Category Archives: Aviation

Roadside Bomb Kills Four Security Troops In Northwestern Pakistan

Pakistan’s military says a roadside bomb has killed four members of the country’s security forces and wounded three others in the northwestern Kurram tribal area.

A statement said that the improvised explosive device went off on October 15 near Kharlachi, a border crossing with Afghanistan.

Unidentified security officials were quoted as saying up to three bombs went off in the attack, which was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban. Officials told the AFP news agency that the search party belonged to the paramilitary Frontier Corps.

The army statement said the troops were taking part in a search operation for the militants who had held an American-Canadian family that was rescued last week after almost five years in captivity.

It said the dead included an officer.

Kurram is one of the seven agencies in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a semiautonomous tribal region of Pakistan adjacent to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province.

On October 11, Pakistani soldiers rescued U.S. citizen Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, and their three children in Kurram after the military received intelligence from U.S. officials.

Coleman and Boyle were kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012. The couple’s three children were born in captivity.

The family had been held by the Afghan Taliban-aligned Haqqani network.

After landing in Canada late on October 13 with his wife and children, Boyle accused the kidnappers of murdering their infant daughter and raping his wife.

President Donald Trump has praised Islamabad for acting on the U.S. intelligence tip and showing its willingness to “do more to provide security in the region.”

U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of ignoring the presence of the Haqqani network and other extremist groups within its borders.

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.

Roadside Bomb Kills Four Security Troops In Northwestern Pakistan

Pakistan’s military says a roadside bomb has killed four members of the country’s security forces and wounded three others in the northwestern Kurram tribal area.

A statement said that the improvised explosive device went off on October 15 near Kharlachi, a border crossing with Afghanistan.

Unidentified security officials were quoted as saying up to three bombs went off in the attack, which was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban. Officials told the AFP news agency that the search party belonged to the paramilitary Frontier Corps.

The army statement said the troops were taking part in a search operation for the militants who had held an American-Canadian family that was rescued last week after almost five years in captivity.

It said the dead included an officer.

Kurram is one of the seven agencies in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), a semiautonomous tribal region of Pakistan adjacent to Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province.

On October 11, Pakistani soldiers rescued U.S. citizen Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, and their three children in Kurram after the military received intelligence from U.S. officials.

Coleman and Boyle were kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012. The couple’s three children were born in captivity.

The family had been held by the Afghan Taliban-aligned Haqqani network.

After landing in Canada late on October 13 with his wife and children, Boyle accused the kidnappers of murdering their infant daughter and raping his wife.

President Donald Trump has praised Islamabad for acting on the U.S. intelligence tip and showing its willingness to “do more to provide security in the region.”

U.S. officials have long accused Pakistan of ignoring the presence of the Haqqani network and other extremist groups within its borders.

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.

Western Family Held by Taliban Arrives in Canada

ISLAMABAD � An American-Canadian couple and their three children arrived in Canada after five years in Taliban captivity in Afghanistan.

The family flew Friday from Pakistan to Canada via Britain.

Acting on a tip from U.S. intelligence, Pakistani officials say their troops rescued U.S. national Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, on Wednesday, hours after their captors transported them in a car to the Pakistani side of the long, porous Afghan border.

Boyle provided a written statement to The Associated Press Friday saying, God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination.

Rescue operation

The Pakistan military revealed details of the rescue operation Thursday.

A U.S. plane was standing by at the military airbase in Islamabad, waiting to fly the family to a U.S. military base in Germany for a medical checkup, but Pakistani security sources told VOA Boyle refused to board the flight fearing their scrutiny.

Instead, the family boarded Pakistan’s state-run carrier and left for Britain.

Coleman and Boyle went missing while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012. The Afghan Taliban later claimed responsibility for kidnapping them. U.S. officials maintain the couple was in captivity of the Haqqani terrorist organization linked to the Taliban.

The insurgent group, which released two videos of the hostages while they were in captivity, had been demanding the release of their prisoners in exchange for Boyle and his wife. While in captivity, the couple had three children, who were rescued with them.

One of the prisoners the militants wanted to be freed is Annas Haqqani, who is on death row in an Afghan prison. The detainee is the younger brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who heads the Haqqani network and also serves as a deputy to the leader of the Taliban.

A senior Taliban official when contacted by VOA claimed the Coleman and Boyle converted to Islam while in captivity.

