Showing posts from February 11, 2018

US underlines Pakistan’s ‘deficiencies’ in countering terrorism

WASHINGTON: Not just the United States but others in the international community also have concerns about “Pakistan’s deficiencies” in implementing anti-money laundering and counterterrorism laws, says the US State Department.  At a Thursday afternoon news briefing, the department’s spokesperson Heather Nauert hinted that a resolution to place Pakistan on a global terror-financing watchlist had been submitted to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Britain, France and Germany have also endorsed this resolution, which was moved by the United States.  The remarks precede a crucial FATF meeting in Paris next week to consider new proposals for countering terrorism and money laundering.  The FATF is an international policy-making and standard-setting body dedicated to combating money laundering and terrorist financing. It maintains grey and black lists for identifying countries with weak counterterrorism mechanisms.  Article continues after ad The watchdog does not have the

Taliban Letter Addresses The American People, Urges Talks Hack

In a rambling nearly 3,000-word letter issued today, the Taliban urged the American people to press their government to withdraw from Afghanistan It repeated the Taliban's longstanding offer of direct talks with Washington, which the United States has repeatedly refused In a rambling nearly 3,000-word letter issued today, the Taliban urged the "American people" to press their government to withdraw from Afghanistan, reminding them that the Afghan war is the longest conflict in which they have been embroiled, and at a cost of "trillions of dollars." The letter was addressed to "the American people, officials of independent non-governmental organizations and the peace loving Congressmen." It repeated the Taliban's longstanding offer of direct talks with Washington, which the United States has repeatedly refused, saying peace negotiations should be between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The letter promised a more inclusive regime

UK and US blame Russia for 'malicious' NotPetya cyber-attack

The Russian military was directly behind a "malicious" cyber-attack on Ukraine that spread globally last year, the US and Britain have said. The White House said June's NotPetya ransomware attack caused billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said Russia was "ripping up the rule book" and the UK would respond. Moscow denies being behind the attack, calling such claims "Russophobic". Ransomware, which threatens to delete the target's files unless they pay a ransom, is regarded as the fastest growing form of computer virus. Defence secretary warns of Russian plot UK security chief blames Russia for hacks Facebook in new Russian Brexit vote probe May accuses Putin of election meddling Experts believe about 2,000 NotPetya attacks were launched, mainly aimed at Ukraine. The country Ukraine has been locked in a simmering conflict with Russian-backed separatists since Mos

Ireland, Britain to seek to re-establish Northern Ireland talks

DUBLIN: The Irish and British governments will seek to find a way to get talks on restoring Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government back on track, with neither contemplating a return of direct rule from London, Ireland’s foreign minister said on Thursday. Talks to end a year-long stalemate broke down yet again on Wednesday after the leader of the largest unionist party said there was no prospect of a deal and called on Britain to take further financial control of the region. “Yesterday was not expected and hugely disappointing, and the focus of the two governments working together will be to try to re-establish a basis for an executive to get up and running again. Certainly there is no appetite to move toward direct rule (from London),” Simon Coveney told national Irish broadcaster RTE Source

French forces kill at least 10 extremists in Mali, military sources say

BAMAKO: French air power on Wednesday killed at least 10 extremists in northeast Mali near the border with Algeria, local and foreign military sources said. “French forces on Wednesday led at least one raid near Tinzaouatene, at the Algerian border, against the terrorists,” a local Malian military source said. “There were at least 10 deaths and two vehicles were destroyed.” A former colonel in the Malian army who had defected, who is close to the extremists’ leader, was killed in the raid, according to an army statement. “This was the base of the head of the network, Iyad Ag Ghaly, at Tinzaouatene, which was the main target of the operation,” a foreign security source in Mali said. The offensive was part of France’s Operation Barkhane, active in Mali as well as four other former French colonies in west Africa — Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso. These countries form the so-called G5 Sahel, a French-supported group that launched a joint military force to combat extremists last y

