Gates says militant havens in Pakistan remain “a major threat” to Afghanistan

Kandahar City, Sept 4 (ANI): US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that the terrorists operating out of safe havens in Pakistan remain “a major threat” to Afghanistan, but cooperation between NATO-led forces and the Pakistani military has stepped up.

“Cooperation between the two is increasing and everybody understands that the sanctuaries on the other side of the border are a big problem,” the Daily Times quoted Gates as saying.

Gates said that he and Afghan President Hamid Karzai had built a consensus on the need to increase cooperation between the ISAF and the Pakistani military to “get rid of” insurgent sanctuaries.

However, he added that probability of direct US military engagement in Pakistan was “very low.”

Gates also expressed concern that the Pakistan Army might have to delay military operations in North Waziristan due to floods.

“But I think the solution here is the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghan, Pakistani cooperation to take care of these targets,” he said.

The Haqqani network, an insurgent group closely allied with the Taliban, dominates the tribal areas of North Waziristan. (ANI)

Pak Taliban threaten attacks in America and Europe

Dera Ismail Khan, Sept 4 (ANI): The Tehreek-e-Taliban(TTP) has threatened to launch terror strikes in the United States and Europe.

“We will launch attacks in America and Europe very soon,” the Daily Times quoted Qari Hussain Mehsud, a senior TTP commander, as saying.

Mehsud has also claimed responsibility for the triple suicide bombings at a Shia mourning procession in Lahore on Wednesday, which killed 33 people, and an attack on a Shia rally in Quetta on Friday, which claimed at least 55 lives.

“It’s revenge for the killings of innocent Sunnis,” he said.

Mehsud said that the group’s war was against America and the Pakistani security forces, but Shias were also considered enemies.

“Shias are also our target,” he said. (ANI)

Key financial backer of Ground Zero mosque once contributed to ‘terror group’

Washington, Sep 4 (ANI): Egyptian-born businessman Hisham Elzanaty, who is a key financial backer of the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero, has been accused of contributing to a US-designated terror group.

Elzanaty has made a significant investment in the Ground Zero mosque project, and also contributed more than 6,000 dollars in 1999 to the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, also known as HLF, reports.

The donations to HLF came two years before the federal government shut down the organization and designated it a terror group.

At the time, it was the largest Islamic charity in the US. It raised millions of dollars from Americans in the 1990s, telling donors the money would fund schools, orphanages and social welfare programs, FOX News reports.

Elzanaty’s attorney said that his client believed at the time that he was donating to an orphanage.

Federal investigators say the group was set up as a Texas-based charity, but in fact supported Hamas.

Many other donors to the foundation gave thinking their donations would fund humanitarian programs.

Five HLF leaders were convicted in 2008 of providing support to Hamas. (ANI)

60 killed in suicide attack on Shia rally in Quetta

Quetta, Sep 3 (ANI): At least 60 people have been killed and more than 160 got injured on Friday as a suicide bomber hit a rally being taken out in respect of Al-Quds Day in Quetta, according to media report.

The suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest when the rally organised by Shia students reached Meezan Chowk.

People started running in helter-skelter in wake of the blast, The Nation reports.

Officials at hospitals also said that they had received about 170 injured people.

Armed youths started firing after the blast. Many persons sustained bullet injuries, officials said.

The procession was organised by the Imamia Students’ Organisation to mark al-Quds Day and express solidarity with the people of Palestine.

No group claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. (ANI)

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claims responsibility for Lahore attacks

Islamabad, Sept 3 (ANI): The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for carrying out Wednesday’s triple bombing on a religious procession in Lahore, which killed at least 37 people, and left 250 injured.

TTP spokesman Qari Hussain said that they carried out the attack to avenge the assassination of its leader Ali Sher Hyderi.

“We have avenged the death of leaders and Ulema who have been killed at the behest of infidels,” Xinhua news agency quoted Hussain, as saying.

“This was a revenge, and we will also avenge the murder of other Ulema and party activists soon,” he added.

Referring to US’ decision to add TTP to its international terrorism blacklist, targeting the group and its leaders with financial and travel sanctions, Hussain said that the Jews and Christians are enemies of Muslims and “Jihad will continue against them”.

The TTP has links with Al Qaeda, and operates out of the tribal areas of Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding. (ANI)

Muslim extremists plotting to paralyze rail networks during London Olympics

London, Aug 30 (ANI): Terrorist outfits are plotting a rail mayhem to coincide with the London 2012 Olympics, it has been revealed.

Muslim prisoners are getting calls from terrorist masterminds instructing them to do Trackwork courses so that they use a prison-training scheme to sabotage train networks from the inside, reports the Daily Star.

It has been reported that the jailed extremists are joining NVQ courses run by the training firm Trackwork, which is backed by Network Rail.

They are expected to use their qualification to land jobs maintaining Britain”s railways after their release.

