Wednesday, August 5, 2009

North Korea requests Clinton.

It turns out that it was North Korea which had suggested that former President Bill Clinton would be the best person to come and negotiate the release of two journalists who had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in the Stalinist state.

The U.S. government — particularly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — had been working for months on trying to free the two journalists. The secretary of state reportedly proposed sending various people to Pyongyang, including Clinton’s former vice president Al Gore, to lobby for the women’s release.

But North Korea rejected Gore and other possible envoys like Senator John Kerry, Governor Bill Richardson and former ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg. Pyongyang wanted President Clinton and passed that word along through the two detained journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were making occasional phone calls to their families.

“In mid-July during one such phone call, Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee shared what the North Koreans had told them — that they would be willing to grant them amnesty and release the two Americans if an envoy in the person of President Clinton would agree to come to Pyongyang and seek their release,” a senior administration official said.

The families passed the request along to Gore, who co-founded the media group that employs the women. Gore then asked the Obama administration if the former president could make the trip.

Once the administration determined that North Korea would indeed release Ling and Lee if Clinton made the trip, the former president agreed to travel to Pyongyang on a “private, humanitarian mission.”

Before leaving for North Korea, Clinton was briefed by Obama national security officials and he also spoke with Gore and the families of the two women.

Once in Pyongyang, where he was greeted with the fanfare of a state visit as opposed to a private humanitarian trip, Clinton secured the women’s release after about three hours and 15 minutes in meetings and over dinner with President Kim Jong-il.

The U.S. government says it didn’t offer any quid pro quo. But it remains to be seen what, if anything, Clinton proposed in exchange for the women’s release.

The North Korean news agency called the Clinton-Kim talks “exhaustive” but maybe they were also exhausting? Especially if the North Korean supreme leader is as sick as reported.

And in the end, who has enjoyed more coming in from the cold and being in the global spotlight? Kim Jong-il or Bill Clinton?

Community police in Swat

MINGORA: The country has armed and appointed the first community police force in Swat, hoping to prevent a Taliban resurgence and bolster the capacity of security forces depleted by beheadings and mass desertions.

A calm — however tense — has returned to the district, more than three months after Islamabad ordered the military to wage a blistering air and ground assault against Taliban fighters who effectively ruled the area.a.

But civilian and military officials say peace depends on a properly trained and equipped police force, which, under an effective civil administration, must fill the security vacuum and prevent the Taliban return.

Very Important: New Swat police chief Sajid Khan Mohmand says the answer lies in his drive to recruit community police, particularly as hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians return to the valley.

“Community police have started to function at local police stations in the valley. They’ll work alongside regular police and help them deal with the Taliban effectively. We have already received 1,600 applications,” he said.

Regular police are not always from the neighbourhoods in which they work, so the community officers should help root out militants by telling them who’s who and keeping their finger on the pulse.

They are chosen by tribal elders for their clean credentials and strong physique and will earn a monthly salary of Rs 10,000. If needed on patrol, community police are armed with Chinese-made assault rifles, 10 rounds of ammunition and a bulletproof jacket, Mohmand said.

His ambitious plans to recruit nearly 4,000 men — should they come to fruition — would significantly bolster the ranks of the police force, which he estimates at around 2,200 in Swat.

The government claims the military has “eliminated” the Taliban, two years after they rose up under radical cleric Fazlullah to enforce repressive laws and more than three months after launching a new offensive under US pressure.

Law enforcement staff were frontline victims of the thousands of extremists who fought under Fazlullah.

Petrified by a campaign of intimidation and brutal beheadings, hundreds of police deserted as successive military operations failed to subdue the Taliban. Mohmand said at least 91 police officials were killed, mostly in bomb attacks and beheadings.

Best option: Retired brigadier and security expert Mahmood Shah said community police were the best means to restore peace in Swat but stressed that success or failure would depend on their being properly trained in policing and insurgency. “This is the best step to restore peace in Swat,” he said.

New NATO chief visits Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- New NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrived in Afghanistan on Wednesday for meetings with military and political leaders and troops on the ground just days after taking over the alliance's top post.

The former Danish prime minister, who assumed office Saturday, reiterated earlier comments that success in the alliance's near-eight-year campaign against Taliban militants in Afghanistan was NATO's top priority.

