Multimedia presentation of the senior Taliban commanders in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Click to view.
With the flurry of negotiations under way in Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas, details are finally leaking about the North Waziristan peace agreement that was signed in February.
The Daily Times, a Pakistani news organization, has obtained a copy of the peace agreement. The agreement lets al Qaeda leaders and operatives remain in North Waziristan “as long as they pledge to remain peaceful.”
While the agreement was signed in mid-February, the details of the North Waziristan accord have remained a secret. The Pakistani government has purposefully kept the deal secret, and built in language to prevent the Taliban from disclosing details. Based on information released by the Northwest Frontier Province’s Governor’s office and the Daily Times, the terms of the agreement are as follows:
• “Foreigners’ must leave North Waziristan.
• Al Qaeda operatives can live in North Waziristan “as long as they pledge to remain peaceful.”
• The Taliban may not establish a parallel government.
• The Taliban must halt attacks on government and security forces personnel.
• The Taliban “agreed to jointly struggle against extremism and terrorism throughout the agency.”
• Disclosing the contents of the peace agreement is prohibited.
• A fine of about $740,000 will be assessed for anyone violating the terms of the agreement.
• The government will withdraw the Army and turn over security to the paramilitary Frontier Corps.
• The government will release captured Taliban leaders and fighters.
The agreement does not mention existing al Qaeda and Taliban terror training camps or the ending of cross-border attacks into Pakistan. The Taliban established a shadow Taliban government after the 2006 peace agreement, and by all accounts it remains in place. The Taliban runs recruiting offices, courts, and jails, taxes the population, and maintains security forces. The Taliban and al Qaeda are known to run 29 training camps in North and South Waziristan.
The powerful Haqqani family is based in North Waziristan. The Haqqani family runs several mosques and madrassa, or religious schools, near Miramshah. The Pakistani government closed down the radical Haqqani-run Manba Ulom madrassa after the US commenced Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, but the school was reopened in 2004. The Manba Ulom madrassa has been described as a center of jihadi activities, where top Taliban and al Qaeda commanders meet.
Siraj Haqqani, the son of renowned Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, is one of the senior Taliban leaders in North Waziristan. He has close ties to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. He has embraced al Qaeda’s tactics and ideology, and has recruited foreign terrorists to act as suicide bombers and operatives inside Afghanistan. Siraj is believed to be running the Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan and has become a focal point of Coalition operations. The US military has put out a $200,000 bounty for Siraj’s arrest. Taliban commanders Hafiz Gul Bahadar and Sadiq Noor also operate in North Waziristan.
For more information on the terms of the peace agreements in Swat, Bajaur, North Waziristan, and Mohmand, and the proposed terms for the agreements in South Waziristan, Mardan, and Kohat, see:
Pakistan is negotiating a new peace agreement with Baitullah Mehsud (South Waziristan)
Pakistan releases Taliban leader, signs peace deal with outlawed Taliban group (Bajaur, Malakand Division)
See The Fall of Northwestern Pakistan: An Online History for more information on the rise of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan and the history of peace agreements signed between the government and the Taliban.