[Washington Babylon ]Travel Advisory for Pakistan: Don’t carry your satellite phone | Harper's Magazine

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[Washington Babylon]

Travel Advisory for Pakistan: Don’t carry your satellite phone


From Doug Frantz at the Washington Independent:

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are executing suspected U.S. informants in Pakistan in a campaign to terrorize potential spies and reinforce the authority of the militant organizations across the country’s vast and volatile tribal belt. Most of the murders take place after accused informants have confessed to spying for the Americans. Some suspects were caught with satellite telephones and global positioning devices identical to equipment provided by the Central Intelligence Agency. Dour men in traditional clothing sell the videos at markets in the tribal region for as little as $1 each…

No one knows how many suspected spies have been killed this way. Some experts said in interviews that they estimate as many as 35 Pakistani and Afghan men accused of working for U.S. intelligence were murdered last year – and the trend continues. In a brazen episode in June, two accused U.S. informants were executed before thousands of cheering people in northwestern Pakistan. In late July, the body of woman discovered with a satellite telephone was dumped in a sewer, with a note identifying her as a U.S. spy. In some cases, the militants’ suspicions may have been groundless and false confessions likely induced by torture. But intelligence and military officials acknowledged that some victims were indeed working for the Americans.

The killings underscore the Pakistani authorities inability to police the vast tribal areas and the CIA’s failure to mount a serious effort to find Osama bin Laden and neutralize Al Qaeda and the Taliban holed up there.

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