The Golden List of Al Qaeda Related Funds Connected To Certain USA Governmental Officals Just Released by CIA Associated New York Office

30 03 2009
United States :

The Golden List of Al Qaeda Related Funds Connected To Certain USA Governmental Officals Just Released by CIA Associated New York  Office

In March 2002, authorities in Bosnia, Sarajevo, will raid the offices of the Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) due to suspected funding of al-Qaeda (see March 2002). The raid will uncover a handwritten list containing the name of twenty wealthy donors sympathetic to al-Qaeda. The raid will Uncover a handwritten list containing the name of twenty wealthy donors sympathetic to al-Qaeda. The list, referred to as “The Golden Chain,” contains both the names of the donors and the names of the recipients (but does not mention amounts given). The list, referred to as “The Golden Chain,” contains both the names of the donors and the names of the recipients (but does not mention amounts given). Seven of the payments are made to Osama bin Laden. [ August 11-20, 1988 ). Seven of the payments are made to Osama bin Laden. [August 11-20, 1988). The Wall Street Journal will later note, “The list doesn’t show any continuing support for al-Qaeda after the organization began targeting Americans, but a number of the Saudis on it have been under scrutiny by US officials as to whether they have supported terrorism in recent years.” [ The “Bin Laden brothers.” Their first names are not mentioned. The Wall Street Journal will later note, “The list does not show any continuing support for al-Qaeda after the organization began targeting Americans, but a number of the Saudis on it have been under scrutiny by U.S. officials as to whether they have supported terrorism in recent years. “[The” Bin Laden brothers. “Their first names are not mentioned. They give money to Osama bin Laden. They give money to Osama bin Laden. UPI will later point out that “the discovery of this document in Sarajevo calls into question whether al-Qaeda has received support from one of Osama’s scores of wealthy brothers.” UPI will later point out that “the discovery of this document in Sarajevo calls into question whether al-Qaeda has received support from one of Osama’s scores of wealthy brothers.”The Golden List of Al Qaeda Related Funds Connected To Certain USA Governmental Officals Just Released by CIA Associated New York  Office
bullet Adel Batterjee, a wealthy Saudi businessman who is also the founder of both BIF and its predecessor, Lajnatt Al-Birr Al-Islamiah. Adel Batterjee, a wealthy Saudi businessman who is also the founder of both BIF and its predecessor, Lajnatt Al-Birr Al-Islamiah. He appears to be mentioned as a recipient three times. [ December 21, 2004 ). He appears to be mentioned as a recipient three times. [December 21, 2004).
bullet Wael Hamza Julaidan, a Saudi millionaire and one of the founders of al-Qaeda. Wael Hamza Julaidan, a Saudi millionaire and one of the founders of al-Qaeda. He is listed as a recipient. He is listed as a recipient. The US will declare him a terrorist financier in 2002 (see September 6, 2002 ). The U.S. will declare him a terrorist financier in 2002 (see September 6, 2002).
bullet Saleh Kamel, a Saudi billionaire, and the majority shareholder of the Saudi conglomerate Dallah Albaraka. Saleh Kamel, a Saudi billionaire, and the majority shareholder of the Saudi conglomerate Dallah Albaraka. In 2003, Forbes will call him one of the richest people in the world. In 2003, Forbes will call him one of the richest people in the world. The list has him giving money to Batterjee. The list has him giving money to Batterjee.
bullet Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi, another Saudi billionaire. Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi, another Saudi billionaire. The SAAR network, which is named after him, will be raided by the FBI in 2002 (see March 20, 2002 ). [ Khalid bin Mahfouz, another Saudi billionaire. The SAAR network, which is named after him, will be raided by the FBI in 2002 (see March 20, 2002). [Khalid bin Mahfouz, another Saudi billionaire. A lawyer for bin Mahfouz will later say bin Mahfouz did contribute a small amount to fund the mujaheddin in the late 1980s, but only at the behest of the US and Saudi Arabia. [ A lawyer for bin Mahfouz will later say bin Mahfouz did contribute a small amount to fund the mujaheddin in the late 1980s, but only at the behest of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. [
Late 1990s: British Intelligence Does Not Stop Possible Future 7/7 Bombings Mastermind from Recruiting for Al-Qaeda in London Late 1990s: British Intelligence Does Not Stop Possible Future 7 / 7 Bombing Mastermind from Recruiting for Al-Qaeda in London

