Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri implies American captive, Warren Weinstein, is alive in terror group’s possession
Zawahiri implies Weinstein is alive and in Al Qaeda custody, not to be freed “until the Crusaders release our captives” including Omar Abdel Rahman and Aafia Siddiqui according to a translation by the SITE Monitoring Service.
The New York Daily News September 12, 2012
WASHINGTON — Core Al Qaeda’s No. 1 peeked from his spider hole this week, issuing pared-down demands for release of a 71-year-old American kidnapped last year in Pakistan.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took after last for the slain Osama bin Laden briefly mentioned captive U.S. development contractor Warren Weinstein during a video eulogy for a fallen lieutenant.
International Herald Tribune September 4, 2012
Two Americans and two Pakistani employees of the consulate were among the injured, and a charred U.S. passport was found inside the vehicle.
The Peshawar consulate has at least 11 American staffers, according to State Department records, along with a number of local employees.
The New York Times September 3, 2012
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a sport utility vehicle belonging to the United States Consulate in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Monday morning, Pakistani and American officials said, in one of the most brazen attacks against Americans in the country in recent years.
There were conflicting reports about the number and nationality of the casualties. Pakistani officials said that at least two people were killed by the blast and at least 13 were injured, including two police officers. The United States Embassy in Islamabad confirmed the attack and said in a statement that two Americans and two Pakistani employees of the consulate were injured. It denied early reports that an American had been killed.
A senior Pakistani government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that an American backup vehicle immediately retrieved the four who were wounded inside the S.U.V. and took them to the consulate. The official said two Pakistanis were killed outside the vehicle.
G4S is set to pull out of Pakistan amid an increasingly hostile environment for foreign security companies, the Financial Times reported on Monday.
4-Traders August 19, 2012
The company, which trades under the name Wackenhut Pakistan Ltd, has agreed to sell the business to its chairman in the region for about $10 million.
Ikram Sehgal, chairman of G4S’s Pakistani operation, who already owns a 50 percent stake in the company, is expected to buy the company’s Pakistan interest.
“The Pakistani government has decided it doesn’t want foreign security companies in the region, which makes it tough for outsiders to operate,” Sehgal is quoted as saying.
G4S, the world’s largest security firm, employs 10,000 staff in Pakistan, where it provides security for the UN and multinational corporations.
G4S is under fire over its failure to provide enough guards at the London Olympics.
It is a thankless and increasingly deadly job, and one so mired in graft that the drivers see a fraction of the cash paid by U.S. military paymasters
Reuters KHOSH GOMBAT, Afghanistan | Sun Jul 29, 2012
In the cabins of their “jingle” trucks flamboyant with tinsel baubles and painted tiger patterns as they move NATO’s war supplies, Habibullah thinks he and other drivers are becoming a forgotten front in an Afghan war growing more vicious.
From a dusty truck park midway between Kabul and the Pakistan border, and under the constant thump of helicopters from Jalalabad airbase over the road, Habibullah moves food and military materiel across the Taliban’s eastern heartland, from Nuristan to the former al Qaeda cave stronghold of Tora Bora.
“We worry about our fate when NATO leaves, because the Taliban also call us the infidels. For them, we are not just the enemy, but also traitors,” said the soft spoken 23-year-old, who contributes seven trucks to a cooperative with five owners.
It is a thankless and increasingly deadly job, and one so mired in graft that the drivers see a fraction of the cash paid by U.S. military paymasters, with the rest skimmed by middlemen or even going into the hands of insurgents for “protection”.
Only this week, three of Habibullah’s trucks were attacked and burned by Taliban amid the rugged mountains of Nuristan, a virtual no-go zone for NATO soldiers after heavy past losses and now garrisoned by a handful of Afghan troops and police.
By BRADLEY KLAPPER, Associated Press July 2, 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration said Tuesday that Pakistan was reopening its supply lines into Afghanistan, after the U.S. belatedly issued an apology for the November killing of 24 Pakistani troops in a NATO airstrike.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed her condolences for the deaths in a telephone conversation with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. The incident badly damaged already strained relations between the two countries and forced the U.S. and its allies to send supplies via costlier northern routes into Afghanistan.
“We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military,” Clinton said in a statement, recounting her discussion with Khar. “I offered our sincere condolences to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who lost their lives. Foreign Minister Khar and I acknowledged the mistakes that resulted in the loss of Pakistani military lives.”
