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Category — AF-PAK ISIS

Police remove IS flag waving in Islamabad

report in Daily Times,September 25th 2017.
ISLAMABAD: A flag similar to that of the militant Islamic State (IS) group was seen waving in Islamabad’s Khana area on Sunday morning, before being removed by the local police after a citizen reported the matter.

Police removed the flag, hoisted on a pole by an unidentified person, in the afternoon after one Naveed Khan — a resident of Dera Ismail Khan — informed Rescue 15 of the matter.

Khan, who was taken in by the police, said in his statement that he was travelling on the Sixth Road in Islamabad when he saw the flag. Khan added that he recognised the flag as he had seen it on the television before.

The flag had ‘Khilafat is coming’ written on it, in addition to the Arabic verses.

Taking notice of the matter, Minister of Interior Ahsan Iqbal asked the inspector general of police to file a report on the said matter.

Pakistan has repeatedly denied the presence of the militant organisation on its soil, while acknowledging the rise of IS in Afghanistan as a point of concern.

Over the past couple of years, reports of IS leaflets and pamphlets found in different parts of the country have circulated.

In January last year, IS leaflets were found in a girls school in Gujrat warning the administration to close down the school.

In 2014, leaflets calling for support of IS were seen in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while pro-IS slogans appeared on walls in several cities across the country.

September 25, 2017   No Comments

Nacta compiles Pak-based militants’ data fearing blowback effects of IS defeat in Iraq

by Imran Mukhtar in the Nation,August 30, 2017
ISLAMABAD – National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) has compiled and started verifying data of Pakistan-based suspected militants, who have been allegedly involved in foreign conflicts, fearing blowback effects especially after the defeat of Islamic State (IS) in some parts of Iraq.

National Coordinator (NC) Nacta Ihsan Ghani Tuesday informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior that the authority had completed data of Pakistan-based suspected militants who have been fighting in foreign conflict zones like Iraq, Syria or Yemen etc.

“We are now getting this data verified from the federal and provincial institutions to know their exact figure,” he said while briefing the committee on the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP). After the verification of data, policy recommendations would be formed to avoid any blowback effect on Pakistan, said a non-working paper prepared by the authority.

Giving the reason of collecting the information, Ghani told the committee, which met under the chair of MNA Rana Shamim Ahmad Khan, that the militants would start returning their native countries especially after the defeat of IS from Iraq on the pattern the militants had returned from Afghanistan. It is yet to be verified that whether these people had gone to conflict zones for fighting or to earn their livelihoods, he said.

While talking to The Nation after the meeting, the Nacta chief without giving the exact number of the would-be militants said that the authority had got data of those Pakistanis who led towards conflict zones but did not return home till their visas expired. “Now we are verifying about their activities from their home addresses,” he added. An official source in the authority informed that NACTA has also collected the data of those Pakistanis who travelled to such zones via Iran or through other destinations.

Ihsan Ghani also informed the committee said that NACTA had formed National Counter Extremism Violent Policy as part of the soft steps to eradicate terrorism and the same had been approved by the government. This includes improvement of governance as well as cultural revival. MNA Shazia Marri commented that the draft of the policy should be shared with the parliament.

While giving the point-wise briefing on implementation of 20 points of NAP, the NC NACTA said Task Force on Choking Financing for Terrorism (CFT) had been established at the authority to coordinate efforts of all stakeholders. “Similarly, choking financing for terrorism (CFT) units in provincial counter terrorism departments (CTDs) have been established as part of the implementation of the action plan with regard to choking of terror financing,” he said.

He said that provinces had been asked to legislate model law for regulation and facilitation of charities. Asia Pacific Group of Financial Acton Task Force (FATF) will evaluate Pakistan’s efforts to check terror financing in October 2018, he added.

Ghani said that NACTA had got rationalised list of those activists of militant organisations placed on the Fourth Schedule of the Anti-terrorism Act (ATA) 1997 in consultations provinces during six months.

After sifting of list, there are total of 8,333 activists on the Fourth Schedule and out of these accounts of 5,023 suspected persons have been frozen besides placing embargo on issuing them passports as well as arms licenses and getting financial serves through banks , says the non-working papers presented to the committee. “Similarly Rs300 million have been frozen of such suspected persons,” he added.