Within a period of six months in 2007, 500 ex-cons started rail jobs and 400 stuck with them.

A 39-year-old inmate, who has been released from Lindholme Prison, claims they see it as a perfect way to infiltrate the system and mount a terror attack.

“Many prisoners have mobile phones. And in the 14 months I was inside I heard six Muslims getting calls from terrorist masterminds instructing them to do Trackwork courses,” the paper quoted the inmate as saying.

“I heard the 2012 Olympics talked about. I didn”t hear anything about blowing up trains, but I did hear of plans to halt the network. They thought bringing the network to a standstill would cause more devastation than actually killing people,” he added.

The Network Rail said providing jobs to the released inmates was the biggest factor in stopping them re-offending and costing taxpayers billions. (ANI)

India, Afghanistan assert determination to defeat terrorism

New Delhi, Aug.25 (ANI): Agreeing that terrorism is the main threat undermining peace and stability in the region, India and Afghanistan have reiterated their resolve to effectively combat and defeat it.

During their meet, External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna and visiting Afghanistan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul agreed that: “There is a need to ensure terrorist and extremist groups targeting Afghanistan and other countries in the region are denied safe havens and sanctuaries.”

Reaffirming their determination to consolidate the multi-dimensional and long-term strategic partnership shared by them, in the common interests of the people of the two countries and the region as a whole, the two leaders agreed terrorism is the main threat undermining peace and stability in the region.

The duo shared their vision of Afghanistan as a hub linking Central and South Asia through easier trade and transit links and people-to-people exchanges.

They emphasized the strategic partnership between India and Afghanistan, based on symbiotic historical and cultural ties, and common interests and values.

India has already conveyed its desire to see a strong, stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan and reiterated its commitment to assisting Afghanistan in its development efforts in accordance with the wishes and priorities of the people of Afghanistan.

Expressing their satisfaction at the frequent and substantive consultations between the two sides, both Krishna and Rassoul underlined the need for an early operationalization of the India-Afghanistan Partnership Council to widen and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation between the two nations.

The visiting Minister thanked SM Krishna for his participation in the Kabul International Conference on July 20, 2010.

Minister of External Affairs congratulated Afghanistan on successfully hosting this very important Conference, and expressed the support of the Government of India for the outcomes of the Kabul Conference.

Rassoul’s current visit to India is part of the regular high-level interaction between the two sides, and reflects the importance given by both India and Afghanistan to their strategic and developmental partnership.

During his visit, the Afghan Foreign Minister also called on Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and met National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on a range of bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual interest.

Dr. Singh conveyed his best wishes to President Hamid Karzai and other leaders of Afghanistan.

He also expressed India’s strong support for the Government and people of Afghanistan in their endeavour to build a peaceful, prosperous and democratic nation.

“The visiting Afghan Foreign Minister has conveyed his country’s deep appreciation for the important and constructive role being played by India in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan,” said a joint statement issued by Ministry of External Affairs. (ANI)

Two Lashkar militants surrender in Doda

Doda (J-K), Aug 23 (ANI): Two Lashker-e-Toiba militants, including a district commander, surrendered before police and army officials in Doda District on Sunday.

Lashkar district commander Ghulam Mohammad Mingnoo, also known as Abu Rafiq-Ullah, who had been fighting for the group for the last five years, and another militants, Asif handed over one AK-47 rifle, three magazines, 90 rounds, two pistols and one Chinese-make grenade, said Ashok Gupta, Inspector General of Police, Jammu Division.

“I could not continue my education because of scarcity of financial resources and took to militancy. But now I am hopeful that after my return I would be able to continue my education and have a better future for myself. I am also hopeful that the department here would help me to reestablish myself,” said Mohammad Asif. (ANI)

‘Terrorist-sympathizing imam’ behind Ground Zero Mosque: Lazio

New York, Aug 22(ANI): New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio has labeled the imam behind the “9/11 Ground Zero mosque” a terrorist sympathizer.

The proposed 13-story 100 million dollar Islamic cultural center will be built two blocks away from the former site of the World Trade Center.

“New Yorkers have been through enough. Now a terrorist-sympathizing imam wants to build a 100 million dollar mosque near ground zero,” CBS News quoted Lazio, as saying while appearing in an advertisement.

“Where is this money coming from? Who’s really behind it?” he added.

In the advertisement, Lazio, one of the first politicians to come out against the project, also criticizes likely Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo for defending efforts to build the mosque.

Opposition to the Islamic center, which backers say will promote interfaith understanding, has become a national issue.

Earlier, Rick Scott, a Republican running for Florida governor, had released an ad in which he said that US President Barack Obama was “wrong” for suggesting that the project is about tolerance.

Tea Party groups had held rallies calling the project an insult to the families of those who died on 9/11.

Some opponents even claimed that it would be used to recruit Islamic extremists. (ANI)

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