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"
Qazi Hussain Ahmad, president of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and amir of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, during an anti-U.S., anti-Musharraf rally in Bajaur after the Damadola strike in January 2006. Click image to view.
The Taliban and al Qaeda are growing bold in Pakistan's tribal agencies after the release of nine local al Qaeda functionaries and word that the Pakistani government is prepared to negotiate an agreement that will give them the same control over the agency as the Waziristan Accord did further south. The Daily Times reports "pro-Taliban tribal militants and elders" held a meeting, or 'jirga', which resulted in calling "Osama Bin Laden and Mulla Omar 'heroes of the Muslim world' and vowed joint efforts to fight the 'enemies of peace' in Bajaur Agency."
Present at the meeting was none other than Taliban commander Maulana Faqir Mohamad, who provides al Qaeda with safe houses and hosted the 2006 winter meeting in Damadola that was the target of U.S. air strikes. "We have no links with terrorism. We were peaceful tribesmen and we are peaceful tribesmen today," said Faqir Mohamad, "We are not involved in attacks on security check posts nor are we killing security personnel. We are citizens of this country and want its development."
The jirga also vowed to secure the Afghan border, and that "Pakistan's western border was 'fully secured' when the Taliban were ruling Afghanistan and added that the Taliban's ouster in 2001 resulted in a "serious threat" to the country's western borders."
Bajaur is a Taliban and al Qaeda command and control center. Pakistani intelligence believes Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second in command, is somewhere within a 40 square kilometer area within Bajaur agency. Faqir Mohamad was once a wanted man by the Pakistani government for his role in sheltering al Qaeda leaders. Today, the Pakistani government wishes to give control of Bajaur to the Taliban and al Qaeda.