Abu Hamza al-Masri (left) riding in a car with Haroon Rashid Aswat in January 1999. Abu Hamza al-Masri (left) riding in a car with Haroon Rashid Aswat in January 1999. [Source: Sunday Times] Haroon Rashid Aswat is a radical Muslim of Indian descent but born and raised in Britain. Abu Hamza al-Masri (left) riding in a car with Haroon Rashid Aswat in January 1999. [Source: Sunday Times] Haroon Rashid Aswat is a radical Muslim of Indian descent but born and raised in Britain. Around 1995, when he was about 21 years old, he left Britain and attended militant training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Around 1995, when he was about 21 years old, he left Britain and attended militant training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is said to have later told investigators that he once served as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. He is said to have later told investigators that he once served as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. In the late 1990s, he returns to Britain and becomes a “highly public aide” to radical London imam Abu Hamza al-Masri. In the late 1990s, he returns to Britain and becomes a “highly public aide” to radical London imam Abu Hamza al-Masri. Reda Hassaine, an informant for the French and British intelligence services (see After March 1997 and Late January 1999 ), will later recall regularly seeing Aswat at the Finsbury Park mosque where Abu Hamza preaches. Reda Hassaine to informant for the French and British intelligence services (see After March 1997 and Late January 1999), will later recall regularly seeing Aswat at the Finsbury Park mosque where Abu Hamza preacher. Hassaine frequently sees Aswat recruiting young men to join al-Qaeda. Hassaine frequently sees Aswat recruiting young men to join al-Qaeda. “Inside the mosque he would sit with the new recruits telling them about life after death and the obligation of every Muslim to do the jihad against the unbelievers. “Inside the mosque he would sit with the new recruit telling them about life after death and the obligation of every Muslim to do the jihad against the unbelievers. All the talk was about killing in order to go to paradise and get the 72 virgins.” Aswat also shows potential recruits videos of the militants fighting in Bosnia and Chechnya. All the talk was about killing in order to go to paradise and get The 72 Virgins. “Aswat thus shows potential recruit videos of the militants fighting in Bosnia and Chechnya. Hassaine will add: “He was always wearing Afghan or combat clothes. Hassaine will add: “He was always wearing Afghan or combat clothes. In the evening he offered some tea to the people who would sit with him to listen to the heroic action of the mujaheddin before joining the cleric for the finishing touch of brainwashing. In the evening he offered some tea to the people who would sit with him to listen to the heroic action of the mujaheddin before joining the cleric for the finishing touch of Brainwashing. The British didn’t seem to understand how dangerous these people were.” Hassaine presumably tells his British handlers about Aswat, as he is regularly reporting about activities as the mosque around this time, but the British take no action. [ Late June-July 7, 2005 ). The British did not seem to understand how dangerous these people were. “Hassaine presumably tells his British handlers about Aswat, as he is regularly reporting about activities as the mosque around this time, but the British take no action. [Late June-July 7, 2005). Some of the 7/7 suicide bombers regularly attended the Finsbury Park mosque, and may have been recruited by al-Qaeda there or at another mosque in Britain. Some of the 7 / 7 suicide bombers regularly attended the Finsbury Park mosque, and may have been recruited by al-Qaeda there or at another mosque in Britain. Counterterrorism expert John Loftus will later claim that Aswat in fact was working with British intelligence. Counterterrorism expert John Loftus will later claim that Aswat in fact was working with British intelligence. He will say that in the late 1990s British intelligence was trying to get Islamist militants to fight in Kosovo against the Serbians and Aswat was part of this recruitment effort (see July 29, 2005 ). [ He will say that in the late 1990s British intelligence was trying to get Islamist militants to fight in Kosovo against the Serbian and Aswat was part of this recruitment effort (see July 29, 2005). [
1988-Spring 1995: KSM’s Brother Works for Charity Allegedly Connected to CIA 1988-Spring 1995: KSM’s Brother Works for Charity Allegedly Connected to CIA

