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The Zia-ul-Haq group stages kidnap drama or wants to dispose of used cartridges? Two ex-ISI officials and a dubious journo “abducted” by the Taliban

Have they been ditched and bitten by one of their own? Or the General Zia-ul-Haq group of Pakistan’s ISI has staged an interesting drama by claiming that two of its visible assets Squadron Leader (retired) Khalid Khwaja and Colonel (retired) Imam as well as an invisible asset, Asad Qureshi, a dubious journalist, have been kidnapped by the Taliban?

A hitherto unheard of militant group called the Asian Tigers on Monday issued a video of two top former ISI officials and a journalist whom it claimed to have kidnapped in Pakistan’s volatile tribal belt.

The video, which was aired by Geo News channel, featured former Inter-Services Intelligence official Khalid Khwaja, Col (retired) Imam alias Sultan Amir Tarar and Asad Qureshi, a British journalist of Pakistani-origin. The three men had gone missing after travelling to North Waziristan on March 25 to interview Taliban leaders. Source

In the video, both hostages introduced themselves as former ISI officers. They claimed that they were visiting the tribal areas following an advice by former Army Chief General Aslam Baig and former DG ISI Lt.General Hamid Gul. Source

Actors and directors

Director of the drama: General Hameed Gul
Co-director: General Aslam Beg

Key performers or scapegoats?: Khalid Khwaja and Colonel Imam

Side hero: British journalist Asad Qureshi

External aides (co-assassins): Khalid Ibrahim Paracha (Sipah-e-Sahaba), Shah Abdul Aziz (Taliban killer of the Polish engineer)

Propaganda agency: Geo TV/ Jang Group / Al Jazeerah

Aims of the drama

1. To divert attention from the UN Commission’s report which has recently indicted General Musharraf and the ISI for Benazir Bhutto’s murder.

2. To secure the release of key terrorists currently arrested, Mullah Kabir and Mullah Mansoor Dadullah.

3. To demonstrate a lack of connection between the ISI and their puppets (Taliban)

4. To divert attention from the Taliban’s attacks on innocent Pakistanis (school children, IDPs, Shias, ordinary citizens)

Here is the ‘official’ news item

Taliban release video of abductees
Updated at: 1600 PST, Monday, April 19, 2010

PESHAWAR: The video of former ISI man Sultan Ameer alias Col. Imam, Squadron (rtd) Muhammed Khalid Khawja and a British journalist Asad Qureshi, abducted by Taliban, has come out, Geo News reported Monday.

Taliban extremists released the video of the abductees who they lifted from Wana while on way to Waziristan from Kohat on March 25 on charges of spying.

Col. Imam, introducing himself in the video, said he came to Waziristan on advice from Gen (rtd) Aslam Baig.

Khalid Khawja said he came to Waziristan at the bidding of Gen (rtd) Aslam Baig and Gen (rtd) Hameed Gul.

The British abductee demanded the government of his release.

The abductees said they have been abducted by an organization Asian Tiger.

Imam has been a close friend of Taliban. Khalid is chief of Defence for Human Rights (a pseudo human rights group aimed at protecting Taliban’s right to kill innocent citizens and escape punishment).

According to sources, Khalid and Imam were in Waziristan in connection with peace negotiations.

Source: The News

Geo TV Video

Related article:

The kidnapped: Why did Punjabi Taliban capture Colonel Imam and Khalid Khwaja? – by Rahimullah Yusufzai

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  • Government must not release the arrested killers; it must not be entrapped in this drama:

    Khawaja also mentioned the name of a serving ISI official, Colonel Sajjad and said that he visited the area on his direction.

    The militants have demanded the release of at least two arrested Taliban leaders in Pakistan’s custody for the release of the two officers.

    The demand was made through an email which also contained the footage of the two officers.

    The militants have threatened that if Mullah Kabir and Mullah Mansoor Dadullah were not released, the officers would be killed.

    The unknown militants who sent their email late Sunday night also mentioned that they would issue another list of their demands soon.


  • I request Taliban to take the drama to the next level and slaughter these men. After all these men advocate Taliban’s barbarianism.

  • طالبان رہنماؤں کی رہائی کا مطالبہ

    ہارون رشید
    بی بی سی اردو ڈاٹ کام اسلام آباد
    پاکستانی خفیہ ایجنسی آئی ایس آئی کے دو سابق اہلکاروں کے اغوا کاروں نے ان کی رہائی کے بدلے میں حکومت سے زیر حراست تمام طالبان رہنماؤں کی رہائی کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔

    خالد خواجہ ائیر فورس آئی ایس آئی کے سابق اہلکار ہیں (فائل فوٹو)

    یہ مانگ اپنے آپ کو طالبان کہلوانے والے کسی نامعلوم گروپ نے صحافیوں کو بھیجی گئی ایک ویڈیو میں کیا ہے۔ ای میل کے ذریعے بھیجی گئی اس ویڈیو میں حکومت کو اس مطالبے کو مانے کے لیے دس روز کی مہلت دی گئی ہے۔

    ان مختصر ویڈیوز میں آئی ایس آئی کے سابق اہلکار اور آج کل حقوق انسانی کے لیے سرگرم خالد خواجہ اور سابق فوجی سلطان امیر عرف کرنل امام کے سینوں پر پشاور سے شائع ہونے والا اردو اخبار مشرق رکھا ہے۔ تاہم کس دن کا یہ یہ معلوم نہیں ہو رہا ہے۔

    خالد خواجہ اور کرنل امام گزشتہ ماہ کی چھبیس تاریخ کو قبائلی علاقے وزیرستان جاتے ہوئے راستے سے لاپتہ ہوگئے تھے۔ ان کی اہلیہ نے بی بی سی کو بتایا کہ وہ نہیں سمجھتیں انہیں کسی طالبان گروپ نہ اغوا کیا ہے۔ ’وہ وہاں طالبان سے متعلق ایک ویڈیو بنانے کے لیے گئے تھے۔ ان کے جانے سے قبل وہاں طالبان سے بات ہوچکی تھی اور وہ ان کی اجازت سے وہاں گئے تھے۔‘

    خالد خواجہ اور کرنل امام گزشتہ ماہ کی چھبیس تاریخ کو قبائلی علاقے وزیرستان جاتے ہوئے راستے سے لاپتہ ہوگئے تھے۔ ان کی اہلیہ نے بی بی سی کو بتایا کہ وہ نہیں سمجھتیں انہیں کسی طالبان گروپ نہ اغوا کیا ہے۔ ’وہ وہاں طالبان سے متعلق ایک ویڈیو بنانے کے لیے گئے تھے۔ ان کے جانے سے قبل وہاں طالبان سے بات ہوچکی تھی اور وہ ان کی اجازت سے وہاں گئے تھے۔‘
    مسز خواجہ نے بی بی سی کو بتایا کہ ان کو وہاں مدد فراہم کرنے والا ایک عثمان پنجابی نامی گائیڈ تھا نے غالباً انہیں پکڑوایا ہے۔ ’ہم نے ان کی فون کالز کا ریکارڈ نکلوایا ہے تو اس میں انہیں کو انہوں نے اکثر کالیں کی ہوئی تھیں۔ اس شخص کے بارے میں معلوم ہوا ہے کہ اس کا تعلق کسی اغوا کار گروپ سے ہے۔‘

