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The War Within Islam (07 Oct 2009 NewAgeIslam.Com)
Pakistan: Biting the Hand that Feeds You

By Scott Stewart

October 7, 2009 

 

The Islamabad office of the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) was struck by a suicide bomber just after noon local time Oct. 5. The bomber, who wore an improvised explosive device (IED) concealed under his clothing, was wearing the uniform of the Frontier Constabulary, a paramilitary force, and reportedly made his way past perimeter security and into the facility under the ruse of asking to use the restroom. Once inside the facility, he detonated his explosive device, killing five WFP employees — one Iraqi national and four locals — and injuring six others.

The attack, claimed by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), would be the first successful TTP attack in Islamabad since June 6, and the first attack against Western interests in a Pakistani city since the June 9 attack against the Pearl Continental hotel in Peshawar using a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).

 

In his Oct. 6 call to The Associated Press and other media outlets to claim responsibility for the attack, TTP spokesman Azam Tariq said the group is planning additional attacks against similar targets. “The WFP is promoting the U.S. agenda,” Tariq said, and “such types of suicide attacks will continue in the future. We will target all people and offices working for American interests. We have sent more suicide bombers in various parts of the country and they have been given targets.”

The WFP office in Islamabad is located in an upscale part of town but outside of the diplomatic enclave. While the roads leading into the area are blocked by police checkpoints, the sector is not nearly as heavily locked down as the diplomatic enclave, which made it easier for an attacker to approach the WFP office. The office does have an exterior security wall, but that wall provides very little standoff — in other words, there is not much distance between the building and the road. From an attacker’s perspective, the WFP is a far softer target than a facility such as the U.S. Embassy, which has a significant standoff.

 

The only thing that provides protection from a large explosive device is distance, and due to the small amount of standoff at the WFP office, if that office had been attacked using a large VBIED like the one used in the September 2008 attack against the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, the attack would have been devastating. However, the attack against the WFP office was not conducted with a massive device but with a small one. It appears that the pressure the Pakistani government has placed upon the TTP (with U.S. assistance) has reduced the group’s ability to conduct high-profile attacks. Indeed, following the attack on the Pearl Continental hotel, there had been a noticeable lull in the TTP’s operations — even before the Aug. 5 death of TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud in a U.S. missile strike. The WFP bombing serves as a message that while the TTP is down, it is not yet out and more low-level attacks can be expected in the near term.

Going Small

Small-scale attacks like the one the TTP launched against the WFP office are relatively easy to conduct and require very few resources. This makes them far easier to sustain than large-scale VBIED attacks. The approximately 2,000 pounds of explosives used in the massive VBIED deployed against the Islamabad Marriott could be used to create scores of suicide IEDs like the one used against the WFP. There has been a trend in the last few years in which militant groups have shifted away from larger devices in favour of smaller ones.

 

This trend is especially noticeable when the group is under intense pressure, like Tanzim Qaedat al-Jihad in Indonesia (and the TTP at the present time). Small-scale attacks require fewer resources, and smaller devices can be built and transported more clandestinely than huge VBIEDs. They can also be manufactured more quickly, which allows for a higher tempo of operations. However, these smaller devices must be used in a different type of attack and are often taken into the targeted site using a ruse, like a Frontier Constabulary uniform in Islamabad; posing as hotel guests and workers in Jakarta; or even hidden inside the bomber’s body, as we saw in Saudi Arabia on Aug. 28.

In the wake of the WFP attack and the TTP’s warning that more attacks are coming, security measures at the offices of humanitarian aid, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are certain to be inspected and tightened up (at least until complacency sets in) to protect against this type of ruse attack using a small suicide device.

 

One of the other advantages of using these small devices is that they provide attackers a great deal of flexibility in employing them — a flexibility that is often used to bypass security measures. However, identifying gaps in security requires surveillance — often extended surveillance — and during that surveillance attackers are susceptible to being identified.

