Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

After Times Square scare, Pakistan under greater pressure to go after militants?

May 4, 2010


Pakistan has come under renewed spotlight following the arrest of a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent for a failed bombing in New York’s Times Square and claims of responsibility by the Pakistani Taliban.

It is too early to confirm the plot was tied to any of a multitude of militant groups operating in Pakistan. Indeed, security experts have been sceptical about the claim by the Pakistan Taliban saying they doubt it has the reach to strike in Manhattan.

But if the Pakistani connection is established, the one area that will almost immediately come under focus is North Waziristan, the rugged tribal belt in the northwest that is home to a complex web of militant groups, more so since the Pakistani army launched an offensive against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan last October.

Bill Roggio writing in The Long War Journal quotes a U.S. official as saying that North Waziristan is the heart of al Qaeda’s external operations network. Previous al Qaeda plots, such as the attempted suicide attacks in New York’s subway system in September 2009 by Najibullah Zazi and his accomplices, were hatched in North Waziristan. Zazi, an Afghan citizen, travelled to North Waziristan for more than three-and-a-half months of training.

Paul Cruickshank, an alumni fellow at the NYU Center on Law and Security says al-Qaeda will continue to enjoy a safe haven in North Waziristan unless the Pakistani military extends its campaign there.  “The area in and around Mir Ali, the second-largest town in the tribal agency, has arguably been ground zero for al-Qaeda terrorist plots in recent years,” he says in a study for The New America Foundation on the militant pipeline between the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and the West.

It is quite possible that the United States which has in recent months sought to build a more trusting relationship with the Pakistan military may lean on it to mount a full-scale operation in North Waziristan. The military has resisted all along saying it is already too stretched trying to hold the areas such as South Waziristan and Swat that it has wrested back from Taliban control.

“Pakistan may have to prepare to make more sacrifices and wage a much more intense use of force such as search and destroy operations, more systematically,” Rifaat Hussain, head of the Department of Defence and Strategic  Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad told Reuters.

At one level, the militant havens in North Waziristan are proving to be a problem for the Pakistani army itself as it tries to secure the southern part.  Army casualties have been  rising in South Waziristan as a result of road side bombings, ambushes  and raids by militants operating from North Waziristan, the Dawn said in a detailed report last week.


This is the 11th attempt since 9/11 that New york has been targetted. Iraq was attacked because US thaught Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Pakistan is the centre of terrorism – this i hope you will agree too. Still it is being spared. Not just spared but financially rewarded by US every year. America will pay dearly for sleeping with the enemy.

Posted by seema | Report as abusive

The pseudo secular journalist and so called intelligentsia are equally responsible for these attacks. In the name of human rights etc. these terrorists are having a free run.

Even the hallowed Amnesty international is tainted by their association with the Taliban.

Posted by rajesh jogani | Report as abusive

Hey Seema, if Pakistan were the enemy it wouldn’t have lost over 8,000 soldiers and civilians fighting the terrorists since GWOT was launched. It wouldn’t have killed around 5,000 terrorists, and arrested the key planners of 9/11 and handed them to us. So keep your distorted views to yourself, and trying to mislead us with your propaganda.

Posted by Sharafat | Report as abusive

sharafat, dont be a joke. For a list on the terroist groups in Pakistan please google Pak terror groups. The list is endless, JeM, LeT etc, thrive there. Where is the question of killing terrorists. Pakistan harbours terrorists and runs terror camps and people having a distorted view of ISLAM (the latest being faisal shahzad) come to pakistan to train and try to terrorize civilians all over the world. But never forget the mills of GOD grind slowly but exceedingly fine. Those who live with the gun die with the gun. The writing is on the wall, you just need to remove your blinkers.

Posted by seema | Report as abusive

Sharafat please listen to this complete Bob Dylan poem Blowing in the wind:


…And how many times can a man turn his head,
and pretend that he just doesn’t see?

And how many ears must one man have,
before he can hear people cry ?
And how many deaths will it take till we know,
that too many people have died….?

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.
The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.

Out of the 60 odd yrs. of Pakistan independence the majority have been under military rule. Under the garb of ISLAM the rulers have done immense harm to outsiders and even more to itself.

Posted by rajesh jogani | Report as abusive

Thanks for a lively debate. But can I request that readers focus on the issues and refrain from attacks on each other or make sweeping generalisations ? Under the house rules, we will publish comments that advance the arguments, not those that are inflammatory.


I dont know who you are referring to but you must specify what was inappropriate. We are talking about terrorism emanating from Pakistan and that is all we have spoken of. In support of my argument you should read the article by the editor at Washington Times which says Pak is producing 10,000 jihadists every year. icle.aspx?cp-documentid=3888460

Posted by seema | Report as abusive

Is calling a spade a spade sweeping generalisations! Or maybe it is high time people stop being politically correct to stop the rot.

