Anti-Taliban militia commander threatens to quit, join Taliban, after Peshawar suicide attack
Dawn reports that the leader of an anti-Taliban militia in the Matni area of Peshawar has threatened to end his support for the government in the wake of yesterday's deadly suicide attack at the funeral of a wife of a fellow militia member:
The leader of a powerful anti-Taliban militia on Thursday threatened to stop cooperating with authorities after a deadly suicide bombing on his men -- a warning that highlights the risks Pakistan is taking by using private armies with questionable loyalties in its struggle against the insurgents.
Dilawar Khan and other militia leaders close to Peshawar have long demanded more money and weapons from authorities in northwest Pakistan, accusing the government of encouraging them to rise up against the Taliban but not giving them the support needed to do so.
But authorities, worried about giving them too much power, have been careful not to give them too much.
And according to AKI, Khan said he'd join the Taliban:
"We are no longer capable of fighting them alone. We need the government's help. Either the government accepts our demands within two days or they should let us join the Taliban," he said.
As we noted in 2008 and 2009, the Pakistani government provides only minimal support for such militias operating in the northwest. [See LWJ reports, Pakistan engages the tribes in effort to fight the Taliban, from September 2008; and Anti-Taliban tribal militia leader assassinated in Pakistan's northwest, from July 2009.]
Little has changed since those reports. Despite Pakistani military operations in the tribal areas, the Taliban still maintain an advantage over the militias due to the government's lack of material support for the militias, poor to non-existent coordination with security forces, and the absence of an integrated support network between the militias.