North Waziristan, Quetta remain hubs for the Taliban, despite Pakistani protestations
Al-Qaeda and the Taliban continue their campaign to eradicate any opposition to their rule in North Waziristan. Two more “spies” have been assassinated in North Waziristan. “Militants killed a local doctor in Saobi village of Miramshah, the regional Headquarters, and an Afghan national was shot to death in Mir Ali district of Miramshah,” reports the Kuwaiti News Agency, “militants also left letters near their bodies warning tribesmen of the same fate if found spying for Americans.”
This is yet another violation of the Waziristan Accord. “There will be no target killing and no parallel administration in the agency. The writ of the state will prevail in the area”, states the terms of the Waziristan Accord. The Taliban have conducted a campaign of targeted assassinations of ‘spies’ and other anti-Taliban elements, established offices in North Waziristan, and continues to maintain training camps and funnel fighters into Afghanistan.
The Pakistani government claims the the Taliban is not operating in North Waziristan, and the Waziristan Accord was a deal between the local tribes and the Pakistani government. The Taliban, however, openly announces its presence in the region be pinning notes to the bodies of slaughtered “spies” and setting up offices across the agency.
South of Waziristan, in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, the Chief Minister has denied Baluchistan is a “hub” for the Taliban fighting in southern Afghanistan. That same day, forty-nine Taliban were arrested in Quetta. This news follows the reports that the Taliban used Quetta as a support base prior to and during Operation Medusa in Kandahar province, with the help of Pakistani intelligence.
The Daily Times reports that General David Richards, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, denied he met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to confront him over Pakistani intelligence’s support of the Taliban. Note General Richards careful phrasing of the denial: “That is not the reason for one moment that I came here… I come here to further develop our relationship with the Pakistan Army.” General Richards does not refute the ISI’s involvement with the Taliban or the existence of Taliban training camps in Pakistan. He only denies these issues were on the meeting agenda. This is called diplomacy.
General Richards is also said to have ‘defended the North Waziristan deal.’ “I think played rightly, with luck and good judgment … this could set an example how we should deal with these problems.” Pakistan has neither shown good judgment or a propensity for luck when dealing with the tribal agencies. General Richards, like many Western leaders and military commanders, are publicly putting the best face on a very bad situation. What is being said privately and off the record is something entirely different.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.