AfPak Commentary
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AfPak Commentary
Tracking the US End Game in Afghanistan & Pakistan and ensuing options available to both State and "Non-State" players in the resulting vacume created by a US/ NATO Withdrawal. No this is NOT a "Pull Out" it is a Withdrawal - an admission of defeat, in plain English ! Not a very "graceful" admission of defeat either.
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Is Saudi Arabia regretting its support for al-Qa’ida groups?

Is Saudi Arabia regretting its support for al-Qa’ida groups? | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
Patrick Cockburn examines the role of Saudi Arabia as the jihadists’ greatest ally – and asks whether the kingdom will be forced to change tack in the face of US impatience and anarchy in Syria

_________________________________________

It is a chilling five-minute film made by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), showing its fighters stopping three large trucks on what looks like the main highway linking Syria and Iraq. A burly bearded gunmen takes the ID cards of the drivers who stand nervously in front of him.

___________________________________________

 

“You are all Shia,” he says threateningly.

 

“No, we are Sunni from Homs,” says one of the drivers in a low, hopeless tone of voice. “May Allah give you victory.”

 

“We just want to live,” pleads another driver. “We are here because we want to earn a living.” The Isis man puts them through a test to see if they are Sunni. “How many times do you kneel for the dawn prayer?” he asks. Their answers vary between three and five.

 

“What are the Alawites doing with the honour of Syria?” rhetorically asks the gunman who by this stage has been joined by other fighters. “They are raping women and killing Muslims. From your talk you are  polytheists.” The three drivers are taken to the side road and there is gunfire as they are murdered.

AfPak Commentary's insight:

A further point coming across strongly in leaked American diplomatic traffic is the extent to which the Saudis gave priority to confronting the Shia. Here the paranoia runs deep: take Pakistan, Saudi Arabia’s most important Muslim ally, of which a senior Saudi diplomat said that “we are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants”. Pre-9/11, only Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates  (UAE) had given official recognition to the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan.

 

There is something hysterical and exaggerated about Saudi fear of Shia expansionism, since the Shia are only powerful in the handful of countries where they are in the majority or are a strong minority. Of 57 Muslim countries, just four have a Shia majority.

 

Nevertheless, the Saudis were highly suspicious of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and made clear they would have much preferred a military dictatorship in Pakistan. The reason for the dislike was sectarian, according to UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed who told the Americans that “Saudi Arabia suspects that Zardari is Shia, this creating Saudi concern of a Shia triangle in the region between Iran, the Maliki government in Iraq, and Pakistan under Zardari”.

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The Nuclear Shadow over Karachi- Untested Chinese nuclear technology could imperil the city of 20 million

The Nuclear Shadow over Karachi- Untested Chinese nuclear technology could imperil the city of 20 million | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it

 UNTESTED CHINESE NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY COULD IMPERIL THE CITY OF 20 MILLION.

 

 BY PERVEZ HOODBHOY, ZIA MIAN AND A. H. NAYYAR

 

Adebate has started about the wisdom of building two large Chinese-supplied nuclear reactors in Karachi. The fundamental concern is that the nearly 20 million people living in Karachi—about one out of every 10 Pakistanis—could be at risk from these reactors.

The two reactors, worth $4.8 billion apiece, are to be supplied on a turnkey basis by the Chinese National Nuclear Corp. A soft Chinese loan of $6.5 billion apparently proved irresistible to the cash-strapped Pakistani government. This brand of reactor, known as the ACP-1000, has not yet been built or tested anywhere. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), which will operate these reactors, insists the reactors will be safe.

 

But unlike Pakistan’s officialdom, which is determined to rapidly expand nuclear power generation, some Chinese industry insiders are fearful of the nuclear rush in their own country. With billions of dollars at stake, they suspect that money, schedules, and outsourcing to unqualified subcontractors may become more important than nuclear safety. The former vice-president of the China National Nuclear Corp. recently stated that, “Our state leaders have put a high priority on [nuclear safety] but companies executing projects do not seem to have the same level of understanding.” It is one of these Chinese companies that has designed and will build the Karachi reactors.

 

Nuclear supporters in Pakistan point to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and highlight that it visits nuclear power plants and makes sure they are safe. But the fact is that after the Fukushima accident, while addressing his board of governors, and the world, on March 21, 2011, the director-general of the IAEA stated categorically that, “We are not a nuclear safety watchdog … responsibility for nuclear safety lies with our member states.”

