Mangal Bagh is one of the more enigmatic Islamic warlords to emerge from the Wild West frontier of Pakistan’s tribal belts adjoining Afghanistan. Bagh has led a charmed life; from humble beginnings he has risen to be the most powerful man controlling Khyber agency within Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. His meteoric rise to power holds a curious mix of contradictions; he has swung from the secular to the fundamentalist outlook, has decried the Taliban yet enforcing a similar system of sharia, and has suppressed crime and drugs within his area of influence while at the same time collecting a kind of protection money. This is the story of Mangal Bagh, the new face of extremism in the Khyber agency.
Manzar Zaidi directs the The Long War Journal‘s project on Global Jihadist Movements – The Pakistani Taliban.