|US conduct airstrikes near Tajikistan and China border with Afghanistan|
|[Khaama Press] The US Air Force has carried out a series of s on hideouts near the border with Tajikistan and China as efforts are underway to suppress the Taliban-led insurgency across the country as part of the ongoing massive air campaign.|
Over the past 96 hours, U.S. forces conducted air operations to strike Taliban training facilities in Badakhshan province, preventing the planning and rehearsal of terrorist acts near the border with China and Tajikistan by such organizations as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and others, according to a report by -led Resolute Support Mission.
The strikes also destroyed stolen Afghan National Army vehicles that were in the process of being converted to vehicle-borne improvised s.
The report further adds that during these strikes, a U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress dropped 24 precision guided munitions on Taliban fighting positions, setting a record of the most guided munitions ever dropped from a B-52. The aircraft has played a leading role in Air Force operations for decades, and was recently reconfigured with a conventional rotary launcher to increase its reach and lethality.
Continued U.S. strikes disrupt Taliban support networks in province, as well as destroy their sources of revenue such as illegal narcotics, the report adds.
According to the Resoute Support, ongoing strikes in Helmand continue to degrade Taliban revenue sources and safe havens. U.S. strikes and ASSF raids have resulted in the removal of more than $30 million of Taliban revenue since the campaign began in November, 2017.
"The Taliban have nowhere to hide," said General John Nicholson, commander, USFOR-A. "There will be no safe haven for any terrorist group bent on bringing harm and destruction to this country."
|US launches airstrikes on Taliban training camps|
|[LWJ] The US military launched a series of airstrikes on Taliban training camps located in Afghanistan’s remote northeastern province of Badakhshan, which borders Tajikistan. The camps were used by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and other terrorist groups.|
“Over the past 96 hours, US forces conducted air operations to strike Taliban training facilities in Badakhshan province, preventing the planning and rehearsal of terrorist acts near the border with China and Tajikistan by such organizations as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and others,” Resolute Support announced in a press release.
According to Resolute Support, the airstrikes also “destroyed stolen Afghan National Army vehicles that were in the process of being converted to vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.”
Badakhshan, once a peaceful province, has become a Taliban hotbed since the US withdrew the bulk of its forces after the troop surge ended in 2012. Of Badakhshan’s 28 districts, LWJ assesses three to be Taliban controlled and another nine to be contested.
ETIM’s emir has served on al Qaeda’s shura, and it has operated a training camp that was sponsored by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. After the Taliban lost control of Afghanistan in 2001, the ETIM established training camps in Pakistan.
ETIM fighters have fought alongside the Taliban and other jihadist groups against Coalition and Afghan forces since the US first invaded Afghanistan in 2001.
The US has previously targeted ETIM leaders inside Pakistan in its drone campaign. In Aug. 2010, the US thought it killed Abdul Haq al Turkistani, the emir of the ETIM, in a drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan. Turkistani later re-emerged in a video in 2015, and said he was severely wounded in the 2010 drone strike. Abdul Haq issued another in 2016 that took al Qaeda’s side in its dispute with the Islamic State.
The US was also thought to have killed Emeti Yakuf (a.k.a. Abdul Shakoor Turkistani), in a drone strike in Pakistan in Aug. 2012. Yakuf took control of the ETIM as Turkistani was recovering from his injuries, and also took control of al Qaeda’s network in Pakistan’s tribal areas in 2010.
|Aziz says it’s simplistic to blame one country for violence|
|[DAWN] The Heart of Asia conference concluded in Amritsar on Sunday on an unhappy note for Pakistain, which was criticised roundly as a base for groups whom the conference statement described as a big threat to peace and security in the region.|
The statement named , Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Haqqani group as posing threats to region together with other groups fomenting terrorism in the neighbourhood and beyond.
Foreign Affairs Adviser countered the claim, calling the criticism ’simplistic’.
there was relief for Pakistain as the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain too came up for criticism together with Jundullah.
Pakistain was also applauded for hosting Afghan refugees for three decades. Mr Aziz also found occasion to briefly exchange pleasantries with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting with a clutch of other foreign ministers.
"We remain concerned by the gravity of the security situation in Afghanistan in particular and the region and the high level of violence caused by the Taliban, terrorist groups, including /DAISH and its affiliates, the , Al Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, East Turkistan Islamic Movement, Lashkar-e-Taiba, , TTP, , Jundullah and other foreign terrorist fighters," the statement said.
Acknowledging the support that terrorism derives in the region, the statement demanded an immediate end to all forms of terrorism, as well as all support to it, including financing of terrorism.
"We recognise that terrorism is the biggest threat to peace, stability and cooperation in our region. We encourage the international community to continue to assist the government of Afghanistan."
