U.S., Afghanistan step up pressure on the Pakistani government to dismantle the Taliban terrorists operating in the tribal belt
As NATO prepares to deploy to southeastern Afghanistan amid fears of a Taliban “resurgence”, the governments of Afghanistan and the United States are stepping up pressure on Pakistan to take meaningful action against Taliban forces holed up in the western tribal regions. Afghani President Hamid Karzai has submitted details about Taliban fighters in Pakistan; “We gave our brothers a lot of information, very detailed information about individuals, locations and other issues,” said Karzai.
The United States plans on introducing detailed information on terror camps in Pakistan; “The US government plans to show satellite photographs of the Pakistani camps with a department of defence expert explaining their significance in the trial of a terror suspect Hamid Hayat, assistant US Attorney Laura Ferris told jurors in her opening remarks.” Hayat is a U.S. citizen who attended the terror camps of Lashkar e-Taiba, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Pakistan, and is accused of plotting attacks in the United States. The New York Times reports on a videotape of Taliban recruiting and training in Pakistan; “In the tape, the men described a fairly low-budget network that begins with the recruitment of young bombers in the sprawling Pakistani port city of Karachi. The bombers are moved to safe houses in the border towns of Quetta and Chaman, and then transferred into Afghanistan, where they are provided with cars and explosives and sent out to find a target.”
UPI reports al Qaeda’s connections within Pakistan are growing, however al Qaeda’s extensive ties with Lashkar e-Taiba are well documented. al Qaeda has always had deep roots within Pakistan, with both Pakistan’s security services and military, and within the various jihadi groups.
The evidence of the Taliban and al Qaeda operations in Pakistan . Two “suspected militants” of Uzbeki origins were arrested at a border checkpoint in North Waziristan. Pakistani security forces uncovered a weapons cache in the North West Frontier Province. The cache was being transported to North Waziristan, the stronghold of the Taliban and al Qaeda, for “terrorist activities.” Strategy Page confirms the strike in Damadola did indeed kill up to five al Qaeda commanders, as reported here at The Long War Journal on January 19th.
In Afghanistan, the fight against the Taliban continue. A force estimated of about sixty Taliban attacked a remote police post in Nimroz, killing one policemen and wounding four. The Afghani police held their ground and their position was not overrun, despite being attacked by a numerically superior force. In Farah province, two Afghani intelligence agents are assassinated by the Taliban. Taliban commander Mullah Rahimullah was captured after he was wounded during a battle in Zabul province. His location was discovered after a tip from locals.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is put in an increasingly uncomfortable position as violence escalates in Afghanistan. He can no longer ignore the failures of the Pakistani government to bring the Taliban and al Qaeda under control in the tribal belts. Afghanistan, The U.S. and now NATO will begin applying pressure on Musharraf to make a meaningful effort to crack down on this dangerous region. Musharraf will face internal pressure from Islamist political parties and elements within the security and intelligence forces sympathetic to the Islamist cause.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.