The Fall of Northwestern Pakistan: An Online History


Documenting the Taliban's rise to power in Waziristan and beyond over the course of 2006 and 2007

Northwestern Pakistan, including the tribal belts. Click to view.

The fall of North and South Waziristan and the rise of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan was an event telegraphed by al Qaeda and the Taliban. During the winter of 2006, Osama bin Laden announced his strategy to establish bases and pockets of territory along the Afghan-Pakistani border. The Taliban and al Qaeda (virtually indistinguishable in this region at this point in time) had been fighting a long term insurgency against the Pakistani Army after President Musharraf put troops in the region shortly after 9-11.

But two developments accelerated al Qaeda's plans to conquer the agencies of North and South Waziristan: the airstrike against Ayman al-Zawahiri in Damadola, and the attack on the Danda Saidgai training camp in North Waziristan. In both instances, al Qaeda's senior leadership was targeted, and in Danda Saidgai, Osama bin Laden and his praetorian 'Black Guard,' or personal bodyguard, were the subject of the attack.

While bin Laden and Zawahiri escaped, senior commanders such as Abu Khabab al-Masri (WMD chief) and Imam Asad (chief trainer of the Black Guard), among others were killed. Al-Qaeda could no longer countenance a Pakistani presence in the region. The time had come to force the Pakistani Army to withdraw and force the government to accept terms of surrender. Al-Qaeda retaliated for the airstrikes by murdering a U.S. official at the Consulate in Karachi.

South Waziristan fell some time in the spring of 2006 (I suspect sometime in late March). On March 6, I referred to South Waziristan as 'Talibanistan.' Shariah Law was declared in South Waziristan at this time and the Taliban began to rule openly. A single political party was established in South Waziristan, a party loyal to the Taliban. It is said a secret accord was signed between the Pakistani government and the Taliban around this time. All along the fighting in North Waziristan increased over the course of 2006.

Pro-Pakistani government tribal leaders and informants were murdered and made an example of. The Pakistani Army paid a devastating price for their operations in Waziristan. The official government reports claim around 200 soldiers killed, however the unofficial numbers put the casualties somewhere around 3,000 killed in combat.

On June 25, I sounded the alarm that a truce would be in the offing in North Waziristan. The Pakistan Army was taking a pounding, and President Musharraf lacked the will to fight in the region became apparent. All along, Musharraf and the Pakistani elite attempted to draw distinctions between the Taliban and "miscreants" and "foreigners" - which is merely code for al Qaeda. The failure to realize the Taliban and al Qaeda worked towards the same end, and have integrated political and command structures, led the Pakistani government to cut deals with the 'local Taliban' and the eventual establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan. The Taliban and al Qaeda are by no means finished with their goals of carving out safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistani border. In March of 2007, the Pakitani government signed over the tribal agency of Bajaur to the Taliban.

The series of posts below document the history of the fall of North and South Waziristan and the rise of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, and the rise of Talibanistan in the Northwest Frontier Province from 2006 onward.

NWFP/FATA map. Red agencies/ districts controlled by the Taliban; yellow under threat. Click map to view.

January 10, 2006:
The Waziristan Problem
Noted the growing Taliban problem in the NWFP and FATA, particularly in Waziristan

January 14, 2006:
al Qaeda Attacked: Zawahiri Dead?
The strike against Zawahiri in Damadola, Bajaur

January 17, 2006:
Hunting Zawahiri and al Qaeda on the Border
Zawahiri gets away

January 17, 2006:
al Qaeda Commanders al-Magrabi and Habib killed in Damadola
More details on the Damadola stirke

January 18, 2006:
Abu Khabab al-Masri Killed in Pakistan Strike
Khabab was chief of al Qaeda's WMD program

January 19, 2006:
Two more al Qaeda Commanders believed killed in Damadola
Mid-level al Qaeda military commanders Abu Ubaidah and Marwan As-Suri thought killed in Damadola

January 21, 2006:
Developments in Damadola
Pakistani intel thought to have been involved with strike

January 25, 2006:
The Pakistani Frontier
Osama bin Laden lays out al Qaeda's strategy to take over border region

February 1, 2006:
Adventures in Afghanistan
The rising power of the Taliban in southeastern Afghanistan

February 7, 2006:
More Border Wars
Unrest Continues in Afghanistan and Pakistan; Taliban claims to have set up the "Islamic Republic of Waziristan"; Tape shows al Qaeda and Taliban armies in Pakistan's NWFP

February 14, 2006:
The War in Waziristan
Asks if the Taliban in control in Waziristan. Pakistan's influence in the tribal belt is tenuous at best.

February 19, 2006:
Pressure on Pakistan
U.S., Afghanistan step up pressure on the Pakistani government to dismantle the Taliban terrorists operating in the tribal belt

March 1, 2006:
Pakistan's on-again, off-again border war
Attack on Saidgai, Imam Asad killed. Pakistani Army - Task Force 145 initiates an offensive in Waziristan as President Bush begins tour of the region

March 2, 2006:
U.S. Diplomat Murdered by Pakistani al Qaeda Suicide Bomber
Attack occurred in Karachi just prior to President Bush's visit; Pakistan releases details on new al Qaeda leader plotting attacks on U.S. This strike was retaliation for U.S. airstrikes and the Pakistani offensive in Waziristan.

March 5, 2006:
Killing a Diplomat
A closer look at the suicide bombing at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, and the chaos that is Karachi

March 6, 2006:
The Rise of Talibanistan
The strike in Danda Saidgai, suicide bombing in Karachi & fighting in Miranshah make Pakistan's "miscreant" problem difficult to paper over

March 11, 2006:
Consolidating Power in Talibanistan
Fighting continues in North Waziristan; Shariah law declared in South Waziristan; The worst-case scenario - Pakistan loses control over its nuclear weapons

March 13, 2006:
Springtime Offensives in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Rise in violence in Afghanistan is related to Pakistan

March 18, 2006:
More Problems in Western Pakistan
An update on North & South Talibanistan, and across the border in Afghanistan

March 22, 2006:
Afghan Army Battles Taliban at Border Crossing?
Fifteen Taliban may have been killed outside Spin Boldak; Further news on North & South Talibanistan

March 23, 2006:
The Forgotten War in Central Asia
A status update on developments in Afghanistan & Talibanistan - South Waziristan falls

March 26, 2006:
The Forgotten War In Central Asia Continues
"Pakistan has waged an ineffective war against the Taliban and al Qaeda, and has essentially become isolated in the garrisons of Miranshah (North Waziristan) and Wana (South Waziristan). And as the recent battle in Miranshah demonstrates, Pakistan's hold on the cities is tenuous."

