Posts Tagged ‘ Federally Administered Tribal Areas ’

Kidnapped US National Was Doing Humanitarian Work in Pakistan

By Hussain Kashif

The abducted US expert Warren Weinstein was doing large scale humanitarian work in different public sectors including small and medium industries, agriculture and infrastructure development, which was responsible for bringing significant foreign investment and development in Pakistan.

He was a country director of JE Austin Associates Incorporation, Arlington, Virginia, US, which is a development contractor that works with the aid arm of the US government. Weinstein had also worked on a dairy project in Pakistan and imported dairy chillers to boost the productivity of rural farms in the country, resulting in $63 million in new investment to Pakistan, at least 2,150 new jobs, and a 25 percent boost in producer productivity.

His company is working here on US Agency for International Development (USAID) projects, including one to set up small businesses and create jobs in the restive Tribal Areas in Pakistan. Warren Weinstein was recognised by his company as an expert in international development of industries but they have removed his profile from their website after his kidnapping. The company also worked on helping small businesses in the gem and marble trade in the lower districts of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

According to Daily Times sources, he had worked on a multimillion-dollar USAID project to improve dairy, horticulture and mining in Pakistan, including the terrorist-infiltrated Tribal Areas. Sources said that his projects had finished here in Pakistan and that his contract with his Virginia-based company, JE Austin Associates Incorporation, ended on August 15 and that he was planning to return his home in the US.

A California-based website states, “Warren had been managing an office in Pakistan for over four years, building a strategic reputation in the dairy, furniture, marble and leather sectors, which led to projects for the Pakistani government. He was granted an African Affairs Certificate from Columbia University and he is also a Fulbright Scholar. A former political science associate professor, Weinstein is an expert on international development, experienced in bilateral and multilateral organisations, as well as NGOs. Highly experienced in designing and implementing training programmes, and fluent in seven languages, Dr Warren Weinstein is well known within international banking and finance circles.”

According to media reports, Dr Warren Weinstein celebrated his 70th birthday last month at his US residence in Rockville, Maryland. Weinstein was linked with the global community through the Internet on the social media website ‘LinkedIn’, where a complete profile of him was available, along with some personal and professional data.

According to his profile, he is a Jewish American and his full name is Dr Warren Weinstein, which was confirmed by the US Embassy in Pakistan. A PhD in International Law and Economics and a Masters of International Relations, Warren is also fluent in at least seven languages, including Urdu, and has authored and edited around 13 books on African development since 1966. His wife’s name is Elaine who is living at Weinstein’s home in Rockville with other family members. According to his friends and colleagues, “He’s a short, funny man with a quick wit”. A local journalist who last saw Weinstein about a year ago said he could speak a fair amount of Urdu and was a laid-back guy not too worried about security issues.

Weinstein has lived in Pakistan for seven years and maintains a principal residence in Islamabad, but also has a home in Lahore where he was living alone. Warren Weinstein was living in a rental residence in Model Town. His double-storey house has two gates and walls that are about 1.8 metres high. The street on which his house is situated contains private security checkpoints, which are usually unmanned during the day. At night, watchmen hired by neighbours are on duty from dusk till dawn. There are around five security cameras installed in his house, but they have been inactive for a year. He was kidnapped by unidentified armed men late on last Saturday. Police have taken his security guards and a driver into custody for questioning, but no clue has been found as to the identity of his captors and the motive behind his kidnapping.

He had eight servants in his Lahore residence, including five guards from a Defence-based security company who were retired commandos of the army’s Special Services Group and a driver, a cook and a housekeeper who was responsible for maintenance of the house and ironing his cloths. One of his security guards named Muhammad Aurangzeb from Sargodha was court-martialled from the army. The second guard, Muhammad Abbas, belonged to Chichawatni, the third, Muhammad Sarwar was from Sheikhupura, while the fourth guard, Fazal Elahi, was from Charsadda and ran away from his military service. Police sources further said that his company had requested local police to provide security to Warren Weinstein, but that he personally refused, saying that he did not want to stand out. About Weinstein’s driver, sources said that his name is Israr and he belonged to Swabi district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and had been working with JE Austin Associates for the last four years, while his cook was also from FATA.

The FBI is also investigating the case along with local police investigators. According to sources, investigators were informed by Weinstein’s employees that he never received any threat from any side in Pakistan as far as they knew.

It is worth mentioning that the security guards’ mobile phones, which the kidnappers snatched, remained active for around 45 minutes after the kidnapping and that the last connectivity was detected on the motorway. Kidnappers later switched off the phones. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The police, with the help of the guards and the driver, have developed sketches of the suspects, who were wearing shirts and trousers and were speaking Urdu. Sources said that a laptop, cellphones and other items found in the victim’s room were being thoroughly examined.

India Continues to Dominate Pakistan’s Strategic Thinking: US

As Reoported By The Times of India

Pakistan’s efforts to launch a comprehensive fight against terrorism are greatly hampered by its perceived threat perception against India, US President Barack Obama has said in a new report to Congress.

“As India continues to dominate their strategic threat perception, large elements of Pakistan’s military remain committed to maintaining a ratio of Pakistani to Indian forces along the eastern border,” Obama said in the third-quarterly report to the Congress on Afghanistan and Pakistan sent yesterday.

“This deprives the Pakistani COIN (counter-insurgency) fight of sufficient forces to achieve its ‘clear’ objectives and support the ‘hold’ efforts and causing available Army forces to be bogged down with ‘hold’ activities because there are insufficient trained civilian law enforcement personnel to assume that responsibility,” Obama said in his 38-page unclassified (rpt) unclassified version of the report.

Due to flood in Pakistan last year the offensive military operations Pakistan had envisioned for KP (Khaibar Pakhtoonwah) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in the second half of 2010 were overtaken by events, he said.

“Militants were impacted by the floods as well, so we did not observe significant offensive actions on their side, but as Pakistani forces ceased offensive operations, extremists extended their control to areas without sufficient Pakistani central government-provided security and governance,” he wrote.

Between October 1 and December 31, 2010, Obama said Pakistani security forces remained largely static, generally focusing on maintaining the security of previously cleared areas in the FATA and KP and continuing to support flood relief operations.

There were small but notable security operations in November and December in Orakzai Agency and Dir District, but no major operations.

National attention during the reporting period focused on the need for continued flood relief and the start of early recovery efforts, he said.

“The military served as a force of stability during the monsoons, ensuring that Pakistani and international emergency resources were available for rescue and relief operations. The Pakistan Army, Air Force, and Navy committed large numbers of personnel and resources to the flood relief operations throughout October and November,” he said.

The civilian government’s response suffered from a lack of coordination and reflected broader shortcomings in the government’s ability to execute the civilian “hold” and “build” phases of COIN.

The last quarter of 2010 saw no progress on effectively executing the COIN cycle in KP and the FATA.

Pakistan is Not America’s Enemy

 By Ryan Crocker for The Wall Street Journal

 The news from Pakistan is grim. NATO helicopters engage suspected militants inside Pakistan, killing three, only to discover they are Pakistani soldiers. The angry Pakistani government blocks NATO fuel shipments at the Khyber Pass, and militants attack the stalled trucks. An Obama administration report to Congress charges that the Pakistanis aren’t doing enough against the Taliban and al Qaeda. Press accounts quote unnamed officials asserting that elements in Pakistani intelligence are encouraging the Taliban to step up attacks on NATO forces. And Bob Woodward cites President Obama as saying “the cancer is in Pakistan.”

One could easily conclude that we are describing an enemy, not an ally. Many in Pakistan feel the same way. And yet the prospects for stabilizing Afghanistan, defeating al Qaeda and preventing further attacks on the United States are a direct function of that strained alliance. It is time for a collective deep breath.