    ان کے بدلے طالبان نے جن طالبان رہنماؤں کی رہائی کا مطالبہ کیا ہے ان میں ملا برادر، ملا منصور داد اللہ، اور ملا کبیر جیسی شخصیات کے نام ہیں۔ ای میل کے مطابق مزید رہنماؤں کے نام بعد میں فراہم کیے جائیں گے۔ پیغام میں دو سابق آئی ایس آئی اہلکاروں کو اسلام اور مسلمانوں کا دشمن قرار دیا گیا ہے۔

    ویڈیو میں دونوں اہلکار سابق فوجی سربراہ جنرل مرزا اسلم بیگ کا نام لے رہے ہیں کہ ان کے ساتھ وہ مشورہ کرنے کے بعد قبائلی علاقے روانہ ہوئے۔ تاہم خالد خواجہ ان کے علاوہ آئی ایس آئی کے سابق سربراہ جنرل حمید گل اور اسی ادارے کے ایک کرنل ساجد کا نام بھی لے رہے ہیں۔ البتہ جنرل حمید گل اس بات کی تردید کرتے ہیں۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ خالد خواجہ غلط کہہ رہے ہیں۔

    حالد خواجہ کے اہل خانہ نے بتایا کہ صوبہ خیبر پختونخواہ کے سابق رکن قومی اسمبلی مولانا عبدالعزیز اب ان کی رہائی کے لیے ثالثی کی کوششیں کر رہے ہیں
    بی بی سی سے بات کرتے ہوئے جنرل حمید گل نے کہا کہ وہ دونوں مغویوں سے نہیں ملے اور نہ انہیں معلوم ہے کہ وہ کیوں ان کا نام لے رہے ہیں۔ تاہم ان کا کہنا تھا کہ اس میں انہیں کسی سازش کی بو محسوس ہوتی ہے جس کے پیچھے امریکہ کا ہاتھ ہوسکتا ہے تاکہ انہیں گھیرا جاسکے۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ یہ اغوا افغان طالبان کا کام تو ہرگز نہیں بلکہ پاکستانی بھی اس میں ملوث نہیں ہوسکتے۔ ’یہ کسی جرائم پیشہ گروہ کی کارروائی ہوسکتی ہے۔‘

    ویڈیو میں دونوں سابق فوجی اپنی فوجی سروس اور آئی ایس آئی میں مدت ملازمت کے بارے میں بھی بتاتے ہیں۔ ویڈیو میں دونوں شخص کافی تناؤ میں دکھائی دے رہے ہیں۔

    مسز خواجہ کا کہنا تھا کہ ان کے بیٹے کی عثمان نامی شخص سے بات ہوئی تھی جس نے اب انہیں بتایا کہ وہ تو خالد خواجہ کو آنے سے منع کر رہا تھا۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ انہیں امید نہیں کہ حکومت انہیں بچانے میں سنجیدہ ہوگی۔ ’حکومت تو پہلے ہی ان کے خلاف تھی تو وہ کیسے انہیں بچانے کی کوئی کوشش کرے گی۔‘

    حالد خواجہ کے اہل خانہ نے بتایا کہ صوبہ خیبر پختونخواہ کے سابق رکن قومی اسمبلی مولانا عبدالعزیز اب ان کی رہائی کے لیے ثالثی کی کوششیں کر رہے ہیں


  • Do Mullah Kabir and Mullah Dadullah work for Blackwater? According to General Hamid Gul, yes.

    The militants warned Islamabad that they would kill both officers if their demands are not met, Pakistan media reported.

    They have demanded the release of Mullah brothers, Abdul Kabir and Mansoor Dadullah Akhund from Pakistan’s custody.

    Meanwhile, former ISI Chief Hamid Gul had said in an interview with a private TV channel that it was possible the two men were kidnapped by Blackwater or any other anti-state organization. He also described the chances that pro-Taliban militants were behind this incident as ‘nil’, reasoning that ‘it was not their hallmark.’


  • The militants made the threats in an email message, which also attached video footage of two hostages – human rights activist Khalid Khawaja and British journalist of Pakistani origin, Asad Quereshi. The militants threatened to kill Quereshi within a week.

    The 15-second video clip shows a bearded and bespectacled Quereshi appealing for help in securing his release.

    “My name is Asad Quereshi, I am an England (sic) citizen. Please help them set me free. I am being detained by the Asian Tigers,” the journalist, who works for Britain’s Channel 4 TV network, said in the video.

    Another clip shows Khawaja speaking about the work he was asked to do.

    “I worked in the Pakistan Air Force for 20 years and for two years I served in ISI. I was sent here by former chief of army staff retired General Aslam Beg, the former director general of ISI Lt Gen Hamid Gul and Colonel Sajjad of ISI,” he said.

    Khawaja, who had earlier worked for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during the 1980s, has since become a lobbyist for families of missing people believed to have been detained by security services for their alleged links to militant groups.

    Another former ISI official and Pakistani Consul General in Herat, Col Imam alias Sultan Amir Tarar, believed to be behind the formation of the Pakistani Taliban, was also kidnapped.

    Quereshi, Imam and Khawaja were abducted on March 25 when they had travelled to North Waziristan to interview Taliban commander Sirajuddin Haqqani.

    “Khalid Khawaja and Colonel Imam are in Taliban custody,” the militants said in the email.

    “They are enemies of Islam and Muslims. We demand the release of all Taliban leaders and other mujahadeen.” the message said.

    “In 10 days, if the government does not release the mujahadeen then we will kill the ISI officer(s),” it said.

    The message also warned Quereshi would be killed within a week if the British government failed to pay a $10 million ransom.

    “This is a final warning. There are only seven days left. If the UK government does not fulfil our requirements then I will kill this man,” it said.


  • humza :@rabia interesting comment .

    ……..shuDdup Saad..just keep ur mouth shut when u know nothing……..this is Not a drama for heavensake ..this is a TRUE.en this is my dad ur toking about..so watch ur mouth..en how about slaughtering ur dad??dat hurts ryt?…he went for peace negotiation unlike others…riskin his own life…….soo plz everybudy pray for their safe return.


  • humza :@rabia interesting comment .

    ……..shuDdup Saad..just keep ur mouth shut when u know nothing……..Its Not a drama for heavensake …en this is my dad ur toking about..so watch ur mouth..en how about slaughtering ur dad??dat hurts ryt?…he went for peace negotiation unlike others…riskin his own life…….soo plz everybudy pray for their safe return.


  • @Saad
    Loser when u dont know shitt tryn keep ur mouth shut.. son of a butcher they are talkin about humans, now freakin keep ur beak zipped..