March 30, 2006:
Springtime in Afghanistan
The Taliban squashes a local festival in South Waziristan, "miscreants" abound and an ally of Osama is kidnapped and beaten

April 6, 2006:
The Expansion of Talibanistan
Pakistan reacts to Taliban attacks in North Waziristan after a week of fighting on the Afghan/Pakistan border; Taliban active in Tank, Khyber and Peshawar Agencies

April 13, 2006:
Operation Mountain Lion in Afghanistan
Coalition goes on offensive in Kunar province, across the border from Bajaur agency in Pakistan. Pakistan Army strikes with helocopters in Miranshah.

April 14, 2006:
Pakistan Strikes at High Value Target
Helicopter attack in North Waziristan is directed at Mohsin Matawalli Atwa, one of the architechs of the 1998 attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Eastern Africa; the Taliban is massing in North and South Waziristan in the tens of thousands. This may have been a Task Force 145 operation.

April 15, 2006:
Pounding the Taliban
Fighting in Helmand, Uruzgan, Kandahar.

April 20, 2006:
The Taliban Consolidates Power in Pakistan as Violence Increases in Afghanistan
"The Taliban's sphere of influence has expanded to [the tribal agencies of] DI Khan [Dera Ismail Khan], Tank and the Khyber Agency, where clerks of the area have started to join them. There has been a sharp increase in attacks on heavily-defended military targets in these areas as well," according to Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao.

May 21, 2006:
Fighting in Afghanistan, Talibanistan
Accusations of the Taliban operating from Pakistan continue to surface. The most recent charge was issued by Colonel Chris Vernon, the Chief of Staff for southern Afghanistan. "The thinking piece of the Taliban is out of Quetta in Pakistan. It's the major headquarters...They use it to run a series of networks in Afghanistan."

May 22, 2006:
Afghanistan, Embed Updates
Taliban continue to wage mass attacks, and get pounded

May 24, 2006:
Fighting in Uruzgan; Osama bin Laden sighting in Pakistan
Osama bin Laden thought to be Pakistan's Kumrat Valley

May 29, 2006:
Combat in Southeastern Afghanistan; Mullah Dadullah not captured
Canadian battle in Panjwai, Kandahar

June 2, 2006:
Quiet Friday in Kabul; Mullah Dadullah threatens Canada, Britian
The Taliban admits it inteds to erode NATO's will in Afghanistan. In Pakistan, Maulana Noor Mohammed, "a respected Muslim scholar, leader of the hardline religious party, Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam and member of Pakistan's national assembly," has openly declared his support for the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and calls on all Pakistanis to fight in Afghanistan.

June 18, 2006:
Observations from Southeastern Afghanistan
Pakistan's lawless tribal belts are a major source of Taliban support, including indoctrinating, funding, arming and training Pakistani and Afghan Taliban recruits. The Afghans I spoke to curse Pakistan for allowing this to happen. The porous situation on the Afghan-Pakistan border iis a national security issue for Afghanistan, and the international community as al Qaeda is operating training camps within the Northwest Frontier Province and Baluchistan.

June 25, 2006:
Taliban losses in Afghanistan, gains in Pakistan
Signs of truce in North Waziristan surface. In a sign the Pakistani government is operating from a position of weakness, the government is proposing yet another ceasefire with the Taliban, while local Islamists bomb "a computer and a music centre" in Dir and a bazaar in Dera Ghazni Khan. Last week a suicide fuel truck bomb detonated in the Afghan province of Nangahar after crossing from Khyber agency in Pakistan.

August 12, 2006:
Matiur Rehman, the London Airline Plot and the Road from Pakistan and Talibanistan
"These sources say that during their stay in the relief camps, they were taken by the Jundullah, a Pakistani jihadi terrorist organization which is close to Al Qaeda, to its training camps in the Waziristan area of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan for training."

August 17, 2006:
Rehman, Rauf, suspected London Airline Plotters Captured, and the Pakistani Connection
More signs the international jihad is driven from Western Pakistan. It was later discovered Rehman was not captured, Pakistan appears to have been attempting to placate the West.

August 28, 2006:
A Hard August for the Taliban in Afghanistan
The "Taliban Offensive" continues to produce Taliban bodies but the Taliban and al Qaeda continue to grow in Northwestern Pakistan

August 31, 2006:
The Lost Territories
Signs of the upcoming truce become apparent. North Waziristan and Quetta: Pakistani Tribal regions continue to slide into the hands of the Taliban and al Qaeda

September 4, 2006:
Pakistan Negotiates Truce in Waziristan
The truce is signed. Pakistan is in a civil war with the Taliban and al Qaeda, and it is a war the government is losing.

September 5, 2006:
Talibanistan: The Establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan
The terms of the truce. Pakistan's "truce with the Taliban is an abject surrender, and al Qaeda has an untouchable base of operations in Western Pakistan which will only expand if not checked

September 7, 2006:
The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan and Greater Talibanistan
North Waziristan is not al Qaeda's endgame, the entire border region is the target

September 8, 2006:
The Afghan Insurgency
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf admitted "Clearly [the Taliban] are crossing from the Pakistan side and causing bomb blasts in Afghanistan," yet his solution was to cede government authority of the tribal agencies and allow for the formation of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan.

