Pakistan To Be New Taliban Headquarters
Vol: 2 Issue: 20 Tuesday, November 20, 2001
While it appears the Taliban are beaten, it seems they continue to believe, to paraphrase Mark Twain, that ‘reports of their demise are greatly exaggerated’. Senior Pakistani military and civilian officials, quoting intelligence reports, believe that the Taliban have secretly decided to use Pashtun dominated tribal areas of Pakistan as staging posts for a prolonged guerrilla war in Afghanistan.
Pakistani intelligence sources near Chaman border in the western province of Baluchistan and in Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province, have received credible reports that scores of Arabs and Taliban militants had been entering Pakistan since the afternoon of November 12, revealing to their Pakistani tribal hosts that they had been ordered by Mullah Omar to abandon major cities and to prepare themselves for guerrilla operations on “the other side of the Afghan border.”
There is some reason to believe this may be true and that the Pakistanis are looking the other way while Taliban leaders move into Pakistan. While Pakistan has been openly cooperating with the West, they have been unwilling to ‘de-recognize’ the Taliban diplomatically. The Taliban’s embassy remains open in Islamabad, which means that officially, the Taliban remains the only legal government of Afghanistan recognized by Islamabad.
Pakistani Naval Officers Arrested
Two retired Pakistani navy commanders have been detained on suspicion of having contacts with Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network. Officials said that while Humayun Niazi and Arshad Choudhry did not have access to nuclear secrets and materials, there was a possibility of them passing along nuclear information especially in “the fabrication of nuclear weapons.”
Egypt Begins Trial of Muslim “Extremists”
The Egyptian government has begun the trial of 94 suspected Muslim extremists. The men are accused of being members of a previously unknown group, Al Waad (“The Promise.”) The case will be heard in a military court; its verdict cannot be appealed. Most of the suspects were arrested last May. The defendants were initially charged with collecting money for the Palestinian uprising and Chechnya, but the charges have now been expanded to include plotting to assassinate Egyptian government officials and sabotage. Most of the defendants are Egyptian, but their numbers include three Dagestanis and one Yemeni.
Pyongyang Continues Proliferation Policy
Despite the war on terror, North Korea continues to deliver missiles to its clients in Asia and the Middle East. A Middle East intelligence site reports that Pyongyang continues to market missiles to countries in Asia and Middle East. It does say that North Korea has cut back on aid to groups deemed as terrorists and state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea is regarded as the leading supplier of missile systems and components to Middle East states. They include Egypt, Iran, Libya and Syria. Pyongyang is said to have been developing a new cruise missile. The missile is also expected to be eventually offered for export and compete with Chinese cruise missiles bought by Iran.
Pakistan Reducing Its Proliferation Activities
Geo-Strategy Direct is reporting that that Pakistan a partner in several Middle East missile programs has significantly reduced its activities. The United States has pledged a huge aid package to Islamabad.
Taliban Forming Suicide Bombing Squads
Taliban militia are forming suicide squads to attack U.S. and British forces, London’s Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reports. The Taliban plan to launch the attacks using booby trapped vehicles and single-engine aerial gliders, the newspaper said, quoting Arab-Afghan sources in Peshawar, Pakistan. The bombers are being formed in fedayeen battalions made up of Islamic extremists trained in the terrorist camps of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden near Jalalabad, Khost and Kandahar. Training of the bombers will be carried out by Palestinian terrorist Abu-Zubaydah, a senior bin Ladin assistant also known as Al Wasit. A second Bin Laden aide, a Moroccan national, also helped in training the suicide bombers.
Bush, Blair At Odds Over Troop Deployments
President Bush is ‘at odds’ with British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the deployment of ground troops in Afghanistan. Blair is reportedly eager to commit large forces to Afghanistan, but Bush is extremely reluctant to do more than deploy special forces to destroy Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leadership. Britain delayed deploying some 2,000 troops that were supposed to have been sent to Afghanistan Nov. 19, after the Northern Alliance said they would not be welcome.