Zahid Shaikh Mohammed, brother of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), works as the head of the Pakistani branch of the charity Mercy International. Zahid Shaikh Mohammed, brother of 9 / 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM), works as the head of the Pakistani branch of the charity Mercy International. A book published in 1999 will allege that this charity, based in the US and Switzerland, was used by the CIA to funnel money to Muslim militants fighting against US enemies in places such as Bosnia and Afghanistan (see 1989 and After ). A book published in 1999, allege that this charity, based in the U.S. and Switzerland, was used by the CIA to funnel money to Muslim militants fighting against U.S. enemies in places such as Bosnia and Afghanistan (see 1989 and After). It is not known when Zahid got involved with the charity, but he was heading the Pakistani branch by 1988, when his nephew Ramzi Yousef first goes to Afghanistan (see Late 1980s ). [ Spring 1993 ). It is not known when Zahid got involved with the charity, but he was heading the Pakistani branch by 1988, when his nephew Ramzi Yousef first goes to Afghanistan (see Late 1980s). [Spring 1993). Documents and pictures were found suggesting close links and even a friendship between Zahid and bin Laden. Documents and pictures were found suggesting close links and even a friendship between Zahid and bin Laden. Photos and other evidence also showed close links between Zahid, KSM, and government officials close to Nawaf Sharif, who is Prime Minister of Pakistan twice in the 1990s. Photos and other evidence so showed close links between Zahid, KSM, and government officials close to Nawaf Sharif, who is Prime Minister of Pakistan twice in the 1990s. They also discover that Zahid was seen talking to Pakistani President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari during a Mercy International ceremony in February 1993. [ February 7, 1995 ). They also discover that Zahid was seen talking to Pakistani President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari during a Mercy International ceremony in February 1993. [February 7, 1995). Investigators learn Yousef had made a phone call to the Mercy office, and there is an entry in Yousef’s seized telephone directory for a Zahid Shaikh Mohammed. Investigators learn Yousef had made a phone call to the Mercy office, and there is an entry in Yousef’s seized telephone directory for a Zahid Shaikh Mohammed. Pakistani investigators raid the Mercy office, but Zahid has already fled. [ Pakistani investigators raid the Mercy office, but

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Lahore siege ends

30 03 2009

Lahore: Heavily armed terrorists gunned down at least 22 policemen, including eight officers, and injured 90 others as they stormed into police training centre near Lahore on Monday, barely a month after the brazen attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in this city.

The nine-hour hostage drama at the police training academy at Manawan near Lahore ended on Monday afternoon with police officials claiming to have killed or arrested all the attackers.

All the arrested terrorists have been taken to an unknown location.

Lobbing grenades and opening indiscriminate fire, the terrorists, said to number between 10 and 16, struck the academy as trainees prepared for the morning drill, killing guards at the gate and later holed up inside with hostages.

Authorities clamped curfew and called in Army and paramilitary rangers, who along with police, laid siege to the sprawling complex where an estimated 800 unarmed policemen were present.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that four terrorists were shot dead in the gunbattle.

But some reports also claimed that one terrorist managed to escape from the academy.

TV channels showed Pakistani commandos involved in the gunbattle with the terrorists celebrating on the rooftop of the academy building and firing in the air from their assault rifles.

Earlier, two attackers were reportedly shot dead while one suspected terrorist involved in the attack was arrested.

The death toll in the deadly strike stood at 20 while the number of injured was about 150.

Helicopters and armoured carriers were deployed by the security forces to monitor the situation inside, which authorities described as a hostage crisis.

Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik said the suspicion in the attack was on Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e Mohammad as intermittent firing and sounds of explosions continued to emanate from the centre.

While Malik said the attack bore resemblance to the Mumbai terror strikes, former Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub said it “is similar to the one on the Sri Lankan team”.

“It is the same type of people and same style of operation,” he said.

Prior to the attack, which started between 7-8 am, a series of at least five blasts were heard at the training centre at Manawan, located near the Wagah land border.

The explosions were followed by an exchange of fire between the attackers and policemen that continued for over two hours.

