Ref – toi
Posted by SalonSocial on July 28, 2015
Ref – toi
Posted by SalonSocial on July 18, 2015
Posted by SalonSocial on June 23, 2015
Talking about threats to Afghanistan, the US report said, “The border region of Afghan istan and Pakistan is an undergoverned area which hosts terrorist cells active in both countries. The government of Afghanistan has struggled to assert control over this remote terrain where the population is largely detached from national institutions. Afghanistan generally cooperates with US counterterrorism efforts.Since President (Ashraf) Ghani’s election, he has actively pursued cross-border security cooperation with the government of Pakistan, including the prospect of joint operations to reduce safe havens on both sides of the border.“
The US report also raised concern over proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in Afghanistan. “The potential for WMD trafficking and proliferation remained a concern in Afghanistan because of its porous borders and the presence of terrorist groups,“ it said.
Posted by SalonSocial on June 23, 2015
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
All six gunmen who detonated explosives and fired rockets at the parliament complex were reported killed by Afghan security forces.
PM Narendra Modi described the attack as despicable and cowardly . “The attack on he Afghanistan parliament is a despicable and cowardly act.There is no place for such at acks in a democracy ,“ Modi weeted. “My prayers are with hose injured. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Afghanistan in this hour,“ he said in another tweet.
According to reports, all MPs were safely evacuated af er the attack, which came as he Afghan president’s nominee for the post of defence min ster was to be introduced in parliament. Afghanistan has not had a confirmed defence minister since the Ashraf Ghani government took over in September last year. The fact that the attack took place late morning, around 10.30am, suggested that the insurgents were looking at a high-value target.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility . “We have launched an attack on parliament as there was an important gathering to introduce the country’s defence minister,“ he said while the attack was still on.
Reuters quoted Afghan police spokesperson Ebadullah Karimi as saying that the attack started with a Taliban fighter detonating a car loaded with explosives outside the parliament gates. How the driver managed to evade several security checkpoints is being investigated by Afghan authorities.He said all lawmakers were safe. TV pictures showed the speaker sitting calmly and legislators leaving the building, engulfed in dust and smoke, without panicking.
The attack comes close on the heels of Taliban’s takeover of two important districts, Chardara and Dasht-e-Archi, in Kunduz province, raising questions about the ability of Afghan forces to handle militants. Last month, car bombs were used to attack the ministry of justice, and insurgents stormed two guesthouses.
A senior Indian official said the attack was “part of the growing trend of violence across Afghanistan, which had picked up in the summer“. On a daily basis, “report is coming in of Taliban progress,“ he said. “Ever since Nato troops pulled out and the US reduced its air strikes, there has been a steady rise in violence levels.“
Posted by SalonSocial on May 13, 2015
DHAKA – A masked gang wielding machetes hacked a secular blogger to death Tuesday in northeastern Bangladesh in the third such deadly attack by suspected Islamists since February.
Police said Ananta Bijoy Das was murdered in broad daylight as he headed to work at a local bank in the city of Sylhet, an attack that fellow writers said highlighted a culture of impunity.
Kamrul Hasan, commissioner of Sylhet police, said a group of around four masked men had attacked Das with machetes at around 8.30am on a busy street in Bangladesh’s fifth largest city.
“They chased him down the street and first attacked his head with their machetes and then attacked him all over his body,” Hasan told AFP.
After the attackers fled into the crowds, Das was rushed to hospital but declared dead on arrival, police and medics said.
Police commissioner Hasan would not comment on the motive for the attack but fellow writers said Das had been on a hit-list drawn up by militants who were behind the recent killing of blogger Avijit Roy.
Imran Sarker, head of a Bangladeshi bloggers’ association, confirmed to AFP that Das was an atheist who regularly blogged for Mukto-Mona.
The website used to be moderated by Roy, a Bangladeshi-born US citizen who was hacked to death in the capital Dhaka in February.
“We condemn this heinous killing. It once again confirms our fear that there is a culture of impunity in Bangladesh. Anyone can now get away with killing a progressive free thinker,” Sarker said.
Police chief Hasan said they were investigating an announcement by an unknown group that Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) was behind the killing.
AQIS has already claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Roy on February 26 in which his wife was badly injured. An Islamist has been arrested over his murder.
A group called Ansar Al-Islam said on Twitter that AQIS was responsible for Das’s murder and warned of more to come.
Debasish Debu, a friend of Das, said the 33-year-old banker was an editor of a quarterly magazine called Jukti (Logic) and headed the Sylhet-based Science and Rationalist Council. “In recent months he received threats from Islamist extremists for his writings. He was on their hit-list,” Debu told AFP from Sylhet.
“He was hacked on the head repeatedly, the same way Roy was attacked by the assailants,” Debu added.
According to the Mukto-Mona site, Das won the publication’s annual Rationalist Award in 2006 for his “deep and courageous interest in spreading secular and humanist ideals and messages”.
While most of Das’s output for Mukto-Mona focused on science and evolution, he wrote a number of blogs that criticised some aspects of Islam and also of Hinduism.
He also wrote a poem eulogising the famed Bangladeshi secular writer Taslima Nasreen, who fled to Europe in 1994 after protests by Islamists and now lives in India.
In comments on Facebook posted early Tuesday, Das slammed the local member of parliament from the ruling Awami League party for criticising one of the country’s top secular and science fiction writers.
The murder came less than two months after 27-year-old atheist blogger Washiqur Rahman was hacked to death in Dhaka in March. Two madrassa students have been arrested over that attack.
Bangladesh is an officially secular country but more than 90 percent of its 160 million population are Muslims.
The country has seen a rise in attacks by religious extremists in recent years. Supporters of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party, which is banned from standing in elections, have been accused of being behind a spate of firebombings since the beginning of the year aimed at toppling the government.
Since 2013, at least five bloggers have been attacked by Islamists after another hardline group, Hefazat-e-Islam, publicly sought the execution of atheists who organised mass protests against the rise of political Islam.
Hefazat, led by Islamic seminary teachers, also staged a massive counter protest against the bloggers in May 2013 that unleashed violence, leaving nearly 50 people dead.
Posted by SalonSocial on May 13, 2015
Source – TOI
President Barack Obama, Hersh suggests, milked the episode for domestic political gains, including a second term re-election, after reneging on US promises to Pakistan about when and how the raid would be revealed to the world.
Hersh has based much of his account on one principal source -an unnamed and retired senior US intelligence official -and a couple of tenuous corroborative sources in a piece that has set political Washington alight. Government officials and critics often dismiss his style of journalism quoting anonymous sources to make outlandish claims, but editors who publish his work have said in the past they are aware the names of his sources and have no rea son to doubt his work.
Hersh told TOI in an interview that the LRB had vigorously fact-checked his story and was satisfied with it. “Are you kidding? Of course, people are going to be sceptical.This goes against the established narrative,“ he said, insisting that all great stories begin with one source and the people he spoke to were intelligence insiders who know the facts of the case closely.
According to Hersh, the story of the bin Laden raid began with the August 2010 walk-in of a senior Pakistani intelligence officer, who offered to the CIA station chief at the US embassy in Islamabad, Jonathan Banks, bin Laden’s location in return for reward money . Sceptical Americans flew in a polygraph team to check his claims (he passed the test) before cornering Pasha (during a visit to Washington) and Kayani. Hersh and his source put a protective spin on Pakistani patronage of terrorism by rationalizing their hosting of the man who killed 3,000 Americans, maintaining that -“if you have someone like Osama bin Laden, you are not going to simply hand him over to the United Stateswithout a quid pro quo“. The quid pro quo in this case involved continued US military aid to Pakistan, “a good percentage of which was anti-terrorism funding that finances personal security , such as bullet-proof limousines and security guards and housing for the ISI leadership“, but also personal bribing, “under-the-table personal `incentives’ that were financed by off-the-books Pentagon contingency funds“.The US also promised Pakistan `a freer hand’ in Afghanistan as it began its military draw-down there.
Consequent to this secret deal, the Pakistani generals gave the US bin Laden’s precise coordinates -right down to the location of his room in the Abbottabad bungalow -and also ensured he was left with no protection. ISI guards protecting bin Laden were asked to leave as soon as they heard US choppers, and electricity to the area was cut off.They also made sure Pakistan’s army and air defence command would not track or engage with the US helicopters used on the mission.
According to the Hersh’s American sources, the raid was virtual walk-in and walkout and the Navy Seals virtually shot dead an unarmed, invalid man. Hersh also claims there was no burial at sea with Islamic rites for bin Laden on the USS Carl Vinson, as the US later claimed; the old man had been shot to pieces during the raid and his body parts were tossed over the Hindu Kush by the raiding party as they returned to Afghanistan.
