Bajaur Taliban leader Faqir Mohammed.
Some interesting news has emerged from Bajaur, where unmanned US aircraft pounded a Taliban and al Qaeda planning session, killing 27 Taliban and al Qaeda operatives. Eleven “foreigners” were reported killed. Some of developments from the Bajaur strike from The News:
1) One of Faqir Mohammed’s nephews (Zahid) and a son-in-law (unnamed) were killed in the strike.
2) Taliban and al Qaeda are at odds on how to deploy forces . Faqir and the Taliban want to reinforce South Waziristan, while al Qaeda commanders advocate following up on successes across the border in the Afghan provinces of Nuristan and Kunar. We should expect that these the military leaders disagree on how to allocate forces on a multi-front war. One group sees the potential of exploiting success, another hopes to deal a defeat to the Pakistani Army.
3) Swat’s Mullah Fazlullah and key Swat leaders are sheltering in Bajaur. This should come as no surprise; both Fazlullah and Faqir came from the ranks of the TNSM and have been close allies.
4) The government, despite all of the bluster about defeating the Taliban last March, has had to send tribal leaders to negotiate with Faqir to eject Fazlullah. Faqir has refused to turn over Fazlullah, so a new round of operations has been launched in Bajaur.