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    Pakistan madrassa raid 'kills 80'

  • #2
    Ayman al Zawahiri was the target of a Predator missile attack this morning on a religious school in Pakistan, according to Pakistani intelligence sources.

    ABC News has learned the raid was launched after U.S. intelligence received tips and examined Predator reconnaissance indicating that al Qaeda's No. 2 man may have been staying at the school, which is located in the Bajaur region near the village that is thought to be al Qaeda's winter headquarters.

    Despite earlier reports that the missiles had been launched by Pakistani military helicopters, Pakistani intelligence sources now tell ABC News that the missiles were fired from a U.S. Predator drone plane.

    Between two and five senior al Qaeda militants were killed in the attack, including the mastermind of the airliners plot in the U.K., according to Pakistani intelligence sources.

    No word yet on whether or not Zawahiri was killed in the raid, but one Pakistani intelligence source did express doubt that Zawahiri would have been staying in a madrassa, which is an obvious target for strikes against militants. That source, however, did express confidence that Pakistani intelligence is closing in on Zawahiri's location.

    One of the clerics who is believed to have been killed today, Maulana Liaquat, was one of the two main local leaders believed to be protecting Zawahiri.

    Pakistani intelligence sources tell ABC News they believe they have "boxed" Zawahiri in a 40-square-mile area between the Khalozai Valley in Bajaur and the village of Pashat in Kunar, Afghanistan. They hope to capture or kill him in the next few months.

    Zawahiri was target in U.S. attack on religious school in Pakistan

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    • #3
      ISLAMABAD: Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Shaukat Sultan has said that local people and foreigners were among the 80 dead in Bajaur agency operation however no Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants were among the dead.

      Addressing a press conference in ISPR Rawalpindi on Monday, Army spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan further said there were no women and children dead in this operation.

      He said that the operation was carried out in Khar, area of Bajaur at 5:00 am in madrassa. The Army spokesman said Khar is situated 2.5 kilometer north of Afghanistan border.

      "We received confirmed intelligence reports that 80 militants were hiding in a madrassa used as a terrorist-training facility, which was destroyed by an army strike, led by helicopters," Sultan said. He said that the madrassa was run by Moulvi Liaquat Ali.

      Identification of foreigners died in this operation is yet ascertained, he maintained.

      Answering a query, the Army spokesman rejected the allegations of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces and Afghan forces that infiltration was boosted in Afghanistan following tribal peace accord in North Waziristan.

      He said Pakistan is fighting war against terrorism in the best interest of the country adding that Pakistan would not allow any one to use its soil for terrorist activities.

      Responding to another question, DG ISPR added that no Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants were among the dead in this operation.

      He told that Pakistan would continue fight against terrorism and extremism. Whoever will writ the challenge of government will have to face dire consequence, he remarked.

      No Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants among the 80 dead: Sultan

      Comment


      • #4
        The Pakistani military launched its deadliest strike against Islamist militants yesterday, with an attack on a purported terrorist training camp near the Afghan border that killed about 80 people.

        Helicopters fired missiles into a madrasa, or religious school, in Bajaur tribal region just before dawn, flattening the building and widely scattering debris and body parts. "It was being misused for militant activities," said a military spokesman, Maj Gen Shaukat Sultan, who added that up to 100 men, aged between 20 and 30, were inside but no women or children.

        However, angry local villagers said the casualties were not terrorists but innocent children and religious seminarians.

        Wailing men tugged corpses, including that of a seven-year-old boy, from the rubble in Chingai village. Thousands of mourners attended mass burials.

        Several thousand people marched through Bajaur's main town, Khar, chanting: "Death to Musharraf" and "Death to Bush", in a protest against the Pakistan and US leaders. Jamaat Islami, a hardline but influential Islamist party, condemned the attack as "brutal and barbaric".

        Siraj ul-Haq, a minister in the provincial government, resigned in protest. "This is against Islam and the traditions of the area," he said. "This was an unprovoked attack on a madrasa. They were innocent people."

        Among the dead was Maulana Liaqatullah, a radical pro-Taliban cleric with links to the al-Qaida terrorist network, said Gen Sultan, but the raid did not target any prominent al-Qaida figures.

