Posts Tagged ‘Haqqanis’

Pakistan Is Again On The Terrorism Financing Watch List — Promises to expedite steps to curb terror financing

February 25, 2018

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, center, founder of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, in 2017. An international task force has decided to place Pakistan on a terrorism-financing watch list. Credit Mohsin Raza/Reuters

With U.S. Push, Pakistan Placed on Terror Finance List

Saudi Arabia abandons earlier support for Islamabad under pressure from Washington; Turkey stands firm

Saudi Arabia backed down under pressure from the U.S. and allowed Pakistan to be placed on an international terror-financing watch list, officials from countries involved in the decision said Friday, dealing a blow to the South Asian country’s struggling economy.

The Financial Action Task Force’s decision to put Pakistan on a list of countries with lax controls over terror financing and money laundering is part of a push by the Trump administration to punish Islamabad over what it sees as inaction against terrorists operating…

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/with-u-s-push-pakistan-placed-on-terror-finance-list-1519401064
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ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal says the Islamic nation will expedite steps to curb terror financing and money laundering a day after the country avoided ending up on a terror watch list by a global task force.
Image result for Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, photos
Ahsan Iqbal

Ahsan Iqbal in Saturday’s remarks said Pakistan’s performance in the war on terror was better than others, but the country still faced pressure from Washington.

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Pakistan on Friday escaped a motion to put it on a ‘grey list’ by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which met in Paris. The US and Britain had jointly submitted a letter to the FATF, nominating it for placement on watch list.
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Pakistan was on a list from 2012-2015 and feared a return would deter foreign investment and hurt access to international financial markets.

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Pakistan need not kill or capture militants such as members of the Haqqani network that use its territory to launch attacks in Afghanistan but could push them across the border instead, a senior US official said on Friday.

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Evicting the militants would put them at risk of attack from Afghan and US forces trying to keep Afghanistan from becoming a launching pad for strikes on the West more than 16 years after the Sept.11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
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The United States is pressuring Pakistan to cease providing sanctuary — which it denies giving — to militants unleashing chaos in neighboring Afghanistan.
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On Jan.4, Washington said it would suspend some security aid to Islamabad to get it to end support for the Afghan Taliban and the allied Haqqani network whose attacks in Afghanistan have killed US, Afghan and other forces.
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The senior US official said in an interview that since the aid suspension — which US officials later said could affect as much as about $2 billion – the United States has not seen any sustained Pakistani effort against the militants.
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In the latest US-led push to spur Pakistani action, a global money-laundering watchdog decided to put the country back on its terrorist financing watch list, a Pakistani government official and a diplomat told Reuters in Islamabad.
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The US official dismissed suggestions pressure from Washington may backfire and suggested that Pakistan might start by taking smaller, tactical steps, including forcing such groups into Afghanistan before the spring fighting season begins.
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“I don’t think Pakistan is feeling its oats. I think it’s feeling pressure,” said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “We have their attention.”
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The official said the United States did not have a specific timeline to assess Pakistani cooperation and would be looking to see if Islamabad would take “tactical steps” such as “actions against … (the) Haqqanis, pushing them across the border.
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“They don’t have to arrest them or kill them … just get them into Afghanistan, disrupt some of the infrastructure that exists, make it harder for them,” the official added. “We are about two months away from the fighting season, so now is the time to do some of this.”
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Some in the US government doubt Pakistan will comply.
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In a Feb.13 statement to Congress, US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Pakistan would maintain “its ties with militant groups, restricting counter-terrorism cooperation” with the United States.

AP / Reuters

http://gulftoday.ae/portal/e3668257-e1ce-46de-8797-ef5611bc8c42.aspx

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Joint military operation out of question, Pakistan will tell Tillerson — Does China’s Money Run Pakistan? Or The ISI?

