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Pakistan madrassa raid 'kills 80'

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  • #16
    Threats of bloody retribution and accusations of American involvement erupted across Pakistan's tribal areas yesterday after the missile strike that killed 80 people in a radical madrassa.

    An estimated 20,000 tribesmen crowded into Khar, six miles from the school that was shredded by air strikes on Monday. Cries of "Down with America" rang out as radical clerics addressed the turbaned protesters, many of whom brandished Kalashnikovs or rocket launchers.

    "Our jihad will continue, God willing," thundered Maulana Faqir Muhammad, a firebrand preacher with links to al-Qaida. "And our people will go to Afghanistan to oust American and British forces."

    Inayat ur Rehman claimed to have a "squad of suicide bombers" waiting to kill Pakistani soldiers, imitating Iraqi attacks on Americans. When he asked if the crowd would support the measure, the tribesmen replied with a unison "Yes".

    The protesters claimed that Monday's strike in Chingai village had killed innocent religious students, not international terrorists. But the Pakistani government insisted the school was a front for an al Qaida meeting facility.

    One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the madrassa had frequently been visited by Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and by Abu Ubaidah al-Masri, an Egyptian militant who is suspected to have masterminded last summer's alleged plot to bomb trans-Atlantic airliners.

    But he said neither was at the madrassa at the time of Monday's attack, Associated Press reported.

    The Khar rally was the largest of several across North West Frontier, Sindh and Punjab provinces, where American flags and effigies of George Bush were burned.

    Samina Ahmed of the Crisis Group thinktank said the strike was counterproductive and would spell "big trouble" for Pakistan and the US. "An attack on a madrassa in which 80-something people are killed is great propaganda for the Taliban," she said. "This will inflame opinion among Pashtuns on both sides of the border and boost recruitment."

    Tensions were increased by widespread suspicions of US involvement in the attack. Last January, a pilotless Predator drone struck at a house just two miles from the Bajaur madrasa, killing 18 people but missing its target, al Zawahiri.

    America's role in the latest strike is unclear. President Pervez insisted that his solders were solely responsible, an assertion supported by the US military in Afghanistan. "I can assure you without doubt that [we] had nothing to do with that attack," said spokesman Colonel Tom Collins.

    Pakistan's chief military spokesman, Major General Shaukat Sultan, said the US provided intelligence that led to the strike - a statement he later tried to withdraw. But he refused to deny US involvement.

    "Intelligence comes from 101 different sources - media reports, satellite photos, agents, many sources. I can't pinpoint a source on this particular operation," he told the Guardian.

    Doubts over the official explanation were fuelled by measures limiting media access to the site of the attack. Soldiers prevented local journalists from reaching Bajaur, while foreign correspondents were barred from the tribal areas. The timing of the attack also roused suspicions. Just days earlier, President Musharraf's officials were talking peace with the Bajaur militants and had freed several prominent fighters as a gesture of goodwill. The two sides were due to sign a deal yesterday.

    Instead, the military bombed the school and killed Maulana Liaqatullah, one of the radical clerics with whom the government had been negotiating, and badly inflamed anti-government hostility across the province. Islamist clerics and politicians said they were convinced America had spurred the attack.

    Sahibzada Haroon, an MP for the Jamaat Islami party, who lives nearby, said he heard two large explosions "so powerful they shook the earth and rattled our doors and windows" early Monday morning. Fifteen minutes later Pakistani army helicopters arrived, fired a handful of rockets and left.

    "Those were small thuds - nothing in comparison to the big explosions that preceded them minutes earlier," Mr Haroon told Dawn newspaper. "I have no doubt in my mind that it was done by the Americans and we are now making a futile attempt to cover it up."

    Lying in a hospital bed in nearby Peshawar, Abu Bakar, one of just three seminarians to survive the strike, insisted the madrassa was engaged in education and not terrorism. "We had come to learn Allah's religion," said the 22-year-old, whose legs were broken by falling rubble.

    Human Rights Watch said the strike raised questions about Pakistan's "persistent use of excessive and disproportionate force in pursuing counter-terror operations".

