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Pakistan Thinks US Has a Role in Malala Episode

Posted by yourpakistan on October 15, 2012

While President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have condemned the attack on Malala Yousufzai, describing it disgusting and tragic, Pakistani authorities believe the US was equally responsible because of the repeated refusal of US-led Allied Forces in Afghanistan to arrest or dislodge Mullah Fazlullah, who freely operates from Afghanistan and whose henchman have targeted Malala.

According to well informed diplomatic circles in Islamabad, the Pakistani establishment has decided to exploit the Malala assault to its own advantage by reminding the Obama administration that the grisly attack was carried out by the shooters of Mullah Fazlullah a.k.a. Mullah Radio operating freely from Afghanistan despite repeated requests by Pakistan to proceed against him. Fazlullah had ordered Malala’s assassination for challenging his extremist brand of Islamic Shariah in Swat and opposing the burning of the girls’ schools.

Fazlullah’s spokesman Sirajuddin Ahmed threatened on Friday to kill Malala’s father as well for speaking against them. He confirmed that two assassins from Fazlullah’s special hit squad had been dispatched to target the young schoolgirl. “We had no intentions to kill her but were forced when she would not stop speaking against us”, the spokesman added. The News was the first one to name Fazlullah as the prime suspect.

Fazlullah was the commander of the Pakistani Taliban in the Swat valley but had to flee to Afghanistan in the wake of a massive military operation conducted in May 2009. He then regrouped in Afghanistan and established strongholds in the Nuristan and Kunar provinces, posing a threat to Pakistan once again. He is responsible for a series of cross border ambushes conducted from eastern Afghanistan that have killed more than 100 Pakistani soldiers.

Fazlullah’s gruesome approach can be gauged from the fact that in a cross border ambush in June 2012, his henchmen kidnapped and beheaded 17 Pakistani soldiers and then released a video showing their heads along with their identification cards.

It was on June 25, 2012 that a spokesman for the Fazlullah group had admitted for the first time using Afghanistan as a springboard to launch attacks on the Pakistani security forces. Pakistani military authorities subsequently approached their US counterparts as well as the military commanders of the Nato forces stationed in Afghanistan, seeking the arrest of Fazlullah and the elimination of his hideouts. However, no action could be taken even to contain the growing cross border ambushes of Fazlullah who constantly stays in touch with his followers in the Swat district which is still under the control of the Pakistan Army. During his subsequent August 2012 visit to Washington, ISI Director General Lt General Zaheerul Islam had focused talks with CIA Director David Petraeus and other senior US officials on the repeated attacks by the Afghanistan-based Fazlullah group in the Pakistani border regions of Dir, Chitral and Bajaur. The ISI chief reportedly provided concrete evidence to senior CIA and American military officials about the hideouts of Fazlullah-led militants in Kunar and Nuristan provinces. He had further sought urgent steps by US and Nato forces to counter the growing activities of Fazlullah’s men, adding that they quite operate freely from the Afghan side of the border despite a heavy presence of the Nato forces there.

Though the American officials came up with an assurance that the Nato forces would proceed against Fazlullah and his alleged hideouts in Kunar and Nuristan, they did remind the Pakistani spy chief that Fazlullah was using the Afghan terrain to target the Pakistani security forces, just as the Haqqani network is using the Pakistani territory as a base to launch cross border attacks on the Nato forces in Afghanistan. In a way, the US officials had drawn a parallel between the reluctance of the Pakistani establishment to proceed against the Haqqani militant network and the unwillingness of the Nato forces to act against Fazlullah.

The US has long accused the Pakistani intelligence establishment of backing the Haqqani militants operating from its soil who cross the border to attack the Nato forces. Islamabad obviously denies the allegations as simply baseless and frivolous. In the process, however, Mullah Fazlullah has re-emerged as a major security headache for the Pakistani military establishment.

Source: The News Internationl


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