Ghani said that NACTA was deeply assessing the acquittals and convictions in terrorism cases to improve conviction rates and provinces would be advised in this regard. He said the counter terrorism authority was in process of developing an app for assessing the hate speech. The local authorities could upload any hate speech to the app and the same would be seen by the authority.

Commenting on the briefing, PPP MNA Nawab Yousaf Talpur said that US should inform about these achievements who was criticising Pakistan with regard to its efforts on war on terrorism for no reasons. NC NACTA said that the authority had shared a brief with the important foreign missions of Pakistan about the achievements made so far to ensure reduction in terrorism. “They have been asked to share with the foreign governments if they are challenged at this front,” he said.

MNA Naeema Kishwer Khan asked for complete ban on foreign funding of terrorists and deplored that the activity was still going on.

A number of lawmakers complained that the government was misusing the law of placing activists of militant organisations under Fourth Schedule and using it for political motives. They said that people were wrongly included in the schedule and then it took years to get the name excluded. Ihsan Ghani viewed that there was no problems with ATA 1997 that permits for placing any name under the schedule but the issue was of its implementation. The law in details describes the procedure for including or excluding any name in the Fourth Schedule, he said.

The additional secretary of the interior ministry told the participants that a national wide campaign would be started for the confiscation of unlicensed arms after the grace period of 90 days being given to all arms license holder to get these re-validated from the ministry.

He said that the people have revalidated more than 0.2 million arms licenses out of them more than 0.4 million, both prohibited and non-prohibited, issued by the federal government. He also said that a committee had been formed under the chair of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to review the policy of prohibited and automatic weapons as the premier completely wanted to ban these.

DG (Operations) NADRA Brigadier (Retd) Nisar Ahmed said that the district level committees formed through the notification of the Ministry of Interior to clear blocked CNICs of allegedly confirmed aliens were getting poor response from the card holders. He said that only 3,423 cases were under process and 2,064 have been cleared as 5,513 applicants have applied so far out of the 162,315 blocked cases of such CNICs. http://nation.com.pk/national/30-Aug-2017/nacta-compiles-pak-based-militants-data

August 30, 2017   No Comments

ISIS Claims Suicide Bombing That Killed at Least 15 in Pakistan

ISIS Claims Suicide Bombing That Killed at Least 15 in Pakistan
By SALMAN MASOOD in The NY Times, AUG. 13, 2017
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle rammed into a military truck near a busy bus station in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 15 people, including eight soldiers, and wounding at least 40 others, military officials said on Sunday.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan Province in the southwest. A military spokesman said the attack had been aimed at sabotaging Independence Day celebrations, as Pakistan will mark its 70th anniversary on Monday.

Active-duty troops in the Pakistani Army have rarely come under attack in Quetta, although paramilitary forces and police officers have repeatedly faced assaults by militants in the city.

The explosion, which was heard far away and set off a fire that engulfed vehicles nearby, left several people critically injured. The wounded were taken to Civil Hospital and Combined Military Hospital.

The attack, near several important government and private buildings — including the provincial assembly — renewed concerns about security arrangements in the city, which has long reeled under militant and sectarian violence despite the heavy presence of security forces and paramilitary soldiers.

Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Pakistani army chief, arrived in the city on Sunday morning to chair a high-level security briefing and visit the wounded at the military hospital, officials said. The interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal, had also traveled to the provincial capital on Saturday for meetings with senior civil and military officials.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has claimed to be behind several terrorist attacks in the province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, in recent months.

Pakistani officials, however, played down the presence of the Islamic State in the province, asserting that the group does not have an organized presence there.https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/world/asia/pakistan-suicide-bomber-motorbike.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fasia

August 14, 2017   No Comments

15 killed as IS bomber hits military truck in Quetta:

by Sharif Khan in The Nation, August 13, 2017
QUETTA – At least 15 people, including eight security men, were martyred and 25 others sustained injuries in a suicide attack on a security vehicle near FC headquarters at Pishin Stop on Saturday.

