Tag Archives: Taliban

Saudi Arabia ‘deports 40,000 Pakistani workers over terror fears’

deported

From the Independent: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has expelled almost 40,000 Pakistani migrant workers in the last four months, local media has reported.

Over 39,000 people have been deported since October 2016 over visa violations and security concerns, the Saudi Gazette reported, citing unnamed interior ministry officials. As well as crimes including drug trafficking, forgery and theft, an unknown number of those removed from the country were suspected to have links to Isis and other extremist groups, the paper said.

The alleged mass deportations come after a year of strikes and other unrest in the kingdom due to unpaid wages following the oil market’s decline and subsequent blow to the Saudi economy.

Official Saudi statistics say that 243,000 Pakistanis were deported between 2012 – 2015. Mass deportations of migrant workers – which Human Rights Watch and other rights organisations say often involve illegal beatings and detainment in poor conditions – are fairly common.

2010 census figures show that 8.5 million of Saudi Arabia’s 27 million strong population, or around 30 per cent, are foreign nationals. According to a 2014 European University Institute report, there are approximately 900,000 people of Pakistani nationality currently employed in Saudi Arabia’s vast construction industry and other low-paid service jobs.

In Mecca in January, dozens of expatriate workers, mostly from poor Asian and Middle Eastern countries, were beaten and jailed over public protests against unpaid salaries that turned violent.

While the Philippines and India have also seen hundreds of thousands of citizens returned home after lay-offs in Saudi Arabia, the deportation of Pakistani workers has been mainly driven by security concerns, the New Arab reported.

Several prominent Saudi politicians, including Abdullah Al-Sadoun, chair of the security committee of the country’s Shura Council, have called for tougher screening processes for Pakistani nationals before they are allowed entry into the country. “Pakistan itself is plagued with terrorism due to its close proximity with Afghanistan. The Taliban extremist movement was itself born in Pakistan,” he said.

Approximately 80 Pakistani nationals are currently in prison in Saudi Arabia charged with terror or security related offences. 

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

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Woman beheaded in Afghanistan for entering a city to go shopping without her husband

Islam-East-West

The real war on women.

From Daily Mail: A woman has reportedly been beheaded by a group of armed men in Afghanistan after she entered a city without her husband.

The horrific act took place in the remote village of Latti in Sar-e-Pul province, which is under Taliban control. Provincial Governor spokesman Zabiullah Amani told the Nation that the 30-year-old woman was targeted because she went out alone without her husband, who is in Iran. The Middle East Press reported the woman had gone to the market to shop.

Under Taliban rule women are prohibited from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative. They are also banned from working or education and are forced to wear the burqa. The Taliban have rejected any involvement in this latest incident.

Earlier this month five female Afghan guards working in the airport in southern Kandahar were killed by unknown gunmen as they were on their way to work, the latest in a string of attacks against women in Afghanistan.

From bomb attacks to targeted or honour killings or domestic abuses, Afghan women have borne the brunt of the 15 years of conflicts during the Taliban-led insurgency as security has deteriorated and violence has increased in most parts of the country.

Samim Khpulwak, spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, said the five women were in charge of searching female travelers at the Kandahar airport, and had been hired by a private security company. ‘Two gunmen on motorbike followed their van and opened fire on them, killing the five and their driver this morning, said Samim.

Although Afghan women had made hard-fought rights gains in education and work since the collapse of austere Taliban regime in 2001, there are growing fears that these could reverse with the deterioration of security and increase in violence.

Despite years of pressure by women’s groups and foreign donors, Afghanistan remains one of the most difficult places to be a woman.

Restoring fundamental women’s rights was one of the main objectives of the international community in Afghanistan, where the hardline Taliban Islamist banned girls from school and women from work in their rule from 1996-2001.

DCG

US military officer denies Green Beret killed by roadside bomb was in combat role

Yet I’m sure Thompson was receiving combat pay for this deployment.

And yet: “The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Afghanistan because of continued instability and threats by terrorist organizations against U.S. citizens.”

say what

From Fox News: The 28-year-old Green Beret who was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan earlier this week was involved in a “non-combat” mission — although such missions can lead to “combat situations,” a top U.S. military official told reporters on Thursday, reiterating that Americans were playing “advise and assist” roles in the volatile Helmand province.

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson died Tuesday outside a base in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital of southern Helmand. Days earlier, the U.S. had sent more than 100 additional troops to the area, although Thompson was not one of them.

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson

Still, Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland told reporters, “we don’t believe that the situation is as dire as perhaps is portrayed in the press.” He says the city is “secure right now.” 

There are nearly 700 U.S. troops in the volatile Helmand province, which appears to be at increasing risk of falling to the Taliban. Afghan officials say the insurgents effectively control around 80 percent of the province.

