Taliban, Pakistani military clash in North Waziristan


The Pakistani military battled the so-called "good Taliban" forces under the command of Hafiz Gul Bahadar after a military convoy was ambushed in North Waziristan.

Bahadar's fighters ambushed the convoy as it traveled to the town of Mir Ali. The Taliban and the military differ on the battle's outcome. The military claimed only three soldiers were wounded in the initial attack, while the Taliban said 32 Pakistani troops were killed and 14 vehicles were seized.

The Pakistani military counterattacked against Taliban positions with attack helicopters and artillery fire, sparking a five-hour battle, Dawn reported. Civilians said the military fired into residential areas.

In a separate attack, the Taliban killed one Frontier Corps paramilitary trooper and wounded three more in an IED strike near the town of Miramshah.

And in an IED attack near Mir Ali yesterday, the Taliban killed two soldiers and critically wounded four more.

Bahadar has stepped up attacks against security forces in North Waziristan since he terminated the peace agreement with the government at the end of June. In canceling the peace deal, he demanded an end to military operations in Waziristan and the withdrawal of the Army from the region. He also called for the end of US Predator strikes against Taliban and al Qaeda camps and safe houses in the region.

The largest attack took place on June 28, when the Taliban killed 17 soldiers during an ambush on a military convoy near Wachi Baba. Then on July 29, two paramilitary troops were killed in a suicide attack in Miramshah in North Waziristan. And on Aug. 4, the Taliban killed four security personnel during an attack on the military headquarters in Miramshah. Yet despite these Taliban attacks on its forces, the Pakistani military insists the ceasefire is still in effect.

The military considers Bahadar and the Haqqani family, which is also based in North Waziristan, as well as Mullah Nazir in South Waziristan to be "good Taliban." These Taliban leaders are seen as strategic assets to hedge bets against a US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Pakistanis have long considered Bahadar, Nazir, and the Haqqanis "good" or "pro-government" Taliban because they did not advocate fighting the Pakistani military but rather focused their efforts against the Coalition in Afghanistan.

But Bahadar, Nazir, and the Haqqanis openly support al Qaeda and host training camps for the terror groups as well as for the numerous Pakistani jihadi groups. In addition, Bahadar, Nazir, and the Haqqanis provide fighters to serve in the Lashkar al Zil, al Qaeda's paramilitary Shadow Army that operates along the Afghan and Pakistani border areas.

The military has openly said it wants to keep these commanders on the sidelines while it takes out Baitullah Mehsud, the overall leader of the Pakistani Taliban, who is based in South Waziristan. Over the past few days, the government has claimed Baitullah was killed during a US airstrike on Aug. 5, but Baitullah's commanders insist he is alive.


Background on recent fighting in North and South Waziristan

The Pakistani military has avoided directly confronting the Taliban in North and South Waziristan after suffering a string of humiliating defeats there between 2004 and 2008. The most recent operations in Waziristan resulted in peace agreements that have ceded control of the region to the Taliban.

The last time the Pakistani military took on the Taliban in North Waziristan was in October 2007. The Pakistani military and the Taliban fought pitched battles after the military launched artillery barrages and helicopter and attack aircraft assaults against Taliban-controlled villages in North Waziristan.

The Taliban responded by setting up complex ambushes, including surface-to-air missile traps, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. Several Pakistani Army helicopters were said to have been shot down during the fighting. The Pakistani military claimed that 120 Taliban and 45 soldiers were killed in the fighting, but independent reports put the number of soldiers killed much higher.

At the end of October 2007, the government pushed for a peace deal, and the fighting waned. The Taliban, led by the Haqqani Network and Hafiz Gul Bahadar, remained entrenched in the region. In February 2008, an official peace agreement was signed.

The last major operation against the Taliban in South Waziristan took place in late January 2008. The military launched an offensive with the declared aim of dislodging Baitullah Mehsud's forces from entrenched positions. Prior to the military's offensive, the Taliban overran two military forts and conducted numerous attacks against Pakistani forces. More than a dozen of Pakistan's elite counterterrorism commandos were killed in a single engagement.

The military claimed to have ejected the Taliban from strongholds in Kotkai and Jandola, and said it killed Qari Hussain. Hussain later mocked the government during a press conference in May 2008.

Just 11 days after the fighting in South Waziristan had begun, the military sued for peace. The Taliban retook control of Jandola four months later, after murdering dozens from a rival tribe while the military looked on. The military has since abandoned several forts in South Waziristan and has kept activity there to a minimum.

Taliban forces belonging to Baitullah, Mullah Nazir, Hafiz Gul Bahadar, and the Haqqanis, led by Jalaluddin's son Sirajuddin, have only grown stronger since defeating the Pakistani military during engagements in 2007 and 2008. Tens of thousands of fighters are under the collective command of these leaders.



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READER COMMENTS: "Taliban, Pakistani military clash in North Waziristan"

Posted by MZBH at August 10, 2009 11:16 PM ET:

Out of curiosity, are the Taliban claims of dozens of US soldiers killed and choppers shot down reported as you do with Taliban claims of casualties inflicted upon Pakistani troops?

Even in the last major ambush in North Wazirstan, the Taliban claimed up to 60 soldiers killed, when the actual casualty figures were in the twenties.


Equivocating between a terrorist organizations claims and that of a government fighting them is in very poor taste.

It is also a double standard when you choose to not apply the same rules with respect to Taliban claims about US casualties.

Posted by Bill Roggio at August 10, 2009 11:21 PM ET:

Ah, yes, always comparing what happens in Pakistan with what happens elsewhere.

