350 suicide bombers training in North Waziristan


A would-be suicide bomber who failed to detonate his vest in an attack at a Sufi shrine on April 3 has told officials that hundreds of suicide bombers are currently training at camps in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

The failed suicide bomber, who was identified as Fida Hussain earlier this week, was captured after his vest failed to detonate outside the Sakhi Sarwar shrine in the district of Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab province. Hussain is a 14-year-old boy from North Waziristan.

In the April 3 attack, the two suicide bombers who successfully detonated killed 41 civilians and wounded more than 60. Hussain and the other failed bomber were to detonate their vests as rescue workers arrived at the scene of the first attack.

As he was dragged away from the scene, Hussain screamed that he wanted to kill the police.

"Let me go, I want to be a martyr," he yelled at the police. "I want to send all you policemen to hell!"

Hussain said he was among 350 men and boys who trained at camps in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan. He said he was trained in "class IX," according to Geo News. Hussain further stated that the camps are commanded by a Taliban leader who is known as Commander Sangeen Khan, who "used to constantly be away on travel," Dawn reported.

Both foreigners and Pakistanis are training in the camps, according to Hussain. He said that Uzbeks, Tajiks, Arabs, and Punjabis were among those in the Mir Ali camps.

Mir Ali is one of three major areas in North Waziristan that serve as havens for the Taliban, al Qaeda, and a host of Pakistani and South and Central Asian terror groups. The other two major areas are Miramshah and Datta Khel.

Mir Ali is a known stronghold of al Qaeda leader Abu Kasha al Iraqi. He has close links to both al Qaeda and the Taliban, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in January 2007. An Iraqi national, Kasha operates in Mir Ali and serves as the key link between al Qaeda's Shura Majlis, or executive council, and the Taliban. His responsibilities have expanded to assisting in facilitating al Qaeda's external operations against the West.

The suicide camps in Mir Ali, Miramshah, and Datta Khel are still in operation despite the covert US air campaign that targets al Qaeda, the Taliban, and allied terror groups in North Waziristan. The US campaign is on hold after the March 17 strike in Datta Khel that killed both Taliban and tribesmen.

Over the past few years, the US has resorted to launching airstrikes in Pakistan using unmanned Predators and Reapers as the Pakistani government refuses to strike the terror groups in North Waziristan.

Despite the known presence of al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist organizations in North Waziristan, and requests by the US that action be taken against these groups, the Pakistani military has indicated that it has no plans to take on Hafiz Gul Bahadar, a senior Taliban commander, or the Haqqani Network, the other major Taliban group based there. Bahadar and the Haqqanis are considered "good Taliban" by the Pakistani military establishment as they do not carry out attacks inside Pakistan. Yet Bahadar, the Haqqanis, and other Taliban groups openly shelter groups that carry out attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.



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READER COMMENTS: "350 suicide bombers training in North Waziristan"

Posted by Villiger at April 8, 2011 7:44 PM ET:

Pakistan is in effect showing two fingers to the rest of the world, with China's backing.

Here is a letter from the Pak govt in The Guardian:

"Pakistan's sacrifices

The Guardian, Saturday 9 April 2011
Article history
Your article claims "Nearly half of the terrorist plots against Britain come from Pakistan's lawless north-west frontiers" (Terrorism fight at heart of Cameron trip to Pakistan, 6 April). In the absence of any evidence or source to support this statement, such allegations against a country which is an ally in the war against terrorism and has suffered immensely in countering terrorists is not only unfair but strengthens the hands of terrorists.

While Pakistan needs no certification, its sacrifices in the ongoing war against extremism and terrorism are far greater than the combined losses incurred by the coalition partners. Lest your readers forget, the Pakistan high commission wishes to remind them that the genesis of the problems in that region lay in the legacy of the 1979 events which were one of the episodes of the Great Game between major powers.

Syeda Sultana Rizvi

Press counsellor, Pakistan high commission"
---
I say yes Pakistan does need certification. Its neighbours require it. Within Pakistan, the Shias require it. The Ahmadis, the Sufis, the Christians, the Baluchis and all peaceful Pakistanis who want a decent life and a chance to earn a living and educate their children, all require it. Europe requires it. The US requires it. The UN should require it but it is impotent. The World requires it and particularly so because of its proliferating nuclear arsenal and for renting out whole provinces to wholesale international terrorists.

And since Pakistan can't get a handle on its renegade provinces, we also require proof of its claim of sovereignity over these states.

What kind of country has to drop leaflets for its own (illiterate) people (in Waziristan) to be told that the militants are "defaming islam" in a bid to woo them from the terror-fold, without giving them any real support.

Pakistan is a very sick joke. And this news of young-kid-human-bombs certifies that without a shadow of doubt.

Links:

http://www.adnkronos.com/IGN/Aki/English/Security/Pakistan-Taliban-say-they-killed-former-ISI-officer-for-betraying-Muslims_311873670239.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/09/pakistans-sacrifices

Posted by ED at April 8, 2011 10:21 PM ET:

BRAVO ! VILLIGER I DO NOT THINK ANYONE COULD HAVE SAID IT BETTER.