Most of the casualties occurred near the gate of the centre when the terrorists lobbed several grenades as they launched their attack and then fired indiscriminately.

Deputy Inspector General (Investigation) Mushtaq Sukhera told PTI that 850 recruits were present in the centre at the time of the attack.

Policemen and Pakistan Rangers, including snipers, had taken up positions on rooftops of buildings adjacent to the centre, Sukhera said.

Lahore Police Commissioner Azam Suleman said 34 people have been admitted to the hospital.

“I cannot say anything about the number of dead and do not want to speculate anything. It is an emergency situation right now,” he said.

An emergency was declared in all hospitals in Lahore and a red alert was sounded in the city.

Eyewitnesses, who escaped the carnage, said that militants clad in police uniforms and carrying backpacks, had entered the training centre and took up positions in several buildings and exchanged fire with the security forces.

M Latif, a recruit who escaped from the centre with a dozen colleagues, told PTI the policemen were busy training when the terrorists stormed the centre and threw grenades and opened fire.

A visibly shaken Latif said many recruits, all of whom who were unarmed, were still inside the centre.

Another recruit named Jehangir, who was injured, said he had seen about eight terrorists enter the centre and spray bullets at policemen. “A number of my colleagues fell as they were hit by bullets. Then blasts occurred. Everyone was running for their lives and I was hit by a bullet in my left arm,” he said.

Hundreds of policemen, including members of an elite anti-terrorism squad, surrounded the centre and cordoned off the nearby area. Police also fired teargas at the attackers as helicopters were used for aerial surveillance.

Dramatic footage aired by TV channels showed bodies of several policemen strewn across the ground. Dozens of policemen scaled a wall to escape from within the centre.

Police used armoured vehicles to bring the dead and injured out of the centre after rescue workers were unable to approach them because of the firing.

Lahore has witnessed several terrorist attacks since last year, including an assault on Sri Lankan cricket team on March 3 that left eight persons dead and over 20 injured. Suicide bombers also struck at the Federal Investigation Agency office and a naval college in Lahore last year.





Suicide blast kills 50 at mosque in Khyber

27 03 2009
Friday, 27 Mar, 2009 | 05:28 PM PST |

Source: DAWN

Tribesmen gather as they take part in rescue work at the site of a suicide blast near Jamrud in the Khyber agency tribal region, about 30 km from the Afghan border, March 27, 2009. — Reuters

LANDI KOTAL: A suicide bomber killed at least 50 people when he blew himself up in a crowded mosque near Pakistan’s Jamrud town, about 30 km from the Afghan border, on Friday, government officials said.

The bomber set off his explosives as an imam, or prayer leader, began the service.

Eyewitnesses believe the casualty figures are being under-reported and that at least 70 people have been killed, first by the explosion, and secondly by the collapsing of the mosque’s ceiling.

‘The moment the imam said Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest), the blast went off,’ said Tauseer Khan, 70, from a hospital bed in nearby Peshawar.

‘It was huge. I still can’t hear properly,’ said Khan, who had wounds to his hands and face. His son and grandson were also wounded.

Rahat Gul, a spokesman for the Khyber administration, said 50 people were killed and 75 wounded.

Between 250 and 300 people were in the mosque, said Tariq Hayat Khan, the region’s top administrator.

‘It was a suicide attack. The bomber was standing in the mosque. It’s a two-storey building and it has collapsed,’ Khan said.

Worshippers searched through piles of bricks, pulling out bodies and carrying them to ambulances in sheets and on rope beds, television pictures showed.

Police caps, prayer caps, prayer beads and mobiles telephones were later lined up on a wall outside the mosque.

Dawn’s Khyber Agency correspondent Ibrahim Shinwari explained that the Friday prayer congregation at this mosque is quite large as it is frequented by Frontier Corps personnel and members of the Khasadar force who are stationed at the adjacent check post. Moreover, those who travel to and from Torkham for work stop at this mosque to offer prayers. There are also many tribal households within a two-kilometre area from where people come to offer prayers.