  • Well the reasons for this incident as given above
    Aims of the drama

    1. To divert attention from the UN Commission’s report which has recently indicted General Musharraf and the ISI for Benazir Bhutto’s murder.

    2. To secure the release of two two arrested Taliban leaders, Mullah Kabir and Mullah Mansoor Dadullah.

    3. To demonstrate a lack of connection between the ISI and their puppets (Taliban)

    4. To divert attention from the Taliban’s attacks on innocent Pakistanis (school children, IDPs, Shias, ordinary citizens)

    For god sake is this article written by a kid?…what are you trying to prove?….i am laughing at you little bond 007 mind…oh man….hahahah…..
    1. To divert attention from the UN Commission’s report which has recently indicted General Musharraf and the ISI for Benazir Bhutto’s murder…man my attention is still on report it is not diverted…i think now ppp will do investigation for bibi;s murder in pakistan …it will take one year then after this …will this investigation be done in america then malaysia then singpore…..this is not fun plz cath murderes of bibi..dont play games..these hostage videos cant divert attention…belive me your ppp government dont have gutts to catch musharraf……warna tum log guard of honour na detay

  • interesting article, the writer may be not discuss open truth openly as it should be!!!

    ISI have international goals, to promote Islamic extremism to earn money from many sources, sources who they want to use these kind of elements or sources who they want to stop them,
    now a days the ISI earning lot of from both sites even the 3rd and 4th parties ie Iran & China also funding them so they will never end up this drama that was started during cold ward, they know this is a key thing that can generate more n more money.

    Dirty games of army & ISI

  • کرنل امام اور خواجہ خالد کا معاملہ…..زاویہٴ نگاہ…نصرت مرزا

    اس میں کوئی شبہ نہیں کہ شمالی و جنوبی وزیرستان میں بہت سے گروپ کام کررہے ہیں۔ ان میں امریکہ و روس بھارت کے مفادات کے محافظ طالبان کے نام سے کام کررہے ہیں۔ برا ہو جنرل پرویز مشرف کا جس نے اسامہ کو پکڑنے کے لئے امریکی و بھارتی و موساد کے ایجنٹوں کو ان علاقوں کی جانب جانے کی اجازت دے دی۔ روس کے ایجنٹ شمالی اتحاد کے ذریعے ان علاقوں میں گھسے جن کے پاس نہ کوئی سفری دستاویز تھیں اور نہ ہی کوئی اور نشانی انہوں نے ان علاقوں میں لڑاکا لوگوں کو جمع کر کے فوج ترتیب دے ڈالی اور پاکستان کے خلاف کارروائی شروع کر دی۔ فتویٰ دینے کے لئے یہودی عالموں کے بھیس میں آگئے اور انہوں نے مذہب سے نا آشنا لوگوں کو جس طرف بھی چاہا موڑ دیا۔ مصر سے تکفیری فرقے کو لے آیا گیا انہوں نے مل کر وہ ظلم ڈھایا اور مسلمانوں کا وہ خون بہایا جس کی مثال ذرا کم ہی ملتی ہے۔ پاکستان کو عدم استحکام کا شکار کرنے کے لئے پاکستان میں اس سے سو گنا شدت کی دہشت گردی کی گئیں جو روس کے دور میں افغانستان کی انٹیلی جینس ایجنسیاں کیا کرتی تھیں مگر پاکستان ثابت قدم رہا بلکہ پاکستان یکسو ہو گیا اور یوں وہ طاقتیں ناکام ہوئیں مگر انڈیا نے اس کے باوجود پاکستان کو بے تحاشا نقصان پہنچایا۔ اگرچہ ہم خود بھی اپنے بھی دشمن تھے مگر پھر پاکستان کی محبت نے سب کو یکجا کر دیا۔
    روس‘ بھارت ‘موساد اور امریکہ نے تاحال ہمارا پیچھا نہیں چھوڑا۔ وہ طاقتیں جو افغانستان و پاکستان میں امن نہیں چاہتیں وہ آج بھی متحرک ہیں۔ روس توہین آمیز طریقے سے افغانستان سے اپنا نکلنا نہیں بھولا اور وہ ان لوگوں پہ نظر رکھتا ہے جو ااس کی شکست کے ذمہ دار تھے۔ چنانچہ اس نے ایک طرف تو امریکہ کو افغانستان میں بھیجا اور اپنا بدلہ لیا اور پاکستان اورامریکہ کے درمیان شمالی اتحاد کے ذریعے سے بے اعتمادی پیدا کی اور پاکستان کو امریکہ کے ذریعے نقصان پہنچایا۔ اب باری انفرادی لوگوں کی رہ گئی ہے اس کا اندازہ اس بات سے لگایا جا سکتا ہے کہ کرنل امام اور خواجہ خالد کو طالبان کے ایک گروپ نے پکڑ لیا ہے اور ان کی تصاویر جاری کی ہیں۔ کرنل امام روس کے خلاف جنگ کے ایک کردار تھا۔ اس پر دھوکہ دہی کرپشن کا کوئی داغ بھی نہیں تھا۔ خواجہ خالد سیمابی طبیعت کے مالک ہیں اور بے چین روح کے مالک، وہ کچھ نہ کچھ کرنا چاہتے تھے۔ اب معلوم نہیں کہ وہ کس کے لئے کام کررہے تھے کیوں کہ انہوں نے ملا برادران کی گرفتاری اور پانچ امریکی طلباء کی گرفتاری پر عدالتوں میں درخواستیں دائر کر رکھی ہیں وہی کرنل امام کو ساتھ لے کر ملا عمر سے ملنے گئے تھے جس کے بارے میں جنرل مرزا اسلم بیگ لاعلم رہے۔ مگر یہ درست ہے کہ رچرڈ آر میٹج جب جنرل مرزا اسلم بیگ سے ملنے اس درخواست کے ساتھ آئے تھے کہ امریکا اور طالبات کے درمیان گفت و شنید کا سلسلہ شروع کرا دیا جائے۔ جنرل مرزا اسلم بیگ نے سوال کیا تھا کہ اعتماد کی خلیج کو کیسے بھرا جائے اس وقت کرنل امام بھی اس ملاقات میں موجود تھے۔ جنرل مرزا اسلم بیگ نے جب راقم کو یہ بات بتائی تھی تو میں نے ان سے کہا تھا کہ امریکی اب آپ کو بائی پاس کر دیں گے۔ خود کرنل امام کے ذریعہ طالبان امریکا سے روابط استوار کر لیں گے کرنل امام خود بھی ایک ٹی وی انٹرویو میں یہ کہہ چکے تھے کہ وہ ملا عمر سے روابط کرا سکتے ہیں۔
    اطلاعات کے بموجب خواجہ خالد نے کرنل امام کو جنرل مرزا اسلم بیگ اور جنرل حمید گل کے اجازت کے بغیر اس بات پر راضی کیا کہ وہ ملا عمر کو بات چیت کیلئے تیار کریں گے اور دوں یہ مشکل کام کرنے نکل گئے پھر انہوں نے ملا نذیر سے رابطہ کیا انہوں نے کہا کہ چلے آؤ مگر پھر پکڑے گئے۔ اس کے بعد ان کی ویڈیو جاری ہوئی اور مطالبہ کیا گیا کہ حکومت پاکستان ملا بردران کو رہا کرے تو ان دونوں حضرات کو رہا کیا جا سکتا ہے۔
    اب ایک اگلا سوال ہے کہ ان لوگوں کو کس نے گرفتار کیا۔ پاکستانی حکومت نے افغان حکومت نے؟ کیونکہ کہ ملا برادران کی گرفتار ی پر حامد کرزئی صاحب سخت برہم ہیں کیوں کہ وہ ملا برادران اور طالبان اور درمیان بات چیت کا وسیلہ تھے۔ گمان یہ کہ حامد کرزئی ڈبل گیم کررہے تھے پاکستان نے ملا برادران کو اس لئے گرفتار کیا کہ پاکستان کو امریکہ اور طالبان کے درمیان مذاکرات میں شامل کیا جائے اور پاکستان کا وزن محسوس کیا جائے۔ حامد کرزئی اور ملا برادران دونوں ایک قبیلے پوپل زئی سے تعلق رکھتے ہیں اور ملا برادرہی کے کہنے پر ہی ملا عمر نے حامد کرزئی کو وزارت خارجہ میں ڈپٹی سیکریٹری لگایا تھا جنہوں نے بعدمیں ساز باز کر کے اپنے آپ کو صدر بنا لیا۔ پاکستان کی حکومت بھی کرنل امام اور خواجہ خالد کو گرفتار کر سکتی ہے کہ انہوں نے مداخلت بیجا کی تھی، تیسرے روسی‘ بھارتی، موساد یا کوئی اور گروپ جو امریکہ اور طالبان کے درمیان مذاکرات کو روکنا چاہتا ہے گرفتار کر سکتے ہیں مگر یہ دونوں حضرات بھی ضرورت سے زیادہ بے چین روح کے مالک ہیں ،اس کھیل میں کودنا درست نہیں تھا جب تک کہ حکومت پاکستان کی سرپرستی شامل نہ ہو۔ کم از کم پاکستان کے مفادات کے باہر تو کوئی گیم نہیں کھیلا جانا چاہئے۔ پرائیویٹ جاسوس کی طرح پرائیویٹ صلح کار بننے کی اس جنگ میں کہاں گنجائش ہے۔ تاہم ان دونوں حضرات کی جان کو خطرہ ہے مگر پاکستان کے لئے یہ لوگ اہم نہیں۔ دو افراد ہیں، حکومت انہیں چلے ہوئے کارتوس سمجھتی ہے، وہ ان کے بدلے میں اہم لوگوں کو رہا کرنے کا مطالبہ نہیں مانے گی۔ کرنل امام اور خواجہ خالد کی اتنی اہمیت کہاں کہ ان پر سودے بازی کی جائے بلکہ حکومت پاکستان تو خواجہ خالد سے اس لئے نالاں تھی کہ وہ افغانی مجاہدین کے حق میں یا حکومت کے خلاف ہر قسم کی اپیل ٹھوک دیتے تھے تاہم یہ فرض طالبان پہ عائد ہوتا ہے کہ وہ ان کو رہا کروائیں اس لئے کہ وہ ان کے پرانے خدمت گزارہیں کسی غلط توجیح کی بنا پر ان کو ہلاک کرنا یا اذیت پہنچانا درست نہیں ہو گا۔