The story claims that Obama decided to immediately go public with the raid in part because of the botch-up with the stalled helicopter that had to be destroyed, making it hard to keep the raid a secret. But he also had political motives. “The killing of bin Laden was political theatre designed to burnish Obama’s military credentials.It’s irresistible to a politician.Bin Laden became a working asset,“ Hersh quotes one of his sources as saying.
Hersh’s piece also maintains the US actually sold Shakil Afridi, a CIA asset, down the drain, asking Pakistanis to nab him while rooting for Amir Aziz, a doctor and a major in the Pakistani army who was instrumental in getting bin Laden’s DNA sample that conclusively proved his identity . Amir was also rewarded from the $25 million bounty .
The ISI, the story claims, initially got onto bin Laden, who had lived undetected from 2001 to 2006 with some of his wives and children in the Hindu Kush mountains, by paying some of the local tribal people to betray him. Hersh’s account also maintains the Saudis were fully aware of Pakistan’s protective custody of bin Laden and in fact they paid Pakistanis to keep him under wraps because of their ties to al-Qaida.
White House dismisses claims
The White House on Monday dismissed as “baseless“ Seymour Hersh’s controversial report alleging President Barack Obama’s administration lied about the circumstances surrounding the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden. “There are too many inaccuracies and baseless assertions in this piece to fact check each one,“ White House National Security spokesman Ned Price told CNN. Former CIA deputy director Michael Morrell too dismissed the report in an interview. “I started reading the article last night, I got a third of the way through and I stopped, because every sentence I was reading was wrong,“ the CNN quoted him as telling CBS’ Charlie Rose. “The source that Hersh talked to has no idea what he’s talking about.“ He maintained the Pakistanis had no idea about the operation, and “were furious with us“ for moving forward without giving them a heads up. AGENCIES
Posted by SalonSocial on April 22, 2015
The head of ISIS was seriously wounded during an airstrike in western Iraq, according to an overseas report.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi suffered life-threatening injuries during the attack, which was coordinated by the US-led coalition back in March, according to the Guardian.
A three-car convoy was targeted during the strike, but officials thought they were taking out a few low-level leaders of ISIS. They were unaware al-Baghdadi was in one of the vehicles, which were traveling between the villages of Umm al-Rous and al-Qaraan, a source in Iraq told the Guardian.
“Yes, he was wounded in al-Baaj near the village of Umm al-Rous on March 18 with a group that was with him,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi official who advises Baghdad on ISIS.
The Pentagon has denied the report.
Al-Baghdadi is no longer in control of day-to-day operations, the Guardian reports.
After he was seriously injured, top ISIS militants believed the Islamic State head was on the brink of death. They urgently met and made plans to name a new leader, the source said.
Al-Baghdadi eventually managed to make a slow recovery, but never took back control of the terrorist organization.
Two officials — a Western diplomat and an Iraqi adviser — have confirmed that the airstrike took place March 18, according to the Guardian.
Al-Baghdadi is believed to have been spending much of his time in al-Baaj, which is around 200 miles west of the ISIS stronghold of Mosul.
“He chose this area because he knew from the war that the Americans did not have much cover there,” a source close to al-Baghdadi said.
As for plans for a successor, the Islamic State would likely pluck someone out of their highly structured leadership system and quickly put him in charge in order to continue ground operations, according to the International Business Times.
“ISIS has likely prepared for Baghdadi’s succession,” said Lauren Squires of the Institute for the Study of War. “ISIS has undergone changes in their structure during different phases of the group’s evolution. They are forward leaning and thinking. It would be shortsighted to think that planning a successor is not only part of their logistical plan, but their ideological plan, too.”
Source – nypost
Posted by SalonSocial on April 22, 2015
ISIS, the world understands, is a violent jihadist group driven by twisted religious devotion and its dream of radical Islamist conquest. ISIS’s own members understand the group that way. But what if they’re wrong? What if ISIS is not a spontaneous religious movement, but rather was constructed by a shadowy group of secular military leaders to fulfill their secret agenda?
