North Waziristan

Imran Khan, Samuil Haq State US Does Not Want Peace Negotiations in Pakistan

As Pakistan traverses a difficult path, trying to negotiate peace with militant groups under a shaky ceasefire, provocative statements have come out this week from leading figures in the process accusing the US of not wanting the talks to succeed and even suggesting that the US would actively try to undermine them.

Today, we have this very provocative statement from Maulana Samiul Haq, who has played a prominent role in getting the peace talks under way:

Attempts will be made to sabotage the efforts of the intermediary committees with regards to the peace talks, stated Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Samiul Haq (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq while speaking to the media in Nowshera on Wednesday.

He said that “the third enemy” will definitely do something to create obstacles, adding that USA, India and Afghanistan do not want the peace negotiations to be successful.

Dawn’s coverage of the press conference describes Haq’s statement in this way:

Haq, chief of the Taliban negotiating committee, told reporters after the meeting that the Taliban committee was seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He praised the Taliban for announcing the ceasefire and said he had asked the militants to track down whoever was responsible for the recent violence.

Moreover, he also said that the announcement of a ceasefire from both sides was a major progress and that the Taliban had been asked to probe into those responsible for recent attacks.

The chief Taliban mediator added that Afghanistan, India and the United States wanted the dialogue process to fail.

He further said that the government and Taliban should jointly unveil the enemy.

It would seem that Haq is following his own advice here, because in the aftermath of Monday’s attack on the court in Islamabad, Haq had said this:

The government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) should not blame each other for any attack and  should look for “the third enemy,” stated Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Samiul Haq (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq while talking to the media in Islamabad.

So on Monday it appears that Haq called on Pakistan to identify the “third enemy” and then today he stated that the US, India and Afghanistan fill that role.

I had missed it in the immediate aftermath of Monday’s attack, but Imran Khan did not wait to identify the US as the enemy of peace in Pakistan:

Imran Khan, chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, said on Monday that some elements, including the United States, were against peace in the country and an operation in Waziristan region was not in favour of Pakistan, DawnNews reported.

I’m guessing that John Brennan’s drone trigger finger is getting very itchy about now and that he is looking into how he can break the current lull in US drone strikes. Especially considering that the DOJ has now been asked to investigate CIA spying on Senate Inteligence Committee staff computers and Brennan’s known history of using drone strikes in Pakistan as a political retaliation tool, I don’t see how he can keep himself in check any longer.

How Will Pakistan Implement New Security Policy?

Earlier in the week, I wondered whether John Brennan had helped to shape the new counterterrorism policy that Pakistan is rolling out and whether it might be a ploy by Pakistan to capture some of the US counterterrorism dollars that would suddenly become available after a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Under such a scenario, the key event to watch for would be any action taken by Afghanistan against the Haqqani network or other groups that find haven in Pakistan but carry out their attacks only in Afghanistan. More details of the policy are now being revealed, and with them come some suggestions that the Haqqanis might not be targeted, but other major developments suggest that tighter cooperation with the US is occurring.

Tom Hussain of McClatchy seems to have been first to break the news (on Wednesday) that Pakistan may still choose not to go after the Haqqani network:

Pakistan announced Wednesday that it was ending its 7-month-old policy of trying to reconcile with its Taliban insurgents and vowing to answer each terrorist attack with military strikes on the militants’ strongholds in northwest tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

But the government stopped short of abandoning its attempts to engage willing Taliban factions in a peace dialogue, underlining that Pakistan’s national security policy remains focused on restricting attacks within its borders, rather obliterating the militants altogether.

That means that militants who use Pakistan for a staging base to attack U.S. and Afghan forces in neighboring Afghanistan will still be allowed to operate, as long as they observe a cease-fire in Pakistan.

He continues:

Political analysts said the national security policy unveiled Wednesday offered an easy way out for militant factions that wanted to disassociate themselves from the TTP, however: They simply have to stop attacking Pakistani government forces.

