11.9.01

Archive for the ‘Pakistan and Afghanistan’ Category

President Obama’s Speech on Announcing Death of Osama bin Laden

In 9/11 News, al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Targeted Killing on May 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm

For more reactions see the companion website: The Death of Osama bin Laden

President Obama: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world, the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.

And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.

On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

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U.S. KILLS OSAMA BIN LADEN

In 9/11 News, al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Targeted Killing on May 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm

In the most momentous day in recent War on Terror history, President Barack Hussein Obama declares that U.S. has killed Osama bin Laden: (for more see the companion website, The Death of Osama bin Laden)

WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan on Sunday, President Obama announced.

In a dramatic late-night appearance in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama declared that “justice has been done” as he disclosed that American military and C.I.A. operatives had finally cornered Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader who had eluded them for nearly a decade. American officials said Bin Laden resisted and was shot in the head. He was later buried at sea.

The news touched off an extraordinary outpouring of emotion as crowds gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and at the ground zero site, waving American flags, cheering, shouting, laughing and chanting, “U.S.A., U.S.A.!” In New York City, crowds sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Throughout downtown Washington, drivers honked horns deep into the night.

“For over two decades, Bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol,” the president said in a statement televised around the world. “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that Al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”

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Gitmo Files: Would-Be Terrorists Sought 9/11 Follow-Up

In al Qaeda, Guantanamo Bay, Muslims and Arabs after 9/11, Pakistan and Afghanistan on April 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm

More reveals from the Gitmo leaks, though this is not so surprising:

WASHINGTON — He peers out from the photo in the classified file through heavy-framed spectacles, an owlish face with a graying beard and a half-smile. Saifullah Paracha, a successful businessman and for years a New York travel agent, appears to be the oldest of the 172 prisoners still held at the Guantánamo Bay prison. His dossier is among the most chilling.

In the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Paracha, 63, was one of a small circle of Al Qaeda operatives who explored ways to follow up on the hijackings with new attacks, according to the classified Guantánamo files made available to The New York Times.

Working with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the 9/11 planner who in early 2002 gave him $500,000 to $600,000 “for safekeeping,” Mr. Paracha offered his long experience in the shipping business for a scheme to move plastic explosives into the United States inside containers of women’s and children’s clothing, the files assert.

“Detainee desired to help Al Qaeda ‘do something big against the U.S.,’ ” one of his co-conspirators, Ammar al-Baluchi, told Guantánamo interrogators, the files say. Mr. Paracha discussed obtaining biological or nuclear weapons as well, though he was concerned that detectors at ports “would make it difficult to smuggle radioactive materials into the country,” the file says.

Mr. Paracha’s assessment is among more than 700 classified documents that fill in new details of Al Qaeda’s efforts to make 9/11 just the first in a series of attacks to cripple the United States, intentions thwarted as the Central Intelligence Agency captured Mr. Mohammed and other leaders of the terrorist network.

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Bergen’s “The Longest War” Reviewed

In al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan on January 18, 2011 at 8:56 am

NYTimes review of Peter L. Bergen’s “The Longest War:”

Al Qaeda And the U.S., Still Battling
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI
THE LONGEST WAR

The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda

By Peter L. Bergen

Illustrated. 473 pages. Free Press. $28.
By now there are already dozens of books — a few of them, groundbreaking works of reportage — about Al Qaeda and 9/11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Bush and Obama administrations’ management of national security.

What makes “The Longest War,” a new book by Peter L. Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst, particularly useful is that it provides a succinct and compelling overview of these huge, complex subjects, drawing upon other journalists’ pioneering work as well as the author’s own expertise in terrorism and interviews with a broad spectrum of figures including leading counterterrorism officials, members of the Taliban, failed suicide bombers, family and friends of Osama bin Laden and top American military officers.

For readers interested in a highly informed, wide-angled, single-volume briefing on the war on terror so far, “The Longest War” is clearly that essential book.

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“A lot of the evidence here died with the people:” CIA Warned about al Qaeda Double Agent

In al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Targeted Killing on October 20, 2010 at 7:46 am

New information based on a CIA review:

WASHINGTON — Three weeks before a Jordanian double agent set off a bomb at a remote Central Intelligence Agency base in eastern Afghanistan last December, a C.I.A. officer in Jordan received warnings that the man might be working for Al Qaeda, according to an investigation into the deadly attack.

But the C.I.A. officer did not tell his bosses of suspicions — brought to the Americans by a Jordanian intelligence officer — that the man might be planning to lure Americans into a trap, according to the recently completed investigation by the agency. Later that month the Qaeda operative, a Jordanian doctor, detonated a suicide vest as he stood among a group of C.I.A. officers at the base.

