The Forgotten War in Central Asia

A status update on developments in Afghanistan & Talibanistan


In Afghanistan, the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Kandak (battalion), 1st Brigade of the 205th Corps killed six Taliban fighters after striking a Taliban “command cell” in Uruzgan province. Equipment “intended for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices” was also seized in the assault. CENTCOM reports this is the fourth operation this battalion conducted in the past month “deep in what had been the insurgents’ safe haven.”

The border crossing incident at Spin Boldak, where the Afghan National Army claimed to have killed 15 Taliban has become even more confused. Yesterday, the vice-governor of Khandahar claimed these were civilian Afghanis. Today Pakistan has lodged a protest and stated those killed were Pakistani citizens. Although one of those killed was wanted by the Pakistani government, the claim is they were not Taliban. Husain Haqqani looks at the historical and recent events which have contributed to the decline in relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Across the border in Talibanistan, formerly known as Waziristan, the Taliban continues to consolidate power. In South Waziristan, a telephone exchange was destroyed, and a cleric was murdered. Maulana Sibghatullah, pro-government cleric, was assassinated by “attackers, who were masked.” Dawn notes that “that the cleric had been associated with the Taliban in the past. However, during the unrest in the agency he dissociated himself from the group and entered into an agreement with the government.” In a conversation with counterterrorism expert Dan Darling, he notes that murdering clerics who do not tow the party line is a common tactic of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and an age-old tactic as well:

Keep in mind that one of the first things al Qaeda does whenever they take over an area is to co-opt, kill, or silence any clerics who aren’t sold on their program and I expect that someone decided that Sibghatullah wasn’t holy enough. This is more or less how the communists dealt with any rival leftist parties that they didn’t control as soon as they took over an area.”

The Asia Times’ Syed Saleem Shahzad reports there is a “Revolution in the Pakistani mountains” as the three main tribes of the regions, the Wazirs, the Mehsuds and the Dawar have, for the first time in history, united and a backing the Taliban. This report should be tempered with the fact that there are still large segments of the tribes which back the Pakistani government, or are ambivalent to the Taliban’s goals, however, as recent event have born out, the pro-Taliban factions certainly have the upper hand in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The Daily Times provides a small ray of hope and reports the Council of Islamic Ideology “has made 22 recommendations to the government on how to end terrorism in the country, along with the recommendation that incidents of terrorism should not dubbed as jihad.” The CCI is an influential group established by the Barelvi sect of Islam, which makes up the majority of Pakistani Muslims and founded Pakistan’s ruling Muslim League. The CCI confronts the problem of terrorism and its association with Islam head on in a report titled ‘Islam and Terrorism.’

The CII recommended that all camps training militants or terrorists should be shut down immediately. It says that an overall review of intelligence organizations including the Federal Investigation Agency, the Intelligence Bureau, Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence should be conducted and these organizations should be strengthened to eliminate the political-backing of terrorists.

Meanwhile, Pakistani President Musharraf issued a threat to the foreign ‘miscreants’ during a speech, “All foreign militants should leave Pakistan, otherwise they would be crushed.” The terrorist in Pakistan are not all foreign, however, and the Taliban was largely a Pakistani movement. The Council of Islamic Ideology understands this, and Musharraf, while he may recognize this as well, has not addressed this publicly.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.


  • cjr says:

    “The terrorist in Pakistan are not all foreign, however, and the Taliban was largely a Pakistani movement”
    True, however, IMO:
    The Taliban exists as a significat force because it receives outside financing. During the ’80s the financing came in suitcases of cash from the CIA and Saudi Arabia govenment. Today, it comes from Al Qaeda.
    As long as the cash comes in, there will be Taliban activity. As long as Al Qaeta thinks the Taliban is effective, it will supply cash. If it becomes clear to Al Qaeta that it has better opportunies elsewhere, Al Qaeta money will go elsewhere and Taliban activity will diminish.
    I think that is what happened in 2003, 2004, 2005. Al Qaeda diverted cash away from Afgahnistan to Iraq. Hence the decease in Taliban activity. Now that it looks like Al Quaeda will not successed in Iraq, the money is diverted back to the Taliban. Hence, increase Taliban activity….

  • Lisa says:

    Before 9/11 there is this little store at the front of my neighborhood and other convenience stores run by Pakistanis. We must have saw 25 different ones coming and going. They would be like they just steeped off the plane and smelled bad and could not speak english. It took them no time to clean up, learn english and one would leave to another state and another dirty smelly one would come and on and on. They lived in the apartments at the front of our neighborhood. We came to really like the one fellow that remained as the others who were always his brother or cousin come, clean up, learn to speak english and leave to some other place.
    They are all gone now but I have always wondered after 9/11 if these guys were here to make money and go back to the homeland to learn to fight or were they just poor people looking for a better life. When they were here, they were always looking for computers to buy. But we really like the one called Mohamed? (Don’t know how that is spelled)
    I don’t know- just babbling.

  • blert says:

    Taking the campaign into Talibanistan is to capture a poisoned pawn.
    It is far wiser to leave it on the slow boil and pick off AQ chieftains when possible.
    Perpetual disruption is enough.
    Iran and KSA are the centers of gravity. Stay on target.

  • Lisa says:

    Good grief…excuse my spelling!

  • The Forgotten War in Central Asia

    Courtesy of The Fourth Rail:
    A status update on developments in Afghanistan & Talibanistan
    In Afghanistan, the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Kandak (battalion), 1st Brigade of the 205th Corps killed six Taliban fighters after striki…

  • JAF says:

    Hey Blert,
    What is the KSA?
    Anyway, not sure if this point has been made, but the Taliban has started to reap profits from the drug barons. The drug barons need protection from the government who are cracking down and the talipanties need money.
    Don’t worry about your spelling Lisa, we will correct you when you’re wrong! 😉

  • blert says:

    KSA = Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aka the Magic Kingdom.
    Any attempt to directly crackdown on the drug economy will explode in our face.
    It is imperative that we stay on target.
    It is equally clear that the NATO forces want to crackdown on opium cultivation. That’s what has British and Canadian and Dutch politicians on board.
    They’re disgusted with the US Army for not pursuing the warlords/ druglords.
    What would work: intercepting wholesale drug shipments ruthlessly. Literally shoot their planes down. Skip any direct attempt to manipulate the farmers.
    Crop substitution, yes, opium eradication, no.
    For normal crops to become cash crops roads are required. For the most part they don’t exist. Instead of chasing round and round, build and build. We’re aces at road construction, terrible at combating drug cultivation.
    The farmer’s attraction to opium is that it is a cash crop that can be backpacked on a mule. As long as that is the only method of freight delivery, opium will be the only crop.
    It is that simple.
    Talibanistan is what it is because it has virtually no roads. Boy, that really puts a stopper on Pakistan’s mechanized armed forces.
    It would be better for all concerned if the Duran line border is adjusted. Pakistan ought to cede Talibanistan to Afghanistan. Heck, Afghanistan ought to change its name to Persia. Talibanistan is but a curse for Pakistan. It has never been other.
    The Duran line was drawn without any pretense of local demographics. It’s just another way that Britain has screwed up the whole area with nineteenth century colonial politics.
    This line placed Pashtuns within colonial India, as a buffer zone.

  • StormWarning says:

    Well, we’ve tried to make the track back link work and it simply doesn’t want to do it, so here is a link to one of my recent posts.
    The War in Central Asia


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram