Islamabad: Gaining an upper hand in the restive Swat valley in north-western Pakistan after signing of a deal with authorities, an emboldened Taliban has told all non-government organizations (NGOs) working in the area to pack their bags, saying their activities are not Islamic.
In a recent broadcast on his illegal FM radio station, Taliban commander Maulana Fazlullah said, “All NGOs should leave Swat because they are creating problems for peace.”
The Taliban commander also described all Pakistanis working for NGOs as “enemies of the country”.
“They come and tell us how to make latrines in mosques and homes. I’m sure we can do it ourselves. There is no need for foreigners to tell us this,” Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said.
US to link Pakistan aid to Taliban fight
Washington: President Barack Obama has been given a new Afghan war strategy that calls for tighter control of the Afghan-Pakistani border and linking aid to Pakistan with its willingness to fight extremists, said people familiar with the plan.
The strategy will entail increasing Afghan security forces and strengthening crop substitution to deny opium revenue to the Taliban, Obama’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, had said on 21 March.
The draft plan, which draws on months of analysis by military and civilian officials, advises Obama to narrow the core goal of the US-led effort in Afghanistan to ensuring that an attack on American soil doesn’t emanate from that country or Pakistan, according to an administration official involved in the review and other officials who were consulted. They asked not to be named because Obama hasn’t yet approved the strategy.
Obama is searching for a new strategy that will change the course of the Afghan conflict, help Afghanistan and Pakistan become self-sufficient in stanching extremism, and provide some hope that the US military commitment there will eventually end.
Dhaka: Indian and Bangladeshi officials began talks in Dhaka on Monday to renew an inland water transit and trade protocol for giving New Delhi easier and shorter access to its north-eastern states and to boost bilateral trades, officials sad.
The two countries are expected to sign a deal renewing the two-year protocol scheduled to expire on 31 March this year, Bangladesh’s shipping ministry spokesperson Jahangir Alam Khan said.
India wants inclusion of Ashuganj as a new port of call to make transport of good shorter and easier from Kolkata to Agartala through Bangladesh.
But, so far there has been no response from Dhaka. Dhaka wants higher levy for Indian goods transported through its soil.
The inland water transit protocol was first signed in 1980 under the bilateral trade agreement of 1980 which provides to make mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for commerce, maintaining the river routes in a navigable condition.
Under the protocol, both the countries allow transit for cargo through eight routes, counting both ways.