Daily Archives: October 7, 2017

FC BALOCHISTAN CARRIES OUT IBOS IN VARIOUS PARTS OF PROVINCE, RECOVERS EXPLOSIVES, MAPS, COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT

Frontier Corps Balochistan carried out operations in Garandani, Kohlu, Ghazi Nala and Uch Naseerabad district and recovered explosive material weighing thirteen hundred kilogram.

According to ISPR, the explosive material included machine guns, rockets and hand grenades.

Maps of important places and communication equipment were also recovered during the operations.

Source: Radio Pakistan

U.S. Says Three Men Charged With Plotting New York Terror Attacks For IS

U.S. authorities say three men have been arrested on charges of plotting attacks in New York City for the extremist Islamic State (IS) group.

Federal prosecutors in New York said on October 6 that the planned attacks, which were thwarted by law-enforcement authorities, included bombings in New York City’s Times Square and subway system, as well as shooting people at concert venues.

The attacks were to be carried out during the Islamic holy month of Ramadhan in the summer of 2016, prosecutors said in a statement on the unsealing of the charges.

The suspects include a 19-year-old Canadian citizen accused of purchasing bomb-making materials and securing the use of a cabin to build explosive devices, and a 19-year-old U.S. citizen based in Pakistan who allegedly planned to travel to New York to help carry out the attacks.

The third suspect, a 37-year-old Philippine citizen, is accused of wiring money from the Philippines to the United States to help fund the planned attacks, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors added that all three men have been arrested, and that the Canadian man, Abulrahman El Bahnasawy, has pleaded guilty.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

Pakistan Shrine Bombing Toll Rises, Many Victims Critical

QUETTA, PAKISTAN The death toll from a suicide bombing at a Shiite shrine in the country’s southwest increased to 24 after four victims died at a hospital overnight, police said Saturday.

A suicide bomber struck the shrine packed with worshippers in a remote village in Jhal Magsi district, about 400 kilometers (240 miles) east of Quetta in Baluchistan province on Thursday.

Routine search

Senior police officer Mohammad Iqbal said that more than 20 victims were still receiving treatment, some with critical wounds.

The bomber detonated his explosives vest when he was stopped for a routine search by a police officer guarding the shrine. Five children, a woman and two police officers were among those killed.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack. The IS has claimed responsibility for several past attacks in Baluchistan, which has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baluch nationalists and separatists demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region’s natural resources of oil and gas.

Sunni extremists and the IS perceive minority Shiites as apostates and have carried out many such attacks across the country.

Earlier attacks

At least 75 Shiites were killed in twin bombings at a market in Parachinar in the country’s northwest in June this year. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a sectarian Sunni extremist group, claimed responsibility.

In February, an Islamic State group suicide bomber struck inside a famed Sufi shrine in southern Sindh province, killing 88 worshippers engaged in ‘Dhamal,’ a devotional dance.

Also on Saturday in Baluchistan, at least 13 people were killed and 20 others wounded when a passenger van collided head on with a bus on a highway near the provincial capital of Quetta.

Source: Voice of America

Concern Grows That Closing Taliban Office in Qatar Could Undermine Peace Talks

The Afghan government reportedly has sought the closure of the Afghan Taliban office in Qatar, citing the inefficiency of the office as a reason behind its request to the U.S. and Qatari officials.

There has been no official confirmation of such a request being initiated by the Afghan government. But a senior official with knowledge of discussions between senior Afghan officials and their American counterparts, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told VOA the Afghan government did discuss plans to close the Qatar office when Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was in New York for the U.N. General Assembly last month.

The Afghan official added that the Qatar office has contributed “little to the peace process with the Afghan Taliban.”

Faizullah Kakar, the Afghan ambassador to Qatar, told VOA that although his government has not officially informed him of any formal discussion or decision about the Taliban office, Kabul might be evaluating the effectiveness of the Doha office and its fate.

“The Taliban office was set up to secure peace talks, but it has done little to help facilitate negotiations,” Kakar said. “The [Afghan] government is discussing the issue with the U.S. and Qatar to decide whether the office should remain open.”

Meanwhile, Qatar has indicated it would accept any decision made by the U.S. and Afghan governments about the future of the office.

The Taliban office was opened in 2013 with support from the U.S., Afghan and Qatari governments to provide a venue for peace talks with the Taliban to help end the conflict in the country.