“A suicide bomber on a motorcycle hit an FC vehicle at Pishin Stop,” said the bomb disposal squad’s initial investigation report. It added the bomber used a 20kg to 25kg explosive vest in the attack.

Islamic State group claimed the responsibility for the attack.

“At least seven civilians among 15 were martyred in the attack on a security vehicle in Quetta,” the Inter-Services Public Relations said in a press release.

ISPR statement said the explosion targeted an on-duty vehicle and set several other vehicles on fire. “Incendiary explosive was used. As a result, nearby vehicles caught fire,” the statement added.

The blast instantly engulfed vehicles, rickshaws and motorcycles at Pishin Stop. It also smashed windows of nearby buildings and houses.

Heavy contingents of Frontier Corps and police reached the scene and cordoned off the area. Rescue teams along with fire brigade also rushed to the spot and shifted the injured to Civil Hospital Quetta. “As many as 13 dead bodies and 30 injured were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta,” a doctor said.

Health Minister Mir Saleh Baloch placed Quetta Civil Hospital under emergency to efficiently deal with the disaster. Doctors and paramedics were summoned to the hospital while messages for blood donations were also circulated.

Later, eight injured were shifted to Combined Military Hospital in view of their critical condition.

Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti and government spokesman Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar confirmed the death toll, but said number of the wounded was 32. Bugti said firefighters were working to put out the blaze. The home minister visited the blast site. He also reached Quetta Civil Hospital to inquire after the injured.

Pishin Stop, surrounded by FC headquarters, Law College, Heart Hospital and Ayub Stadium, falls into the heart of Quetta city.

President Mamnoon Hussain, Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa and deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack. The blast occurred two days before Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day.

The army chief said it was an attempt to mar the celebrations. “Our resolve won’t succumb to any challenge,” he said in a statement.

The Islamic State Khorasan Province – the Middle Eastern group’s affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan – released a statement claiming the attack, according to the US-based monitoring group SITE. A suicide motorbike bomber was behind the blast, the statement said.

The local affiliate has been known to work with Pakistani militant groups in previous attacks. http://nation.com.pk/national/13-Aug-2017/15-martyred-as-is-bomber-hits-mily-truck-in-quetta

Quetta blast was attack on Army truck: ISPR
Report in The Nation, August 12, 2017, 10:59 pm
Web Desk: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the terrorist attack in Quetta that killed at least 15 and injured 32 other people, Director General ISPR said in a tweet.
Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) head claimed that the blast was aimed at affecting the Independence Day’s festivities and the main target of the attack was Army truck.
Earlier, Security officials said the explosion set on fire multiple vehicles at Pishin Stop in the provincial capital of Balochistan.http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Aug-2017/quetta-blast-was-attack-on-army-truck-ispr

August 13, 2017   No Comments

Tell-tale signs of IS presence in Balochistan:

By Shezad Baloch in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2017.
The writer is a research student at UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a former correspondent of The Express Tribune
In the wake of a large-scale security operation in Mastung, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) -– the media wing of the Pakistani Army — issued a statement denying the existence of any directly or indirectly Islamic State-affiliated infrastructure in Balochistan or anywhere else in Pakistan.

A day earlier, on June 3rd, every major newspaper in the country reported that IS infrastructure had been targeted in the raid and that the army had faced tough resistance. During the exchange of fire at least 12 extremists — described by an army spokesperson as hardcore terrorists — were killed. Army personnel also sustained serious injuries during the three-day operation.

Intelligence reports indicated that the IS has set up an infrastructure in the caves of the Isplingi area known as Koh-i-Siah/Koh-i-Maran, 36 kilometres southeast of Mastung. The ISPR, however, claims that the base was set up by the Lashgar-e-Jhangvi Al Almi (LeJA), a group widely recognised as having IS sympathies and eager to establish contact with them.
Poorly administered and one of the least developed districts in Balochistan, Mastung lies less than 45 kilometres southeast of Quetta. Shias have often been targeted in Quetta by terrorists affiliated with the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) organisation, which already has an IS connection and considers itself almost a regional franchise. As always, the government wastes no time in taking credit for any temporary lessening in the level of sectarian violence, however small. At the same time it is reluctant to admit that mass killings of civilians have, in fact, increased at an alarming rate. And while it may be true that attacks are less frequent, they have become more accurate and deadly and are clearly designed with a view to maximising the number of casualties.

