Kabul: Reclusive, one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead, an Afghan official said. The Taliban promptly denied it.
An Afghan official on the condition of anonymity confirmed to Xinhua on Wednesday about Mullah Omar’s death. However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid rejected the report as baseless, saying Mullah is “alive”.
He died two to three years ago, BBC quoted Afghan government and intelligence sources as saying.
There have been several reports of Mullah Omar’s death in the past. The US had announced a $10 million award for the rebel’s capture or death.
Mullah Omar, who was Afghanistan’s de facto head of state when the Taliban was in power from 1996 to 2001, had earlier disappeared from Pakistan’s Quetta city.
Mullah Omar’s Taliban regime in Afghanistan had sheltered Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the years prior to the September 11 attack on the US.
That prompted the US to declare war on the Taliban and overthrow its regime with the help of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters then fled to Pakistan in large numbers to regroup.
Mullah Omar was earlier widely said to be living in hiding in Quetta, a Pakistani city close to the Afghan border.
It is no surprise anymore than Pakistan army has been committing genocides in Pashtun and Baloch areas, Farhat Taj, Pashtun human rights activist further exposed how Pakistan army is supporting terrorists in their evil plan
In a shocking video, Pashtun human rights activist, Farhat Taj, research fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Research, University of Oslo, and a member of Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy exposed the dirty nexus between Pakistan army and terrorist organisations such as Taliban.
Pakistan army is time and again accused of committing genocidal crimes against Pashtun and Baloch civilians. Since last few years we have been seeing how Baloch and Pashtun activists became vocal against atrocities committed by Pakistan army on their soil. There are more than 30 million Pashtuns worldwide coming together for a free Pashtunistan. Farhat Taj also confirms in her video about Pakistan state sponsoring extremism, raising terrorists and brainwashing Pashtun children to manufacture “jehadi fighters”.
Umar Daud Khattak, Mission Commander, Pashtunishtan Liberation Army, said “Unity of Pashtuns across the imposed Durnad Line is an immense need of the time. Pashtuns are oppressed under Pakistani genocidal occupation, they displaced, killed, bombarded, their homes and villages are bulldozed, chemical weapons are used against them. Until now about 2 million Pashtuns are displaced by Pakistan Army and have killed about 200,000. It is mind-boggling numbers. Loy Afghanistan Movement is a good effort for political, diplomatic and social plateform for uniting Pashtuns across the Durand Line and restore the natural geography.”
Pakistan, a fake state fuelling terror for a long time is now getting backlash in home. The world now acknowledges that Pakistan is a failed state, the world now shares the grief of Baloch, Pashtuns and sindh people, its high time for the world to stand together against the manufacturer of terrorism, Pakistan. Pakistan army which is supposed to fight terrorism are actually the one raising terrorist, army person in day shift is a Talib in night shift. This is the state of affairs in Pakistan. I do hope that civil society of Pakistan will come forward and protest against such a failed state and barbaric military which is involved in genocide. Pakistan needs more of Tarek Fateh and Farhat Taj if they want to prosper as a progressive nation rather than an extremist centre of terrorism.
– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik
Ghazni, Washington October 11: Taliban militants have ordered mobile phone companies to shut down their networks at dark in central Ghazni province, provincial police authorities told VOA.
In a bid to mitigate risks, the insurgent group has asked telecom operators in Ghazni province to halt operations from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in order to make it difficult for the Afghan forces to get intelligence and tips on militants through mobile phones.
The insurgent group has destroyed several telecom towers in the restive province over the last three days.
“The recent uptick in airstrikes against militants is causing increasing casualties in Taliban ranks. The militants want to destroy telecom towers to disturb communications,” Fahim Amarkhil, a police spokesperson in Ghazni told VOA.
The Taliban has said Afghan and U.S. forces use the network signals to locate the group’s fighters.
In addition to Ghazni, the insurgent group has asked mobile phone companies to halt their networks’ coverage in several other provinces as well, an official of a major cell phone company in Kabul told VOA on the condition of anonymity.
The official added that in many cases, the operators have no option but to comply with what the insurgents want.
The disruption in telecom services have angered customers in Ghazni who rely on mobile phone as their only means of communication. The residents fear that if the government does not address the issue in a timely manner, the telecom companies may end their operation in the province.