    Ms Ahmed predicted that the strike would spell further upheaval in the tribal areas. "This doesn't help anybody's cause except the Taliban's," she said.

    Growing anger as U.S. accused of being behind madrassa attacks


    • #17
      Originally posted by Al-khiyal
      1- Who are these Armed persons hiding there faces?
      2- Didnt the Madrassa was lready closed a year ago?
      3- By commiting this act Probably musharaf just sign his death.
      A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
      By: George Bernard Shaw


      • #18
        Thousands of Pakistani tribesmen have pledged vengeance for an army air strike on a religious school that killed about 80 suspected militants four days earlier.

        On Friday, effigies of George Bush, the US president, and Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's president, were paraded on mules through Khar, the main town in the Bajur tribal region bordering Afghanistan, and beaten with sticks and shoes before being burnt.

        About 10,000 tribalmen gathered in Khar, just 10km from the destroyed religious study centre, called Zia-ul-Koran (Light of the Quran), run by a pro-Taliban leader at the village of Chingai.

        Demonstrations were expected elsewhere in the region and North West Frontier province, while Islamist parties sympathetic to the Taliban had planned protests in Islamabad after Friday prayers.

        A mountainous region that is difficult to access, Bajur lies across from the eastern Afghan province of Kunar, where US troops are battling al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

        Along with the two semi-autonomous provinces North and South Waziristan, Bajur is regarded as a focus for support for Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban leader, and Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda.

        Cleric beheaded

        In another incident, a tribal cleric accused of being a US spy in the Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan has been found beheaded, a security official in the tribal region said.

        The body of Maulana Salahuddin, 45, was found on Friday on a road between North and South Waziristan. A note pinned to his body described him as an American spy, a security official said. The body was sprayed with bullets after the beheading, he said.

        Meanwhile, in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, a blast in the Continental Hotel slightly injured at least two people on Friday, police said.

        The cause of the blast at the hotel was unknown, police said.

        The hotel stands close to offices of the military spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Police said the blast occurred in a room, injuring the occupants. A bomb disposal squad was investigating the scene.

        Musharraf says all those killed in the Bajur air strike were militants, and the Pakistan military has released video footage shot from a surveillance aircraft showing rows of men doing physical exercises an hour before the attack.

        Protesters said the dead, mostly young men aged between 15 and 25, were students.

        Islamist leaders and tribesmen say the strike was carried out by a US Predator drone aircraft flying from across the border in Afghanistan.

        The allegation has been denied by both Pakistan and the US.

        A CIA-operated drone aircraft carried out an attack last January in Bajur that killed about 18 people.

        Some al-Qaeda operatives were believed to have been killed in that attack, but the main target, al-Qaeda's deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, was not there.

        Al-Zawahiri had also visited the madrasa at Chingai in the past, but not recently, and no senior militant figures were killed in the air strike, Pakistani security officials said.

        But they believed the young men at the school were being trained as suicide bombers to carry out attacks on Nato, US and Afghan forces across the border.

        Pakistan tribesmen vow raid revenge


        • #19
          Monday's aerial attack on a seminary in Pakistan's tribal area of Bajaur that killed 80 people has again triggered a debate about who is actually carrying out such attacks:

          The U.S. role against militants in Pakistan


          • #20
            he facts about the air strike on 30 October that killed 83 teachers and students of Madrasa Zia ul Uloom are not in doubt. The President and Army Chief – General Pervez Musharraf - gave the details in front of TV cameras himself. He said: 1) he authorised the air assault, 2) the site was a militant camp, 3) it was, therefore, a legitimate target. The first point is not in doubt; it is he and he alone who could have authorised the air raid inside Pakistan territory whether from a US weapon platform or a Pakistani helicopter. However, the other two points are controversial. The pictures shown on TV of the ‘militant camp’ were of boys engaged in morning PT (physical training) like in every other boy’s school in the country. Even if this particular PT had a more sinister purpose or effect, it was still not a crime. Even if a crime was committed (for which no evidence has been shown on TV or provided by official spokesmen), was an air raid the right response or reaction? If it was not, the person who authorised the raid committed the crime of ‘murder’ of 83 persons.

