9/11

Chapter 8: PAKISTAN AWAKENS TO THE THREAT WITHIN: Pakistan’s 9/11(Excerpt from Aboard the Democracy Train 2016 Edition)

APS attack
(Credit: ATDT 2016 edition)

The massacre of children studying in Army Public School, Peshawar in December 2014, may have been an act of desperation by the Taliban, routed six months earlier from North Waziristan — `the last refuge for jihadis’ — but it would shake up Pakistan by the sheer level of its moral depravity. That morning militants pumped bullets in the heads of …

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An off-shoot of Al Qaeda is Regrouping in PakistanBy Tim Craig The Washington Post

KARACHI, Pakistan — Five years after most senior al-Qaeda leaders are thought to have fled this port city, officials in Karachi worry that the organization is regrouping and finding new support here and in neighboring Afghanistan. They are especially concerned about the recruitment of potential foot soldiers for the next major terrorist attack. The resurgence has been managed by a …

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How the US Tracked and Killed the Leader of the Taliban

Mansour vehicle
(Credit: wsj.com)

U.S. spy agencies zeroed in on Mullah Akhtar Mansour while he was visiting his family in Iran, laying a trap for when the Taliban leader crossed the border back into Pakistan. While U.S. surveillance drones don’t operate in the area, intercepted communications and other types of intelligence allowed the spy agencies to track their target as he crossed the frontier …

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Afghan Taliban leader in Pakistan likely killed in US drone strikeBy Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali

Mullah Akhtar Mansoor
(Credit: Al Jazeera)

WASHINGTON, May 21 (Reuters) – The United States conducted a drone strike on Saturday against the leader of Afghan Taliban, likely killing him on the Pakistan side of the remote border region with Afghanistan in a mission authorized by U.S. President Barack Obama, officials said. The death of Mullah Akhtar Mansour, should it be confirmed, could further fracture the Taliban …

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Ashraf Ghani’s New Plan to Win Afghanistan’s Long War Against the TalibanBy Samimullah Arif for The Diplomat April 28, 2016 The Diplomat

Ashraf Ghani
(Credit: inreuters.com)

After his swearing-in in September 2014, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan approached Pakistan sensibly. He did not demand military operations against the Haqqani Network and other Taliban networks based in Pakistan because he knew Islamabad would never do that. Rather, he pleaded with Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. Despite trying to smooth over relations with Pakistan …

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Facing the Taliban and His Past, an Afghan Leader Aims for a Different EndingBy MUJIB MASHAL FEB. 28, 2016 The New York Times

Facing Taliban
(Credit: cyrusreporter.com)

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan — When mujahedeen guerrillas captured this southern provincial capital in 1993, Gen. Abdul Jabar Qahraman was the Afghan government commander on the last flight out, surrendering the city. In a resonant twist more than two decades later, Mr. Qahraman is again the face of the Afghan government here as an insurgency threatens to overrun his post. This …

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Powers meeting on Afghanistan see Taliban talks by MarchBy Mirwais Harooni/Omar Sobhani REUTERS

Peace talks on Afghanistan
(Credit: abcnews.go.com)

KABUL, Feb 23: Afghan government and Taliban representatives are expected to meet in Islamabad by the first week of March for their first direct talks since a previous round of the peace process broke down last year, officials said on Tuesday. Following a meeting in Kabul, the so-called Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), made up of officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, the …

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U.S. Broadens Fight Against ISIS With Attacks in Afghanistan

Tora Bora, Afghanistan
(Credit: crackersquire.blogspot.com)

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 — The United States has carried out at least a dozen operations — including commando raids and airstrikes — in the past three weeks against militants in Afghanistan aligned with the Islamic State, expanding the Obama administration’s military campaign against the terrorist group beyond Iraq and Syria. The operations followed President Obama’s decision last month to broaden …

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Pakistan Military Expands Its Power, and Is Thanked for Doing SoBy ROD NORDLAND NOV. 17, 2015 New York Times

Raheel Sharif in Washington
(Credit: dawn.com)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The most popular man in public office in Pakistan does not give speeches on television, rarely appears in public and rejects news interviews. He is Gen. Raheel Sharif, the Pakistani Army chief, who has presided over the country’s armed forces at a time when they are riding high after curbing domestic terrorism and rampant political crime. Aided …

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Obama Announces Halt of U.S. Troop Withdrawal in AfghanistanBy MATTHEW ROSENBERG and MICHAEL D. SHEAR The New York Times

US announcement on Afghanistan
(Credit: thewrap.com)

WASHINGTON, Oct 15 — The United States will halt its military withdrawal from Afghanistan and instead keep thousands of troops in the country through the end of his term in 2017, President Obama announced on Thursday, prolonging the American role in a war that has now stretched on for 14 years. In a brief statement from the Roosevelt Room in …

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Nawaz heads to White House to discuss Afghan reconciliationAnwar Iqbal | AP Dawn Newspaper

