In the annals of British colonial history one can find an unpromising precedent for the massive manhunt for Osama bin Laden that is now underway along the rugged border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. \nThe homelands of Pakistan's proud Pashtun tribesmen were also the scene of a 24-year hunt for another Islamic firebrand, the Fakir of Ippi -- who died in his bed, a free man, in 1960. \nThe fruitless search for the Fakir is recalled with unease by Western defense attaches now advising governments on how to catch the world's most wanted man in Pakistan's tribal borderlands. \nThe Fakir of Ippi was a Pashtun tribal leader, who led rebellions against British troops from a cave on the border of Afghanistan in what is now Pakistan's mountainous Waziristan district. \nIppi's stomping ground was the most remote and conservative of Pakistan's seven semi-autonomous tribal districts on the Afghan border, and the stage for the Pakistani army's largely unsuccessful bid since March to capture 500 al-Qaeda, Taliban and tribal fighters. \nThe Fakir orchestrated ambushes and sabotage missions against the British, then against the Pakistani troops after the British granted independence in 1947. The Fakir was considered the region's most notorious figure. \nCountless raids by both forces starting in 1936, as well as offers of bounties, failed to capture him. \n"The ubiquitous and talented Fakir managed to elude the British despite bombing raids directed against his various hideouts and substantial rewards offered for his delivery, dead or alive," writes James Spain in his book The Pathan Borderland." \nThe British colonial army's protracted hunt for Ippi, born Mirza Ali Khan into the Torikhel sub-tribe, began almost 70 years ago on the Waziristan's sun-baked ridges. His first clash with the British came in 1936 in a dispute over a Hindu bride's conversion to Islam. \nIppi went on to raise lashkars [armed tribal forces] who ambushed British army convoys. In a raid in 1938 an entire detachment of British Indian Scouts was wiped out. \nAfter two years of ambushing, looting and evading British forces, Ippi retired to "caves in a cliff ... almost astride the Afghan border," according to Spain. There he gathered bands of followers and fought off attempts to kill him from both the ground and the air. \n"Air attacks on Gorwekht accomplished little, and Ippi lived out his life at his border headquarters," Spain wrote. \nRetired air commodore Sajjad Haider flew air raids against Ippi and his men in 1954. "It was like the wild west," Haider said. \n"We were called in to rescue ground troops. Flying overhead we saw hundreds of tribal fighters, in groups of 10 and 15, hiding behind big boulders. \n"They knew the terrain, they moved very quickly and understood the limitations of our aircraft. They used to hide at the bottom of steep hills so pilots would have no space to pull up after attacks." \nLike today's forces hunting the al-Qaeda leader, he too blamed the failure to capture Ippi on the inhospitable terrain, a patchwork of cave-pocked mountain ridges. \n"It's like Osama bin Laden today. All these American, British and Afghan forces are trying to capture him, but it's the same story," Haider said. \n"The border is treacherous, it's [over 2,000km] long, very porous, they can go back and forth with their supporters and they have the sympathies of the local population. \n"Ippi was fighting in the same area as today's hunt. He went from one cave to another. There were hundreds of caves so it was difficult to find out which cave he was in," Haider said. \nAcademic Taqi Bangash, chairman of Peshawar University's History Institute, said bin Laden mimicked Ippi's tactics to evade capture.
When Melinda Gates asked her husband, Microsoft Corp cofounder Bill Gates, to let her coauthor the 2013 annual letter about their foundation, the conversation blew up into a fight. “It got hot,” Melinda Gates wrote in her 2019 book The Moment of Lift. “Bill said the process we had for the Annual Letter had been working well for the foundation for years, and he didn’t see why it should change,” she wrote. Ultimately, Bill Gates agreed for her to write a separate piece about contraceptives, while he penned the main letter about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work. In the next year’s letter,
Part of a huge rocket that launched China’s first module for its Tianhe space station is falling back to Earth and could make an uncontrolled re-entry at an unknown landing point. The 30m-high core of the Long March 5B rocket on Thursday launched the “Heavenly Harmony” uncrewed core module into low Earth orbit from Wenchang in China’s Hainan Province. The Long March 5B then itself entered a temporary orbit, setting the stage for one of the largest-ever uncontrolled re-entries. Some experts fear it could land on an inhabited area. “It’s potentially not good,” said Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard
Remnants of China’s largest rocket launched last week were expected to plunge back through the atmosphere late yesterday or early today, a US federally funded space-focused research and development center said. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that most debris from the rocket would be burned up on re-entry and is highly unlikely to cause any harm, after the US military said that what it called an uncontrolled re-entry was being tracked by US Space Command. In a Twitter post sent on Friday evening in the US, the Aerospace Corporation said that the latest prediction for the re-entry of
PRIORITIZING SECURITY: Australian Senator Matthew Canavan wrote on Twitter that the officials should be helping ‘Aussies in India return home, not jailing them’ Australia yesterday defended its decision to penalize its own citizens entering the country within two weeks of being in COVID-ravaged India, saying that it had a “strong, clear and absolute” belief that the move was legal. Australian Minister of Health Greg Hunt pointed to the alarming surge of COVID-19 cases in India and the pressure on Australia’s healthcare system as reasons to pause travel until Saturday next week. Australia’s quarantine hotels have seen a 1,500 percent spike in COVID-19 cases from India since March, raising questions about pre-departure testing in India and leading to this “agonizing decision,” Hunt said. “It’s a high-risk situation