"We will stay and support you as long as it takes to finish our job and ensure a prosperous, peaceful Afghanistan," Rasmussen said after meeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Rasmussen said that while NATO's International Security Assisstance Force would help safeguard a presidential election later this month, Afghanistan must become responsible for its own security.

"NATO is here to protect your elections," Rasmussen said. "What we need are credible elections that will reflect the will of the people."

He said NATO has decided to establish a training mission for the Afghan army and police so they can manage security throughout the provinces.

The Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan has deemed about 700 of 7,000 polling stations not safe enough for voters.

Rasmussen also pledged to cut civilian casualties caused by NATO airstrikes "to an absolute minimum. The United Nations last month said NATO was to blame for 30 percent of 1,000 civilian deaths in the first six months of 2009.

Earlier, Rasmussen met with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. military official on the ground who has been tapped to conduct a 60-day assessment of the U.S. mission in the country.

Rasmussen said Monday that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan would remain in the country "for as long as it takes."

But, he added, the people of Afghanistan must take "lead responsibility" for its own security over his five-year term.

NATO's forces in Afghanistan have taken a battering in recent months, suffering heavy casualties as they attempt to dislodge Taliban fighters from areas of the country where they hold sway.

At least nine NATO troops died in Afghanistan over the weekend, following 75 deaths in July.

The ISI, Pakistan's notorious and feared spy agency, comes in from the cold
The entrance is suitably discreet: a single barrier near a small hospital off a busy Islamabad highway. Bougainvillea spills over long walls with barbed wire; a plain-clothes man packing a pistol questions visitors. Further along, soldiers emerge to check for bombs.

Then a giant electric gate slides back to reveal a sleek grey building that would not look out of place on a California technology campus. With one difference: nothing is signposted.

Welcome to the headquarters of the Inter Services Intelligence Directorate, Pakistan's premier spy agency. Powerful and notorious in equal measure, for decades the ISI has operated behind a dense veil of secrecy, impervious to allegations of election rigging, terrorist training, abduction and assassination. Many Pakistanis call it the "state within a state".

Now, though, the ISI is coming in from the cold. Over the past year the agency has invited a stream of western journalists into its swish, modern nerve centre. Over tea and PowerPoint briefings, spies give details of some of Pakistan's most sensitive issues – the Taliban insurgency, the hunt for al-Qaida, the troubled relationship with India.

"We've started to open up a little," said an ISI official authorised to speak to the press. "In the past, irrespective of whether we did something, we were getting blamed for it. Now we want to reach out and get our point of view across."

Yet rehabilitating the ISI's image would tax the most inventive spin doctor. For 30 years its covert operations have been at the sharp end of Pakistani policy, supporting Islamist extremists fighting Indian soldiers in Kashmir, and boosting the Taliban to power in Afghanistan.

At home the agency is viewed with awe and dread. It is the eyes and ears of military power, with huge phone and email monitoring capability and a wide network of informers.

Some Pakistanis refer to its agents – who often wear white shalwar kameez – as "the angels". Under President Pervez Musharraf they abducted hundreds of people, some of whom were allegedly tortured.

Recently, though, it has been the agency's turn to be on the receiving end.

Last May suicide bombers hit an ISI office in Lahore, killing a colonel; in the tribal areas militants have killed 57 agents and wounded 86. Security is tight at the Islamabad headquarters, where last month the ISI asked its next-door neighbour – the city authority – to move to another neighbourhood.

Influencing the local press has always been part of ISI operations, usually through bribes, blandishments or intimidation. But it rarely reached out to the foreign press, until now.

"This is totally unprecedented," said Stephen Cohen, a Pakistan expert at the Brookings Institution policy research organisation in Washington. "It seems to be part of a new openness in the military. They're worried about caricatures of Pakistan, especially in the foreign press, such as people saying the country is going to break up in three months."

The briefings, which take place about once a week, belie the agency's gritty image. Reporters are shepherded into a wood-panelled conference room with soft armchairs, a long table and a wall-mounted screen.

Officials in business suits, who could pass for middle management in any company, introduce themselves without full name or job title.

During the interview liveried servants ferry in trays of tea and fried snacks, served on ISI crockery. Smoking is allowed.