The problem is the Taliban in Afghanistan are not credible when they make claims about US or Coalition casualties. In Paksitan, unfortunately, as I've outlined for you numerous times before, the Taliban have been more than credible about their engagements with the military. I won't rehash it.

So the double standard you claim exists doesn't.

Don't blame me, blame the Pakistani military and the government. In he end they are the ones responsible for their own credibility.

Posted by Bill Roggio at August 10, 2009 11:34 PM ET:

On second thought, let me rehash it for the readers who are not aware of what I am talking about:

Here are two simple examples of the Pakistani military being wrong (or dishonest, pick your poison, I don't care):

On Jan 18, 2008, the Taliban overran the South Waziristan fort of Saklatoi. Yet ISPR spokesman Major General Athar Abbas stood in front of the media and said: The loss of Saklatoi is "absolutely baseless and I reject this report ...I want to clarify that the Pakistan Army and the Frontier Corps personnel are still present in the fort."

Two days later Abbas briefed about the glorious joint raid by the SSG/FC to retake the Saklatoi Fort.

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/01/pakistani_army_retak.php

During the Jan 2008 Waziristan battles, the military repeatedly lied abut casualties, number of troops captured, etc. This has happened in Swat, Bajaur, Khyber, etc....

My other favorite story is when the Taliban captured an entire company of regular Army troops in South Waziristan in Aug 2007. The ISPR spokesman claimed they were lost / lost contact due weather. then he grudgingly admitted 100 troops were captured, but then about a week plus said it was 300 troops captured only after the Taliban displayed them to the BBC. Please don't tell me that a week after a company was captured the military was unsure just how many soldiers were missing.

These are but two examples. There are numerous accounts of captured soldiers the military said weren't captured all the sudden showing up beheaded or mutilated. Or the military lumping in civilians with Taliban to boost body counts (see Swat/Dir/Buner, 2009). Or deflating casualties during the Swat/Dir/Buner, 2009 op (and a bunch of others ops to boot). Or how about Rehman Malik's recent Fazlullah/Qair Hussain/Hakeemullah/Waliurare dead debacle? Malik doesn't even believe the guys are alive when they speak to the media. Looking good, eh?

It is in poor taste to attribute credibility where none is deserved.

As I have said numerous times, I'd really, really, really like to believe the Pakistani military/government are being up front. It would make my job easier. But what I want and what is reality are two different things.

Posted by Daniel at August 11, 2009 1:01 AM ET:

Thanks for the detailed reply Bill.

I wonder how long the Pakistani Government will keep their heads in the sand regarding "The Good Taliban" who are openly allied with "The bad Taliban" and commited to hostility toward the Pak military.

Posted by yash at August 11, 2009 2:26 AM ET:

Bill,

I need an answer from you for the following things

1) Dont you think taking Baitullah is a setback since he was fighting more
against Pak then US.
2) Do you think Pak will ever act against Haqqani, HAfiz Bahadur and Mulla NAzir who are actually fighting US. I just feel Pak used US to get rid of their nemesis.

Thanks,
Yash.

Posted by G-Shock at August 11, 2009 4:32 AM ET:

Bill, this quality that you have to search and publish only the truth is amazing. Majority are biased.

Posted by DigiNaz at August 11, 2009 6:59 AM ET:

Ummm, ok. Your bias, ahem - smells and your inclination pretty evident. So US is super righteous and Pakistanis are just buncha rag tag sub humans. Got it.

Also would like you to shed some light on the US/NATO gains (if any) in Afghanistan with the "less credible" Talibans on that side of the border. Oh let me guess, since the US propaganda machine is working over time hence the insurgents there just have to be less credible - sure sure... Oh wait! Where did I just hear this yesterday, someone mentioning that the Taliban have an upper hand over US/NATO forces in Afghanistan. Why? Is Afghanistan a no-fly zone for the drones? The geo-magnetism in Afghan sands screws up drone GPS devices and sends static images? What seems to be the problem?

"Taliban Now Winning"
U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Warns of Rising Casualties
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124986154654218153.html

Pakistan Army kicks Taliban out of Swat Valley and adjacent areas in a matter of weeks and is on its final phase in Tribal belt to do what it needs to do. Something even the mighty US/NATO forces in Afghanistan haven't been able to accomplish in years. And now the US/NATO commanders are requesting Pakistani assistance in dealing with Afghan Taliban. I haven't seen you write about that - even though the (credible) western media and journalists are clearly reporting it.

Why don't they ask their Indian friends to fight the Talibans in Afghanistan? Or are those bobblehead Indians just building roads, consulates and training mercenaries against Pakistan by being in cahoots with the puppet Afghan government and the occupiers?

"Ah, yes, always comparing what happens in Pakistan with what happens elsewhere."
Why - you gotta problem with that? I guess Pakistan is unique and an exceptional case in your eyes - nothing compares to it in this world. Should we take this as a compliment?

Posted by MZBH at August 11, 2009 8:59 AM ET:

"The problem is the Taliban in Afghanistan are not credible when they make claims about US or Coalition casualties. In Paksitan, unfortunately, as I've outlined for you numerous times before, the Taliban have been more than credible about their engagements with the military. I won't rehash it."

Thats rather rich - the same ideological and ethnic group is not credible in Afghanistan when it comes to claims about casualties inflicted upon NATO troops, but they are completely credible when it comes to Pakistan.