October 22, 2017

By Amir Khan

Published: October 22, 2017
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to arrive in Islamabad on his maiden visit later this month. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to arrive in Islamabad on his maiden visit later this month. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KARACHI: Pakistani policymakers have put together their agenda for talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who will arrive in Islamabad on his maiden visit later this month to enlist “Pakistan’s help for American effort to reach a peaceful solution in Afghanistan”.

Tillerson’s trip comes amid an uptick in Taliban violence in Afghanistan where US-led coalition forces have been battling to quell an increasingly bloody insurgency since the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001.

President Donald Trump’s top foreign policy aide would be told that Pakistan is willing to further strengthen the intelligence information sharing mechanism with the US in consonance with its national security, according to the agenda shared with Daily Express.

Pakistan offered US joint operation against Haqqanis: Khawaja Asif

“He [Tillerson] will be told that only Pakistani security forces will conduct counterterrorism operations on its soil – and that a joint operation with American or Afghan forces is out of question,” a source said.

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, who recently toured the US, said in a television interview that Pakistan has offered the United States a joint operation against terrorists on its soil. However, he later clarified that he never said Pakistan could allow foreign boots on ground.

According to sources, Pakistani officials have prioritised the issues to be taken up with Tillerson which include the recent strain in Pak-US ties; President Trump’s new Afghan strategy; Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process; and Pakistan’s reservations on India’s role in Afghanistan, etc.

Army says ‘joint operation’ on Pakistan’s soil out of question

Top government functionaries would also tell President Trump’s aide that the American policy of pushing Pakistan to ‘do more’ must end as no other country has done as much as Pakistan has in the global war against terrorism. “It would also be conveyed to Tillerson that Pakistan wants to promote relationship with the US on the basis of sovereign equality,” a second source told Daily Express.

The Pakistani side, especially the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) would stress the need for intelligence sharing in the fight against terrorists. The Americans would be asked to share actionable intelligence on terrorists on Pakistan’s soil, and Pakistani forces would take action against them.

US and Afghan officials allege that the Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban faction responsible for some the most deadliest attacks in Afghanistan, maintains safe havens inside Pakistan – an allegation Islamabad vehemently denies.

‘Seven JuA militants killed in NATO, Afghan forces raid’

Sources said that Pakistani officials would also ask Tillerson to impress upon the administration of President Ashraf Ghani to dismantle the sanctuaries of terrorists who are using the Afghan soil as a launching pad for mounting attacks inside Pakistan. Though Kabul denies any sanctuaries of Pakistani terrorists on its soil, but Omar Khalid Khorasani, the chief of TTP-Jamaatul Ahrar, was killed in a US drone strike in eastern Afghan province of Paktia earlier this month.

Pakistan would also called for revitalising and reenergising the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) for finding a political solution to the insurgency in Afghanistan, sources said. The quartet, which is made up of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States, met on October 16 in Oman after a long hiatus in an effort to resurrect the moribund Afghan peace process.

President Trump’s Afghan strategy envisages a greater role for Pakistan’s arch-rival India in Afghanistan. But Tillerson would be told that Islamabad could never reconcile to this idea because it is convinced that New Delhi wants to use the Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan.

Pakistan, Afghanistan to conduct joint border ops under US supervision: Kabul

The multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is also expected to come up for discussion during Tillerson’s visit. US Defence Secretary James Mattis said last week during a hearing of the US Senate Armed Services Committee that CPEC runs through a disputed territory — an allegation originally levelled by India to thwart the project.

The Pakistani side, according to sources, would make it clear to Tillerson that CPEC is very important project for the development of its economy and for regional connectivity and hence any attempt to make it controversial would not be acceptable.

Sources said that Tillerson’s visit is very significant as it would clarify Trump’s policy and set course for future Islamabad-Washington relations.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1538241/1-joint-military-operation-question-pakistan-will-tell-tillerson/

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How Does Pakistan Fit Into Trump’s Afghan Plans

August 22, 2017

ISLAMABAD — In announcing his strategy for Afghanistan, U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at neighboring Pakistan, an ostensible U.S. ally, ordering it to stop giving sanctuary to “agents of chaos, violence and terror.”