The Taliban need not have to keep them hostage and thought they be freed to go anywhere they wanted to because their hardships as an extended family were increasing in captivity, the official said requesting anonymity.

Turning point for US, Pakistan?

U.S. and Pakistani officials have expressed hope the hostages’ release could represent a turning point in traditionally mistrust-marred relations between the two countries, and it could lead to better cooperation between the uneasy allies in fighting Taliban and other Islamist extremists in Afghanistan.

Both sides, U.S. and Pakistan, they have agreed to remain engaged in the future as well for better cooperation and better understanding of each other’s concerns and also how to deal with the challenges, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said Friday.

Washington has long alleged Islamabad maintains ties to the Haqqanis and the Taliban, helping them expand and prolong the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistani officials deny the allegations and touted Wednesday’s successful hostage rescue operation as another demonstration of its counterterrorism resolve and cooperation with the U.S.

We have been taking on the terrorists. And we have also said in the past as well that if we have the intelligence provided by the U.S., then we will be able to take action. So we have taken action based on the intelligence that was provided by the U.S. side, noted Zakaria while speaking to reporters in Islamabad.

President Donald Trump on Thursday praised the release of the family from captivity from the Haqqani network, a terrorist organization with ties to the Taliban. He also called the development a positive moment in U.S.-Pakistan relations.

The Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region, he said in a statement.

We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations, Trump added

He later told reporters that he believes Pakistan is started to respect the United States again.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gave reporters almost no information on the operation that led to the family’s freedom, other than to say, it’s a very good moment, and we intend to work with Pakistan in a collaborative way in the future to stop terrorism that includes kidnapping.

Other hostages

Meanwhile, an American, Kevin King, 60, and an Australian Timothy Weeks, 48, are being held hostage in Afghanistan. The two teachers, with the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, were kidnapped at gunpoint near the campus in August 2016.

In a video the Taliban released in June, the hostages begged Trump to negotiate their freedom with the Islamist insurgent group.

Source: Voice of America

Western Family Held by Taliban Arrives in Canada

ISLAMABAD � An American-Canadian couple and their three children arrived in Canada after five years in Taliban captivity in Afghanistan.

The family flew Friday from Pakistan to Canada via Britain.

Acting on a tip from U.S. intelligence, Pakistani officials say their troops rescued U.S. national Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, on Wednesday, hours after their captors transported them in a car to the Pakistani side of the long, porous Afghan border.

Boyle provided a written statement to The Associated Press Friday saying, God has given me and my family unparalleled resilience and determination.

Rescue operation

The Pakistan military revealed details of the rescue operation Thursday.

A U.S. plane was standing by at the military airbase in Islamabad, waiting to fly the family to a U.S. military base in Germany for a medical checkup, but Pakistani security sources told VOA Boyle refused to board the flight fearing their scrutiny.

Instead, the family boarded Pakistan’s state-run carrier and left for Britain.

Coleman and Boyle went missing while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012. The Afghan Taliban later claimed responsibility for kidnapping them. U.S. officials maintain the couple was in captivity of the Haqqani terrorist organization linked to the Taliban.

The insurgent group, which released two videos of the hostages while they were in captivity, had been demanding the release of their prisoners in exchange for Boyle and his wife. While in captivity, the couple had three children, who were rescued with them.

One of the prisoners the militants wanted to be freed is Annas Haqqani, who is on death row in an Afghan prison. The detainee is the younger brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani, who heads the Haqqani network and also serves as a deputy to the leader of the Taliban.

A senior Taliban official when contacted by VOA claimed the Coleman and Boyle converted to Islam while in captivity.

The Taliban need not have to keep them hostage and thought they be freed to go anywhere they wanted to because their hardships as an extended family were increasing in captivity, the official said requesting anonymity.

Turning point for US, Pakistan?

U.S. and Pakistani officials have expressed hope the hostages’ release could represent a turning point in traditionally mistrust-marred relations between the two countries, and it could lead to better cooperation between the uneasy allies in fighting Taliban and other Islamist extremists in Afghanistan.

Both sides, U.S. and Pakistan, they have agreed to remain engaged in the future as well for better cooperation and better understanding of each other’s concerns and also how to deal with the challenges, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said Friday.

Washington has long alleged Islamabad maintains ties to the Haqqanis and the Taliban, helping them expand and prolong the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistani officials deny the allegations and touted Wednesday’s successful hostage rescue operation as another demonstration of its counterterrorism resolve and cooperation with the U.S.