TTP militants had warned of a blast of this nature, Shinwari said, adding that a shoot-out between militants and security forces at the nearby checkpost one month ago left one militant dead and two injured, and they were thus seeking revenge. Following that encounter, a TTP spokesman in Khyber Agency had said that there would be consequences if Nato supplies are not suspended and if FC personnel are not disbanded.

‘ENEMIES OF ISLAM’

Police initially said a bomb blew up at a police post next to the mosque, which is by the main road leading to the Khyber Pass and the Afghan border beyond.

‘It’s surprising, those who claim that they are doing jihad (holy war) and then carry out suicide attacks inside mosques during Friday prayers,’ Khan told a private television channel.

‘They are infidels. They are enemies of Pakistan. They are enemies of Islam,’ he said.





Chronology of blasts in Pakistan

26 03 2009
Pak police officers carry an injured person after a bomb explosion at an hotel in Islamabad. Photo Courtesy: AP.

Pak police officers carry an injured person after a bomb explosion at an hotel in Islamabad. Photo Courtesy: AP.

Chronology of blasts in Pakistan in 2008

Sat-Sep 20, 2008

Islamabad / Press Trust of India

Major attacks that rocked Pakistan since January 2008:

January 10: Twenty people killed in suicide bomb attack outside Lahore High Court.

January 14: Bomb kills 10 people at a market in Karachi.

February 9:
Suicide bomber kills 25 people at an opposition election rally in the northwestern town of Charsadda.

February 11: Nine killed in suicide bombing at an election meeting of an independent candidate in North Waziristan.

February 16:
Suicide car bomber strikes a rally of Pakistan People’s Party in the northwestern town of Parachinar, killing 37.

February 22: Roadside bomb hits wedding party in Swat, killing at least 14.

February 25: Suicide bomber kills army surgeon Lieutenant General Mushtaq Baig and seven others in Rawalpindi.

February 29: Forty-four killed in a suicide blast in Mingora in northwest Swat valley during the funeral of three policemen killed by a roadside bomb earlier in the day.

March 2: Suicide bomber kills 43 at tribal elders convention in the northwestern district of Darra Adam Khel.

March 4:
Two suicide bombers attack Pakistan Naval War College in Lahore, killing five people.

March 10: Suicide truck bombings target Federal Investigation Agency building in Lahore; 26 killed.

March 15:
Bomb blast at a restaurant in Islamabad kills a woman and wounds 10 others, including four FBI men.

July 2: Suicide car bomb outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad kills eight.

July 6:
Fifteen killed in suicide attack on policemen during a rally to mark the anniversary of Lal Masjid raid.

August 12: Roadside bomb attack targets Pakistan Air Force bus in Peshawar, killing 13.

August 19: Twenty-three killed in suicide attack on a hospital in northwestern Dera Ismail Khan town.

August 21: At least 78 killed in twin suicide attacks outside Pakistan’s main ordnance factory in Wah.

August 28: Nine persons, mostly policemen, killed in roadside bombing in North West Frontier Province.

September 6:
Thirty people were killed and 70 injured in suicide bombing near a police check post in Peshawar.

CHRONOLOGY-At least 350 dead in three months of Pakistan blasts

Thu Oct 18, 2007
Oct 19 – A suspected suicide bomber killed at least 123 people on Friday in an attack on former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto as she was driven through Karachi to greet supporters on her return from eight years in exile.

Here is a chronology showing the worst suicide bombings and attacks in recent months:

— JULY: More than 140 people are killed in about 13 suicide attacks after the siege and storming by security forces of Islamabad’s of Red Mosque. The worse attacks include:

* July 14: Suicide car-bomber kills 24 paramilitary soldiers and wounds 29 in North Waziristan; two security officials are wounded in another blast in North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

* July 15: Sixteen people, most of them paramilitary soldiers, are killed in suicide-bomb ambush on patrol in Swat valley in NWFP. Separately, suicide bomber targets police recruiting centre in Dera Ismail Khan in NWFP, killing 29.

* July 17: Suicide bomber kills 16 people outside court in Islamabad where country’s suspended chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, was due to speak. Separately, suicide bomber kills four, including three soldiers, in North Waziristan.

* July 19: Three suicide attacks kill at least 52 people. At least 30 are killed in southern town of Hub. In northwest city of Hangu a car bomber kills seven people. And at least 15 worshippers are killed at a mosque at army training centre in northwest Kohat.