The example you gave regarding the Saklatoi report only shows that the PA made an error and corrected it later - dishonesty would be to continue to lie about the fact that the fort was taken. Instead the PA clarified and essentially admitted two days later what had actually happened. At the same briefing in which the capture of the Salaktoi fort was denied, the loss of the Sararogha fort was accepted.We have had this discussion before.

None of this validates your claim that the Taliban are always accurate with their claims of casualties inflicted upon Pakistani troops just as they are never accurate about their claims about casualties inflicted on NATO troops.

They were right about a few high profile incidents that the Military did not immediately handle properly in terms of PR - that does not automatically mean every claim of the Taliban is now true.

===========================

"Ah, yes, always comparing what happens in Pakistan with what happens elsewhere."

Yes - because your posts suggest that apparently only Pakistan has an issue with being wrong about claims, when the US and NATO have done much the same. Even in your criticism of the Pakistani leaderships claims on B Mehsud's death, you ignore the fact that US officials at the level of Jim Jones from the NSA are also claiming '90% chance of Mehsud being dead'.

However you choose to not mention those facts IMO since it distracts fro the intent of your story to only paint Pakistan as not credible.

A balanced story and headline would not have been "Analysis: Pakistani claims regarding Baitullah's death, shura clash, are suspect", but instead "Analysis: Pakistani and US claims regarding Baitullah's death, shura clash, are suspect.

Posted by pedestrian at August 11, 2009 9:19 AM ET:

Only a dead terrorist is a good one :)

Posted by David M at August 11, 2009 10:34 AM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/11/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Posted by Neo at August 11, 2009 10:44 AM ET:

It's not just Bill's blog that gives both Taliban and Pakistani government claims. The media in general gives both sides equal weight. It will be so as long as chronic unreliability and outright misinformation are the norm from the Pakistani government.

In Afghanistan, NATO forces are usually pretty candid about what they think happened. They definitely don't get it right all the time and in fact there are definite limitations to their information gathering.

Rehman Malik is the worst offender, by far. A lot of what comes out of his mouth could be broadly described as clueless. His pronouncements are often meaningless, and he is often contradicted by commanders closer to the action. I don't know about his general competence as a minister, but he needs to get a competent press spokesman.

Posted by Bill Roggio at August 11, 2009 11:00 AM ET:

MBZH,

It may be rich but its true.

You're wrong on the progression of Saklatoi Fort report, we've had that discussion before. And nice to ignore the report on the company of captured soldiers.

I am not discussing US problems with reporting dead leaders in Afghanistan in this article. You want to discuss it to distract from the point I am making. You THINK my intent is to show only Pakistan has a problem. It isn't. Its to show that the claims of Baitullah's death are suspect based on past history. Plain & simple. You can read into the report what you wish but it doesn't make it true.

The problem with what you are saying is the US quickly retracts its bad reports, and they are few and far between. The last one I detected was with a low level Taliban leader in Ghor with links to the IRGC. The US retracted the claim 2 days after the report. Oh, and I reported on that, go check the archives.

I've outlined the misreports from Pakistan, feel free to do the same on US reports from Afghanistan. To help, I can think of two more: Mullah Baradar & Mullah Sangeen Zadran. The rest is up to you. But again, the US has admitted the misreports. When will Malik tell us Fazlullah is alive? Don't hold your breath

As far as General Jones, he is the only US official on record, and to be blunt, my sources are saying he is swallowing Malik's statements hook, line, & sinker.

DigNaz,

I won't even dignify the "So US is super righteous and Pakistanis are just buncha rag tag sub humans. Got it. " with a response. My advice is for the Pakistanis to get serious about taking out the Taliban and al Qaeda. Stop drinking the cool-aid and wake up.

Posted by Viliger at August 11, 2009 12:50 PM ET:

Diginaz
"Ummm, ok. Your bias, ahem - smells and your inclination pretty evident. So US is super righteous and Pakistanis are just buncha rag tag sub humans. Got it."
...
"Why don't they ask their Indian friends to fight the Talibans in Afghanistan? Or are those bobblehead Indians just building roads, consulates and training mercenaries against Pakistan by being in cahoots with the puppet Afghan government and the occupiers?"
...
" I guess Pakistan is unique and an exceptional case in your eyes - nothing compares to it in this world. Should we take this as a compliment?"
******************
I'm surprised that Bill let your "bobblehead" remark pass. Its probably because he doesn't know the meaning anymore than you do. The difference is he doesn't pretend!

Also, what is it with you Pakistanis, that you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO drag in your pet hobby horse of the Indians in every discussion? Grow up and get a life...for yourself and country. At least the Indians are spending their own cash while building roads in Afghanistan, and not begging America constantly to fill their coffers. I speak as a global villager, though this is not a personal view, but a statement of FACT.

The rest of your comments are so emotional and over-the-top it sounds like you need to find yourself a bobblehead....you should be so lucky!

Posted by Bill Roggio at August 11, 2009 1:19 PM ET:

Villager,

I know what Diginaz is saying. And yes it is probably a little too over the top. Sometimes it is nice to let such ... enlightenment ... see the light of day.

I find it very humorous to be accused of being anti-Pakistan. If Diginaz & MBZH and others in the Pakistan-can-do-no-wrong crowd took the time to see what is actually happening - how the military and government has misled and appeased and yes, even supported these extremist groups, they should be appalled. Instead they launch into knee-jerk defenses of the same people that have brought them to such a sorry state.

Posted by Xavier at August 11, 2009 1:48 PM ET:

I guess I can understand the frustration of Pak loyalists here. Well the old buddy US (till 90s) abandoned them, the Saudis(the Masters) abandoned them when they rejected the Pak request for aid in the last two years. Chinese are also looking into Uighur-Taliban-Queda nexus.

