Discussion in 'China' started by ajtr, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Pakistan is the headquarters of both al Qaeda and the Taliban, while Pakistani nuclear scientists have met with Osama bin Laden and proliferated nuclear technology to rogues states such as North Korea. Few countries in the world worry the Obama administration more. In past months the Taliban have moved deep into Pakistan, at one point taking up positions just 60 miles from the capital, Islamabad. The Pakistani military is pushing back with aggressive military operations in the Swat Valley, which the government effectively ceded to Taliban control earlier this year. The fighting has displaced more than 2 million Pakistanis.

    Just how stable is this nuclear-armed state? Where are Pakistan's nukes, and how large is the country's nuclear program? Just how strong are Pakistan's militants? And how has the United States or the Pakistani state dealt with them either through military action or peace agreements? These are some of the questions we hope to try to answer in these graphics.

    Nuclear Weapons

    As the violence rises in Pakistan, Americans are increasingly worried about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal; 87 percent in a poll this year said this issue concerned them. The locations of Pakistan's dozen or so nuclear facilities are largely a secret, but what is known is that one of the main nuclear research facilities is in Kahuta, outside Islamabad. This is where uranium is enriched via gas centrifuges. The district of Khushab, in Punjab province, is home to two plutonium production reactors, which may have eclipsed the uranium enrichment at Kahuta as Pakistan's primary source of fissile material.

    One key fact: Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear weapons program in the world.

    Locations and functions of the various parts of Pakistan's nuclear infrastructure are available here (pdf) in a map from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

    Jihadi Violence

    Jihadi violence has grown exponentially in Pakistan over the last several years. Insurgent attacks have increased more than 700 percent since 2005, and suicide attacks have increased 20-fold. Suicide bombers managed, for instance, to strike in three places in Pakistan in just one 24-hour period in April.

    The number of Pakistanis who say their country is heading in the wrong direction has tracked closely with the accelerating trend of jihadi violence.

    Suicide Attack Locations

    One way to map the spread of violence in Pakistan is by tracking the locations of suicide attacks. By analyzing reliable media reports and data from the Pak Institute for Peace Studies in Islamabad, we were able to create the maps below for 2004 to 2008.

    The trend is clear: From only six suicide attacks in Pakistan in 2004 to 63 in 2008, terrorist violence has risen exponentially. Click the highlighted areas for more details about each attack.

    Predator Strikes and al Qaeda

    Just three days into his presidency, Obama authorized a near-simultaneous pair of drone strikes against targets in North and South Waziristan. Between when he took office and August 7, there have been 28 strikes, roughly one per week. Our analysis shows that these attacks have killed some 350 people, with the August 5 attack killing Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. Only one other strike has killed another important al Qaeda or Taliban leader, presumably because many of them have decamped from the tribal areas following the 34 drone attacks there last year which killed at least 10 militant leaders. Today the drone program seems to have hit the point of diminishing returns.

    The drone strikes have certainly put pressure on al Qaeda. In 2008, the terrorist group released less than half the number of audio- and videotapes that it did the year before. An organization which is concentrating on survival has little time to put out communiqués. This year al Qaeda is cranking out a relatively higher volume of tapes than it did last year, but still far less than it did at its peak in 2007.

    Hearts and Minds

    Since 2007, both Osama bin Laden and the Taliban have been losing some popularity in Pakistan, a drop that coincides with the dramatic increases in terrorist attacks there. But this has not translated into more support for the United States; fewer than one in four Pakistani respondents have a favorable view of America. And when asked to name the principal threat to their security, more than half chose the United States, while only 8 percent said al Qaeda.

    Pakistani Efforts to Stop the Violence
    Military: Examples of Fighting Between Militants and Pakistani Security Forces

    March to April 2009. Taliban militants began to impose sharia law in the Swat Valley as part of the conditions of the Malakand Accord, but their incursion into Buner sparked a more robust Pakistani military response than in the past. The fighting continues today between some 4,000 militants and 15,000 soldiers.

    November 2007. Extremists loyal to Maulana Fazlullah, Taliban leader in Swat, seized territory in the Swat Valley and attempted to impose sharia law over the region. The Pakistani Army responded by sending a force of 20,000 soldiers to counter the radical cleric, and several weeks of fighting followed. By early December, the military claimed to have driven all the militants out, killing nearly 300 and capturing 140. The rest of Fazlullah's estimated 5,000 fighters melt back into the population.

    July 2007. The Red Mosque siege in Islamabad, a violent confrontation between militants campaigning for the imposition of sharia law and Pakistani security forces, left at least 87 people dead, including militant cleric leader Abdur Rashid Ghazi and 11 members of the Pakistani special forces. Although the Pakistani military pushed the militants out of the mosque after a week of fighting, suicide attacks drastically ratcheted up following the conflict; between January and June, there were 11, but between July and December there were 49.