        Instead, it was aimed at recalcitrant militants who had been warned to abandon the madrasa, he said, adding: "They had been involved in activities in Pakistan and probably Afghanistan too."

        Bajaur has come under close scrutiny this year for its links to al-Qaida and Taliban militancy. The rugged district is considered a potential hiding place for al-Qaida's leader, Osama bin Laden, and lies across the border from Kunar, a mountainous Afghan province where United States forces have concentrated their hunt for fugitive terrorists.

        Bajaur is considered the back door to Kunar. There have been several reported sightings of Arab fighters crossing into Pakistan for supplies. They benefit from considerable local sympathy.

        In January a US drone aircraft rocketed a house in a village two miles from yesterday's target, where al-Qaida's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had been expected. That attack missed the Egyptian militant but killed about 18 people.

        Yesterday's strike marks the latest twist in Pakistan's struggle to quell rebellious tribesmen at home and satisfy allies abroad demanding more results in the fight against militant Islamists.

        In September President Pervez Musharraf struck a controversial peace deal with militants in North Waziristan tribal region by agreeing to withdraw his troops to base. The military leader claimed the pact would cut cross-border infiltration into Afghanistan, but critics said it could create a militant safe haven.

        A similar deal was in the offing in Bajaur and was due to be inked with tribal elders yesterday, only hours after the attack. Instead it has been replaced with an outpouring of grief and fury that will make any future compromise difficult.

        Gen Sultan insisted that negotiations would continue. "The prospects for peace are there," he said.

        Tribal fury as Pakistan military kills 80 in religious school

        Comment


        • #5
          Ahmed zaydan , reporter of Al Jazeera , on the spot of Bajour said 84 dead .

          what shocks me is Sky News (now owned by Rupert Murdoch ) gives ONLY the Musharaf version without giving a chance to the OTHER side of the story . that is shocking for a western News channel I USED to trust . what has happened to the News media ??

          Anyway , During his report Families and witnesses said the Cobra Apaches came from the Afgan Side and fired missiles that it was first day of school after Ramadan so quite a few students turned up . some 6 and 7 years old Students among the dead . while Mushraf said from his palace in Karachi everyone was a taliban . 2 teens who had survived were shown on Al Jazeera in Hospital , one was 14 and the other 15 . school books were shown destroyed in the school, the whole school yard was also shown it did not look like any training grounds to al Qaeeda it was empty and bare and just soil and poor classrooms .The army was asked to show any arms it captured , no Comment .
          parents and relatives were crying and distraught , why would they cry for Afghan Taliban if they are crying for their Pakistani relatives.
          most witnesses say it was a US raid , musharaf says (to save face ) it was pakistan who bombed.
          Pakistani Analysts are amazed and shocked pakistan would bomb its own people , it is sovereign on the land so should have encircled the school with hundreds of soldiers , and urged the fighters to surrender or else they would storm the school but not bomb the school from the Sky .. everyone believes Musharaf lied because he denied the US attacking Pakistani targets , yet they did it last time they were after Al zawahiri .

          shame , he is obsessed to kill so many of his people to prove his allegiance to America , I hope the people become brave enough to kick him out in the next elections , if such elections are allowed or simply start an orange revolution like the Ukrainian and the Nepalese people did .
          Friendship

          [60:8] GOD does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriend them and be equitable towards them. GOD loves the equitable.

          [60:9] GOD enjoins you only from befriending those who fight you because of religion, evict you from your homes, and band together with others to banish you. You shall not befriend them. Those who befriend them are the transgressors

          Comment


          • #6
            some people say , it was done on purpose to kill the Peace deal that was going to happen between central governemnt and tribal leaders and people . Both sides were ready to exchange prisoners too and were ready to shake hands and start a real peace deal , America has never approved of such warm relationship as the Tribal leaders are Anti American . so they bombed the place to wave the Peace process bye bye (as usual ) and cause more trouble in the region .
            Friendship

            [60:8] GOD does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriend them and be equitable towards them. GOD loves the equitable.

            [60:9] GOD enjoins you only from befriending those who fight you because of religion, evict you from your homes, and band together with others to banish you. You shall not befriend them. Those who befriend them are the transgressors

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by nesreen
              what shocks me is Sky News (now owned by Rupert Murdoch ) gives ONLY the Musharaf version without giving a chance to the OTHER side of the story . that is shocking for a western News channel I USED to trust . what has happened to the News media ??
              In point of fact, Sky news has always been owned by Rupert Murdoch. So why would you be "shocked" that it reflects that?

