Oct 222017

US army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who last week pleaded guilty on Monday to deserting his post in Afghanistan in 2009, has said his captors were more “honest” with him than the army has been since his release three years ago, Fox News reported. Bergdahl was held captive by the Afghan Taliban-allied Haqqani network in Afghanistan after deserting his post until May 2014 when his captors swapped him with five Taliban detainees in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre. “At least the Taliban were honest enough to say, ‘I’m the guy who’s gonna cut your throat,’” Bergdahl, 31, tells British TV journalist Sean Langan in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Times Magazine titled ‘The Homecoming from Hell’. Langan himself was taken hostage by the Taliban while filming in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region in 2008. Three months later, his family negotiated his release with his captors. US Army Sergeant Bergdahl could face life sentence for endangering troops Bergdahl says he never quite knew where he stood with the army as he performed “administrative duties” while awaiting his desertion trial. “Here, it could be the guy I pass in the corridor who’s going to sign the paper that sends me away for life,” he says. “We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs.” Bergdahl is expected to appear for sentencing on Monday in a military courtroom after pleading guilty to desertion and misbehaviour before the enemy. He could face life in prison. The Obama administration was highly criticised for a [Read More…]

Oct 122017
President Donald Trump thanks Pakistan for ‘doing more’

US President Donald Trump has praised Pakistan for the safe recovery of a Canadian-American couple and their three children from Taliban’s captivity. “This is a positive moment for our country’s relationship with Pakistan. The Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House. A still image from a video posted by the Taliban on social media on 19 December 2016 shows American Caitlan Coleman, left, speaking next to her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle and their two sons. PHOTO: REUTERS The unusual praise came less than two months after Trump pilloried Pakistan for aiding and sheltering ‘agents of chaos’ – a reference to the Taliban. Islamabad shot back to the allegation, saying that it could not be made scapegoat for failures in Afghanistan. Pakistan Army recovers US-Canadian family abducted in Afghanistan in 2012 “We hope to see this type of cooperation and teamwork in helping secure the release of remaining hostages and in our future joint counterterrorism operations,” said President Trump. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistan Army, aided by intelligence agencies, recovered the Canadian-American couple and their children on Thursday. “They were captured by terrorists from Afghanistan in 2012 and kept as hostages there,” it added. On his part, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US expresses ‘deep gratitude’ to Pakistan. With new Af-Pak policy, US downfall has begun: Senator Mushahid Hussain [Read More…]

Oct 122017

OTTAWA: Canada voiced relief Tuesday at the release of a Canadian man, his American wife and their three children born in Taliban captivity. The kidnapped couple were taken hostage in Afghanistan while backpacking in Central Asia in 2012. “We are greatly relieved that after being held hostage for five years, Joshua Boyle and his wife Caitlan Coleman, as well as their young children, have been released and are safe,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. “Joshua, Caitlan, their children and the Boyle and Coleman families have endured a horrible ordeal over the past five years,” she added in a statement. Pakistan Army recovers US-Canadianfamily abducted in Afghanistan in 2012 Freeland said Canada had been “actively engaged with the governments of the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan” in trying to free the couple, but provided no details. The post Canada hails family’s release from Taliban captivity appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Oct 112017

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua has reiterated Pakistan’s call for making serious efforts for negociated settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban for achieving lasting peace in the war-torn country. She remarked while participating in the meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Contact Group on Afghanistan held at the deputy foreign minister-level in Moscow on Wednesday, a statement issued by the Foreign Office said. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov chaired the meeting while deputy foreign ministers of Afghanistan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and representatives of SCO and its relevant bodies attended the meeting. Afghan peace: Kabul asks Islamabad to hand over five top imprisoned militants Addressing the meeting, Janjua underlined challenges faced by Afghanistan including deteriorating security situation marked by increasing ungoverned spaces being used to provide sanctuary to the terrorist groups like Da’esh, al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Jamtul Ahrar (JuA) and increasing drug production which threatened Afghanistan’s neighbours. She stressed the need for making serious efforts for negotiated settlement between Afghan government and the Taliban for achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan. The foreign secretary also emphasised the importance of early return of Afghan refugees and combating drug production and human trafficking which continued to affect stability of Afghanistan and the region. Islamabad not to bow to ‘do more’ demands The members of SCO Contact Group exchanged views on ways and means to support peace and stability in Afghanistan through facilitating Afghan-led peace process, assisting the Afghan government in dealing with security and counter-terrorism challenges [Read More…]

