Tag Archives: Taliban

Even Taliban Leaders Have LinkedIn Profiles

TTP-Ehsanullah-Ehsan LinkedIn 2

A senior Taliban commander, wanted in connection with an assassination bid on Malala Yousufzai’s life, has been found using the networking site LinkedIn.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, one of the world’s most notorious terrorist leaders, has 69 connections on LinkedIn and lists “jihad and journalism” as his unique skills.

Ehsanullah_Ehsan_LinkedInEhsan also provided details of his schooling, employment history and language skills. He describes himself as “self-employed” and says he has been a terrorist spokesman since January 2010 – first for Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistan wing of the Taliban, which carried out the attack against Malala Yousufzai in 2012 and now for TTP Jammat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Taliban. Sounds like a straight shooter with upper management written all over him!

After LinkedIn caught wind that Taliban commanders were using their site to engage in some business networking, the company took down Ehsan’s account.

A LinkedIn spokesman said the company’s security team had decided to “restrict it” and stressed that it was not clear if the account actually belonged to Ehsan or if it was just a fake.

The spokesman said, “(I) Can’t say for certain that it is someone else…But I can say that our security team has a high degree of confidence that it is a fake account, which is reason enough to restrict it. (I) Also can’t say for certain who might have set it up if it is fake.”

Or… the discovery that Ehsan has an open profile on LinkedIn was too embarrassing for the networking company so they had to shut it down immediately?

Either way, it’s a shame Ehsan’s account has been restricted. What could be a worse punishment then an endless supply of LinkedIn endorsement emails?

Does Ahmed have these skills or expertise: Suicide bombing?*

*Disclaimer: one time use.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Pakistani Taliban Attack

Current Event Cat - Karachi Airport Pakistani Taliban

The Pakistani Taliban are at it again, this time claiming responsibility for the bloody attacks on Karachi’s airport that killed least 24 people, including 10 members of their organization.

Surprisingly the 25-year-old pregnant woman who was beaten to death by her family for marrying against the family’s wishes was not the worst thing to happen in Pakistan this month. Never one to be outdone by angry family members throwing bricks at a pregnant woman in the name of “honor”, the Pakistani Taliban decided to step up their game and attack the country’s busiest airport.

On Sunday night, Taliban militants launched a violent assault on the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi complete with rocket-launchers, suicide vests, and grenades. Gunmen disguised as police guards stormed the international terminal, set off explosions and opened fire with machine-guns and rocket launchers, triggering a gun battle with police.

“They were well-trained. Their plan was very well thought out,” Qaim Ali Shah, chief minister of Sindh province, said.

Well not that well-trained… At the end of the six-hour assault, all ten attackers were dead and no planes had been hijacked.

After Pakistani officials reclaimed control of the airport, the Pakistani Taliban was quick to claim responsibility for the attack.

A spokesman for the group, Shahidullah Shahid, said the aim of Monday’s assault had been to hijack an aircraft, and was “a message to the Pakistan government that we are still alive to react over the killings of innocent people in bomb attacks on their villages”.

Needless to say, the prospects for continued government-led peace talks with the Taliban are not looking so hot.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Freed Afghan Detainees

Current Event Cat - Afghan Detainees

The Afghan government has released 65 detainees that the U.S. military believes are dangerous insurgents who were directly involved in attacks on American and allied troops.

The sixty-five detainees were released from Afghanistan’s high-security Bagram detention centre on Thursday morning and were taken away in vehicles belonging to the Afghan National Army’s military police. The police vehicles then took the prisoners to a small bazaar on a main road, where they were transferred to taxis – presumably on route to some kind of Taliban training camp

The prisoners’ newfound freedom comes after months of failed negotiations by U.S. officials to stop their release. The U.S. pleaded with Afghan President Hamid Karzai not to go through with it, arguing that those freed are likely to rejoin Taliban ranks.

The American military expressed “strong concern about the potential threats these detainees pose to coalition forces and Afghan security forces and civilians”.

“We believe some of the individuals previously released have already returned to the fight,” an American statement said. “Additional released detainees may continue to fill the ranks of the insurgency.”

But Karzai, a strong proponent of biting the hand that feeds you, said the releases were of “no concern to the U.S.” and insists there is not enough evidence against the detainees. Despite having referred to the prison as a “Taliban-making factory”, Karzai asserted that “Afghanistan is a sovereign country” and “the Afghan government bears responsibility for the results of its decision.”

Now America can only hope that the released detainees will wind up at the training camps where instructors use live explosives to demonstrate how to be a suicide bomber. Or that they were innocent in the first place and will just return to their civilian lives.