Officials speak openly, but journalists expecting them to gush state secrets may be disappointed. Every talk is carefully vetted in advance. "We're opening up but it's not a total glasnost," said the unofficial spokesman.

The ajar-door policy got off to a rocky start last year when the newly appointed ISI chief, Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha, told Der Spiegel that the Taliban had a right to "freedom of opinion". The agency later said he misspoke. Now, though, it is paying dividends. Two weeks ago a front page lead in the New York Times, highlighting Pakistani concerns with the US military surge in Afghanistan, was sourced from an ISI briefing.

The agency was pleased. "That was the first time [the journalist] carried both sides of the argument," said the ISI official. "I think we are getting there."

The bolder media policy is part of a wider global trend. The CIA and MI6 have always maintained relationships with selected journalists, an engagement whose importance has increased amid the furore over torture and abduction allegations.

For journalists, the challenge is to sift fact from propaganda. In a recent briefing to the Guardian, ISI officials suggested Indian officials had orchestrated last November's Mumbai attacks. The Indians wanted to cover up an investigation into Hindu extremism, they said.

Days later Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the massacre, told an Indian court how he had been trained by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani jihadi outfit with links to the ISI.

In the briefing the ISI also accused New Delhi of supplying arms and explosives to the Pakistan Taliban, even though the Taliban has killed Indians inside Afghanistan.

"Circles within circles," said an ISI official when asked to explain the apparent contradictions. "It makes an excellent plot for a Le Carré novel."

Western officials quietly support some ISI contentions, such as covert Indian support for nationalist rebels in Baluchistan. But more than anything the briefings reveal how the ISI's world view is framed by its decades-old enmity with India.

"They tell you a lot about themselves even when they don't know it," said Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA official, Obama adviser and trenchant ISI critic. The contradiction at the heart of agency policy, he said, is its support for Islamist militants: "That can't be removed by clever briefings."

Still, the old cliches about the spy collective being a "state within a state" or a "rogue agency" are out of date. These days it is said to be firmly in the grip of the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, who previously ran the agency for three years.

But the new openness does underscore the country's fragile balance of power. Two weeks ago The Hindu reported that the ISI's Pasha had invited Indian diplomats to deal with him directly, bypassing President Asif Ali Zardari's government.

"Formally, Zardari has a lot of power. But on the ground he's not too strong right now," said analyst and newspaper editor Najam Sethi.

Despite its new openness, the ISI remains in the shadows. One question stands out: as well as improving its image, is it ready to really change its stripes? At headquarters, nobody can give a straight answer. Circles within circles, as they say.
Founded in 1948 by a British army officer, Major General William Cawthorne, the ISI ballooned in the 1980s when the CIA entrusted it with billions of dollars of assistance for mujahideen rebels fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan. It is thought to have 10,000 employees, three-quarters of whom are serving army officers on secondments from other units. The remainder is a mix of civilians and retired officers.

Internally the ISI is divided into lettered sections, the most notorious of which is the S wing, which manages the relationship with Islamist militant groups. The C wing liaises with foreign intelligence services, and includes a CIA-funded counter-terrorism centre. Quite often, western spies complain, the C wing says one thing while the S does another.

Theoretically the ISI reports to Pakistan's prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani. In reality it answers to the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani. It is much more powerful than Pakistan's other spy outfits, Military Intelligence (MI) and the civilian Intelligence Bureau (IB).

18 alleged culprits held in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: In a massive crackdown against anti state elements, Peshawar Police on Wednesday in a successful operation arrested 18 alleged culprits.

On the special directives of SSP Operations Abdul Ghafoor Afridi, Peshawar Police in various raids against such culprits arrested 18 suspicious elements and later registered separate cases against them.

Police also busted several gangs and arrested a mobile snatcher Imran along with the snatch money 7000 rupees from his possession.

During initial investigations, Imran also took the name of his accomplice involved in this heinous act of crime.

Police has arrested the culprits and started search of other culprits in this regard.