In recent years, the presence of IS in Pakistan’s troubled southwestern province has become increasingly evident. In 2015 graffiti began to appear in many parts of Quetta bearing slogans in support of the IS. Addul Razzaq Cheema, Quetta police chief at the time, denied that the IS had infiltrated the area, saying only that “certain people” were deliberately trying to create an atmosphere of fear in the province. But the evidence continued to mount. After several raids against hardline Baloch separatists in remote areas of Makran, IS-inspired graffiti started to appear there too.

Government denials notwithstanding, a year later the IS claimed responsibility for deadly attacks at the Shah Noorani shrine, the police training centre, and at civil hospital, where lawyers were gathered after the shooting of one of their colleagues. Each of these deadly and well-planned attacks killed about one hundred people. It seemed that the focus was shifting, from deadly attacks on Hazara Shia to the killing of other civilians, with members of the professional classes and foreign citizens now becoming the primary target.

According to the Home Department of Balochistan, as of mid-May of this year there have been 183 terror incidents in the province. These incidents have resulted in a death toll of 238, including members of the security forces, with a further 517 people sustaining injuries. By comparison, the 226 terror incidents reported in all of 2015 resulted in 202 deaths and 310 injured. This would suggest that the attacks are becoming more effective and more deadly.

This year has also seen an uptick in the number of IS-inspired attacks. On January 7th five people from the Hazara Shia community were targeted and critically injured in Spiny Road of Quetta. Two months later, a man and a woman from the same ethnic group were shot dead. On May 12th a suicide bomber in Mastung struck the convoy of Deputy Chairman of the Senate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, killing 27 people. Then, immediately after the operation against the LeJA, the IS claimed responsibility for the abduction and murder of two Chinese citizens in Quetta.

Some security officials in Quetta see the LeJA as the face of IS in Pakistan, targeting civilians, shrines, and professionals on a large scale. Adherents to the ISIS worldview are also found in other groups active in parts of Pakistan, including Balochistan. One such group is the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Nazaryati (JUI-I), which is present in parliament and holds public gatherings in Quetta and in northern areas of Balochistan.

I still remember the case of Amir Muhammed Dasti, the brave police officer who killed four Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorists in Quetta in 2012. He was humiliated by then chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry for not taking action against religious extremists involved in the mass killing of Shias. A distraught Dasti argued that he could be targeted at any time, since many officials believe the actions of religious terrorists are in fact justified. On several occasions the terrorists delivered burial shrouds to Dasti as a warning that his days were numbered. In 2013 he was killed in broad daylight in Quetta, along with his guards.

Another senior police official who had killed some LeJ members in a raid later approached the terrorist organisation with the help of religious clerics and tribal elders and offered an apology. Such is the terror inspired by the LeJ that even a senior police officer can feel threatened by them and fear for his life. And that fear is not misplaced. Many police officers have died at the hands of LeJ and many others have been forced to leave Quetta for their personal safety.

Whether openly acknowledged or not, it is clear that the LeJ has established contact with the IS and that Balochistan is a potential breeding ground for IS fighters. Finding IS supporters and sympathisers in the province is not hard. The extremists have even been encouraged to take advantage of their organisational structure to radicalise young students at the University of Balochistan.

In the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, the government continues to declare that external players, namely India and Afghanistan, are providing logistical support to banned organisations like the LeJA, the LeJ and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). It might be true to some extent, but again it is the security forces that are responsible for protecting the porous border with Afghanistan.

If the IS has strongholds in Afghanistan, then it is very easy for them to have bases in places like Quetta and adjoining districts.

It is a poorly kept secret that the banned LeJ and other terrorist groups collect money from mosques after Friday prayers, and especially after Eid prayers, urging the faithful to contribute to the funding of the Jihadist fight against Shia, infidels and Western countries engaged in Afghanistan. This happens not only in Quetta but also at a large scale in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. The LeJ and other extremists also collects animal skins to raise money in the name of Jihad.