It would be surprising if the Pakis do not freak out.

Now on the matter: The US military may make mistakes in its reports. I don't think Bill is a spokesman for USArmy. Honestly, he questions US army reports as well when he has reasons. The thing with US army is that they do not wait for the media to rat them out about their lies.

The problem with Pak Army is that they will lie until the media finds the truth. As someone here said the Pakistani military and govt lie

1. when it benefits them
2. even when they do not need to lie.

I do not expect better from an artificial and theocratic state.

Posted by T Ruth at August 11, 2009 2:07 PM ET:

LWJ
"The Taliban and the military differ on the battle's outcome. The military claimed only three soldiers were wounded in the initial attack, while the Taliban said 32 Pakistani troops were killed and 14 vehicles were seized."
-----------------
MZBH
"Equivocating between a terrorist organizations claims and that of a government fighting them is in very poor taste."
--------------------------
MZBH presumably you meant "Equating..." rather than "Equivocating...", but we get the drift. You didn't like Bill reporting what the Taliban had claimed on no. of Pak troops killed. Thats it? And thats in "poor taste".
I'll tell you whats in poor taste--its in poor taste to visit a site that is reputed to be objective and reprimand them for presenting both sides of the story. I and presumably most other readers expect that until the facts are clearly established.
Its also in poor taste that your country has become the largest exporter of global terrorism. Its in even poorer judgment that you have used terrorism as a tool and consequently that you harbor Al Qaida in your country. Eight years after 911 your anti-terrorist military and police performance speaks for itself.
Your ingrained victim-mentality (always explaining and blaming away) wants the world to say "Poor Pakistan". Well, i say Poor Pakistan, but because of your own pitiable showing within your own sovereign country.

Posted by Viliger at August 11, 2009 2:56 PM ET:

Bill....yes i agree with your approach. Its nice anyway to be able to lighten up a bit amidst all this stuff and it would be good if some of our Pakistani commenters didn't take themselves so seriously.

But then from what Xavier says that if all their friends are deserting them, its easy to see why they're freakin out.

As for their governance, the Pakistanis have never had much of a choice...and still don't! Its a common complaint i hear from my Pakistani friends.

Thank you for your robust reporting!

Posted by KW64 at August 11, 2009 3:40 PM ET:

Gee guys! While you may find your allies exasperating at times, wouldn't it be better to focus criticism on the enemy? You know, the guys who like to rule via fear and terror rather than by ballot. The guys who want to impose their will on others rather than free people so they can make their own choices. The guys who kill indiscriminately in order to create fear rather than risk the lives of their own people when they are not sure of their targets. (Hint, the bad guys described above are not the Indians.)

Posted by Render at August 11, 2009 8:24 PM ET:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Coalition_aircraft_losses_in_Afghanistan

The only confirmed losses to enemy fire are reported as; One OH-58, two UH-60's, four CH-47's, one Polish Mi-24 (August 6th 2009), and one Harrier destroyed on the ground since 2001.

57 total aircraft lost, only nine of those to hostile fire.

No other Taliban claims of aircraft shot down in Afghanistan have been reported as confirmed as of yet, either by the Coalition or the Taliban.

The environment is more dangerous to the Coalition aircraft (indeed, dangerous too anybody's aircraft) then the pedophile Talib are.

===

There are NO "good" Talib, there never were, and there never will be.

===

DigiNaz: Show us where you got that "sub-human" quote from on this website. Otherwise apologize to the site owner. Better yet, just go away...

POSTE
HASTE,
R

Posted by DigiNaz at August 11, 2009 8:36 PM ET:

--------------------
Posted by pedestrian at August 11, 2009 9:19 AM ET:
"Only a dead terrorist is a good one :)"

> Couldn't agree more, yes we share the same sentiment here in Pakistan also.

--------------------
Posted by Bill Roggio at August 11, 2009 11:00 AM ET:
"My advice is for the Pakistanis to get serious about taking out the Taliban and al Qaeda."

> Trust me, a common Pakistani is dead serious about taking out the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. If your advise is directed towards a Pakistani who is a victim of:
1. Corrupt, recycled, compromised, pathetic and incompetent installed leaders
2. A blood thristy adversary in the east with expansionist policy constantly interfering and exploiting its neighbors
3. An unstable occupied country in the west with eastern adversary freely roaming about...:
a. ...supporting insurgencies in Baluchistan province and FATA
b. ...funding fake "Taliban" (Uzbek/Tajik Terrorists) to murder innocent Pakistanis
c. ...funding fake "Taliban" (Uzbek/Tajik Terrorists) to destabilize Pakistan
d. ...building terror camps (consulates) in Afghanistan to train anti-Pakistan elements
e. ...giving refuge to anti-Pakistan Baluch elements
4. Pak Army mired in politics and unnecessary connundrum due to #1.

...then I guess your "advice" is misguided and without context. A common Pakistani is a helpless victim (more on that later). But not for too long. We are the ones who get blown up when going to school, work, and what not. Supplement that with #1, #2 and #3a,b,c,d,e, so trust me you have no idea what we go through and what we want. We are not "freaking-out", we are just angry by being betrayed and what we are being put through. And trust me a pissed-off moderate/secular educated Pakistani is reaching its boiling point and thats not good news, especially for all the actors who are directlty and indirectly responsible for their frustration.

