Tag Archives: Taliban

In Pakistan school attack, Taliban terrorists kill 145, mostly children

Women mourn for a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at his house in Peshawar on Dec. 16, 2014.

Women mourn for a student who was killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, at his house in Peshawar on Dec. 16, 2014.

An indiscriminate attack by a Pakistani Taliban group that killed 145 children and adults at a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan is drawing worldwide condemnation — even from Afghanistan’s Taliban. Seven people wearing explosive vests killed 136 children and nine staff members when they opened fire, seemingly at random, at the school in Peshawar, Pakistan, Asim Bajwa, a Pakistani military spokesman, told reporters. All seven attackers also died, although it was not clear whether they blew themselves up or were killed, Bajwa told The Associated Press. “Their sole purpose, it seems, was to kill those innocent kids. That’s what they did,” Bajwa said.

As evening arrived, Pakistani officials declared a military operation to clear the school of attackers to be over. Throughout the day, terrified parents visited area hospitals, frantically searching for their children. “My son was in uniform in the morning. He is in a casket now,” parent Tahir Ali wailed as he came to a hospital to collect the body of his 14-year-old son Abdullah, according to The Associated Press. “My son was my dream. My dream has been killed.

” Students in green uniforms could be seen on Pakistani television fleeing the school. More than 1,000 students in grades 1 to 10 attend classes at the school, including many children of military families. Besides those killed in the attack, numerous people were injured, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province said earlier. Ambulances were seen transporting the injured after the attack started in the early morning. Among the injured were 121 students, three staff members and nine Pakistani military commandos, a military official said. The attack drew widespread condemnation, even from the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. 548 “Killing innocent children is against the principals of Afghan Taliban and we condemned,” Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement to the media. “Our thoughts are with the families of those who lost their love[d] ones.” Pakistan’s neighbors, India and Afghanistan, and the United States also were among those who sent condolences. “By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity,

” President Obama said in a statement. “We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.” Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistan native who survived a 2012 shooting and won the Nobel Peace prize for her efforts to promote education, denounced the attack in a Facebook post on her Malala Fund nonprofit page. “I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us,” she wrote in the statement. “Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this.”

Pakistan has been on an offensive, dubbed Zarb-e-Azb, against the Tehreek-e-Taliban, a Pakistani militant group trying to overthrow the government. Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to media, citing revenge for the killings of Taliban members, the AP reported. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rushed to Peshawar to show his support for the victims and vowed the attack on the school would not deter the government’s fight against the group.

Pakistani army troops arrive to conduct an operation at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan, Dec. 16, 2014.

Pakistani army troops arrive to conduct an operation at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar, Pakistan, Dec. 16, 2014.

“The government together with the army has started Zarb-e-Azb and it will continue until the terrorism is rooted out from our land,” Sharif said. “We also have had discussions with Afghanistan that they and we together fight this terrorism, and this fight will continue. No one should have any doubt about it.”

Terrorists storm army school in Peshawar, Gunmen hold 500 students hostage

A hospital security guard helps a student injured in the shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar

A hospital security guard helps a student injured in the shootout at a school under attack by Taliban gunmen in Peshawar

NEW DELHI: Terrorists on Tuesday stormed an army school in Peshawar. At least seven people were injured, including five children, when the armed men opened fire on a private school in Peshawar on Tuesday, according to TV reports.

Gunmen in Pakistan took hundreds of students and teachers hostage on Tuesday, military officials at the scene said.

A Reuters journalist at the scene could hear heavy gunfire from inside the school as soldiers surrounded it.

Military officials said at least six armed men had entered the military-run Army Public School. About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside.

The Army Public School is located on Warsak Road near Army Housing Colony.

Security forces have cordoned off the school and entered the building. Officials are also monitoring the situation from a helicopter. Attackers and security personnel also exchanged fire inside the school.

Terror outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have claimed responsibility for attack.

“Our people successfully entered the army school in Peshawar this morning. We are giving them direct instructions to not harm minors,” TTP spokesperson Muhammad Khorasni told The Express Tribune.

“Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Khyber-I forced us to take such an extreme step,” he said.