It is the first time any U.S. official has formally apologized for the deaths, a step hotly debated within the Obama administration and one demanded by Pakistan while its supply routes remained closed for seven months. It came as key Pakistani civilian and military leaders were meeting Tuesday evening in Islamabad to discuss whether to reopen NATO supply routes.
Clinton said a decision had been reached.
“This is a tangible demonstration of Pakistan’s support for a secure, peaceful, and prosperous Afghanistan and our shared objectives in the region,” Clinton said, calling the agreement “critically important to the men and women who are fighting terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan.
Pakistan Today May 21, 2o12
KARACHI/PESHAWAR – Despite a near agreement on resumption of NATO supply, government of Pakistan will have to face the transportation issue before the opening of the routes as the transporter companies are demanding clearance of their dues of the past seven months
Thousands of NATO containers had been grounded to halt at numerous terminals of Karachi after the deadliest strike of NATO helicopters’ on Pakistani security check post killing at least 24 soldiers and injuring 13 others on Nov, 2011.
NATO trucks carrying fuel and other essential commodities to US-led forces to Afghanistan, remained stranded in Pakistan without overdue arrears of seven months. Resultantly, a dispute has emerged between the contractor companies and transporters on the issue of unpaid fares.
Pakistan Goods Transport Welfare Association (PGTWA) chairman Haji Khan Dil Niazi has expressed concerns over the situation and demanded for the release of dues.
“After the Salala incident, the government had asked contractor companies to lay off NATO goods at Karachi Port Trust and Port Qasim but the concerned authorities had not implemented the orders and despite the passage of seven months NATO trucks are still stranded in numerous terminals”, he added.
He said transporters had purchased trucks on monthly installments and now they are unable to deposit payments. He said the contractor companies have refused to give seven months arrears because they believe halt of NATO supply is not their fault.
PGTWA warned that the transporters will not resume NATO supply until the release of arrears.
McClatchy May 16, 2012
ISLAMABAD — The cost of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan is about to rise by $365 million annually under an agreement that would reopen a key NATO supply route through Pakistan that’s been closed for nearly six months.
The accord, which the Pakistani government announced late Tuesday, would revive the transport of vital supplies of food and equipment from Pakistani ports overland to land-locked Afghanistan. In return, the U.S.-led coalition will pay Pakistan a still-to-be-fixed fee of $1,500 to $1,800 for each truck carrying supplies, a tab that officials familiar with negotiations estimated would run nearly $1 million a day. The officials requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to reveal details of the agreement.
Pakistan closed the land route to supplies headed to the coalition after American aircraft mistakenly attacked two Pakistani border outposts Nov. 26, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. Since then, supplies for coalition forces in Afghanistan have passed through one of two routes that stretch from Afghanistan through central Asia and Siberia to Georgia on the Black Sea. One of the routes is nearly 6,000 miles long. The Pakistan route is less than 500 miles.
Officials in Washington said they didn’t know how much of the new cost the United States would bear. As the United States contributes more than two-thirds of the 130,000-strong international force, which operates under the command of NATO, it’s expected that Washington will pay most of the new fee.
“During the last three months, about 889 cases of CL have been recorded from 14 districts,” Dr. Muhammad Iqbal of the Health Department told Central Asia Online April 25. “We have requested the WHO to intervene.”
Nowshera District had the most cases, 214, he said.
KP is requesting injectable medicines and help with insecticide spraying, he said, adding that patients cannot afford the Rs. 3,500 (US $39) cost of CL treatment.
CL is a skin infection, often transmitted by sand flies
QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — The body of a British Red Cross worker held captive in Pakistan since January was found in an orchard Sunday, his throat slit and a note attached to his body saying he was killed because no ransom was paid, police said.
Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was managing a health program in the city of Quetta in southwestern Pakistan when armed men seized him from a street close to his office. The identities of his captors are unknown, but the region is home to separatist and Islamist militants who have kidnapped for ransom before.
The director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross condemned the “barbaric act.”
“All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil’s family and friends,” said Yves Daccord.
Dale’s throat had been slit, according to Safdar Hussain, a doctor who examined the body.
Quetta police chief Ahsan Mahboob said the note attached to it read: “This is the body of Khalil who we have slaughtered for not paying a ransom amount.”