* July 27: Suicide bomb attack in restaurant near Islamabad’s Red Mosque kills 13 people, most of them policemen.

— AUGUST: At least 13 killed in three suicide attacks:

* Aug. 20: Three paramilitary soldiers are killed and eight wounded when bomber rams checkpost in northwestern town of Thal.

* Aug. 24: Suicide bomber kills five soldiers and wounds 30 in attack on convoy in Waziristan. Hours later another suicide bomber kills another soldier in region.

* Aug. 26: Four policemen are killed and two wounded in suicide bomb attack in Swat valley.

— SEPTEMBER: At least 61 people killed in four suicide attacks.

* Sept. 1: Suicide bomber kills three paramilitary soldiers and two civilians in northwest Bajaur.

* Sept 4: Two suicide bombers kill 25 and wound 70 in Rawalpindi.

* Sept. 11: Suicide bomber kills 16 people in northwest Dera Ismail Khan.

* Sept 13: At least 15 soldiers killed in suicide bombing in an army canteen near Islamabad.

— OCTOBER:

* Oct 3: Landmine blast kills 14 bus passengers in North Waziristan.

* 19: At least 123 people killed by a suspected suicide bomb attack on former Benazir Bhutto as she is driven through Karachi after eight years in exile. The attack is one of the deadliest in Pakistan’s history.

Source: Reuters





Bomb Explodes at Sufi Shrine in Pakistan

26 03 2009
Bomb Explodes at Sufi Shrine in Pakistan

05 March 2009

A corner of the mausoleum of Sufi poet Rehman Baba damaged after an explosion in Peshawar, 05 Mar 2009
A corner of the mausoleum of Sufi poet Rehman Baba damaged after an explosion in Peshawar, 05 Mar 2009

Suspected Islamist militants in Pakistan have bombed the mausoleum of a 17th century poet revered in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

People regularly visit the marble shrine on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Peshawar to pay respects to Rehman Baba, a renowned ethnic Pashtun poet.

The blast damaged the structure of the shrine but there were no reports of injuries.

Days ahead of the attack, hardline Islamic militants had warned women against visiting the shrine. Muslim extremists such as the Taliban oppose men and women mingling together unless they are married or close relatives.

In another attack Thursday, one person died and at least 15 others were injured when a grenade was hurled during evening prayers at a mosque in the northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan.

Militant attacks have plagued Pakistan in recent years, especially in the Pashtun-dominated northwest.


Three terrorism attempts foiled

PESHAWAR/DI KHAN/ QUETTA: Law enforcement agencies on Sunday foiled three separate terrorism attempts, including two attempted bombings, in various parts of the country.

Peshawar police seized 10 kilogrammes of explosives packed with 400 ball bearings from a car on PAF Road and arrested two suspects. According to APP, the trigger mechanism was remote-controlled with a cell phone. Further investigation is underway to determine the intended target of the bombing.

Separately, Dera Ismail Khan city police defused a homemade 15kg bomb. The police, with the aid of the army and a bomb disposal squad, were responding to reports of a suspicious bag found near CRBC Chowk. DI Khan District Police Officer Iqbal Khan told Online the bomb was planted along the route of an army convoy.

Also on Sunday, Frontier Corps (FC) recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition and arrested seven people in Rakhani. The FC, on a tip-off, raided a house in Rakhani and recovered seven rifles, four sub-machine guns, two pistols, and 545 rounds of ammunition, Online reported.

Separately, unidentified men fired four rockets in Sui, however no casualties were reported. In another incident, a bomb blast occurred near a security forces camp in Khuzdar. While no casualties were reported, security forces injured two people during retaliatory fire. agencies

Police station attacked in Islamabad
Mon, 23 Mar 2009 16:08:29 GMT

A suicide bomb blast has rocked a police station in Islamabad and marred celebrations for the 69th anniversary of Pakistan’s Republic Day.

A Press TV correspondent on the ground in Pakistan has learned that the late Monday blast killed one policeman and two civilians.

Reports put those injured up to three.

The bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a special police branch office used by police intelligence and bomb disposal units close to the Sitara market in the center of Islamabad.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The number of the casualties is expected to rise. Police officers have cordoned off the area and rescue operations are underway.

Violence in Pakistan has surged in recent months amid a wave of attacks attributed to the Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists.

A week ago, 14 people were killed when a suicide bomber struck a bus depot on the outskirts of the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi.

RZS/AA





LS polls provide opportunity to terrorists: US thinktank

26 03 2009

26 Mar 2009, 0146 hrs IST, PTI

WASHINGTON: The Lok Sabha elections in India provide Pakistani-based and indigenous Indian militants a “good occasion” to carry out another
26/11-style attack, a prominent US thinktank said on Wednesday.

The Islamic militants, who had targeted to strike during the popular IPL cricket matches next month, would now find out another target to carry out another Mumbai-type terrorist attack.

“The ongoing election campaign could very well be one, said Stratfor,” an Austin, Texas-based private intelligence company, well known worldwide for its intelligence analysis.

“Shifting the IPL tournament to South Africa gives the Indians more forces to secure the country for the national elections, but this does not necessarily mean that the threat level during this time period has subsided,” said Stratfor.

“The elections still provide Pakistani-based and indigenous Indian militants a good occasion to target politicians, government buildings, and voting booths — to say nothing of the usual soft targets like crowded marketplaces, movie theaters, hotels or religious sites,” Stratfor said in its latest intelligence analysis on India.

“Given the jihadist insurgency also intensifying along India’s western frontier and Pakistan seemingly losing control of its militant proxies, another major Islamist attack in India is inevitable,” Stratfor warned.

“The Mumbai attack exposed Indian security forces’ lack of preparedness and coordination, causing a major uproar in the South Asian country,” it said.





US claims Gulf donors fund Taliban fighters

26 03 2009

By James Blitz in London and Daniel Dombey in Washington
source Financial Times

The US has told its Nato partners that funds from individuals in Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia now rival drug money as a source of financing for Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The US launched a high-profile push to reduce Gulf funding for the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other militant groups operating out of Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001. As a result, in recent years insurgent links to Afghanistan’s burgeoning heroin trade have become the principal focus.
But Richard Holbrooke, US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, expressed fresh concerns to Nato ambassadors during a briefing this week on the US’s strategic review of Afghan-Pakistan policy, which is expected to be announced on Friday.

“He said that the prime source of funding for the Taliban is not from narcotics but from private individuals in the Gulf region,” said a western diplomat, without giving further details.

Another official attending the meeting said Mr Holbrooke had suggested that much of the funding from poppy production appeared to go to individuals linked in some way to the Afghan government.

“There is real concern about funding for extremists in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region coming from the Gulf, which we understand rivals or exceeds the money they are getting from drugs,” said another diplomat, quoting estimates of $150m-$300m for insurgents’ drugs cash.

Diplomats made clear that the money did not appear to come from Gulf governments but from groups and private individuals.

The US has for some time been pushing Saudi Arabia to ensure that funds raised for charities do not ultimately finance Islamist militants.

The drive has been headed by Stuart Levey, Treasury undersecretary in the administration of George W. Bush, who was this week formally retained in his post by Barack Obama, Mr Bush’s successor as president. Mr Levey has pushed for years for Saudi Arabia to oversee effectively the international activities of Saudi-based organisations through a charities commission.

The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately reply to a request for comment late on Wednesday.

Matthew Levitt, a former Treasury official now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a US think-tank, said the Saudis had made improvements since the September 11 attacks.

But he said: “The Saudis are generally reluctant to concede either that there is Saudi-based financial support for terrorism or that Saudi counter-terrorism efforts are inadequate.”

The Afghanistan-Pakistan review will be one of the centrepieces of attention at next week’s Nato summit, with the US still looking for more aid from its European allies to boost Afghanistan’s security forces.

Some diplomats complain it is more difficult to secure consensus for such aid when the US review has not been released barely more than a week before the summit. Some Europeans worry that if the summit is seen as little more than a rubber-stamp for barely digested US conclusions on Afghanistan, it will be hard to win support for more resources for the conflict.