Judge Jeanine to Obama: ‘Your Actions Demand Impeachment’

In last night’s Opening Statement, Judge Jeanine slammed President Barack Obama’s decision to trade five Gitmo detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, saying that Obama is not a true commander-in-chief and that his actions demand impeachment. Read the transcript below.


There is a sacred trust between a country and its leader, between a president and the people he leads. When a leader violates that trust, the people from whom he derives his power have the inalienable right to remove him.

You may agree or disagree with what I’m about to say; it’s not meant to be political.

Whatever the context, when you let things slide – one after another – the foundation deteriorates. Even water sliding down a rock begins to wear at it and break it down. And like that rock, our very existence is in jeopardy. Barack Obama has put us in that jeopardy yet again.

The latest: exchanging a man whose own platoon soldiers call a “deserter,” who voluntarily left his unit during combat – in itself a death-eligible crime – for five of the worst Taliban terrorists in Gitmo.

Obama sends out old faithful Susan Rice to say this of Bowe Bergdahl:

“He served the United States with honor and distinction.”

What? Even the White House had to re-spin that.

Now Susan, isn’t English your first language? Weren’t you briefed on what to say? And not for nothing, don’t you know that those Sunday morning talk shows are a danger zone for you? But then again, that despicable video lie got you moved up to national security adviser.

And ironically, the reason for the trade:

“What we did was ensure that as always the United States doesn’t leave a man or a woman on the battlefield.”

Pray tell, Susan, is it OK to leave some behind?

The trade surprised even Congress:

“It comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law.”

And that’s a Democrat!

Enter our president:

“We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated, and we were deeply concerned about and we saw an opportunity and we seized it, and I make no apologies for that.”

But when key senators didn’t buy the “ill” excuse, a new narrative emerged: the Taliban would kill Bergdahl if you followed U.S. law and told Congress. Seriously?

Mr. President, my sources tell me you knew Bergdahl’s location for months. Why didn’t you send in SEAL Team 6? It would have made another great photo op. Why didn’t you send in those drones? Could it be, Mr. President, he was your excuse to release 5 Taliban terrorists from Gitmo? Those five men, the worst of the worst. Some wanted by the U.N. for mass murders, killing thousands, al Qaeda-connected, these are the guys who behead their enemies, including children. They hate America and everything we stand for. And you release them – knowing many return to the battlefield – because Arab country Qatar assured you that they do not pose a threat to us? And you’re good with that? You buy it? You think 12 years in Gitmo has softened their resolve to kill us?

Mr. President, you didn’t just release them, you unleashed them, and you and you alone will be responsible for the hell that will be unleashed on us. You have teed us up for death and destruction. And don’t give me this hogwash that they are prisoners of war who have to be freed when we leave Afghanistan. They are not prisoners of war. The Taliban is not a country. They are enemy combatants who can be held indefinitely and should have been tried for their crimes. And as much as you want to take terms like “Islamic extremists” and “jihad” out of our lexicon, the War on Terror is far from over.

You didn’t have to release them. And I don’t give a damn whether you try them at Gitmo, in a military tribunal or in a federal court. United States attorneys have prosecuted these dirt bags and convicted them time and again.

Here’s the bottom line: you negotiated with terrorists. You broke the very law that you signed. You have shown terrorists that they can win concessions by kidnapping Americans. In the history of this country we have never traded mass murderers for a deserter.

My father and grandfather fought in World War II.  Ironically, you go to Normandy 70 years later – where my grandfather was injured – and make like you respect the military.

You call yourself a commander-in-chief. But what commander-in-chief doesn’t support a surge, but sends in 40,000 troops anyway? What commander-in-chief reduces benefits to to those in the military? Closes the Veterans War Memorial? Reduces the army to pre-World War II levels? Knowingly allows veterans to die in our hospitals, while replenishing the enemy in a time of war?

Mr. President: you are destroying this country. You have diminished us on the world stage. You have trampled on the very laws you swore to uphold.  You are not a true commander-in-chief. We’ve impeached a president for lying about sex with an intern. Your actions, far more egregious, demand impeachment.