Militants and criminal gangs often kidnap wealthy Pakistanis and less commonly, foreigners.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Dale’s killing, and said “tireless efforts” had been under way to secure his release after he was kidnapped
Islamabad/Geneva – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemns in the strongest possible terms the murder of its staff member Khalil Rasjed Dale.
The ICRC has now received confirmation that Khalil, a 60-year-old health-programme manager in Quetta/Balochistan, was murdered almost four months after his kidnapping.
“The ICRC condemns in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act,” said Director-General Yves Daccord. “All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil’s family and friends.”
“We are devastated,” said Yves Daccord. ‘’Khalil was a trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member who significantly contributed to the humanitarian cause.”
Khalil worked for the ICRC and the British Red Cross for many years, carrying out assignments in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He had been working as a health-programme manager in Quetta/Balochistan for almost a year. At about 1 p.m. on 5 January 2012, he was abducted by unidentified armed men while returning home from work.
The ICRC has been active in Pakistan since 1947, providing humanitarian services in the fields of health-care, in particular physical rehabilitation, including in Balochistan.
DAWN April 13, 2012
ISLAMABAD: In a hard-won consensus, parliament recommended to the government on Thursday to no more let Pakistan serve as conduit of arms to Afghanistan, but gave a green signal for a resumption of non-lethal Nato supplies to the war-ravaged country.
And before the joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate unanimously adopted revised recommendations of a bipartisan Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani assured the house that his government would implement its landmark guidelines “in letter and spirit”.
“Pakistani territory including its airspace shall not be used for transportation of arms and ammunition to Afghanistan,” said the committee’s revised report, which dropped clauses of a previous report containing conditions for resuming transportation of supplies through Pakistani land routes for US forces, Nato and a Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, effectively leaving the matter to administrative decisions of the Pakistani government.
However, the committee reiterated its earlier call for an “immediate cessation” of US drone attacks aimed at suspected militant hideouts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, ignoring suggestions made from some lawmakers during a protracted debate to make such a halt a precondition for allowing Nato supplies
Pakistani troops dig for 135 missing in huge avalanche April 8, 2012
ISLAMABAD – Pakistani soldiers dug into a massive avalanche in a mountain battleground close to the Indian border Saturday, searching for at least 135 people buried when the wall of snow engulfed a military complex.
More than 12 hours after the disaster at the entrance to the Siachen Glacier, no survivors had been found.
“We are waiting for news and keeping our fingers crossed,” said army spokes-man Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas.
Hundreds of troops and sniffer dogs were at the scene but were struggling to make headway into the avalanche, which crashed down onto the rear headquarters building in the Gayari sector early in the morning, burying it under 70 feet of snow, Abbas said.
“It’s on a massive scale,” he added. “Everything is completely covered.”
The military said that at least 124 soldiers and 11 civilian contractors were missing.
Siachen is on the northern tip of the divided Kashmir region claimed by India and Pakistan.
The accident highlighted the risks of deploying troops to one of the most inhospitable places on Earth.
Sydney Morning Herald March 16, 2012
Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 28, were abducted at gunpoint on July 1 in the south-western province of Baluchistan, while apparently on holiday.
”They are safe and sound,” Major-General Athar Abbas said. ”They told us that they escaped and then they reported to our checkpost.”
The Pakistani Taliban had demanded the couple be exchanged for Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist sentenced in 2010 in New York for the attempted murder of US government agents in Afghanistan
The International News March 3, 2012
According to the KP home department sources, the government imposed banned on 27 private security companies as most of the companies don’t have even a single office in the province while remaining are unregistered companies.
Sources said that some companies, providing security to United Nations missions, are also unregistered.
KP home department has issued memo to all commissioners directing them to seal the offices of the banned companies and take action against them under Private Security Company Ordinance 2002.
Associated Press February 14, 2012
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s defense minister says the government has temporarily allowed NATO to ship perishable food items to its troops in Afghanistan.
It is the first time Pakistan has allowed NATO supplies to cross into Afghanistan since it closed its border to the coalition in November in retaliation for American airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Pakistani Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said Tuesday that the government would only allow NATO to ship perishable items for a limited time. He did not indicate when the approval was given.
The announcement indicates thawing tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan.
Several senior Pakistani officials have said recently that Pakistan should reopen the border to NATO after negotiating higher fees