September 11, 2006:
The Taliban breaks the "Waziristan Accord"
The Taliban take retribution against pro-American "spies" and "collaborators"

September 12, 2006:
The Black Guard
al Qaeda's praetorian guard and al Qaeda high command the target of the March 2006 strike at Danda Saidgai

September 15, 2006:
Pakistan Releases over 2,500 Taliban, al Qaeda
Pakistan follows the truce to the letter and releases thousands of Taliban and al Qaeda members captured since 2001. Those released include the killers of Daniel Pearl.

September 18, 2006:
Endorsing the Waziristan Accord
Taliban military commander Mullah Dadullah, U.S. State Department endorse the Waziristan Accord

September 20, 2006:
Pakistan's Safe Haven
Pakistan is considering further cession of authority in the Northwest Frontier Province. We are watching the slow-motion disintegration of Pakistan as a sovereign state.

September 22, 2006:
The Sham Waziristan Accord
Pakistan attempts to deflect attention away from the real impact of the Waziristan Accord; documents the Taliban violations since the signing.

September 23, 2006:
Pakistan Surrenders
An overview published in the Weekly Standard

September 23, 2006:
al Qaeda, Taliban behind the Waziristan Accord
A look at the players and organizations manipulating the Waziristan Accord

September 28, 2006:
Taliban Office in North Waziristan Open for Business
Pakistani government abandons North Waziristan as the Taliban opens an office in Miranshah and patrols the city, yet again breaking the terms of the Waziristan Accord

September 29, 2006:
Future Surrender and the Expansion of Talibanistan
NWFP Governor Ali Jan Orakzai recommends expanding the Waziristan Accord to other tribal agencies, as the Taliban and al Qaeda continue to hit government targets

October 2, 2006:
Pakistan's Problems in Waziristan and Beyond
A status update on the continued violation of the Waziristan Accord, a Matiur Rehman sighting, plus the Brits call for a truce in Helmand province

October 4, 2006:
Afghan Suicide Bombers Directly Linked to Pakistani Camps
Pakistan's tribal agencies churn out suicide bombers for the Afghan insurgency and beyond, and western Pakistan continues to devolve into a terror safe haven

October 6, 2006:
Pakistan Under Pressure
Bombing, rockets found near Musharraf residences a harbinger of things to come in Pakistan

October 11, 2006:
Assassinations in Talibanistan; Taliban in Quetta
North Waziristan, Quetta remain hubs for the Taliban, despite Pakistani protestations

October 12, 2006:
The Global Taliban
Taliban and al Qaeda commanders shed light on the global nature of the war and the status of fighting in Afghanistan

October 14, 2006:
The Taliban's Waziristan Accord
The Pakistani Press exposes the Waziristan Accord as an agreement between the government and the Taliban

October 18, 2006:
Afghan Battles and Pakistani Plots
Clashes in southern and eastern Afghanistan point back to Pakistan as a purported coup plot targets Musharraf.

October 23, 2006:
The Taliban Tax
Violating the Waziristan Accord yet again, by taxing North Waziristan residents and training al Qaeda and Taliban

October 23, 2006:
Coming Soon: The Bajaur Accord
Pakistan is negotiating the surrender of Bajaur agency to the Taliban and al Qaeda

October 24, 2006:
NATO Talks with the Taliban?
Reports of talks with the Taliban and a NATO withdrawal from a district, but this isn't policy yet

October 28, 2006:
Bajaur: An al Qaeda Command Center
An al Qaeda command center is uncovered in Bajaur, Zawahiri is believed to be in the region, and Pakistan still wants to cut the Bajaur Accord

October 29, 2006:
The Pro-Osama Meeting in Bajaur
Faqir Mohamed holds a tribal meeting that declares Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar "heroes of the Muslim world"

October 30, 2006:
Airstrikes on Bajaur Training Camps
Bajaur madrassa and training camp run by Faqir Mohammed hit by helicopter assault the morning a peace deal was to be signed; up to 80 killed

October 30, 2006:
A Closer Look at the Chingai Airstrike in Bajaur, Pakistan
Questions over target of strike in Bajaur, who conducted it, and why. Zawahiri may have been a target.

October 31, 2006:
Aftermath of the Bajaur Airstrike
Demonstrations, political maneuvering follows the attack on the Taliban and al Qaeda training camp in the Chingai madrassa

November 1, 2006:
Pakistani Terror Groups Openly Involved in Bajaur Protests
Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammed and Jamaat-ud-Dawa openly protest the Bajaur madrassa strike

November 2, 2006:
The Taliban Return to Musa Qala
Taliban continues to suffer heavy losses in open combat; Musa Qala is back under Taliban control

November 2, 2006:
Pushing Forward with the Bajaur Accord
Pakistan is still willing to negotiate despite the fact that Faqir Mohammed has called for jihad against Pakistan and the West, and the downfall of Musharraf

November 4, 2006:
The Taliban Regroups in Bajaur
Executions, rebuilding of madrassa, further anti-government statements issued in wake of Chingai airstrke; more Taliban assassinations in Waziristan

November 8, 2006:
Suicide Strike Kills 42 Pakistani Soldiers in Dargai
Over 20 wounded in attack on Pakistani Army training base in the Northwest Frontier Province; Dargai is a stronghold of Faqir Mohammed's Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi; Taliban claims responsibility

November 10, 2006:
Dargai and AQAM
More on the Dargai suicide attack, and the role of Al-Qaeda and Allied Movements

November 13, 2006:
Al-Qaeda Commander Abu Nasir al-Qahtani Captured
Abu Nasir al-Qahtani, an escape from Bagram prison, was captured in Khost last week. Qhatani operated from North Waziristan.