Mr Aziz said his attending the Amritsar meet despite ’escalation’ along the Line of Control was testimony to Pakistain’s ’unflinching’ commitment for lasting peace in Afghanistan.
|China, Afghanistan agree to crackdown on Xinjiang militants|
|China and Afghanistan have agreed to step up the crackdown on Uighur militant training camps in Xinjiang province, as China eyed major investments in the Afghanistan's rich mineral and oil sectors.|
Official media has reported that leaders of the two countries reached a "new important consensus" to combat the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), an Uighur separatist organization demanding independence for Xinjiang, which borders Afghanistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Afghanistan's President Ghani, who arrived here yesterday on his first official visit abroad, held talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and top security officials. Chinese Foreign Ministry official Kong Xuanyou said, "President Ghani said that the new Afghan government will firmly support China to fight the ETIM. The two sides reached a new important consensus on joint efforts in that regard."
Ghani told Xi that "Afghanistan will not allow any activities that threaten China's (security) on Afghan territory."
ETIM, an Al Qaeda linked group is reported to have training camps in Pakistan's tribal areas as well as in Afghanistan. Several ETIM members were reportedly killed in air raids conducted by Pakistan recently.
China has stepped up their border vigil both in Kashgar, the town connecting PoK and the narrow corridor connecting Afghanistan.
|23 Terror, Religious Extremism Groups Busted In Xinjiang|
The groups were busted by police in south Xinjiang's Hotan, Kashgar and Aksu prefectures, where the majority of the population are Uygurs, according to the department.
More than 200 s were also seized in the police raids.
Many of the suspects were in their 20s and 30s, who watched terror video and audio through the Internet and electric storages and learned how to make explosives. They exchanged their experiences of making explosives and propagating Jihad through chatting tools, text messages and illegal preaching sites, according to the department.
Many of the terror suspects seized in recent years were instigated by those terror video and audio products to carry out terrorist activities, he said.
Xinjiang started a one-year campaign against terrorist violence on Friday. The campaign will last until June 2015 with Xinjiang as the major battleground.
The region saw its bloodiest day in five years on Thursday when 39 innocent people were killed in a terrorist attack.
The campaign will focus on and religious groups, gun and explosive manufacturing dens and terrorist training camps.
Legal, procuratorate and public security authorities in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region issued a joint statement on Saturday, calling for law-breakers who are involved in terrorist activities to surrender to get lenient punishments.
The statement forbids people to organize, lead or join any terrorist groups. It bans people from implementing or instigating terrorist violence. It also prohibits people from directly or indirectly funding, supporting or harbouring terrorist activities, terrorist organizations and terrorists.
The statement also bans people from manufacturing, trading, transporting, publicizing, copying and holding propaganda materials or electric storages with terrorist violence and religious extremism contents.
Manufacturing, trading, transporting, storing and holding guns, ammunitions, flammable and combustible materials as well as knives under strict control are also prohibited.
|China starts int'l hunt for train station attacker|
|[Dhaka Tribune] China has said Monday it had started an international manhunt for the alleged behind an attack at a train station last month blamed on from the Turkic Uighur ethnic group.|
The official China Daily newspaper and other state media said a request had been submitted to Interpol for the arrest of Ismail Yusup and an unspecified number of associates, reported AP.
The report said that Yusup was a member of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and organised the April 30 attack in the capital of the northwestern Xinjiang region that killed three people and injured 79 others.
Beijing says an organised militancy with elements based overseas is behind a rising number of terrorist attacks in the country. little evidence has been provided to back up the claim and many analysts doubt such an organization exists in a form that would enable it to organise attacks.
China had previously said the attack, in which explosives and knives were used, was carried out by two religious who were killed in the blast.
East Turkistan is the name used for Xinjiang by some members of the region's native Uighur (pronounced WEE'-gur) ethnic group, among which have been fighting for years a low-intensity insurgency against Chinese rule.
The US initially placed the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, known as ETIM, on a terrorist watch list following the September 11, 2001, attacks, but later quietly removed it amid doubts that it existed in any organised manner. It is still listed as a terrorist group by the , over which China has considerable sway as one of five permanent veto-holding members of the Security Council.
China Daily and other state media outlets said Yusup ordered 10 "partners" in Xinjiang to prepare for the attack in the city of Urumqi about a week before it happened. The 10 set off explosives and slashed people with knives at the station exit on the evening of April 30, the reports said. Two of the members were killed in the and the remaining eight were captured by police, it said.
The Xinjiang Daily newspaper said Yusup formed an group in 2005 and began conspiring with members of ETIM in 2012. It said he formally joined the group last year when he fled China after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The reports didn't say where Yusup was hiding or give other details about his identity. a number of Uighur are believed to be living in Pakistain's northwest alongside Islamic linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
|China places six Uighurs on terror list|
|BEIJING: China placed six men from the Uighur ethnic minority on a terror list, accusing them of involvement in terrorist training camps and of inciting attacks in the countrys restive western Xinjiang region. |
Chinas Ministry of Public Security said the men, whose names identify them as Uighurs, were members of the outlawed East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), blaming one for orchestrating violent attacks in the city of Kashgar last July.
