Monday, February 25, 2013

Shrine blast leaves 4 dead in Southern Pakistan

English: Location of Sindh in Pakistan.
English: Location of Sindh in Pakistan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ISLAMABAD, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- At least four Sunni Muslims were killed and over 15 others injured as a bomb went off in a shrine in Pakistan's southern district of Shikarpur on Monday night, local media reported.

Geo TV said the sectarian blast targeting the Sunni Muslims occurred when over 50 people were gathering in a congregation hall of the shrine for religious ritual.

Some unknown militants left an explosive laden bag inside the shrine and later exploded it by a remote control, said the report.

The injured people were shifted to Civil Hospital Shikarpur where several of them were in critical conditions.

Walls and roof of the shrine were partially destroyed in the blast in Shikarpur, a main district in the country's southern Sindh province.

The blast was followed by a protest by Sunni Muslims in the district.

Sahabzada Fazal Karim, the leader of the country's prominent Sunni group, "Sunni Itehad Council", condemned the blast and asked his followers to remain calm.

He also demanded government to arrest those responsible for the attack.

No group so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police cordoned off the area and a probe into the incident has been started.

 2013-02-26 02:02:45

Enhanced by Zemanta

Afghan president orders US Special Forces to leave Wardak province

Districts of Wardak.
Districts of Wardak. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Hamid Karzai has ordered the Ministry of Defense to eject all "US Special Forces" from the key eastern province of Wardak after accusing the American troops or their local Afghan security partners of committing war crimes. Karzai's order is an ominous development for future US and NATO plans, which are expected to rely heavily on special operations forces to take on a greater role as the bulk of conventional forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan.

"Today, the National Security Council ordered the Ministry of Defense to remove American Special Forces within two weeks from Wardak province," Karzai spokesman Aimal Faizi told reporters, according to TOLONews.

"A recent example in the province is an incident in which nine people were disappeared in an operation by this suspicious force and in a separate incident a student was taken away at night from his home, whose tortured body with throat cut was found two days later under a bridge," he added.

US Forces - Afghanistan, an ISAF subcommand under which some US Special Forces operate, said it was aware of the statement attributed to Karzai and that it is investigating the allegations.

US special operations forces often partner with local Afghan security forces, such as the Afghan Local Police (ALP) at the village level. President Karzai has generally opposed the ALP, and some Afghans fear the local units, currently totaling 19,600 officers and often accused of corruption (as are more traditional Afghan government security forces), will foster a return to warlordism.

Karzai's directive for "US Special Forces" to withdraw from Wardak comes as NATO is working to negotiate and finalize plans for its force structure in Afghanistan after combat forces are withdrawn by the end of 2014. Various draft proposals and statements by US personnel and NATO partners have indicated that a force of 8,000 to 15,500 NATO troops, comprised of up to 9,500 Americans, could remain in Afghanistan. The residual mission is expected to be structured around training Afghan security forces and the continuation of counterterrorism operations targeting high value enemies.
Both tasks rely heavily on US Special Forces (a designation precisely indicating the US Army "Green Berets") as well as the broader category of all US special operations forces.

Read more:
Enhanced by Zemanta

IED blast kill 4 Afghan civilians in Helmand province

According to local authorities in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, at least ten Afghan civilians were killed or injured following a roadside improvised explosive device blast in Marjah district on Monday.

District chief Fahim Mosazai confirming the report said the incident took place on Monday moring at Shor Shorak area, killing at least four civilians and injuring six others.

He said the incident took place after a civilian vehicle hit an IED device planted by militants.

No group including the Taliban militants has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident. Local authorities blame Taliban group for the incident as Taliban fighters frequently use improvised explosive device to target Afghan and coalition securty forces which normally leads to civilians casualties.

In a separate incident at least two Afghan police officers were killed and three others were injured following an explosion in Tarinkowt city on Monday.

Provincial security commandment spokesman Farid Ayel said the incident took place after a police Ford Ranger vehicle struck with a roadside bomb.

Taliban group claimed responsibility behind the incident and said four police officers were killed following the blast.