“Some time ago, the Taliban had warned the telecom companies to pay taxes to the Taliban, not to the government, and the issue was resolved,” Jamil Weqar, an activist in Ghazni told VOA. “But this time, they destroyed the towers which has created many problems [for customers],” he added.
The telecommunication sector in Afghanistan has made tremendous progress following the fall of the Taliban and the establishment of a new government in the post-2001 era. With little to no access to cell phones and the internet 15 years ago, the country now has more than 20 million mobile phone subscribers, covering more than 85 percent of the population.
The communication blackout comes as the new U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is increasing military pressure on militant groups across the country. The new plan includes a more intensive use of airpower against militants.
The latest official data shows U.S. forces dropped 751 bombs in September against the Taliban and militants linked to the so-called Islamic State terror group in Afghanistan. This is the largest number of bombs dropped on militants in a single month since 2012.
“This increase can be attributed to the president’s strategy to more proactively target extremist groups that threaten the stability and security of the Afghan people,” according to a summary from the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command.
U.S.-backed Afghan forces are trying to regain control of areas and districts lost to the Taliban across the country.
The government has said it controls nearly two-thirds of the country’s 407 districts. Taliban reportedly control 33 districts, less than 10 percent of the national total. Around 116 districts are “contested” areas, according to a recent U.S. military assessment. (voa)
U.S. President Donald Trump in his speech called out Pakistan for harboring terrorist organizations, including the Taliban and Haqqani network
US considering strict measures like increasing diplomatic and economic pressure, and intensifying anti-terrorism drone strikes to keep terrorist sanctuaries under check in Pakistan
Pakistani ministers have rejected claims of hosting any terrorist sanctuaries
Islamabad, September 6, 2017 : Pakistan says it seeks to amicably resolve issues with the United States, cautioning “any [coercive] American action” would cause instability in the country.
The remarks by Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan came days after U.S. President Donald Trump singled out Pakistan for harboring terrorist organizations, including the Taliban and Haqqani network, which destabilize Afghanistan and plot attacks on American troops there.
Trump did not outline what actions he might order to pressure Islamabad to move against the alleged terrorist sanctuaries. A range of punitive measures reportedly is being considered, though, such as increasing diplomatic and economic pressure, and intensifying and expanding anti-terrorism drone strikes inside Pakistan.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Islamabad, Defense Minister Khan again rejected that there are any terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan. He said Pakistani security forces already have taken action against all terrorist groups and are in the process of eliminating their “remnants” in the country.
Minister Khan also cited U.S. military assessments that say less then 60 percent of Afghan territory is under the control or influence of the Kabul government.
“That is why we are all gravely concerned about the fact that 40 percent of Afghanistan has perhaps become a safe haven [for terrorists],” he said.
The Pakistani minister added that his country is not feeling threatened by the U.S. following the harshly worded Trump speech.
“However, we are maintaining an extremely strict monitoring of our land, sea and air frontiers,” noted Khan.
He sounded upbeat, though, about “better and quality future engagements” between Islamabad and Washington.
Khan said the Pakistani foreign minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, plans to travel to Washington for official talks after consulting key regional partners, including China, Russia, Iran and Turkey.
“We are trying to resolve the issues amicably because any American action would cause instability in Pakistan,” the defense minister warned.
BRICS on terrorism
On Monday, China, and the four other countries that comprise the BRICS group of major emerging economies — India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa — agreed to boost cooperation against terrorist organizations threatening the region.
A statement issued after a BRICS’ leaders’ summit hosted by China contained the names of Pakistan-based, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad militant groups blamed for orchestrating attacks against India. Pakistani authorities already have outlawed the organizations.
Responding to the BRICS’ announcement, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said it also is concerned about the threat posed by terrorism and extremism in South Asia.
In a brief statement, the ministry pointed to the presence of terrorist groups in “the ungoverned spaces of Afghanistan,” including the Pakistani Taliban and its associates like Jamaatul Ahrar, Islamic State and anti-China militants.
“Pakistan also remains concerned at the rise of extremist ideologies and intolerance in the region encouraging social stratification and systematic targeting of minorities,” the statement reads.
Islamabad alleges that India is partnering with the Afghan intelligence agency to support anti-state militants sheltering in Afghanistan to plan attacks against Pakistan, charges Kabul and New Delhi reject. (VOA)