More than 10,000 Afghan civilians killed or wounded last year, UN says

KABUL, Feb 15 (Reuters) - More than 10,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in violence last year, the United Nations said on Thursday, with militant bombings the main cause while air strikes by U.S. and government forces inflicted a rising toll. U.S. President Donald Trump introduced a more aggressive U.S. strategy in Afghanistan in August including a surge in air strikes. The militants have responded with attacks in Kabul in the past few weeks, killing nearly 150 people. The overall civilian toll last year of 3,438 killed and 7,015 wounded was 9 percent lower than the previous year. But the figures highlighted the high number of casualties caused by militant bombs, the United Nations said. "Attacks where anti-government elements deliberately targeted civilians accounted for 27 per cent of the total civilian casualties ... mainly from suicide and complex attacks," the United Nations said in a statement. The deadliest attack since the U.N. mission began recor

‘Attacks on Army, CRPF camps joint plan by LeT, Jaish’

NEW DELHI: Investigations so far into the terrorist attack at an  Army camp at Sunjuwan in Jammu and the bid to storm a CRPF camp at Karan Nagar in Srinagar a day later indicate that the two attacks were synchronised as part of a joint strategy by Jaish-e-Mohammed and  Lashker-e-Toiba  to hit security forces simultaneously in the two regions.  “It is rare for two fidayeen attacks on security camps to be staged simultaneously. The purpose of a fidayeen attack, which is usually made to stretch over 2-3 days as terrorists engage counter-forces with all the ammunition at their disposal, is to grab undivided media attention.  However, there was a departure this time with the Sunjuwan attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists followed by LeT’s Karan Nagar strike just a day later,” a senior J&K police officer told TOI. The agencies say  Jaish  and LeT commanders operating in south Kashmir areas like Tral and  Pulwama  decided to join hands and stage a fidayeen attack in Jammu region and imme

US: 19-year-old ex-student kills 17 in shooting spree at Florida high school

The violence erupted shortly before dismissal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a placid, middle-class community about 72km north of Miami. Television footage showed students streaming out of the building, many with hands raised in... Waiting for word from students, anxious family members gather at Coral Springs Drive and the Sawgrass Expressway, just south of the campus, following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.(AP Photo) Updated: Feb 15, 2018 08:38 IST By  Reuters , Reuters, Parkland (Florida) A 19-year-old gunman returned to a Florida high school where he had once been expelled for disciplinary reasons and opened fire with an assault-style rifle on Wednesday, killing 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others before he was arrested, authorities said. The violence erupted shortly before dismissal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a placid, middle-class community about 72km north of Mi

Jamaat-ud-Dawa, FIF banned in Pakistan under amended ATA

ISLAMABAD: Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and its humanitarian arm Falahi Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) were banned across Pakistan with their moveable and immovable assets being frozen under the amended Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.  On Friday, February 9, the Ministry of Law and Justice announced that President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain amended the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 via Ordinance No II of 2018 to proscribe entities banned by the United Nations (Security Council) Act 1948. The following day the Ministry of Interior ordered the freezing and taking over of assets associated with JuD and FIF and directed provincial governments to implement the orders. The Punjab government has moved against JuD and FIF by taking over its seminaries and health facilities in Rawalpindi. The provincial government has also barred anyone from donating to JuD and FIF.  "We have received the interior ministry directions, and according to that, Hafiz Saeed and his charities, like JuD and FIF, have been ban

U.S. Pushes to Put Pakistan on Terrorism Financing Watchlist

The U.S. is pushing to get Pakistan placed on an international terror-financing watchlist a month after President Donald Trump suspended about $2 billion in military aid to the nuclear-armed nation. The U.S., along with the U.K., have reported to the Financial Action Task Force that Pakistan hasn’t complied with terrorism regulations, Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, a junior Pakistani minister for finance and economic affairs, said by phone on Wednesday. Khan said the body’s review is scheduled for early next week and that the charges were a “conspiracy.” Pakistan gave a comprehensive reply to the allegations on Feb. 5, “but now they are adding some more items.” The move is the latest attempt from Washington to get Islamabad take more action against terror groups that allegedly have support and sanctuary within Pakistan. Relations between the two nations have deteriorated drastically in the past year and in his first tweet of 2018, Trump said Pakistan gave “ lies and deceit ” in return

Suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist involved in multiple blasts that killed 165 people arrested