Chinese authorities have accused the ETIM, which wants an independent homeland for Xinjiangs Uighurs, of orchestrating attacks in the region on many occasions. They also gave rare details of what they says are links between the militant groups and neighbouring countries, as it unveiled a list of six wanted suspects. The Ministry of Public Security published the names of the suspects, all apparently ethnic Uighurs, on its website late on Thursday, along with their photographs and an outline of their alleged crimes. All six had spent time in what the ministry called
The public security ministry on Thursday said in a statement that it had frozen the funds and assets of the six men, whose whereabouts are not known. China has blamed incidents of violence in Xinjiang, home to the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur people, on religious separatists who want to establish an independent state of East Turkestan.
|Pakistan doesn't want to be used by militants, says FM Khar|
|...it just works out that way.|
[Dawn] Pakistain does not want to be used as a base for groups and needs the world's understanding as it tries to handle its problems, the foreign minister said Wednesday.
Hina Rabbani Khar also said after a two-day trip to Beijing that she wanted to further bolster ties with China, which has been Pakistain's main supporter.
Chinese officials have blamed trained in Pakistain for deadly attacks in the far west region of Xinjiang last month.
"Pakistain just seeks the world's understanding for the current challenges that Pakistain is going through....we are the ones and our people are the ones that are paying the price who are experiencing the brunt of it," said Khar, who was named foreign minister about five weeks ago.
Khar, who held talks with her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and met Premier , said Pakistain did not want groups.
"We have made it clear to our neighbours and we make it clear again that Pakistain has no interest for its territory to be used by any non-state actors against any other country," she said.
Islamabad is struggling to deal with the Pak Taliban and their affiliates, which seek to topple Pakistain's government.
Khar said Pakistain was increasing its counter-terrorism cooperation with China.
Last month about 20 people were killed in violence in the far western city of Kashgar in Xinjiang, and Chinese authorities said one attack was carried out by trained in weapons and bomb-making at camps run by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement in Pakistain.
The government hasn't disclosed evidence for that allegation.
Security has been tight across Xinjiang since 2009 when almost 200 people were killed in fighting between majority Han Chinese and the Uighur ethnic group.
Uighurs say they face employment and religious discrimination. China says all ethnic groups are treated equally and government investment and aid have dramatically raised living standards.
Xinjiang is China's Central Asian frontier, bordering Pakistain, Afghanistan, Russia and other countries. Kashgar was an important hub on the ancient route through which Chinese silk and other goods reached Europe.
|MSM gushes over Terrorists in Paradise Program|
|By Joel Mowbray|
It did not come with the promise of 72 virgins, but newly released Guantanamo Bay detainees managed to make it to paradise after all. What the fawning media neglected to mention was that these supposedly friendly lads all trained at an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist camp in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Not that youll hear any such inconvenient facts from the mainstream media, of course. Reporting the actual consequences of releasing terror suspects doesnt help Obamas goalshared by most in the mainstream mediaof closing Guantanamo Bay.
The absence of critical coverage might help explain why Team Obama is proudly still planning to reward even more Gitmo detainees soon with new digs in paradisealmost all of whom possess terror training on their résumés. Nor will the press spend much time explaining that taxpayers could be footing a bill of over $1 billion for the new Terrorists in Paradise Program (TM). Serving as a painful reminder to Americans about the degradation of journalism, the mainstream media reported on the exploits of hardened Islamic extremistsas they went swimming, fishing, and frolicking. Aside from FOX News, not one mainstream media outlet turned a critical eye to the former terrorism suspects flying to Bermuda on a private jet accompanied by President Obamas lawyer, White House Counsel Greg Craig.
One aspect of the story did generate actual reportagebut only on one side of the Atlantic. U.K. news outlets reported that the British government was, ahem, pissed. Because of U.K. journalists, we know that the State Department ignored basic protocols by keeping in the dark Americas steadfast friend, which as Bermudas colonial master is responsible for its foreign policy. U.S. media outlets, in sadly typical fashion, largely glossed over the kerfuffle. Just for sheer news value, wouldnt it make sense to cover the man-bites-dog story of how the president who was supposed to usher in an era of good diplomatic feelings had managed to piss off one of Americas closest allies?