AfPak Commentary's insight:

A Must Read:

 

The authors Pervez Hoodbhoy, Zia Mian and A. H. Nayyar, correctly conclude that "Pakistan can take the path of developing safe, clean, renewable energy. It can focus on energy efficiency and conservation on a large and sustained scale. For the time being, it has chosen instead to massively expand its generation capacity from nuclear power plants. The siting of large and unproven nuclear reactors so close to Karachi carries great and unnecessary risks that could prove very costly—economically and in terms of lives. Fortunately, there is still time to reconsider them."

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Islamist group claims Kabul shooting of Swedish Radio reporter - Europe Online Magazine

Islamist group claims Kabul shooting of Swedish Radio reporter - Europe Online Magazine | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it

Islamist group claims Kabul shooting of Swedish Radio reporter
Europe Online Magazine
The group, Afghanistan's Islamic Movement Fidai Mohaz, said it shot the 51-year-old reporter, branding him a "spy" for the British intelligence service MI6.

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AfPak Commentary's comment, March 14, 2014 3:29 AM
An MI6 Spy !! What next ?
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U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford pushes for post-2014 US presence in Afghanistan

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford  pushes for post-2014 US presence in Afghanistan | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it

In the picture above:

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., International Security Assistance Force commander, watches an Afghan National Army soldier perform a call for fire exercise during a field artillery instructor graduation ceremony at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, Laghman province, Afghanistan, June 24, 2013.HILDA CLAYTON/U.S. ARMY______________________________ 

A full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year could precipitate an Iraq-style security breakdown, allowing al-Qaida to regroup there and again threaten the United States, the top U.S. general in Afghanistan told Senators on Wednesday.

 

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. reiterated U.S. military support for a NATO force of 8,000 to 12,000 troops — primarily provided by the United States — to train and advise Afghan forces after combat forces leave by the end of this year.

 

A few thousand more troops would be needed as well to conduct a counterterrorism mission against al-Qaida, which he said is currently in “survival mode.

AfPak Commentary's insight:

Gen Dunford, said "If we leave at the end of 2014, the Afghan security forces will begin to deteriorate, the security environment will begin to deteriorate, and I think the only thing to debate is the pace of that deterioration,” .


Observe the Picture above care fully : Gen Dunford hs sporting a slightly incredulous expression, as he  watches an Afghan National Army soldier perform a call for fire exercise during a field artillery instructor graduation ceremony .

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Afghan forces kill 3 insurgents in fierce firefight at former intel HQ in ... - U.S. News & World Report

Afghan forces kill 3 insurgents in fierce firefight at former intel HQ in ... - U.S. News & World Report | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
Afghan forces kill 3 insurgents in fierce firefight at former intel HQ in ...

 

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — It began with a rattle of gunfire when insurgents attacked a former intelligence headquarters in this southern Afghan city. For more than an hour Wednesday, automatic weapons and machine gun fire resounded as police and commandos hunted down the three attackers.

 

The battle, witnessed by The Associated Press, provided a rare firsthand glimpse of Afghan security forces in action without international support. The troops showed some weaknesses — lack of equipment and glitches in coordination — but eventually emerged victorious, killing the insurgents.

 

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which showed the sort of daily tests Afghan forces have faced since taking the lead in security duties while U.S. and allied combat troops prepare to withdraw by the end of the year. The Islamic militant movement has stepped up its campaign of violence ahead of April 5 presidential elections

AfPak Commentary's insight:

Just in case you forgot: Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban.

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Work Remains to Ensure Afghan Progress Endures, Dunford Says - Department of Defense

Work Remains to Ensure Afghan Progress Endures, Dunford Says - Department of Defense | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
Independent Online
Work Remains to Ensure Afghan Progress Endures, Dunford Says
Department of Defense
They also need continued support in addressing capability gaps in aviation, intelligence and special operations, he said.
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Top military brass reaffirms resolve to fight terror

Top military brass reaffirms resolve to fight terror | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
ISLAMABAD: Top leadership of all three armed forces of Pakistan Wednesday reaffirmed their resolve to fight the menace of terrorism under a comprehensive strategy within the policy parameters set by the political leadership.
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The Saudi pivot to Asia - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

The Saudi pivot to Asia - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
The visit of Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud to China this week is also a signal to Washington.