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Hillary Clinton defends Obama on Bergdahl, says ‘it doesn’t matter’ how he was captured

Hillary Clinton talks with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer. (Martin H. Simon/ABC)

Hillary Rodham Clinton defended President Obama’s decision to trade five Taliban prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, adding that “it doesn’t matter” how Bergdahl fell into Taliban hands.

In her first television interview on her promotional book tour, Clinton, a former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential candidate, told ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer that Bergdahl should have been rescued regardless of the circumstances surrounding his captivity.

“If you look at what the factors were going into the decision, of course there are competing interests and values,” Clinton told Sawyer. “And one of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can. It doesn’t matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation.”

As part of her media blitz to promote her forthcoming memoir, “Hard Choices,” Clinton sat down with Sawyer at Clinton’s Washington home Thursday. The interview will air in a one-hour primetime special on ABC next Monday at 9 p.m., although the network released Clinton’s Bergdahl comments Friday evening.

When Sawyer asked Clinton whether she thought Obama had made “a deal with the devil” by releasing Taliban detainees in exchange for Bergdahl, Clinton responded, “I think this was a very hard choice, which is why I think my book is aptly named.”

The Obama administration has come under fire this week from Republicans and other critics who allege that the government gave up too much to rescue Bergdahl. Critics also have raised questions about Bergdahl’s loyalty and whether he had purposely deserted his post, resulting in his capture.

Sawyer asked Clinton, “It doesn’t matter?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Clinton replied. “We bring our people home.”

In her memoir, Clinton writes about early discussions within the Obama administration over rescuing Bergdahl. She writes that in every discussion, she and other administration officials “demanded” Bergdahl’s release, according to CBS News, which obtained an early copy of Clinton’s book.

But, Clinton adds in the book, “I acknowledged, as I had many times before, that opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans after so many years of war.”

via Hillary Clinton defends Obama on Bergdahl, says ‘it doesn’t matter’ how he was captured.

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What the U.S. Gave Up to Get Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Back

Mullah Mohammad Fazl, left, and Abdul Haq Wasiq are shown in these undated photos. Image credit: Department of Defense

WASHINGTON — Most of the reaction to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release after five years as a captive of the Taliban has been celebratory, but a pair of lawmakers questioned whether the deal reached with the Taliban was legal and whether the price paid was too high.

The Army sergeant was held captive for nearly five years by the Taliban, mostly in Pakistan, U.S. officials believe, and the president, Defense secretary, secretary of State, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the sergeant’s parents all expressed relief and gratitude after 18 Taliban handed Bergdahl over to U.S. special forces in Afghanistan, spiriting him back into the care of the U.S. military.

Two senior Republican lawmakers, however, accused Obama of violating the law by failing to notify Congress 30 days before the deal to swap five members of the Taliban held at Guantanamo and voiced concerns that the U.S. gave up too much.

Bergdahl Freed After 5 Years in Taliban Captivity

Taliban Captive ‘Was Never Forgotten,’ Obama Says

The top Republicans on the House and Senate armed-services committees cautioned that “we must carefully examine the means by which we secured [Bergdahl’s] freedom,” warning that the U.S. had effectively reneged on its policy not to negotiate with terrorists.

So what exactly did the U.S. give up to get Bergdahl back?

The U.S. has released five Taliban prisoners kept at Guantanamo Bay — all of them either senior Taliban figures or Taliban officials with connections to Taliban leaders, and all labeled by the Pentagon as highly dangerous to the security of the U.S. and its allies if released. They are:

Mohammad Fazl, the former Taliban defense minister during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, chief of staff of the Taliban army, and commander of its 22nd Division. According to a U.S. Department of Defense document obtained by Wikileaks, Fazl is believed to be an associate of Supreme Taliban Commander Mullah Omar and was “wanted by the UN for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiites,” surrendered to the Northern Alliance commander Gen. Dostum in November 2001.

  • “Detainee is assessed to be a HIGH risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies,” his Guantanamo detainee file reads. “If released, detainee would likely rejoin the Taliban and establish ties with ACM [anti-coalition militia] elements participating in hostilities against US and Coalition forces in Afghanistan.”