That makes it likely that Pakistan won’t take any military action against the Haqqani network, an ally of the Afghan Taliban that controls significant territory in the North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal agencies.

The network is a major source of friction between Pakistan and the United States, which previously has accused Pakistan’s security services of complicity in several of the network’s high-profile attacks on Afghan government and U.S. targets in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan.

Widely viewed as a projector of Pakistan’s influence into Afghanistan, the Haqqani network has distanced itself from the TTP during the Taliban group’s six-year insurgency by signing peace agreements, fronted by the local Wazir tribe, that predate the 2009 launch of counterterrorism operations.

Accordingly, it won’t be targeted by the Pakistani military as long as it doesn’t side with the TTP.

A very similar interpretation was offered by AFP on Thursday: Continue reading

Afghan Army Post in Kunar Province Overrun by Taliban, 21 Killed

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiVw94CuwGg']

 

In the worst attack in at least six months, Taliban fighters overran an Afghan army base in Kunar province near the Pakistan border, killing 21 Afghan soldiers who were said to have been sleeping at the time of the attack. It appears that a very large Taliban force carried out the attack. The New York Times carried a statement from the Afghan Defense Ministry that “hundreds” of fighters were in the attack and that the battle lasted four hours, while the Washington Post stated that “more than 100″ Taliban fighters carried out the attack.

The Times article informs us that at least one version of events suggests that the Taliban had infiltrators on the base who helped the assault forces:

One of the Afghan soldiers taken prisoner, who later escaped and was interviewed in the eastern city of Asadabad, said he believed that the insurgents had entered the fortified base with the collusion of infiltrators who had been on guard duty in the base’s three watchtowers and outside its barracks. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

“I believe these four soldiers had links with the Taliban,” he said. “They shot our soldiers while they were sleeping. When others woke up, they were taken alive, along with me.” He said that he and three other soldiers had managed to escape from the insurgents as they fled the area.

The Times article also states that as the US draws down its forces, Afghan units no longer are accompanied by US forces and “do not have the close air support they often enjoyed”. It should be noted, though, that Afghan forces have already retaken the base. Also note that, as seen in the accompanying video of the funeral in Kabul for those killed, and as noted in this article in ToloNews, Afghan helicopters were at least available to ferry the dead, and so we are left to wonder if they were also involved in the re-taking of the base.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai canceled a planned trip in response to the attack and called for Pakistan to take action against the Afghan Taliban forces which find refuge in Pakistan. It is not clear if Karzai was aware that on Sunday, Pakistan killed at least 38 suspected militants in North Waziristan in air raids carried out by Pakistani jets. Yet another high ranking member of Pakistan’s Taliban also was gunned down today, as well.

Interestingly, at least one person the New York Times talked to about the attack seemed to think that there are still problems with screening of Afghan security forces since there are hints that sympathizers let the Taliban onto the base:

“My cousin was killed in the attack yesterday,” Hajji Alif Khan, from Khost Province, said at the ceremony at the military hospital. “I want to see the bloodshed ended in this country in my lifetime. It is enough, we lost thousands of people. Let’s stop this war,” he said.

But in the meantime, he said, “They should check every soldier’s background.”

Gosh, we were told about a year and a half ago that screening was now very good

Disappeared Pakistani Drone Activist Planned ICC Testimony

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqX1jLSw3t0']

 

Update February 14: Khan has been freed! The Express Tribune reports that he was beaten and tortured, but is now free after being blindfolded and pushed out of a van.

In a very interesting development, Al Jazeera is reporting that disappeared drone activist Karim Khan had planned to testify before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on his trip to Europe which had been planned to begin on February 15. Khan was abducted from his home on February 5 and it is widely believed that Pakistan’s intelligence service was behind the abduction.

