U.S. WARSHIPS PATROLLING SOUTHERN SOMALIA COAST
Somali website AllPuntland.com published a report on October 15 claiming that U.S. warships have increased their presence along the Somali coast, searching for foreign fighters involved with the ongoing Islamist-led insurgency there. The website claims that U.S. warships have been intensifying their presence in southern Somalia and asking vessels whether they had seen foreign forces in Somali waters. Somali intelligence sources state that the U.S. military has been concentrating its searches to Lower Jubba and Lower Shabelle regions. The U.S. believes that a number of wanted al-Qaeda terrorists are operating from southern Somalia, and earlier in the year U.S. forces launched military strikes against suspected al-Qaeda targets in the southern region.
TALIBAN DETER RECRUITS FROM JOINING NEW PARAMILITARY FORCE
Local Taliban leaders in Pakistan’s tribal areas have reacted sharply to a government plan to create a new paramilitary force in the region consisting of 2,800 troops. The new paramilitary force, which was approved last year at a cost of $38 million and will be funded by the United States, will consist of 500 recruits each from Mohmand and Khyber agencies, and 900 each from North Waziristan and South Waziristan agencies (Daily Times, October 14). According to the Daily Times, the government has had difficulty finding men who are willing to join the force (especially in Waziristan), as they are being intimidated by Taliban threats.