Posted by rajesh jogani | Report as abusive

Seema: The jokes are on you if Google is the authority (where anything posted by anyone can come up) for your ludicrous accusations. If Pakistan harbours terrorist, then how do you explain Pakistan being the leading target of terrorist attacks? Just read the congressional testimonies of State Department and Pentagon official to get in touch with reality!

Jogani: Nice lyrics for dreamers. Whether Paksitan has been under military rule is totally irrelevant. The terrorism we face today is because we left Afghanistan to fester after the Soviet defeat. So stop dreaming about finding your answer in Pakistan, the winds are blowing elsewhere.

Posted by Sharafat | Report as abusive

so you dont believe data that is thrown up by google. Try tying Switzerland terror groups and see the answers. Military rule is also ok. You probably think this nut Shahzad is also innocent. Daniel Pearl, Mumbai 26/11, 9/11, never happened and it is a big conspiracy. Like the other nut Ahmedinejad who thinks the holacaust never happened.

Many wars have been fought in the recent and distant past, Vietnam, Japan, Argentina, Britain, Russia, but their neighbours or they themselves dont complain.
People like you are in the habit of pointing fingers at everybody for all your ills.

And why is pak also a target. The answer is very easy(you wont need google to search), it is a self created monster to create trouble around the world and now it has come to haunt you.

Now it is very evident why Pak is a failed state (google will throw more light) because they have supporters like you. With friends like you they dont need enemies.

Posted by seema | Report as abusive

Ok, Sharafat so you didnt like the song. No problem. Maybe this one will interest you.

…Nayak nahi Khalnayak hoon main
Zoolmi bada dukhdayak hoon main…

Google can help you translate.

Posted by rajesh jogani | Report as abusive

Pakistan being a failed state is the dream of all those who have hated Pakistan since its inception, but the fact that it has not failed really burns these haters and all you can do is come up with irrational conclusions about how bad Pakistan is to console yourselves. All those things you are trying to pin on Pakistan were done without Pakistan’s support. Rather Pakistan caught the planner of Daniel Pearl’s kidnap and murder and he is awaiting execution, while the actual murderer was killed in a police shootout. Mumbai was done by individuals who had nothing to do with Pakistani government. 9/11 was planned in Afghanistan, and executed by Arabs – again nothing to do with Pakistan. Get your facts straight!

Jogani: What’s with the gobbledygook? Whatever that is, save it for your bedtime stories.

Posted by Sharafat | Report as abusive

Pakistan’s inception you said ? Pak died at the time of its birth. All the individual’s you talk about have full Govt. support like the famous don Dawood who lives in Pakistan. Pl continue to live in denial but also please take time out to refute the below article. Written by a Pakistani, teaching in a pakistani university. His facts are straight. -content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/edit orial/faisal-shahzads-antiamericanism-85 0

Posted by seema | Report as abusive

Ofcourse bedtime stories are good and factual horror stories from Pak are even better. Besides i think the article by Seema is brilliant you must read it.

Posted by rajesh jogani | Report as abusive

hi to jogani, seema and sharafat.
I have been following your sparring for the last couple of days and having a good laugh at your expense too. I have been singing songs and telling stories to my daughter and all thanks to you guys.

The problems of Pakistan are grave but India has its own share of problems. But let me tell you this author from dawn is simply fantastic. And the solutions proposed by him would do Pakistan and india a lot of good.

So continue sparring, as they say the show must go on but also do introduce such great authors once in a way.

Posted by asif | Report as abusive

Let us assume for arguments sake that the alleged actor migrated to the US prepared to indulge in the criminal act. So what does it prove. Does any one thinks that the would be terrorists would come from Iceland or north pole. Ofcourse the would be terrorist is bound to come from one of the countries where the US military is operating in the foreign country as an occupation army and causing death and destruction among the civilian population. The US should better not naturalise immigrants unless it is sure of the complete loyalty of ther individual.

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

Is it difficult to follow the advice of Sanjeev Miglani and address the issue in the article? Surely it would be very more constructive to discuss the behaviour of those who have migrated to the USA or UK and are apparently not loyal to their adopted country. This is very serious. My own thesis is that the USA or for that matter any other country to expect absolute loyalty from their migrant citizens if they show unfair and aggressive attitude towards migrant homeland where they or their parents were born. Remember the World War 2, when American citizens from Japan were rounded up(rightly or wrongly) and put under surveillance durind the war with Japan. I guess the USA should take similar action to protect their homeland if necessary, the only problem is that both Afghanistan and Pakistan Govts. are declared allies of the USA? Perhaps some one from India or Pakistan has a better idea?

Posted by rex minor | Report as abusive

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