              I'm more "shocked" that you ever trusted it at all.



              V

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by nesreen
                shame , he is obsessed to kill so many of his people to prove his allegiance to America , I hope the people become brave enough to kick him out in the next elections , if such elections are allowed or simply start an orange revolution like the Ukrainian and the Nepalese people did .
                The Orange Revolution was just in Ukraine - in Nepal there was a Maoist-led insurrection; not quite the same thing.



                V

                Comment


                • #9
                  Really shame on Musharaf to still claim he has an authority on his country. Whenever he was behind this massacre or he allowed the Americans to bomb his people like that which is the most believable version as it's hard to think that a Pakistani could dare and press the trigger and kill his people like that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    KHAR, Pakistan, Oct. 31 -- More than 15,000 Pakistani tribesmen, many of them carrying rifles and ammunition, protested Tuesday over a Pakistani army helicopter attack on an al-Qaeda-linked religious school near here that killed about 80 suspected radicals.

                    Chants of "Down with America" and "Down with Musharraf," referring to Pakistan's president, rang out as the tribesmen protested in Khar, main town in the Bajaur tribal region close to the Afghan border.

                    "Our jihad will continue and, God willing, people will go to Afghanistan to oust American and British forces," Maulana Faqir Mohammad, a pro-Taliban cleric, told the crowd of turbaned tribal members. Some of them shouldered rocket launchers.

                    The government says the school at Chenagai was being used to train fighters and had been under surveillance since July.

                    Officials said it had been frequented in the past by Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and other al-Qaeda members including Abu Obaida al-Misri, whom security officials have named as the organizer of a plot that was broken up in August to blow up U.S.-bound airliners flying from London.

                    The officials said they did not believe any high-ranking radicals were present at the time of the airstrike. Protesters said the dead, mostly young men ages 15 to 25, were merely students.

                    But Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, speaking at a seminar in the capital, Islamabad, said they were all radicals. "We were working on them for six or seven days; we know who they were. They were doing military training," Musharraf said.

                    Nowhere is Musharraf's alliance with Washington more unpopular than in the Pashtun tribal belt straddling the Pakistani-Afghan border. A mountainous region that is difficult to reach, Bajaur lies across from the eastern Afghan province of Konar, where U.S. troops are hunting al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

                    Thousands of fighters took refuge in the semiautonomous tribal lands after U.S.-backed forces drove them from Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

                    On Tuesday, the tribesmen in Khar showed their loyalty with shouts of "Long Live Osama" and "Long Live Mullah Omar," referring to the Taliban leader Mohammad Omar. Similar protests took place in other parts of North-West Frontier Province

                    A planned visit by Britain's Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, to the province's capital, Peshawar, on Tuesday was canceled because of security concerns.

                    Pakistanis protest attack by own army on school

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by voltaire
                      The Orange Revolution was just in Ukraine - in Nepal there was a Maoist-led insurrection; not quite the same thing.



                      V
                      I did not really mean there was an orange revolution in nepal (never seen orange things in there anyway ) I meant they had the courage to face the bullets and come out like the Ukrainian Did .

                      I would have trusted Sky if they had sent a reporter to the area like Professional Journalism is done, and speak to the locals , and show that on tv , show the School , and how badly affected, speak to the teens lying in hospital give us Musharaf Version of events and Let the viewer decide who is telling the truth . Not just give us Musharaf Version as the ulimate truth .
                      Friendship

                      [60:8] GOD does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriend them and be equitable towards them. GOD loves the equitable.

                      [60:9] GOD enjoins you only from befriending those who fight you because of religion, evict you from your homes, and band together with others to banish you. You shall not befriend them. Those who befriend them are the transgressors

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Syed Saleem Shahzad:

                        KARACHI - Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf wanted to draw a line in the sand in his struggle for the spiritual soul of the country by early next month, ramming through parliament a controversial bill regarding women's rights that is seen as a move to purge Islamic laws from the constitution.

                        Instead, helicopter gunships raining death on a village in the remote Bajour agency tribal area on Monday morning significantly escalated Musharraf's battle with militant Islamic forces fiercely opposed to any softening of the state's Islamic legislation.

