Pakistani government abandons North Waziristan as the Taliban opens an office in Miranshah.
Miranshah, North Waziristan, when the Pakistani Army patrolled the streets. The Taliban has now taken control. Click image to view.
The Pakistani government, led by President Pervez Musharraf, has repeatedly stated the Waziristan Accord does not mean the government has ceded control of the region, and that the deal was between the government and the tribes, not the Taliban. The Daily Times reports otherwise. The Taliban has now officially opened an office in Miranshah, the seat of government in North Waziristan.
“The Darpakhel, Burakhel and Miranshah tribes along with the Taliban have set up an office in Miranshah to bring law and order under control,” sources close to the Taliban told Daily Times. A senior leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman) denied reports that the Taliban alone opened the office in violation of the peace agreement which aimed at preventing the Taliban from running a parallel administrative system. The office was opened on Wednesday and local residents expressed fears that the growing Taliban influence would undermine the tribal code of life.
The Daily Times also reports the Pakistani government and military are no where to be found in Miranshah. The police and Army are absent, leaving the Taliban to fill the security vacuum.
The Waziristan Accord explicitly states that “”There will be no target killing and no parallel administration in the agency. The writ of the state will prevail in the area.” As we have documented, the Taliban has repeatedly conducted targeted killings. And the Daily Times shows the “writ of the state” is absent as the Taliban establish their parallel administration”
The locals criticised the government for “completely disappearing from the streets”. “There is no police to provide security which is why the crime rate has increased,” a resident of Miranshah told Daily Times. A pamphlet was distributed in the bazaar inviting residents to lodge their complaints with the office. It is not clear what role the office will play in maintaining law and order and whether the office will hand over criminals to the political administration. Residents said the opening of the office meant “Miranshah has been handed over to the Taliban.”
Reuters confirms the story, and reports the pretext for the Taliban establishing an office in Miranshah is “to take action against masked men who are criminals.” The Taliban are described as “tribal vigilantes…who refer to themselves as mujahideen, or Muslim holy warriors.” The Taliban is also forcing the locals to pay for the protection. Leaflets were circulated that “said clerics would be collecting funds to pay for a force aimed at protecting people from criminals.”
In March of 2006, the Taliban used the exact same pretext to establish an office in South Waziristan. The Taliban “established their offices to control the law and order situation in the agency,” and “the move has been welcomed by a number of officials including [Pakistani] military [officers].”
Welcome to the Talibanistan, the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.