Posts Tagged ‘FATA’


WASHINGTON: US drone strikes in Pakistan would continue to be conducted by the CIA for the time-being to keep the program covert and maintain deniability for both the United States and Pakistan, several US government sources said on Monday.

The sources added that US President Barack Obama’s administration has decided to give the Pentagon control of some drone operations against terrorism suspects overseas that are currently run by the CIA.

Four US government sources told Reuters that the decision had been made to shift the CIA’s drone operations to the Pentagon, and some of them said it would occur in stages.

Drone strikes in Yemen, where the US military already conducts operations with Yemeni forces, would be run by the armed forces, officials said.

However, the administration’s goal would be to transfer the Pakistan drone operations to the military, one US official said on condition of anonymity.

The internal debate within the administration about whether to switch control of drone strikes to the military has been going on for months. Obama is under heightened pressure to show that his administration is transparent, after a series of scandals about civil liberties and allegations of government overreach broke last week.

Obama will make a speech on Thursday at the National Defense University in Washington that will include discussion of the government’s use of drones as a counterterrorism tool. It is unclear whether he will announce the drone program shift in that speech or separately.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson and a CIA spokesperson each declined comment.

Decision after months of debate

One of the reasons to make the shift is that it would help the CIA to return to more traditional spying operations and intelligence analysis, rather than paramilitary operations involving killing terrorism targets, officials have said.

The US military is not engaged in ground combat in Pakistan, where the population in tribal areas has been angered by drone strikes and governments do not want to acknowledge that they allow US unmanned aircraft to operate.

But in Yemen, the same sensitivities do not exist because the US military is working with Yemeni forces in counterterrorism operations and so drone strikes in Yemen will shift to the Pentagon, two sources said.

There have been 355 drone strikes in Pakistan and 66 in Yemen, according to a widely cited drone attack database run by the New America Foundation think tank.

The United States has also carried out drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and East Africa, some of them operated by the military.

The use of armed drones jumped in 2008 when President George W Bush authorised the use of “signature” strikes, allowing the targeting of terrorism suspects based on behaviour and other characteristics without knowing the targets’ identities.

Rosa Brooks, a New America Foundation fellow and Georgetown University law professor, said the problem with the targeted killing program was “an assertion by the executive branch that it has this essentially unconstrained and unreviewable power to kill people.”

Brooks, who previously served at the Pentagon, said she hoped that Obama would publicly release the legal justifications and analysis for the targeted killings overseas, including of US citizens.

“I would also like to see the president say that we will acknowledge all strikes, that we will publicly report on identities of who was targeted, at least after the fact,” she said.


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Miranshah: At least six people were killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan Agency of Pakistan northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, sources said on Sunday.

The sources said that the drone fired two missiles on a house in Dari Nashtar area of Tehsil Shawal, killing six people in the attack.

“Fear prevailed in the area as more drones are still flying in the air,” they added.

Drone strikes have become a regular tactic of United States to target North Waziristan, a safe heaven for the militants to launch attacks against US led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Parliament had passed a resolution which demanded United State (US) to halt drone strikes inside Pakistani territory as it is violation of International law while the chief justice Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Friday also remarked that the drone strikes issue should be raised at international forum.

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Peshawar: The Chief Justice Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Friday remarked that drone strike issue should be raised at international forum. He was hearing a petition filed by the families of the victims against March 17’s drone strike in Waziristan, killed 17 people.

Dost Mohammad Khan, the chief justice, remarked that why the parliament’s resolution was not being complied to halt US drone strikes inside Pakistan.

Later, the court adjourned the of the case till July 18.

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Miranshah: At least four people were killed and two others injured when a US drone fired missiles on a house in North Waziristan, Pakistan’s tribal area bordering Afghanistan, sources said on Tuesday.

The Sources said that the unmanned plane fired two missiles on a house in Shawal area of the agency.

“Fear prevailed in the area as more drones were still flying in the air,” they added.

Drone strikes have become a regular tactic of United States to target North Waziristan, a safe heaven for the militants to launch attacks against US led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan’s Parliament have passed a resolution which demanded United State (US) to halt drone strikes inside Pakistani territory as it is violation of International law.

Source : The News Tribe

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Spokesperson claims Maulana Fazlullah is commanding 1,000-plus diehard fighters.

ISLAMABAD: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – a banned conglomerate of dozens of militant outfits – has admitted for the first time that they are using the Afghan soil as a springboard for launching attacks on Pakistani security forces.

The acknowledgment gives credence to Islamabad’s claims that the TTP has found safe havens in Afghanistan’s eastern provinces bordering Pakistan.

Pakistani officials believe that the top TTP cadres – including Maulana Fazlullah, Maulvi Faqir and Waliur Rehman – and hundreds of their loyalists had fled a string of military offensives in Swat, and Bajaur and Mohmand agencies since 2008 to seek shelter in Afghanistan.

“Maulana Fazlullah is leading TTP attacks from Afghanistan’s border provinces and is in touch with fighters in Malakand division,” Sirajuddin, the spokesperson for TTP’s Malakand chapter, told The Express Tribune by phone from an undisclosed location. “We regularly move across the porous border,” he added.

He claimed that Fazlullah was commanding over a thousand diehard fighters.

Contrary to Pakistani claims, Sirajuddin, however, said that the TTP hierarchy and fighters fled to Afghanistan in recent months and now they are settled in the country’s border regions.

Until this month the administration of President Hamid Karzai was in denial about TTP’s bases in Afghanistan. However, Kabul has now conceded the presence of ‘some TTP militants’ in the border regions, according to a senior Pakistani official.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.

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South Waziristan: Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has said that the Pakistan Army doesn’t want to fight with its own people but it was compelled to launch operation against terrorists in Waziristan.

Addressing  a ceremony during the inauguration of Cadet College, Kayani the college would be built with the cost of 500 million.

He said that infrastructure would be built in South and North Waziristan. Besides, a third rout would open through the are for trade with Afghanistan.

Kayani said army has started as many as 121 uplift projects in Malakand Division and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

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Blast affected nearby shops, including one of gas cylinders that blew up, setting shops on fire. PHOTO:

LANDIKOTAL: At least 23 people were killed and 54 others injured when an enormous blast ripped through a local market in Khyber Agency on Saturday

APA Landi Kotal Khalid Khan confirmed the casualties.

According to sources, the blast took place in a passenger vehicle which had 5kg explosives planted in it.

Officials said that at least two to three people were still trapped under the debris.

The blast affected nearby shops, including one of gas cylinders that blew up, setting the shop and other nearby shops on fire.

The injured were shifted to Landi Kotal Headquarters Hospital. Nine of them who were critical were shifted to a hospital in Peshawar.

Police and security forces reached the scene and cordoned off the area.

Witnesses said that children were also present during the time of the blast.

The area is a central point for Khyber Agency as people go to all parts of the agency from this place.

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