The internal investigation documents a litany of breakdowns leading to the Dec. 30 attack at the Khost base that killed seven C.I.A. employees, the deadliest day for the spy agency since the 1983 bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut. Besides the failure to pass on warnings about the bomber, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the C.I.A. investigation chronicled major security lapses at the base in Afghanistan, a lack of war zone experience among the agency’s personnel at the base, insufficient vetting of the alleged defector and a murky chain of command with different branches of the intelligence agency competing for control over the operation.

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Wikileaks and the Fog of (Afghanistan) War

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, Taliban on July 26, 2010 at 7:41 am

According to the New York Times:

A six-year archive of classified military documents made public on Sunday offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal.

The secret documents, released on the Internet by an organization called WikiLeaks, are a daily diary of an American-led force often starved for resources and attention as it struggled against an insurgency that grew larger, better coordinated and more deadly each year.

The New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel were given access to the voluminous records several weeks ago on the condition that they not report on the material before Sunday.

The documents — some 92,000 reports spanning parts of two administrations from January 2004 through December 2009 — illustrate in mosaic detail why, after the United States has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001.

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Predator Drones Provide Lots of Intelligence, Lots of Casualties

In Pakistan and Afghanistan on January 11, 2010 at 10:43 am

Candid camera for Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans:

US remote-controlled spy drones used over Afghanistan and Iraq are producing so much video intelligence that analysts are finding it more and more difficult to keep up with it, The New York Times reported.The newspaper said the Air Force drones collected nearly three times as much video over Afghanistan and Iraq last year as in 2007 — about 24 years? worth if watched continuously.

That volume is expected to multiply in the coming years as drones are added to the fleet and as some start using multiple cameras to shoot in many directions, the report said.

A group of young analysts already watches every second of the footage live as it is streamed to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and to other intelligence centers, and they quickly pass warnings about insurgents and roadside bombs to troops in the field, according to the paper.

But military officials also see much potential in using the archives of video collected by the drones for later analysis, like searching for patterns of insurgent activity over time, The Times said.

To date, only a small fraction of the stored video has been retrieved for such intelligence purposes, the paper said.

Who Was Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi? CIA Still Hunting for Clues on Afghanistan Terrorist Attack

In Other Terrorist Events, Pakistan and Afghanistan on January 8, 2010 at 9:20 am

Murky:

AMMAN, Jordan — Another blog posting appeared Thursday under the name of Abu Dujana al-Khorasani, eight days after the man who used that pseudonym blew himself up at a secret C.I.A. outpost in eastern Afghanistan. The headline: “When will my words drink my blood?”

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McChrystal: bin Laden, Taliban Key to Winning Afghanistan

In al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Taliban on December 9, 2009 at 11:53 am

Eight years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden still at large, still a threat, still being talked about as a key to winning Afghanistan:

Finding al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and rolling back a resurgent Taliban are necessary steps toward winning the war in Afghanistan, the top U.S. commander there told a Senate committee Tuesday.Bin Laden remains at large more than eight years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that triggered the Afghan war, and is widely believed to be hiding along the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said the world’s most wanted terrorist is “an iconic figure” whose survival “emboldens al Qaeda as a franchising organization across the world.”

“It would not defeat al Qaeda to have him captured or killed, but I don’t think we can finally defeat al Qaeda until he is finally captured or killed,” McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services Committee. But he said if bin Laden is hiding across the border, “It is outside of my mandate.”

In addition, he said, pushing back the Taliban — which allowed al Qaeda to operate from Afghanistan before 9/11 — is a “prerequisite” for destroying the terrorist network.

“To pursue our core goal of defeating al Qaeda and preventing their return to Afghanistan, we must disrupt and degrade the Taliban’s capacity, deny their access to the Afghan population, and strengthen the Afghan security forces,” he said.

Obama Expands Program for Drone Attacks in Pakistan

In al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Taliban on December 4, 2009 at 9:16 am

Obama has made drone attacks an integral part of the Afghanistan War, by bombing Pakistan more:

Two weeks ago in Pakistan, Central Intelligence Agency sharpshooters killed eight people suspected of being militants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and wounded two others in a compound that was said to be used for terrorist training. Then, the job in North Waziristan done, the C.I.A. officers could head home from the agency’s Langley, Va., headquarters, facing only the hazards of the area’s famously snarled suburban traffic. It was only the latest strike by the agency’s covert program to kill operatives of Al Qaeda, the Taliban and their allies using Hellfire missiles fired from Predator aircraft controlled from half a world away.

The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.’s drone program in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the president’s decision, announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. American officials are talking with Pakistan about the possibility of striking in Baluchistan for the first time — a controversial move since it is outside the tribal areas — because that is where Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to hide.

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