November 14, 2006:
Expanding Talibanistan
Islamist Pakistani legislators in the Northwest Frontier Province pass a law calling for Taliban-like rule; Musharraf plotter released

November 18, 2006:
Bombings, al Qaeda Recruiting in Pakistan
Blasts in Lahore, Peshawar; al Qaeda openly recruits in Pakistan

November 21, 2006:
Pakistan's Suicide Squad
Pakistani intelligence uncovers a suicide bombing network, more assassinations in Waziristan

November 29, 2006:
Pakistan's Slide
Taliban and al Qaeda leaders confident; the NWFP is becoming a Taliban training and recruiting grounds; Pakistan tells NATO to appease the Taliban in Afghanistan

November 30, 2006:
The Taliban Press
Taliban ban newspaper sales in North Waziristan; free press in Western Pakistan is in danger; North Waziristan Taliban Shura to meet on Friday

January 3, 2007:
Pakistan's Continuing Slide
The Taliban problem has not gone away, and al Qaeda continues to plot against the West from within Pakistan

January 4, 2007:
Talibanistan Expands further into the NWFP
The Waziristan Accord gives the Taliban the power to influence territory within Pakistan

January 9, 2007:
The Pakistani Taliban Org Chart
A look at the most influential Pakistani Taliban, Uzbek and Arab leaders in North and South Waziristan

January 13, 2007:
From Waziristan to Afghanistan, and Back
The Taliban repatriate their dead fighters from Afghanistan back into Pakistan's tribal agencies of North & South Waziristan

January 16, 2007:
Pakistan hits al Qaeda, Taliban camp; Taliban Spokesman captured
Attack occurs in South Waziristan as SecDef Gates visits Afghanistan; a pattern of Pakistani behavior

January 17, 2007:
Reviewing the Waziristan Accord: Negotiating with the Taliban Shura
The Pakistani claim that the Waziristan Accord was not negotiated with the Taliban is false, says jirga member

January 17, 2007:
High Value Targets
Senior Taliban, Abu Sayyaf detained, killed in Afghanistan and the Philippines; Islamic Courts leader possibly captured in Kenya, another killed in an airstrike; Pakistan on the hunt for al Qaeda leader

January 23, 2007:
Suicide Strike on Pakistani Army in North Waziristan
Attack occurs days after Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud vows to retaliate with suicide bombers

January 28, 2007:
Pakistan's Insurgency
Suicide bombings, attacks on government outposts become routine

January 29, 2007:
Pakistan's Insurgency, Continued

The fourth suicide bomber in less than a week kills a policeman in Dera Ismail Khan

February 1, 2007:
Taliban linked to string of suicide attacks in Pakistan
Baitullah Mehsud, operating from Waziristan, is the ringmaster; Pakistan's real intent in negotiating "peace" in South Waziristan

Baitullah Mehsud, covered, signs the 2006 South Waziristan Accord with the Pakistani government.

February 5, 2007:
Pakistani Army to conduct offensive in Waziristan?
Pakistan's Daily Times reports Pakistani security services plan on offensive in North and South Waziristan. Baitullah Mehsud is a target.

February 6, 2007:
Suicide bombing at Islamabad airport
Another suicide bombing in the capital confirms a suicide campaign is underway; Prime Minister Aziz may have been the target

February 11, 2007:
Pakistan: Peace in our time
U.S. shells Taliban in Pakistan; The Musharraf government insists on negotiating with the Taliban, despite their string of attacks on government institutions and continuation of attacks in Afghanistan

February 14, 2007:
The NATO Winter Offensive in Afghanistan
NATO doesn't wait for the Taliban's spring offensive as the Taliban attempts to seize Helmand province, launches Operation Kryptonite

February 17, 2007:
More bombings in Talibanistan
Suicide and roadside bombings continue in Quetta, Tank, Bajaur as the government continues to appease the Taliban

February 19, 2007:
Al-Qaeda regroups in Pakistan
The American intelligence community finally recognizes al Qaeda command has regrouped in Pakistan

February 23, 2007:
Talibanistan expands beyond the tribal areas
The Taliban threatens to bombs schools as Musharraf looks the push more 'peace deals'

February 24, 2007:
Pakistan: A Bajaur 'peace deal' is coming
A peace deal in imminent in Bajaur, despite the worsening situation in the tribal agencies

March 1, 2007:
Pressuring Pakistan
The U.S. confronts Pakistan on the Taliban and al Qaeda camps

March 1, 2007:
Mullah Obaidullah Akhund arrested in Pakistan
Taliban Defense Minister grabbed after flurry of diplomatic pressure

March 3, 2007:
Kunar Operation as 2 Taliban leaders captured in Pakistan
U.S. forces attack a HVT in Kunar; two Taliban leaders confirmed captured in Pakistan; Mullah Dadullah speaks

March 7, 2007:
Keeping the Waziristan Accord
Business as usual as the situation in Pakistan deteriorates

March 8, 2007:
A cross border raid into Waziristan; Achilles update
Deputy Taliban commander in Waziristan captured by Task Force 145; Taliban commander arrested in Kandahar; Tora Bora Front cell broken up; Operation Achilles update

March 17, 2007:
Pakistan signs the Bajaur Accord
Pakistan signs its third "peace deal" with the Taliban in the tribal agencies

March 21, 2007:
Red-on-red in Waziristan
Uzbeks, Taliban battle in South Waziristan after an al Qaeda leader was murdered; fight exposes the real issues with the Waziristan Accord

March 21, 2007:
The continuing Talibanization of the Northwest Frontier Province
The settled district of Kohat goes yellow, others likely to follow

March 22, 2007:
The Waziristan Ceasefire
Uzbek, Taliban infighting halted by a delegation of senior Taliban commanders, including Mullah Dadullah and Baitullah Mehsud; Pakistani government manipulates results

March 24, 2007:
Al Qaeda's Pakistan Sanctuary
Musharraf appeases the Taliban

March 26, 2007 :
The Taliban is emboldened in the Northwest Frontier Province
TNSM threatens suicide campaign; Taliban recruit in Tank; Peace in our time in Waziristan

March 26, 2007:
The Bajaur Accord is now official
The Taliban from Bajaur threaten a suicide campaign the same day the agreement is signed

March 29, 2007:
Taliban, Pakistani security forces battle in Tank
Baitullah Mehsud's Taliban mass; 25 Taliban, 1 security officer killed after school principal kidnapped

March 31, 2007:
Pakistan's Civil War
Events over the past week highlight the deteriorating situation in the country

April 3, 2007:
Talibanistan expands in the NWFP
Districts of Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Swat are Taliban country

April 6, 2007:
The Taliban's internecine war in Waziristan
The Uzbek-Taliban fighting isn't what the Pakistani government wants you to believe

April 24, 2007:
Spinning the Fighting in South Waziristan
Musharraf's government continues to promote its dangerous "peace deals"

Batan-wielding, burka-clad, sharia-enforcing women of the Lal Masjid. Click to view.

