Entries in Taliban (164)


American Citizen Among Those Killed in Pakistan Attack

George Doyle/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- An American citizen was one of 11 people killed in an attack in northern Pakistan on Sunday.

Authorities say Islamist militants wearing police uniforms opened fire on a base camp at Nanga Parbat, the ninth-highest peak in the world.

According to BBC News, the attack killed at least nine foreign tourists. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming it was in response to the killing of its second-in-command, Waliur Rehman, in a drone strike in May.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Taliban Denies Responsibility for Attack on Red Cross

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Just days after an attack on the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Taliban denied responsibility for the suicide bombing on Friday.

The Red Cross, which is one of the largest and most effective non-government organizations in Afghanistan, had been considered "off-limits." Because the Red Cross treats Taliban and civilian injuries alike, the Taliban says that their fighters were under orders not to attack Red Cross workers, says the New York Times.

The Taliban made a public statement last year praising the work done by the Red Cross, have instructed their fighters to allow Red Cross vehicles free passage in Taliban territory and have even given escorts to Red Cross workers in Taliban-controlled areas.

According to the New York Times, a Taliban spokesperson said that his organization “wants to clarify to everyone that it was neither behind the May 29th attack on the I.C.R.C. office in Jalalabad city nor does it support such attacks.”

It is not common to see the Taliban deny responsibility for an attack in this way, which raises additional questions. Not the least of those questions is who, if not the Taliban, was behind last week's attack and why they have not claimed responsibility.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Taliban Issues New Death Threat on Musharraf

Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has enough on his mind without having to worry about a fresh round of death threats.

Musharraf is currently under house arrest on charges stemming from abuse of power while he was the country's leader before going into exile in 2009.

Now, the Pakistani Taliban is again vowing to kill Musharraf as it did before he returned to his native land last March for what turned out to be a failed political comeback.

In a video released over the weekend, a Taliban spokesman said, "Soon we will punish this Satan to death for his wicked deeds...From Balochistan to Waziristan, Musharraf engulfed this country in blood and fire. He is the killer of hundreds of innocent students of Lal Masjid."

Musharraf, who escaped numerous assassination attempts while president, ordered a 2007 operation to ferret out extremists hiding in the Lal Masjid mosque in Islamabad, which ultimately led to more than 100 deaths.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Taliban Gearing Up for Spring Offensive

iStockphoto(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- With the weather in Afghanistan warming up and the United States on the verge of withdrawing from the region, experts are expecting the Taliban’s familiar spring offensive to be more pronounced this year.

This year marks a real test for Hamid Karzai’s government, as it is the first year that NATO will be backing up Afghan National Security Forces, rather than the other way around.

The Taliban is well aware of this, according to Stephen Ganyard, Retired Marine Col. and ABC News military consultant.  Ganyard says he expects we will see “something fairly spectacular the Taliban will use to announce the resuming of the fighting season.”

NATO forces will be on guard, by Ganyard says now is when the fight begins in earnest.

“What we're seeing here is the Taliban have their last best chance to gain military advantage in the leadup to the events of 2014, which include a NATO withdrawal, elections and hopefully negotiations for peace,” said Ganyard.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Taliban Hands Over Bodies of 16 Afghan Soldiers

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(WARDOOJ, Afghanistan) -- The Taliban turned over the bodies of 16 Afghan soldiers killed in an attack on Sunday.

The firefight, which took place in the district of Wardooj, was among the deadliest attacks on Afghan National Army forces in recent years. The Taliban also handed over seven soldiers that were taken hostage after the attack.

Afghan forces are due to take over full control of security when NATO forces leave the country by the end of 2014.

The governor of the province of Badakhshan, Abdul Maroof Rasikh, told ABC that the soldiers were ambushed while reinforcing their positions. He said that the enemy also suffered casualties.

Rasikh also said that "security forces are planning to conduct a clearance operation very soon in the area."

Wardooj was largely quiet and out of the reach of insurgent attacks until recently. The area offers cover for insurgents in the form of mountainous terrain.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio



Pakistanis Wants Afghans to Return Taliban Commander

George Doyle/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- Pakistan wants Afghanistan to hand over a senior Taliban commander its forces apprehended earlier in this week.

The capture of Maulvi Faqir Mohammad along with some bodyguards in southeastern Afghanistan is considered a major coup.  Mohammad regularly plotted against Pakistani security forces from his base near the Afghan border.

On Thursday, the Pakistani foreign office said it wants the Afghan government to return Mohammad and all other terrorists with Pakistani ties back to Islamabad where they would be tried for crimes against their countrymen.

Pakistan supports the capture of Taliban members who stray over into Afghan territory while stressing its support for an overall reconciliation process that both sides believe will be necessary once the U.S. and its coalition allies withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Prince Harry’s War Games Trigger Backlash

JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Prince Harry is the subject of new security concerns as a possible high-value target for the Taliban after he suggested that he has killed insurgents in Afghanistan.

"Take a life to save a life.  That’s what we revolve around, I suppose,” Harry said to reporters recently.  “If there are people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game, I suppose.”