Another means of garnering support for their cause is religious education. There are hundreds of unregistered religious seminaries in Balochistan which get funding from rich countries and ironically there is no check on them. I personally know of many kids in Quetta who tell me they are being paid a monthly stipend to attend these seminaries, and yet nobody really knows what is being taught there.

In the current climate, it seems inevitable that extremists will find fertile ground for consolidating their position, gradually eroding what liberal and secular forces remain.

June 23, 2017   No Comments

Beware of Daesh in Pakistan: by Mubashir Akram in Daily Times, June 19, 2017

The writer is a social entrepreneur and a student of Pakistan’s social and political challenges
The Pakistani state and society are at war for over forty years. This asymmetrical warfare has seen many actors since the late 1970s. First, it was the backlash on Pakistan’s policies in Afghanistan and bombs started to go off in trains and buses killing people. This trend converted into the high pitched battles that two sects in Pakistan fought apparently with ideological and financial assistance from two ‘brotherly’ Islamic nations.

The trends of sectarianism got upped from domestic objectives to transnational and global designs, and Al-Qaeda was born in Peshawar. Yes, this was Peshawar where it happened as those were different days and terrorists of today were holy warriors then. Instead of taking a very sharp u-turn, the state should have rather tried rehabilitating a maximum number of these militarised individuals but the political hastes of a dictator made tremendous social wastes.

Locally and internationally financed, a mix of sectarian and Al-Qaeda militancy later provided crucial support to the emergence of Taliban. A huge number of Pakistani Muslims would probably still believe that the emergence of Taliban was because of the popular support of the local populations, and as if this was the reemergence of their faith, but cold facts point toward the global oil and pipeline politics of the day that needed a relative stable Afghanistan for a couple of huge and ambitions energy projects.

Prior to the Iraqi and Syrian wars, the non-state violence was less organised and lethal, but the convergence of the hyper-radicals in these countries not only created an organised comradery of the militants, but also brought new ideas of the gory violence these people perpetrated against combatants and non-combatants alike. This new harbinger of militant threat is Daesh that essentially grew in Iraqi and Syrian voids of political governance that broke down as a result of wars there. Extremist obscurantism grows when states and societies do not counter the emergence of violent and misdirected religious and political falsehoods that attract particularly the youth in the name of making a change that would get them the promised glory. Daesh deploys the same tactics and the appeal toward the Muslim youth across many nations of the world, including Pakistan.

Although the political and administrative executive have repeatedly rejected the reports of Daesh’s presence in Pakistan, the group raises its venomous head every now and then. The Pakistani law enforcement agencies have been fighting the terrorist group in the urban, semi-urban and rural backgrounds across the country, and have scored commendable successes. But the real challenge, and accomplishment would be to constantly refuse letting the group claim any ideological and geographical foothold in Pakistan. This is a war that barrels and bullets cannot win alone; brain will. For reference’s sake, let us not forget what Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) did to people in Swat once they had a foothold.

The terrorists’ ideology of a promised future operates more successfully in societies where the state-citizen connectivity is weak. This relationship becomes turbulent when the state does not deliver on what the citizenship otherwise promises to people. Inside the sphere of mistrust, the radicals constantly throw the catch phrases to attract popular support, particularly among the youth. Disenchanted by a mix of political, social and individual reactions, the youth are more susceptible to ideologies of violence and extremism. That is exactly what has happened in Pakistan for truly a long period of time now, but that must be checked diligently to prevent Pakistan from slipping into four more decades of violent turbulence.

With a critical consciousness, the Pakistani society must respond toward the fallacy of what the Daesh promises. People, particularly youth need to understand that violence can never be a journey or a destination. The state and civil society must collaborate against a challenge that is emergent, and poses clear danger to a Pakistan that is slowly becoming good news for its citizens and the world. The political establishment has to deliver on governance. The military establishment has to ensure security. And the ‘people’s establishment’ must ensure that the Daesh’s ideologies are successfully rejected whatever the packaging is. Extremism, political or religious, is a fallacy. It is a problem, and not a solution. http://dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/19-Jun-17/beware-of-daesh-in-pakistan

June 19, 2017   No Comments

Terrorist killed in Peshawar identified as Da’ish hitman

By Riaz Ahmed in The Express Tribune, June 17, 2017
PESHAWAR: The terrorist killed in Thursday’s attack on a police vehicle in Ghaz Chowk area of Peshawar was a Da’ish hitman of Afghan origin.