Pakistan’s historical narrative focuses on how the U.S. worked with Pakistanis and Afghans to drive the Soviets from Afghanistan in the 1980s: We succeeded—and then we left. And on our way out, we slapped sanctions on Pakistan, ending all security and economic assistance because of the country’s nuclear program, which we had known about since 1974 when Pakistan’s prime minister announced it publicly. We left Pakistan alone to deal with a destabilizing civil war in Afghanistan, and when the Taliban emerged as a dominant force in the mid-1990s, Islamabad supported them as a means of ending the conflict.

Then came 9/11 and the U.S. was back. Pakistanis welcomed the renewed assistance. But a constant question I heard while serving as ambassador to Pakistan from 2004-2007 was “How long will you stay this time, and what mess will you leave us with when you go?” For a fragile state with innumerable problems, including a vicious internal insurgency, these are existential questions.

Never in Pakistan’s six decades of existence has the U.S. sustained a long-term, strategic commitment in the country. The Bush administration recognized this and enacted security and economic assistance programs designed to make a long-term difference in education, health care and governance. In 2006, I argued successfully for a five-year assistance package for Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which are notable both for chronic underdevelopment and extremism. The Obama administration has built on this, and last year’s Kerry-Lugar bill provided $7.5 billion in assistance over five years. So we have the architecture in place to build a strategic relationship.

Still, short-term pressures risk undermining long-term strategy. When I was ambassador, voices in Congress, the media and even the administration were constantly calling for the U.S. to get tough on Pakistan, make Pakistanis do more, threaten them with consequences. Such exhortations were—and remain—generally counterproductive, as they fuel fears that the U.S. will again abandon Pakistan.

The U.S. can better work with Pakistan if we improve our understanding of history: Given its rivalry with India and its organic disunity, which dates back to its founding, Pakistan fears for its basic survival. The country has always had a difficult relationship with Afghanistan, not least because in the 19th century the British deliberately drew the Pakistani-Afghan border, the so-called Durand Line, in order to divide the Pashtun people. Today Pashtuns make up Afghanistan’s largest community, but there are more Pashtuns in Pakistan.

The Durand Line also set the groundwork for the tribal areas, which are legally distinct from the rest of Pakistan because the British could never exert direct control over them. No central authority ever has. Winston Churchill’s first published work, “The Story of the Malakand Field Force,” is about fierce tribesmen declaring jihad against a Western army. It could be a contemporary account.

So what does this mean in concrete terms?

First, the U.S. should appreciate Pakistan’s challenges and support its government in dealing with them. This summer’s devastating floods have disappeared from the U.S. media but will continue to wreak havoc in Pakistan for a long time to come. In 2005 and 2006, after an earthquake in Kashmir killed almost 80,000 Pakistanis, the U.S. organized the largest relief operation since the Berlin Airlift. The floods’ death toll is lower, but their long-term damage will be far greater. U.S. support should be commensurate.

Second, the U.S. should not carry out cross-border military actions, which I strongly resisted as ambassador. They are clearly counterproductive, and not just because we hit the wrong target. If NATO can carry out military actions in Pakistan from the west, Pakistanis wonder, what stops India from doing the same from the east? There are other options, including drone strikes, which the U.S. is now coordinating more closely with Pakistanis.

Third, with Pakistan’s government (as with Afghanistan’s), we must be private in our criticism and public in our support

Private talks should deepen regarding challenges like the insurgent Haqqani network in North Waziristan, and we need to listen at least as much as we lecture.Fourth, any talks between the U.S. or Afghanistan and the Taliban must be transparent to the Pakistanis. A nightmare for Islamabad is the prospect that the Americans and Afghans come to some accommodation with Taliban elements that would leave them hostile to Pakistan. If Pakistan is not part of the process, we will be working at cross-purposes and only the Taliban will benefit.

Pakistan’s arrest of Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar—at a time when he had begun reconciliation talks with Afghan authorities—underscored the risks of leaving Islamabad out of the loop. Going forward, the timing and nature of talks with the Taliban should be set by Afghans, Pakistanis and Americans working together.