--------------------
Posted by Bill Roggio at August 11, 2009 11:00 AM ET:
"Stop drinking the cool-aid and wake up."

> I assume you meant "Kool-Aid". Yes I get it, believe me, we are not stupid and ain't drinking Kool-Aid. This term is meant for you gulible Americans. We (the common Pakistanis) detest our current and recycled leaders, politicians and policy makers. We only defend our country and not its leaders or policies. Yes Zardari, Rehman Malik and the clan are all corrupt to the core, comprised self-interest jerks that happen to "lead" our country, and no we did not elect them. They are the Chalabi's of Pakistan!


--------------------
Posted by Viliger at August 11, 2009 12:50 PM ET:
"Also, what is it with you Pakistanis, that you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO drag in your pet hobby horse of the Indians in every discussion?"

> We would love not to dignify Hindustan (India) in our discussions at all, except that they just don't leave us alone, see above #2, #3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e. This "hobby" of ours is not by choice, I am sorry dont you for a sec believe that Hindustan is just an innocent neighbor of ours. Looks like the Hindustani Kool-Aid is showing its effects on you.

Remember Pakistan didn't go nuclear because of threats from either Iran, Afghanistan, China, or Russia. Yep, you guessed it - thanks to our Hindustani neighbor that Pakistan ended up with unintended consequence of developing and acquiring nukes. Now the game is to reverse that - too late!


--------------------
Posted by Viliger at August 11, 2009 12:50 PM ET:
"At least the Indians are spending their own cash while building roads in Afghanistan, and not begging America constantly to fill their coffers. I speak as a global villager, though this is not a personal view, but a statement of FACT."

> Hindustan spending its own cash? You are kidding me right? They have starving people twice the poulation of the US, poor infrastructure, extreme poverty and yet they feel the need to build Afghanistan? Explain this logic to me please? Your statement of FACT is just plain laughable. They are appropriating the US money to do whatever they are doing there. And yes thanks to our leaders (see #1) we have been classified as beggars. A common Pakistani doesn't need US aid, loans, or beg for money - as none of this benefits them in any way. Pakistan has enough natural and human resources to be self-sustainable and debt free - hence I am not begging, my "leaders" are and they are pocketing it themselves and turning rich over night. We see this as a "legal bribe" to our politicians in the form of aid which turns them into puppets who serve their external masters and not their nation.

Oh by the way if memory serves me correctly, didn't America just beg China for $1Trillion to fill its "stimulus" coffers while exposing pathetic sorry state of its financial system and imploding economy. And now you want to pick fight with China through our territory since you know you can't pay them back!


--------------------
Posted by T Ruth at August 11, 2009 2:07 PM ET:
"Its also in poor taste that your country has become the largest exporter of global terrorism. Its in even poorer judgment that you have used terrorism as a tool and consequently that you harbor Al Qaida in your country. Eight years after 911 your anti-terrorist military and police performance speaks for itself."

> Is this the issue of kettle calling the pot black. Ask around in the world who the biggest terrorist is, you don't even have to include the Muslim or Pakistani opinion in the survey. I am sure you'll get your shocking answer. Its just a matter of opinion based on Kool-Aid you are being fed.

After Russians retreated from Afghanistan, your focus turned to eastern europe and the new states, while leaving Afghanistan up for grabs by anyone who can pay the warlords and grow poppy. You should have closed your American run Jihadi Madrasas for training "Muslim Mujahideens (Warriors)" (now know as terrorists/Taliban/Al-Qaeda). Just saying...

Pakistanis are truly being victimized by their own and other external forces, its not an "ingrained victim-mentality" that you so conveniently express - its just a fact as we endure it on daily basis. I bet you if you were given an ounce of our problems you will be committing suicide and/or be forever living in a mental institute. And NO, we are not asking for anyone to help us, we can and will manage it in the near future - its only a matter of when and not if. And YES we are aware of the colored revolutions so thanks, but no thanks - no going there. Whats brewing right now is indigenous and works for the region and the culture - stay tuned...

--------------------
Posted by Xavier at August 11, 2009 1:48 PM ET:
"I do not expect better from an artificial and theocratic state."

> Xavier, if I were to assume that you are an American, the irony would be that you are a citizen of a group of the most "Artifically Federated States" ever on the surface of this planet and a "Theoratic" one as it is... The settlers occupying the land of the native Americans and having no shortage of right wing religious zealots, where god talks to its president can not be qualified as a "Natural Secular State", now can it? Atleast the people of Pakistan, its culture and heritage is not imported.

--------------------
Bill, I am still waiting for the US/NATO moments of glory in Afghanistan. You can exclude the events of Mazar-e-Sharif during the early stages of occupation.

I may come across as "over-the-top" or "emotional" to some, but its a matter of opinion. Pakistanis excluding most of the leaders/politicians/generals love their country, are passionate about its progress and will do whatever to turn this mess around into a progressive and economical power house. The only help we need from the rest of you is NOT to interefere in our matters and do not exploit the situation to fulfill whatever agendas you may have in the region. We don't like the fact the we are being used as proxies to multitude of regional agendas against our neighboring powers.

But if you are inclined to mess with the beehive, then be prepared for the consequences - something that you can witness today in real-time.

Posted by MZBH at August 11, 2009 9:36 PM ET:

"You're wrong on the progression of Saklatoi Fort report, we've had that discussion before."

How am I wrong on the Salaktoi Fort report when your own reporting validates the sequence of events as I presented them?