  • Taliban denies kidnapping ex-ISI officers
    By BILL ROGGIOApril 22, 2010 8:13 AM

    The Afghan Taliban has denied any involvement in the kidnapping and ransoming of two pro-jihadist former Pakistani intelligence officials who went missing in early April.

    The Afghan Taliban’s top spokesman and an unnamed senior commander said the Afghan Taliban are not involved in the kidnapping of former Inter-Services Intelligence officers Colonel Imam and Khalid Khawaja, both of whom went missing along with two journalists while visiting the town of Miramshah in North Waziristan last month. Imam, Khawaja, and a British journalist were said to have traveled to North Waziristan to produce a documentary on the Taliban. This week, a group calling itself the Asian Tigers claimed credit for the kidnapping and demanded the release of three top Afghan Taliban leaders who have been detained by Pakistani security forces over the past three years.

    But Zabihullah Mujahid, the top spokesman for Mullah Omar Mohammed, said the Afghan Taliban was not involved in the kidnapping and questioned the legitimacy of the Asian Tigers.

    “If this is really a true jihadi organization why didn’t it come with its original name,” Mujahid told a reporter from The News.

    Mujahid and another Taliban commander who did not provide his identity to The News stated that they were not aware of the location of Imam and Khawaja, and were trying to secure their release.

    “We are trying our best for their release and hopefully they would be freed soon,” the Taliban commander said.

    The Afghan Taliban commander also said Imam and Khawaja would not be placed under custody by the Taliban. Imam in particular is “widely respected among the Taliban for his independent views and sympathies towards the mujahideen.” Khawaja’s wife echoed the Taliban commander’s sentiment, noting her husband “had filed a writ petition at the Lahore High Court against extradition of the five American Muslims to their government and the detention of Mullah Baradar and other people by the Pakistani government.”

    Pakistanis with close links to the Taliban and various jihadist groups are conducting talks with jihadist groups based in North Waziristan in an attempt to secure the release of Imam and Khawaja. Shah Abdul Aziz, a former member of parliament who was arrested last year while meeting a top leader of the Ghazi Force, a terrorist group behind attacks in Islamabad and elsewhere, has initiated talks with Taliban groups in North Waziristan.

    More Taliban theater?

    A senior US intelligence official who previous described the drama behind Imam and Khawaja’s kidnapping as “Taliban theater” and “a farce” to The Long War Journal said the denial by the Afghan Taliban was predictable.

    “The Afghan Taliban want their commanders in Pakistani custody freed, but they don’t want to be tied to this publically,” the official said. “They can’t be seen, publically at least, as opposing their ISI handlers. If their cutout [the Asian Tigers] secure the release of Baradar or Kabir, then the gambit will have worked.”

    The official also scoffed at the notion that Imam and Khawaja could disappear from North Waziristan without the Taliban knowing.

    “North Waziristan is jihadi central and the Taliban rule there with an iron fist,” the official said. “Does anyone serious believe these guys, who were under the protection of [South Waziristan Taliban leader Waliur Rehman Mehsud, who is sheltering there] all the sudden disappeared into thin air, and the Taliban are wondering how?”

    The so-called Asian Tigers have threatened to kill Imam and Khawaja if the government does not free Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mullah Abdul Kabir, and Mullah Mansur Dadullah Akhund.

    Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar directed the Quetta Shura before he was detained in Karachi sometime in January or February 2010. Baradar was the Afghan Taliban’s second in command and the group’s operational commander.

    Kabir led the Peshawar Regional Military Council, one of the Afghan Taliban’s top four regional commands, before he was captured by Pakistani intelligence in February 2010. He served as the Taliban’s former shadow governor of the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, as well as the governor of Nangarhar during the Taliban’s reign.