 

Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud’s visit this week to China — his second major state trip this year to Asia — underscores the kingdom’s pivot to the east. Long before the American pivot, Saudi Arabia has reoriented its economic and political priorities to South and East Asia.


Saudi Arabia’s turn to the east began almost a decade ago. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s first foreign trip after becoming king was to India and China in January 2006. It was also the first ever visit by a Saudi monarch to China. At the time, Saudi officials cited the trip at a symbol of the kingdom’s growing interest in Asia’s two largest emerging economies. Saudi Arabia is today China’s largest trading partner in the Middle East.

 

The kingdom’s closest ties remain with Pakistan. The Pakistani press has reported that Riyadh provided a $1.5 billion loan to Islamabad to help Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s effort to get Pakistan’s economy out of its slump. The Saudis have a close relationship with Sharif, who lived in the kingdom in exile during the Pervez Musharraf dictatorship. Military and intelligence connections between the two are also very close. Saudi Arabia has provided more assistance to Pakistan over the last three decades than to any other country.

AfPak Commentary's insight:

Saudi Arabia has provided more assistance to Pakistan over the last three decades than to any other country. Thus there is No Need for Pakistan to deny them the Nuclear Bomb - QED

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Obama’s unilateral withdrawal will pluck defeat from jaws of victory

Obama’s unilateral withdrawal will pluck defeat from jaws of victory | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
Obama's unilateral withdrawal will pluck defeat from jaws of victory, Afghanistan, Islamist terrorism, Though many Vietnam War protestors, including now Secretary of State John Kerry, trumpet America's withdrawal as a triumph, there is no reason to be proud of how we left

 

Secretary of State, National Security Advisor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger is, by all measures, a foreign policy heavyweight.  At a recent black-tie dinner, he stood — stoop-shouldered and peering imperiously over his signature thick, black-framed glasses — and remarked: “Unilateral withdrawal is not victory.”


Though many Vietnam War protestors, including now Secretary of State John Kerry, trumpet America’s withdrawal as a triumph, there is no reason to be proud of how we left.  While we can still debate the wisdom of going to war there, there is no doubt that our total abandonment of our allies left a bloody and shameful legacy.

 

Dr. Kissinger’s comments weren’t meant to recall ancient history.  He was lamenting history repeating itself.  The prospects are now high that Afghanistan will fail… needlessly.

 

The Obama Administration’s Afghan strategy is a virtual carbon copy of its withdrawal from Iraq.  It assumes that once the imminent threat of the collapse of the regime has passed, it’s okay to head for the exit.  But absence of imminent failure is a poor criteria for declaring victory — no better than Bush’s unfortunate high-five under the “Mission Accomplished” banner after the initial invasion of Iraq.


AfPak Commentary's insight:

The Obama Administration’s Afghan strategy is a virtual carbon copy of its withdrawal from Iraq. 

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‘Army values development of education sector’

‘Army values development of education sector’ | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it

Peshawar Corps Commander Lieutenant General Khalid Rabbani on Thursday said the Pakistan Army attaches immense importance to the development of education sector and is actively involved in nation building projects in areas cleared by the army.

 

He was addressing the inauguration ceremony of Model School Wana constructed by the Pakistan Army in South Waziristan Agency, said a press release by ISPR.

 

Lieutenant General Khalid Rabbani said that concerted and dedicated efforts were being made to improve literacy rate in the tribal areas. The Pakistan Army set up schools and cadet colleges where students are groomed to incorporate qualities of good and productive human beings.

 

Most of these schools and colleges were being constructed in the remote and far-flung areas to improve the standard of education of the so far underprivileged tribal people, he elaborated.

AfPak Commentary's insight:

Very Encouraging News

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Existing Afghan deal would cover US post-2014

Existing Afghan deal would cover US post-2014 | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has threatened to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan if a new security agreement is not signed by the end of the year, but there is no legal reason the U.S. has to resort to the "zero option," as administration officials have repeatedly claimed.

 

Legally, the 33,600 U.S. forces still deployed are covered by an existing status-of-forces document that took effect shortly after 9/11 and the start of America's engagement in Afghanistan. The existing agreement has no expiration date and prevents U.S. military personnel from being prosecuted under Afghan law — a must-have for status-of-forces agreements the U.S. signs with countries around the world.

 

"Unless the Afghans or the United States cancel the existing SOFA, it remains in effect," said retired Col. Manuel Supervielle, who was the lead lawyer for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2005 and 2006, worked on such agreements for U.S. troops stationed across the globe and advised on the drafting of the current bilateral security agreement that Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he won't sign.

