WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday offered up to $11 million in rewards to find and capture three Al Qaeda terrorists, including Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud. The US announced a $5 million bounty for the location or arrest of Mehsud. The other two terrorists named in the list were Sirajuddin Haqqani and Abu Yahya Al-Libi. Washington is offering $5 million for Haqqani, a suspected leader of the Haqqani terror network founded by his father, and $1 million are being offered for Al Qaeda member Al-Libi. afp (Daily Times, March 26, 2009).
بیت اللہ پر پچاس لاکھ ڈالر کا انعام
امریکہ نے بیت اللہ محسود سمیت تین طالبان اور القاعدہ رہنماؤں کی گرفتاری میں مدد پرگیارہ ملین ڈالر انعام کا اعلان کیا ہے۔
امریکی سٹیٹ ڈپارٹمنٹ کی ویب سائٹ پر موجود ایک بیان کے مطابق بیت اللہ محسود اور سراج الدین حقانی کی گرفتاری میں مدد دینے یا ان کے ٹھکانے کی نشاندہی پر پچاس پچاس لاکھ ڈالر جبکہ ابو یحیٰی اللبی کی گرفتاری میں مدد پر دس لاکھ ڈالر انعام مقرر کیا ہے۔
سٹیٹ ڈپارٹمنٹ کے مطابق ’ بیت اللہ محسود پاکستان میں سرگرم طالبان کی تنظیم تحریکِ طالبان کا کرتا دھرتا اور پاکستان کے قبائلی علاقے جنوبی وزیرستان میں القاعدہ کا مرکزی مددگار ہے‘۔
بیت اللہ محسود کا نام پاکستان کی سابق وزیراعظم بینظیر بھٹو کے قتل کے سلسلے میں بھی لیا جاتا رہا ہے اور پاکستان میں اس قتل کے الزام میں ان کے وارنٹ گرفتاری بھی جاری کیے جا چکے ہیں۔ خیال رہے کہ پاکستان کے قبائلی علاقے جنوبی وزیرستان میں بیت اللہ کا مضبوط گڑھ سمجھا جانے والے علاقے مکین میں بدھ کو ہی ایک مبینہ امریکی جاسوس طیارے کے حملے میں سات عرب باشندے ہلاک ہوئے ہیں۔
سٹیٹ ڈپارٹمنٹ نے افغان مجاہد رہنما جلال الدین حقانی کے بیٹے سراج الدین حقانی کی گرفتاری میں مدد دینے یا ان کے ٹھکانے کا پتہ فراہم کرنے پر بھی پچاس لاکھ ڈالر کا انعام رکھا ہے۔ پاکستان کے قبائلی علاقے میں واقع مولانا جلال الدین حقانی کے مدرسے اور گھر کو گزشتہ برس میزائل حملوں کا نشانہ بنایا گیا تھا جس میں متعدد افراد ہلاک ہوئے تھے۔ جلال الدین حقانی اور سراج حقانی کو کابل میں بھارتی سفارتخانے پر ہونے والے خودکش حملے کا ذمہ دار بھی قرار دیا جاتا رہا ہے۔
US airstrike kills 8 in Baitullah Mehsud's hometown
US Predators killed eight terrorists, including "foreigners," in an attack on a Taliban convoy in South Waziristan.
The attack took place in Makeen, the hometown of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.
"Two missiles struck two vehicles carrying militants and from information we have received, some guests were among the dead," a Pakistani intelligence official told Reuters, who did not specify the identity or the nationality of those killed. Geo News reported eight were killed, including "foreigners," a term commonly used to describe al Qaeda operatives.
Today's strike is the sixth recorded attack against camps and compounds in Baitullah's tribal areas. The last attack in Baitullah's territory took place on March 1. Eight terrorists, including Arabs and Uzbeks, were reported killed in the March 1 attack.
Although The New York Times reported that a Predator strike on Feb. 14 was the first such attack against Baitullah Mehsud and signaled an expansion of the air war, the report is incorrect. There were three US strikes in Baitullah's tribal areas between July 2008 and January 2009.
In mid-June 2008, a strike hit a Taliban safe house in Baitullah's hometown of Makeen. In mid-October 2008 , a Predator strike took place in the village of Saam in the Ladha region. And on Jan. 2, 2009, another strike took place in Madin, also in the Ladha region.
Today's strike is the tenth inside Pakistan this year and the first since March 15, when US Predators conducted an attack in Bannu, a frontier region outside of Pakistan's tribal areas. Bannu borders the Taliban-controlled North and South Waziristan tribal areas to the east.
| Friday, March 27, 2009|
Hiding in plain view is something that occurs in nature all the time – creatures camouflage themselves either for protection from a predator – no pun intended – or as predators in hiding and waiting for prey. We have a fine example of the technique here amongst us, a certain Mr Baitullah Mehsud, who is visible to millions via the medium of television, but apparently invisible to those agencies searching so diligently for him. So visible is he that he recently gave a press conference that was attended by numerous print and electronic media journalists who had presumably arrived at his location by conventional means; and were not tele-ported in as we see travellers move around space and time in science-fiction films. All these media persons were presumably in possession of that essential adjunct to modern life – a mobile phone. Mobile phones emit tracking signals, signals which are regularly followed by intelligence-gathering agencies when they are hunting for the bad guys. Journalists are chatterboxes by nature – surely one of them must have made a call either from Mehsud's location or en-route to it? No? It stretches our credulity far beyond snapping point that no agency with an interest in the whereabouts of Mr Mehsud was apparently aware of this tête-à-tête. Had it simply escaped their notice, busy as they are with so many other things? Or did it just happen that they were distracted momentarily and looked in another direction?
The mystery of the invisible Mehsud is all the more perplexing when viewed in the light of the generous bounty recently offered by the American government for his capture. The United States has offered $5 million for information leading to the capture or death of Baitullah Mehsud. The US has offered large cash rewards for terrorism suspects in the past, but until recently they regarded Mehsud mainly as a threat to Pakistan and unworthy of their attention. Previous US drone attacks had avoided targeting Mehsud's hideouts but this changed earlier this month when US drones also began to target Mehsud and his men. The US State Department has identified Mehsud as a key leader of the Pakistani Taliban and an Al Qaeda 'facilitator' in South Waziristan. He is also fingered as a suspect in the killing of Benazir Bhutto and the Marriott bombing, plus he has made no bones about his intention of attacking the US if he can – and he probably can. All of this should qualify him for an early visit by Mr Predator and Mrs Hellfire -- if only he can be found, that is. It should not be difficult to find Baitullah Mehsud, any number of media persons knows where he is and so do others. Five million dollars is a lot of money and head-hunting via a bounty has loosened tongues in the past, so the technique is proven and the five million is peanuts as far as the US is concerned. It remains to be seen just how long hiding in plain view is an option for the elusive Mr Mehsud. (The News, 27 March 2009)