April 25, 2007:
The Lal Masjid showdown
Countdown to sharia: Pakistan on the precipice of caving to al Qaeda's allies of the Lal Masjid

April 27, 2007:
Senior Al Qaeda operative Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi captured
Osama bin Laden deputy in custody at Guantanamo Bay; Envoy between al Qaeda in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan; Behind Musharraf assassination attempts

April 28, 2007:
Taliban/al Qaeda camp targeted in North Waziristan
Four killed, 3 wounded in Danda Saidgai, the scene of a major assault on an al Qaeda base in March of 2006

April 28, 2007:
Suicide bomber kills 28, wounds Pakistan's Interior Minister in the NWFP
Aftab Sherpao, scores more wounded at a political meeting in Charsadda

April 30, 2007:
Taliban commander Abdullah Mehsud behind Sherpao assassination attempt
Suicide strikes continue to emanate from Pakistan's tribal region, a Taliban safe haven

May 6, 2007:
Taliban Operation in Bajaur
Checkpoints set up to enforce sharia in the latest agency signed over to the Pakistani Taliban

May 14, 2007:
Pakistan Unraveling
U.S. soldier killed in Kurram; Peshawar suicide blast, Karachi riots, border clashes highlight deteriorating security sitution and Musharraf's tenuous grip on power

May 18, 2007:
Pakistan's Decline: Curfew in Tank; Faqir pardoned
Northwest Frontier Province continues its slide toward Talibanistan as Tank is attacked by the Taliban and Faqir Mohammed is give a pass

May 24, 2007:
Pakistan: Hostage of the Taliban
Hostage crises ended in Islamabad & North Waziristan as one begins in Bannu; anti-Taliban elements calls for help go unheeded

June 2, 2007:
Pakistani political party sponsors 'Martyred Mullah Dadullah Conference'
Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam (Fazl), the lead party in the MMA, sponsors gathering of 10,000 supporters of slain Taliban commander in Baluchistan; Tank, NWFP contested

June 19, 2007:
Al Qaeda Camp struck in North Waziristan, Pakistan
32 reported killed in strike launched from Afghanistan; follows news of Taliban, al Qaeda suicide squads graduation

July 3, 2007:
Clash at Islamabad's Red Mosque
Pro-Taliban students at the Lal Masjid attack Pakistani Rangers, one killed; The Lal Masjid calls for sucide attacks Pakistani security forces

July 4, 2007:
A day's fighting at Islamabad's Red Mosque
Ten killed, 150 wounded during running gun battles in Islamabad; Government buildings burned; 111 Brigade deployed; uncertainty about Pakistani government's next move

July 4, 2007:
Red Mosque cleric Abdul Aziz captured wearing burka
Over 700 students surrender as leader attempts to escape in crowd of women

July 5, 2007:
The battle at the Red Mosque
Reports of an assault underway; Aziz goes on TV; captured Islamists will return to the NWFP

July 6, 2007:
Assassination attempt against Pakistan's President
The latest attempt in a string of attacks against Pakistani government officials

July 6, 2007:
Pakistan may capitulate to the Red Mosque
Musharraf approves amnesty; update on latest news from the Lal Masjid and the Taliban's response

July 7, 2007:
Swat joins Talibanistan
Maulana Fazlullah's TNSM violates the terms of its May "peace agreement"

July 9, 2007:
The assault on the Red Mosque has begun
Pakistani security forces launch the assault on the Taliban mosque in Islamabad

July 10, 2007:
Red Mosque leader Abdul Rasheed Ghazi killed during assault
Mosque compound still being cleared, over 100 reported killed

July 14, 2007:
Suicide bomber kills 24 Pakistani troops in Northwest Frontier Province
Army convoy hit en route to Miramshah as violence increases throughout the Northwest Frontier Province

July 15, 2007:
Two more suicide strikes in Pakistan's northwest
16 killed in suicide attack on military convoy in Swat; 20 police recruits killed in Dera Ismail Khan

July 16, 2007:
Pakistan attempts to revive the Waziristan Accord
Negotiations are underway with the Taliban as the government said it will increase forces in the Northwest Frontier Province

July 17, 2007:
Suicide bombing at Islamabad courthouse kills 13
Over 50 wounded in attack where ousted Chief Justice was scheduled to speak; government still negotiation with Taliban in North Waziristan

July 18, 2007:
Ambush in North Waziristan kills 17 soldiers
13 soldiers wounded, 5 Taliban killed as Pakistan's insurgency intensifies

July 19, 2007:
The Taliban suicide campaign is in full swing in Pakistan
Chinese engineers targeted in Hub, Pakistani army attacked in Hangu and Kohat

July 20, 2007:
Pakistan: Negotiating with the Taliban, again
Representatives sent to negotiate with the Taliban in North Waziristan as suicide attacks are ongoing

July 22, 2007:
Taliban take credit for suicide attacks in Pakistan
North Waziristan Taliban commander said attacks are in retaliation for the Red Mosque assault

Abdullah Mehsud. Click image to view.

