Seven killed in Afghan raid on Karzai attackers

KABUL (AFP) – Afghan security forces raided the Kabul hideout of Taliban militants behind an attack on President Hamid Karzai, sparking a battle that left seven people dead including a woman and child.

Two rebels and three government agents were also among the dead after fierce clashes involving rockets and machine-guns raged for around 10 hours at a “safe house” in the west of the capital, the country’s spy chief Amrullah Saleh said.

The spy chief said they had evidence that the “terrorists” received orders for the attack on Karzai from sources in Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt and were receiving orders from there up to the very last minute.

“There were telephone numbers, exchange of messages and proof that they were receiving orders from across our borders. Whether they were receiving these guidance ordered by government of Pakistan or not, we have no proof,” he said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP that two rebels named Attah Mohammad and Mirwais were killed in the operation, along with Mohammad’s wife and baby daughter.

Security chiefs survive no-trust vote after attack on Karzai  

Below the fold … US Gov’t Report: Losing the WOT

US State Department: Country Reports on Terrorism
Released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism – April 30, 2008


Afghan-Pakistan Border. Despite the efforts of both Afghan and Pakistani security forces, instability along the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier appeared to have provided al-Qa’ida (AQ) leadership greater mobility and ability to conduct training and operational planning, particularly that targeting Western Europe and the United States. Numerous senior AQ operatives have been captured or killed, but AQ leaders continue to plot attacks and to cultivate stronger operational connections that radiate outward from Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.

Pakistan. Portions of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan have become a safe haven for AQ terrorists, Afghan insurgents, and other extremists. AQ uses the FATA to launch attacks in Afghanistan, plan operations worldwide, train, recruit, and provide propaganda. Other extremists, including Taliban and Kashmir-focused organizations such as Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin or Hizb-e-Islami Khalis, use the area for safe haven and share short term goals of eliminating Coalition presence in Afghanistan. They exploit the local sympathetic populations to recruit, train, and conduct cross-border raids and bombings in Afghanistan. Islamist Deobandi groups and many local tribesmen in the FATA continue to resist the government’s efforts to improve governance and administrative control at the expense of longstanding local autonomy.

Extremists led by Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud and other AQ-related extremists re-exerted their hold in areas of South Waziristan and captured over 200 government soldiers, who were later released after a local peace deal collapsed. Extremists have also gained footholds in the settled areas bordering the FATA, including Swat, Tank, and DI Khan. Pakistani security forces continue to fight militant leader Maulana Fazlullah in Swat, a settled area in NWFP. As of December, Pakistan’s military was conducting increased operations in Swat. The Government of Pakistan maintains approximately 120,000 troops, including Army and Frontier Corps (FC) units, along the Afghanistan border. The United States plans to help modernize and increase the capacity of the FC so they can become a more effective force.

In order to increase the central government’s writ in the FATA, the Government of Pakistan is implementing a comprehensive approach with three prongs: political, security, and development. For the political prong, the government seeks to bolster effective governance by empowering local officials. For the security prong, Pakistan’s objective is to increase the capacity and efficacy of local security forces. For the development prong, the Government of Pakistan has designed a comprehensive sustainable development plan for the region. The plan concentrates on four sectors – basic human services, natural resources, communication/ infrastructure, and economic development – and, if fully implemented, would cost $2 billion. The plan was developed with the extensive grassroots participation of all stakeholders to provide essential economic and livelihood opportunities while upgrading and expanding social services to a population at risk for recruitment by terrorist organizations.

Afghanistan. The Afghan government, in concert with ISAF/NATO forces and the international community, continued efforts to bring and build security on the Afghan side of the border. The border areas remained contested, however, with ongoing insurgent and terrorist attacks, including AQ activity. Attacks by the Taliban and other insurgent groups and criminal networks, along with those of extremist movements such as Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) and the Haqqani network, continued throughout Afghanistan. Criminal networks and narcotics cultivation remained particularly prevalent in the south and east of the country, constituting a source of funding for the insurgency in Afghanistan. In 2007, AQ expanded its Afghanistan-based leadership cadre and its support to militants inside the country, providing funding, training, and personnel to facilitate terrorist and insurgent operations. Anti-Coalition organizations such as HIG continued to operate in coordination with AQ, Taliban, and other insurgent groups, primarily in the east.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

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