Taliban chief hides among Pakistan populace

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Daredevil, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Taliban chief hides among Pakistan populace

    Eli Lake, Sara A. Carter and Barbara Slavin THE WASHINGTON TIMES

    Mullah Mohammed Omar, the one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, has fled a Pakistani city on the border with Afghanistan and found refuge from potential U.S. attacks in the teeming Pakistani port city of Karachi with the assistance of Pakistan's intelligence service, three current and former U.S. intelligence officials said.

    Mullah Omar, who hosted Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders when they plotted the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, had been residing in Quetta, where the Afghan Taliban shura -- or council -- had moved from Kandahar after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

    Two senior U.S. intelligence officials and one former senior CIA officer told The Washington Times that Mullah Omar traveled to Karachi last month after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. He inaugurated a new senior leadership council in Karachi, a city that so far has escaped U.S. and Pakistani counterterrorism campaigns, the officials said.

    The officials, two of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic, said Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the ISI, helped the Taliban leaders move from Quetta, where they were exposed to attacks by unmanned U.S. drones.

    The development reinforces suspicions that the ISI, which helped create the Taliban in the 1990s to expand Pakistani influence in Afghanistan, is working against U.S. interests in Afghanistan as the Obama administration prepares to send more U.S. troops to fight there.

    Bruce Riedel, a CIA veteran and analyst on al Qaeda and the Taliban, confirmed that Mullah Omar had been spotted in Karachi recently.

    "Some sources claim the ISI decided to move him further from the battlefield to keep him safe" from U.S. drone attacks, said Mr. Riedel, who headed the Obama administration's review of policy for Afghanistan and Pakistan last spring. "There are huge madrassas in Karachi where Mullah Omar could easily be kept."

    Mr. Riedel also noted that there had been few suicide bombings in Karachi, which he attributed to the Taliban and al Qaeda not wanting to "foul their own nest."

    A U.S. counterterrorism official said, "There are indications of some kind of bleed-out of Taliban types from Quetta to Karachi, but no one should assume at this point that the entire Afghan Taliban leadership has packed up its bags and headed for another Pakistani city."

    A second senior intelligence officer who specializes in monitoring al Qaeda said U.S. intelligence had confirmed Mullah Omar's move through both electronic and human sources as well as intelligence from an unnamed allied service.

    The official said that neither Osama bin Laden nor al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri has been spotted in Karachi. The official said the top two al Qaeda figures are still thought to be in the tribal region of Pakistan on Afghanistan's border.

    But, the official said, other midlevel al Qaeda operatives who facilitate the travel and training of foreign fighters have moved to the Karachi metropolitan area, which with 18 million people is Pakistan's most populous city.

    "One reason, [al Qaeda] and Taliban leaders are relocating to Karachi is because they believe U.S. drones do not strike there," the official said. "It is a densely populated urban area."

    Al Qaeda has had a presence in Karachi since at least 2001.

    In late 2001, a cell likely commanded by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed -- the admitted operational planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- abducted and killed journalist Daniel Pearl.

    Mohammed, who was captured by the CIA with ISI help in Pakistan in 2003, was sent to the detention facility at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and is now set to go on trial in New York. In 2007, at a closed military hearing at Guantanamo, he confessed that he personally beheaded Mr. Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter.

    Pakistani officials said they were perplexed by the U.S. reports regarding Mullah Omar and denied that the ISI had facilitated a move by the Quetta shura to Karachi.

    Nadeem Kiani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said the U.S. has not provided Pakistan with any credible intelligence regarding Mullah Omar's whereabouts.

    "We have no evidence of his presence in Pakistan," Mr. Kiani said. "If anybody in the U.S. government knows of any Quetta shura or Karachi shura, why don't they share that intelligence with Pakistan so we can take care of the issue ourselves? We have not been made aware of any presence of Mullah Omar in the region."

    He said the ISI and Pakistani military have "suffered a lot of losses fighting the terrorists" and that "people who are making these accusations have their own agendas."

    "Our forces are fighting the Taliban in Waziristan and other areas," he said. "The terrorists are now killing and targeting innocent people in Pakistani cities. ISI is a very professional intelligence agency and these allegations are baseless."

    Mr. Kiani added that the U.S. and Pakistan have "24-hour intelligence sharing."

    Another Pakistani official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the nature of his work, told The Times, "If Pakistan is made aware of the allegations and we do nothing, then the U.S. will know who to blame. Pakistan can take action with credible information.

    "But to shift the blame on Pakistan and the security forces because Afghanistan is becoming more of a problem is not going to be helpful but have a demoralizing effect on the situation both here and there," he said.

    Mary Habeck, a professor and analyst on radical Islam at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, said the reported move "suggests the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban are one and the same thing."

    She said that it also "shows the Taliban are not the marginalized group we have been saying they are. They can move into a major city in Pakistan and believe they are safe there."
     
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  3. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    May be I am wrong may be I am right, But I have seen that Americans are just too good at leaking sensitive info to media & they love to quote 'unnamed sources' God knows what kind of sources they are any ways.
    Americans are confused once they think that co operation & money given to ISI has produced results

    & on the other hand Americans think that now ISI is protecting Mullah Omer :help:
    If they have credible, actionable intelligence, why do they always leak it to Media, Why not tell Pakistan, Are they still not sure about the role of Pakistan & its commitment on WoT,
    various terror plots were busted because of Pakistan/ISI but the thing is that 'good things' done by ISI are somewhat forgotten & these kinds of allegations without any proof are made
    there has been crackdown in Karachi & many militants which escaped before operation in SWA were captured

    Absurd, its is extremely difficult for them to reach Big cities out side NWFP due to Tight security & Karachi has already got Police & Sindh Rangers in action
    If u note the location of Recent of bombings you will see they have all been done in Peshawar, Charsada & surrounding areas, This is because its easy for them to reach these areas & do the Job...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    The reason why Big cities specially Karachi is spared is detailed well in following link.http://pkonweb.com/tag/taliban-in-karachi-ttp-in-karachi/
    So i think your assertion that Karachi is better secured because of better police force is less acceptable.
     
  5. DaRk WaVe

    DaRk WaVe Regular Member

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    My point remains, It is difficult for them to Reach big Cities like Islamabad & Lahore, two Suicide bombers were intercepted on motorway which lead to Lahore, why is that always Peshawar, Charsada & surrounding areas are targeted, Why not Lahore or Islamabad
    the link u provided has got date of August, just before SWA operation when there were strings of Bombings there has been a crack down & large number of militants who escaped to different parts of Pakistan including Karachi were arrested along with some Afghan & Uzbek militants

    Even if it was something near safe heaven i doubt if its still there, but yet again there is Trust deficit thats why there are such allegations, our COAS has already made clear that instead of leaking this 'credible info' to media, It must be provided to ISI/Pakistan so that action can be taken, As it has been taken before
     
  6. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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  7. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    ISI is doing this because once the americans and other western nations runaway from A-stan leaving the mess behind them, pakistan will quickly move in with their 'asset' called Mullah Omar to head the islamic emirate of a-stan!

    he is being sheltered and preserved for future use!
     

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