July 24, 2007:
Pakistani Taliban commander Abdullah Mehsud killed during raid
Commander of Taliban in South Waziristan detonated hand grenade during raid in Baluchistan

July 25, 2007:
Fighting continues in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province
Taliban maintain attack tempo as the government scrambles to save the Waziristan Accord

July 27, 2007:
Islamists retake Red Mosque; Suicide attack in Islamabad
Islamists paint the dome of the Red Mosque; 11 killed in bombing at hotel near the mosque compound

July 31, 2007:
Pakistan: A new Red Mosque is established in the tribal agencies
Islamists take over a mosque in Mohmand as attacks against government troops continue in North Waziristan

August 1, 2007:
Al Qaeda leader calls for the overthrow of Pakistan's Musharraf
Statement by Abu Yahya al Libi contradicts Newsweek report on divisions in al Qaeda over Pakistan policy

August 3, 2007
Pakistan and the Taliban insurgency
Suicide attempt foiled in Punjab; skirmishes in North Waziristan; Mohmand's Red Mosque

August 7, 2007
Pakistan strikes two al Qaeda camps in North Waziristan
Artillery, helicopters assault two camps near the Afghan border.

August 11, 2007
Pakistan: Concern over nukes as al Qaeda camps empty
US intelligence investigates Pakistan's nuclear security and the military's loyalty to Musharraf as the Northwest Frontier Province spins further out of control.

August 15, 2007:
Return to Tora Bora
US forces launch an offensive at the Tora Bora mountain complex in Nangarhar province.

August 20, 2007 :
Pakistan releases senior al Qaeda operative
Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan set free as the government continues to press for peace in the Northwest Frontier Province. Noor was al Qaeda's computer expert who "acted as a link between top al-Qaeda leaders and operational cells."

August 24, 2007:
The eastern Afghanistan offensive
Dr. Amin al Haq, a senior al Qaeda leader may have been wounded in the ongoing battle at Tora Bora. Al Haq is the leader of Osama bin Laden's personal bodyguard, the Black Guard.

August 28, 2007:
Pakistan: The Mohmand "peace" accord
The Pakistani government inks another "peace accord" in the Mohmand tribal agency as the security situation in Mohmand has been steadily deteriorating.

August 31, 2007;
Taliban capture over 100 Pakistani soldiers in South Waziristan
A company of Punjabi Pakistani troops is captured in a sophisticated Taliban operation in South Waziristan; no shots were fired. The Pakistani government is negotiating with Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud to secure their release.

September 3, 2007:
Pakistan frees over 100 South Waziristan "tribesmen"
Pakistan appeases commander Baitullah Mehsud to "pave the way for the release of 210 kidnapped soldiers." Pakistan's soldiers are still in Taliban captivity.

September 4, 2007:
Suicide bombings in Pakistan's Rawalpindi kills 25, injures 68
Pakistani military and intelligence officers were the direct target of two suicide attacks in the military garrison city of Rawalpindi.

September 9, 2007:
The New Al-Qaeda Central
Washington Post article on al Qaeda in Pakistan. Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar (Abu Khabab,) Abu Obaidah al-Masri, Khalid Habib, and Abdul Rahman al-Maghribi survived the 2006 Damadola airstrikes...

October 1, 2007:
Al Qaeda and the Taliban's Pakistani insurgency
The Taliban's suicide attack in the settled district of Bannu in the Northwest Frontier Province is the latest in a series of strikes aimed to overthrow the Musharraf regime.

October 9, 2007:
Taliban, Pakistani Army battle in North Waziristan
Pakistan's insurgency intensifies as four days of major fighting in the Mir Ali region results in scores of Taliban and soldiers killed.

October 10, 2007:
Pushing for peace in North Waziristan
The Pakistani government hopes to revive the North Waziristan Accords as the fighting rages in the tribal agencies.

October 11, 2007:
Al Qaeda killed in North Waziristan attacks
Twenty-five foreign al Qaeda reported killed in North Waziristan. Report of a major operation in North Waziristan is leaked as the government continues negotiations with the Taliban.

October 11, 2007:
Taliban parade captured Pakistani soldiers in South Waziristan
Three captured Pakistani army officers speak to the media, confirm their military unit was surrounded, out-manned, and out-gunned.

October 12, 2007:
Consolidating Talibanistan
The Taliban flex their muscles in Swat, Mohmand, and North and South Waziristan; public beheadings and whippings; captured soldiers and government capitulation on display.

October 18, 2007:
Bombings in Karachi target former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
The Taliban live up to their word to strike at Bhutto upon her return to Pakistan. Over 133 killed and hundreds wounded in double bombing.

October 19, 2007:
Sophisticated attack targeted Bhutto in Pakistan
Suicide bombers, car bomb, hand grenade, and snipers hit the convoy of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as she returned to Karachi. Baitullah Mehsud denies involvement; Haji Omar also threatened to kill Bhutto.

October 20, 2007:
Targeting Taliban commander Siraj Haqqani
Siraj Haqqani, the son of Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, has become the focus of US and Afghan National Army operations in eastern Afghanistan. Siraj has strong ties to al Qaeda central and is pushing the Taliban closer to al Qaeda.

October 23, 2007:
Crunch Time in Pakistan
The situation in Pakistan worsens daily. Only a determined effort against the Taliban and al-Qaeda has any hope of succeeding - and that this effort must be led by the Pakistani government itself, however difficult that would be to arrange.

October 25, 2007:
Pakistani military deploys in Swat
Pakistani government admitted it lost its writ in large segments of Swat. Taliban leader Maulana Fazlullah threatened to attack if an operation commences.

October 25, 2007:
Taliban suicide bomber targets police in Swat; kills 30
Taliban leader Maulana Qazi Fazlullah strikes first, just days after over 3,000 police and paramilitary troops are moved into Swat.

October 26, 2007:
Pakistan launches operation in Swat
One day after the Taliban conducts a suicide attack in Swat, the Pakistani military goes on the offensive, while Maulana Fazlullah goes in hiding.

October 28, 2007:
Beheadings, ceasefire, fighting in Swat
Just days after Maulana Fazlullah's Taliban conducted a suicide attack on Pakistani troops, a one-day operation was launched, followed by a ceasefire, beheadings, and more fighting.

October 30, 2007:
Suicide bomber kills seven outside military headquarters in Rawalpindi
Al Qaeda and the Taliban continue to target military and government leaders in the heart of Pakistan.