Historically, aid organizations simply do not have the security budget to afford the types of physical security equipment and guard coverage afforded to embassies or even commercial establishments like large hotels, and this makes them relatively soft targets. But even if these offices are hardened by increased security and by proactive measures such as employing counter surveillance teams and the offices thus become more difficult to strike using small devices, the employees of these organizations will remain vulnerable as they do their work in the field.

Aid Workers as Targets

 

By its very nature, the work conducted by an aid group is very different from that conducted by a diplomatic mission. While diplomats like to travel to different parts of the country they are assigned to and meet with a variety of people, their primary mission is to be the representatives of their home government to the foreign government where they are assigned and accredited. This means that, while they may balk at strict security measures, they can still perform many of their functions in dangerous locations like Islamabad or Baghdad, even though their movement outside of the embassy is tightly restricted and requires considerable security. The same is simply not true for organizations like the WFP, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Doctors Without Borders or the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), among others. These organizations exist to bring shelter, food and medicine to refugees and displaced people, and such people are often found in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. This means that aid employees are very vulnerable to being targeted when they are outside of their offices.

 

Last October, STRATFOR discussed the growing trend of jihadists attacking aid workers and the tension the trend was creating among jihadist ideologues. Some ideologues, such as Isam Mohammed Taher al-Barqawi, more popularly known by the nom de guerre Abu-Muhammad Asem al-Maqdisi, have taken a clear stand against targeting “genuine” humanitarian organizations. In his writings, al-Maqdisi has specifically referred to the International Committee of the Red Cross, noting how it is a legitimate humanitarian organization with no hidden agenda and that its valuable services to the poor and dispossessed should be appreciated.

However, many jihadist leaders do not differentiate between the political aspect of the United Nations and the separate organizations that operate under the aegis of the United Nations for humanitarian purposes, such as the WFP, UNHCR, UNDP and UNICEF. In addition to the Oct. 6 message from the TTP spokesman who noted that the WFP is an infidel organization that promotes the U.S. agenda, other jihadist leaders have also spoken out against the United Nations. In an April 2008 speech, al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri said, “The United Nations is an enemy of Islam and Muslims: It is the one which codified and legitimized the setting up of the state of Israel and its taking over of the Muslims’ lands.”

Clearly, over the past year this ideological battle inside jihadist circles has been decided in favour of those who advocate attacks against humanitarian workers, since such attacks are increasing — and the problem is not just confined to Pakistan. A recent report by the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office noted that attacks against aid workers in Afghanistan are twice as frequent as they were last year — and 2008 had seen significantly more fatalities than 2007 — so things are clearly getting worse there, and the Afghan Taliban are launching more frequent ambushes and roadside IED attacks against clearly marked white aid vehicles. In Pakistan, at least three UNHCR employees have been assassinated so far this year, and a UNHCR employee and UNICEF employee were among those killed in the June bombing of the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar. The Pearl was essentially the headquarters for many of the aid organizations in Peshawar. Outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan, aid workers also have been attacked in Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan, among other places.

 

For these aid workers, the perception by groups like the Afghan Taliban, the TTP and al Qaeda that they are a part of the U.S. agenda — and this translates into a war against Islam — means that they will be targeted for attacks.

The increase in attacks has often led to the drawdown of Western aid employees in a given country, and this has forced these organizations to rely heavily on local, mainly Muslim, employees to conduct most of the relief work in the most dangerous places. However, the track record over the past few years has demonstrated that local employees are every bit as likely to be targeted as their Western colleagues. This is in part due to the fact that jihadists declare that all Muslims who work with infidels are apostates and therefore no better than infidels themselves. (This is called the doctrine of Takfir, or apostasy, and the fact that the jihadists claim to have the ability to declare another Muslim an apostate is very controversial within Islam, as is the killing of non-combatants such as humanitarian workers.)