His predecessors have aired similar complaints, and U.S. officials and analysts have long accused Pakistan of playing a double-game with Islamic extremists — supporting those that threaten its rivals in India and Afghanistan while cracking down on those who target its own citizens.

Pakistan has been at war with the Pakistani Taliban and homegrown extremists for years, but it has long tolerated the Afghan Taliban and the allied Haqqani network, which are battling U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan has also struggled to combat other forms of extremism. Blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death and has been known to incite mob lynchings. Around 1,000 women are murdered each year in so-called honor killings, and attacks on Shiites and other religious minorities are on the rise.

How did the U.S. come to ally itself with Pakistan, and where do they go from here? The AP explains.

The U.S. backed Pakistan during the Cold War, and in the 1980s the CIA used it as a staging area for efforts to aid the Afghan Mujahedeen, who were then fighting to drive out Soviet troops. At the time, the U.S. viewed the Mujahedeen and Pakistan’s president, Gen. Zia-ul Haq — a military dictator who promoted a harsh version of Islam — as allies.

The U.S. renewed the alliance after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, as Pakistan again emerged as a key staging ground and supply route in the war to overthrow the Taliban and eliminate al-Qaida. The U.S. has since given Pakistan billions of dollars in military aid.

A DOUBLE GAME

Since the days of Zia and the Mujahideen, Pakistan’s security apparatus has supported or turned a blind eye to extremist groups in Afghanistan and the disputed Kashmir region, viewing them as a weapon against India, its main rival.

Pakistan has long feared that Afghanistan would ally with India against it, and sees the Taliban as the best tool for thwarting such an alliance. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the only three countries to recognize the Taliban when they ruled Afghanistan in the 1990s.

That approach became increasingly problematic as the U.S. waged its war on terror. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency is widely believed to maintain close ties to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. Their leaders live relatively freely in Pakistan — as long as they aren’t seen as acting against Islamabad’s political interests.

The ISI has long said it has limited influence over such groups, and uses it to pursue regional stability.

BIN LADEN AND A BREAKDOWN

Al-Qaida’s top leaders, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri, also found refuge in Pakistan after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, but they went into hiding. Whether Pakistan was ever able or willing to track them down remains the subject of heated debate.

U.S.-Pakistan tensions came to a head in 2011 when American commandos killed Bin Laden in a secret raid in Abbottabad, just a few miles away from one of Pakistan’s premier military academies. Pakistan once again insisted it had no idea about his whereabouts, and expressed anger over the U.S. carrying out the raid without giving it prior notice.

Shortly after the raid, Pakistan arrested a local doctor accused of running a fake vaccination program in order to gather DNA from Bin Laden, which he then allegedly passed on to the CIA. Pakistan has refused U.S. demands to release the man.

STILL A POWER BROKER

Relations remained chilly in the following years, as the U.S. repeatedly pushed Pakistan to do more to eliminate militant sanctuaries and trimmed military aid when it did not.

But Pakistan remains a major player in Afghanistan, and will need to be on board if Trump hopes to end America’s longest war. Pakistan has used its close ties to the Taliban to bring them to the peace table in the past and could do so again, but it will want to preserve its own interests, which appear to be in conflict with the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

Kabul and Islamabad routinely accuse each other of turning a blind eye to Islamic militants operating along their porous border, and relations plunge with every deadly attack.

LIMITED OPTIONS

Senior administration officials said ahead of Trump’s speech that he was considering further cuts in aid to Pakistan unless it reins in the Taliban and the Haqqanis, but that approach has failed in the past. Pakistan could respond by revoking U.S. transit rights, shutting off the main supply route to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Trump said he hoped to pursue closer ties with India, remarks that were sure to anger Pakistan. But whether that would lead Islamabad to re-evaluate its ties to militant groups — or double down on its support for them — remains to be seen. A tougher U.S. line might also push Pakistan into the arms of Russia, China and neighboring Iran.