AfPak Commentary's insight:

Seems that President Obama has learnt the rules of the "Zero Sum" Game fast.

 

However, U.S. officials privately acknowledge there is no legal reason that would force Obama to withdraw all troops if the new security agreement is not signed by Dec. 31, when the international combat mission ends.

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Pakistan After Bin Laden - YouTube

Suroosh Alvi of VICE travels to Bin Laden's infamous compound to see what people really think about living next to America's most vilified fugitive. Unsurpri...
AfPak Commentary's insight:

A wee bit dated but worth watching

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Iran can hunt Jaish-ul-Adl terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan: MP - Press TV

Iran can hunt Jaish-ul-Adl terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan: MP - Press TV | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
Press TV
Iran can hunt Jaish-ul-Adl terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan: MP
Press TV
»Back to Story. Iran can hunt Jaish-ul-Adl terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan: MP.
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Why the global 'war on terror' went wrong

Why the global 'war on terror' went wrong | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it

Why the global 'war on terror' went wrong BY PATRICK COCKBURN

 

"Al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and other jihadi groups are the offspring of America’s strange alliance with Saudi Arabia, a theocratic absolute monarchy, and Pakistani military intelligence."

The spectacular resurgence of al-Qa'ida and its offshoots has happened despite the huge expansion of American and British intelligence services and their budgets after 9/11.

 

It is now 12-and-a-half years since the September 11 attacks that put al-Qa’ida firmly on the map of global terrorism. The US has spent billions of dollars on its ‘war on terror’ to counter the threat and succeeded in killingOsama bin Laden three years ago.

 

And yet al-Qa’ida-type groups are arguably stronger than ever now, especially in Syria and Iraq where they control an area the size ofBritain, but also in Libya, Lebanon, Egypt and beyond.

 

Al-Qa’ida-type organisations, with beliefs and methods of operating similar to those who carried out the 9/11 attacks, have become a lethally powerful force from the Tigris to the Mediterranean in the past three years.

AfPak Commentary's insight:

In his conclusion the author very correctly points out that :

 

"Al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and other jihadi groups are the offspring of America’s strange alliance with Saudi Arabia, a theocratic absolute monarchy, and Pakistani military intelligence. If this alliance had not existed, then 9/11 would not have happened. And because the US, with Britain never far behind, refused to break with these two Sunni powers, jihadism survived and prospered after 9/11.

 

Following a brief retreat, it took advantage of the turmoil created by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, later, by the Arab uprisings of 2011, to expand explosively. Twelve years after the “war on terror” was launched it has visibly failed and al-Qa’ida-type jihadis, once confined to a few camps in Afghanistan, today rule whole provinces in the heart of the Middle East.""

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Pakistani Taliban Seek Release of 300 ‘Noncombatant’ Detainees

Pakistani Taliban Seek Release of 300 ‘Noncombatant’ Detainees | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
TTP negotiators say list includes women, children and old men, adding that their release would boost dialogue process.

 

The Pakistani Taliban have asked the government to release 300 people they say are noncombatants, as part of an ongoing peace process aimed at ending the extremists’ seven-year insurgency.

 

A list handed over by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan includes women, children and old men, a negotiator for the group said on Tuesday, saying their release would boost the dialogue process that began in February.

 

“The Taliban gave us a list of around 300 detainees during our recent visit to North Waziristan, which we have handed over to the interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan,” said Jamaat-e-Islami’s Muhammad Ibrahim. “The interior minister assured us he would look into the list and thoroughly investigate the matter.”

 

A spokesman for the interior ministry could not be immediately reached for comment on whether Pakistan is holding the noncombatants.

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Former Pakistani leader's trial slides into chaos - www.worldbulletin.net

Former Pakistani leader's trial slides into chaos - www.worldbulletin.net | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
www.worldbulletin.net Former Pakistani leader's trial slides into chaos www.worldbulletin.net Defense lawyers argued that the former army chief, who ousted the elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless military coup in 1999,...
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Afghans who helped Aussies still waiting for visas - SBS

Afghans who helped Aussies still waiting for visas - SBS | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
SBS Afghans who helped Aussies still waiting for visas SBS "There was exceptionally bad feeling in the military after the Vietnam War and indeed in the Secret Intelligence Service when the Whitlam government for quiet arbitrary reasons just refused...
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7 Things to Know About the US's Future in Afghanistan - National Journal

7 Things to Know About the US's Future in Afghanistan - National Journal | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
Washington Post
7 Things to Know About the US's Future in Afghanistan
National Journal
The Defense Intelligence Agency has also expressed concerns about Afghanistan's security forces as the U.S. phases out its mission.