The U.S. military said the Green Beret was “conducting train, advise, assist activities with Afghan counterparts under NATO authorities.” Another U.S. service member was wounded in the attack, along with six Afghan soldiers on a foot patrol outside their base. A top U.S. military spokesman said Thursday the wounded American was in stable condition.

Thompson’s family lives in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield where he graduated from high school in 2006. He and his wife, Rachel, lived in Washington.

Rachel Thompson told WTMJ-TV she and her husband met at Concordia University in Irvine, California and married five years ago. “I was crying because I was nervous. I hadn’t been sleeping because I was anxious. I knew that where he was at was dangerous, that what they were doing was different. I didn’t know what was going on. I was afraid and he would just listen and tell me he loved me and it was going to be OK.”

In July, President Obama authorized 8,400 troops to stay in Afghanistan when he leaves office, down from the nearly 10,000 service members there now. Until July, the plan was to reduce U.S. forces down to roughly 5,500 by early 2017.

The administration previously had hoped to reduce the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan to just 1,000 to protect the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

In December 2009, President Obama authorized 30,000 troops to Afghanistan in a surge following a recommendation from his generals. 

DCG

Russian intelligence says ISIS and Taliban amassing on Afghan border for invasion of Central Asia

Note that the source is Russian, not U.S., intelligence, and the newspaper reporting this is the UK’s Express, not the NYT.

That’s America under the Obama administration.

Consortium of Defense Analysts

ISIS to invade Central Asia

Nick Gutteridge reports for the UK Express, that Russian intelligence claims that huge numbers of Islamist fighters — ISIS and Taliban — are massing on Afghanistan’s northern border, ready for an invasion of central Asia.

Speaking at a meeting of special services from the Commonwealth of Independent States, Moscow’s spy chief Alexander Bortnikov warned that heavily-armed Taliban fighters, many of whom have pledged allegiance to ISIS or the Islamic State, are prepared to pass through porous border controls.

Bortnikov said:

“The international community has now hit a new geopolitical challenge, an international criminal group in the name of the Islamic State. This project, which grew out of the ‘Arab Spring,’ has gained momentum thanks to the double standards of certain world regional powers by using ‘a terrorist battering ram’ to reach their own strategic goals in Asia and Africa.

According to our estimates, citizens from more than 100…

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2 US troops, 1 Polish sergeant killed in bombing near US Embassy in Kabul

taliban

Stars and Stripes: Two U.S. servicemembers and a Polish soldier were killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber struck a convoy of vehicles near the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy compound in Kabul, officials said.

The International Security Assistance Force said three of its servicemembers died “as a result of an enemy attack” in Kabul, but did not disclose the nationalities. Five ISAF members were reported wounded.

In Washington a defense official said two of the three fatalities were Americans. The third was a Polish sergeant, the Poland’s Defense Ministry said.

Separately, another coalition soldier was killed on Monday in an apparent insider attack in western Afghanistan, an ISAF statement said. A Pentagon official said the victim was an American.

Taliban insurgents claimed responsibility for the attack.

A Polish military spokesman identified the dead Polish servicemember as Sgt. Rafal Celebudzki. The spokesman told The Associated Press that Celebudzki was driving one of the vehicles that was struck in the bombing. He said two other Polish soldiers were among the wounded.

Hashmat Stanikzai, spokesman for the Kabul police, said that 13 civilians were wounded in the blast and that 17 civilian vehicles were damaged. An Interior Ministry statement condemned the attack and said it was carried out by the “enemies of peace.”

The attack occurred on the busy airport road, which is frequently jammed with rush-hour traffic early in the morning. Roads around the scene of the attack were blocked by security personnel. Windows on nearby government ministries and other buildings were broken.

A Taliban spokesman said a guerrilla named Bilal had driven an explosives-laden Toyota Corolla into the convoy driving through the capital.

“Bilal waited for this attack for a couple of days, watching the same road to make sure it would be accurate,” spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a telephone interview. “He targeted the middle of the convoy in order to avoid civilian casualties.”

The attack came amid a prolonged political crisis stemming from accusations of irregularities in the presidential election. A U.N.-supervised audit of the 8 million ballots cast was completed last week, but the results have still not been announced because the two candidates, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani, disagree on the count.

The impasse and the resulting delay in the transfer of power from current President Hamid Karzai has raised concerns about Afghanistan’s political stability at a time of increased insurgent activity ahead of the coming withdrawal of all foreign combat troops at the end of this year.

RIP Soldiers.

DCG

Terrorism, number of Al Qaeda affiliates both surged from 2012 to 2013: State Department

NYDailyNews: A surge in the number of aggressive al-Qaida affiliates and like-minded groups the Middle East and North Africa poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and allies, the State Department said Wednesday in reporting a more than 40 percent increase in terrorist attacks worldwide between 2012 and 2013.