Meanwhile President Karzai continues to refuse to sign a security deal with Washington that would allow roughly 10,000 U.S. troops remain in the country past 2014. If he doesn’t sign the deal, the US-led international military force in Afghanistan will be forced to pull out their troops and hand over all security duties to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. Fine, but can we at least have that dog back?

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Malala Book Banned in Pakistani Schools

I am Malala

Teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai’s book has been banned from private schools across Pakistan for containing anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistani content.

Malala, who rose to international fame after the Taliban shot her in the head for promoting girls’ education, released a memoir in October, entitled I Am Malala. While the teenager may have become an international hero for opposing the Taliban, the private school authority in Pakistan thinks she is a “tool of the West.”

Adeeb Javedani, president of the All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association, said the book will be banned in all 40,000 of its affiliated schools because it represents the West, not Pakistan. He also called on the government to bar it from school curriculums.

Kashif Mirza, the chairman of the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, said his group had also banned the book because it didn’t show enough respect for Islam and it spoke favourably of author Salman Rushdie.

Malala “was a role model for children, but this book has made her controversial,” Mirza said. “Through this book, she became a tool in the hands of the Western powers.”

Conspiracy theories surrounding Malala, like the idea her shooting was staged to create a hero for the West, reflect the level of influence right-wing Taliban-lovers have in Pakistan – as well as the lack of education in the country. If only there was a book promoting education…

Or maybe private schools are just afraid that if they don’t ban the book, they will become targets for the Pakistani Taliban – whose number one enemy is apparently a 16-year-old girl.

Via: Al Jazeera

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Pakistani Taliban Are Open For Talks… And Other News

Pakistani Taliban Talks

While House Republicans and Democrats are refusing to speak to one another, the Pakistani Taliban has signalled that they are open to “serious talks” with the government.

Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud said he would continue to target “America and its friends” but also wishes to engage in peace talks with the Pakistani government. At least they’re being honest! Hakimullah Mehsud denied carrying out recent deadly attacks in public places saying “we consider the safety of Muslims, of scholars, of mosques and madrassas as our sacred duty. As for explosions which cause damage to the life and property of Muslims, we have denied any link the past, we deny any link today.” Well, there goes the honesty… BBC News

Morsi on TrialWhile the violence in Egypt continues, a trial date has been set for the man who started it all (not really): Mohamed Morsi. The ousted former president will go on trial starting on November 4 for committing and inciting violence after the military kicked him out of office in July. Fourteen other members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement will be along for the ride too. Meanwhile, the Brotherhood is still calling for Morsi’s reinstatement and the military government’s ban on all Muslim Brotherhood related activities hasn’t seemed to quell the protests. In fact, it may have made them worse…. But Morsi shouldn’t worry too much. After all, ex-president Hosni Mubarak spent less than two years in jail serving out his “life sentence” for his role in killing protesters. Morsi should be out in no time! CNN

Bachmann TwerkMichele Bachmann cleared up a few common misconceptions about her self today: she is not Miley Cyrus, she has never “done twerking” and does not “intent to take it up.” Good to know. Apparently some people (who must have been watching Saturday Night Live  – or TV for that matter – for the first time in their lives) believed that Miley Cyrus’ impression of Bachmann twerking with House Speaker John Boehner was actually Michele Bachmann. But Bachmann doesn’t mind being mistaken for the pop star: “I will tell you as a 57-year-old woman, it’s been a long time since I’ve been confused for a 20-year-old.” Raw Story

Greenpeace DrugsAre Greenpeace activists crackheads or are Russian authorities sketchy? Probably both, but the environmentalist organization and Russia are in a “he said she said” debate regarding hard drugs allegedly found aboard the Arctic Sunrise. After Russia charged the 30 Greenpeace activists with piracy over an open-sea oil protest, they claim they confiscated some “narcotic substances” which were “presumably poppy straw and morphine.” Greenpeace says Russia is acting nuts. Also, the vessel’s American captain legally kept morphine in his safe for “medical purposes.” Reuters

Bruce and KrisSince the whole “Lamar Odom being a crackhead” thing didn’t pan out as expected, the Kardashains need a new scandal to keep viewers hooked and stop their ratings from plummeting further. So after 22 years of marriage Bruce and Kris Jenner have officially separated and are living apart. “We are much happier this way,” they told E! News, saying they “will always remain best friends and, as always, our family will remain our number one priority.” Next season on Keeping Up With The Kardashians: Kris Jenner goes on a lot of awkward dates with a lot of younger men and Bruce Jenner hides his emotions under his plastic surgeried face. DListed

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Taliban Gives the U.S. a Herat Attack

Herat Attack

Taliban assailants gave U.S consulate staff a “herat attack” when they stormed the compound early Friday morning in the western Afghan city of Herat.

