Afghan militants raid Pakistan; dialectic of terror continues

Some 300 militants crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan’s territory and stormed seven security checkpoints along the Durand Line Aug. 27. There were conflicting reports about the casualties suffered by Pakistani security personnel in the coordinated attacks by apparent Taliban militants. Pakistan’s military put the figure at 25, while the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Malakand division, which claimed responsibility for the attack, claimed killing 80 troops and capturing another six. Islamabad said 16 of the dead belonged to the Chitral Scouts, a wing of the paramilitary Frontier Corps. (The News, Pakistan, Aug. 28)

Also Aug. 27, suicide bombers carried out three attacks in Afghanistan’s Helmand and Kandahar provinces in advance of Id al-Fitr, the upcoming festival that celebrates the end of Ramadan. While Afghan security forces were the intended targets, civilians took the biggest toll—at least seven civilians were killed in the attacks, four of them children, and dozens more wounded. At least 17 civilians have been killed in the past three days in attacks across Afghanistan—including five in a NATO airstrike. (NYT, Aug. 28)

US officials say that Atiyah al-Rahman, al-Qaeda‘s second-in-command, was killed last week in Pakistan’s North Waziristan border region. A Libyan national, Rahman took on the number-two position after Ayman al-Zawahiri succeeded Osama bin Laden as the network’s top leader. (NPR, Aug. 27; CNN, Aug. 22)

See our last posts on Pakistan and the drone strikes, and Afghanistan.

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  1. Haqqani network behind Kabul siege?
    The US is blaming the Pakistan-based Haqqani network for for staging the 20-hour siege in Kabul that left at least 16 people dead this week. The siege, which included armed attacks on the US embassy, was launched Sept. 13 and last two dead. Of the 16 dead, five were members of the security forces. The rest were civilians, including six children. (IANS, Sept. 15)

  2. ISI behind Afghan attacks, US charges
    From the Washington Post, Sept. 22:

    The Obama administration for the first time Thursday openly asserted that Pakistan was indirectly responsible for specific attacks against U.S. troops and installations in Afghanistan, calling a leading Afghan insurgent group “a veritable arm” of the Pakistani intelligence service.

    Last week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and a Sept. 10 truck bombing that killed five Afghans and wounded 77 NATO troops were “planned and conducted” by the Pakistan-based Haqqani network “with ISI support,” said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The ISI is the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

    “The government of Pakistan and most especially the Pakistani army and ISI” have chosen “to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy” to maintain leverage over Afghanistan’s future, Mullen testified during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta also testified…

    The administration has said that “credible intelligence” shows that the Sept. 13 embassy attack, the truck bombing in nearby Wardak province and a June 28 attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul were conducted by the group led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, based in the Pakistani tribal region of North Waziristan. U.S. military officials have said that the group, part of a number of Taliban affiliates with havens in Pakistan, poses the greatest threat to American troops in Afghanistan.