    Dadullah, who is also known as Mullah Bakht Mohammed, replaced his brother Mullah Dadullah Akhund as the top commander in southern Afghanistan during the summer of 2007. His status has been in doubt, but he was last reported to have been arrested by Pakistani security forces in January 2008.

    Background on Imam and Khawaja

    Colonel Imam, whose real name is Amir Sultan, is considered to be one of the fathers of the Taliban. He was instrumental in providing training, organization, and material support for the Taliban as they began to take over vast regions in southern Afghanistan in the mid-1990s. He is believed to have directed the Taliban takeover of Herat in 1995, and then later directed the Taliban assaults on Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad, according to the London Times.

    Imam has continued to support the Taliban since the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and has been spotted in southern Afghanistan by Afghan and United Nations officials. Imam has openly praised Mullah Omar.

    “I love him,” he said. “He brought peace to Afghanistan.”

    Khawaja is a former Squadron Commander in the Pakistani Air Force who fought alongside al Qaeda and reportedly Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980s. After retiring as a major, he served in the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, Pakistan’s notorious military intelligence service that helped to found the Taliban and other jihadist terror groups. Khawaja has also been linked to the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

    Khawaja serves as the Taliban’s “consigliere,” a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. At the end of February, Khawaja succeeded in blocking the transfer of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan Taliban’s second in command, and four other members of the Afghan Taliban’s Quetta Shura, to foreign custody. He is also one of the lawyers for the five Americans who entered Pakistan to join al Qaeda in North Waziristan late last year.

    Read more: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/04/taliban_denies_kidna.php#ixzz0lq0CGS1J

  • Missing ex-ISI officers in Fata

    Thursday, April 22, 2010
    By By Umar Cheema
    ISLAMABAD: The mystery of the abduction in tribal areas of two pro-Taliban ISI veterans has virtually been solved as the wife of a kidnapped officer says the Punjabi Taliban were responsible and they invited them to the tribal areas.

    One of the kidnapped ISI veterans, Khalid Khawaja, has previously acted as a conduit for Baitullah Mehsud for an intelligence agency. He once handed to late Baitullah a list of the Punjabi Taliban in the tribal belt who were disliked by the intelligence sleuths.

    Khawaja, in a recently televised video sent by the captors, said he went to the tribal belt on the advice of former DG ISI, Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Gul, a serving ISI Col Sajjad, and former Army chief Aslam Beg. Col (retd) Imam in the same video said he undertook the tribal area visit on the advice of Gen (retd) Beg.

    Retired PAF Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja and Col (retd) Sultan Amir alias Col Imam were kidnapped along with a British documentary-maker of Pakistani origin, Asad Qureshi, in the tribal area where they went to film the ‘atrocities’ being committed on the Taliban of the Fata region.

    According to an early press release issued by Khawaja’s family, they went there on the “precise invitation of the High Command of Tehrik-e-Taliban of North and South Waziristan as their respected guests for the purpose of making a documentary highlighting the present situation of the area and its impact on the indigenous population.” However, details gathered in background conversations present a totally different picture.

    As far their visit to the area is concerned, it was not being done at the invitation of leadership of Taliban militants in Waziristan as was initially told to the media by the family of Khalid Khawaja. It was the second visit to the area within a month by Khawaja and Col (retd) Imam. They first went to the area in the beginning of March and left Islamabad for a second trip on March 26.

    Before they departed for the second time, their guide in the first visit declined to join them, stating security concerns. As Khawaja was in contact with another Taliban militant, Usman Punjabi, they decided to leave after receiving clearance from him who also sent a guide to ensure their safe travel. They were later found missing.

    The man who called the family of Khalid Khawaja to convey the demands of the captors introduced himself as ‘Usman Punjabi, confirmed Khawaja’s wife and son who have realised that the callers represent a bunch of criminals. They understand the group is dominated by Punjabi Taliban, raising questions about their motives.

    Khawaja once handed a list of Punjabi Taliban to late Baitulah Mehsud on behalf of an intelligence agency, conveying the latter’s desire they be reined in as they were creating trouble time and again. Right from attacks on former President Pervez Musharraf to the GHQ and at other places, the Punjabi Taliban have been found involved.

    Khawaja’s family did not deny he acted as a conduit. Elaborating, his son said his father’s efforts were intended to bring peace and he played a crucial role in holding Jirgas with Baitullah-led militants in the past.

    Col (retd) Imam was closer to Afghan Taliban apparently working on behalf of the Pakistani establishment. His son is a serving major in the Army.

    Khawaja remained more active on the domestic front. He had once claimed that he hosted Osama bin Laden in pre-9/11 days when bin Laden used to visit his Islamabad residence. Khawaja also remained at center-stage during Lal Masjid crisis, siding with the clerics. Though he spearheaded the movement of missing persons in the beginning, his alleged dual role came under suspicion by the families.


  • Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday called this scribe from an undisclosed location and said they had nothing to do with the so-called militant faction ‘Asian Tigers’ and its demand for the release of two Afghan Taliban commanders. “If this is really a true jihadi organisation why didn’t it come with its original name,” remarked the Taliban spokesman.

    He said the Taliban-run Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was completely ignorant about the group and its whereabouts. Similarly, a senior Afghan Taliban commander also expressed his surprise over the demand by the unknown militant organisation. “If we have publicly announced our fight against the major world powers in Afghanistan, then why we would keep our names secret while demanding release of our two leaders,” explained the Taliban commander.

    The commander, who called from an undisclosed location and wished not to be named, said all major Taliban organisations in the region did not know what had happened to Col Imam and Khalid Khwaja in North Waziristan. He felt that kidnapping retired military officers could be an act of cowardly people, saying that Col Imam was widely respected among the Taliban for his independent views and sympathies towards the mujahideen. He said he had heard that Col Imam and his colleagues had been kidnapped by the people who invited them to Waziristan for interviews. “We are trying our best for their release and hopefully they would be freed soon,” the commander hoped.

    Meanwhile, a jirga or commission of religious leaders and tribal elders started efforts for release of the three missing persons. Led by former JUI-F MNA from Karak district Shah Abdul Aziz, the jirga members have already reached North Waziristan and were holding meetings with various militant groups for release of the three men.

    However, a caller claiming to belong to the Punjabi Taliban group said Shah Abdul Aziz and his men had not yet traced the men holding Col Imam and his colleagues. He alleged that Khalid Khwaja and his wife had played a negative role during the Lal Masjid crisis and instigated Maulana Abdur Rasheed Ghazi to confront the government.

    “It was Khalid Khwaja and his wife who forced Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi to wear burqa to escape before the military operation was launched on Lal Masjid,” he claimed. “The group may release Col Imam and journalist Assad, but may not set free Khalid Khwaja for his dubious role,” he explained.