Khan made a very dramatic entrance into the world of drone activism in November of 2010, when he sued the US for $500 million after his son and brother were killed in a drone strike in their home village of Mir Ali in North Waziristan. In the lawsuit, Khan named the Islamabad CIA station chief:

A North Waziristan tribesman, whose brother and teenage son were killed in a drone strike last year, said on Monday that he would sue all those US officials supposedly in control of the predator’s operations in Pakistan.

Karim Khan, a local journalist from Mirali town of the lawless tribal district, had sent a $500 million claim for damages to the US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, CIA chief Leon Panetta and its station head in Islamabad Jonathan Banks.

Khan described how Banks’ activities lead to the deaths of innocent civilians:

He told journalists that CIA Islamabad’s chief Jonathan Banks buys information from his local agents in the area to guide the drone strike.

However, he added that this information is wrong and misleading in most occasions causing the deaths of many innocent tribesmen.

Khan’s attorney throughout this process has been Shahzad Akbar. Akbar also represents Noor Khan, whose case in the Peshawar High Court resulted in the ruling that US drone strikes within Pakistan are illegal and constitute war crimes.

The fact that Akbar has gotten this ruling seems to me to add significance to the Al Jazeera report, which appears to cite Akbar as the source of the disclosure that Khan was to testify at the ICC:

A Pakistani court has ordered the country’s intelligence agencies to produce a prominent anti-drone campaigner, who was abducted last week, by February 20, or to categorically state that they are not holding him, the activist’s lawyers say.

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Wednesday, Shehzad Akbar, the head of Karim Khan’s legal team, called Khan’s abduction from his Rawalpindi home late on February 5 “a signature government abduction”, alleging that Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agencies were responsible for the disappearance.

Khan had been due to fly to Europe on February 15, on a trip that would see him testify before members of the European Parliament in Brussels, UK legislators in London and the International Criminal Court in The Hague, on the US’ use of drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The court which issued the ruling for the ISI to present Khan was the Lahore High Court:

Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench on Wednesday issued notices to security agencies to submit their reply in a case related to disappearance of an anti-drone activist as it ordered to present the man at the next hearing.

LHC Justice Shehzad Ahmad Khan was hearing a plea filed by the family of Karim Khan, who went missing a few days back.

During the proceedings, the police denied their involvement in the disappearance. “Khan was picked up by persons wearing police uniform but he is not in our custody,” the police report claimed.

On this, the court sought reply from all intelligence agencies and ordered them to present Khan on February 20, the next date of hearing.

But the court had actually called for Khan to be produced yesterday, as well: Continue reading

More Fallout From Hakimullah Mehsud Drone Killing: Polio Vaccines Halted in Waziristan

Yesterday, we got the tremendous news that after having lead the world in the number of polio cases as recently as 2009, the World Health Organization announced that there have been zero polio cases in India for three consecutive years. In today’s Express Tribune, we see a discussion of whether and how Pakistan can now rise to the challenge of polio eradication. In the article, we learn that the US drone killing of Pakistan Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud not only disrupted the developing plans for peace talks between the Taliban and Pakistan’s government, but it also affected polio vaccinations in North and South Waziristan:

According to the State Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarrar, NWA and South Waziristan did not receive any immunisation in months, contrary to former North Waziristan Agency (NWA) surgeon Jan Mir Khan, who was part of recent polio efforts. “After the drone strike that killed Hakimullah, it all stopped. Not just the peace talks, but also our efforts,” she says.

The terrible impact of the CIA’s vaccination ruse employing Dr. Shakeel Afridi in the search for Osama bin Laden has been extensively documented here, but this is the first time I have seen a suggestion that backlash to a drone strike directly resulted in polio vaccines being denied to children. Tarrar is not ready to give up, however, and believes that Pakistan and the Taliban will eventually come to an agreement that will allow vaccinations to resume:

Saira Tarrar also emphasised that the people of the area need to be part of the solution. “Parents are now sick of the ban; this pressurises the Taliban.”