Mullah Norullah Noori, a former Taliban military commander and Taliban governor of two Afghan provinces, who led Taliban forces against U.S. and coalition troops and was also “wanted by the United Nations (UN) for possible war crimes including the murder of thousands of Shiite Muslims” as Fazl was, according to Noori’s Guantanamo prisoner file as obtained and posted by Wikileaks. He is also believed to be associated with Supreme Taliban Commander Mullah Omar.

  • Noori commanded the Taliban in the northern city of Mazar e-Sharif. Like Fazl, he surrendered to Gen. Dostum in 2001.Rated a “HIGH” threat to U.S. security interests if released, Noori is or was associated with members of al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin.
  • Mohammed Nabi, another senior Taliban official with ties to al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, and other anti-U.S., Taliban-allied groups, according to his Guantanamo Bay file as posted by Wikileaks.Also rated as a “HIGH” security threat if released, Nabi fought with the mujahideen against the Soviets. After that, he told the Americans who captured and detained him, he was an off-and-on Taliban member in the early 2000s, worked for the chief of the Taliban’s Border Department, which controlled smuggling. In early spring of 2002, he left the Taliban to sell used cars in a small village near Khowst and became a CIA informant.According to his Defense Dept. file, Nabi was involved in attacks against U.S. and coalition forces and facilitated smuggling routes for the Taliban and al Qaeda.
  • Khairullah Khairkhwa, a direct associate of Osama bin Laden according to his Defense Dept. detainee file obtained by Wikileaks, and a senior Taliban military commander who also served as the Taliban’s minister of Interior and the governor of Herat.He represented the Taliban at meetings with Iranian officials seeking to support actions against U.S. and coalition forces after the Sept. 11 attacks, according to the document. He attended a meeting at the direction of bin Laden, reportedly accompanied by members of Hamas, the document says, and is believe to have been one of the major opium lords of western Afghanistan.In 2002, he sought to negotiate an integration into the new government through Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai who has been accused of corruption and drug smuggling, but was arrested by Pakistani border patrol and released by Pakistan into U.S. custody.

    He is also deemed a “HIGH” threat if released.

  • Abdul Haq Wasiq, the Taliban’s former deputy minister of intelligence, had direct connections to Taliban leadership and was “central to the Taliban’s efforts to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups” to fight against U.S. and coalition forces, according to his Defense Dept. file obtained by Wikileaks.He also used his position to support al Qaeda, assist Taliban personnel in eluding capture, and arranged for al Qaeda members to train Taliban intelligence staff, according to the file.He seems to have later turned informant, as his file notes that Wasiq was arrested after a meeting with two Americans and a translator, in which he was supposed to deliver information leading to the capture of Mullah Omar. Shortly after the meeting, U.S. forces arrested him.

“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Berghdal’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” said House Armed Services Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., and Senate Armed Services Ranking Member James Inhofe, R-Okla., in a joint statement.

“In executing this transfer, the President also clearly violated laws which require him to notify Congress thirty days before any transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay and to explain how the threat posed by such terrorists has been substantially mitigated. Our joy at Sergeant Berghdal’s release is tempered by the fact that President Obama chose to ignore the law, not to mention sound policy, to achieve it,” they said in the joint statement.

A senior administration official responded: “Due to a near-term opportunity to save Sergeant Bergdahl’s life, we moved as quickly as possible. The administration determined that given these unique and exigent circumstances, such a transfer should go forward notwithstanding the notice requirement” of the National Defense Authorization Act, the law in which Congress levied the Guantanamo-transfer restrictions.

The detainees left Guantanamo this afternoon for Qatar, which will take them into custody. After that, it’s not clear exactly what their status will be.

Obama said today that he has received “assurances that [Qatar] will put in place measures to protect our national security,” and a senior Defense official told ABC that Qatar will be able to secure the detainees. They will also be subject to a travel ban for one year, the Defense official said.

It’s not entirely clear what freedom of movement and communication these now-former detainees will enjoy.

The exchange had been discussed previously, and an opportunity to pursue it arose this week, U.S. administration officials said. It was facilitated by Qatar and its emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, with whom Obama said he has spoken.

Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the Qatari leader in their statements on Bergdahl’s release.