News you may have missed #340

  • West Bank urged to drop Israeli cell phone companies. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is urging Palestinians to stop using the Israeli cellular companies Pelephone, Orange, Cellcom and Mirs. The official reasons are economic (Israeli companies don’t pay taxes to the PA), but the real reasons are probably related to communications security.
  • US police wiretaps up 26 percent in one year. The number of wiretaps authorized by US state and federal judges in criminal investigations jumped 26 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to a report released Friday by the Administrative Office of the US Courts.
  • Taliban group executes high-profile ex-ISI spy. Khalid Khawaja, one of two Pakistani former Inter-Services Intelligence directorate officers captured by a Taliban splinter group, named Asian Tigers, has been found dead. The other ex-ISI official, Sultan Amir Tarar, a.k.a. Colonel Imam, who was Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar’s former handler, remains in captivity.

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Abduction of former Pakistani ISI officials raises questions

Colonel Imam

Colonel Imam

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Questions are being raised about the reported abduction of two well-known veterans of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate, who appear to have been kidnapped by an unknown group in Pakistan’s remote tribal regions. The two are Khalid Khawaja and Sultan Amir Tarar, a.k.a. Colonel Imam. Khawaja, a retired ISI officer, was a critical mediator between the CIA and Osama bin Laden in the 1980s, during the al-Qaeda’s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Colonel Imam, also a former intelligence officer and a diplomat, was the ISI handler of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in the 1980s and early 1990s. Both Khawaja and Imam are considered senior members of the ISI’s ‘old guard’, who have strong ideological sympathies for both al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and frequently voice support for the latter. Read more of this post

Taliban will negotiate with US, says Mullah Omar’s former handler

Colonel Imam

Colonel Imam

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The $36-billion-worth military surge plan, spelled out by US President Barack Obama last October, is already underway in Afghanistan. But Brigadier Sultan Amir Tarar, who in the 1980s handled and trained the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar on behalf of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, says the US/NATO surge is a waste of time and money. Instead, Brigadier Tarar, also known in Central Asia as the legendary Colonel Imam, says the US should strive for a political settlement with the Taliban, by directly negotiating with Mullah Omar. He also told McClatchy Newspapers that the new NATO strategy of so-called “reintegration”, whereby low-ranking Taliban insurgents will be offered steady income and personal protection in return for renouncing Mullah Omar, the Taliban and al-Qaeda, will fail. Read more of this post