“There is an accessibility problem in Fata, but by 2014, we will get a bargain and get some access.” And access is key, as far as Elias Durray, the head of Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization in Pakistan is concerned. “Immunisation prevents circulation. The virus won’t vanish on its own.”

Let us hope that Pakistan can achieve full vaccine coverage and have polio disappear as quickly in Pakistan as it did in India. Of course, this will require the US actually letting peace negotiations between the Taliban and Pakistan come to fruition, so success is far from guaranteed.

Not a Drone: Pakistan Military Kills 23 Militants in North Waziristan

Miranshah mapNot many small towns of only a few thousand people are in the news as often or as prominently as Miranshah in North Waziristan of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan. Most often, it makes the news due to a drone strike carried out by the CIA. The last two days, however, have seen Miranshah and the surrounding area in the news for events that also pertain to the militants who hide out in the area, but for a distinctly different opponent of the militants.

Yesterday, five Pakistani soldiers were killed and over thirty were injured in a suicide attack:

At least five soldiers were killed and 34 wounded when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a military checkpoint in Pakistan’s troubled northwest on Wednesday, security officials said.

The attack came in the Mir Ali area of Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal region, a hub for Taliban and al Qaeda linked militants on the Afghan border.

The TTP was quick to claim responsibility and to state that it was in response to the recent killing of their leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike just as the TTP was readying to enter into peace talks with Pakistan.

Today, we have news that the Pakistani military has struck back against the TTP, killing 23:

At least 23 suspected militants were killed late on Wednesday during a clash with security forces in the country’s troubled northwest, officials said.

According to a security official who requested anonymity, the suspected militants tried to ambush a convoy of security forces which was returning back from Khajuri checkpost area in Mirali Tehsil of North Waziristan tribal region.

The convoy had gone in the area to rescue soldiers who were injured in a suicide bomb attack yesterday.

Security forces retaliated with gunfire and encircled the suspects inflicting heavy casualties.

The gun-battle continued for several hours during which the 23 suspected militants were killed.

Coverage of this fight in the Express Tribune notes reports of three civilian deaths and puts the fighting at more than one site:

At least 23 suspected militants plus three civilians were killed in raids and shelling by the armed forces in North Waziristan, officials said Thursday.

/snip/

Clashes erupted after the insurgents attacked a convoy of security forces which was returning after rescuing soldiers wounded in Wednesday’s bombing, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The death toll could not be verified independently because of an ongoing search operation and curfew in the area.

Earlier, local security officials said six of the suspected militants were killed during raids on two hotels.

“Security forces raided two hotels in the area close to the site of the suicide bombing and intense gunbattles left six suspected militants dead and 12 others wounded,” a local security official told AFP.

It is hard to overstate the significance of this development. One of the primary justifications cited for the US drone campaign that hits Miranshah so often is that the Pakistani military is both unwilling and unable to attack the militants on its own. Today, we see that quite the opposite is true. In response to a direct attack that killed five of its own, Pakistani military forces responded with a force large enough to kill 23 militants within 24 hours of the initial attack.

In its ongoing campaign to end CIA strikes as a violation of its sovereignty, Pakistan can point to today’s development as evidence that it is perfectly capable of taking its own actions against militant groups inside its borders.

Conversely, if the CIA had intelligent leadership, they would cite this development as a reason to end drone strikes in Pakistan.

How Ridiculous is Pakistan’s New Civilian Drone Victim Estimate? Terrorist Okra-Picking Grandma!

On October 24, 2012, Nabila Rehman, who was eight years old at the time, was helping her grandmother pick vegetables in the family’s garden in North Waziristan. Here is her description of what happened next:

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDlvGqQ7VUo']
Remarkably, Pakistan’s government has now indirectly called Nabila’s grandmother, Mamana Bibi, a terrorist. That is because the government has released new figures, radically revising downward their estimate of civilians killed in US drone strikes in Pakistan. They must be calling Bibi a terrorist, because the figures claim that there were zero civilian casualties in 2012. Amnesty International provides many more details (pdf) on the strike that killed Bibi and on another strike in 2012 that killed eighteen civilian workers.

