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Old 10-29-2009, 08:54 PM   #1
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Arrow Clinton irked by al-Qaeda 'haven'

Clinton irked by al-Qaeda 'haven'


BBC News
Thursday, 29 October 2009


US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has questioned Pakistan's failure to capture senior al-Qaeda leaders.

Mrs Clinton said in an interview with journalists in Lahore she found it "hard to believe" nobody in the government knew where they were.

She also challenged opposition to a US aid package, criticising Pakistan's investment levels and taxation system.

Mrs Clinton will now head to the Middle East to try to kick-start the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

Lively discussion

Mrs Clinton has been in Pakistan for two days trying to strengthen ties with the government, shore up the fight against militants and tackle rising anti-US feelings among the Pakistani people.

In the interview with the journalists she was asked why Pakistan was seen as the centre of terrorism and why other nations could not do more in the fight against it.

Mrs Clinton said: "The world has an interest in seeing the capture and killing of the people who are the masterminds of this terrorist syndicate. As far as we know, they are in Pakistan."

She said: "Al-Qaeda has had safe haven in Pakistan since 2002... I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really wanted to.

"Maybe that's the case; maybe they're not gettable. I don't know."

US Ambassador Anne Patterson said Mrs Clinton's remarks were similar to what the administration of President Barack Obama had told Pakistani officials privately.

"We often say, 'yes, there needs to be more focus on finding these leaders'," Ms Patterson said.

Mrs Clinton also bridled at criticism of a key US aid package for Pakistan.

Earlier this month, President Obama signed into law a $7.5bn package, tripling non-military US aid to an annual outlay of $1.5bn for five years.

"At the risk of sounding undiplomatic, Pakistan has to have internal investment in your public services and your business opportunities.

"The percentage of taxes on GDP is among the lowest in the world... We (the US) tax everything that moves and doesn't move, and that's not what we see in Pakistan.

"You do have 180 million people. Your population is projected to be about 300 million. And I don't know what you're gonna do with that kind of challenge, unless you start planning right now."

Mrs Clinton had earlier held a lively discussion with about 200 university students in Lahore.

She acknowledged there was what she called a trust deficit towards the United States in Pakistan because of past policies.

But she said she was working to change that by reaching out to ordinary Pakistanis.

Richard Holbrooke, US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Mrs Clinton was to meet Pakistani army chief, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani late on Thursday for a report on the anti-militant operation in South Waziristan.

Mrs Clinton's arrival was overshadowed by a massive car bombing in the north-western city of Peshawar that killed at least 91 people and injured scores more.

On Wednesday she said the attack had been "vicious and brutal", and that the US was "standing shoulder to shoulder" with Pakistan in its fight against the militants.

Mrs Clinton is due in the Middle East at the weekend to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
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Old 10-29-2009, 08:58 PM   #2
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Arrow

Pakistan Army picks up trail of al-Qaeda operative wanted for 9/11


Zahid Hussain in Shawangai
The Times of London
October 30, 2009


Pakistani troops fighting Islamist militants in the mountains of South Waziristan have picked up the trail of a leading al-Qaeda figure wanted in connection with the attacks on America on September 11, 2001.

The Times was shown yesterday the German passport of Said Bahaji, a close associate of the September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta. The army said that it found the passport and other documents in a mud compound in the village of Shawangai.

The documents, which show that Bahaji, 34, has been in Pakistan since early September 2001, appear to provide the strongest evidence yet of a direct link between Pakistani militants and al-Qaeda’s high command.

The army said that the village, captured this week in the latest effort to drive out militants who have been extending their operations ever closer to the capital, Islamabad, served as al-Qaeda’s command base. The Times saw documents showing the recent presence of other European citizens.

The battle for Shawangai lasted several days. “They were ferocious fighters and we had to battle hard to capture the village,” Lieutenant-Colonel Inam Rashid, the commanding officer who led the assault, said. His men had killed some of the militants but many others had escaped. Bahaji’s fate was unknown.

Another officer said: “We do not know whether he was killed or fled.”

Bahaji, a German citizen born to a Moroccan father and German mother, briefly served with the German Army before coming into contact with al-Qaeda. He was part of the Hamburg cell, sharing an apartment in 2001 with Mohammed Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

The passport showed that Bahaji arrived in Karachi on September 4, 2001. A senior Pakistani investigator said that he was accompanied by Abdullah Husayni, a Belgian, and Ammar Moula, an Algerian with a French passport. Both were closely linked with al-Qaeda.

There was no indication that Bahaji ever left Pakistan. Pakistani investigators said that he stayed in Karachi in a hotel for several days where he was in contact with al-Qaeda members. He is believed to have moved to South Waziristan in 2002. The militants have been gathering strength in the region ever since.

Yesterday the mountains around Shawangai echoed to the sound of artillery fire as the army laid siege to the town of Kaniguram about 12 miles away. “It is going to be a tough fight but we will drive them out in the next few days,” Brigadier Ihsan Ullah said.