In Pakistan, local aid workers are dedicated to reaching the hungry, sick and dispossessed people they serve, and this makes them extremely vulnerable to attack because they operate in some very remote and dangerous places. They are far more likely to be working outside of the larger, more secure organizational offices and in smaller, more vulnerable clinics and food distribution points. Because of this, there is a high likelihood that if the organizational offices present too hard a target, these lower-level aid workers and smaller aid distribution points could be targeted in lower-level TTP attacks. This would be part of the TTP effort to derail what it perceives as the U.S. agenda to stabilize (or, in the TTP’s eyes, influence and control) Pakistan by providing aid to the people displaced by the fighting between the government of Pakistan and the TTP and its foreign allies.

 

Such attacks will hurt the TTP as far as public opinion goes, as have its attacks in Islamabad, Peshawar and elsewhere. But in light of the losses it has taken on the battlefield in places like Swat and in light of the coming offensive in South Waziristan, the TTP’s priority is to prove that it is still a force to be reckoned with — and more important, negotiated with. So the attacks will continue, and we can anticipate that many of them will be against humanitarian workers.

Source: stratfor.com

URL of this page: http://www.newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamWarWithinIslam_1.aspx?ArticleID=1866

 



TOTAL COMMENTS:-   5
  • U.S. Payments To Pakistan Face New ScrutinyLittle Accounting for Costs To Support Ally’s Troops By Robin Wright Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, February 21, 2008; Page A01

    Once a month, Pakistan’s Defense Ministry delivers 15 to 20 pages of spreadsheets to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. They list costs for feeding, clothing, billeting and maintaining 80,000 to 100,000 Pakistani troops in the volatile tribal area along the Afghan border, in support of U.S. counterterrorism efforts.

    No receipts are attached.

    In response, the Defense Department has disbursed about $80 million monthly, or roughly $1 billion a year for the past six years, in one of the most generous U.S. military support programs worldwide. The U.S. aim has been to ensure that Pakistan remains the leading ally in combating extremism in South Asia.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/02/20/ST2008022002819.html?hpid=topnews

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/02/20/ST2008022002819.html?hpid=topnews

    MORE LOOT:

    Military’s Establishment “concerns” over Kerry-Luger Bill is not about Country’s Sovereignty but Power Politics!!!

    Book shines light on Pakistan military’s ‘£10bn empire’

    · Business interests range from cement to cornflakes

    · Little transparency into officer-led conglomerates

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/may/31/books.pakistan


    By Aamir Mughal -
  • Memorable Quotes on Perverted Military Mentality!

    Army is a queer institution. There is no innocence, goodwill and hope in the intentions and actions of the men in uniform. They are least to be trusted. When they pontificate they lie. With them any idea of integrity becomes a falsehood. When a man in uniform lectures and becomes rumbustious, he always talk through his hat. Talking Generals are always ominous intellectual perverts.

    Chasterton had said, “I would hate to see a man in uniform make a speech, more so, if it is a good speech.”

    ‘Sir Walter Scott had said, “However disciplined and valiant a soldier he never be trusted.”

    H G Wells had said, “A professional military mind is by necessity an inferior and unimaginative mind; and no man with talents willingly imprison his gifts in such a calling.”

    Bertrand Russell had said, “All Generals are narcissistic and they have no sense of history.”

    Bernard Shaw said, “Soldiering is the art of the coward of hitting mercilessly when strong and getting out of the harms when weak.”

    Tolstoy had said, “The greatest Generals I have met were all stupid and absentminded men”.

    Napolean had said, “The more vicious the man the better the soldier.” He again said, “I had picked up my Marshals from the mud and gutter”.

    Johnson had said, Soldiers and priests have been the corrupter of the earth.”

    “Like the Duke of Wellington and Marshall Bluchure, Ayub and Yahyah gave military commissions to the sons of mothers who spent nights or adequate time in their bedrooms. Our army selection boards are scandalous to say the least in their proceedings and methods.