IF THE TREND HOLDS TRUE THE MAJORITY OF THESE BOMBERS WILL BE USED IN PAKISTAN ITSELF. THE REST USED AGAINST CIVILIANS IN AFGANISTAN.

THEIR SUICIDE BOMBERS REALLY HAVE NOT BEEN EFFECTIVE AGAINST THE NATO FORCES IN AFGANISTAN.

Posted by sports at April 8, 2011 11:42 PM ET:

These guys (Taliban and AQ) remind me of how desperate Germany was at the end of WW2 when all they had left were old men and young boys to fight the allies. I always thought that was pretty sick. Today, as I read about them sending young defenseless boys to kill themselves is the most pathetic act I've ever witnessed. I don't understand nor can I comprehend how these leaders could commit such hideous acts. Amazing...

Posted by Paul D at April 9, 2011 7:07 AM ET:

And Pakistan Army wont invade North Waziristan because?

Posted by Doug at April 9, 2011 7:42 AM ET:

Bill, where are the drones?????????

Posted by gitsum at April 9, 2011 11:20 AM ET:

GOT B-52'S ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Posted by JT at April 9, 2011 12:21 PM ET:

I hope the kamikaze type attacks are indeed a sign of desperation. However, the difference with jihadists is that they seem to have been using this type of terror attacks for some time.

Posted by James at April 9, 2011 4:22 PM ET:

This is why I've said time and time again that if there is ever going to be a game changer to rectify this sorry state of affairs it will inevitably have to deeply involve India as a staunch ally in the WOT.

We should have been with India from day one of this thing. And, I won't hesitate to suggest that Europe, Russia or whoever else that has ears to listen to good and sound advice do the same.

We could (and should) at the very least work in unison and equanimity with India's intel services in a combined operational unit. This could be done at least initially behind closed doors. I can only hope and pray that it has begun already.

Posted by omar at April 9, 2011 8:03 PM ET:

http://www.brownpundits.com/2011/04/08/from-hospital-bed-pakistan-boy-who-took-part-in-suicide-mission-says-he-is-sorry/#comment-6769

Posted by S.Z at April 9, 2011 10:47 PM ET:

Based on all these evidences so what are the US waiting for? if there is really proliferating of Nuclear weapon then no grantee for US-national security anymore if you remember those Pakistani boy in Time-square NY. why they are sacrificing in Afghanistan while they know where they been trained, equipped and sent. As long as the producer and trainer ( Pakistan-ISI) is not rooted out there would no national security grantee in the West.

Posted by villiger at April 10, 2011 12:04 AM ET:

ED, thanks for your appreciation. Statistics would certainly bear out that the vast majority of attacks are contained within afpak.

Still, the citizens of New York, Madrid, London, Bali and Bombay would warn those of LA, Paris, Frankfurt, Delhi and Sydney to be extremely wary.

The point is that ALL ROADS LEAD TO ISLAMABAD. ie, the HQ of ISI and its twin, Rawalpindi.

The Pak people, still enamoured with their Army, have created this society. Violence runs through their blood, especially the Punjabis and the Pashtun. Religion is strangling their politics, having already utterly poisoned education.

If the Pak people want change, they need to change themselves and change their lot of jihadi mullahs. I don't see this happening in a month, indeed a year, full of Fridays.
---
James, so it comes down to what you are saying. Pakistan is incapable of changing course internally. So it''ll have to happen externally. The problem of Pakisatan (Freudian slip), Paqistan (another ;-) is not going to go away, no matter 2014 or what deadline one is going to set.

On game change, putting it simply, there are 2 key factors--who are the players? and what is the nature of the game?

Yes, Russia and India allying with NATO (and other existing allies) is a definite step-up for a formidable force, more global in its nature. And a step in the right direction to counter Chinese ambitions.

The game itself doesn't have to open with a full-frontal war with Pakistan with its 180m people. A more subtle game of dominoes, with a controlled, but assisted, implosion of Pakistan into its constituent parts would (a) be far less costly, (b) more likely be accepted, in parts even embraced, by Pak peoples, (c) be easier to manage in the long-run, (d) isolate AQ and other hard-core terrorists into more ram-able territories, (e) provide the free world an ally in Balochistan with sea access, and (f) generally result in a more productive economic environment sustainable in the long-term.

In other words, a win-win for all. Of course its not a bed of roses. More a no-pain-no-gain. But at least its a way out of this desperately sick situation in a downward spiral.

Oh yes, and we can add (g) to the list above--last, but definitely not least the PakArmy and its ISI will be dead.

What do you, and others here, think?

Posted by Charu at April 10, 2011 2:04 AM ET:

Well said Villiger! But it is Pakistan that will mostly reap this harvest of death; which makes the inaction by the Pakistan military all the more puzzling. They are either hand in glove with these terrorists or they have entirely lost control of their own monsters and cannot take them on because their troops would mutiny. Either way, this is bad news for the rest of the world because Pakistan is at the same time feverishly building its nuclear arsenal.