 

1. How many U.S. troops will stay in the country?

2. What would these troops be doing?

3. How long would the U.S. and NATO troops stay?

4. Are the Afghan forces ready for this transition?

5. With Karzai's refusal to sign the pact, how likely is it that U.S. troops will stay?

6. What's the latest the U.S. can wait to sign this pact?

7. What happens if the security agreement is never signed?

AfPak Commentary's insight:

Of Course the future of Afghan Women is beyond the thinking of Western analyists 

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Pakistan: Sindh Terror Assessment - Analysis Eurasia Review

Pakistan: Sindh Terror Assessment - Analysis Eurasia Review | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
The deceased were involved in murders, gang wars, abduction-for-ransom, extortion and other criminal activities in Landhi and Malir Towns of Karachi District. These incidents are only a few ...
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Military reaffirms resolve to fight terrorism within parameters set by govt

Military reaffirms resolve to fight terrorism within parameters set by govt | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
The meeting reaffirmed the resolve of the armed forces to fight terrorism under a comprehensive strategy within the policy parameters set by the government. Participants expressed their satisfaction ...
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'Vying for Allah's Vote' - Huffington Post

'Vying for Allah's Vote' - Huffington Post | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
'Vying for Allah's Vote'
Huffington Post
Attempts to answer this question have principally led to extensive scrutiny of the intentions, capabilities, and actions of Pakistan's military, civilian government, and a hydra of militant groups.
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How Pakistan moves against Taliban could complicate Afghan ties

How Pakistan moves against Taliban could complicate Afghan ties | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
By Frederic Grare, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Frederic Grare is a senior associate and director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

 

Pakistan’s military is set to launch a major military operation in North Waziristan,AP reported this week, after weeks of hesitation over its strategy of negotiating with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Yet although the expected operationfollows the killing of 23 Pakistani soldiers last month by a Taliban faction, it seems likely to have been motivated by something more than a desire to retaliate and coerce the TTP into talks.

 

Whatever the motivation, it will have a significant impact on the country’s relationship with its weaker neighbor: Afghanistan.

AfPak Commentary's insight:

A valid point by By Frederic Grare, "Afghanistan, of course, has no incentive to help Pakistan without a credible guarantee of non-interference from Islamabad, and the dynamic between these two countries also has implications for the United States, reducing its freedom to maneuver diplomatically."

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Pakistan asks U.S. to upgrade its C-130 aircraft fleet

Pakistan asks U.S. to upgrade its C-130 aircraft fleet | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it

Pakistan has asked the United States for an upgrade of its C-130 aircraft fleet through the Foreign Military Sales program.

 

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the deal, worth an estimated $100 million, would cover C-130B/E avionics upgrades, engine management and mechanical upgrades, cargo delivery system installation, and replacement of outer wing sets on six aircraft.

Also included would be spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, logistics support services and other related elements of logistics support.

 

"The proposed sale will facilitate the continued operation of the Pakistan's Air Force C-130 fleet for counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism flights; regional humanitarian operations; troop transport; and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance missions within Pakistan and in the region," the agency said in its required notification to Congress.

AfPak Commentary's insight:

50 % of the said $100 Million will be directed towards Anti India "Non - State" actors, 35 % Siphoned off by corrupt "State- Actors" ...etc etc

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Pakistan's nuclear programme for civil energy purposes, says Nawaz

Pakistan's nuclear programme for civil energy purposes, says Nawaz | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
Talking to Director General International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiyo Amino here at the Prime Minister House, the premier said Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) was helping the country to meet its power ...
AfPak Commentary's insight:

This is news.

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Military air strikes kill 20 terrorists in northwest Pakistan - Times of India

Military air strikes kill 20 terrorists in northwest Pakistan - Times of India | AfPak Commentary | Scoop.it
Times of India Military air strikes kill 20 terrorists in northwest Pakistan Times of India ISLAMABAD: Pakistani military on Sunday carried out fresh air strikes in Tirah Valley in Khyber Agency in the country's northwest, killing at least 20...
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