Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

US missile strike kills six in NW Pakistan: security officials

Pakistani army chief in talks with US defense chiefs
Washington (AFP) March 22, 2010 - Pakistani army chief Ashfaq Kayani met with US defense chiefs Monday at the start of a week of wide-ranging talks to "deepen the cooperation" between Washington and Islamabad, officials said. The Obama administration views Kayani as a crucial figure behind Pakistan's stepped-up offensive against Islamist militants along the border with Afghanistan. Kayani had a near hour-long meeting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the top US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, on Monday afternoon after talks on Sunday at US Central Command headquarters outside Tampa, Florida. "Their discussion focused primarily on bilateral defense issues, but it was part of the larger US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue that is taking place in Washington this week," a Pentagon statement said.

The talks aim "to build upon efforts begun last year to broaden the relationship and deepen the cooperation between our two nations," it added. Kayani and Central Command chief General David Petraeus earlier "discussed ways to advance cooperation and collaboration in countering extremist violence in Afghanistan, as well as US support for Pakistan's struggle against violent extremists at home," Central Command said in a statement. Petraeus, who oversees US forces in a region stretching from the Gulf into Afghanistan and Central Asia, "commended Kayani on Pakistan's hard-fought gains" against the Taliban in the Swat valley and the military's "impressive" counter-insurgency campaign, it said. The Pakistani general was due to hold a dinner meeting Tuesday evening with Mullen, who has made a point of cultivating relations with Kayani. The Pakistani army chief's visit is part of talks this week touted by the administration as an effort to build a deeper relationship with Pakistan, which has long seen Washington as interested only in securing its military cooperation in the fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The talks chaired by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will cover not just security but also economic development, water, energy, education, communications, public diplomacy and agriculture, US officials said. During a January visit to Islamabad, Gates said Washington had let down Pakistan in the past and vowed to restore trust between the two allies. Kayani's visit comes after US officials praised Pakistan for the arrest of the Afghan Taliban's second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and follows reports of other Taliban figures captured in Pakistan. But the former UN envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, has said the arrests in Pakistan had closed a secret channel of communications with Taliban figures and undermined the Afghan government's attempts to negotiate a settlement with the insurgents. A spokesman for the Afghan president also said the arrests had a "negative impact" on efforts to broker a peace deal with the Taliban. Pakistan, one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban's 1996-2001 regime, is keen to shape any reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban and harbors concerns about arch-rival India's influence in Afghanistan.
by Staff Writers
Miranshah, Pakistan (AFP) March 23, 2010
Missiles fired from US drones Tuesday killed at least six militants in a restive Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan, security officials said.

"US drones fired two missiles on a militant vehicle parked outside a compound. At least six militants were killed and three others were wounded," a senior security official told AFP.

"The compound, being frequented by militants recently, was also destroyed in the attack," he added.

Another security official and two intelligence officials confirmed the missile strike and death toll.

The official said it was not immediately clear whether any "high value target" was present at the time of the attack, which took place in the suburbs of Miranshah, the main town in the lawless tribal district of North Waziristan.

Residents said that militants had started sifting through the debris and removing the bodies.

Militants immediately cordoned off the area around the destroyed vehicle and the compound, a local tribesman told AFP on condition of anonymity.

US drone attacks routinely target Taliban and Al-Qaeda commanders in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt, which Washington calls the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous region on Earth.

A US drone strike in Miranshah in February killed Mohammed Haqqani, a brother of Al-Qaeda-linked warlord Sirajuddin Haqqani, whose network is fighting against US and local forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

North Waziristan, which is infested with multiple militant factions, is increasingly the focus of the US drone war against Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters active in Afghanistan.

North Waziristan's prominence in the covert drone war has grown since a Jordanian Al-Qaeda double agent blew himself up killing seven CIA employees in a neighbouring Afghan province in December.

Under US pressure, Pakistan's military claims to have made big gains against Taliban and Al-Qaeda strongholds over the past year, following major offensives in the northwestern district of Swat and in South Waziristan.

More than 830 people have been killed in more than 90 US strikes in Pakistan since August 2008, with a surge in the past year as President Barack Obama puts Pakistan at the heart of his fight against Al-Qaeda.

earlier related report
Alleged private spy ring prompts wider US probe: Pentagon
Washington (AFP) March 23, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a study of US "information operations" after a Pentagon official allegedly set up a spy network with private contractors, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

A small team of senior military and defense officials will "conduct a quick look assessment" and report their findings within 15 days, press secretary Geoff Morrell told a news conference.

He said the assessment would look at the role of private contractors in what the military calls information operations, which covers a range of efforts including psychological warfare and public relations.

The study was "designed to provide the secretary with a factual baseline from which to determine whether or not systematic problems exist and if so, proper scope and focus of subsequent corrective action," Morrell said.

He said a separate Pentagon investigation was examining allegations that a Defense Department official had hired private contractors in an unofficial spy ring to help with manhunts of militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The official reportedly set up the network under the guise of an information-gathering program.

"There is an ongoing investigation by investigative bodies in this building including the IG (Inspector General) in the particulars of that case," Morrell said.

The allegations were reported first in The New York Times.

Some US officials told the paper they were concerned that the Defense Department employee, Michael Furlong, was running an "off-the-books" spy operation, and were not sure who condoned and supervised his work.

It was possible that Furlong's network might have been improperly financed by diverting money from a program designed to gather information about the region, according to the paper.

Gates on Monday said the role of private contractors in collecting intelligence in the field was "something I need to know more about."

Congress approved about 520 million dollars for "information operations" for fiscal 2010 and takes "a great deal of interest" in the subject, Morrell said.

A declassified Pentagon document written in 2003 stressed the importance of information operations, referring to efforts to plant stories in foreign media and plans to destroy enemy computer networks if necessary.

The document, "Information Operations Roadmap," was signed by former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and released in 2006.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
News From Across The Stans

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Commentary: Pakistan's about face
Washington (UPI) Mar 22, 2009
Pakistan's decades-long Afghan policy has undergone a radical change. Strategically, Afghanistan is no longer considered part of Pakistan's "western defense in depth" should India attack Pakistan from the east. The country's defense doctrine also included covert assistance for the Taliban insurgency. The game changer has been a steady rapprochement between the U.S. and Pakistani defense establ ... read more

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement