Thursday, September 14, 2006

BAM: Bush, Afghanistan, Musharraf

Welcome to another edition of "World say one thing, Pakistan/Bush Administration say something else."

From an AFP article at Pakistan's Daily Times:

The Afghan government on Wednesday rejected remarks by President Pervez Musharraf that the Taliban had its “roots” in the Afghan people, saying it was a creation of Pakistan. Musharraf made the comment in Brussels on Tuesday, and said that Afghanistan’s Taliban militia had become more dangerous than the Al Qaeda network. “Everybody knows that the Taliban were created as a political, military movement by Pakistan’s intelligence ... and is still being supported by certain circles across the border,” an Afghan Foreign Ministry statement said.The president’s latest remarks were “entirely far from the truth, unfriendly and opposite of those commitments that he made during his last visit to our country,” the statement said.

"Musharraf and [Afghanistan's President Hamid] Karzai are expected to meet President Bush when they visit the United States this month for the U.N. general assembly," reports Reuters.

Got a lot to discuss, I suppose.

Musharraf's been on a roll lately:

In a speech to the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Tuesday, Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf blamed the United States and the West for "breeding terrorism in his country by bringing in thousands of mujahideen to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and then leaving Pakistan alone a decade later to face the armed warriors," according to an article at Pakistan's Daily Times published on Wednesday.

Back to the latest 'Where's Osama bin Laden' articles...

The Asian Times reports he's on the move (in a "double-cabin truck"?):

Osama bin Laden is on the move, and Tuesday's terror attack on the US Embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus, could be a tangible result of this.

Exclusive information obtained by Asia Times Online shows that the al-Qaeda leader recently traveled from the South Waziristan tribal area in Pakistan to somewhere in the eastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nooristan, or possibly Bajour, a s mall tribal agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Area of Pakistan in North-West Frontier Province.

According to a witness, bin Laden traveled in a double-cabin truck with a few armed guards - not in a convoy. Apparently, this is how he now prefers to move around.

You absolutely have to visit the link to see the silly cartoon which accompanies this story. I don't know. Maybe Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief Syed Saleem Shahzad is playing some kind of April's Fools Day gag...but if not I sure hope someone somewhere will be talking to him to find out more about what the "witness" saw. But it seems strange that Osama would take flight from Deadwood, Pakistan right after a hands-off treaty had been signed.

The Guardian has more on the "cold trail" which the Washington Post reported a few days ago:

Guessing the location of bin Laden's lair is the favored parlor game of South Asia, played out on the 2,400km Pakistan-Afghanistan border where the participants -- spies, soldiers and journalists -- believe he is hiding. It is a massive and daunting arena. Scraps of intelligence and educated guesswork slim the odds, but not much. Theories shift with the seasons. Three years ago, some put bin Laden in Pakistan's Waziristan, nested behind serried ranks of flinty pro-Taliban fighters. Last year it was Bajaur, a tribal agency further north, where a group of harried Arabs were spotted lugging supplies up a mountainside. This year's hot bet is closer to the Chinese border, in Chitral.

Strange how all the theories center on places in Pakistan isn't it?

More from the Guardian:

Peaceful, mountainous and sprawled across the lower Himalayas, until recently Chitral's main attractions were hiking, rare falcons and a rather rough version of horse polo. Then, one day last winter, three Americans arrived, and all that changed. The strangers checked into the Hindu Kush Heights, a luxury hotel with sweeping views over Chitral's main valley. The owner, Siraj ul Mulk, a genial former air force officer and a prince of the local royalty, offered his help.


As it turned out, the Americans were only interested in one tourist. By last May, word spread that the CIA or the FBI -- nobody was ever sure which -- had come to Chitral on the trail of bin Laden. Locals grew angry. A cleric organized protests and a politician kicked up a fuss in parliament. Reporters snooped around a house that the now-absent Americans had rented, noting a fitness machine and a satellite dish on the porch. The Americans never came back, leaving locals scratching their heads and wondering if the bizarre episode was a blessing or a curse.

"I'm thinking of spreading new Osama rumors," says Ul Mulk sardonically. "It seems a good way to bring in visitors."

What's up with the fitness machine?


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