Clinton to North Korea -- a matter of respect
There was no shortage of envoys ready to travel to negotiate women's release
Bill Clinton and John Kerry were only two envoys officially invited by North Korea
Clinton visit gives North Korea a level of respect it craves but rarely gets, writer says
Unclear if visit will bring North Korea back to the table on the nuclear issue
By Elise Labott
CNN State Department Producer
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former President Clinton's trip to North Korea was the culmination of weeks of quiet diplomacy with Pyongyang and subtle public statements aimed at freeing American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

Having secured the journalists' release, will the trip eventually coax North Korea back to the negotiating table?

There was no shortage of envoys ready to travel to North Korea and negotiate the women's release.

Some heavyweights were turned down by the North Koreans: former Vice President Al Gore, a co-founder of the media outfit the women were working for when they were arrested, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations whose previous missions to North Korea included negotiating the release of a detained American.

Lower-level envoys like former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and current Korea Society Chairman Donald Gregg, Sig Harrison, an expert on North Korean nukes who has traveled there several times, and Han Park, a scholar at the University of Georgia, all offered their services.

Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was also closely involved in coordinating efforts with the White House and State Department to free the women. According to sources intimately involved with the efforts, Kerry received an official invitation to visit Pyongyang to facilitate their release and open a larger dialogue on the nuclear issue after several weeks of quiet direct diplomacy between Kerry and his aides and North Korea.

Meanwhile, Washington and Pyongyang were sending signals that the time was ripe for such a mission.

After months of calling the charges against the women "baseless," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in early July expressed the journalists' families' "remorse" for the incident and said the United States was seeking "amnesty" for them, suggesting the Obama administration was admitting their guilt in a bid to secure their freedom.

At a meeting of Southeast Asian nations in Phuket, Thailand, Secretary Clinton urged North Korea to come back to the table and renew a dialogue with members of the six-party talks aimed at ending its nuclear program. She reiterated that the United States and its partners in the talks would push a "package of incentives and opportunities, including normalizing relations" between Washington and Pyongyang.

Then, on July 27, North Korea's official news agency KCNA broadcast a statement by the foreign ministry saying there was a "specific and reserved form of dialogue" available between the United States and North Korea, a signal North Korea-watchers say indicated the government was getting ready to sit down.

In Washington, the merits of sending Bill Clinton or Kerry -- the only two envoys officially invited by the North Koreans -- were being debated. In the end, the sources familiar with the discussions say, the former president's combination of stature and "unofficial" status made him the best choice to undertake a mission that the United States and North Korea agreed should be cloaked in a label of purely "private and humanitarian."

The former is far more important to North Korea than the latter. In 1994, former President Jimmy Carter traveled to North Korea, during Bill Clinton's own administration, to negotiate an end to the first North Korean nuclear crisis. Before he left, he asked his State Department briefers, "what does [then-leader] Kim Il Sung want?"

According to a participant in the room, Carter answered his own question. "What he wants is my respect," Carter told them. "And I am going to give it to him."

That's what Bill Clinton's visit gave North Korea: a level of respect the North Korean state so desperately craves but rarely gets.

Whether that is enough to bring it back to the table on the nuclear issue remains to be seen.

North Korea needs to extract itself from the corner it has backed itself into with its recent nuclear tests and missile launches. Even as Bill Clinton sat with Kim Jong Il, Philip Goldberg, a top administration official, is in Moscow seeking Russia's support to implement tough sanctions against North Korea.

Bill Clinton's mandate was solely to discuss the fate of the journalists. But administration officials have said for months that releasing the women could provide a face-saving opportunity for North Korea to come back to the negotiating table if it so desires. It was probably no accident that Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea's top nuclear negotiator, met Bill Clinton at the airport and stood with him in pictures.

Those pictures of the ex-president standing next to North Korea's leader also gave an ailing Kim Jong Il the image of a robust man in charge, which has escaped him in recent months as suspicions about his health have dominated press stories about North Korea.

In Release of Journalists, Both Clintons Had Key Roles

new york times
WASHINGTON — Former President Bill Clinton left North Korea on Wednesday morning after a dramatic 20-hour visit, in which he won the freedom of two American journalists, opened a diplomatic channel to North Korea’s reclusive government and dined with the North’s ailing leader, Kim Jong-il.

Mr. Clinton departed from Pyongyang, the capital, around 8:30 a.m. local time, along with the journalists, Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36, on a private jet bound for Los Angeles, according to a statement from the former president’s office.

The North Korean government, which in June sentenced the women to 12 years of hard labor for illegally entering North Korean territory, announced hours earlier that it had pardoned the women after Mr. Clinton apologized to Mr. Kim for their actions, according to the North Korean state media.

President Obama contacted the families of the women on Tuesday evening, according to administration officials, but the White House said it would withhold public comment until the former president landed on American soil.

Mr. Clinton’s mission to Pyongyang was the most visible by an American in nearly a decade. It came at a time when the United States’ relationship with North Korea had become especially chilled, after North Korea’s test of its second nuclear device in May and a series of missile launchings.

It ended a harrowing ordeal for the two women, who were stopped on March 17 by soldiers near North Korea’s border with China while researching a report about women and human trafficking. They faced years of imprisonment in the gulaglike confines of a North Korean prison camp.

And it catapulted Mr. Clinton back on to the global stage, on behalf of a president who defeated his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a bitter primary campaign last year, and who later asked her to be his secretary of state.

Mrs. Clinton was deeply involved in the case, too. She proposed sending various people to Pyongyang — including Mr. Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore — to lobby for the release of the women, before Mr. Clinton emerged as the preferred choice of the North Koreans, people briefed on the talks said.

About 10 days ago, these people said, Mr. Gore, who co-founded Current TV, the San Francisco-based media company that employs Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee, called Mr. Clinton to ask him to undertake the trip. Mr. Clinton agreed, as long as the Obama administration did not object.

The riveting tableau of a former president, jetting into a diplomatic crisis while his wife was embarking on a tour of Africa in her role as the nation’s chief diplomat, underscored the unique and enduring role of the Clintons, even in the Obama era.

On Wednesday in Nairobi, Kenya, Mrs. Clinton said, “I’m very happy and relieved to have these two young women, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, on their way home to their families.”

“I spoke to my husband on the airplane and everything went well; we are extremely excited they will be reunited,” she said, adding, “it was just a good day to be able to see this happen.” She said she would have more to say on the matter later, when the journalists and her husband landed in America.

Mr. Clinton’s trip to Pyongyang came just two weeks after North Korea issued a harsh personal attack on Mrs. Clinton, in response to comments she made comparing its nuclear test and missile launchings to the behavior of an attention-seeking teenager.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry objected to her “vulgar remarks” and called her “a funny lady” who was neither intelligent nor diplomatic. “Sometimes she looks like a primary-school girl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping,” a spokesman said.

The episode evidently did not stop consideration of sending her husband as an envoy. But the initiative was cloaked in secrecy and came after weeks of back-channel talks between the United States and North Korea through its United Nations mission. In addition to Mr. Gore, the White House’s list of potential candidates included Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

North Korea signaled its desire to have Mr. Clinton act as a special envoy in conversations with Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee, who relayed that message to their families in the middle of July, according to a senior administration official. The message was passed to Mr. Gore, who contacted the White House, which then explored whether such a mission would be successful.

Mr. Obama did not speak directly with Mr. Clinton before the mission. But his national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, contacted the former president to sound him out. The senior official said the administration did “due diligence” with the North Koreans to ensure that if Mr. Clinton went, he would return with the journalists. He also denied that Mr. Clinton apologized as a condition of obtaining the pardons from the government.

As president, Mr. Clinton had sent Mr. Kim a letter of condolence on the death of his father, Kim Il-sung, according to a former official. For Mr. Kim, the former official said, freeing the women was a “reciprocal humanitarian gesture.”

Mr. Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke last year. American officials said they thought his declining health had set off a succession struggle, complicating the Obama administration’s dealings with the North.

The families of the American journalists issued a statement saying they were “overjoyed” by news of the pardon and thanked Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton. “We especially want to thank President Bill Clinton for taking on such an arduous mission and Vice President Al Gore for his tireless efforts to bring Laura and Euna home,” the statement said.

Current TV said in a statement that it too was “overjoyed” and that the hearts of its employees went out to Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee for “persevering through this horrible experience.”

The Obama administration said Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee were in good health.

Administration officials said Mr. Clinton went to North Korea as a private citizen, did not carry a message from Mr. Obama for Mr. Kim and had the authority to negotiate only for the women’s release.

“This was 100 percent about the journalists,” said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the matter. “We knew Kim Jong-il would probably seek a meeting with Clinton. But that’s not what this visit was about.”