    Late. General Gul Hassan the Chief of Army Staff to Military Garrison at Malir – the honest confession in the most direct and perverted language of a soldier. After the Great War with the blessings of both General Montgomery and Arch Bishop of Canterbury, England passed the law “Homosexuality among consenting adults in private is permissible.”

    For further details:

    Pakistan Military mind-set by Hamid Hussain – Defence Journal Monthly 2002

    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/05/pakistan-military-mind-set-by-hamid.html

     

     


    By Aamir Mughal -
  • Note: Link is dead therefor pardon for full text! The article was published in The News International

    Where has US aid to Pakistan gone? Mariana Baabar [Jun 2007]

    ISLAMABAD : The billions of dollars in US military aid to Pakistan since September 11, 2001, without any accountability, has now been billed as a “tsunami of new funding”.

    Washington’s Centre for Public Integrity, in its report, says that today human rights activists, critics of the Pakistani government and members of Congress want to know, where most of the money — totalling in the billions — coming through a Defence Department programme, subject to virtually no Congressional oversight, has disappeared to.

    The Centre says that this is a major finding of more than a year of investigation by the Centre for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). US military aid to Pakistan since September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks includes almost $5 billion in coalition support funds, a programme controlled by the Defence Department to reimburse key allies in the global war on terror. Pentagon reports that the ICIJ obtained through the Freedom of Information Act requests show that Pakistan is the No 1 recipient of these funds — receiving more than 10 times the amount that went to the No 2 recipient, Poland — and that there is scant documentation of how the money was used.

    Pakistan also benefited from other funding mechanisms set up in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks. In three years after the attacks, Pakistan was the third-largest recipient of the Pentagon’s new regional defence counter terrorism fellowship programme, designed to train foreign forces in counter terrorism techniques. More than $23 million was earmarked for Pakistan in fiscal 2006 for “improving counter terrorism strike capabilities” under another new Pentagon programme referred to colloquially as Section 1206 training, which allows the Pentagon to use a portion of its annual funding from Congress to train and equip foreign militaries. Pakistan finished first in the race for this new Pentagon-controlled training.

    The US State Department rates Pakistan’s human rights record as poor and reports a long litany of abuses. That nourishes critics’ claims that the US largesse has been put to abusive purposes, including to buy weapons that have been turned against Pakistani civilians and to offer bounties on suspects the US is seeking. According to Senator Sana Baloch, an opposition lawmaker who fled the country out of safety concerns, the US has several military bases inside Pakistan, including some in the senator’s home province of Balochistan. “Most of the US bases are based in Balochistan,” Baloch told ICIJ in an interview. “One or two of them are in Kharan, my own home district. The US is using the bases in this area for the war on terror. We are very supportive of the US in this role.”

    The majority of the new US funding to Pakistan has come in the form of billions of dollars of coalition support funds (CSF), a post-9/11 funding mechanism created to reimburse key countries for expenses incurred in supporting American counter terrorism operations. According to K Alan Kronstadt, an expert on South Asia at the Congressional research service, by August 2006, CSF accounted for roughly $4.75 billion of the military aid Pakistan received from the US since the terrorist attacks. Pentagon documents obtained by ICIJ say the money that went to Pakistan was largely for “military operations on the Afghanistan border.”

    Coalition support funds are considered a reimbursement by some and a blank check by others. Craig Cohen, the co-author of a recent Centre for Strategic and International Study on US aid to Pakistan, asked rhetorically whether CSF money is “intended to yield some sort of specific action on the part of the government,” adding, “If so, there’s clearly no oversight.”

    Olga Oliker, an expert on US defence policy and co-author of a recent RAND think tank report on the human rights performance of internal security forces in South Asia, said she’s concerned that US-made weapons that go to Pakistani security forces and US training that the forces receive are being used against civilian populations. “In implementing assistance,” she told ICIJ, “the US has paid relatively little attention to human rights abuses and oversight. People weren’t paying attention.”