    March 2004. Heavy fighting between 500 Taliban militants and some 5,000 Pakistani soldiers broke out near Wana, South Waziristan. More than 100 militants and soldiers died in the conflict, which ended after nearly a week of back-and-forth hostilities. The next month, the Pakistani Army signed a peace agreement with the militants, viewed as a concession to the extremists.

    Pakistan Army Deployments


    There are 555,000 military personnel, of whom 360,000 are near the border with India.

    As of May 10, President Asif Ali Zardari said 125,000 troops are on the border with Afghanistan. In April, the Pakistani military moved 6,000 troops from the border with India (that were moved there after the 2008 Mumbai attacks perpetrated by Pakistani militants).

    More than 1,500 Pakistani soldiers have been killed fighting the militants since 2001.

    In the past several months, Pakistan has moved 15,000 soldiers into the area around Swat and Buner following the collapse of the February peace agreement with the Taliban.

    On Dec. 28, following the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which heighted tensions between India and Pakistan, the Pakistan Army moved 20,000 troops from the Afghan border to the Indian border.


    Some 80,000 soldiers on the border with Afghanistan engaged with militants.


    Some 70,000 troops were in tribal regions along Afghan border.

    December 2001

    The Pakistani Army sent the first of 6,000 soldiers to the Afghan border, an area where it previously had no presence.

    Diplomatic: 'Peace' Agreements

    For the past five years, the Pakistani military and/or government has signed a number of "peace" deals with the Taliban. Generally these deals have been ratifications of military failure, and in any event, every deal has brought further Taliban advances, suggesting that appeasing the Taliban is invariably counterproductive.

    --February 2009. Swat Valley truce, known as the Malakand Accord.

    --September 2006. North Waziristan truce between Pakistani government and Taliban; after the truce, Pakistan's Army pulled back "tens of thousands of troops."

    --February 2005. Sararogha peace agreement with the Pakistani Army and the Taliban and (Baitullah) Mehsud tribes.

    --April 2004. Shakai peace agreement between South Waziristan militants and Pakistani Army.

    Taliban Presence in Pakistan

    Below is the best map we have found about the status of the Taliban presence today. It was based on a thorough and labor-intensive analysis by BBC's Urdu service.

    (BBC, May 12, 2009)

    Peter Bergen is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and the author of The Osama bin Laden I Know, and Katherine Tiedemann is a policy analyst at the New America Foundation.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2010
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    The Pakistani Third Reich

    Pakistan has the fastest-growing nuclear arms buildup in the world, even as its economy needs life support in the form of handouts from international donors.
    Pakistanis claim that being outmatched by the conventionally stronger military of its arch-rival India, they need a large stock pile of nukes to defend against an Indian attack. However, closer scrutiny reveals a different story. Pakistan has always been the aggressor in the past military conflicts with India. Besides, terrorists are routinely sent from Pakistan to India to conduct mayhem and murder under the cover of religion. Moreover, it is now estimated that Pakistan has far more nukes than India, along with superior delivery systems.
    Pakistan’s new generation nuclear weapons (nukes) are plutonium based—extracted from new nuclear reactors built for the very purpose. These weapons are compact and more powerful. Plutonium is also the basis for the hundred-times more powerful thermonuclear bomb. With this plutonium capability, Pakistan is well on its way to becoming a nuke factory.
    The real question left unanswered is why Pakistan is making more nukes than it needs, and for what purpose. An insidious picture emerges from analyzing Pakistan’s theological focus and the likely funding source(s) behind its nuclear armament program.
    In a recent Frontpage Magazine piece titled “Is Wilders Wrong About Islam?” I explained how jihad (holy war) waged on unbelievers forms the dominant thrust of the Koran and Muhammad’s biography. This theological basis continues to inspire modern constructs of jihad. Pakistan’s broad-based commitment to jihad is reflected in the contents of its school syllabus. The motto of the Pakistani army is “faith, piety and jihad in the path of Allah.” In the 1980s Brigadier S.K. Malik of the Pakistani army produced an authoritative military manual on jihad called The Quranic Concept of War. It is a required reading of Pakistan’s military officers.