    When reached on telephone, wife of Khalid Khwaja, however, rejected the allegation and said those saying such things should ask Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi and his wife Umme Hassan. “You know wife and children of Maulana Ghazi stayed for over a month with us in our home. We had heard this allegation before and then one of Abdul Aziz Ghazi’s sisters asked her brother about this burqa issue. Ghazi said nobody had advised him but it was his own decision to wear a burqa and escape,” explained Khwaja’s wife, who appeared disturbed.

    She said they were astonished when they heard about the demand of the group for the release of Afghan Taliban commanders. “You may know Khalid had filed a writ petition at the Lahore High Court against extradition of the five American Muslims to their government and the detention of Mulla Biradar and other people by the Pakistani government,” she maintained. She said an organised campaign had been launched to defame Khalid Khwaja and his family for their never-ending support to the mujahideen and all Muslims in trouble.

    Afghan Taliban distance themselves from ‘Asian Tigers’

    Kidnapping of two ex-ISI officials claimed; release of militants demanded

    Thursday, April 22, 2010
    Mushtaq Yusufzai


  • Exclusively for General Mirza Aslam Beg, Barrister Hafiz Pirzada and Barrister Akram Sheikh. [both the “Honourable Barristers and Amicus curiae [ “friend of the court”] benefited from ISI and Pakistan Army’s shame “Mehran Bank Scandal]

    Of Chameleon i.e. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Judiciary & NRO.

    Sanctimonious Lawyers: Barrister Akram Sheikh & Mehran Bank Scandal


  • The abductions by Taliban are gruesome act, various foreigners and locals have been killed after kidnapping. The state must not release any militant leaders as they will kill more innocent lives once released. Bargaining and bowing down to militants is not a viable option.

  • ‘Jihadi channels’ opened to secure release of former ISI spies

    * Captors of Colonel Imam, Khalid Khawaja, British journalist demanding ransom of $10m, release of Mullah Baradar, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, Maulvi Kabir
    * Families of former operatives also using ‘other channels’

    By Iqbal Khattak

    PESHAWAR: “Jihadi” and “other channels” have been opened to secure the safe return of two former ISI operatives, along with a British journalist, all of whom have been “missing” since April 26 and are believed to have been abducted by a group linked to the Taliban in North Waziristan, officials and pro-Taliban sources said on Thursday.

    Former ISI officials Col Imam alias Sultan Amir Tarar and Khalid Khawaja and a British journalist of Pakistani origin, Asad Qureshi, were seen in a video provided to local and international media via email on Wednesday, with their captors – who identified themselves as “Asian Tigers” – demanding “freedom” for Taliban leaders Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah and Maulvi Kabir in exchange for the release of the former ISI officials. They also demanded a ransom of $10 million to allow the journalist to “walk into a free world”.

    Regarded as pro-Taliban, Mullah Shah Abdul Aziz – a Karak-based JUI leader of the Samiul Haq group – held talks with senior Taliban leaders in Mir Ali town of North Waziristan on Monday, while the sons of the two former spies are also using other channels to secure the release of Colonel Imam and Khalid Khawaja. Javed Ibrahim Paracha – a PML-N leader with close links to jihadi organisations – said Shah Abdul Aziz made contact with the Taliban in Mir Ali to negotiate the release of the kidnapped men.

    “They spent a night with me, but before leaving me on April 26, they did not say where they were going. What I know is that the British journalist is on an assignment … [it’s] a documentary on the Taliban … [while] the former ISI officials are helping him,” Paracha told Daily Times over the phone from his hometown of Kohat.

    A British TV network sent the journalist to Pakistan, and he sought the former intelligence operatives’ help in making contact with the Taliban. But it is not clear under what circumstances or agreement the former operatives – who hold considerable clout over the Taliban – set out with the journalist.

    While the captors have threatened to kill the hostages if their demands are not met, the ISI headquarters in Islamabad appears optimistic that the former spies would return home unhurt. However, the headquarters fears that the captors might hurt the journalist if the government in London does not move.

    Notwithstanding the optimism, there is worry for the two former ISI officials: the country’s secret services are trying to ensure that the hostages are not “sold out” to another group in Afghanistan, because Kabul might harm them for their support for the Taliban when the ultra-conservatives were ruling the country from 1996-2001.

    The fear emanates from a “sell-out” of the past: a Peshawar-based Iranian diplomat was kidnapped from Peshawar and later rescued from Afghanistan after a deal.

    “The two men will be in real danger if they are taken across the border, where they are hated for their views and role about the Taliban,” said the security officials.

    Khalid Khawaja’s wife told Daily Times over the phone from Islamabad that “Usman Punjabi” was the mastermind of the kidnapping. “He is leading a group of about 50 to 60 criminals, and we believe he is behind the whole affair,” she said.

    Col Imam’s son, who is a one-star general in the Pakistan Army, and the sons of Khalid Khawaja, believed to be in the defence forces, are also using “other channels” to negotiate the return of their fathers.

    The official sources said it was unlikely that the government would set free the three Afghan Taliban leaders. However, they said it was likely that the ransom would be paid to bring the journalist back.

    Col Imam is a respected figure among the Taliban, as he is regarded as a teacher of Taliban spiritual leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, and Col Imam was a frequent visitor to Kandahar when he was stationed in Herat. Col Imam’s abduction by the very same people who he holds in high esteem has come as a shock.

    The mystery surrounding the disappearance of the two high-profile former spies is likely to clear when the two face the media and narrate the real story.


  • TheGoverment must not release any leaders as they will kill more people. They must be punished and even publicly so that it is a lesson for the others to stop all terrorist activities in Pakistan. This is no way of bringing a change by killing women and children!

  • Confessions of a spy

    * Khalid Khawaja concedes brokering deal with terrorists, army in Waziristan
    * Says he hatched a plan with Fazlur Rahman, Mufti Rafi Usmani to end Lal Masjid movement

    Daily Times Monitor

    LAHORE: Retired Pakistan Air Force squadron leader Khalid Khawaja, a former ISI official and a close friend of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in the 1980s, has explained in video footages how he was on a mission to broker a deal between the Taliban and the army when he was captured by the terrorists, and how he played a double game by deceiving a cleric into being arrested.

    The revelations appear in five video clips sent to Asia Times Online by an al Qaeda-linked group of terrorists from North Waziristan.

    On March 25, Khawaja travelled to North Waziristan to interview commanders Sirajuddin Haqqani and Waliur Rahman Mehsud. He was accompanied by a British reporter, Asad Qureshi, and Col Ameer Tarrar – nicknamed “Col Imam” by the mujahideen as he was instrumental in helping raise the Taliban militia and trained Mullah Omar and other top Afghan leaders.

    The three men have not been heard from since March 25.

    Lal Masjid: Khawaja confesses to hatching a plan with JUI-F chief Fazlur Rahman, Mufti Rafi Usmani and other scholars to eliminate the Lal Masjid movement from Islamabad. He says he trapped Abdul Aziz, the mosque’s prayer leader and the brother of Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, with whom Aziz ran Lal Masjid. He says he telephoned Aziz and lured him into being arrested.

