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.

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Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at Foundation for Defense of Democracy and the Editor of The Long War Journal.

20 Comments

  • tekwuz says:

    could bajaur be the new flypaper?

  • Anand says:

    Bill,
    I know that there is no good answer to the question . . . but what is the best long term strategic solution to extemism within Pakistan. Should we (the international community including N. America, Europe, Japan, Korea, Australasia, China, India) offer Pakistan $100 billion in grants if they agree to radically transform their country over many years, and imply the stick if they do not comply? If we do, what is the stick that we threaten? I see no honest realistic discussion of this question in Washington or any other important country for that matter. Yet isn’t this as important as Iraq.

  • GK says:

    That’s it. America has lost the War on Terror.
    I can’t say this enough times :
    1) Pakistan has nuclear weapons, the weapons we are so worried Iran might get in a couple of years.
    2) AQ Khan was selling nuclear technology secrets for money. There could be others like him.
    3) Al-Qaeda operates freely within a region of Pakistan, with most Pakistanis more sympathetic to Al-Qaeda than America.
    How can the combination of these 3 points result in anything less than disaster for an American city? Why would it NOT happen?

  • Syed says:

    I think the politicians who lose the handle will talk like President Bush. The only way to control the terrorists is to let them have an area to rule, let them concentrate in there and then attack whenever one can, or one should. It was a big mistake on the part of Father Bush to advise and son Bush to invade Afghanistan, and still another blunder to invade Iraq. Son Bush is on way to attack Iran to avenge the defeat of his father, and that will be a suicide by US and its allies.

  • Creigh Shank says:

    The entire nuclear weapons issue is bogus. No country has the right to dictate to another sovereign country that it may or may not develop weapons for its own protection. The real issue is responsibility. Any country which develops nuclear weapons is responsible for their use period. The US should simply notify each country, which does not provide a thorough and continuous accounting for its weapons, that it will be held to account for ANY weapons use. The US could carpet bomb Pakistan, N. Korean and Iran with nuclear weapons and still use less than half its available weapons. That way we respect their sovereign rights; and they understand that they and their proxies will respect ours (or else!).

  • Terry Gain says:

    Creigh
    Although anything is possible, a nuclear attack is most likely to come from a source that can’t be traced. So in your world what responsible sovereign nation do we hold responsible when suitcase nukes are detonated in American cities?
    And more importantly how do we prevent an attack if nations with nuclear weapons are supporting terrorists who have America on their hit list? Isn’t it just a matter of when not whether.
    I find your views multiculturally correct but naive in the extreme.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Twok,
    I’ll ask you not make such blanket and offensive statements. And I can tell you from experience, having been to both Iraq and Afghanistan, that you’re wrong. I can’t count the number of times where Iraqi soldiers checked out porn. Or how many times Afghan police asked us for scotch. Or how I drank in bars (yeah, they exist in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) with Afghan men and women. That’s all just for starters.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Twok,
    You’re right, and I’ve deleted his and your comments, less this get out of hand. Feel free to hijack threads at another site to ask about polling of U.S. Muslims. It isn’t pertinent to the discussion here. I have my rules and I stick to them. Feel free to email me with any comments or question, please don’t clog the comments section with them.

  • jim p says:

    Is this the same Fakir Muhamad, from the AP story of today?
    http://www.thestate.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/15881555.htm
    Pakistan destroys al-Qaida-linked site
    ….The attack came two days after 5,000 pro-Taliban tribesmen held an anti-American rally in Damadola, a Bajur-area village close to the site of an alleged U.S. missile attack that killed several al-Qaida members and civilians in January.
    “We received confirmed intelligence reports that 70-80 militants were hiding in a madrassa used as a terrorist-training facility, which was destroyed by an army strike, led by helicopters,” Sultan said….
    …A senior intelligence official in Bajur also said that a local al-Qaida leader, Faqir Mohammed, who led Saturday’s protest rally, was believed to have been inside the madrassa that was targeted….
    Curiouser and curiouser.

  • RW says:

    Bill your points are far more salient than almost all the discussion leading up to the elections and if only we the American people could hear from John “I have a plan” Kerry than we could all sleep better.
    Anyone concerned with Iran’s development of arms would best be prepared to have an answer to the danger that is far more pertinent today. Pakistan is one short assassin’s bomb from being completely turned into the Islamic fundamentalist camp.
    At present, Pakistan has apparently chosen to take the road of appeasement to its fundamentalist foes in the hopes they will be spared.
    God help us all. This is a disaster awiating sooner than later.

  • jukeboxgrad says:

    We’re currently in the process of providing Pakistan with F-16s.

  • Anand says:

    Lisa was “I hope that Washington has a handle on this” meant sarcastically ;-]
    Creigh Shank, there is a difference between a free plural mature democracy going Nuclear and a harsh unstable dictator with extremists in his/her country. No one would greatly care if Brazil, Mexico, Japan or South Korea went nuclear (provided this didn’t cause Taiwan to also go nuclear). N. Korea, Pakistan and Iran going nuclear before going democratic and free scares a lot of people around the world, including the developing world.

  • jukeboxgrad says:

    “N. Korea, Pakistan and Iran going nuclear before going democratic and free scares a lot of people around the world”

    I think it’s not safe to assume that a freely-elected goverment cannot also be radical, fundamentalist, Islamist, and supportive of international terrorism.

    Purple fingers are a helpful step, but I think it’s a dangerous oversimplification to think they are enough to solve problems which actually call for more complicated solutions.

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