The ISPR briefing in which the Salaktoi fort capture was denied also included an affirmation of the fact that the Sararogha Fort had been captured. A day or two later the Pakistani military released a statement pointing out that Salaktoi had been recaptured in an SSG raid.

If the PA was interested in lying, it would have been far easier to deny the fall of both forts and point out that they were still in Pakistani control after they had been recaptured. Instead the PA essentially admitted that it was wrong (for whatever reason - perhaps lack of clear information from the front about the status of the Salaktoi Fort is what led to Abbas denying its fall).

You are clutching at straws here to establish 'lying' with this incident.

"I am not discussing US problems with reporting dead leaders in Afghanistan in this article."

But that point is crucial, since it indicates that Pakistan is not the only nation with flawed intelligence reports and making statements that end up being shown as wrong. Your focus on only one nation to show it as lacking credibility indicates a bias and unbalanced reporting.

I don't have issues with you arguing that claims about the death of militant leadership, by either NATO or Pakistan, should be treated with skepticism until 100% validation - I do have issues with the double standards in giving equal weight to Taliban propaganda on casualties in firefights with the Pak SF's, when that is not done in the case of Taliban claims about NATO.

"As far as General Jones, he is the only US official on record, and to be blunt, my sources are saying he is swallowing Malik's statements hook, line, & sinker."

Absurd - you expect us to believe that your top intelligence official is basing his comments on claims by the Pakistani interior minister, when it was US drones, using US surveillance equipment and technology, much of it highly secret and classified (as reported by Bob Woodward), that confirmed the target (as best as it could) before engaging it.

This is a classic case of 'blame deflection and the bias in your reporting I pointed out' - you are so driven to lay fault entirely solely at Pakistan's door (in case Mehsud turns up alive), that you are creating excuses such as the one above to explain away statements by US intelligence officials.

Gen. Jones should have clarified that he was basing his assessment that Mehsud was dead on Rehman Malik's say so. He didn't, and I'll believe what he said, not some excuse drummed up to propagate anti-Pakistan propaganda.

Posted by Bill Roggio at August 11, 2009 10:06 PM ET:

Diginaz says: "But if you are inclined to mess with the beehive, then be prepared for the consequences - something that you can witness today in real-time."

I guess the question that follows is: What are you going to do? Unleash Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, HuJI, the Indian Mujahideen, JeM, HuM, al Qaeda, the Taliban on us? Oh, wait.... Or will you proliferate nuclear secrets? Oh, yeah.... Please explain, we're dying to hear about the power of a state unable to go into Waziristan.

You also admit you have "Corrupt, recycled, compromised, pathetic and incompetent installed leaders" and admit Malik is a "corrupt to the core, comprised self-interest jerk" yet you take his word? We thought the Pakistani state was doing its all to fight the Taliban and AQ and.... see above listing, which is greatly truncated. Please explain, we're all dying to hear more!

The rest is largely fever swamp boiler-plate nonsense, I'll let others address that.


MBZH,

It is not my fault you wish for me to write an article to compare US and NATO Taliban killed / battle reports veracity vs Pakistani HVTs killed / battle reports veracity. If I did, Pakistan would look even worse. Is that what you wish? As I said, you are free to do so in the comments or wherever else yu wish. I gave you three good leads. Have at it. Render nicely takes on you helo / aircraft shootdown theory.

You conveniently won't discuss the 2007 S Waziristan Pakistani Army capture. I do understand why. Again there are more than numerous cases like this which I have documented. RE:Salaktoi fort. What Abbas said about the taking of the fort hurt his and the Pakistani Army's credibility. His certainty the fort wasn't taken, his dismissiveness to reports it was when another was overrun.

You refuse to face that the Pak military and government has a seriosu credibility problem The Fazlullah & Waliur / Baitullah are dead incidents are but the latest. I am certain you will excuse Malik's certainty on those some way or another. Or ignore all together. I wll understand.

RE: Jones.

Jones isn't our "top intelligence official" - that title would go to the NDI, although the director of the CIA would take issue with it. Have you seen the DCI or DNI go on record on this issue? Please enlighten me if so.

Malik is the INTERIOR minister - he speaks on matter of the PAKISTANI interior, and should be considered the penultimate authoritative voice on what is happening inside Paksitan (we do agree Waziristan is in Pakistan, right?).What someone like Jones says to me is far less important.

Malik left nearly zero room for wiggle room, he is guaranteeing Baitullah is dead. Malik, unlike Jones, has a terrible track record. I've laid that out.

Please don't get me wrong, I suspect that when this is all said and done, the US - Jones specifically - will look just as foolish as the Pakistani government will.

I'm not trying to cover for US intel in the least. In fact, if you tried to read what I am saying, its that there is great disagreement in the US about this strike. And I've mentioned my sources don't agree Baitullah was killed.

If Jones is wrong here and goes out on a limb again, I'll be the first to remind people that Jones may not be the best person to listen to.

Funny that you want me to hold Jones to the same standard as your Interior Minister and ISPR and military.

Posted by Xavier at August 11, 2009 10:45 PM ET:

DigiNaz says

"> Xavier, if I were to assume that you are an American, the irony would be that you are a citizen of a group of the most "Artifically Federated States" ever on the surface of this planet and a "Theoratic" one as it is... The settlers occupying the land of the native Americans and having no shortage of right wing religious zealots, where god talks to its president can not be qualified as a "Natural Secular State", now can it? Atleast the people of Pakistan, its culture and heritage is not imported."

Pakistan is theocratic because of its constitution. The 1956 constitution (many theocratic parts of it still stand) clearly states that a non-muslim can not become President. There are many other laws(Hudood laws, Diyat laws) which are clearly theocratic. Please learn about your own constitution/law before analyzing US or others.