The attack started off in the usual way – a car bomb. The bomb was set off near the main entrance of the compound, which killed several guards and allowed the group of assailants, including suicide bombers, to enter the perimeter of the compound. The insurgents then sped towards the U.S consulate with their guns blazing, prompting a fierce gun battle between the attackers and Afghan security forces.

Heart, which sits close to the Iranian border, is a usually peaceful city (by Afghan standards…) compared to the more Taliban-infested regions in the East and the South, so the assault was a bit of surprise (by Afghan standards…).

Two Afghan police and one security guard were killed and seventeen civilians, including women and children, were injured in the Herat attack. But enough about that – what about the Americans!?! The State Department confirmed that no Americans were slain and all the U.S consulate staff are safe and accounted for. Phew!

The attackers, however, were not so fortunate. Of the seven attackers who took part in the assault, seven of them were killed. Cause of death? Herat Attack.

Via: The Washington Post

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Presidential Palace Attack

Current Event Cat - Afghan Presidential Palace

Taliban militants stormed Afghanistan’s presidential palace in Kabul early Tuesday while reporters were present for a press event with President Hamid Karzai.

A gun battle quickly broke out in the presidential palace that left eight attackers and three guards dead, and sent the journalists scrambling for cover. Explosions and gunfire reportedly shook the city center and debris could be seen flying everywhere. The gun battle began near the east gate leading to the palace next to the Afghan Ministry of Defence and the former Ariana Hotel, which houses a CIA center.

The presidential palace is one of the most-heavily guarded areas in Kabul and thought to be the most secure. The palace is in a large fortified area of downtown Kabul that also includes the U.S. Embassy and the headquarters for the NATO-led coalition forces. Hamid Karzai was in the palace at the time of the attack but remained unharmed.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility, saying “eight of our suicide bombers were able to reach the most secure area of Kabul.”

“The brave mujahedeen, with special tactics and help from inside, were able to reach their target with their weapons and cars.”

The attack ended after a two-hour showdown. The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force said Afghan National Security Forces had led the response efforts. Last week, Afghan forces assumed security responsibility for the whole of the country for the first time since the Taliban government was ousted in 2001. So far they’re not off to a great start… but they’ve certainly come a long way since 2007:

Via: CBC News & Current Event Cats

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Nanga Parbat

Current Event Cat - Pakistani Militants nanga Parbat

Pakistani gunmen killed 10 foreign tourists in a shooting spree on one of the world’s highest peaks, Nanga Parbat – also known as Killer Mountain.

Around 15 gunmen attacked the camp at around 11 p.m. on Saturday after abducting two local guides. The armed militants entered the base camp of Nanga Parbat in northern Pakistan disguised as policemen and opened fire on the tourists. Some tourists managed to flee but those who didn’t were shot dead. The attackers also beat up the Pakistanis who were accompanying the tourists, took their money and phones and tied them up.

The dead foreigners included three Ukrainians, two Slovakians, two Chinese, one Lithuanian, one Nepalese and one… American!!

The Pakistani Taliban has already claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retaliation for a recent U.S. drone strike that killed the Taliban’s deputy leader, Waliur Rehman, on May 29.

“Our attacks on foreigners will continue to protest over drone strikes,” a spokesman for the militant group said, “By killing foreigners, we wanted to give a message to the world to play their role in bringing an end to the drone attacks.”

Pakistan’s mountainous north was considered relatively safe… until now. And Nanga Parbat was one of the main attractions in the country… until now. Long story short, the shootings aren’t great news for Pakistan’s struggling tourism industry. However, the tourists in question probably should have clued in after seeing the “Killer Mountain” sign. That and the large number of Islamic militant groups roaming the area.

Via: The Huffington Post & Current Event Cats

Hamid Karzai is Feeling Left Out of the Taliban Talks

Karzai Gets Left Out of Taliban Talks

The United States recently announced that they would officially meet with the Taliban for the first time in Qatar, where the militants have a new overseas office.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai felt left out of the U.S.’s big plan to orchestrate peace talks with Afghanistan and the Taliban. So now, less than 24 hours after the plan was announced, Karzai has angrily decided to boycott the talks with the Taliban unless the process is “Afghan-led”.