None of this will be easy, but it is essential. A sustained U.S.-Pakistani partnership after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan could have produced a very different history than the one we wrestle with today. Writing a different future requires making long-term commitments—on both sides of the Durand Line.

Mr. Crocker, the dean of Texas A&M’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service, was U.S. ambassador to Pakistan from 2004 to 2007 and U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009.

The Continuous Struggle Along Pakistan’s Frontier

By David Ignatius for The Wall Street Journal

In the same week when U.S. helicopters mistakenly killed three members of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps near the Afghan border, American Special Forces were training members of that same force on how to use radios, sniper rifles and other counterinsurgency tools at a remote base here.

Pakistanis and Americans don’t talk much about this joint training camp, northwest of Peshawar about 20 miles from Afghanistan. But the program is a symbol of the weird duality of the relationship — a mix of public distance and private cooperation that’s awkward for both sides.

“We have good relations; it’s going very well,” Col. Ahsan Raza, the camp commander, said when I visited Tuesday afternoon, two days before the fatal U.S. cross-border attack. But the Pakistani commandant was eager not to appear too close to America, stressing that the U.S. trainers were supplying technical skills, not running the show.

Both sides view the program here as a success story. But the joint effort masks a tension that is only likely to deepen in coming months.

Pakistan wants to use the 70,000-strong Frontier Corps to stabilize the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA, and halt the domestic Taliban insurgency. The United States, struggling in Afghanistan, wants Pakistan to help seal the border and destroy the sanctuaries used by al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. The two sides talk as if their goals are identical, but they aren’t. The differing priorities became clear in conversations last week with Pakistani commanders.

Warsak is a pet project of Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan, the commander of the Frontier Corps. At his headquarters in the ancient Bala Hissar fortress in Peshawar, the traditional garb of the tribal “scouts,” as they’re called, makes you wonder whether the days of the British Raj ever really ended. Behind Khan’s desk is a plaque bearing the names of his predecessors back to 1907.

Khan argues that it’s time for Pakistan to move from big military offensives in the tribal areas to what he calls “policing” actions. “No steamroller operations,” he says.

Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, who commands the Pakistani army in the western border areas and is Khan’s boss, makes the same point. “Don’t expect major new kinetic operations,” he says. “We have changed gears to a softer approach.”

This can’t be comforting to Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan. He is said to have concluded, after several months in Kabul, that more Pakistani pressure on the havens is crucial for American success. That’s the basic conflict — an overstretched America wants a Pakistani surge in the tribal areas; an overstretched Pakistan just wants to keep the peace.

Khan’s strategy is an updated version of the old British approach: work through the tribal chiefs, or maliks, keep the roads open and pound any renegades back into line. He wants to maintain order through three tiers of force: local militias, known as “levies,” recruited by the maliks; the Frontier Corps dispersed across the FATA; and the big guns of the Pakistani army.

Working with the American trainers at Warsak, Khan has devised some smart tactics: Private vehicles in the FATA will have electronic chips that register their movements. The scouts will report suspicious activities on their American-made radios, and the snipers will blow away any miscreants using their American-made sniper rifles. To demonstrate that order is returning, the burly Khan, the scion of a princely Pashtun family, took a car trip last summer through the FATA with his wife and daughter.

Khan’s enthusiasm is infectious: “There are no safe havens in my area of responsibility — I can take you anywhere, any place, anytime.” That sidesteps the fact that North and South Waziristan, the main trouble spots, are still the responsibility of the army.

Driving down the roads of the border areas, you sometimes have the sense that you are traveling back in time. But that “back to the future” strategy is a temporary fix, at best. Pakistan, with U.S. support, should be moving forward, not in reverse. The years of war have shattered the old tribal order, and the long-run goal should be to bring the tribal areas into a modern Pakistan, rather than let them fester on their own.

U.S. drone attacks and other firepower can keep the insurgents on the run, but they won’t bring stability. Neither will Tariq Khan’s snipers. Somehow, the people in this desolate region have to feel they have a stake in a future that’s something other than continuous warfare.

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