    “I am known as a thoroughbred gentleman, but in fact I was an ISI and CIA mole… I remember the burnt bodies of the innocent boys and girls of Lal Masjid… I called Abdul Aziz and forced him to come out of the mosque wearing a burqa, and that’s how I got him arrested,” Khawaja confesses in a video clip.

    He says top jihadi commanders were ISI’s proxies and were given a free hand to collect funds. They included Fazlur Rahman Khalil, Masood Azhar and Abdullah Shah Mazhar.

    He gave several interviews to Asia Times Online revealing how he had set up a meeting in the late 1980s between Bin Laden and then opposition leader Nawaz Sharif to dislodge Benazir Bhutto’s government.

    It is unclear why Khawaja took Col Imam with him to North Waziristan. In the video footage, Khawaja says, “I was sent by the Pakistan Army in North Waziristan because it was badly caught in the middle of a conflict. I was sent to get reconciliation between the army and the Taliban so that the terrorists would give safe passage to the military to leave the area.”


  • Missing ex-ISI men face revenge

    Monday, April 26, 2010
    By Mazhar Tufail

    ISLAMABAD: The captors of two former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials and a British journalist, who went missing in North Waziristan Agency nearly three weeks ago, are unlikely to spare the two former ISI sleuths as they are sure that they have been spying on them.

    Two former ISI officers, Colonel (retd) Imam and Squadron Leader (retd) Khalid Khwaja and a journalist Asad Qureshi, went missing in North Waziristan where they had gone to work on a documentary on the Taliban.

    “All the efforts made by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Afghan Taliban) to secure release of the two former ISI officials and the British journalist have failed,” said Qari Ziaur Rehman, a Taliban commander in Kunar.

    Qari Ziaur Rehman said it had been confirmed that the trio was not in the captivity of the (outlawed) Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan but one of the scattered groups of the Pakistani militants, either the Punjabi Taliban or any other group. He said the captors of the three seemed to be very close to the former clerics of Lal Masjid — Maulana Abdul Aziz and Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi.

    “This is the reason that they forced Khalid Khawaja into making the confessional statement that he worked for the CIA and ISI,” he argued. “Thus, it has been confirmed that Khalid Khwaja had been helping the Musharraf regime when it launched operation at Lal Masjid,” he added.

    Qari Zia said the captors of the trio believed that by detaining the two former ISI officials and a British journalist, they had succeeded in smashing a network that had been spying on them. He said different groups of the Afghan Taliban made hectic efforts for the release of the kidnapped men but the captors did not oblige them.

    “The Taliban commander said the Punjabi Taliban groups, including the one led by Ilyas Kashmiri, were extremely annoyed with the two former ISI officials, particularly Khalid Khwaja, because they believed that they played an important role in the arrest of all their operatives and leaders by the Pakistani authorities,” Qari Zia said.

    “I look like a modest, religious and sympathetic person but in fact I have been working for the ISI and the CIA. I am shameful of my deeds and am paying the price of my sins. I remember burnt bodies of the small girl and boy students of Lal Masjid because I forced Maulana Abdul Aziz, Pesh Imam of Lal Masjid, to escape. Maulana Abdul Aziz is a very simple person and sincere in implementation of true Islam in the country. We trapped this simple person and he got arrested,” reports quoted him saying in the video.


  • Internal fighting of the Taliban?

    Former ISI Khalid Khwaja found dead in Waziristan

    Friday, 30 Apr, 2010

    Former ISI official Khalid Khwaja. — File photo
    ‘Pakistan has moved 100,000 troops from eastern border’
    ‘Pakistan has moved 100,000 troops from eastern border’
    ISLAMABAD: Former ISI official Khalid Khwaja’s body was found on the Miramshah-Mirali road in the North Waziristan tribal district on Friday, DawnNews reported.

    A group calling itself Asian Tigers claimed responsibility for the killing in a letter attached to the body.

    Khwaja was travelling from Peshawar to Waziristan when he was kidnapped in Kohat a month ago. — DawnNews


  • Kidnapped ex-ISI officer found dead
    Updated at: 1653 PST, Friday, April 30, 2010
    MIRANSHAH: Former intelligence officer Squadron Leader Khalid Khwaja (retd) was found dead in Karam Kot area of Mir Ali, Geo News reported.

    Bullet riddled body of Khalid Khwaja was found today with a pamphlet saying Asian Tigers killed Khwaja.

    The self-styled militant organisation, Asian Tigers, which has been holding hostage two former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officers and a journalist, came up with new demands Wednesday, April 28, 2010, for the release of the kidnapped men.

    It had approached former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz parliamentarian from Kohat, Javed Ibrahim Paracha, and sought his role in negotiations between the government and their group for the release of the two retired military officers.

    The three men had gone to the volatile North Waziristan tribal region on March 26 to work on a documentary about Taliban. They went missing and an unknown organisation, Asian Tigers, believed to be run by a banned militant organisation of the Punjabi Taliban claimed responsibility for their kidnapping.


    Khawaja was found dead beside a road near the town of Mir Ali, in North Waziristan, a Taliban and al Qaeda stronghold near the Afghan border.
    “He was shot in the head and in the chest,” said a Pakistani intelligence official in the region, who declined to be identified.
    Pakistan media had reported that the three were kidnapped by a previously unheard of militant group called the Asian Tigers.
    The intelligence official said a note was found with Khawaja’s body purportedly from the Asian Tigers saying whoever “spies for America” would meet the same fate.
    The kidnappers had earlier released a video in which Khawaja had admitted to spying.
    In recent years, Khawaja, a burly man with a long grey beard and invariably wearing a white skull cap, set up a human rights group focusing on Islamist causes.
    A court in February barred the government from sending abroad captured Afghan Taliban leaders, including a top commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, on a petition filed by Khawaja.
    The kidnappers had demanded Baradar’s release.
    The other former intelligence agent kidnapped with Khawaja is retired Brigadier Sultan Amir Tarar, known as Colonel Imam. There was no word on his fate or that of the journalist kidnapped with them.
    Both Imam and Khawaja were known to have close links with the Taliban and other Islamists.
    Imam worked with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency during the Afghan jihad, or holy war, against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1990s.
    Imam trained many mujahideen, or holy warrior, leaders, including the Afghan Taliban’s elusive chief, Mullah Mohammad Omar.
    He also served as Pakistani consul general in Herat in western Afghanistan during Taliban rule and only left the country in 2001 when Pakistan officially abandoned the Taliban and joined the U.S.-led campaign against militancy. (Reporting by Haji Mujtaba; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)


    A message was also attached to his deadbody from an unknown outfit who call themselves the ‘Asian Tigers’. The message reads that Khowaja has been killed due to his “linkages with U.S. intelligence agency CIA and his role in Lal Masjid operation.”


  • According to Khalid Khwaja’s last (video) statement (which may be legally taken as his dying statement), he was sent by General Hamid Gul and General Aslam Beg on a secret operation in Waziristan. Chief Justice of Pakistan must take a suo moto action and order arrest of these two (not gentle)men and order a thorough investigation.