Much of the controversy comes from the 28-year-old prince’s comments comparing his job of flying Apache attack helicopters to his love of video games.

”I am one of these people who like playing Play Station and Xbox, so with my thumbs I would like to think that I am quite useful,” he said.

In response, the Afghan government on Monday said that likening his weapons systems to computer games gives the Taliban a propaganda victory.

The Taliban called Harry a coward and accused him of developing a mental problem during his four-month tour of duty.

”Now this Prince comes and compares this war with his games, PlayStation or whatever he calls it,” the Taliban said in a statement.  “He is supposed to be made of better things.”

The British press is also panning the prince, with one newspaper calling him a royal misfit, and another telling Harry to muzzle himself, guard his tongue and learn how to speak more like royalty.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Drone Strike Kills Top Taliban Commander in Pakistan

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- A top Taliban commander who targeted U.S. troops in Afghanistan was killed in an American drone strike in Pakistan along with nine of his comrades, intelligence and local sources confirm to ABC News.

The Taliban leader, Maulvi Nazir, died in an attack on a compound in Angoor Ada, a border town in South Waziristan, on Wednesday.

Nazir was a powerful and undisputed leader of the Wazir tribe of Waziristan and told ABC News in 2009 that his forces were intent on killing American troops.

"We have readied suicide bombers for them, they cannot escape us," Nazir said in the exclusive interview.

Nazir and the Pakistani military have long had an unwritten peace agreement, allowing Nazir to focus on attacking troops in Afghanistan.  The U.S. has been hunting him for years, but experts warned his death could anger the Pakistani military and open the South Waziristan tribal area to more internal fighting.

Nazir was in power in 2002 when Islamic fighters from various countries converged on South Waziristan to escape the U.S. bombing in Afghanistan.  He rose to prominence, however, in 2007 after he successfully defeated and evicted fighters of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan from South Waziristan.

Nazir opposed fighting Pakistani government forces and concentrated on attacking NATO and Afghan forces across the border in neighboring Afghanistan.  That policy put him at odds with a faction led by Hakeemullah Mehsud, the commander of the Taliban movement of Pakistan, and disrupted an alliance the two had made.

After a failed suicide attack on his life, Nazir ordered all the Mehsud tribesmen to leave the area under his command.

Analysts say that his death will leave a significant impact on his followers and South Waziristan.  He had led them right from the beginning.

"The area can erupt in violence," says retired Brig. Gen. Asad Munir, a former intelligence chief in North Western Pakistan.

Peace in the region may also depend on what kind of arrangement Nazir's successor wants with the Pakistan Army -- whether he wants to concentrate his fighting in Pakistan or keep focusing it on Afghanistan.

One thing is for sure that "his followers will not take this lying down," says Munir.

Nazir was buried Thursday morning in Azam Warsak and a replacement has already been chosen.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Former Senior Taliban Members Released from Pakistani Jails

Hemera/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- Pakistan's Foreign Ministry Monday confirmed the release of eight taliban prisoners in order to "facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process."

As part of the ongoing peace process, the Pakistani and Afghan governments have agreed on a number of steps to promote the reconciliation process in Afghanistan -- the most important being the release of taliban prisoners.

"It's a one stage at a time process," said one Pakistani government official.

Those released, among others, include several former leaders during the taliban's regime in Afghanistan:

  1. Abdul Bari -- former governor, Helmund
  2. Nur-ud-Din Turabi -- former justice minister
  3. Allah  Daad Tabib -- a former minister
  4. Mullah Daud Jan -- former governor, Kabul
  5. Mir Ahmed Gul -- a former governor.

Monday's announcement of the prisoners' release follows another made in November, when Pakistan released 18 taliban detainees to Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Pakistan intends to release more prisoners in the coming weeks and months in order to show its seriousness in helping the Afghan peace process.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senior Pakistani Official Calls for Action Against Taliban Sanctuaries

George Doyle/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- A senior Pakistani politician on Saturday demanded that Pakistan go after Taliban militant sanctuaries in North Waziristan. This is the first time an important ally of President Asif Ali Zardari has echoed publicly the long-standing U.S. demand for the country to take military action against the Taliban sanctuaries.

Asfandyar Wali Khan, leader of the secular Awami National Party, was commenting on a private TV channel after the killing of his party colleague and senior minister in a suicide attack in Peshawar on Saturday.

“We must go after their sanctuaries,” Khan said. He said he will meet with the President and advise him to go after the militants. “Whether anyone stands with us or not, we have to fight this mind set.”

The United States has been relying on drones to target militants in Waziristan who it says cross over into Afghanistan to target NATO and Afghan security forces.

Pakistani officials have maintained that the operation against Taliban sanctuaries in North Waziristan will be at a “time and manner of their choosing.”

Analysts say the Pakistani military is already stretched too thin and opening another battle front in North Waziristan is a big gamble.

It is clear that any operation in North Waziristan by the Pakistan army would have repercussions for the general population of the Northern Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa province.

“It’s like putting your hand in a hornets’ nest,” said one official.

Just in the past week there have been almost daily attacks in the province against the security forces.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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