The Taliban Press

Taliban ban newspaper sales in North Waziristan; free press in Western Pakistan is in danger; North Waziristan Taliban Shura to meet on Friday

NWFP/FATA. Click map to view.

While many in the western press and various governments continue to debate the results of the Waziristan Accord, which turned North Waziristan over to the Taliban and al Qaeda, Pakistani journalists, tribal leaders and local politicians describe the situation in the region as dire.

The Daily Times reports the Taliban have shut all newspapers in North Waziristan after the BBC Urdu division republished a month old story on an attack on a military outpost in Mir Ali. The Taliban stopped the distribution of all newspapers, and burned papers in the streets.

The Taliban rule rule in North Waziristan. The have set up a parallel administration in the region, opened their own offices, established Sharia as the rule of law, recruits, train and arm terrorists to fight in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda has training camps in the region. Local administrators, journalists and others know who is in charge

…Asked what the administration was doing to enforce the state writ, [administration official in Miranshah] laughed and said: “President Pervez Musharraf says in Islamabad ‘Pakistan first’, but we in Miranshah say ‘our skin first’.”

….”Literally, we are ruled by people who only understand the language of force. There is nothing like government in Miranshah,” said a lecturer of a college who did not wish to be named.

The Daily Times also notes “The Taliban Shura will meet on Friday to discuss the ban on the sale of newspapers.” Local journalists in Miranshah are unsure if the two day old ban will end. Journalists are hinting they may need to practice a form of self-censorship

“We may address a news conference to call on newspaper and news agency editors to be very careful while dealing with stories concerning Waziristan,” a senior journalist told Daily Times… “We don’t want to revisit the situation,” the journalist said. “One has to keep in mind that any story that the Taliban don’t like can cause harm to journalists in Waziristan. Please, take care while publishing reports about Waziristan,” the journalist appealed to editors.

Iqbal Khattak, a Pakistani journalist who has spent time in the tribal areas notes the intimidation of journalists. He recounts an incident with a Taliban commander after the Pakistani government signed a peace agreement with the Taliban in South Waziristan in 2004. Taliban commander Nek Muhammad was furious over the media’s characterization of the agreement. “Let me chop off his head who has reported that I have surrendered to the army,” said Nek. (Nek Muhammad was killed in June of 2004 during what is believed to be a U.S. airstrike.)

The ban on newspapers has had a chilling effect on journalists in North Waziristan, and can directly impact the reliability of the news from the region. The Pakistani press has been crucial in deciphering the state of affairs and the rise of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Western Pakistan. Despite the many problems in Pakistan, a free press is not one of them. Pakistani newspapers such as the Daily Times, Dawn, The Friday Times, The Frontier Post, The Pakistan Observer, The Pak Tribune and a host of newspapers have provided the crucial information to decipher the situation in western Pakistan.

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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  • Glen says:

    Wait a minute: didn’t we invade Afghanistan because the (taliban) government was playing host to Al Qaeda including training bases? And wasn’t that the rationale for staying in Afghanistan so those training bases wouldn’t simply reappear? So how is it that the U.S. is seeming to say nothing in the face of a plethora of training bases operating in the tribal areas? I can only pray that we are going to get serious about cross-border action and tell the Pakistanis that if they don’t like us bombing the terrorists in the tribal areas they had better do it themselves. We want ACTION and not mere words.

  • Dom says:

    This reminds me of the bloody Taliban takeover in Kabul years ago. A few journalists related the events and warned of the likely dire consequences. Unfortunately, they were essentially right about their predictions, but there was no significant reaction in the western world at the time. If anybody cared, it seems the reaction could have been summed up in two words, “too bad!”.

    Now it’s happening again, both in Somalia, still adrift, and in the territories which are nominally under Pakistani jurisdiction, except that the Pakistani governement seems unable to exercise authority there. There was an attempt last year, but one can question whether the Pakistani military, with its fragmented loyalties, was really giving it an earnest effort. In any case they were basically routed, which is what led to the so-called “accords”, which sound like the oh-so-polite way of saying “Islamabad’s capitulation”. Perhaps this is the best Musharraf could possibly have accomplished, and if we had any doubts about the limits of his influence, the turn of events have clearly dissipated them. He did manage to stay alive, though. Given the determination of the attemps on his life, one can wonder which accomodations he might have made to secure(?) his survival?

    However, history does not repeat itself. This time, the geopolitical context is different. The US and NATO are invested in pushing modernization in some muslim lands, and a few oppressive regimes have already gotten a good scare, watching the US forays in Afganistan and in Iraq, even as the prospects for ultimate success are still arguable, and will probably continue to be arguable for years to come.

    Now, the weight and the depth of the stakes is starting to become apparent. The confrontation between modern thought and medieval thought has begun to take a global scope. This confrontation is not new in itself, but it has never been on a such a large scale ever before.

    We better be prepared for a long and epic multi-front war, with ups and downs before reaching a conclusive outcome. In the short-to-medium term, I hope the US special forces will accomplish something in the rogue territories, and interrupt the momentum of the Jihadis in there. How long will it take before the west reacts to what’s going on in the Somalian theater?

    Right now, it seems the momentum is with the Jihadists! How long are they going to be allowed to keep it?

    About the Sudan, I’m afraid the case can be stated thusly: “between the Jihadists coming to the rescue of the present Sudanese government and the west coming to the rescue of the refugees, which one comes first?”

    Dom, worried.

  • DemocracyRules says:

    I give you one piece of advice: Do not incite the American people to war. We in Canada know a lot about the US, and how they think, and how they live, much more than the average person in Bam, Iran, or Tyre, Lebanon, knows. You think that you can use hate as a weapon to build an attack against he US, but you know not what you do. The US has over 300 million people, and they are all soldiers. The US built its country by its own hands, and from the beginning, they all accepted that freedom, liberty, and democracy were not negotiable. If by some miracle, an invasion force of Iranians attempted a landing on US soil, every man, woman and child would be there to meet them. They would not relent until it was finished. On United Airlines Flight 93, a random assortment of 40 civilian Americans was suddenly called to arms in a miniature Middle Eastern war. The ex-policewoman air hostess, the environmentalist, the marketing executive, moved against the Islamists as one, and collectively said, “We are not afraid”. Americans did not become timorous, or afraid after 9/11, instead they “got busy on yo’ ass”. After 9/11, America did not back down, and they will not back down, because the attack incited individual Americans against every Islamist, and every person who supports Islamists, or gives comfort to them. Americans are not the same as the Russians in Afghanistan, or the French in Algeria. To defeat the US, you will have to kill every one of them, and you do not know how to do that.
    You clearly do not understand how rich Americans are, how many resources they have at their disposal, how intelligent, perseverant, and creative they are. Their wealth is enormous, with massive amounts of built structure: large houses, soaring office towers, highways, schools, universities, hospitals, and military bases everywhere, spanning a continent. Honestly, if you had even an inkling of what you are up against, you would cease your pointless reverse crusade immediately.
    Within the last century, Americans have become extremely interested in war. They think about it, talk about it, plan for, it and rehearse it constantly. They spend huge amounts on their military every year, building installations and weapons, many types of which you have never even heard about. Tens of millions of Americans have served, do serve, and will serve in their military. We Canadians sometimes stand back and look at the Americans bemused, because one seldom even sees any of the Canadian military presence in Canada, whereas the US National Guard units stationed near Buffalo, New York, alone, have sufficient resources at their disposal to kill every Muslim on earth. Of course the Americans are right to prepare for war, because there is always another one coming, and they know that they will probably be the main target. The US even declared a “War on Poverty” in the 1960’s, but thankfully they relented before they began bombing the slums.
    People who do not understand democracies constantly underestimate them. Hitler and Stalin certainly underestimated democracies. Many of those living in non-democracies think that in the current situation in the US, with huge internal dissent, Democrats shouting misgivings about Iraq, and Republicans pontificating about treachery, and the enemy within, it may seem that the factions will cancel each other out, or with more Democrat influence, the whole tide of war will change. Instead, the US is exposing its power to the world, by thinking out loud, disagreeing publicly, and nit-picking endlessly over details in floods of political television programs. The election is over, and, the war on terror will go on, as all previous US wars have done, irrespective of the party in power. To understand US policy, look carefully at what is not said, because that is where they have reached implicit consensus. Neither side is talking about ending the war on terror — instead they are bickering about the best way to kill Islamists.