Explosive new documents uncovered by Der Spiegel’s Christoph Reuter, published on Saturday, reveal that there is a dark secret at the heart of ISIS. It was not radical Islamists who conceived and created ISIS, they suggest, but rather a small group of senior Iraqi officers in Saddam Hussein’s brutal police state. Their plan appears to have been to use ISIS to reconquer Iraq. For them, jihadism was simply a means to the end of retaking the country they had lost, a counterattack to the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled them from power.
Der Spiegel says it uncovered the documents from a house in Syria that was used by a former Iraqi military intelligence official who, before he was killed in a 2014 firefight, went by the name Haji Bakr. The documents show the blueprint for the creation of the Islamic State, written before the group became what it is today and executed to detail. While we have known for some time that former officers in Saddam’s military were working with ISIS — they shared a Sunni background and a hatred of the new American-installed government — these documents suggest the officers were far more involved in planning and launching the Islamic State than previously thought.
As Der Spiegel’s stunning investigation found, ISIS was organized in much the same way as Saddam’s police state. Haji Bakr’s goal was to use the chaos and extremism of the Syrian war to build up this new group in Syria, giving it a beachhead from which it could invade and conquer much of Iraq. Once there, it would set up an intricate and Orwellian system of control in the mold of Saddam’s Iraq.
ISIS, in other words, would replace one totalitarianism with another. Though Saddam’s Iraq had been Sunni and secular and ISIS’s Iraq would be Sunni and Islamist, this same group of former Saddam officials would remain at the top. For Haji Bakr and the other officers working with him, the group’s apocalyptic jihadism would simply be a vehicle for their return to power.
Here is Der Spiegel’s Christoph Reuter:
There is a simple reason why there is no mention in Bakr’s writings of prophecies relating to the establishment of an Islamic State allegedly ordained by God: He believed that fanatical religious convictions alone were not enough to achieve victory. But he did believe that the faith of others could be exploited.
In 2010, Bakr and a small group of former Iraqi intelligence officers made Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir and later “caliph,” the official leader of the Islamic State. They reasoned that Baghdadi, an educated cleric, would give the group a religious face.
[Haji] Bakr was “a nationalist, not an Islamist,” says Iraqi journalist Hisham al-Hashimi.
Bakr’s journey from serving in a violently secular regime to helping found a violently Islamist group began in 2003, after the US-led invasion of Iraq. One of America’s first decisions on taking Iraq — a terrible mistake that has haunted the region ever since — was to disband Iraq’s enormous army, leaving its officers and soldiers with no income. Haji Bakr was left “bitter and unemployed,” a source who knew him told Der Spiegel, as were many officers like him.
This speaks to a terrible irony of the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq. The war was premised in part on the assertion that Saddam’s regime was linked to anti-American jihadist terrorists. This was a falsehood. But the invasion made this falsehood true — and in more terrible fashion than we ever imagined possible.
Haji Bakr, desperate after 2003 to defeat the Americans and the new Shia-majority government, fought alongside Sunni extremists in Iraq. Later, he began constructing ISIS. As Der Spiegel’s investigation found, he was able to use his knowledge of running an oppressive security state to build up ISIS into more than just another jihadist group.
Bakr had something else that proved essential: deep contacts with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s military and intelligence services. This allowed him to arrange the unofficial alliance of convenience between ISIS and Assad, as the two tacitly tolerate one another in Syria and fight their mutual enemies there.
As Der Spiegel’s Reuter writes, there are unmistakable parallels in the architectures of ISIS and of Saddam’s Iraq. “The two systems ultimately shared a conviction that control over the masses should lie in the hands of a small elite that should not be answerable to anyone,” he writes. “The secret of [ISIS’s] success lies in the combination of opposites, the fanatical beliefs of one group and the strategic calculations of the other.”
Posted by SalonSocial on March 23, 2015
Shaikh had a mechanical engineering degree from Kalsekar College in Panvel, where Majeed and the last of the four, Aman Tandel, were student s. Tanki was an HSC dropout.Shaikh and Majeed’s fathers are doctors, Tandel’s father works in a reputed company in Mumbai and Tanki’s dad is a businessman. The four left for Iraq with pilgrims in May last year and did not return.Later, it became clear that they had been indoctrinated and had joined the ISIS.
News of Tanki’s death first came recently as a message sent to his family from an unknown number.Shaikh has now confirmed the death. During its probe, the NIA found that Majeed was the first to be radicalized over social networking sites and came in contact with Shaikh during a religious programme.
Posted by SalonSocial on February 18, 2015