Many fascinating angles abound, yet the media only regurgitated what it was spoon-fed by the White House. The most obvious question to explore: Why, if these Uighurs (as the Chinese Muslims are known) are actually the sweet souls suggested in countless stories over the weekend, did no other country want them? And why did the U.S. have to resort to knee-capping (or worse) one of its oldestand most importantfriends? News accounts have suggested that they are harmless chaps who were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps. But the wrong place was very wrong: Pakistan and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and most of them trained an al Qaeda-linked training camp in Tora Bora. And the wrong time was equally troubling: shortly after 9/11. The very same U.S. government now tripping over itself to declare as genuinely benign the Uighurs also believes that the Tora Bora camp at which most of them trained was sponsored by Al Qaeda. (To the casual reader, Tora Bora sounds familiar because it is the place where U.S. forces barely missed a fleeing Usama bin Laden in late 2001.)
Officially, the Uighurs are not a threat to the United States because the sole focus of their rage is China. Then why, a reasonable observer might ask, does the U.S. government deem the Uighur organization with which most of the Gitmo detainees were affiliated, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Specially Designated Global Terrorist? Despite this weekends news accounts conveniently describing the Uighurs as simply unlucky tourists, evidence suggests otherwise. The ETIM-run Tora Bora camp wasnt exactly a vacation resort, as the vast majority of the Gitmo-detained Uighurs admitted receiving weapons training, according to U.S. government documents that have been made public. As the blog The Long War Journal observed, ETIM is dedicated to international jihad and shares a similar ideology with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. ETIM and al Qaeda share more than common goals and beliefs. Leaders of the ETIM belonged to the inner circle around bin Laden, including Hasan Mahsum (a.k.a. Abu Muhammad al-Turkistani, who was killed by Pakistani security forces in 2003), so its dubious that these guys are truly freedom fighters, notes David Draper of the NEFA Foundation. Its even more unlikely that these guys are telling the truth when they say theyd never heard of al Qaeda. Contrast known facts to the fuzzy feature stories about the Uighurs in paradise. Typical is this pleasant description from the Associated Press: The four men in short-sleeve shirts looked like ordinary tourists, enjoying a Sunday lunch and butter pecan ice cream afterward as they observed the sparkling waters surrounding this Atlantic resort island.
And theres more news coming up for the mainstream media to ignore. Thirteen additional Uighurs are scheduled to be released soon from Gitmo, bound for the picturesque Pacific island of Palau, best known for hosting one season of the CBS reality show, Survivor. This relocation will cost the taxpayers a mint, too. Palau is reportedly receiving $200 million in development assistance, which works out to roughly $15 million per former terrorism suspect. All parties involved deny any sort of quid pro quo, which would mean the timing was pure serendipity. Again, perhaps. Assuming that the facts are actually as they appear, though, paying countries to take terrorists could result in quite a tab. If Obama wants to release an additional 70 Gitmo detainees, a fairly conservative estimate in order to minimize the number of suspects held after the bases scheduled shuttering early next year, the total cost would be over $1 billion in taxpayer moneyassuming no inflation.
While many in the mainstream media are not-so-privately cheering Obamas planned closure of Guantanamo Bay, does their fervor excuse them from meeting even minimal journalistic standards? Heres the key question: Would they maintain their superficial coverage if the Gitmo detainees were going to move into their neighborhoods?
|China asks Pakistan to uproot militants|
|China has asked Pakistan to use all its resources to uproot the militant organisation 'East Turkistan Islamic Movement' from the country.|
According to BBC, Chinese President Hu Jintao has sent this message through diplomatic channels to President Asif Ali Zardari. Hu also asked the president to step up the security of Chinese nationals working or living in Pakistan. BBC quoted a Foreign Ministry source as saying that there was a news report on East Turkistan Islamic Movement members hiding and operating in different parts of the Tribal Areas. The source said the militant organisation was involved in terrorist activities in China and was provoking Chinese Muslims to join them.
In the official documents obtained by the BBC, the Chinese president expressed concern over the security of around 10,000 Chinese professionals in Pakistan, especially the 3,000 working on the Karakoram Highway near Swat.
|Home Front: WoT|
|Obama declines to take "yes" for an answer on detaining terrorists|
|Jeb Babbin reports that "White House lawyers are refusing to accept the findings of an inter-agency committee that the Uighur Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay are too dangerous to release inside the U.S." |
The inter-agency committee -- comprised of all the national security agencies -- was told to start with what the Obama administration believed to be the easiest case, that of the seventeen Chinese Muslims, known as Ughurs, who were captured at an al-Queda training camp.
According to Babbin, the inter-agency panel found that the Ughurs weren't "the ignorant, innocent goatherds the White House believed them to be."
Would anyone be surprised if, indeed, the Obama administration is overruling the intelligence community in order to implement preconceived policy preferences? Would anyone be surprised if those policy preferences include erring on the side of aiding suspected terrorists (to "repair our image," of course) rather than protecting the United States?
|Jamia Hafsa likely to dominate Pak-Chinese talks|
|Chinas concern about increasing extremism in Sinkiang and the kidnapping of its nationals by a madrassa students in Islamabad will dominate the four-day Pak-Chinese talks starting today (Monday) in Beijing.|