October 31, 2007:
Fighting, peace talks resume in Swat; military demoralized
The Pakistani military is holed up in compounds as the government seeks to cut a deal with Taliban leader Mauluna Fazlullah.

November 1, 2007:
Suicide bomber kills eight at Pakistani airbase
27 wounded after a suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle into the side of a bus carrying military and civilian personnel at the Sargodha air base in Punjab.

November 1, 2007:
Senior leader of Haqqani network killed in Afghanistan
Abdul Manan was killed during an ambush by Afghan soldiers as he crossed the border from Pakistan with a dozen fighters. Heavy fighting is reported in Kandahar and Herat provinces.

November 2, 2007:
Taliban parade capture Pakistani soldiers in Swat
48 Pakistani paramilitary soldiers in Taliban custody. Troops are surrendering or abandoning their positions. Taliban reports of captured soldiers were accurate, government denials false.

November 3, 2007:
Pakistan: Musharraf suspends constitution, declares state of emergency
Supreme Court surrounded as paramilitary troops deploy throughout Islamabad. The Supreme Court calls move "illegal and unconstitutional," asks military and civilian government to reject provisional constitution. Partial media blackout in Pakistan. Bhutto returns to Karachi.

November 4, 2007:
Pakistan's Second Coup
Musharraf's imposition of a state of emergency makes the likelihood of tackling the Taliban and al Qaeda in the northwest less likely as he must now deal with his domestic political opposition.

November 4, 2007:
Musharraf silences the Pakistani media
Musharraf's media restrictions threaten flow of information on the news inside Pakistan and the status of the battle against the Taliban and al Qaeda.

November 5, 2007:
Taliban gain ground as Musharraf focuses on Islamabad
As President Pervez Musharraf continues to suppress opposition to his imposition of a state of emergency, the government is cutting deals with the Taliban in South Waziristan and pushing forward with negotiations in Swat.

November 7, 2007:
Taliban continue march under Musharraf's state of emergency
Towns fall under Taliban control in Swat as attacks continue in the northwest.

November 9, 2007:
Pakistan's Bhutto under house arrest; Swat falling to the Taliban
Security forces have surrounded Benazir Bhutto's home; the Taliban have taken over most of Swat as more troops surrender.

November 11, 2007:
Pakistan frees Mullah Obaidullah, other senior Taliban leaders
Musharraf continues to appease the Taliban. Among the 25 prisoners released in exchange for over 200 captured soldiers include Obaidullah, the Taliban's number three in command, the Taliban commander of Zabul province, two brothers of Mullah Usmani, and Baitullah Mehsud's cousin.

November 14, 2007:
Pakistan: Shangla district falls to the Taliban
An ally of Swat's Maulana Fazlullah marches into the district center to impose sharia law; police desert their stations. The Taliban pushes eastward, closer to Islamabad as another settled district falls.

November 16, 2007:
Sighting bin Laden
A new bin Laden sighting appears in the Italian press.

November 16, 2007:
Fighting intensifies in Swat, Shangla
Senior Taliban commander killed as the Pakistani military continues offensive in the two districts. Military relies heavily on helicopter and artillery strikes. Offensive occurs as senior US diplomat visits Pakistan. Will the government fight a long term insurgency?

November 20, 2007:
Pakistan releases Taliban leader Sufi Mohammed
As fighting continues in Swat and Shangla, Pakistan releases Sufi Mohammed, the leader of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e- Mohammad. At the same time, a peace jirga has formed.

November 21, 2007:
The Pakistan problem, and the wrong solution
The recently proposed counterinsurgency plan falls short of what is needed to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban in the tribal regions. The Northwest Frontier Province is not Anbar, and arming the tribes without properly protecting them would destroy any remaining allies in the region.

November 23, 2007:
Suicide bombings in Islamabad and Rawalpindi
Two attacks kill over 15 and wound an unknown number in the twin cities in the heart of Pakistan. Attacks are the latest in a series of suicide bombings in the capital and garrison city as the Taliban and al Qaeda continue to press the offensive.

November 26, 2007:
The Swat Offensive Begins
The Pakistani army begins the ground offensive in Swat. Will it end in Taliban defeat or another "peace accord?"

November 28, 2007:
Musharraf's Power Grab
Musharraf may end the state of emergency after taking the oath of president.

November 29, 2007:
Stalemate in Swat
The Pakistani army is in a stalemate in Swat as General Kiyani is pressured to halt the fighting.

December 2, 2007:
Pakistani Army advances in Swat
The military claims to have restored the writ of the government in most of Swat but several major centers are still under Taliban control. Police and paramilitary units are feared to be infiltrated.

December 3, 2007:
Pakistan's Sharif Linked to al Qaeda
Nawaz Sharif is linked to Osama bin Laden by a senior al Qaeda operative. Again.

December 5, 2007:
The Taliban Move on Peshawar
The Taliban force shops to reopen as "Islamic Businesses" as reports indicate the plan is to move ont he provinical capital by the summer of 2008.

December 6, 2007:
The Pakistani Army's slow advance in Swat
Pakistani troops have yet to clear half of Swat after over one month of combat with the Taliban. Taliban camps still thought to be active in two areas; central and northern Swat still absent government forces.

December 7, 2007:
Fazlullah's Compound Overrun; Liquor, Prison Discovered
As Pakistani forces take the town of Imam Dheri, soldiers find a makeshift prison and a liquor cabinet in Fazlullah's madrassa.

December 10, 2007:
Suicide attack at Pakistani nuclear weapons complex
Two suicide bombers hit in Swat and Kamra. The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra is part of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program.

December 11, 2007:
Al Qaeda, Taliban targeting Pakistani nuclear sites
At least three attacks on Pakistani nuclear weapons complexes have occurred since August 2007. Attacks on other Pakistani bases in conjunction with the Taliban takeover of the Northwest Frontier Province may be part of coordinated campaign to compromise Pakistan's nuclear stockpiles.