Posted by Infidel4LIFE at April 10, 2011 11:47 AM ET:

Pakistan IS the problem. Villager said it better than i could. I agree %100.

Posted by Villiger at April 10, 2011 1:28 PM ET:

Hi Charu, thanks!

Its a paradox and therefore some of all the bits you said. In addition, PakMil are masters of brinkmanship--this is going on now as we speak with the drones on hold. They also know they have never won a serious challenge in their life.

Finally the phrase "too smart by half" fits the Pak Establishment. These kind of people will often self-destruct. Not very intelligible, but then that's the way the cookie crumbles.

The nukes are another story and i would defer to nuke arms and military experts. I would hope that the Americans have the info and technology to pick them off before a possible launch. Anyway, IF the US, Russia and India do work together, i reckon they can be disengaged and extricated, possibly also with some inside help?

Posted by Charu at April 11, 2011 2:31 AM ET:

Huzzah, Villiger! That is as good a way out of this mess as any, and could snatch victory from a stalemate that is as good as a defeat. But it requires a certain skill, finesse and subtlety (and deviousness) that I feel is lacking among US policy makers today. The English used to have this skill set at the peak of their empire, but no longer. And today, I'm sorry to say, the Pakistanis appear to have it in spades.

Posted by Mr T at April 11, 2011 1:20 PM ET:

One additional note is that the powers that be in Pakistan will require payment before they allow anything to happen. They appear to be milking the proverbial cash cow right now. They would never let that go unless they get a "retirement" payment. Even then, they will need to have "power" of some kind. So, until they are paid off and are assured of their power and prestige, they have no reason to change the game.

That will require taking it from them.

Posted by Villiger at April 12, 2011 1:22 AM ET:

Charu, completely appreciate what you are saying. The times have indeed changed.

Fully recognising the risks of being an armchair strategist, one can't help but look at the strategy as announced and think, is that it?

Then i put on my rose-tinted glasses and think, surely there is another level to this. Perhaps a covert layer that by definition cannot be pronounced.

I suspect the level of information that Pak found from Davis and his contacts caught them off-guard, as regards the overall depth of the CIA network. Thats why the President stepped in and, that is also why the impasse continues despite his release.

At some level, i think the US is preparing for the eventuality of an imploding Pakistan, including the associated heightened and unprecedented risk of its nuclear arsenal. Its all very complex and horribly unpredictable.

Posted by Jonty at April 12, 2011 3:53 AM ET:

Pakistan has no way out of all these allegations but to say goodbye to this so called War on Terror. Pakistan has lost 34000 soldiers/civilians, a 64 Billions loss to its economy even than thankless establisments blame it. Both US and NATO combined have not lost so many personals what pakistan lost.
let US and Nato sort out this WOT on their own.

Posted by Villiger at April 12, 2011 7:49 AM ET:

Hi Mr T! If there are people who can tangibly help with the nuke disengagement/extrication aspect, one should definitely pay them off handsomely. I wonder if this is being planned now.

I'm sure even Kayani has a price. And, if not, some of his Generals anyway. Its in their culture. Even murder for money is fine, as we know. Money is even bigger than religion, especially in this day and age, in that part of the world.

The sad part is that the US is spending massively even now but what is there to show for it? That kind of implies (a) very poor negotiations, (b) very poor delivery and (c) a lack of understanding of the local realities. Or it may just mean that it is impossible to do business in/with Pakistan. But then why chuck money at them. Pay the rent for the logistics-supply-line and be done with it.

Posted by Soccer at April 12, 2011 1:37 PM ET:

I remember sitting in a cafe, and looking up at the monitor mounted on the high wall. The HD ticker was flashing with news updates from the wire. One of them said that Pakistan has diverted pretty much all the US aid given to them to focus on India and weaponry to be used against it in an eventual war.

I wonder how prosperous Pakistan could be if they didn't shoot their own foot so often.

And "Jonty", the "sacrifices" made by Pakistan mean nothing to their elites. Civilians, dispensable soldiers and policeman have died in the war. The elite could not care less about these people, they only care about staying in power and having a reasonable amount of control over jihadism in Central and South Asia. Besides, Pakistan constantly mentions their "sacrifices" to get sympathy.

Posted by Mr. Wolf at April 13, 2011 12:02 PM ET:

With this many bombers, and that many nuke sites, one great way to win support of the population would be to blow up a potential bomber with a reaper on the way to one of the secret nuke sites. ISI can claim to stop an attack (which they need more of in their press), and the US can claim a Joint Operations success. The only problem is releasing info on one of the "secret" launch sites. Nukes make news.

And Villiger; quality analysis, thank you.

Posted by Villiger at April 14, 2011 12:17 PM ET:

Mr Wolf/Infidel4LIFE, thank you Sirs.

Wolf, nukes makes news is so true. Something of the order you suggested, finessed properly could really be effective.

Defeats me why Pakistan won't play ball, other than their 'strategic depth' hobby-horse. I put it down to their internal divisiveness in their leadership which prevents them to behold a modern-state vision. And decades of mis-management resulting in a hard-place conditioning that renders them incapable to do the right thing and help themselves. They may just have crossed the point of no-return.