Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornography without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Google Glass sale a test of consumer interest

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to the future

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Over 70 killed in Nigeria bus station terror attack

Read more

ENCORE!

“Booty Looting” memory and mediums

Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • Putin says Ukraine 'on brink of war' as Kiev evicts separatists

    Read more

  • Brazilian club Atletico loses patience with Anelka before he even arrives

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

  • Bluefin-21 'mini-sub' redeploys for Malaysian jet

    Read more

  • Paris hotel that hosted Holocaust survivors shuts for renovation

    Read more

  • French police begin mass DNA test in hunt for school rapist

    Read more

  • France looks to lift ailing economy with business-friendly diplomacy

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Security concerns prompt UN to withdraw some expat staff

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-31

The United Nations says it will relocate some of its international staff from Pakistan because of safety concerns in the wake of repeated Taliban attacks across the country.

REUTERS - The United Nations will withdraw some of its staff from Pakistan because of safety concerns, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Thursday, highlighting security threats posed by increasingly brazen Taliban militants.

“Some percentage of the international staff will be relocated and this relocation includes within the country and outside the country to safer locations,” Ishrat Rizvi told Reuters.

Despite military crackdowns, Taliban militants have been carrying out bombings that have spread from their strongholds along a lawless northwest tribal belt to major cities, including one attack near the headquarters of the powerful military.

Rizvi said the relocation was decided because “the safety and security situation in the country and safety of staff members is highly important for the United Nations”.

In October, a suicide bomber dressed as a paramilitary soldier blew himself up in an office of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) in Islamabad, killing five staff members.

The Taliban, who reject any ties with Western powers and want to impose their radical version of Islam, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 43 people in the commercial capital of Karachi on Monday and sparked riots.

“Pakistan is facing its most challenging time for the last few years. In light of this, the Secretary General decided to realign the projects and programmes of the United Nations in Pakistan,” said Rizvi.

Internet Jihad

Aside from its struggle against the Taliban and al Qaeda on the ground, Pakistan, like other countries, faces the new challenge of breaking militant networks on the Internet, where readily available videos encourage people to blow themselves up.

Pakistani police will ask a court to charge five Americans detained in the country this month with planning terrorist attacks and imprison them for life, a police official said.

The young Americans, from Virginia, are accused of contacting militants groups over the Internet in a bid to wage holy war. Pakistani officials have said the Taliban had planned to use them to carry out attacks inside U.S. ally Pakistan.

Pakistan’s lawless areas bordering Afghanistan are known sanctuaries for al Qaeda and Taliban militants who fled the U.S.-led assault on Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on United States.

Washington wants Islamabad to crush militants who cross over to Afghanistan to attack U.S.- and NATO-led troops fighting a raging Taliban insurgency. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has vowed to defeat Taliban insurgents.

But Zardari is deeply unpopular and it is the all-powerful powerful military, which rejects any attempt by Washington to influence Pakistan’s affairs, that decides security policy.

The army is focusing on fighting homegrown Taliban militants. And rooting out militants along the border could be a strategic mistake. The army sees them as leverage against traditional enemy India in Afghanistan so its resists U.S. pressure to crack down.

The U.N. decision comes at a time of anti-American feelings in Pakistan. Pilotless U.S. drone attacks on militant targets on Pakistani soil and a U.S. aid package with conditions many see as a violation of sovereignty have infuriated Pakistanis.

Endless conspiracy theories about alleged U.S. designs Pakistan may make U.N. officials in Pakistan nervous. Some newspapers have suggested American security contractors are carrying out clandestine missions that harm the country.

Emails showed that the five detained Americans had plans to travel to a Pakistani nuclear power plant, according to police.

The men—two are of Pakistani ancestry, one of Egyptian, one of Yemeni and one of Eritrean—were arrested in Sargodha, home to one of Pakistan’s biggest airbases, 190 km (120 miles) southeast of the capital Islamabad.
 

Date created : 2009-12-31

  • PAKISTAN

    Taliban claims responsibility for Ashura holy day bomb attack

    Read more

  • PAKISTAN

    Nation haunted by old demons of corruption and military rule

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)