Show me in US constitution (legally referred to today) which puts one religion above others. Secular state is about what the state's constitution is, not about whether god talks to president. I guess you have lost your logical part of the brain (Kool-aid effect may be?). A secular nation necessarily must have secular constitution/laws. President can be of any religion.

It's laughable that Pakistan's culture and heritage are not imported. Let me clearly state that Arabs are the Masters, you still follow their religion don't you? Now who is the slave here?

I love US not becoz of some idealistic notion. I love it becoz it is the nation(one among very few) that can protect my interests. My heart lies where my heart (physically) lies.


And don't even start comparing Pak and US. US has existed for more than 200 years and they have learn to keep religion and politics separate since the nation's inception. How manyt times in Pak history did power change within law?


You have been ranting about your leaders. I sympathize with you on this. What do you expect from a state carved out on religion grounds with no other identity. It is bound to be a theocratic state and it is. The people of the country are responsible for the behavior of their leaders. The West is where it is now because the people here fought for their rights from their government.

If Paks feel oppressed by their govt then they should revolt too. Did Iranians not achieve their dream Islamic nation from the "tyrannical hands" of a US puppet, Shah. Of course they got what they deserved but that's another matter.


I think I need to nail the following sentence into Pak loyalists' brain here. "You are responsible for your leaders'/government's failures".


Chinese "lent" (not really) money to US becoz their economy will collapse without that. Look at how many people in China lost their jobs recently. US did not beg. Strictly speaking US printed its own currency, how is that begging? I can discuss the economics dimension to this if necessary.


About China. Don't be too cozy about that. The giant is waking up to the Islamic problem on its western border. Atheist/Communist Chinese and Islamic Pakistanis are misfits. The Chinese seem to be realizing this. Lets see if the Paks will.


Talking about Native people of Americas. Its funny pot calling kettle black. Refer to the history. See what Pakistan is a product of?. Its a product of Islamic invasion from Arabia. Before Islam their people were Zorastrians (the religion is almost extinct) and most of the people of the region current called Pakistan were Buddhists and Pagans. We know what happened to their cultures in the region.

Now look at Pakistan itself, how did it become > 95% Muslim? It used to have significant minority population 50 years ago. What happened to them?

Again you don't expect much from an artificial and a theocratic state.

Posted by yash at August 11, 2009 11:16 PM ET:

In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks the Pak Army AKA terrorist army held a press conference and said that Baitullah and Fazlullah are patriots and they will fight the Indians alongside the Pak Army.

Now they are claiming that these folks are Indian agents. After all what can one expect from a banana republic like Pak

Posted by Render at August 12, 2009 1:57 AM ET:

Gotta love it when somebody jumps in with a blatant lie about the site owner, eh? LWJ does have a search function, feel free to use it. I did and the only time I can find the phrase "sub-human" any where on the site is in a comment posted to this thread by DigiNaz at August 11, 2009 6:59 AM ET.

===

"1. Corrupt, recycled, compromised, pathetic and incompetent installed leaders"

-That's your problem, not ours. Find a way to deal with your problem, without affecting us.

"2. A blood thristy adversary in the east with expansionist policy constantly interfering and exploiting its neighbors"

- Pakistani artillery shelled to Indian border posts on April 9th, 1965. This is historically recorded as the start of the Indo-Pak 1965 war. Pakistan lost. Get over it.

-Blood thirsty like Tikka Khan? Perhaps as many as one million Bangladeshi (East Pakistan) civilians killed in rampages by the Pakistani Army just prior to the 1971 Indo-Pak War.

"3. An unstable occupied country in the west with eastern adversary freely roaming about..."

-75% or more of Afghanistan's "unstableness" comes directly from Pakistani territory. Much of the rest of Afghanistan's internal issues are directly drug related. The Talib have been repeatedly caught providing gunmen to guard drug crops, drug smugglers, and smuggling drugs themselves. Afghanistan is occupied only because the Talib and their incestuous al-Qaida allies exist. If they weren't there, we wouldn't be there.

"a. ...supporting insurgencies in Baluchistan province and FATA"

-Pshaw, documentation please. A link, cite, a footnote, or some form of acceptable proof that the Kharzi government or any other Coalition ally (including India) is doing any such thing. Be warned that neither the Pakistani press nor the Pakistani military are acceptable for documentation of these or any of your other claims along these lines. Their lack of veracity is already well established.

-Of course there are going to be terrorists coming out of Afghanistan and into Pakistan. They are getting the snot beaten out of them incessantly by more Coalition troops then most of them have ever seen in one place, (This isn't your granddads Soviet conscripts). The survivors are on the run, back to where they last came from, Pakistan. Have you ever actually read the contents of this website? Or did somebody feed you a handful of talking points just recently?

A
LEFT,
R

Posted by Render at August 12, 2009 2:00 AM ET:


"A common Pakistani is a helpless victim"

"We are the ones who get blown up when going to school, work, and what not."

-We can work with that for the moment, perhaps we can get around to defining what exactly a "common Pakistani" is and means after you get around to apologizing for and retracting that "subhuman" comment of yours to Mr. Roggio.

"We are not "freaking-out", we are just angry by being betrayed and what we are being put through."