The office has failed to achieve that and instead has become a travel facilitator for Taliban leaders.

“There are arguments that the office gives the three dozen Taliban representatives unfounded legitimacy, and allows them to hold secret talks with Pakistan, China, Russia and Iran,” Matthew P. Dearing, an assistant professor at Washington-based National Defense University, told VOA.

“It is not clear that moving the office to Kabul will end these bilateral discussions unless Ghani intends to prevent Taliban representatives from traveling abroad,” Dearing added.

U.S. stance

Senior U.S. officials said Washington was mulling the fate of the office.

“I think the decision will be made shortly,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, adding that one of the issues was to make sure the right people representing the Taliban are in the office.

“He [Secretary of State Rex Tillerson] is looking to make certain we have the right people, so it’s just not an office in existence � an office that we can actually deal with,” Mattis added.

The Afghan government has for years left open the door of peace talks to the Taliban and has established a peace council to establish ties with the insurgents. The Taliban repeatedly has rejected talks with Kabul, however, and instead has continued its bloody insurgency.

Ghani recently said there was a window of opportunity for the Taliban to follow in the footsteps of the Hezb-i-Islami party led by Gulbuddin Hematyar, who recently joined the peace process.

Ghani warned that the offer will expire at some point.

“We are offering a chance for peace, but this is not an open-ended offer,” Ghani said following a truck bomb attack in Kabul in May that killed more than 150 people and injured hundreds more.

Concerns

Some Western diplomats and analysts have voiced concerns about the prospects of closing the Taliban office, maintaining that such a move could undermine the prospects of a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Closing the office “would foreclose on the possibility of a negotiated settlement, the only realistic and honorable way to end America’s longest war,” Jarrett Blanc, a former U.S. deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said in a recently published op-ed in Defense One, and news and analysis website focused on U.S. defense and national security issues.

Pierre Mayaudon, European Union ambassador to Afghanistan, said the office has served a purpose.

“The office in Qatar is a way of communication. It’s a tool. It’s not by itself, I think, an objective,” Mayaudon told VOA.

The Taliban has warned that closing the office would end the chance for a peaceful settlement to the Afghan war.

Kabul-based Taliban expert Waheed Muzhda argued that the closure would strengthen the position of warmongers within the Taliban leadership ranks.

“If the office were closed, it would weaken those Taliban leaders who support a political solution to the war in Afghanistan,” Muzhda said.

Dearing, of the National Defense University, agreed.

“There are too many reasons why an office closure is a bad idea,” Dearing told VOA. “Unless Ghani calls this a ‘move’ rather than a ‘closure’ and offers a new home for the exiled Taliban in Kabul, then hard-liners will be empowered and have proof the U.S. and Afghan governments do not seek a political settlement.”

Afghan Ambassador Kakar said that while the Taliban’s representatives in Qatar support a political settlement, real talks happen in other places, such as Pakistan.

Source: Voice of America

Death Toll Rises To 24 In Pakistan Shrine Suicide Bombing

Pakistani police say the death toll from a suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in the country’s southwest has increased to 24 after four victims died at a hospital overnight.

The attack took place on October 5 in the Jhal Magsi district, which is located about 300 kilometers east of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province.

Senior police officer Mohammad Iqbal said on October 7 that more than 20 victims were still receiving treatment, some of them with critical injuries.

The extremist Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack followed a bombing on the same shrine in 2005 that killed 35 people.

In February, IS militants claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in Sindh Province in which 88 people were killed.

Sufism is a branch of Islam that espouses a mystical, inner belief and incorporates music in its worship. It has been rejected as heretical by IS militants and other extremists, who hold a fundamentalist view of Islam.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

At Least 14 Dead In Road Accident In Pakistan

At least 14 people were killed and 27 were injured in a collision between a passenger van and a bus in southwestern Pakistan on October 7.

The bus was carrying university students from Quetta to a nearby picnic spot in Mastung district.

Local officials said the accident took place near Quetta in Balochistan Province after the driver of the van lost control due to speeding and collided with the bus coming from the opposite direction.

Sameen Khan, the deputy director of student affairs at Balochistan University’s Information Technology, Engineering, and Management Sciences told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal that the victims, which included children, were all in the passenger van while students and staff on the bus only suffered injuries.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.