            Pakistan’s history is rich in precedents of Prime Ministers being punished severely for ‘unlawful orders’. Late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was accused of having given an ‘unlawful order’ to the head of Federal Police (FSF) to ‘eliminate’ one of his political opponents. The target of the assassination attempt survived but his father got killed. The High Court of Pakistan convicted him of ‘murder’ and Mr Bhutto was hanged along with three others in the chain of command to the person who actually pulled the trigger. That it was not a lawful command that the Police did not have to obey was not accepted as legitimate defence.

            Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not follow ‘due process’ to dismiss General Pervez Musharraf as COAS; the Defence Secretary refused to sign the dismissal order for that reason; the PM went ahead to appoint his replacement in front of TV cameras at the TV Station; ordered that the aircraft in which the dismissed COAS was returning from Sri Lanka be denied permission to land. His violation of ‘due process’ and giving ‘unlawful commands’ was deemed to be legitimate reason for the Prime Minister to be removed from office by the military, arrested, put on trial, convicted and sentenced to five years RI.

            The air strike on the Madrasa that killed 83 persons, who were not posing an imminent threat to the lives of soldiers - American or Pakistani – who had not been warned, charged or tried for a crime - is ‘unlawful killing’. It constitutes a crime of ‘terrorism’ as well as ‘murder’. Since the commander responsible for authorising this unlawful killing is known, he should be immediately arrested, charged for ‘murder’ and brought to trial for it. That is the requirement of law. The Army acted with alacrity when faced with the same situation when Nawaz Sharif was running riot giving unlawful orders in October 1999. That the accused now is its own Chief makes it all the more important that he is arrested by the Army. As for paying compensation, it should be paid by the US at the same rate as the victims of ‘Lockerbie’ bomb.

            Time for Pakistan army to arrest its chief


            • #21
              Originally posted by Al-khiyal
              ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed 42 Pakistani soldiers at an army training ground on Wednesday in an attack the military said was linked to a bloody army assault on a militant camp last week.

              The blast, the most serious militant attack on the Pakistani military since it joined the US-led war on terrorism, took place in the town of Dargai, in North West Frontier Province.

              It came nine days after security forces attacked a madrasa, or religious school, in a nearby tribal area, killing 80 people, the biggest number of suspected militants killed in an assault.

              "The bomber wrapped a chadar (cloak) around his body and came running into the training area and exploded himself where recruits had gathered for training," a military official said.

              The death toll rose to 42 after several wounded men died, said military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan.

              Pakistan, a major US ally, has been battling militants in its northwest over the past few years. Hundreds of militants and members of the security forces have been killed.

              A prominent journalist in the area, Rahimullah Yusufzai, said he got a call from a man saying "Pakistani Taliban" carried out the attack in revenge for the October 30 raid on the madrasa.

              The caller did not identify himself but said the bomber had taped a statement that would soon be released, Yusufzai said.

              Dargai, 130 km (85 miles) northwest of the capital Islamabad, is a stronghold of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad's Sharia Law) militant group.

              The group, which backs Afghanistan's Taliban, was banned by the government in 2002.

              Last week, security forces attacked the group's school in the Bajaur tribal area about 40 km (30 miles) to the northwest of Dargai, near the Afghan border.

              About 80 suspected militants were killed, authorities said. The group denied that militants were being trained at the school. Its supporters and local politicians said the attack was carried out by US forces. The United States and Pakistan denied that.

              Military spokesman Sultan said the suicide blast was linked to the attack on the madrasa in Bajaur.

              "We can trace back the linkage with Bajaur. We have been receiving intelligence reports about militants being trained for such activities," he said.

              "Maulana Faqir has been clearly assisting them and recruiting them for terrorist activities," he said, referring to the group's fugitive leader, Faqir Mohammad.

              The group launched a campaign in the 1990s to enforce Taliban-style rules in the area and sent thousands of tribesmen to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban following the US-led invasion in 2001.

              The army recruits had gathered to rest after finishing a training session when the bomber struck, a resident said.

              The training ground was littered with body parts, military caps and shoes, witnesses said. Soldiers were later seen picking up pieces of flesh and filling in a crater left by the blast.