-You'll have to forgive me for pointing out that at the moment you look pretty freaky to the rest of us, even the Chinese are giving you the eye at this point. We already know that you have nobody to blame but yourselves. It's not India, it's not us, it's not the Russians, or the Chinese, and it certainly isn't Israel. It's you. We've only been asking you to get mad at the Talib and al-Q for what, eight years now? The Indians are already doing their part they should have squashed your little nation like a bug after Mumbai (oh yeah they could - if we let 'em). Take the hint from Delhi. Clean your own house. Negotiate with the Indians, not the terrorists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghanistan%E2%80%93India_relations

-"Moment of glory" he says. We've had eight years of it while your nation has been playing both sides of the fence like a vindictive unfaithful woman. That's why so many innocent Pakistanis (and Afghans and a lot of other people) have been killed. The quicker al-Q and the Talib are wiped out, the fewer innocent civilians will get killed. And it isn't hard to figure out which side is intentionally targeting innocent civilians. One side has "Rules of Engagement" and hundreds of thousands of lawyers waiting to pounce. The other side has a Fatwa along the lines of, "it's a-ok to target civilians."

Let's cut to the chase here 

Pick a side.

AND
A
RIGHT,
R

Posted by flyonthewall at August 12, 2009 5:44 AM ET:

How I LOVE this site! Especially shining the light of day on "divergent" perspectives. I couldn't learn this much going to graduate school (again). Thank you one and all, and keep it up, Mr. Roggio. Will send check on payday!

Posted by Xavier at August 12, 2009 7:46 AM ET:

Yash says

"In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks the Pak Army AKA terrorist army held a press conference and said that Baitullah and Fazlullah are patriots and they will fight the Indians alongside the Pak Army."

-------

Pakistani loyalists are a species with selective memory. They change their words as they suit them, just like their military and government. They tend to conveniently forget statements made by their government and army just a few weeks/months ago. The kool-aid effect.

I would be ashamed if someone points out such blatant hypocrisy. But then these people are a different species.

Posted by Mr T at August 12, 2009 10:49 AM ET:

How about for starters, Pakistan turns over Bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Mullah Omar? It appears the latter is living in Quetta. Can you find them? Look for the tall guy and the guy with one eye. They may be in burkas. We are offering millions to the common Pakistani that turns them in.

Taking those guys out of the fight will go a long way toward stopping the daily killing going on in Pakistan.

Oh, and a fatwa denouncing ANY killing would be helpful too.

Posted by T Ruth at August 12, 2009 2:16 PM ET:

MZBH
"Gen. Jones should have clarified that he was basing his assessment that Mehsud was dead on Rehman Malik's say so. He didn't, and I'll believe what he said, not some excuse drummed up to propagate anti-Pakistan propaganda."
---------------------------
MZBH, maybe you'll explain to us why you're such a frequent visitor/commenter here if you think what is served here is "some excuse drummed up to propagate anti-Pakistan propaganda" and "poor taste"?

Or do you see yourself as the torch-bearer of the Pakistani propaganda machine?

You chose not to respond to my observations y'day about your misplaced "poor taste" comment. Well lets add to that.....if you can't tell the difference between a pronouncement and 90%, then i would put that in a "poor comprehension" category, if not "poor math".

No excuses are offered here and none are needed!

Oh, and your arguments are very cleverly crafted, perhaps even by half, for i haven't seen anyone here fall for them. Except perhaps your compatriot Diginaz.

And Diginaz your hysteria really made me laugh, rising to the level of unintended comedy. You get better every day, i can't wait for the next episode!

But with your quagmire status and plans for becoming a "power house" where do you find the time to constantly look over your shoulders, at your perceived adversaries?

There's a hint of desire to take self-responsibility to become this powerhouse. But ironically until you take self-responsibility, and stop blaming the world, for the utter mess you're in, you can't even begin that journey.

Its that simple really. When you're persistently playing both sides of the fence, and constantly jumping them, there's a risk that you might get punctured or worse, torn asunder.

At the bottom-line (excuse the pun), its only when you as a "common Pakistani" demand of your less-than-honest Govt to play with a straight-bat, rather than with one bent to meet strategic-depth boundaries, will you find the level of trust and credibility necessary to be a powerhouse player in this global world. This calls for a paradigm shift in your national psyche. And it appears you're not quite ready--yet.

So, insecure is where you are, today.

Posted by T Ruth at August 12, 2009 2:38 PM ET:

Bill, i just made this up--post it if you think its in the interest of needed dramatic relief :) (i'm willing to take the risk of being accused of poor taste!)
___________________________________

Q: Why did General Jones confirm 90%?

A: Because President Zardari wanted 10%
____________________________________

Posted by Xavier at August 12, 2009 9:12 PM ET:

DigiNaz,

Here is an article in Pakistani press (Dawn) http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/separated-at-birth-289

which clearly questions the theory that Baitullah was supported by India.

That wont help I guess since you only care about your delusions.

Posted by babag55 at August 12, 2009 10:04 PM ET:

I could not help but give my 2 cents. I agree with one thing that this site is pretty biased. Then why I bother to visit it? So, I will know how people think and no I am not a Pakistani.
T Ruth
Pretty funny, you gave me a good laugh and yes poor taste.

Posted by yash at August 13, 2009 7:36 AM ET:

Hi All, I honestly think Baitullah Mehsud and Fazlullah are a very good phenomena. They are giving Pakistan a taste of its own medicine.

Thanks,
Yash.

Posted by Rhyno327 at August 13, 2009 1:28 PM ET:

The PAK gov is protecting its "strategic assets" OBL & Mullah Omar. Wats really going on in Quetta? You PAK's whine and moan, but take a look in the mirror. YOU helped create this monster.