  • The ISI has past links with Islamist militants and Khawaja often appeared on television speaking in defence of suspected extremists. He has claimed to be close to Osama bin Laden in the early days of the Afghan resistance to the Soviet Union and in a recent interview with The Associated Press praised him repeatedly.
    Recently, he has spoken up in defence of five young American terror suspects on trial in Pakistan. He also filed a petition in a Pakistani court to stop any attempt by Islamabad to extradite recently arrested Afghan Taliban leaders, including the movement’s No. 2 Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
    It was unclear why Khawaja and Tarar, also known as Col. Imam, made the trip to the tribal regions, which are highly dangerous for outsiders. Extremists there are very wary of potential spies because of the key role of human intelligence in directing the missile attacks.
    Taliban expert Rahimullah Yousafzai said recently Imam and Khawaja may not have understood that younger militant groups in the northwest would not necessarily appreciate their militant sympathies.
    “Times have changed and a new generation of militants has emerged that is suspicious of anyone linked to the Pakistan Army or the ISI,” he wrote in a column for The News daily. “Col. Imam and Khawaja must have felt that the militants posed no threat to them due to their past associations with jihadi and Taliban groups.”


    The militants recently sent the Guardian hostage videos of the three men from the same email address. Asian Tigers is believed to be a cover name for a group of Punjabi sectarian militants belonging to the notorious Lashkar I Jhangvi group.

    In recent weeks sectarian attacks on Shias have increased in the tribal belt, including one against a UN aid distribution centre. Asian Tigers is demanding the release of dozens of militant prisoners in Afghanistan in return for hostages, stoking suspicions that it has links with a larger Taliban group.

    Colonel Imam, whose real name is Sultan Amir Tarar, trained jihadi fighters with CIA funding in the 1980s and helped nurture the Taliban movement in Afghanistan in the 1990s. He is widely referred to as the “father of the Taliban”.

    The three men entered North Waziristan in late March on a mission to meet and film Taliban groups. Before leaving Islamabad Khawaja told journalists he had proof that the Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, had survived a CIA drone attack last January – something that a senior ISI official confirmed to the Guardian this week. Khawaja may have promised Qureshi, the journalist, that he would broker a meeting with Mehsud.

    Khawaja occupied a prominent, if ambiguous, position in the murky world of Pakistan’s jihadi politics. He boasted of being a close associate of Osama bin Laden during the 1980s; last year he said he brokered a meeting between Bin Laden and the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif in 1990 with a view to ousting the government of then prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

    After retiring from the ISI Khawaja became a prominent champion of jihadist causes and, when necessary, turned against his former spymasters. He spent time in jail after the Red Mosque siege in central Islamabad in 2007.


    The killing of Mr. Khawaja, 58, highlights just how complex the snarl of militant networks has become along Pakistan’s western border with Afghanistan. Mr. Khawaja, a fast-talking former Air Force officer, had long been a link between the Pakistani military and militant networks in Afghanistan in the 1980s, when the United States was funneling money to the networks to fight the Soviets there.

    But as years passed, militants once under the control of the Pakistani state began to turn on it, forming a dangerous patchwork of tribal, ethnic and sectarian alliances.

    It appeared to be Mr. Khawaja’s role as a negotiator in a battle between Pakistan’s military and a militant mosque in Islamabad in 2007 that got him into trouble. The siege enraged militants all over Pakistan and was the turning point for many groups, including Jaish-e-Muhammad, a group based in Punjab Province that split, with half moving to Taliban-controlled Waziristan and declaring war on the state.

    A religious leader familiar with the kidnapping said the militants, who called themselves the Asian Tigers, were part of the Jaish-e-Muhammed splinter group. Pakistani television reported that a note had been left with his body, stating that he was killed because he had sided with the government in the siege of the mosque. Reports stated that the militants spoke Punjabi.

    Mr. Khawaja was believed to have persuaded one of the militant leaders to sneak out in a burqa, to allow the military to arrest him.

    A video of Mr. Khawaja in captivity showed him in a red cap looking grim speaking in Urdu saying that he had been an spy for the United States and Pakistan. An earlier report stated he had claimed to be on a negotiating mission for the state.

    A spokesman for Pakistan’s intelligence agency, known by its initials, ISI, denied that Mr. Khawaja had gone to the area on the agency’s behalf. A Western diplomat in Islamabad said this week that state sponsorship would have been highly unlikely.

    Pakistan did not cut off ties with militants until after 2001, though it was unclear how long Mr. Khawaja remained associated with the military. He surfaced in 2002, in the case of the killing of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, to whom he reportedly gave militant contacts.

    He was adamantly anti-American, and an outspoken opponent of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though he did not have a law degree, he was a self-appointed member of the defense team for the five Americans who were detained last year on suspicions of seeking to wage jihad in Afghanistan.

    “We don’t like Americans,” he declared in his house in Islamabad in December. “Our government is in their hands, and there is a mess because of it.”

    He deplored a situation in which the United States was not “judged for its bombs,” and said that suicide bombers “carry a message — of injustice, revenge, and belief,” which had built up because society had ignored them. He claimed to be housing an Arab family whose father had been killed in Afghanistan.

    “He was fond of martyrdom,” Mr. Khawaja’s son said. “And now he is lucky because he has it.”


  • Proud: Separately, Khawaja’s wife said she was proud of her husband’s ‘martyrdom’. “This is not a bad news. This is martyrdom,” she told Daily Times by phone.

    Separately, police arrested JUI-S leader Shah Abdul Aziz in Bannu where he was involved in negotiations with captors of the three men, local police said. “He was arrested for disrupting peace in the district,” a police official said, declining to give more details.


  • Personally, I am sorry to learn about Mr Khalid Khwaja’s death. Despite our political and ideological differences with him, we are against all forms of violence against every one.

    On 21 March 2010, only a few days before his capture by the Punjabi Taliban (Asian Tigers), Mr Khwaja left a note on the LUBP stating:

    “I never gave an interview to Samma news saying all this, my photo which is pasted is of in interview with CBS 60 Minutes. I never mentioned the figure of 500 million anywhere, and pl. do not misquote me in your political games.
    Khalid Khawaja”


    Here is how I responded to his comment on 22 March 2010:

    “@Khalid Khawaja Khawaja sahib, welcome to LUBP. We are sorry to learn that Samaa TV has misquoted you. You are welcome to write a rebuttal, which we will be very pleased to post on LUBP.”


    Rabia, too, had a similar interaction with Mr Khwaja on Grand Trunk Road in February 2010:


  • do good have good.
    When mosques and religious schools were being used as center of hate & suicide bombers. And lot of spies with criminal ideology supporting agenda of hate and injustice. We have only tears for helplessness.
    The paid murderers with fanatic brains were given task of national decisions. Where were they when innocent children, women and our brave soldiers dies of suicide bombing.
    Islam always stress on humanity, love, peace and tolerance. But we are sinner to dafme the message of our profit.

  • This is not a drama. They are really kidnapped, and now the leader of Asian Tiger has been killed in this connection.