December 14, 2007:
Siraj Haqqani's deputy killed in Afghanistan
Mullah Sangeen, second in command in the Haqqani network, is second senior member killed in last two months. CJTF-82 is pushing hard to split the Haqqani network.

December 15, 2007:
Pakistani Taliban unites under Baitullah Mehsud
South Waziristan commander takes the helm of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, a unified Taliban movement in the Northwest Frontier Province. The Taliban in the tribal agencies and districts in the Northwest Frontier Province are now under Mehsud's command.

December 15, 2007:
Al Qaeda commander Rashid Rauf escapes Pakistani custody
Rauf was one of two integral planners of the 2006 London Airline Plot. He was awaiting a decision to be extradited to Br



Advertisement:


READER COMMENTS: "The Fall of Northwestern Pakistan: An Online History"

Posted by Jesus Reyes at September 13, 2006 6:17 PM ET:

I wonder how this development relates to Balochistan. Some reports state that Musharraf had to make a deal in Waziristan in order to focus on the western influenced insurgency and seccionist movement in Balochistan, i.e., there is not enough force to deal with two fronts and the Balochistan problem is a greater threat.

I also wonder what the relationship is between the ISI and the Taliban in Waziristan.

Posted by C-Low at September 14, 2006 12:19 AM ET:

Definitely don't sound good I don't know how much we can pressure Musharaf without him either bucking or being overthrown for trying. Such a large are of AQ/Taliban control wont be broken by some SOF hits here and there with desecrate air support or strikes. It will take major action something if Musharaf OK'd would be his end while at the same he doesn't have the juice to do it himself either. A real ugly mess brewing there not good at all.

Oddly thou I saw this suggested map to remake the ME along more regional borders (instead of the old school colonial borders)and thought it made sense but was unfeasible especially the Pakistan part but I now I am not so sure.

http://live.armedforcesjournal.com/2006/06/1833899

Something disturbing is that things are starting to look like we are going to have to break and remake nearly the entire ME to stabilize it. Our limited do it in piecemeal approach is starting to look unfeasible without going cross borders. The thought of that is not pretty and would require resources and will well at least on the will part I don't think we have.

We will have to see how things play out not quite over the cliff yet.

Posted by Lloyd at September 14, 2006 7:54 AM ET:

Is this really a bad thing? Doesn't Musharaf's tacit grant of independence to this region make Waziristan sovereign enough for the US to take action against as them at some point for being a terrorist supporting state?

Is it so bad to let them congregate and become by default a more conventional army that we are more prepared to fight?

I don't know near as much about this stuff as you but it would seem to be that this is a better situation than having them in little pockets of countries all over the world that should we attack would have to respond.

What do you think? Way off base?

Posted by Cruiser at September 14, 2006 9:35 AM ET:

I think what has most of us confused is the lack of concern shown by the Bush Admin. (or Nato for that matter) related to this development. It makes me think that is somehow benefits our efforts. I guess time will tell.

Posted by C-Low at September 14, 2006 10:59 AM ET:

Lloyd

I agree to allow the terrorist to mass is good for getting to do the kind of warring we excel at that is true.

The problem although is that Musharaf did grant them autonomous region status but in the next breath reassured his people he would not allow foreign intervention. So we have a Taliban/AQ safe zone we can't enter in mass air or land moves without going head on with the Pak government yet the Pak government won't control that area either.

That means we have bad choices attempt to some what control the area with SOF and very indiscrete air power, sit on the Afghan border and every summer fight major battles until forever, force a weak Musharaf to re invade the Tribal region, or go full alt and invade the Tribal Regions ourselves.

Mushraf is in the worst catch 22. If he reinvades the Tribal Region he will risk coup by the very strong radical elements in his nation, if he sits back and lets the US run forces into the tribal areas he even more so risk rebellion coup, if he does nothing he risk US pressure.

Pakistan has over a hundred million people rather powerful conventional forces and Nukes. Going head to head with them would not be some push over.

One plus to this situation is that the Bush administration very wisely looking back now took major steps to an alliance with India (a once not enemy but definitely not friend either nation). Everyone including me thought that was all about China but looking now I think maybe it was more about Pakistan especially when you include the Patriot systems we are rumored to offer India.

I just don't see a non-bad way for this playing out but we will have to see.

Posted by Lloyd at September 14, 2006 11:19 AM ET:

That occurred to me as well Cruiser. It may be a little Rope-A-Dope.

I often thought that this was the strategy that Israel should use with Palestine. Give them complete autonomy and sovereingty so that any attack would be an act of war, not the domestic terrorism or revolutionary act that they're deemed to be now. It would be much harder for the Palestinian government to disclaim any involvement in the attacks given their Hamas/Fatah ties than it was for the Lebanese government to (legitamately in my view) disclaim any part in the Hzb attacks.

Granted this would likely end up in yet another occupation but at least it would give them a freer hand in rooting out the bad guys.

Posted by Wally Lind at September 15, 2006 11:36 PM ET:

So Waziristan is no longer legally part of Pakistan? We are free to do whatever we want there, as long as we have the power?

Posted by jowfair at September 16, 2006 2:03 PM ET:

Just a minor touch up - did you mean winter 2006? which hasn't happened yet and would make this a what if scenario? or did you mean winter 2005?

Because it's certainly misdirecting to those of us reading without knowing the story already...

Posted by Sanjay at September 17, 2006 4:28 AM ET:

C-Low, I'll say that the USA's best option is to stop protecting Musharraf and put another mango crate with high explosives on his plane, while also giving covert support to the Baluchi rebels.

Pakistan depends on Islamic fundamentalism as a glue to hold itself together. Eliminate this patchwork, and you eliminate the basis for using Islamist glue.

Redrawing Pakistan's borders to create a free Baluchistan will create a nice simple corridor connecting the ocean with Afghanistan and CentralAsia. Baluchistan also covers a sizeable fraction of Iranian territory, so Iran's power would be truncated too. In return, the grateful Baloch would allow the US unhindered access to CentralAsia, from which oil pipelines could be built across the Baluchi corridor to reach the sea.