Here is Declan Walsh writing in the New York Times on the new figures from Pakistan:

In a surprise move, Pakistan’s government on Wednesday sharply revised downward its official estimate of civilian casualties caused by American drone strikes in the tribal belt, highlighting again the contentious nature of statistics about the covert C.I.A. campaign.

The Ministry of Defense released figures to lawmakers saying that 67 civilians were among 2,227 people killed in 317 drone strikes since 2008. The remainder of those killed were Islamist militants, the ministry said.

/snip/

Recently, a United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, Ben Emmerson, said that the Pakistani government had reported at least 400 civilian deaths since the drone campaign started in 2004.

In an email, Mr. Emmerson noted that the revised figures were “strikingly at odds” with those he had been given earlier by the Pakistani Foreign Ministry and said he would be writing to the government seeking clarification.

“It is essential that the government of Pakistan now clarify the true position,” he said.

BBC gives us the directly comparable figures from The Bureau for Investigative Journalism:

The latest figures released by Pakistan differ dramatically from previous estimates, but no explanation was given for the apparent discrepancy.

London’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which researches Pakistan drone strikes, told the BBC it estimated based on reports that between 308 and 789 civilians had died since 1 January 2008 (of between 2,371 and 3,433 total deaths).

Since 2008 then, Pakistan has now revised their civilian death toll estimate down to 67 during a period when TBIJ documents a minimum of 308 civilian deaths and as many as 789. Somehow, Pakistan has reclassified several hundred deaths from civilian to terrorist. And among them is Mamana Bibi, who is now a terrorist okra-picking grandmother. [That one hits me especially hard; I have fond memories of my grousing about how itchy the okra plants were when I picked okra with my grandfather in his garden.]

Tom Hussain and Jonathan Landay at McClatchy sum up the response to this announcement by Pakistan: Continue reading

Today’s Pakistan Drone Strike Targeted Khost Blast Key Figure in CIA Revenge Killing

Will the drone pilot get the $5 million reward?

Will the drone pilot get the $5 million reward?

The latest CIA drone strike in North Waziristan is described by Reuters as having killed the number two figure in the Pakistan Taliban group known as the TTP. This strike was a first on many fronts. It was the first since the election of a new government in Pakistan, with new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif slated to take office next week, the first since President Barack Obama’s drone rules speech and the first strike in Pakistan since the Peshawar High Court ruled that US drone strikes in Pakistan are war crimes.

Despite public pronouncements by both the caretaker interim government and the incoming Prime Minister that they oppose CIA drone strikes, this strike is likely to produce less official backlash since the TTP has a long history of attacking both military and civilian targets inside Pakistan. But the CIA had their own reason to target this particular figure. From the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program, we have this description of Wali Ur Rehman (pdf):

Wali Ur Rehman, is second in command and chief military strategist of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). He commands TTP members in South Waziristan. He has participated in cross-border attacks in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO personnel, and is wanted in connection with his involvement in the murder of seven American citizens on December 30, 2009, at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan.

Shortly after the devastating attack in Khost, the CIA vowed revenge:

The CIA yesterday vowed to avenge the deaths of seven of its agents who were killed in a suicide bombing on Wednesday in Afghanistan, as it emerged that the bomber may have been invited on to the base as a potential informant according to two former US officials.

“This attack will be avenged through successful, aggressive counterterrorism operations,” a US intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.

It would appear that the CIA has now exacted that revenge, subject, of course, to the usual caveats that key figures targeted in drone strikes often have a way of popping up later unharmed. Gosh, I wonder if that was Mr. Moral Rectitude himself who gave that anonymous quote about revenge to the Guardian back when he was an “intelligence official” inside the White House instead of his current job running the CIA.