We have been taking on the terrorists. And we have also said in the past as well that if we have the intelligence provided by the U.S., then we will be able to take action. So we have taken action based on the intelligence that was provided by the U.S. side, noted Zakaria while speaking to reporters in Islamabad.

President Donald Trump on Thursday praised the release of the family from captivity from the Haqqani network, a terrorist organization with ties to the Taliban. He also called the development a positive moment in U.S.-Pakistan relations.

The Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honoring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region, he said in a statement.

We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations, Trump added

He later told reporters that he believes Pakistan is started to respect the United States again.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gave reporters almost no information on the operation that led to the family’s freedom, other than to say, it’s a very good moment, and we intend to work with Pakistan in a collaborative way in the future to stop terrorism that includes kidnapping.

Other hostages

Meanwhile, an American, Kevin King, 60, and an Australian Timothy Weeks, 48, are being held hostage in Afghanistan. The two teachers, with the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, were kidnapped at gunpoint near the campus in August 2016.

In a video the Taliban released in June, the hostages begged Trump to negotiate their freedom with the Islamist insurgent group.

Source: Voice of America

Pakistani Taliban Kill Journalist They Accuse of Spying

The Pakistani Taliban says it has killed a local journalist in the country’s volatile northwest.

The extremist group said in a statement that its gunmen killed Haroon Khan on Thursday. Without providing any evidence, the Taliban accused him of secretly working for Pakistani intelligence.

Police had said Thursday that Khan was killed by unknown gunmen.

The shooting took place in the town of Swabi, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Peshawar.

Source: Voice of America

Researchers Alarmed at ‘Pain Gap’ Between Rich, Poor Countries

Felicia Knaul woke up from a mastectomy several years ago. She still remembers the horror of the pain, pain so severe she felt she couldn’t breathe. Yet because she lives in the U.S., she, like many other Americans, had access almost immediately to pain relief that allowed her to push through her recovery much more easily.

Knaul is a professor at the University of Miami school of medicine. She also chaired The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief. The results of the study shocked even the researchers.

Among the findings: Nearly 26 million people around the world suffer intense pain without painkillers. Eighty-three percent of these people live in low- and middle-income countries where access to low-cost morphine is rare or unavailable.

Only 3.6 percent of the world’s morphine supply goes to low- and middle-income countries, and these countries pay far more for it than rich countries do. In the U.S., a pain-relieving dose costs 3 cents. In low-income nations, it costs 16 cents, if it is available.

Knaul said it would cost $145 million to make the pricing the same for all countries, a fraction of the cost of running a medium-sized U.S. hospital for a year.

‘Massive’ emergency

“The pain gap is a massive global health emergency, which has been ignored, except in rich countries,” said Knaul. “This global pain crisis can be remedied quickly and effectively. We have the right tools and knowledge, and the cost of the solution is minimal. Denying this intervention is a moral failing, especially for children and patients at the end of life.”

In a comprehensive global analysis, The Lancet Commission measured the need for palliative care in 172 countries. Palliative care seeks to make a patient comfortable, whether it is end-of-life care or whether the patient is expected to recover.

Out of those 172 countries, 25 had almost no morphine. Another 15 had less than 1 percent what was needed. One hundred countries had only enough morphine for less than 30 percent of their patients in severe pain.

In countries with the largest global populations, China has enough opioid pain reliever to meet the needs of only 16 percent of those needing it; India, 4.0 percent; Indonesia, 4.2 percent; Pakistan, 1.5 percent; Nigeria, 0.2 percent; Bangladesh, 3.9 percent; Russia, 8.0 percent, and Mexico, 36.0 percent.

Solutions found

Yet, some low-income countries have found ways to provide pain relief to those who need it. This includes Costa Rica, Uganda and Nepal, among others, because governments, doctors and others made it a goal. Knaul said this proves that low-income countries can provide pain management.

Costa Rica and Uganda have universal health care.

The study reports that in Nepal, where morphine was virtually unavailable, a local doctor convinced a Nepalese pharmaceutical company to produce oral morphine locally and to distribute it at cost to hospitals as a humanitarian gesture.

Knaul and the other researchers are in discussions with the World Bank on how to address the pain gap.

Part of the answer lies in providing more morphine and training doctors in how to administer it and monitor their patients. The other part of the problem lies in improving health systems in poor countries.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, World Bank president, said that “we can and will change both these dire situations.”

Source: Voice of America