Delhi Police said Ariz Khan alias Junaid, an expert bomb maker, escaped from site of the Batla House encounter in 2008 and has been on the run since. Suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist Ariz Khan was arrested by Delhi Police on Wednesday.(Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO) Updated: Feb 14, 2018 18:01 IST By  Agencies , Agencies, New Delhi The Delhi Police arrested on Wednesday a suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist who was allegedly involved in multiple blasts across the country in which at least 165 people died.  Ariz Khan, who had been on the run since the 2008 Batla House encounter, was arrested by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell. “The Delhi Police Special Team arrested Ariz Khan alias Junaid, who was involved in many bombing incidents including the 2008 Delhi serial blasts,” said Pramod Singh Kushwaha, DCP, Special Cell Delhi Police, at a press conference.  “He is an expert bomb maker, conspirator and executioner...At least 165 people died in the incidents he was involv

Pakistan's Bilawal Bhutto Zardari: 'We need to counter extremist ideological narrative'

Pakistan is set to hold general elections this year which will be crucial for its democratic future. DW spoke to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairman, about the key problems facing the nation. DW: Pakistan claims it has made huge sacrifices in combating terrorism but they are not recognized by the West. You also mentioned once that you are one of the biggest victims of terrorism and that you lost your mother because of it. Against this backdrop, how would you present Pakistan's position on this issue to the international community? Bilawal Bhutto Zardari: It is the duty of all of us to present Pakistan's views and concerns on this issue and I shall contribute my part. We should openly debate about  extremism and terrorism, not just about militancy . The cultural and ideological narratives should also be discussed. In doing so, militancy should be countered.  As far as Pakistan's sacrifices are concerned, I think it may be that the world

‘Sikh Extremists In Canada, The UK And Italy Are ­Working With ISI Or Independently’

On returning as Punjab chief minister last year,  Captain Amarinder Singh found the state reeling under a drug problem and  att­empts to revive Khalistani ext­r­e­mism. In this interview with  Ushinor Maj­um­dar , he explains the role of the ‘foreign hand’ and how the state is dealing with it. Edited excerpts: Is there a resurgence of Khalistani ext­re­mism, considering the number of rec­ent incidents and killings? There has been no resurgence. In fact, since the Congress took over, the Punjab Police has cracked the “targeted killings” and busted several terrorist modules, with no fresh cases in the past several weeks. For the supply of weapons and other logistics, the radicals had started using the criminal gangs that had mushroomed over the past decade. Vicky Gounder, killed in a recent encounter, was an example. Unemployment and the drug menace emerged over the past 10 years, making Punjab’s youth vulnerable to external influences and pressures. Various external forces are c

UK Professor: Danger of Salafi and far-right extremism in Europe

During the International conference of "Islam in Europe: Prospects and Challenges" that was held on Wednesday in Qom there is an interview with professor Robert Gleave, Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam at University of Exeter in the UK. (AhlulBayt News Agency) -  During the International conference of "Islam in Europe: Prospects and Challenges" that was held on Wednesday in Qom there is an interview with professor Robert Gleave, Director of the Centre for the Study of Islam at University of Exeter in the UK. What’s the place of extremism in Europe now? As Ayatollah Tehrani said very nicely there are different sorts of extremism; we’re very worried and concerned about the rise of anti-foreigner extremism, these are far-right groups who have sort of allegiance to Nazi ideology, who in Europe are becoming a threat to the stability of our culture and our society by attacking certain ethnic minority groups, Muslims included. So that’s one type of extr

Report investigates Americans who joined terrorist groups

Media Credit: Mike Shanahan | Staff Photographer Bennett Clifford, a research fellow in the Program on Extremism and a co-author of the report, said the study is the largest publicly available research into American participation in jihadist groups located in Syria and Iraq. Sixty-four American citizens have traveled to Iraq and Syria since 2011 to join terrorist groups, according to a new report by GW’s Program on Extremism – the most comprehensive ISIS study ever compiled in an academic setting. The 87-page document, titled “The Travelers: American Jihadists in Syria and Iraq” and published Tuesday, details the paths that home-grown terrorists have taken to link up with groups like ISIS in the Middle East. The report’s authors said the study provides key new insight into the motivations that drive American citizens to take up arms with ISIS and will help U.S. policy makers confront the threat posed by these groups. The study, which took two years to complete, was compile