists and relative hawks — a possible warning not to underestimate him.

“What Obama absolutely must prove early on in his administration is that he cannot be played for a patsy, that he has the strength … and that he understands his no. 1 duty is as commander in chief and protector of the United States,” said Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House, the London-based think tank.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081213/ap_on_
re_eu/eu_obama_s_adversaries

India gives info tying Mumbai gunmen to Pakistan

December 9, 2008

Police released names and photographs of suspected Islamic militants who staged the bloody three-day siege of Mumbai and said they uncovered new details about the gunmen — including hometowns in Pakistan.

The new information, if confirmed, would bolster India’s claim that the attack was launched from Pakistan and was released as the Pakistani government announced more arrests in raids on Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group that India blames for the assault on its financial capital.

Named militants. Mumbai police website

Released photos (from left): Bada Abdul Rehaman (Taj Palace); Abdul Rehaman Chota (Oberoi); Ismal Khan (CST station); Babar Imaran (Nariman House)

Indian officials maintained a skeptical silence about the reported crackdown and arrest of an alleged mastermind of the Mumbai assault, which killed 171 people, raised fears of war between the nuclear-armed neighbors and eroded U.S. hopes for a regional push against al-Qaida and other extremists.

By MUNEEZA NAQVI, Associated Press Writer

Mumbai’s chief police investigator, Rakesh Maria, showed photographs of eight of the nine slain attackers — some from identity cards, but three were gruesome pictures of maimed faces. The body of the ninth was too badly burned, he said. The 10th gunman, previously identified as Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was captured alive.

Maria said all 10 attackers were from Pakistan, most of them Punjab province, and were between the ages of 20 and 28. He did not say how police had tracked down their hometowns, although they have been interrogating the lone surviving gunman.

The attackers, who apparently landed by boat on the Mumbai coast the night of Nov. 26, were led by

Ismail Khan….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081209/ap_on_re_as/as_india_shooting