Kaniguram, with a population of 90,000 before the offensive, is considered a significant militant fortress. It sits at the centre of a network of roads leading to far-flung corners of the tribal region. Almost the entire population has fled. The town is under the control of the hardline Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, whose leader, Tahir Yuldashev, was killed in a US drone attack last month.

Officers said that about 1,500 Uzbek fighters were entrenched in Kaniguram. “They would fight to the death,” Major-General Khalid Rabbani, the regional commander, said.

The capture of the town could clear the way for troops to advance towards Saragoha, another key militant base.

More than 30,000 Pakistani forces backed by F16 jets launched an offensive this month to flush out al-Qaeda and Taleban militants from their stronghold in South Waziristan after a series of terrorist attacks across the country.

The government troops have made significant advances, capturing key areas such as Kotkai, the home town of Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taleban movement.

This is the army’s third campaign in South Waziristan. The last two in 2004 and 2007 ended in failure, forcing the authorities to sign a peace deal with the militants that analysts say turned the area into an al-Qaeda and Taleban base.

Officers have vowed that this time they will not stop until the region is cleared of the militants.

The fighting has forced about 200,000 people from the battle zone, creating a humanitarian crisis as civilians try to escape before the harsh winter. A US-based rights group warned of a “catastrophe” if aid was not allowed in to help civilians trapped in the area.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement yesterday that the Pakistani authorities should ensure that civilians who could not escape the fighting had access to basic necessities.
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:09 PM   #3
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Maybe that's the case; maybe they're not gettable. I don't know."
The hardened men of Al Queda and Pakistan probably laughed for 6 hours after hearing the US school mom's little fit.
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Old 10-30-2009, 03:10 PM   #4
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Clinton's Tough Talk in Pakistan Drives Home Message: It's Not a One-Way Street


The secretary of state's blunt remarks, foreign policy experts say, give Pakistan's leadership
a much-needed dose of reality: their relationship with the United States is not a one-way street.


Cristina Corbin
Fox News
October 30, 2009


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took off the gloves and delivered a no-holds-barred message to Pakistan this week, telling the American ally that it must step up its efforts to apprehend Al Qaeda terrorists and demonstrate a real commitment to democracy.

The secretary's blunt remarks, foreign policy experts say, give Pakistan's leaders a much-needed dose of reality: their relationship with the United States is not a one-way street.

America's top diplomat struck an unusually frank tone when she said Pakistan has squandered opportunities to kill or capture Al Qaeda leaders -- including Usama Bin Laden.

"I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really wanted to," she told a group of Pakistani journalists in Lahore as she wrapped up her three-day visit to Pakistan. "Maybe that's the case. Maybe they're not gettable. I don't know."

During her trip, Clinton reaffirmed America's pledge to provide $7.5 billion in non-military aid to the troubled nation over the next five years. But she made clear that it will not be a handout.

Clinton said the U.S. wants to partner with Pakistan on more than just the military front, but she made clear that the government in Islamabad will have to be America's partner in tracking down and capturing the terrorists who masterminded the September 11 attacks, among so many others throughout the world.

Clinton defended the bluntness of her remarks in an interview Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America, saying, "Trust is a two-way street. There is trust deficit."

"It will not be sufficient to achieve the level of security that Pakistanis deserve if we don't go after those who are still threatening not only Pakistan, but Afghanistan, and the rest of the world."

Foreign policy analysts said Clinton's words were necessary to convey a tough and clear message, but that the impact on the Pakistanis remains to be seen.

"This is going to bring some realism to the relationship," said Ashley Tellis, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, adding that Clinton's comments are a "useful corrective to the Pakistan overdependency that's at risk of developing."

Tellis said he believes Pakistan knows the whereabouts of Afghan Taliban leaders, and he said the country likely has intelligence on where some Al Qaeda members are hiding.

"They're not pursuing them aggressively enough because they fear that if they apprehend them quickly, they will not remain a target of American interest and partnership," he said.

Clinton's transparent message -- said at the highest level of government -- made clear that the U.S. will accept nothing less than a two-way dialogue, Tellis said.

But others, like Rick "Ozzie" Nelson, a senior fellow at the International Security Program in Washington, say Clinton went too far in suggesting Pakistan is deliberately dodging attempts to locate Al Qaeda.

"To say categorically that Pakistan knows where Al Qaeda leaders are but doesn't want to get them is a little bit of a stretch," Nelson told FoxNews.com, saying Clinton's frustration is understandable, but that the situation is "not as black and white as her comments may indicate."

"If we want them to help us with our security concerns, we have to be willing to help them with their national security concerns," Nelson said.
_____

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
__________________
* I have the right to live, thus I have the right to defend my life from attackers who would take it from me.
* I have the right to my private property, thus I have the right to defend my property from thieves who would take it from me.
* I have the right to self-determination, thus I have the right to defend my liberty from tyrants who would take it from me.
* The only usable tools for these tasks are guns, and thus I have the right to shoot anyone who would take my guns from me.
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