Pakistan signs its third “peace deal” with the Taliban in the tribal agencies
The much anticipated Bajaur Accord – a peace agreement purportedly with the local tribal leaders of the Mamoond tribe and the government – has been signed in Pakistan’s lawless tribal agency. The details of the agreement are not yet available, however the Daily Times has described it as “a step towards a North Waziristan-like peace accord. Bajaur Agency.” Pakistan conveniently finished negotiations as international attention is on the crisis over the removal of Pakistan’s chief justice.
It appears, like in the North and South Waziristan deals, that the government has openly negotiated with the Taliban and al Qaeda. “We hope that a North Waziristan-like deal is also reached between the government and tribal militants, led by Faqir Mohammad,” sources told Dawnon condition of anonymity. Faqir Muhammad is a senior leader within the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM, or Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad’s Sharia Law), the “Pakistani Taliban” who has sent over 10,000 foot soldiers to fight alongside the Taliban during the U.S. invasion in 2001.
TNSM is a banned terrorist movement inside Pakistan, and has been implicated in terrorist activity inside the country, including a suicide attack on Pakistani Army training base in Dargai in the Northwest Frontier Province in October of 2006. The attack killed over 45 soldiers. Faqir Mohammad is believed to have sheltered none other than Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command. An attack in Damadola in January of 2006 on Faqir’s compound was aimed at Zawahiri, but killed upwards of 5 senior al Qaeda leaders, including Abu Khabab al-Masri, al Qaeda’s chief of its weapons of mass destruction program.
An airstrike on the Chingai madrassa, which doubled as a Taliban training camp, killed up to 84 Taliban, including Liaquat Hussain, the leader of the madrassa, and Faqir’s deputy. The attack came just days before the expected signing of the Bajaur Accord in October of 2006. Just days before the raid, Faqir openly praised al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Faqir referred to bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar as “heroes of the Muslim world,” and he vowed joint efforts to fight the “enemies of peace” in the Bajaur Agency. Faqir calls the United States the enemy of peace.
Under the leadership of Faqir Mohammed and his TNSM, Bajaur has become an al Qaeda command and control center which is used to launch operations into eastern Afghanistan. Kunar, the Afghan province which borders Bajaur, is one of the most violent in Afghanistan.
The North and South Waziristan Accords have been famous failures, as the Taliban and al Qaeda openly rule in the agencies, virtually free of harassment by Pakistani government security forces. Terror training camps have been established and battalion sized formations of Taliban fighters sortie from Waziristan into Afghanistan. The Bajaur Accord, like the North and South Waziristan Accords, signal the Pakistani government is unwilling to police its own borders, and is prepared to hand over even more territory to the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Note: The Bajaur Accord has been telegraphed by the Pakistani government for well over a half a year. We warned the Bajaur Accord was in the works as far back as September of 2006, after the signing of the Waziristan Accord. On October 23, the signs were the ‘peace deal’ would be completed in days. The negotiations were shattered by the Chingai air strikes. On February 24, 2007, we warned the deal is back on.