Still, North Korea, clearly seeing a propaganda opportunity at home and a rare chance for a measure of favorable publicity abroad, welcomed Mr. Clinton with the fanfare of a state visit. It broadcast a group portrait, as well as photos of Mr. Kim gesturing and talking to Mr. Clinton; of the former president accepting flowers from a North Korean girl; and of Mr. Clinton, seated across a negotiating table from Mr. Kim, each flanked by their aides. Among those greeting Mr. Clinton at the airport was Kim Kye-gwan, North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator.

Among those accompanying Mr. Clinton was David Straub, a former director of the Korea desk at the State Department, who had held talks with the North Koreans through what is known as the “New York connection.”

Also on hand was John Podesta, an informal adviser to the Obama administration who served as Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff in the final years of his presidency, when the former president yearned to travel to North Korea to clinch a deal that would have curbed its nuclear program.

That visit never happened — partly because the White House concluded that a deal was not assured — and President George W. Bush put the brakes on direct talks with North Korea, setting the stage for eight years of largely fruitless efforts to stop the North’s nuclear ambitions.

Given Mr. Clinton’s stature and his long interest in the North Korean nuclear issue, experts said it was likely that his discussions in North Korea ranged well beyond obtaining the release of Ms. Ling and Ms. Lee.

“It would be someplace between surprising and shocking if there wasn’t some substantive discussion between the former president, who is deeply knowledgeable about the nuclear issue, and Kim Jong-il,” said Robert L. Gallucci, who negotiated with North Korea in the Clinton administration.

Mr. Clinton has sought to find the right place in the Obama era, eager to play a role without stepping on the toes of the new president or certainly of his secretary of state.

The last time the two spoke, said the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, was in March, when Mr. Obama invited Mr. Clinton to a ceremony in Washington for signing legislation expanding the AmeriCorps program created by Mr. Clinton.

In interviews last spring, Mr. Clinton said that he would be happy to do anything Mr. Obama asked him to do, but that “I try to stay out of their way.”

Mr. Clinton’s mission may be less of an issue for Mr. Obama than for Mrs. Clinton. The same day he landed in North Korea, she arrived in Kenya, kicking off an 11-day journey through Africa — a visit now largely eclipsed by her husband’s travels.

Militant commander among eight killed in operation: ISPR

ISLAMABAD :Security forces in coordination with local Lashkars have killed eight terrorists including one of their commander while apprehended 14 others during ongoing clearance and cordon operation in Swat and Malakand, a media release of ISPR said on Wednesday.

According to details Local lashkar during search operation supported by Frontier Corps at Dog Darra killed four terrorists including a commander Shakoor. The Lashkar has surrounded the terrorists and are closing in rapidly.

Security forces conducted search operation at Kabalgram near Martung, Shangla and destroyed 10 terrorists hideouts while in an another search operation at Kuz Shaur near Chuprial apprehended eight terrorists.

In search operation near Mingora security forces apprehended six terrorists, and demolished five terrorist hideouts around Charbagh.

During search operation at Nigulai and Kuza Banda the security forces confiscated 3 vehicles including Toyota Surf,Land Cruiser and Potohar of terrorist commander Khurshid.

Security forces conducted search operation at Kotah near Barikot and killed one terrorist and recovered arms and ammunition while in search operation at Goratai three terrorists including an IEDs / bomb expert were killed.

Security forces raided house of a terrorist in Munz Banda and recovered 20 kgs explosives, detonators and lot of material required for preparation of IEDs.

So far, 242,259 cash cards have been distributed amongst the IDPs of Malakand as Rs 5.45 billion have been withdrawn.

Baitullah’s wife killed in South Waziristan drone strike

PESHAWAR: The wife of Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud was one of three killed on Wednesday in a missile strike by a suspected US drone in South Waziristan region on the Afghan border, a relative said.

‘I confirm that the female that was killed in the strike was the wife of Baitullah Mehsud,’ the relative told Reuters by telephone.

The missile had struck the house of Baitullah Mehsud’s father-in-law

An intelligence official told Reuters two militants were killed in the attack.

Mehsud’s whereabouts were not known at the time. The relative who spoke to Reuters did not want to be identified.