    Malik writes: “the Holy Prophet’s operations …are an integral and inseparable part of the divine message revealed to us in the Holy Quran… The war he planned and carried out was total to the infinite degree. It was waged on all fronts: internal and external, political and diplomatic, spiritual and psychological, economic and military… The Quranic military strategy thus enjoins us to prepare ourselves for war to the utmost in order to strike terror into the heart of the enemy, known or hidden… Terror struck into the hearts of the enemy is not only a means; it is the end in itself.”
    The above theological thrust has not only ensured military domination of the civilian sphere, but also drove the military to commandeer all instruments and disproportionate share of the resources of the state in order to impose a violent jihad on unbelievers. In other words, Pakistan has become a modern Third Reich, armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and sophisticated delivery systems.
    Theological motivations enshrine Pakistan as an aggressive jihadist state, no matter the extent of financial and other incentives given to it to stop its jihad. Indeed, it appears that the Western aid and arms given to Pakistan since 2001 in good faith, have instead, mostly gone to further its jihadist agenda.
    Leading Project Jihad is the notorious intelligence agency of Pakistan, the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), staffed by serving officers of Pakistan’s military on a rotational basis. Almost every major Sunni Islamic terrorist entity—Al Qaeda, the Taliban or Lashkar-e-Taiba—owe their existence and operational capabilities to the support received from the ISI.
    When the Taliban, a brainchild of the ISI, overran Kabul fifteen years ago the administrative support to run the country — arms, fuel and financing — flowed from Pakistan.
    There was no way al-Qaeda leadership could have taken root in the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan without Pakistan’s tacit approval. This was despite the open knowledge that well before the 9/11 attacks the United States had implicated Bin Laden and al-Qaeda in terrorist attacks on its interests. Pakistan also allowed local charities to funnel funds to Bin Laden’s group in Afghanistan. Moreover, the al-Qaeda rank and file who used the Pakistani port city of Karachi as a transit point to enter landlocked Afghanistan could have been stopped had the Pakistanis wanted to. Yet, Pakistan’s intent toward the United States has been misconstrued. Even the usually perceptive Charles Krauthammer who sees an ominous sign in a plutonium-producing Pakistan doesn’t get it when he writes that “Pakistan is a relatively friendly power.”
    The main nation widely thought to be behind the bankrolling of Pakistan’s nuclear buildup is Saudi Arabia, from where most hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks originated. Thanks to this symbiotic relationship, Saudi Arabia may already have nukes. As well, the fellow Sunni sheikdoms of the Middle East feel threatened that a nuclear Shiite Iran may get access to the cash-starved and ideologically inclined Pakistan’s plutonium-based nukes. All of this points to a higher risk of nuclear terrorism involving the nukes.
    Starting in the 1990s, it took the jihadist enterprise in Pakistan about ten years to build the terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan. This proxy was leveraged to attack the United States on September 11, 2001. Not only did Pakistan get away with it, but has since found itself benefiting from Western largesse.
    So encouraged, the Pakistani jihadist-elite may be convinced of once again escaping retribution from both reckless and wanton proliferation of its nukes and their use. And may even expect to reap in the benefits, as part of “assisting” in the aftermath.
    The mindset of influential Pakistanis with nuclear knowhow is truly troubling. Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, an architect of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, was not only speaking for himself when he declared that Pakistan’s nuclear bombs are “the property of a whole ummah [worldwide Muslim community],” so that some Muslim nations or groups could use them on infidels to bring about “the end of days” and lead the way for Islam to be the supreme religious force in the world.
    The plutonium-producing new reactors in the Sunni-majority Pakistan could be the beginning of a dangerous miles stone: the ushering in the new era of Sunni nuclear terrorism. Iran, whose leaders are notable for making apocalyptic threats directed at Israel too causes grave concern, especially when considering that it is expected to become nuclear weapon capable anytime now. Not unlike Pakistan, Iran too backs jihadist proxies, including Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.
    Trend lines on nuclear know-how of jihadist sponsors and that of global jihad suggest that the following worst case scenario can no longer be ignored: Nuclear strikes on the continental United States within the next decade.

    As part of risk mitigation, policies must be designed to preempt this calamity. Any such effort must start with the acknowledgment that jihadist enterprises are ruling Pakistan and Iran. This calls for dismantling the nuclear infrastructure in these nations—undoubtedly a high risk and high cost strategic maneuver. But such a risk or even costs should likely dwarf the consequences of allowing the nuclear armament buildup in Pakistan and Iran to proceed unhindered.
    Seen in the above context, the recent Nuclear Security Summit organized by the Obama administration is an exercise in futility because of its failure of imagination on Pakistan and Iran. To protect its cities from nuclear strikes, the United States faces the prospect of a mobilization not yet seen since the Second World War.
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  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Pakistan, Afghanistan make South Asia terror capital

    WASHINGTON: Increases in terror attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan triggered a spike in the number of civilians killed or wounded there last year and pushed South Asia past the Middle East as the top terror region in the world, according to new figures compiled by a US intelligence agency.

