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Terrorism & Security

Pakistan raid on hospital kills Arab and Sudanese militants

Pakistan security forces raided a private hospital in South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold, killing Sudanese and Arab militants. Pakistan has long claimed that foreign militants fuel its insurgency.

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The exact number of foreign militants in Pakistan, however, is unclear. Earlier this month, an official of Pakistan's intelligence agency claimed that there were 1,000 foreigners in the tribal belt, primarily Uzbeks, reports Central Asia Online. 

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According to [Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, director of Inter-Service Public Relations], Central Asians comprise the largest contingent of foreign militants backing Taliban fighters in the region, and “In late 2001, the IMU and the Uzbeks won the support of some Pakistani tribesmen, but that support waned after the Uzbeks killed several local people and got involved in kidnapping and other crimes.”

 

An analysis in Yale Global Online explains that foreign fighters entered Pakistan's tribal belt to escape the US invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

For a generation raised on legends of the Afghan resistance against the Soviets and the mythologized Afghan-Arab Mujahadin, many in the [tribal belt] saw the foreign fighters as noble, and their struggle resonating with the stories of their upbringing. When combined with the hospitality prescribed by pashtunwali, the traditional code of conduct, this proved impetus enough to take the foreign fighters in, and in some cases, join them.

 

The Army’s action in South Waziristan comes a day after the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistan wing of the Taliban, claimed responsibility for an attack on a religious procession in Karachi on Dec. 28, which left 44 people dead, reports The News.
 

[Taliban commander Asmatullah Shaheen] claimed the suicide bomber, Hasnain Muawia, reached Karachi a day before the suicide attack and was especially trained to target the Ashura procession….

 

The Taliban commander threatened that a new wave of suicide bombings would be unleashed across the country in the next week. He said the government installations and security forces would be specifically targeted.

 
 
Security forces also announced on Thursday the capture of Khalilullah, the chief of the TTP in the Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, reports Dawn. Khalilullah claims to have a team of 600 suicide bombers in the province.

Meanwhile, the United Nations announced Thursday that it will move 20 percent of its foreign staffers in Pakistan for security reasons. The Associated Press reports that the UN says it will either temporarily move its expatriate workers out of the country or to safer areas within Pakistan.

At least 11 UN staffers in Pakistan have been killed in attacks this year, the AP adds.

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