                        A pre-dawn attack on a madrassa (Islamic seminary) in a village in the Bajour tribal district in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) claimed the lives of scores of people.

                        Pakistani authorities claimed immediately that the raid was carried out by Pakistani forces. However, Asia Times Online contacts on the spot are convinced that the raid was undertaken by North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces. Recently, Islamabad agreed with NATO that it could conduct operations in Pakistan from across the border in Afghanistan.

                        Monday's attack came two days after thousands of pro-Taliban tribesmen held an anti-US, anti-NATO rally in Damadola in the Bajour area close to the site of a US missile attack that killed several al-Qaeda members and civilians in January.

                        Authorities say information that Taliban or al-Qaeda fugitives were in the region prompted Monday's raid. The border village lies opposite the Afghan province of Kunar and is considered a major corridor for militants to enter Afghanistan. In May, Pakistani authorities said a senior al-Qaeda figure, Abu Marwan al-Suri, had been killed in Bajour during a clash with local police.

                        Just as they are denying NATO involvement in Monday's attack, Pakistani authorities also initially denied the US had carried out the January attack.

                        Soon after Monday's raid, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the chief of the powerful Islamic political party, the Jamaat-i-Islami Pakistan (JI), announced that two leading JI members had resigned their posts - a senior minister in NWFP, Sirajul Haq, and a member of the federal parliament from the Bajour agency, Haroon Rasheed.

                        The JI is a part of the six-party religious alliance the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), which has been at the forefront of agitation against the proposed legislation on women's issues, as well as in opposition in general to Musharraf and his pro-US stance in the "war on terror".

                        Haq was quoted as saying that protests would be staged throughout the northern tribal region on Tuesday.

                        Significantly, Pakistan and Taliban authorities struck a peace deal in Bajour only two days ago and were scheduled to sign a document to that effect on Monday. This lends credence to the possibility that it was NATO and not Pakistani forces that made the raid.

                        Clearly, any peace deal in Bajour is now off the table, and the MMA will seize on the raid to ramp up and expand its campaign against the proposed women's legislation. The MMA has already threatened to resign from the central parliament and all four provincial assemblies, two of which have a controlling MMA presence.

                        Behind this political activism in the garb of religious issues, though, lies the fear that any demonstrations will turn anti-West - and violent. Under cover of violence and chaos, various smaller underground religious groups as well as militants will mobilize for the fulfillment of their agendas.

                        Militants already have immense power in the country and have forced the government to step away from the tribal areas, notably North and South Waziristan, where the Pakistani Taliban have a heavy footprint. The same was to happen in Bajour agency.

                        Bajour is home of the powerful Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Mohammedi, which was the group responsible which gathering more than 10,000 Pakistani youths to go to Afghanistan before the US invasion of 2001.

                        Bajour is also the strategic back yard of the Hezb-i-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, which is active in the Afghan insurgency. Many prominent al-Qaeda leaders use the area while in transit in the Nooristan-Kunar Valley.

                        With the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, pockets of jihadi groups have sprung up in Pakistani cities and villages, and to them the symbol of hatred is Musharraf.

                        After the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001, Musharraf came up with a guarded approach to handle jihadis. He held many secret meetings with their leaders at which he expressed his resolve in the cause of Islam, as well as in jihad.

                        He tried to convince the jihadist leadership that Pakistan's decision to ditch the Taliban was made under duress from the US and that as soon as Pakistan could it would resume its support of the Islamic forces in Afghanistan.

                        Nevertheless, the bridge continued to widen between the jihadis and Musharraf, to a point where Musharraf was repeatedly a target for assassination by jihadist groups allied with disaffected military officers.

                        Pakistani military operations in Waziristan further alienated the jihadist outfits from Musharraf, even as his dependence on the US grew. Recent Pentagon documents indicate that disbursements to Islamabad amounted to about US$3.6 billion for operations from January 2002 through August 2005, an amount roughly equal to one-quarter of Pakistan's total military expenditure during that period. At the same time, as the Taliban revival in Afghanistan continues, the United States' dependency on Musharraf has grown.

                        Musharraf appears to forget that Pakistan is still a traditional society in which the majority of the people live in a tribal setup. Traditions are generally the final word, and the true literacy rate (which only means capability to read Urdu-language newspapers) is hardly 25%.

