Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Even before the era of Alexander the Great, winter weather has posed severe challenges for anyone fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now American soldiers are entering their ninth winter in the region. Major General Rashid Qureshi, former spokesman for the Pakistani military and for President Musharraf, says the Pakistani military is hoping to reclaim South Waziristan from militants before the harsh conditions set in. Captain Jared Wilson fought in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and he tells us about the challenges of winter from a U.S serviceman's point of view.
"What the winter months did is it limited our ability to patrol certain regions based on soil conditions and vehicles and we had to be able to get out and dismount into those areas and sometimes the snow would limit that process. But that's an impact on the enemy in the area as well."
—Capt. Jared Wilson, who fought in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, on how the U.S. military gets on during winter months
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Pakistan military continued its offensive against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the region of South Waziristan on Sunday. Pakistan is trying to wrest control of the region, which is near the Afghanistan border, from the militant groups.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Marcus Mabry, international business editor for our partner, The New York Times, and Jonathan Marcus, diplomatic correspondent for our partner, the BBC, look at the week ahead, primarily at the violence in central Asia. They will also peek ahead at what's going to happen with Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Eastern Europe, and examine the latest on Afghanistan's election controversy and how that will affect the White House's decision on troop levels there. All that and how the latest bombings in Iran affect ongoing meetings about their nuclear program.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Yesterday Pakistan suffered a series of coordinated attacks against police and military compounds which killed 40 people in the country's second-largest city, Lahore. More violence hit the nation this morning when a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at a mosque next to a police station in the northwest city of Peshawar, killing at least seven people. Over the past two weeks, coordinated attacks have killed more than 150 people across the country. The violence seems intended to force the government to abandon a planned offensive into militants' stronghold along the Afghan border.
How are the residents of Pakistan reacting to the dramatic uptick in violence? We are joined by Issam Ahmed, reporter for the Christian Science Monitor in Islamabad, Pakistan; and Daniyal Mueenuddin, author of the book of stories “In Other Rooms, Other Wonders.” Mueenuddin lives in southern Punjab in Pakistan, where he owns and runs a farm.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Violence is on the rise in Pakistan. Twelve days of attacks across the country have left well over 150 people dead, and there are no signs yet that security forces are going to be able to beat back the militants. A suicide car bombing targeted a police station in the city of Peshawar this morning. The BBC's Aleem Maqbool joins us from Islamabad, Pakistan.
And directly next door, in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has denied allegations of fraud in the recent presidential election and claimed he won a simple majority of votes. Now, according to Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times, the election results may turn out to show no single victor, meaning a run-off election could be announced shortly. She joins us with a look at the potential run-off and the political problem this would pose for the Obama Administration.
For more, read Elisabeth Bumiller's article, "Karzai Aide Says Afghan Runoff Vote Is Likely," in today's New York Times.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
BBC correspondent Adam Mynott joins us with a report on increasing violence in Pakistan. Earlier today, eleven people were killed when a car bomb exploded near a police station in the northwestern town of Kohat. Pakistan's second-largest city, Lahore, was recently the site of clashes between police and suspected militants who attacked a federal security building and other police training centers, killing at least 21 people. The latest attacks came days after a militant raid on the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Militants linked to the Taliban launched a bold attack on Pakistan’s army headquarters this weekend. The Pakistan army took back the building, but at least 41 people were killed. The attack raised questions about Pakistan's ability to keep their security infrastructure – including their nuclear weapons – safe, and whether the U.S. will need to deal directly with the Taliban in order to stabilize the region. We speak to Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and BBC Islamabad correspondent Aleem Maqbool.
"What the (Pakistan) army does, is it has a fairly rigorous means of trying to sort out those kinds of people. They don't mind people being religiously oriented; in fact, many of the people in the junior ranks are. But they want their loyalty to be to the military first."
—Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst, on how Pakistan's military ensures against their members joining the Taliban
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Pakistan Questions U.S. Aid —
The United States Congress wants to triple the amount of aid it gives to Pakistan. But there's controversy in Pakistan's Parliament about the $1.5 billion annually Pakistan would receive from America, especially about the terms the U.S. has attached to its aid. In a statement Wednesday, the Pakistani military said the conditions may violate Pakistan's sovereignty.
Monday, October 05, 2009
A bomb exploded in the lobby of the offices of the United Nations' World Food Programme in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad. At least three people have been killed and several others injured. We speak with the BBC's correspondent in Islamabad, Shoaib Hasan, for the latest news.
Read an official statement about the blasts from the U.N.'s World Food Programme.
"Pakistan's government is pointing their fingers at [the Taliban]. Pakistan's interior minister, Rehman Malik, briefly spoke to reporters about an hour ago ... he said that this would not slacken Pakistan's resolve, he said that the government was going to carry out its operations, that it's continuing against the militants and there would be no negotiations with the Taliban."
—Shoaib Hasan, BBC correspondent in Islamabad, on the Taliban as suspects for the bombing in Islamabad
Friday, September 11, 2009
It’s been eight years since the terrorist organization al-Qaida attacked the U.S., hijacking airplanes, destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Center, damaging the Pentagon, and killing hundreds on Flight 93 and thousands elsewhere. Although the organization is not as robust as it was in 2001, it remains a serious security threat; its top leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, are still at large. For an insider's take on what the hunt for al-Qaida entails we are joined by former CIA agent Art Keller, who spent the last few months of his career in Pakistan, hunting top al-Qaida operatives. We also speak to Bruce Hoffman, terrorism expert and professor of security studies at Georgetown University.
Monday, August 31, 2009
In Pakistan, local and state authorities were challenged by a spate of attacks over the weekend. NATO oil tankers were set ablaze along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and a suicide bomber struck a group of volunteer policemen in the Swat valley, leaving 17 dead, according to reports from Associated Press. Pakistan's law enforcement say they've responded with a new offensive that has killed at least 30 members of the Taliban.
The border region is considered the main arterial route between Afghanistan and Pakistan. What can be discerned from these events about the ongoing fight against the Pakistani Taliban? Here to lay it out for us is Marvin Weinbaum, a scholar at the Middle East Institute and former State Department analyst on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 07, 2009
Unconfirmed reports have trickled in that Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud may have been killed in a U.S. drone attack. Now, two Taliban fighters are saying that Mehsud is in fact dead and that the Taliban leaders are trying to determine which of his top deputies will replace him. The U.S. government made killing or capturing Mr. Mehsud one of its top priorities this year. He ranked as Pakistan’s enemy No. 1. For more of the story, The Takeaway turns to Jeremy Binnie, senior analyst on terrorism and insurgency at Jane's Intelligence Group.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
As federal agents sift through the case against the suspected jihadists in Willow Spring, North Carolina, it became clear that one man was missing from the conspiracy. Now federal authorities are scouring Pakistan for an 8th suspect in the alleged terrorist group. It is believed that the man (and, yes, it is most likely a man) has gone to Pakistan to gather intelligence. The story is startling as a reminder that terrorism can grow on American soil. Yesterday Attorney General Eric Holder warned that some Americans are becoming radicalized and turning to terrorism. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano then asked Americans to be alert for homegrown terrorists. But how do you recognize a radicalizing terrorist? Mitch Silber, Director of Intelligence Analysis for the New York Police Department, joins the conversation with his tips.
"You're looking at a cluster of behaviors, a series of behaviors, that in and of themselves are benign, but really when you start to map these together — the rejecting the moderate message, the going out doing military training on the countryside, and then the travel overseas — now you've got a pattern."
—Mitch Silber on detecting terror suspects
Here is Attorney General Eric Holder's interview with ABC News:
Monday, July 20, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009