Update: I have been reminded on Twitter and elsewhere that in his speech last week, Obama said “America does not take strikes to punish individuals“. That seems to run in direct opposition to the vow from the CIA to avenge Khost and Ur Rheman’s accused role in that attack resulting in today’s attack.

Sad Victory for Pakistan’s Taliban: Child Diagnosed With Polio in Region Where Vaccinations Were Denied

While much attention is appropriately focused on the horrific and brutal attacks by Pakistan’s Taliban on secular political parties as the country approaches elections in its first-ever transition from one civilian government to another, we have news today of a sad triumph by the Taliban as a child in North Waziristan has been diagnosed with polio after the Taliban successfully shut down polio immunizations there last summer.

Health workers are on the cusp of making polio the second disease after smallpox to be completely eradicated from the planet. The latest plan forecasts eradication by 2018, but a huge barrier is that conservative Islamic groups view Western vaccination programs as attempts to sterilize Muslims. In addition, the participation by Dr. Shakeel Afridi in a bogus vaccination program set up by the CIA to obtain DNA samples from Osama bin Laden’s compound added fresh fuel to the belief that vaccination programs also are used to spy on Muslims. Just under a month ago, a policeman protecting workers administering polio vaccine was shot and killed:

The latest attack took place in the afternoon in the Par Hoti neighborhood of the Mardan district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. The policemen, Raj Wali and Mohammad Ishfaq, were accompanying two female workers on the second day of a three-day anti-polio drive, said Wajid Ali, a local police official.

The policemen were standing guard in the street as the health workers administered drops inside a house when an unidentified gunman, who appeared to be in his early 20s, walked up to them and opened fire. Mr. Wali was killed and Mr. Ishfaq was wounded, Mr. Ali said in a telephone interview. The gunman escaped.

That killing followed the deaths of eight vaccine workers last December and the violence has led to a significant interruption in the distribution of the vaccine:

In December, at least eight people engaged in polio vaccinations were shot dead in Karachi and the north-west, and in January and February two police officers were killed in similar attacks.

The UN said last month that some 240,000 children have missed vaccinations since July in parts of Pakistan’s tribal region, the main sanctuary for Islamic militants, because of security concerns.

And it is from the tribal area of Waziristan where we have today’s sad news of a child being diagnosed with polio:

A child has contracted polio for the first time in Pakistan’s militant-infested tribal belt since the Taliban banned vaccinations a year ago, a UN official said Monday.

“The new case has been detected in North Waziristan where we had been denied access in June last year,” the World Health Organization’s (WHO) senior coordinator for polio eradication in Pakistan, Elias Durry, told AFP.

Durry fears that this case is not likely to be isolated:

“We are worried because this new case comes as an example of a bigger impending outbreak of disease in the region,” the WHO official said.

In addition to making vaccination drives shorter and lower profile while working closely with security, the executive summary (pdf) for the new polio eradication plan has a key step of outreach to religious groups:

4. Religious leaders’ advocacy: markedly step up advocacy by international, national and local Islamic leaders to build ownership and solidarity for polio eradication across the Islamic world, including for the protection ofchildren against polio, the sanctity of health workers and the neutrality of health services.

Unfortunately, I don’t see an open call in the plan for bringing about an end to intelligence agencies undertaking new vaccination ruses, although “the neutrality of health services” would seem to touch on it. Meanwhile, Afridi has started a hunger strike in a desperate attempt to keep his name in the headlines.

Leaky Leon Does More Damage

Even in his official photos Panetta can’t keep his lips closed.

Marcy pointed out even before it aired that Defense Secretary (and former CIA Director) Leon Panetta’s televised confirmation that Dr. Shakeel Afridi worked for the CIA in the effort to find and kill Osama bin Laden was a breech of security. Since then, both Marcy and I have documented the damage resulting from this disclosure, which includes Afridi being jailed instead of quietly slipping out of Pakistan and a UN doctor being shot while hundreds of thousands of Pakistani children have been denied vaccines. In further damage from Panetta’s improper disclosure, Pakistan is now in the process of expelling the aid group Save the Children over concerns that they may have a CIA tie through a link with Afridi.