“The man was a high-profile target killer wanted in several crime cases,” said a high-ranking police official while talking to The Express Tribune on Friday.

He was an Afghan national belonging to the Khorasan network of the Islamic State (IS) group active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, informed the official, adding that they were looking for his accomplice who made his escape good.

“The killing of the attacker is a major blow to the IS in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa because he was an experienced and most-feared target killer of the outfit,” he said.

Describing the scene, the police official said that policemen had arrested a drug peddler and were taking him to a police post when two miscreants ambushed their car, killing three constables on the spot and injuring the incharge head-constable.

“The terrorists had completed their job, but instead of fleeing from the area they tried to take the AK-47s of the deceased constables… and it was then that the injured head-constable opened fire, killing one of the terrorists on the spot and propelling the other to flee,” he said.

The attackers had emptied 38 rounds of AK-47 rifle and 14 9mm pistol before the police constable fired at them, he added.

During the fire exchange, the drug peddler also sneaked out of the police custody, said the police official, adding that the drug peddler was mistaken as an attacker by people in the area, and it was initially thought that the attackers were three in number. But later, he added, the injured policeman stated that the attackers were two in number, and it was actually their prisoner who had escaped.

The attackers had left behind an AK-47 rifle as well as a 9mm pistol, he said. “We also found a bike and thought that it belonged to the attackers, but it is now clear that it belonged to a passerby,” he said.https://tribune.com.pk/story/1437594/police-van-ambush-terrorist-killed-peshawar-identified-daish-hitman/

June 17, 2017   No Comments

Daesh headquarters in Pakistan destroyed

By Zahid Gishkori in The News June 7, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani security forces destroyed the headquarters of militant Islamic State group in the massive offensive conducted against the extremist militia that lasted for almost a week. Special commandos participated in the operation to destroy a several kilometer long cave complex being used by militants of the Islamic State and affiliated Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group to plan attacks across Pakistan.

At least a dozen IS commanders were killed and while some others were captured after being forced to surrender in the operation that involved military commandos and personnel from the Frontier Constabulary and local police.

“It took us some five days to tear down the ‘headquarters of Daesh’ in Mastung, Balochistan,” a senior official privy to this operation confided to this correspondent.

However, Ejaz Bangulzai, who was controlling the operation of Daesh in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab (near the Balochistan border) is believed to have escaped the strike moments before the Pakistan military launched a full-fledged operation in Mastung last week, an official who is not authorised to talk to the media, revealed on Wednesday.

Farooq Bangulzai, the brother of Ejaz Bangulzai, was facilitating this network from Nangarhar, a province of Afghanistan. Farooq, before joining ranks of Daesh in Afghanistan, was heading the Balochistan chapter of LeJ a year back.

A secret operation, which was directly overseen by Lt General Amir Riaz, Commander Southern Command, was completed on Tuesday where 11 local commanders of Daesh and LeJ were killed and one of them who was perhaps heading the Sindh chapter of Daesh surrendered. The operation was conducted in Marao, Spilonji, Kabo, areas of Dasht, including Koh-e-Maran of Mangicher and Koh-e-Siah, an area further towards Johan of Mangocher in Mastung.

During the operation, more than a dozen security personnel also sustained injuries, including Lt Col Sajid, Major Faheem and Major Asim. Soldiers Naeem and Nobahar also sustained splinter injuries on their right arms but their condition is stable. All injured were shifted to the CMH, Quetta.