    Thousands of civilians — overwhelmingly Muslim — continue to be slaughtered in extremist attacks, contributing to the instability of the often shaky, poverty-stricken governments in the region, the statistics compiled by the National Counterterrorism Center show.

    The struggling nations provide havens for terrorists who are increasingly targeting the US and other western nations. At the same time, US-led operations against insurgents climbed in both countries.

    ''The numbers, to a certain extent, are a reflection of where the enemy is re-gathering,'' said Juan Zarate, a top counter terror official in the Bush administration who is now senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    ''So, to the extent we are seeing more attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it's a reflection of resistance to US policy and presence as well as a strategic shift by groups like al-Qaeda and foreign jihadis to concentrate where they think they will be most effective,'' he said.

    US intelligence officials said the 2009 totals — they do not include attacks on the military — offered one glimmer of hope: Terror attacks in Pakistan were growing substantially early in 2009, but levelled out toward the end of the year, as Pakistani forces stepped up their assaults on militant strongholds along the border.

    The rise in violence in South Asia was offset by a continued decline in attacks in Iraq, leading to an overall decrease in terrorism worldwide in 2009, compared with 2008.

    In Iraq, the number of attacks fell by nearly a third from 2008 to 2009, and suicide bombings has plunged from more than 350 in 2007 to about 80 last year.

    But even beyond South Asia, the overall picture of terrorism last year underscored new threats in Somalia and Yemen, where insurgents have gained strongholds in vast lawless stretches.

    The terror threat to the United States is partly a function of the level of violence worldwide, said Bernard Finel, a senior fellow with the American Security Project.

    ''The larger the pool of extremists, the larger the risk that some will choose to attack American interests or be recruited into groups like al-Qaeda with global aspirations,'' he said.

    While there are varied reasons for the terror trends, they partly reflect policy decisions by the Bush and Obama administrations to pull out of the gradually improving situation in Iraq, and focus military and diplomatic efforts on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The increased military pressure in Pakistan, experts say, has helped disrupt al-Qaeda and Taliban groups. But in Afghanistan it has fuelled the insurgency, spawning increased attacks against the citizens in what experts suggest is the insurgent campaign to destabilise the government and generate militant recruits.

    The National Counterterrorism Center statistics measure attacks against civilians. They will be released later this week in conjunction with the State Department's annual assessment of global terrorism.

    US officials spoke about the trends on condition of anonymity before the public release.

    The numbers show that nearly 7,000 civilians were killed and injured in Afghanistan terror attacks last year, a 44 per cent increase over 2008. In Pakistan, more than 8,600 were killed and wounded last year, a 30 per cent jump.

    According to the officials, Pakistan's push into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Swat Valley put more pressure on the insurgents toward the end of the year, tamping down militant activity and forcing them to relocate.

    At the same time, the United States also targeted the border region by dramatically increasing its classified program of drone attacks, largely conducted by the CIA. As a result, the officials said, the overall increase in Pakistan violence was less than initially expected during the more turbulent first half of the year.

    ''The military pressure has dislodged the (terror) groups from some of their training areas and kept them on the run,'' said Finel, who has just completed his own review of terror incidents and provided a preview of his results.

    He said militant violence fell by 60 per cent in the last half of 2009, compared with the first half. He cautioned that the impact of the military action may not last, and terror groups are likely to rebound if the root of their extremist ideologies lives on.

    Overall, the number of terror attacks in Pakistan rose from about 1,800 in 2008 to more than 1,900 attacks in 2009. Suicide bombings more than doubled between 2007 and 2009, jumping from 40 to 84.

    In Afghanistan, attacks increased from more than 1,200 in 2008 to about 2,100 in 2009. Officials warned that the 2008 numbers may be a bit understated because of the difficulties in obtaining accurate reports from the war zone.

    Last year, the US began pouring troops into the foundering Afghan war and more forces continue to move in this year, bolstering a gradually unfolding offensive into the restive southern region.

    Somalia remains the hotspot to watch. The tribal-based insurgent group al-Shabab is increasingly linked to al-Qaeda. US officials worry that al-Qaeda insurgents are moving out of havens along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and into Somalia's anarchic regions, where they can train and recruit followers.

    According to the NCTC, attacks and casualties there rose by a bit more than 12 per cent in 2009, compared with 2008.

    In Yemen, the number of attacks and civilian casualties, while relatively small, is growing. The country remains a dangerous terrorist haven where insurgents are increasingly looking to target Western interests.

    Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who is charged with attempting to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, received training in Yemen from al-Qaeda, according to investigative reports and a video released this week.

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