By Sadaf Shinwari - 25 Feb 2013, 3:03 pm

Enhanced by Zemanta

AQIM Leader Condemns Destruction of Mali Mausoleums

map by Evan Centanni(
RFI journalist Nick Champeaux and a journalist from French newspaper Libération have discovered extraordinary papers in which the leader of Aqim, Abdel Malek Droukdel outlines his strategy for Mali.

The documents, dated 20 July 2012, four months after the jihadists took control of northern Mali, were found among others scattered on the floor of the offices of the ORTM national television station in Timbuktu.

The papers were intended to be read by other senior members of Aqmi (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and Ansar Dine and were headed "Roadmap relating to Islamic Jihad in Azawad [northern Mali]".

Before they fled Timbuktu, the Aqim leaders shredded a number of documents, including lists of names and telephone numbers. Among the papers scattered on the floor, were the 79 pages written by Abou Moussab Abdelwadoud, alias Abdel Malek Droukdel, head of Aqim.

These documents complete a dossier, part of which was found in February by a journalist working for Associated Press.

In the documents, Abdel Malek Droukdel focuses on how to set up an Islamic zone in northern Mali with the Touareg people, without drawing attention to Aqim's presence there.

His solution is outlined in a framework laid out in six chapters.

In the first chapter, entitled "Global vision of the Islamic jihadist project in Azawad", Droukdel condemns the destruction of mausoleums and the stonings carried out by some of his fellow jihadists. "You have made a serious mistake", he writes. "The population could turn against us, and we cannot fight against a whole people. You are in danger of destroying our experiment, of killing off our baby, our beautiful tree."

"We must avoid general solutions, which do not take the local environment into account", he suggests in a paper written after the first demolitions of mausoleums, which shocked the people of Timbuktu.

"Sharia law allows lashings of the whip as a punishment for adulterers, but first of all we must get people used to the idea and educate them in Islam, only then can we envisage using such punishments", he proposes.

The document appears to have been written after discussion with other Islamists.

Droukdel expresses support in the papers for the idea of an independent High Council for Islamic Affairs, to ensure the proper application of Sharia throughout the territory under Aqmi control.

The document gives a fascinating insight into how Droukdel intended to use the (secular- minded) MNLA (Azawad liberation movement), but also, to a lesser extent, Ansar Dine, the (Islamist) group led by Iyad Ag Ghali.

Throughout the document, Droukdel laments the split with the MNLA. Before the split, in June, the MNLA had signed an accord accepting the principle of the islamicisation of northern Mali.

"What more can we ask of them?" asks Droukdel only one month later in the document. "We can't ask MNLA members to become salafists and join the ranks of Ansar Dine overnight" he declares.

The Aqim leader apparently plans to attribute most of the ministerial posts to MNLA members, though not key ministries such as Religious Affairs, Justice and Education.

He proposes that the Defence Ministry include all the different political and religious movements.

Iyad Ag Ghali (Ansar Dine) would be given the post of leader of a transitional government, whose job would be to draw up a constitution for the Islamic State of Azawad.

However, jihadists would run the towns and cities, and Droukdel appears to have no intention of involving Ansar Dine in his international terrorist activities.

The overriding aim appears to be to create the broadest possible alliances, in order to resist any military intervention.

"Alliances are essential" he writes, noting that one of the advantages of an alliance is that his movement will not be wholly responsible if it fails in its objectives."

Read or Listen to this story on the RFI website.

from allAfrica/RFi

Enhanced by Zemanta

Feb. 25., 2013. - RC-East operational update

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Afghan and coalition forces detained one suspected insurgent, located one weapons cache and cleared one improvised explosive device during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, Feb. 24.

Paktya province
Afghan National Security Forces discovered a weapons cache during an operation in Zormat district. The cache contained small arms ammunition and IED=making materials.

Khowst province
Afghan and coalition forces
detained one suspected insurgent during an operation in Khowst district. The detained suspect was transferred to a base for questioning.

Coalition forces found and safely cleared an IED in Sabari district.

Operations in RC-East are ongoing.

Enhanced by Zemanta

updates coming up soon...

Search this blog