May 7, 2009
VOA News

Pakistan Launches Air Strikes in Swat Valley

Civilians are trying to escape fighting in Pakistan's Swat valley as government troops step up their offensive against Taliban militants after the collapse of a peace deal in the region.

Military helicopters and warplanes were pounding suspected Taliban positions in Swat on Thursday.

Authorities temporarily relaxed their curfew in the region, and provincial officials were bracing for a flood of tens of thousands of displaced civilians.

A spokesman for Sufi Muhammad, the radical Muslim cleric who helped negotiate the short-lived cease-fire, said one of Muhammad's sons was killed Thursday when a bomb or artillery shell hit his house in nearby Dir district. . . .


Enver Masud, "Bin Laden Not Wanted for 9/11," The Wisdom Fund, June 8, 2006

Michel Chossudovsky, "The Destabilization of Pakistan," Centre for Research on Globalisation, December 30, 2007

[A race for the world's resources is underway that resembles the Great Game that was played in the decades leading up to the First World War. Now, as then, the most coveted prize is oil and the risk is that as the contest heats up it will not always be peaceful. But this is no simple rerun of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, there are powerful new players and it is not only oil that is at stake.--John Gray, "Control Oil and Water, Control the World," Observer, March 30, 2008]

Andrew Buncombe, Anne Penketh and Omar Waraich, "Pakistan Stares Into the Abyss," Independent, October 23, 2008

Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Faceless Taliban Rule Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province," Asia Times, January 29, 2009

Tariq Saeedi et al, "Unveiling the Mystery of Balochistan Insurgency," pakalert, February 6, 2009

"Afghanistan, Pakistan: Obama's War," The Wisdom Fund, March 28, 2009

[The purpose of such assistance is to "ensure that Afghanistan, Kashmir and Central Asia emerge as allies of a rejuvenated Pakistan" and to see that "the Indian economic dream becomes a nightmare," the army sources said.

This second objective is of value to China, which is visibly uneasy at the accelerating pace of development in India--M D Nalapat, "China's support to Pakistan's jihadists," United Press International, April 1, 2009]

"Noam Chomsky on US Expansion of Afghan Occupation, the Uses of NATO,", April 3, 2009

["Since 2006, we've killed 14 senior Al Qaeda leaders using drone strikes; in the same time period, we've killed 700 Pakistani civilians in the same area."--Doyle McManus, "U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan 'backfiring,' Congress told," Los Angeles Times, May 3, 2009]

S. Amjad Hussain, "Pakistani people want religious law, but not the Taliban's strict version," Toledo Blade, May 4, 2009

Ahmed Rashid, "Pakistan is facing galloping Talibanisation," Dawn, May 5, 2009

[Pakistan is bracing for its biggest ever displacement of people, as many as 800,000, as a military offensive against Taliban militants in their stronghold in the Swat valley appears imminent.

"This will be the biggest displacement of Pakistanis since independence," he said, adding about 1.6 million people live in Swat.--Zeeshan Haider, "Pakistan braces for flood of displaced from Swat," Reuters, May 6, 2009]

Anwar Iqbal, "US Bombing a Sovereign Country: US Lawmaker," Dawn, May 6, 2009

"FACTBOX - Conflict in Pakistan's Swat," Reuters, May 7, 2009

VIDEO: "Manan Ahmed on the Politics of US 'Hysteria' over Pakistan ,", May 7, 2009

[Pakistan is prepared to move more troops to the Afghan border as Washington has agreed to guarantee the de-escalation of Indian troop activities along the Pakistan border. . . .

According to reports, the US has told Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, currently in Washington, that if this plan goes ahead, US Predator drone strikes inside Pakistan against militants will immediately be stopped.--Syed Saleem Shahzad, "Al-Qaeda seizes on Taliban's problem," Asia Times, May 8, 2009]

[Once the Taliban regime refused to comply with Bush's unconditional order to turn over bin Laden, the U.S. Empire did what it had done and tried to do in so many other countries - Iran, Guatemala, Chile, Cuba, Indonesia, Iraq, and others - bring about regime change by ousting a recalcitrant regime that refused to comply with the unconditional orders of the U.S. Empire - a regime that the U.S. Empire itself had helped to create - and replacing it with a submissive pro-empire regime. In the process, the empire succeeded in embroiling the United State into one more foreign conflict, one that has now spread to nuclear-armed Pakistan.--Jacob G. Hornberger, "U.S. Foreign Policy Caused the Taliban Problem,", May 8, 2009]

Dan De Luce, "A giant US military base emerges in Afghanistan," AFP, May 8, 2009

Pepe Escobar, "Balochistan is the ultimate prize," Asia Times, May 9, 2009

Pamela Constable, "Taliban-Style Justice Stirs Growing Anger: Sharia Being Perverted, Pakistanis Say," Washington Post, May 9, 2009

Robert D. Crane, "Baluchistan: Pivot of Asia, Revisited,", May 9, 2009

VIDEO: "Conservative Historian Andrew Bacevich Warns Against Obama's Escalation of War in Afghanistan and Intensifying Use of Air Power in Region,", May 11, 2009

Pepe Escobar, "Pipelineistan goes Af-Pak," Asia Times, May 14, 2009

[The United States has a detailed plan for infiltrating Pakistan and securing its mobile arsenal of nuclear warheads if it appears the country is about to fall under the control of the Taliban, Al Qaeda or other Islamic extremists.

American intelligence sources say the operation would be conducted by Joint Special Operations Command, the super-secret commando unit headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.--Rowan Scarborough, "U.S. Has Plan to Secure Pakistan Nukes if Country Falls to Taliban,", May 14, 2009]

Declan Walsh, "Swat valley could be worst refugee crisis since Rwanda, UN warns," Guardian, May 18, 2009

[Pakistani leader Asif Ali Zardari is expected to discuss regional security with Iranian officials. He will also address economic relations, a gas pipeline and border security with Ahmadinejad--"Presidents of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan meet," CNN, May 24, 2009]

[As Pakistan is facing severe electricity crises, President Zardari is expected to seek Iranian cooperation with particular reference to the proposed 1000 MW power supply from Iran to Pakistan via Balochistan.--"Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan leaders discuss joint strategy to tackle terrorism," APP, May 24, 2009]

[The exodus of people forced from their homes in Pakistan's Swat Valley and elsewhere in the country's north-west may be as high as 2.4 million, aid officials say. Around the world, only a handful of war-spoiled countries - Sudan, Iraq, Colombia - have larger numbers of internal refugees. The speed of the displacement at its height - up to 85,000 people a day - was matched only during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.--Andrew Buncombe, "In Pakistan, an exodus that is beyond biblical," Independent, May 31, 2009]

[ . . . the real threat isn't the Taliban occupying urban territory. It's their ability to attract followers and sow chaos. One reason given for the conversions: US meddling. "The mujahideen are not the products of the madrasas," says Syed Yousef Shah, who heads one of the largest religious schools. "They are the product of American actions."--Ben Arnoldy, "Why the Taliban won't take over Pakistan: For reasons of geography, ethnicity, military inferiority, and ancient rivalries, they represent neither the immediate threat that is often portrayed nor the inevitable victors that the West fears,", June 7, 2009]

Sam Jones and Saeed Shah, "US missile strike kills 60 at funeral in Pakistan," Guardian, June 24, 2009

"Energy Wars: The Destabilization of Baluchistan," The Wisdom Fund, July 12, 2009

Shahan Mufti, "Funding the Pakistani Taliban,", August 7, 2009

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