                        In such an environment there is a blind following in religious issues, as in the case of the Women's Protection Bill, which all traditional clerics from north to south and from east to west are unanimous in rejecting.

                        Military dictatorships, as is Musharraf's, tend to care more their constituency (the armed forces) than the masses. Yet any development that is perceived as an intervention against religion will have a serious impact, as Islam is specifically the soul of the Pakistani army, thanks to the rule of the late dictator General Zia ul-Haq and his Islamification program.

                        Monday's bombing in Bajour brings Musharraf's showdown, and the line in the sand, with Islamic forces just that little bit closer.

                        Another deadly blow for Pakistan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Pro-Taliban tribesmen on Tuesday threatened the Pakistani government of suicide attacks on Pakistani forces and pledged to execute anyone found spying for the US military. The tribesmen were protesting against the Pakistani air raid on an Islamic school known as a madrassa on Monday. About 80 people were killed in the Pakistani air raid. Locals say that the dead were teachers and students of the school and not Taliban militants as claimed by the Pakistani government. The protest rally held at Khar, the main town in the tribal Bajur district and close to the village where Monday's missile attack on the madrassa took place, attracted about 20,000 people. Addressing the rally, Inayatur Rahman, a local pro-Taliban elder, said that suicide attacks will soon be carried out against the Pakistani forces. The rally also adopted a verbal resolution to stone to death anyone found spying for the Pakistan army or U.S. government. The crowd welcomed the verbal resolutions and chanted slogans against Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and US President George Bush.

                          Pakistani government says that Monday's attack on the madrassa was targeted at militants who were known to frequent the religious school. Pakistani military alleged that the madrassa had been frequented in the past by al-Qaida's No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, and an Egyptian terrorist, Abu Ubaidah, who was behind August's foiled terror plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners. A Pakistani military spokesman said that the air attack on the madrassa was carried out by Pakistani helicopter gunships. He also added that American forces did not take part in Monday's attack. But the local tribesmen believe otherwise. They blame the US for Monday's attack on the madrassa.

                          Taliban threatens Pakistan with suicide attacks

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Reporters Without Borders today criticised the Pakistani army for barring journalists from entering the district of Bajaur, in the Tribal Areas north of Peshawar, where about 80 people were reportedly killed in an army air strike yesterday on a madrassa run by a pro-Taliban cleric.

                            The area is now effectively closed to the press and, under pressure from local authorities only journalists from the Tribal Areas are tolerated.

                            “It is regrettable that the press has again been banned from covering a controversial military operation,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This lack of transparency is arousing suspicion about the facts of this air strike, which is threatening the fragile peace in the Tribal Areas. We are reminded of the government’s continuing refusal to shed light on the kidnapping and murder of reporter Hayatullah Khan after he investigated an air strike in the area.”

                            Two Peshawar-based journalists, Haroon Rashid of the BBC World Service’s Urdu-language service, and Mehmood Jan Babar of the Pakistan’s AVT Khyber TV, were denied access to Bajaur yesterday. Soldiers are checking each vehicle entering the area and have been given strict orders not to let any journalist go to Khar, the capital of Bajaur, or to the site of the air strike. “You are not welcome... We have orders to turn back all journalists,” the two reporters were told. A third Peshawar-based journalist was denied access to the district.

                            Earlier this year, the authorities arrested journalists heading to Khar with the aim of covering an air strike on the village of Damadola that reportedly left 13 dead.

                            Journalists barred from entered Bajaur district to cover controversial air strike

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Al-khiyal
                              Reporters Without Borders today criticised the Pakistani army for barring journalists from entering the district of Bajaur, in the Tribal Areas north of Peshawar,
                              why ? let the reporters without borders show us those arms captured with the bodies (instead of books ) shame on Musharaf the US stooge Par excellence.
                              Friendship

                              [60:8] GOD does not enjoin you from befriending those who do not fight you because of religion, and do not evict you from your homes. You may befriend them and be equitable towards them. GOD loves the equitable.

                              [60:9] GOD enjoins you only from befriending those who fight you because of religion, evict you from your homes, and band together with others to banish you. You shall not befriend them. Those who befriend them are the transgressors

                              Comment

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