Not only is Karzai mad about being left out of the peace process, he’s pretty pissed that the Taliban have a new office is Qatar. Originally he thought the office would be only an “address” for the Taliban in a neutral place but the Taliban are thinking it’s more along the lines of an embassy for a shadow government. He also didn’t approve of the Taliban’s use of its formal name “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” when opening the Doha office. Add in the fact that the U.S is bypassing him and meeting with the Taliban directly and that makes for one angry Karzai.

Initially Karzai called off the talks in a fit of rage but then cooled off a bit and said the Afghan government may participate in the talks but only if the Taliban lowered the office’s profile and the peace process was led by Afghan officials.

“The way the Taliban office was opened in Qatar and the messages which were sent from it was in absolute contrast with all the guarantees that the United States of America had pledged,” said the statement from President Karzai’s office.

“Recent developments showed that there are foreign hands behind the opening of the Taliban office in Qatar. Unless the peace process is led by Afghans, the High Peace Council will not participate in the Qatar negotiations.”

On their end, the Taliban probably don’t really care if Karzai is involved. For years the Taliban have refused to speak to the Afghan government because they consider them to be American “puppets.” They are much more interested in direct talks with American and other Western officials.

But don’t think the U.S and the Taliban are buddy-buddy just yet. Hours after the Taliban talks were announced, four U.S soldiers were killed in an insurgent attack at Bagram air base – courtesy of the Taliban. The U.S. and Taliban announced they will begin the preliminary peace talks in Qatar without the Afghan government but from the looks of it, it’s going to be pretty messy…

Via: The New York Times

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Bad News for the Kabul Airport Attackers… And Other News

Kabul Airport

Bad news for the Kabul airport attackers: they’re dead. Unless they were on some kind of suicide mission – then I guess it’s good news. Success!

After several hours of fighting, Afghan security forces killed the five insurgents who shelled NATO headquarters at Kabul airport overnight with rockets and gunfire. At least seven gunmen, including two wearing suicide vests, had taken refuge in a five-story building under construction near the Kabul airport, forcing officials to halt flight operations. The Afghan police sprung into action, sealing off the building while U.S Black Hawk helicopters circled overhead. Kabul’s police chief, Gen. Mohammad Ayub Salangi, said his forces managed to kill the assailants before they could inflict casualties or serious damage to the NATO base. And unlike the child beheading incident, the Taliban quickly admitted to this attack. Washington Post

Santa Monica ShootingA fifth victim of the Friday afternoon rampage in Santa Monica died on Sunday from gunshot wounds. The suspect, John Zawahri, began his rampage by killing his father and brother. He then moved on to randoms, firing off a stream of bullets at his former college, killing three others within 13 minutes. The 5th victim, Marcela Franco, 26, was taken off life support on Sunday. Franco had just enrolled in summer classes at the school and was on campus with her father to buy textbooks. Her father, Carlos Navarro Franco, 68, a groundskeeper at the college, was also killed in the rampage. Zawahri was shot and killed by police officers on the scene. CNN

Nelson MandelaFormer President Nelson Mandela of South Africa is in intensive case with a lung infection. Mandela is into the third day of his latest hospitalization for a recurring lung infection and is said to be in “stable, but serious” condition. Mandela, 94, has been hospitalized three other times this year. The ongoing hospital visits combined with his frail appearance have led many to speculate that the end in near for Mandela. However, Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi, said Sunday that her father is a “fighter” and is “well.” Despite contracting tuberculosis during his 27-year imprisonment for fighting apartheid, suffering from chronic lung problems, and battling pneumonia last year, Mandela still has two years on Prince Philip, who just celebrated his 92nd birthday. I guess Mandela is a fighter. New York Times

killer stilettoDeath by shoe: A 44-year-old Texas woman faces murder charges for allegedly stabbing a man to death with a stiletto-heel shoe at the victim’s luxury condominium. Ana Lilia Trujillo stabbed a 59-year-old man, described as her “boyfriend”, multiple times with a stiletto, leaving puncture wounds all over his head. A neighbour at the condo complex had called police around 4 a.m. Sunday saying someone was being assaulted. Houston police say that “upon our arrival, [she] began to refuse to cooperate.” No word yet on whether or not the man had a shoe fetish and if the stiletto had been inserted anally. NBC News

German FloodZee Germans are fleeing: More than 20,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Germany and Hungary on Monday after a dam burst on the River Elbe in Magdeburg this weekend. The swollen Elbe River breached another levee early Monday, forcing the evacuation of 10 villages. Weeks of heavy rain this spring have sent the Elbe, the Danube and other rivers such as the Vltava and the Saale overflowing their banks, causing extensive damage in central and southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. And just when you think “it’s only water, what harm could it do?”, there have been at least 22 flood-related deaths reported. CBC News

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