By Matthew Fricker, Avery Plaw and Brian Glyn Williams
Widely-cited reports of the inaccuracy and disproportionality of civilian to militant deaths in the CIA’s ongoing Predator drone campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan are grossly misleading. The most detailed database compiled to date, assembled by the authors of this article, indicates (among other important findings) that the strikes have not only been impressively accurate, but have achieved and maintained a greater proportionality than either ground operations in the area or targeting campaigns elsewhere. 
This finding is striking because highly critical reports over the last year, emanating in particular from the Pakistani press, have impugned both the accuracy of the CIA’s drone strikes in the tribal areas of that country and the proportionality of the civilian collateral damage they cause. In April 2009, for example, the Pakistani daily The News published an article by terrorism expert Amir Mir reporting Predator strikes had killed only 14 high value al-Qaeda targets but were responsible for 687 civilian fatalities – a 1:49 ratio of terrorist to civilians (The News [Islamabad], April 10, 2009; see also Terrorism Monitor, February 19). To put it another way, Mir’s report suggested that 98.14% of fatalities associated with the Predator strikes were civilians. On February 1 of this year, Mir added that Continue reading
by NPR Staff
The CIA’s determination to roll back communism during the Cold War inadvertently allowed radical Islamists to gain a foothold in Europe, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Johnson.
A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West details the Nazis’ attempts to create a fifth column within the Soviet empire by becoming allies with Muslim minorities living in the Soviet Union.
“The Soviet Union had oppressed Islam, closed many mosques and mistreated many minorities in the Soviet Union, including Muslims,” Johnson tells host Guy Raz. “After the Germans ended up with literally millions of Red Army POWs in the war, they began to realize that many of these were potential soldiers to fight the Soviet Union.”
One of our friends recently wrote: “Two highly recommended books for those who wish to understand Pakistan: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Castle by Frank Kafka”.
This is not a cynical view of Pakistan. Pakistan is a country that is a conundrum wrapped within a puzzle inside an enigma. As the previous proxy state militia broke into different factions and is now fighting the state, the lines between friends and foes are blurred. ISI that used to formant proxy militias to further its causes in Kashmir and Afghanistan is now itself being attacked by its very own Frankenstein.
The previous masters of the Taliban are now either their prisoners or being killed by them. A case of Khalid Khwaja and Colonel Imam is a sad reflection of the evil of the religious extremism that is consuming itself due to the utter chaos that it represents.
Mr. Khwaja’s life was remarkable in itself for all the intrigues that were associated with him. Not many people have accused General Zia-ul-Haq for not fully implementing the Islamic Sharia in Pakistan. He was one of the accusers, and after promptly being dismissed by the General, Mr. Khwaja went on to play significant roles in assembling alliances against the PPP government of Ms. Benazir Bhutto. Taking on the causes of Jihadis, he managed to appear in the news on and off, even volunteering to take on the case of five Americans who were apprehended in Pakistan while allegedly looking to train for Jihad.
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, North-West Frontier Province, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror
In terms of the drone attacks, the US must not make any distinction between al Qaeda and the Taliban. They both have internalised a global ideology that is anti-civilisation and anti-human
There is news coming up in the media that al Qaeda in Waziristan may run away to Yemen in the face of growing drone attacks. The people of Waziristan have expressed deep concern at this news. They do not want al Qaeda to run away from Waziristan. They want al Qaeda along with the Taliban burnt to ashes on the soil of Waziristan through relentless drone attacks. The drone attacks, they believe, are the one and only ‘cure’ for these anti-civilisation creatures and the US must robustly administer them the ‘cure’ until their existence is annihilated from the world. The people of Waziristan, including tribal leaders, women and religious people, asked me to convey in categorical terms to the US the following in my column. Continue reading
Filed under Al Qaeda, FATA, Islam, Islamism, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Peshawar, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, war, War On Terror
by SETH G. JONES & MARTIN C. LIBICKI, RAND Corporation
This is a summary of the research done for RANK Corporation and documented in How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida, by Seth G. Jones and Martin C. Libicki, MG-741-RC, 2008, 252 pp., $33
All terrorist groups eventually end. But how do they end? Answers to this question have enormous implications for counterterrorism efforts. The evidence since 1968 indicates that most groups have ended because (1) they joined the political process or (2) local police and intelligence agencies arrested or killed key members. Military force has rarely been the primary reason for the end of terrorist groups, and few groups within this time frame achieved victory. This has significant implications for dealing with al Qa’ida and suggests fundamentally rethinking post–September 11 U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Continue reading
By Bilal Qureshi
In an article published in The New Republic, respected American journalist Nicholas Schmidle shares some of his experiences and observations about the over all paranoia and hysteria that has been increasingly visible across Pakistan’s electronic media. Specifically, Mr. Schmidle describes his awkward interaction with Shireen Mazari. Mazari had no information about Mr. Schmidle’s background, but she assumed, incorrectly of course, that Mr. Schmidle is working for C.I.A just because he was an American. This attitude towards foreigners, especially towards Americans is misguided. If everyone visiting Pakistan is working for Blackwater or C.I.A, Islamabad should not allow these people to travel to Pakistan. Otherwise, Pakistan’s public, particularly those who write opinion pieces or appear on Television should not accuse everyone of being a spy because this attitude is alienating friends at an alarming rate.
Filed under Activism, Army, Democracy, Islamabad, journalism, Media, Pakistan, Politics, Terrorism, USA, war, War On Terror
By KATHY GANNON (AP) KANDAHAR: He calls himself a wheeler dealer – an old-style power broker who maneuvers through a murky, dangerous world of intelligence, tribal intrigue and, some critics allege, guns and drugs.
Ahmed Wali Karzai is also a half brother of Afghanistan’s embattled president, whose international partners believe removing him from the country’s political mix is essential if the newly elected administration is to prove its commitment to good governance. Continue reading