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NightWatch 20100303

NightWatch

For the Night of 3 March 2010

Pakistan: Security. Authorities in Karachi arrested Syed Mohtasim Agha Jan in Ahsanabad locality in the city. He was the prime minister of Afghanistan when Mullah Omar's government was in power. He also is on the US list of the most wanted since 9/11. This is an enormously important development.

Mohtasim Agha is the son-in-law of Mullah Omar and also served as the head of Tehreek-e-Taliban Shura in the Taliban government. According to the sources, five people were arrested along with him but their names and further details have been withheld.

The security sources say following the recent arrests across the country, Mullah Omar instructed his aides to go underground and refrain from contact. The sources also said Mohtasim Agha Jan is number seven on the list of the 30 most wanted people, which the United States issued after 9/11. This is tonight's good news.

In Bajaur Agency, security forces are claiming a significant victory in the war on terror after Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Constabulary took control of the Damadola area. The area was believed to be the nerve center of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as well as home of al Qaida leaders.

More than 38 militants were killed in the operation and a single death of a security agent in Spring Clearing Operation. Authorities also are claiming they have seized huge quantities of arms and ammunition from the militants, including an antiaircraft gun.

The Frontier Constabulary spearheaded the operation and plans to station 36 platoons of paramilitary police around Damadola to prevent the return of the TTP and others.

The Constabulary also has announced it has taken control of a warren of caves that served until recently as the nerve centre of the Taliban and al-Qaida and sheltered Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second-in-command to Osama bin Laden. "It was the main hub of militancy where al-Qaida operatives had moved freely," Major-General Tariq Khan, the Commander of the Frontier Constabulary, said as he gave journalists a tour of Damadola village yesterday.

Pakistani news services reported the village has been fought over for 16 months. This is the first time that the Pakistan Army and Frontier Constabulary have set foot in the village, which had long been dominated by the insurgents operating on the both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

"Al-Qaida was there. They had occupied the ridges. There were 156 caves designed as a defensive complex," said General Khan. He said that his forces had killed 75 foreign and local militants and cleared a zone up to the Afghan border, and that the campaign against the insurgents was in its final stage.

Comment: The credit for this operation goes to Major General Tariq Khan who has risen to leadership against significant odds and multiple detractors in the Pakistan Army. Over the last several years he has converted the Frontier Constabulary, with US assistance, into a respectable and capable counter-militant force, proven by the recent operations. His operations are essentially paramilitary police actions, backed by the Army and the Air Force.

Tariq Khan has been derided and ridiculed, but today managed to pull off an upset that even the Pakistan Army under General Musharraf failed to achieve. Keeping the terrorists on the move is part of a permanent solution to terrorism. Tariq Khan is doing just that and is the second source of tonight's good news.

Further. The arrest of Omar's son in law reinforces the thesis that Pakistani authorities had the capability to do this years ago. He is the official closest to Omar to be arrested.

The internal security forces are outstanding inside Pakistan. Their "feigned" inability to capture the Quetta Shura members or al Qaida, inferentially, was pursuant to highest level strategic direction. Advancement in Pakistan's Army and security services is based on obedience to orders. Any colonel protecting an al Qaida agent did so under orders.

Note to analysts: Analysts new to this problem need to take this aboard. Pakistani and Indian officers obey or they get cashiered, if not executed. The ability of the Pakistani security authorities to round up and arrest more than half the membership of the Quetta Shura, fled to Karachi, indicates the Shura members always were under positive surveillance and tracking by Pakistani intelligence.

The thesis that rogue officers supported the Afghan Taliban against orders is jejune and ludicrous! The Pakistan and Indian Armies do not promote individual judgment; they are not like the US or NATO armies.

NightWatch and old hands never credited the argument that rogues in the Pakistani security services were helping the militants - Taliban or al Qaida. That is not how the Pakistan Army works.

The strategic direction in Islamabad has changed and now the Pakistani intelligence and security services are showing they knew where these thugs were all along and could have rounded them up at any time, had they received orders to do so.

United Kingdom: For the record. Two women, one a Muslim and the other complaining of an infection, have become the first people to be barred from boarding a flight because they refused to go through a full-body airport scanner, a British daily reported Wednesday.

Manchester airport confirmed today that the women, who were booked to fly to Islamabad aboard Pakistan International Airlines, were told they could not get on the plane after they refused to be scanned for medical and religious reasons.

The women had been selected at random, said the airport (sic).

The Muslim woman decided to forfeit her ticket and left her luggage at the airport. Her companion also left the airport saying she did not go through the scanner on medical grounds because she had an infection.

The full-body scanners were introduced at Manchester and Heathrow last month after the Christmas Day bombing attempt in Detroit. The £80,000 Rapiscan machines show a clear body outline and have been described by critics as the equivalent of "virtual strip searching".

Mexico: As received. Local TV news in Texas reported that the Zetas have left Reynosa tonight. They've moved about 150 miles west to Nuevo Laredo. Sources reported the Zetas want to take over the city and make it their base of operations.

The U.S. Consulate General's office already has confirmed a gun battle in Nuevo Laredo. It's happening near Boulevard Colosio and the city's zoo. The consulate general's office is telling all US citizens to remain in doors.

According to the TV news cast the Zetas are already calling in reinforcements. Some 700 Zetas from around Mexico are joining the 500 already brought to the area last week. The Gulf Cartel also called in reinforcements last week and reportedly joined forces with La Familia Michoacana (LFM) and the Sinaloa Cartel.

If this report is accurate, Laredo, Texas, needs to prepare for a spillover of violence and an influx of drugs.

End of NightWatch for 3 March.

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