WASHINGTON, Oct 15: US President Barack Obama on Thursday, in an address to his nation from the White House, said he would meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on October 22 to discuss his plan for peace in the Pak-Afghan region. Obama also announced a plan to keep 5,500 American troops in Afghanistan into 2017, cancelling his earlier plan to bring …

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Taliban’s New Leader Strengthens His Hold With Intrigue and Battlefield VictoryBy JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN OCT. 4, 2015 The New York Times

Mullah Akhtar Mansoor
(Credit: cbsnews.com)

KABUL, Afghanistan — If ever there was a Taliban bureaucrat who seemed set on a less than stellar career path, it was Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour. In the 1990s, he was the Taliban government’s chief of aviation while Afghanistan had few planes in the air. He also oversaw the tourism department for what was one of the world’s most sealed-off …

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Shaken by Taliban Victory in Kunduz, Afghans Flee Another Provincial CapitalBy JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN and JAWAD SUKHANYAR REUTERS

KABUL, Sept 30 — The test facing the Afghan government now is not just whether it can quickly mount a counterattack and retake Kunduz, the northern city that fell to the Taliban on Monday, but whether it can prevent a nearby provincial capital from falling as well. Accounts from the neighboring province of Baghlan on Wednesday showed that the collapse …

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U.S. Is Struggling in Its Effort to Build an Afghan Air ForceBy ROD NORDLAND SEPT. 26, 2015 The New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan — Col. Qalandar Shah Qalandari, Afghanistan’s most decorated pilot, recently took command of what was meant to be the building blocks of his country’s new air force: a squadron of shiny American-made attack helicopters, intended to solve the chronic lack of close air support for Afghan troops. Sixteen of the armed MD-530 scout helicopters were rushed here this …

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Taliban ‘no-go zones’ liberated in KarachiAFP

TTP areas in Karachi
(Credit: tribune.com.pk)

KARACHI, Sept 14: With a machine-gun in the back seat, his foot on the accelerator and wearing “Top Gun” style sunglasses, Azfar Mahesar pushes deeper into the heart of one of Karachi’s “Talibanised” areas. “This used to be a war zone, but we have liberated it,” says the slightly chubby policeman with pride as his vehicle races through the city of …

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Karzai calls Al-Qaida a ‘myth’ and denies 9/11 attacks were plotted in AfghanistanJason Burke Guardian UK Sept 10, 2015

Afghan president Hamid Karzai
(Credit: blogs.telegraph.co.uk)

  Hamid Karzai, the former president of Afghanistan, has questioned the existence of al-Qaida, and denied that the 9/11 terror attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people were planned in Afghanistan. On the eve of the anniversary of the 2001 attacks, Karzai, who left office last year after 12 years, used an interview with al Jazeera to express his doubt that …

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Ground offensive begins: Army troops roll into Shawal ValleyAugust 21, 2015 The Express Tribune

Shawwal valley offensive
(Credit: tribune.com.pk)

Pakistan Army has launched a ground offensive in North Waziristan Agency’s (NWA) mountainous Shawal Valley, regarded as the last haven of fleeing homegrown militants and their foreign cohorts. Meanwhile, the army’s fighter jets on Thursday continued to target militants’ hideouts in the agency for the fifth consecutive day, killing at least 43 suspected terrorists. “Ground operation in Shawal, North Waziristan …

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Taliban Present Gentler Face but Wield Iron Fist in Afghan DistrictBy JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN and TAIMOOR SHAH The New York Times

Baghran, Helmand
(Credit: snipnews.com)

LASHKAR GAH, Aug 14 — As they have captured more territory in Afghanistan this year, the Taliban have twinned their military offensive with a publicity push. Their pitch goes something like this: We’ve learned the lessons from our time in power, and we’re ready to moderate a bit. At international conferences, delegates from the Taliban — infamous for outlawing girls’ …

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Al Qaeda Chief Purportedly Pledges Loyalty to Mullah MansoorRecording released as Afghanistan demands that Pakistan crack down on Taliban
Saeed Shah in Pakistan & Habib Khan Totakhil in Afghanistan The Wall St Journal

Al Qaeda chief Ayman Zawahiri
(Credit: huffingtonpost.com)

ISLAMABAD, Aug 13 —A recording posted online Thursday appears to show al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri vowing loyalty to the new leader of the Afghan Taliban, as the Kabul government demanded that neighboring Pakistan crack down on Taliban operations there. Mullah Akhtar Mansour took the reins of the militant Taliban organization amid a swirl of controversy late last month …

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Afghan War’s Convenient Myth: A Living Mullah OmarBy JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN AUG. 7, 2015 The New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban, it turns out, had been sending the world messages from a dead man. And the world kept answering him. It continued until last month, when the Taliban issued a statement in the name of their supreme leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, intended to “elucidate some issues about the previous and present ongoing jihadi struggle.” In it, …

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