Oct 072017

As the US-led invasion of Afghanistan enters its seventeenth year, Taliban militants have been reported saying that they are not tired of the war at all, according to Afghanistan’s Khaama Press. In a statement, the group called on all the American forces present in the region to withdraw, claiming that only the Taliban represented the Afghan people as a whole. Pakistan urges Afghan Taliban to shun violence The statement spoke at length about the Taliban’s long-term commitment to the war, insisting that they did not feel disappointed but instead had even higher morale for the continued war effort. It also said that the Afghan nation had not become tired of war, nor will it ever become tired of it. “Taliban remain fully committed to driving the Americans out of the country,” the statement reads. RAW supports Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, acknowledges Indian analyst in top daily The group though, did not comment on the recent efforts of the international community to bring it to the negotiation table, aimed at furthering the peace efforts in Afghanistan on behalf of the Afghan government. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had called on the Taliban to opt for “ballots instead of bullets” and to renounce the use of violence as a political tool last week. Ghani has repeatedly asked the group to join peace efforts in the past. Afghan Taliban leaders are in Quetta and Peshawar: Gen Nicholson The Taliban statement comes merely weeks after US President Donald Trump unveiled his new strategy for the conflict-ridden South [Read More…]

Sep 112017

KARACHI: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday that China had not changed its policy towards Pakistan but had endorsed its viewpoint at a summit of five major emerging market nations where concern was expressed about militant groups allegedly based in the country. “We are also against militants and want to first put our house in order,” he said while talking to reporters after visiting the Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum. He said the declaration of the recent summit of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was similar to that of the last Heart of Asia Conference about Afghanistan and it should not be taken out of context. Terror fight: China says world can’t shut eyes to Pakistan’s efforts He held the Western countries equally responsible for the wave of terrorism in the world and said that apparently they had ignored the genuine problems of Muslim states. Replying to a question, Iqbal said: “We have implemented the National Action Plan and that is why we have contained terrorism.” Paying tribute to Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on his death anniversary, the minister said the country had seen many ups and downs in the last 70 years and it was high time to learn from past mistakes and follow his vision. “The Quaid told us that democracy and the rule of law are the solution to every problem,” he said. China urges world community to recognise Pakistan’s sacrifices in war on terror In reply to another question, Iqbal said: “The incumbent government will complete its [Read More…]

Jul 192017

Eleven suspected facilitators of banned terrorist outfits were arrested in intelligence-based operations in Punjab, the military’s media wing said on Wednesday. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Punjab Rangers along with Counter-Terrorism Department, police and intelligence agencies carried out joint raids in DG Khan, Rawalpindi and Lahore. A terrorist linked to Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA), a faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was among the men arrested. Punjab Rangers apprehend several terrorists, including female operatives, in DG Khan A huge cache of illegal weapons, including automatic weapons and ammunition, was also found during the operations, the communiqué added. The seized arms were likely to be used for terrorist activities in Punjab. The post 11 ‘facilitators’ of banned outfits held in Punjab raids appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

May 202017

BANNU:  The police’s counter-terrorism department arrested a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander in Mundan village, Bannu on Saturday. Mansoorullah Ali alias Qiyaz is believed to be the mastermind behind the Mundan police station in Bannu on February 7. In a press statement, the Bannu district police said the TTP commander was found in possession of explosives, grenades and material used for making bombs. Four TTP militants hanged in K-P: ISPR Mansoorullah was a TTP ground commander before he defected to Afsar Ali faction. He was shifted to undisclosed location and the bomb disposal squad has defused the bombs found at his hideout. The post TTP commander arrested in Bannu appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Mar 132017

KABUL: An explosion in the centre of the Afghan capital Kabul destroyed a bus carrying employees of one of the country’s biggest telecoms firms on Monday, killing at least one person and wounding eight, Interior Ministry spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi said. Security forces surrounded the smoking remains of the bus, which appeared to be completely burned out. A security official said earlier the blast was caused by a suicide bomber on foot, but Sediqqi said it appeared to have been caused by a roadside bomb. At least one dead, 35 wounded in Kabul attacks The explosion, as people were leaving work in a well-to-do area of the city, came less than a week after dozens of people were killed and wounded in an attack on the country’s largest military hospital by gunmen dressed in medical uniforms. Officials are still investigating that assault, which was claimed by Islamic State, but the two attacks underline the broad security threat in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have stepped up their insurgency against the Western-backed government. The post Blast destroys bus in Afghan capital, killing at least one appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Feb 022017

The state-run Pakistan Television (PTV) is all set to broadcast a telefilm on life of Safwat Ghayyur Shaheed, a high-ranking policeman who sacrificed his life in the line of duty. According to a statement, the feature is part of the series, ‘Awam Kay Sipahi’ which brings into light real life stories of martyred policemen. Ghayur was a commandant of Frontier Constabulary, targeted by the Taliban in August 2010. Omer Bin Zia is the lead actor of the telefilm, featuring as Ghayyur while Munazza Arif plays his wife. Other prominent characters include Zaryab, Qaiser, Usman Zafar and Usman Chaudhry. The telefilm series has been produced by Communications Research Strategies (CRS) that has previously produced super hit plays like ‘Khuda Zameen Se Gaya Nahin’, ‘Faseel-e-Jaan Se Agay’ and ‘Jaan’nisar’. The series is televised on Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm every week on PTV News. The post PTV to broadcast telefilm on life of Safwat Ghayyur Shaheed appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

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