Archive for the ‘Pakistan’ Category
Steel Guru, April 14, 2011
Tehran Times reported that energy officials of Iran and Pakistan will convene in Tehran to review details of the significant gas pipeline project between the 2 countries.
Mr Zafar Iqbal Abdul Qader official of Pakistani government said that the gas pipeline project will be completed by March 2014. Pakistan and Iran formally signed the historic pipeline deal in Tehran on June 13th 2010 under which Iran will supply Pakistan with natural gas from mid 2014.
Under the deal, Pakistan will import from Iran 750 million cubic feet of gas daily for 25 years. The pipeline would connect Iran’s South Pars gas field with Pakistan’s southern Balochistan and Sindh provinces.
In June, Seyed Yousuf Raza Gilani PM of Pakistani defying a warning from Washington promised to go ahead with a plan to import natural gas from Iran. The pipeline was initially mooted to carry gas from Iran to Pakistan and on to India. (Sourced from Tehran Times)
“What do they [the US] want us to do? Declare war on our whole country?”
The timing of the US drone attack, which reportedly killed six militants Wednesday in South Waziristan, is likely to strain an already fraught relationship with Pakistan.
Ariel Zirulnick, The Christian Science Monitor, April 13, 2011
Two US drone strikes reportedly killed six suspected militants Wednesday in South Waziristan, incensing Pakistani officials who had just a day earlier disclosed their demand for a halt to all drone strikes.
It was the first drone attack since the March 17 strikes that killed up to 44 people, including a large number of civilians, CNN reported. The scale of that strike prompted unusually strong condemnation from Pakistani military officials.
A security official in South Waziristan told Reuters that two drones fired four missiles on a vehicle carrying militants. “We have confirmation of six [killed] but toll could be high,” the official said.
The drone program has been controversial since it got under way almost seven years ago. Continuing it, even if it is a critical component of the US counterterrorism campaign, is likely to only exacerbate an already strained US-Pakistan relationship, highlighted by yesterday’s demands for an end to drone strikes and a drawdown in the number of CIA and Special Forces operatives working in the country.
Adam Entous And Matthew Rosenberg, The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2011
Pakistan has privately demanded the Central Intelligence Agency suspend drone strikes against militants on its territory, one of the U.S.’s most effective weapons against al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, officials said.
Pakistan has also asked the U.S. to reduce the number of U.S. intelligence and Special Operations personnel in the country, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.
The U.S. strategy in the war in Afghanistan hinges on going after militants taking refuge in Pakistan. The breakdown in intelligence cooperation has cast a pall over U.S.-Pakistani relations, with some officials in both countries saying intelligence ties are at their lowest point since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks spurred the alliance.
Beyond the Afghan battlefield, officials believe that without a robust counterterrorism relationship with Pakistan, al Qaeda and other groups can operate with far greater impunity when planning attacks on the U.S. and Europe. The vast majority of attacks against the West in the last decade originated in Pakistan.
Relations have been under heightened strain since Pakistan’s arrest in January of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who was jailed after killing two armed Pakistani men in Lahore on Jan. 27. Mr. Davis was released last month, but the case fueled Pakistani resentment over the presence of U.S. operatives in their country.
Pakistani officials complained that Mr. Davis and potentially dozens of other CIA operatives were working without Islamabad’s full knowledge.
Drone strikes are opposed by an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis, and are widely seen as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Ananth Krishan, The Hindu, March 31, 2011
The Chinese government on Thursday said it viewed the security situation in the Asia-Pacific as “volatile”, pointing to the United States “reinforcing” regional military alliances and rising suspicions among China’s neighbours.
In a national defence white paper issued on Thursday, China said it would seek to expand confidence-building measures with its neighbours, as well as stick to a defence policy that was defensive in nature.
The white paper, the seventh that China has issued since 1998, portrayed a strained regional security environment, describing the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, as “volatile.”
“Relevant major powers are increasing their strategic investment,” said the paper. “The United States is reinforcing its regional military alliances, and increasing its involvement in regional security affairs.”
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Jyoti Thottam, TIME, April 1, 2011
From the fourth floor of an office building in Gurgaon, a northern Indian city of tangled highways, yammering call centers and wandering livestock, Sanjay Gupta plays a bit part in the Great Game. His company, C&C Constructions, first ventured into Afghanistan in 2002. It started with a road from Kandahar to Spin Boldak, and then another one from Kandahar to Kabul. Over the past eight years, C&C has built more than 700 km of roads — worth about $250 million — and has subcontracted with USAID, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. “It’s good to see a country getting built,” Gupta says. “We also feel we contributed.”
C&C’s grandest project is the $125 million, bronze-domed Afghan parliament building. Funded by the Indian government and scheduled to be finished at the end of 2011, it will be the most prominent symbol of Indian efforts to help Afghanistan. But it may also be, at least for the time being, one of the last sizable manifestations of India’s $1.3 billion aid program. After a series of attacks targeting India’s presence in Afghanistan — including bombings of the Indian embassy in 2008 and 2009 — India is scaling back. Pakistan resents India’s presence in its backyard, and Indian companies like C&C fear they can no longer guarantee the safety of their workers. “There are elements who don’t want the Indian presence there,” says Gupta. “Maybe it’s time to wind up.”
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The News International, March 28, 2011
The International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) Commander in Afghanistan General David Petraeus has neither apologised nor given any explanation to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani regarding the killing of 44 civilians in the March 17 drone attack in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan Agency.
A local news agency reported that Petraeus had contacted Kayani to apologise over the killings.
Pakistan on March 17 had refused to participate in a Trilateral Meeting with the US in Brussels and demanded an apology and an explanation over CIA’s drone strike a day after one of its contractor, Raymond Davis was released.
When contacted by The News, a US military source in Pakistan denied these reports carried by a local news agency, and said, “With regards to the allegation that General Petraeus contacted the Pakistani military or that he expressed regret over this alleged incident, I can assure you that General Petraeus hasn’t had any contact with Pakistani military leaders since his meeting with General Kayani on March 3.”
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1. Afghan Leader Questions U.S. Military Operations
The New York Times, March 12, 2011
President Hamid Karzai on Saturday appeared to call for NATO and the United States to cease military operations in Afghanistan, but then issued a clarification saying that he was referring only to specific operations that had caused civilian casualties.
In an emotional speech on Saturday in the eastern city of Asadabad, in Kunar Province, the Afghan president told relatives and neighbors of civilian victims that he sympathized with their plight. “With great honor and with great respect, and humbly rather than with arrogance, I request that NATO and America should stop these operations on our soil,” he said. “This war is not on our soil. If this war is against terror, then this war is not here, terror is not here.”
Mr. Karzai’s remarks were made at a memorial service for the victims, in the presence of local officials as well as the second highest ranking American general in Afghanistan, David M. Rodriguez. “Our demand is that this war should be stopped,” Mr. Karzai said. “This is the voice of Afghanistan.”