              President Pervez Musharraf told a meeting of ministers and various members of parliament extremism and terrorism were critical problems and his government was determined to eliminate them, the Information Ministry said.

              "We have to deal with it very forcefully," the ministry quoted Musharraf as saying.

              Suicide bomber kills 42 soldiers in Pakistan


              • #22
                3 young Pakistani survivors have been moved from the hospital where they were , to a secret location . are they safe ? they are witnesses to the Horrible attack by the US Cobras .

                The Daily Mail - Daily News from Pakistan - Newspaper from Pakistan

                [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


                • #23
                  Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in an army camp, which killed some 40 recruit soldiers, a regional TV channel reported.

                  A caller, who identified himself as Abu Kaleem Ahmed Ansari and a spokesman for local Taliban, phoned journalists in Peshawar and said local Taliban men carried out the attack, Pashto language TV Khyber reported .

                  On the other hand President General Pervez Musharraf condemned the attack and ordered intelligence agencies to immediately initiate inquiry and to apprehend the masterminds.

                  Ansari did not name the suicide bomber but said he was a Pashtoon and belongs to North West Frontier Province.

                  He said the attack was a revenge of the air strike on a religious school in the tribal region, which had killed 80 people.

                  The purported spokesman said that the bomber had recorded a statement before the attack which will also be released.

                  The name of Abu Kaleem Ahmed Ansari has been heard for the first time.

                  President Musharraf told a meeting of parliamentarians that extremists have targeted innocent recruit soldiers and that the culprits would never escape severe punishment.

                  Terrorists have challenged the writ of the government by targeting soldiers, General Musharraf said.

                  Pakistani Taliban claim responsibility as Musharraf condemns suicide attack


                  • #24
                    'All those killed in the October 30th airstrike were students, aged 9 to 18'

                    Islamabad - A legal panel in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province has ruled out any militant link to a religious school that was bombed last month, leaving 82 people dead, media reports said Tuesday.

                    The Peshawar High Court Bar Association's commission investigating the airstrike in the Bajaur area said in a report that no foreign elements were enrolled in the madrassa located in the remote tribal region bordering Afghanistan, according to the Daily Times newspaper.

                    All those killed in the October 30 airstrike were students, aged 9 to 18, it said, contrary to government claims that the school was a training centre for Islamic militants and that all the casualties were adults being prepared to carry out terrorist attacks.

                    While the Pakistani government took responsibility for the bombing, the commission said the airstrike came from Afghan territory where US-led coalition troops are fighting Taliban forces.

                    American aircraft were "heard flying in the area" on the day of the attack, the report added, citing witnesses.

                    The commission also said no arms or ammunition was recovered from the bombed school that would indicate any militant training.

                    The incident triggered a wave of anger among Pakistan's tribal regions against the central government, which was accused of killing innocent people in its support of the US-led war on terrorism.

                    After the Bajaur strike, 42 Pakistan Army recruits died in a November 8 suicide bombing at a camp in Dargai, also in North-West Frontier Province, located north-east of the provincial capital, Peshawar. Analysts saw the attack as retaliation for the Bajaur strike, but government authorities said it was too early to establish such a link.

                    Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a strong ally of the United States, reiterated that action against terrorists would continue and the government would rein in extremist forces in the country.

                    No militants killed in Pakistan madrassa attack, commission says


                    • #25
                      The bombing of a Pakistani madrasah last month, in which 82 students were killed, was carried out by the United States, a Pakistani official has admitted.

                      The madrasah in the tribal agency of Bajaur was bombed during a visit to Pakistan by the Prince of Wales amid allegations that it was being used to train suicide bombers.

                      “We thought it would be less damaging if we said we did it rather than the US,” said a key aide to President Pervez Musharraf. “But there was a lot of collateral damage and we’ve requested the Americans not to do it again.”

                      The Americans are believed to have attacked after a tip-off that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda, was present. Local people claimed the victims included boys as young as 12 and that the tribal area had been negotiating with the Pakistan government for a peace deal.

                      Pakistani officials insist they were shown satellite images of people training and have checked the identity cards of all those killed, and that all were adults.

                      U.S. carried out madrasah bombing


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