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ہفتہ، 18 اگست، 2012

Taliban dirty tricks against Pakistan

 Nine armed terrorists equipped with guns and rocket launchers attacked Pakistan Air base before dawn (2.00 am) on 16th August. Air Force commandos successfully countered and killed all the terrorists. The base is known as home to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex that assembles Mirage and with Chinese support JF17 fighter jets and is located about 60 kilometres northwest of Islamabad.

Al-Qaeda and Tehreek-e-Taliban ‘combine’ have now struck at PAF Kamra Base, but operational preparedness of the armed forces, courage and conviction of the PAF foiled the attempt of militants to inflict damage at the Base. All the nine militants were killed by the Quick Response Force before they could reach the target. In fact, Pakistan’s success in encounter at Kamra has a message that Pakistan can meet any challenge posed to its security, which will negate the propaganda of the US and the West about Pak nukes landing in the hands of the terrorists. PAF officials confirmed all nine militants were killed, however, they said only one Pakistani soldier, Mohammad Asif, lost his life in the attack. The detractors of the military once again started raising doubts about security at key military installations. The reports of threat to nuclear assets published in New York Times and Indian media are also baseless. In fact, the US has never hidden its intentions about Pak nuclear assets. It has been looking for justification to secure the Pak nukes.

In domestic media, some commentriat resorted to scathing criticism on what they said a security lapse. They have to understand that without knowledge of the time and place when the terrorists will strike, there is always an element of surprise. Secondly, just like the army and other intelligence outfits continue improving their methods of intelligence-gathering and fighting with the terrorists, the militants and insurgents also learn new techniques and methods to fight the state apparatus. Finally, it has to be borne in mind that there can never be a foolproof system, and even the best of intelligence agencies of the developed countries including the US cannot avert such terrorists’ attacks. On 11th September 2001, Al Qaeda operatives had crashed planes in World Trade Centre; and the sole super power and its agencies could not stop that tragedy. Of course, there have been militants’ attacks on the best of the armies’ camps and barracks in the world.

It would be appropriate to name the few. On 18th April 1983, a suicide bomber exploded an explosives-truck near the US military barracks at Beirut Airport killing 241 marines. Minutes later, second bomb killed 58 French paratroopers at West Beirut. On June 25, 1996, in Saudi Arbaia a truck bomb exploded outside Khobar Towers’ military complex killing 19 American servicemen and injuring hundreds of others. In Iraq, terrorists had penetrated in Iraq’s greenbelt and other military camps causing colossal loss of army personnel. On 1st September 2004, hostage crisis began when a group of armed terrorists took more than 1,100 people hostage at School Number One (SNO) in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania, who had demanded an end to the Second Chechen War. A series of explosions shook the school, followed by a fire which engulfed the building and a gun battle between the hostage-takers and Russian security forces. Ultimately, at least 334 hostages were killed, including 186 children.

In October 2009, Pak Army commandos aborted an attempt of the terrorists and their backers who wanted to prove that Pakistan army is not capable of protecting itself and nation’s nuclear assets. Eight of the terrorists who stormed the General Headquarters were gunned down by the commandos. Another terrorist - Aqeel alias Usman believed to be the mastermind of the attack - was captured after being injured when he tried to set off some explosives. TV news channels had aired patriotic songs and saluted the sacrifices made by soldiers who were martyred or injured in the operation against the terrorists. Army personnel indeed deserve all the superlatives for having displayed exemplary military skill, courage, conviction and commitment for having raided a building manning security staff outside the boundary wall of the military’s General Head Quarters and freed 42 people that were held hostage by the terrorists. Our commentriat have to understand that Al Qaeda, which is in fact a fractured and exhausted organization and using the TTP for its ulterior motives, has unleashed propaganda against Pakistan’s armed forces. In March 2012, a video was posted on jihadist forums in which Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called upon Pakistanis to join the Arab Spring uprisings and revolt against their government, saying the country’s leaders were slaves of America. The video was not dated, but al-Zawahiri made a reference to a U.S. air strike in late November 2011 that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at Salala check post along the border with Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, Al Qaeda and the TTP are advancing the agenda of Pakistan’s enemies. He lauded the Arab Spring, the pro-democracy movement that swept through North Africa and the Middle East in 2011. But what Al Qaeda is going to gain from the Arab Spring? In fact, Al Qaeda’s obituary was written in Al Tehrir square, as the emerging forces stand for democracy, and abhor terrorism.

Al Qaeda, though a fractured outfit, it poses real threat to Pak Army through its collaborator - the TTP; therefore it must be taken seriously. The style, tone and tenor of propaganda by Al Qaeda indicate that it has come from a defeated and exhausted mind as a result of the inner disorganization and structurally damaged outfit. Pak Army has braved numerous terrorist attacks, and has the will and capability to destroy outfits of terrorists. Of course, Al Qaeda has caused quite some damage and done a great disservice to Pakistan by stirring sectarian conflict. In the first week of September 2010, a terror attack on Al Quds rally in Quetta killed 43 participants. Rumours were rife that militants of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi having link with the Taliban and Al Qaeda were behind this heinous act. Many analysts believe that Israeli agents had made inroads in Al Qaeda who influenced the decisions by Al Qaeda such as hijacking of the planes and crashing with the twin-tower without realizing the consequence. Of course, the fallout of 9/11 events has created insurmountable problems for the Muslims the world over.

 By Mohammad Jamil

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