Entries Tagged as 'Pakistan'

Wikileaks: Pakistan privately approved drone strikes

The Telegraph
Rob Crilly
December 1, 2013

US special forces fought side by side with Pakistani soldiers and the government in Islamabad privately approved drone strikes while publicly condemning the CIA’s covert raids, according to the Wikileaks diplomatic cables

The revelations of America’s secret war in Pakistan will deeply embarrass President Asif Ali Zardari who has long denied such deep co-operation with Washington for fear it would embolden Islamist opposition to his feeble government.

In public, both sides have described putting American boots on the ground as a red line issue.

However, a cable sent by the then US Ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, states that Pakistan has twice requested American soldiers to embed with its Frontier Corps in North Waziristan and South Waziristan, areas dotted with Taliban and al-Qaeda bases.

On both occasions Pakistan asked for the help of US special forces to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance – including video footage from drones – to its troops. On one mission they helped the Pakistani soldiers target an enemy base with artillery.

“These deployments are highly politically sensitive because of widely-held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil,” she wrote. …

A second cable describes a 2008 meeting with Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistani prime minister, in which he brushes aside concerns about the use of Predator drones against targets in the tribal areas and gives an insight into how he would deny any co-operation.

“I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it” …

Read in full: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/8172922/Wikileaks-Pakistan-privately-approved-drone-strikes.html

US Plans No Charges Over Deadly November Strike in Pakistan

By Eric Schmitt, The New York Times News Service
March 25, 2012

The United States military has decided that no service members will face disciplinary charges for their involvement in a NATO airstrike in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, an accident that plunged relations between the two countries to new depths and has greatly complicated the allied mission in Afghanistan.

An American investigation in December found fault with both American and Pakistani troops for the deadly exchange of fire, but noted that the Pakistanis fired first from two border posts that were not on coalition maps, and that they kept firing even after the Americans tried to warn them that they were shooting at allied troops. Pakistan has rejected these conclusions and ascribed most of the blame to the American forces.

The American findings set up a second inquiry to determine whether any American military personnel should be punished. That recently completed review said no, three senior military officials said, explaining that the Americans fired in self-defense. Other mistakes that contributed to the fatal cross-border strike were the regrettable result of battlefield confusion, they said. …

Read on: http://truth-out.org/news/item/8087-us-plans-no-charges-over-deadly-november-strike-in-pakistan

Pakistan: US Must Vacate Suspected Drone Base

The Huffington Post
By Sebastian Abbot, (AP)

The Pakistani government has demanded the U.S. vacate an air base within 15 days that the CIA is suspected of using for unmanned drones.

The government issued the demand Saturday after NATO helicopters and jet fighters allegedly attacked two Pakistan army posts along the Afghan border, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. …

Read on: www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/26/pakistan-drone-base_n_1114177.html

Pakistan to take up U.S. drone strikes in UN

November 24, 2011

Pakistan has decided to take up the issue of strikes by the CIA-run unmanned aircraft in the country’s tribal regions, which the government, rights groups and tribesmen said killed innocent people, reported local TV channel Dawn on Thursday.

The U.S. drones routinely fire missiles into Pakistani tribal regions which the American officials have claimed to be bases for the militants who launch cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

Pakistan repeatedly asks the Unites States to stop drone strikes but Americans have ruled out any change in the policy. The issue of drone attacks is one of the irritants in the bilateral relationship.

After the U.S. refusal to halt the strikes, Pakistan has decided to approach the UN to seek its help to stop these attacks, which Pakistan insists is counter-productive in the war on terror.

Dawn reported Pakistani government has started collecting data about the U.S. drone attacks and casualties.

The government has directed the administrative officials in the tribal regions to provide details about the strikes to vigorously pursue the case.

Pakistan is discussing its new strategy to be adopted in the UN, the report said.


U.S. Prepared to “Snatch” Pakistani Nukes, Report Claims

Global Security Newswire
August 4, 2011

U.S. military and intelligence operatives are debating, strategizing, gaming and potentially even conducting drills on entering Pakistan and seizing the unstable nation’s nuclear weapons during a crisis, NBC News reported on Wednesday.

Relying on official congressional remarks, military documents and interviews with present and ex-U.S. officials, NBC News said this planning is taking place amid repeated statements by senior U.S. military officials that they have confidence in the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

“It’s safe to assume that planning for the worst-case scenario regarding Pakistan nukes has [already] taken place inside the U.S. government,” ex-White House Deputy Counterterrorism Director Roger Cressey said. “This issue remains one of the highest priorities of the U.S. intelligence community … and the White House.”

The specifics of the planning for any potential “snatch-and-grab” scenario, including if U.S. special forces would try to dismantle or eliminate the weapons, are a tightly held government secret, NBC reported.

A U.S. Congressional Research Service report last month concluded that terrorists would have the best chance of acquiring a Pakistani nuclear weapon following the collapse of the government in Islamabad.

The United States has worried about the security of the South Asian nation’s atomic assets since before the September 11 attacks and has provided advice to Islamabad in the years since on best practices for protecting the arsenal, which is thought to number between 90 and 110 warheads. …

Read on: http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20110804_7784.php

Security of Pakistan nuclear weapons questioned

Associated Press
October 12, 2009

An audacious weekend assault by Islamic militants on Pakistan’s army headquarters is again raising fears of an insurgent attack on the country’s nuclear weapons installation. Pakistan has sought to protect its nuclear weapons from attack by the Taliban or other militants by storing the warheads, detonators and missiles separately in facilities patrolled by elite troops.

Analysts are divided on how secure these weapons are. Some say the weapons are less secure than they were five years ago, and Saturday’s attack would show a “worrisome” overconfidence by the Pakistanis. …

Security at Pakistan’s isolated nuclear installations is believed to be significantly higher than at the army headquarters, which was relatively relaxed by the standards of other nations. Thousands of people and vehicles enter the headquarters compound in Rawalpindi daily, and the 10 attackers, while able to take dozens of hostages Saturday and kill 14 people before a commando raid ended the siege, never penetrated to the heart of the complex. …

No action or decision involving a nuclear weapon can be undertaken by fewer than two persons. But Gregory acknowledged the possibility of collusion between cleared officers and extremists.

The personnel assigned to sensitive nuclear posts go through regular background checks conducted by Pakistan’s intelligence services, according to a 2007 article in the journal Arms Control, co-written by Naeem Salik, a former top official at Pakistan’s National Command Authority, which oversees the nuclear arsenal.

“It is being acknowledged by the world powers that the system has no loopholes,” Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, a military spokesman, said Monday. “The system is foolproof, as good and bad as their own systems.” …