But that is not the only time Panetta has disclosed secret information that he should have kept quiet. In this post where I was discussing what looked like signs of increasing cooperation between the US and Pakistan, I included video from an AP interview of Panetta. The segment I chose to post turns out to be very significant. Here is my description of the video clip and its significance:

The absence of drone strikes continued and then on August 13 Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was interviewed by Lolita Baldor and Robert Burns of AP. As seen in the video excerpt above, Panetta said that he expected Pakistan to launch military operations soon against Taliban militants in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. As Bill Roggio noted at Long War Journal, this was a shocking development. After opening with “This is absolutely stunning”, Roggio went on to list his reasoning for why the announcement didn’t make much sense.

Panetta’s claim that Pakistan was about to launch military action in the FATA stunned those who watch the area closely. By publicly announcing such an unexpected action before it started, Panetta put Pakistan into an untenable position. Today’s Express Tribune details the damage arising from Panetta’s disclosure:

Pakistan has quietly conveyed to the United States to not make any public statement on its planned operation against militants in the restive North Waziristan Agency bordering Afghanistan.

The advice stems from the fact that any remarks by American officials may complicate the Pakistani authorities’ plan to create the ‘necessary environment’ for the Waziristan offensive, a senior government official said.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official told The Express Tribune that the military does not want to be seen as aligned with the US on the issue of launching a fresh operation in the rugged tribal belt because of growing anti-American sentiments in the country.

Pakistan protested directly to the US about Panetta’s leak:

Islamabad voiced concerns when US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta disclosed last month that the Pakistani military was planning to start an operation against militants in North Waziristan.

/snip/

“It was inappropriate for Panetta to make that statement. There was no need for that … it really complicated the situation,” a military official commented.

Why does Leaky Leon still hold a security clearance? The Haqqani network, operating now with virtual impunity from Pakistan’s FATA, is seen as one of the largest barriers to a stable Afghanistan. By delaying Pakistan’s action against them, Panetta has made himself directly responsible for additional harm to NATO troops and innocent Afghan civilians who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @KagroX Actually worked out well for me, as that meant actually less animals rustled. But a little weird.
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @KagroX The livestock inspectors in my case, for head counting+grazing considerations considered a mother and calf pair to be a "cow"
13mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @KagroX Yes, yes, but I NEEDED a place to drop that arcane tidbit I learned from representing a big cattle rustler. It's what Twitter is for
57mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @KagroX Calfs don't really exist, they are counted with their mothers as a "cow"
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @gideonstrumpet Encrypt the entire rest of your computer and information, because Facebook will suck it all up. That's mostly not a joke
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @GregoryMcNeal: Regarding CIVCAS here is the excerpt from @jaylyall_red5 ’s data driven article http://t.co/FggUTLzeRb http://t.co/cNw1u
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @carolrosenberg: Crosby now gets to offer expert opinion: "I believe that Mr. al Nashiri has suffered torture-- physical, psychological …
2hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV ISI Goes After Geo’s Broadcast License in Response to Accusations on Mir’s Shooting http://t.co/fBjUihucP8
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Paul Cassell is nuts, joint+several liability against defendnts for diffuse+unconnected crimes is bad idea (Paroline) http://t.co/1nHqBkTy7d
3hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @puellavulnerata in 2002 Ted Olson said they might use FISA to find evidence of rape to use that to coerce people to inform. @mattblaze
3hreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Oh my! I think the militants in the tribal areas just got called cockroaches by Pakistan Today: http://t.co/SPyFiWTnrR
4hreplyretweetfavorite
April 2014
S M T W T F S
« Mar    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930