    The new Democratic-controlled Congress has taken a greater interest in CSF payments to Pakistan. Under the previous GOP majority, there was virtually no oversight of CSF payments to any country. In January 2007, the House of Representatives acted to impose conditions on military aid to Pakistan by adopting the Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007. Section 1442 of the bill relates to Pakistan. It identifies areas of concern for US policy, including the need for Pakistan to curb the proliferation of nuclear technology, to address the presence of the Taliban and other extremist forces and to secure its borders to prevent movement of terrorists. The bill would impose limits on foreign assistance to Pakistan, declaring that the US assistance may not be approved until “the president determines and certifies to the appropriate Congressional committees that the government of Pakistan is making all possible efforts to prevent the Taliban from operating in areas under its sovereign control. “In addition, Pakistan would be required to demonstrate that it is making significant steps toward free and fair parliamentary elections in 2007.” The bill also requires that the president submit a report describing the long-term strategy of US engagement with Pakistan.

    “The American-supplied military arsenal has been used against Baloch nationalists,” Senator Baloch told ICIJ. He said he and others have gone to the State Department, “and the State Department says [the US has] given military hardware with no conditions.” A former US official, previously based in Pakistan, acknowledged to the ICIJ that in Balochistan “the [Pakistani] army stepped in with a pretty heavy hand last year.”


    By Aamir Mughal -
  • Islamic militancy is a foreign policy tool of the US and Pakistani establishments Download this article By Yousuf Nazar http://www.yousufnazar.com/?p=777

    Islamic militancy is a foreign policy tool of the US and Pakistani establishments

    Download this article 


    By Yousuf Nazar   

     

    Admiral Mike Mullen (first from left), the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Pervez Kayani (third from the left)  and next to him, the ISI Chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha (then Major. Gen. and Director General Military Operations) aboard the US naval carrier Abraham Lincoln in Indian Ocean; in a secret meeting on August 26, 2008. Pasha was promoted to the rank  of  Lt.  Gen. and appointed as the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence on Sept. 29, 2008.           


    By Aamir Mughal -
  • Pakistani Military used to Support Taliban, Several Sectarian Outfits and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba before 911? And while the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi stand officially disbanded, their most militant son and leader, Maulana Azam Tariq, an accused in several cases of sectarian killing, contested elections from jail – albeit as an independent candidate – won his seat, and was released on bail shortly thereafter. Musharraf rewrote election rules to disqualify former Prime Ministers Mohammed Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, and threatened to toss them in jail if they returned from abroad, which badly undermined both Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League and Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Musharraf has plainly given the religious groups more free rein in the campaign than he has allowed the two big parties that were his main rivals. In Jhang city, in Punjab province, Maulana Azam Tariq, leader of an outlawed extremist group called Sipah-e-Sahaba, which has been linked to numerous sectarian killings, is being allowed to run as an independent?despite election laws that disqualify any candidate who has criminal charges pending, or even those who did not earn a college degree. “It makes no sense that Benazir can’t run in the election,” says one Islamabad-based diplomat, “and this nasty guy can.”

    References: And this takes me back to Pervez Musharraf’s first visit to the US after his coup. At a meeting with a group of journalists among whom I was present, my dear and much lamented friend Tahir Mirza, then the Dawn correspondent, asked Musharraf why he was not acting against Lashkar-e Tayba and Jaish-e Muhammad. Musharraf went red in the face and shot back, “They are not doing anything in Pakistan. They are doing jihad outside.” Pakistani neocons and UN sanctions Khalid Hasan This entry was posted on Sunday, December 28th, 2008 at 6:00 pm.

    http://www.khalidhasan.net/2008/12/28/pakistani-neocons-and-un-sanctions/

    For The ‘General’ Good By Sairah Irshad Khan Monthly Newsline January 2003

    http://www.newsline.com.pk/newsJan2003/cover1jan2003.htm –General’s Election

    By TIM MCGIRK / KHANA-KHEL Monday, Oct. 07, 2002http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,361788,00.html


    By Aamir Mughal -

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