The department also singled out Iran as a major state sponsor of terrorism that continues to defy demands it prove its atomic ambitions are peaceful even as Washington pursues negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program.

In its annual global terrorism report, the department said that losses in al-Qaida’s core leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan “accelerated” the network’s decentralization in 2013. That has resulted in more autonomous and more aggressive affiliates, notably in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, northwest Africa, and Somalia, it said.

The terrorist threat continued to evolve rapidly in 2013, with an increasing number of groups around the world — including both AQ affiliates and other terrorist organizations — posing a threat to the United States, our allies, and our interests,” according to the strategic assessment of the “Country Reports on Terrorism.”

The report identified a 43 percent increase in the number of terrorist attacks in 2013 from 2012, according to statistics provided by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

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It counted 9,707 terrorist attacks around the world in 2013, resulting in more than 17,800 deaths and more than 32,500 injuries. Most of those occurred in Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Thailand and Yemen. In 2012, the figures were 6,771 terrorist attacks, with more than 11,000 deaths and more than 21,600 injuries. Most of those where in the same 10 countries as in 2013.

Despite the spike in the number of attacks, the report pointed out that nearly half of them caused no fatalities and 53 percent caused no injuries.

The most lethal attacks in 2013 were conducted by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban, Nigeria’s Boko Haram, al-Qaida in Iraq, al-Qaida in Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, according to the report.

“While the international community has severely degraded AQ’s core leadership, the terrorist threat has evolved,” it said. “Leadership losses in Pakistan, coupled with weak governance and instability in the Middle East and Northwest Africa, have accelerated the decentralization of the movement and led to the affiliates in the AQ network becoming more operationally autonomous from core AQ and increasingly focused on local and regional objectives.”

Those groups have subsequently taken advantage of conditions on the ground “to broaden and deepen their operations,” it said, noting deadly attacks against religious pilgrims in Iraq, hospital staff and patients in Yemen by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and a popular shopping mall in Kenya last year by the Somali-based al-Shabab organization.

In addition to spurring more and deadlier activity, al-Qaida’s decentralization has led to its affiliates increasing their financial independence from the core by staging a growing number of kidnappings for ransom and other crimes, like extortion and credit card fraud, the report said. It said the Yemeni affiliate and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, which is active in North Africa, have become “particularly effective” at such activities.

And, it said, 2013 saw groups like these boost their presence on social media platforms, although with mixed results, as various online voices often led to “confusion and contradictions” in their messaging. Nevertheless, it said, the wider audience reached through new media compounds the extremist threat.

The report also pointed out a “worrisome trend” in that a significant amount of terrorism in 2013 was sectarian in nature, especially in Syria, Lebanon, and Pakistan.

It noted that thousands of al-Qaida inspired extremists flooded into Syria to join that country’s civil war, ostensibly to protect Sunni Muslims from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Alawite-dominated government. Despite divisions among themselves and with al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, these groups, including al-Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant remain a serious threat, the report said.

At the same time, Iran and the radical Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement stepped up the provision of critical support to Assad, “dramatically bolstering” his capabilities and exacerbating the conflict, it said.

On Iran, which has been designated a “state sponsor of terrorism” by the United States since 1984, the report said Tehran last year persisted in supporting Palestinian terrorist groups, boosted its presence in Africa and tried to smuggle weapons to separatists in Yemen and Bahrain.

Tehran used the al-Quds Force of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as its “primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad” with the intent of destabilizing the Middle East and fomenting anti-Israel attacks and sentiment, it said.

While it continued to sponsor terrorism, Iran also remained a concern for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the report said.

Despite ongoing negotiations with world powers to address concerns about its nuclear program, Iran remains in violation of international demands to come clean about its intentions and prove it is not trying to develop atomic weapons, it said.

Along with Iran, the 2013 report identified Cuba, Syria and Sudan as “state sponsors of terrorism,” designations that remain unchanged from last year.

DCG

Afghanistan to reintroduce stoning for adultery

Hooray for atavism. Back to the 14th century we go! Wheeeeee! Can someone remind me why EXACTLY our troops are getting killed and wounded in Afghanistan? ~Dr. Eowyn

Consortium of Defense Analysts

stoningA woman is buried up to her waist in preparation of her being stoned to death

Rob Crilly reports for The Telegraph, Nov. 25, 2013

Twelve years after the Taliban was ousted from power Afghanistan is planning to reintroduce public stoning as punishment for adultery, according to a new draft penal code.

The move has shocked human rights campaigners and will dismay donors who have poured billions of pounds into the country for reconstruction.

It will be viewed as another backwards step at the end of a year that has seen women’s rights undermined, with a slew of legislation and murders of prominent women.

Human Rights Watch called for international donors to withhold funding if the government went ahead with the plan.

Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said: “It is absolutely shocking that 12 years after the fall of the Taliban government, the (President Hamid) Karzai…

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