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.
“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
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
MinnPost.com January 26, 2012
A kidnapped American aid contractor is alive and in good health, being held by a Pakistani Al Qaeda affiliate that’s likely to use him as a bargaining chip, according to militants, security officials, and analysts.
Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped in August from his home in Lahore, Pakistan, is in the custody of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants in North Waziristan, a ranking Pakistani militant told McClatchy. The militant said he’d seen Mr. Weinstein last month and at that point “his health was fine.”
“He is being provided all available medical treatment, including regular checkups by a doctor and the medicines prescribed for him before he was plucked,” the militant, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said last week in an interview.
Weinstein, who’s from Rockville, Md., spent several years as the Pakistan country manager for J.E. Austin Associates, a contractor for the US Agency for International Development. Reportedly in ill health, he’d packed his bags and was within hours of leaving Pakistan for good on Aug. 13 when militants kidnapped him from his home in the affluent suburb of Model Town.
“In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans”
Contractors will be even less likely to be diagnosed and/or treated timely or effectively. Diagnoses normally occurs long after they’ve had contact with their families.
In recent months, many politicians and presidential hopefuls have called for budget reductions, and many have specifically targeted military spending for cutbacks. Unfortunately, even programs proven to be cost effective are vulnerable to cuts. Medical research for our troops is no exception to this rule — programs such as the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) often find themselves low on the priority list despite their crucial role in saving the lives of our troops on the battlefield and here at home.
One important area of research is tropical medicine. During World War II and the Vietnam War, more than one million service members acquired tropical infections such as malaria, dengue fever, hookworm, and typhus, and many of these diseases continued to plague our veterans after they returned home. Today, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan still face formidable tropical disease threats, especially from a disease transmitted by the bite of sand flies known as leishmaniasis, which can cause a disfiguring ulcer in one form, and a serious systemic condition that clinically resembles leukemia in another. In the coming years leishmaniasis may become the most important condition you have never heard of among veterans.
WRAIR’s leishmaniasis diagnostic laboratory is the only one of its kind in the world, so each time funding is slashed our military loses considerable expertise and capabilities in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this devastating disease. For example, in the years prior to the Gulf War, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was officially decommissioned and all research was halted. Only after cases of leishmaniasis among U.S. forces exposed to sand-fly bites in the Iraqi desert were the remaining leishmaniasis experts at WRAIR quickly assembled and tasked with making up for lost time. In 2002, the WRAIR leishmaniasis program was again dissolved only to be urgently activated once more with the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The interruptions to the WRAIR leishmaniasis program are part of much larger budget cuts across all of WRAIR’s tropical infectious disease research programs. There is no end to the irony of such cutbacks given that they coincide with the activation in 2008 of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), charged with fighting the war on terror across the African continent. Today, sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of cases of tropical diseases anywhere in the world. Many of these tropical infections, such as river blindness and African sleeping sickness, have been shown to destabilize communities and may actually promote conflict in the region.