Pakistan Under Pressure

Bombing, rockets found near Musharraf residences a harbinger of things to come in Pakistan

Pakistani Army disposed of rockets in Islamabad. Click picture to view.

The bombing near President Pervez Musharraf’s official residence in Rawalpindi, coupled with “two rockets rigged with mobile phones and primed to fire toward Pakistan’s parliament” in Islamabad have sparked speculation about the stability of the Musharraf regime. As Syed Saleem Shahzad postulates, someone has issued “two quick warning signals to Islamabad.” The targets are not the only concern. The parties who detonated the bomb and planted the rockets were able to penetrate Musharraf’s inner security zone.

Syed Saleem Shahzad states that the Taliban are the perpetrators, possibly in conjunction with the ISI. The Musharraf regime is being warned about violating the Waziristan Accord by failing to release al Qaeda prisoners and arresting other suspects. This is also a warning from the pro-Taliban elements of the ISI (or Inter Services Agency, Pakistan’s intelligence agency), both active and retired, as they fear Musharraf act against them based on pressures from the West. Hamid Gul, the former director of the ISI, recently warned Musharraf that he risked opening “Pandora’s box” by taking action against him and the ISI. Gul is the architect of Pakistan’s ‘strategic depth’ strategy that led to the rise of the Taliban.

B. Raman reports the Pakistani police are looking elsewhere. “The present suspicion is that the conspiracy might have been hatched either by the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) in retaliation for the murder of the Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti by the Army in August, 2006, or by the Jundullah (Army of Allah), a jihadi terrorist organisation which is associated with Al Qaeda,” reports Raman. However, the fact that Musharraf’s inner security cordon was breached leads to suspicion of police and military involvement.

The Islamabad/Rawalpindi plot came just before NATO issues a report directly implicating the ISI in Taliban operations in Afghanistan. “Nato’s report on Operation Medusa…. demonstrates the extent of the Taliban’s military capability and states clearly that Pakistan’s Interservices Intelligence (ISI) is involved in supplying it,” reports the Telegraph. Pakistan is serving as a command, control and logistical base for the Taliban, as well as a recruiting and training ground. Quetta is the base of operations for the Taliban launching attacks in southern Afghanistan.

Nato officials now say they killed 1,100 Taliban fighters, not the 500 originally claimed. Hundreds of Taliban reinforcements in pick-up trucks who crossed over from Quetta – waved on by Pakistani border guards – were destroyed by Nato air and artillery strikes.

Nato captured 160 Taliban, many of them Pakistanis who described in detail the ISI’s support to the Taliban. Nato is now mapping the entire Taliban support structure in Balochistan, from ISI- run training camps near Quetta to huge ammunition dumps, arrival points for Taliban’s new weapons and meeting places of the shura, or leadership council, in Quetta, which is headed by Mullah Mohammed Omar, the group’s leader since its creation a dozen years ago.

Nato and Afghan officers say two training camps for the Taliban are located just outside Quetta, while the group is using hundreds of madrassas where the fighters are housed and fired up ideologically before being sent to the front. Many madrassas now being listed are run by the Jamiat-e-Ullema Islam, a political party that governs Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province. The party helped spawn the Taliban in 1994.

Jamiat-e-Ullema Islam is the same political party in control of the Balochistan and North West Frontier Provinces, and the only political party in operation in Waziristan. Jamiat-e-Ullema Islam was behind the Waziristan Accord, and is essentially the polical party for the Taliban and al Qaeda in western Pakistan.

Musharraf’s delicate balancing act between the ISI, the Taliban, al Qaeda and affiliated Islamist groups, Balochi rebels and Afghan and Western pressure is showing signs of strain.

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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  • ES says:

    Do you have additional information about Hamid Gul, say a link? I had read Rashid’s book “Taliban” a few years ago and thought Gul found the Taliban to be a target of opprotunity to get protection for Pakistani traders. I just would like some additional information to flesh out this skeleton image I have of Gul. Thanks

  • Wally Lind says:

    If Musharraff and his government fall, the question won’t be what is happening in Pakistan’s west and southwest. The question will be who controls their two dozen nuclear warheads, and how India will react.
    As with Iran’s nuclear weapons development, and Isreal’s inablity to allow it in any circumstance, India cannot have nuclear weapons in the hands of Islamic exremists, on its border. India can stand to lose 100 million people, Pakistan cannot.
    There are two really critical flashpoints in the world today, that put us back into the danger s of 70s and 80s, Iran and Pakistan.
    Each could put the American the European in their basement for tow or more weeks. What do you think that will do to our economies?

  • Mark White says:

    Sunni Islamofascists depend on Saudi financial support. If you want to strike at the roots of power for the ISI and its many creations, like Al Quaeda, the Taliban, etc., you defund the Saudis — liberate Hasa province, where the Wahabbis oppress the Shiite majority that live all around all the principal Saudi oil sources and installations. Once the Saudis lose their only source of income, they’re going to conserve what savings they have to support their lifestyle, rather than keep spending what’s left to spread their ideology.
    The war on Islamofascism is all about the oil, since without oil revenues, both the Shiite and Sunni branches of Islamofascism would lose their ability to strike the West and terrorize their moderate compatriots. Regime change in Saudi Arabia and Iran is less important that regime change in Hasa and Khuzestan (the Iranian province where Persian mullahs oppress the Shiite Arab majority who live all around all Iran’s oil sources and installations).
    The most basic principle of war is to impose your will on your enemy’s center of gravity. For Islamofascism, the center of gravity is oil, and both the Saudis and the Iranians have a very shaky grip on their centers of gravity. The Wahabbis are widely hated in Hasa, where they oppress Shiites as unbelievers; the mullahs are widely hated in Khuzestan, where they oppress Arabs as ethnically undesireable. Sending in US Special Forces (De Oppresso Liber) would start the liberation of these oppressed populations, and the 82nd Airborne and the Marines would finish it. With Anglosphere control over the disposition of oil revenues, funds would go for roads, schools, hospitals and the like, rather than nukes, madrassas, and weapons.
    Of course, you can fight this as a Long War, letting the Islamofascists hold on to their centers of gravity and letting them fund their terrorist proxies like Al Quaeda and Hezbollah and then responding to their provocations piecemeal. If a Short War raised the specter of a nuclear exchange, as the Cold War did, then that would be the prudent way to fight the war. However, we’re in a different era, and the US could lead the Anglosphere (US-UK-India-Canada-Australia-New Zealand-South Africa) and its close important allies (Japan-Germany) into Hasa and Khuzestan without prompting a reaction from Russia and China. With oil funding democratice Middle East development broadly, millions more beyond Hasa and Khuzestan would benefit.
    Fighting the ISI in Pakistan and Afghanistan would still leave a sanctuary for the Sunni branch of Islamofascists — Saudi Arabia!

  • Pakistan Under Pressure

    Courtesy of The Fourth Rail:
    Bombing, rockets found near Musharraf residences a harbinger of things to come in Pakistan
    The bombing near President Pervez Musharraf’s official residence in Rawalpindi, coupled with “two rockets rigged with mob…

  • m.takhallus says:

    This scares me more than anything going on in the world right now. More than North Korea, more than Iran. And I don’t think it’s even on most Americans’ radar.
    Pakistan’s nukes aren’t maybe, some day, five years down the road, they’re right now, loaded up and ready to go.


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