Pakistan Negotiates Truce in Waziristan

Pakistan is in a civil war with the Taliban and al Qaeda, and it is a war the government is losing

Pakistan’s failure to commit the needed resources and political will to uproot al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Northwest Frontier Province and Baluchistan in 2001, 2004 and 2006 will haunt the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan for years to come.

According to Adnkronos International, the Taliban is now “calling the shots in North and South Waziristan.” The Taliban and Pakistan have agreed on a truce that ensures the Pakistani Army “will not carry out operations against them” in North Waziristan. The tribal Jirga confirms this, and Pakistani troops have now withdrawn from North Waziristan.

These truces are fueling the resurgence of Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan, and by default Afghanistan (also see “Lost Territories.”) The situation in southeastern Afghanistan has reached the point where the Canadians have requested permission to patrol inside the Pakistani border. Canadian forces in Kandahar province have killed over 200 Taliban during the past two days of Operation Medusa. The Pakistani Taliban will continue to pour cannon fodder into the maw of Afghanistan.

As the Pakistani government ceded ground to the Taliban in Waziristan, Taliban forces destroyed two Pakistani Army posts in Bajaur. The Pakistani government fails to realize the Taliban is not a local problem. The same organization that is attacking Army checkpoints in Bajaur is at work in the tribal agencies of Waziristan, Tank, Dera Ismal Khan, and Khyber. The truce only allows the Taliban to focus their resources in the contested agencies while consolidating their power and maintaining safe havens in North and South Waziristan.

While Iraq is often likened to a civil war, the situation in Pakistan is largely being ignored by the western press. Pakistan meets all of the classical requirements of a civil war: there are two armed actors, with radically different political agendas engaged in combat to establish control of territory and political control of the country. The Pakistani government is ceding territory and political authority to the Taliban. The Taliban is essentially setting up autonomous zones in the western border regions. Pakistan is currently mired in a civil war, one which the Musharraf government is losing. The Pakistani government is unable to assert its will over its western border regions and a nuclear armed Pakistan is currently giving ground to the Islamists of the Taliban and al Qaeda.

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

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  • DJ Elliott says:

    So long as the Pakistani Tribal areas are off limits, Taliban has a sanctuary.
    That is the problem in Afghanistan – Pakistan.
    Too many elements in Pakistan (Army, Intel Service, Tribal leaders, etc) still support or refuse to fight Taliban/AQ.
    If we cannot eliminate that, then we will never win…
    So when do we put Pakistani Tribal areas on the adjenda?

  • Nicholas says:

    To continue a discussion we are having over at Milblogs.. Mr. Roggio has stated he doesn’t believe the west has the will necessary to do something about the terrorist infestation in Pakistan until one of their terror plots succeeds spectacularly. Here is what he said there:

    The recently foiled UK airline plot was conducted via Pakistan. It almost succeeded. The successful 7/7 plot also flowed thru Pakistan, as did Mubai (so it apears). With the infrastructure being built in the NWFP and Baluchistan, it is only a matter of time until one gets thru. See Afghanistan, circa 1996-2001. Until one major attack (9-11 sized or greater) actually happens and is traced back to Pakistan’s tribal regions, there is zero political will in the West to address the problem. Unless Musharraf has an epiphany, or there are more plots against his life, I just don’t see this happening from within. Something bad has to happen first.

    You’re right, of course. I knew those attacks were based out of Pakistan. What I don’t understand is why the connection between them and the fact that even the Pakistani military is scared to go into those areas is not being played up more in the media.
    While I believe you are right that nobody will do anything about it until something terrible happens, I don’t think that’s acceptable. I understand we have to work with the Pakistanis. But at some point if they are incapable of dealing with the problem we are going to have to do so. I would like this to be something that their government agrees to. Can we realistically expect that? It would be a sign of weakness for Musharraf I think.

  • Media Lies says:

    It’s time to get tough with Pakistan….

    ….before they infect the whole region. According to Bill Roggio and reporting from the area that he cites, Pakistan is in a civil war with the Taliban and A…

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Nicholas, I think there is one slight mistake in your post. It’s not that we don’t have the political will to do something about western Pakistan. In fact, I think even some elements of NATO would jump on the opportunity (see the Canadian offer to patrol inside PAkistan).
    It is Musharraf that lacks the political will needed to oppose the Taliban inside his country. We would jump at the chance to assist, with air assets, SOF, and other assets. For starters. We are constrained by the fact Pakistan is an ally, is nuclear armed, and out actions from the outside can unite those sitting on the fence with the radicals. Well,that the 2 second version of it anyway…

  • Michael says:

    I sure missed this feedback Bill, welcome back! What is the consensus higher up these days, bleak as yours?

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Thanks, Michael. The people that I talk to are very concerned about western Pakistan. Very.

  • Michael says:

    No, no, thank you Sir for all you’re doing. Well, thought it was bleak or you wound’nt report it so.
    A very speculative question also…
    I’m very curious about Chechnya too. I keep seeing surrenders daily. Just killing one leader does not make sense they’d give in so easily. Is it possible Iran is influencing the cut-off of weapons and cash flow to terrorist so Russia will continue to support their cause?

  • DJ Elliott says:

    “Is it possible Iran is influencing the cut-off of weapons and cash flow to terrorist so Russia will continue to support their cause?”
    Posted by Michael | September 5, 2006 1:04 PM
    I have been thinking along those lines myself. It has been too quiet of late in Russia’s moslem community. A seperate peace to buy support for Iran? I rate that as Probable (~70%). Putin is too much the old school and would like to see US pared down to size.

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