Meanwhile, some officials also believed that the kingpins of Daesh Sindh chapter Hafeez Brohi and Abdullah Brohi were also in the cave during the raid. Spokesperson of the Balochistan government Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar confirmed that the network of Daesh-backed militants was destroyed by forces. He was, however, not sure about the identity of the commanders killed in the operation and was quick to say that the military would brief the media on this major development soon.https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/209066-Daesh-headquarters-in-Pakistan-destroyed

June 7, 2017   No Comments

Strength in numbers :edit in Daily Times, Mar 14, 2015

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is the most barbaric terrorist force in Pakistan today. Due to political, ideological and leadership disputes in the past, elements of the TTP have been breaking off to start factions of their own, such as the Jammat-ul-Ahraar (JuA), Tehreek-e-Lashkar-i-Islam (TLI), Tehrik-i-Taliban South Waziristan, etc. JuA broke off from the TTP amid leadership disputes and pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), ostensibly in hopes of support and funds. However, the intensity of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty, the passing of the 21st Amendment and the renewed vigour of the security forces in fighting terrorism after the Army Public School massacre has led these smaller militant groups to realise how isolated they have become in the absence of the hoped for support from IS. As a result of the fire of the Pakistan Army raining down on them, these groups are once again seeking shelter under the umbrella of the TTP, recognising that it will be easier for the establishment to eradicate them if they exist in isolated fragments rather than in a unified chain of militants under a cohesive leadership. JuA issued a statement this week pledging allegiance to the leaders of the main Pakistani Taliban. The statement declared that TLI would also be joining TTP. They claimed that “this blessed decision was taken by the leaders of all three Jihadi groups” to fight “the infidel democratic system of Pakistan” and “the Pak army”. However, it is their fear of becoming isolated targets of the military in light of the fact that the Afghan Taliban and the Afghanistan government are making their way to the negotiating table with the cooperation of Pakistan that was the driving force behind their decision to join TTP again. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Raheel Sharif visited North Waziristan on Thursday to review the progress of operation Zarb-e-Azb. He stated that the terrorists have no place to hide and nowhere to run and the operation would continue with full force until all militants are eradicated.

Interestingly, there has been a hitch in the Pakistan government’s efforts to nudge the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table with Kabul because of the internal rifts in the Taliban leadership. Whereas the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan need the Afghan Taliban to be united in their efforts for peace talks with the Kabul government, the Pakistan army is benefiting from the rifts in the TTP, facing fractured groups instead of a cohesive militant insurgency. The Pakistan government and Afghanistan must be vigilant about the dynamics of these groups to ensure the success of their efforts for peace in the region. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/editorial/14-Mar-2015/strength-in-numbers

March 14, 2015   No Comments

Black Flag: edit in the Nation, January 14, 2015

The first concrete evidence has emerged of attempts to recruit fighters in Afghanistan for Islamic State (IS). A former Taliban commander in Helmand province, Mullah Abdul Rauf, has declared his allegiance to IS. These militants switch allegiances easily. One day the Taliban in southern Afghanistan were wearing the white clothes of the Taliban and the next day they had black clothes and called themselves ISIS. This connection to IS spells trouble for the region.
Firstly, the problem is that of the spread of IS. Unlike al Qaeda, IS looks more like an organised army, rather than a network of guerrilla militants. This has implications on the territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, overrun with IS as well as the role that Iran may have in the region. Already, Iran is funding Shiite militancy in Iraq to counter IS. For many, Iran is the only real resistance. But Iran is not doing it out of the goodness of its heart. Dogged by the US for its nuclear program, the repressive regime may have real designs on the territory. Though it may be too early to cry “invasion”, the signs are present. A victorious Iranian contingent in the region gives it more leverage with the US to soften sanctions and finally come to a deal on the nuclear front. The second problem is that of Blaochistan. Iran and India have deep fingers into the Balochistan insurgency and there are reports that IS also has made a mark in Balochistan. If India is able to manipulate a separation, Balochistan will never be a truly independent state. With players like the Taliban, Iran and India in the mix, we will be looking at another debacle at the scale of the Iraqi disaster.
Thirdly, the Taliban are fast turning to ISIS black; how soon before the TTP has a mass conversion as well? Several TTP leaders have announced their allegiance. They will no doubt want to join into the bigger jihadi movement. From localised tribal Taliban, we will soon have the IS on our hands and then what? The Pakistani state rolls over and pledges allegiance to the Caliph of the faith? We are on dangerous ground. Already, people in Pakistan celebrate killers like Mumtaz Qadri. Will they soon be hoisting the black flag as well? http://nation.com.pk/editorials/14-Jan-2015/black-flag

January 14, 2015   No Comments