    For the Middle East, the scale of this war is enormous, which is clearly evident in the reportage of Al Jazeera, which mainly features events related to the war on terror. In contrast, this war has had no real effect on the US whatsoever. It is completely trivial. The US media talks about the war a lot, but Americans are always very interested in war in general, and there are no interesting sex scandals going on at the moment. If JonBenet Ramsay’s murderer were to be found, CNN would focus completely on that, and behave for weeks as if the war on terror did not exist. So far, the war on terror has cost the US roughly 6,000 lives since 9/11, while over that same period, approximately 2,000,000 Americans have died from smoking. In the World War II epoch, spanning 1933-1945, about 70,000,000 people were killed, but only about 500,000 of them were Americans, and the US became stronger because of that war. Islamists hope to obtain nuclear weapons (in fact there really are no other weapons of mass destruction). With some luck, and perseverance, Islamists may be able to detonate a nuclear bomb in Times Square, New York, and kill 1,000,000 people, but that is 0.3% of the US population. The remaining 99.7% of the US population would then do to the Islamists what the US did to Japan. Later, in the years that followed such an event, some Americans would regret having turned several Middle Eastern countries into blowing ash, but there would be a reluctant final consensus that after the Times Square bombing, it had to be done, and they would be right.
    In the meantime, the US grows stronger each day. Their economy is doing extremely well, providing levels of health and prosperity that even Ali Baba could not have dreamt about. Coca Cola is finally getting to challenge Pepsi in Afghanistan. As a bonus, the US military gets to interrupt its constant war games to practice and train in a real war in Iraq. These are almost perfect training circumstances, with lots of troop rotations, a very low casualty rate, a real but evanescent enemy, and a kill ratio of much higher than 10 to 1. It is a general’s dream, and it’s an excellent theatre to test, develop, and refine weapons and tactics, in preparation for Iran, when that battle becomes necessary.
    The most powerful method the US has of defeating the Islamists is already in play, and it will ultimately succeed. We Canadians, as the constant neighbours and interlocutors of the Americans, know their secrets. Only 5% of Americans have passports, and their biggest single foreign travel destination is Canada. The Americans’ secret method is that they do not hate very well. They’re terrible at it. They don’t teach their children to hate, they constantly forget who their enemies are, and they forgive adversaries, usually before the last bullet has landed. Islamists, and so many people in the Middle East, cling to hate as an addiction, passing it on to their children, cherishing it inside themselves, using it as the centerpiece of their lives. Hate, quite simply, like other addictions, is a waste of time and energy. Americans can’t concentrate very long on hate. They lose interest, or forget what the fighting was all about, or follow up their wars with reconstruction plans for their vanquished enemies. From time to time, they get mad at “Krauts”, or “Japs”, or “Commies”, but the next thing you know, the epithets are gone from the language, and things are back to normal, with Americans welcoming their former enemies into their country as immigrants, and marrying them, if possible.
    Therefore, my advice to Islamists is to just give up fighting the US and forget about it. Your hate will not even be reciprocated, and you will probably still be welcomed as immigrants during the conflict. In the meantime, remember it’s not the Americans fault that your son wants to play with X-Box, or your daughter wants to wear Prada. If you don’t like Coca-Cola, don’t buy it. By flaunting your hate, you expose your jealousy, and humiliate yourselves. At the end of the war on terror, those who hate will be no better off than they were, while the US, by not hating, will be ever brighter, as “the shining city on the hill”.

  • The Taliban Press

    Courtesy of The Fourth Rail:
    Taliban ban newspaper sales in North Waziristan; free press in Western Pakistan is in danger; North Waziristan Taliban Shura to meet on Friday
    While many in the western press and various governments continue to debate th…

  • Dom says:

    Thanks for your words of praise, anonymous northern brother in spirit. Certainly the cultivation of hate is a strange method. Even one whose ambition is limited to making just one omelet will have extended some consideration to the poultry roaming his yard before reaching the ultimate goal of his devotion. Jihadists who did not perish in the attempt to subjugate the world will still have the option to consolate themselves for their defeat by becoming Americans. Even if the pursuit of happiness was only a “plan B”, second to the pursuit of martyrdom, it would still be worth fighting for, as long as a path to freedom is opened.

    I hope Bill Roggio will forgive us for indulging in philosophy in a column he created for the discussion of urgent matters, while investing himself in the trials of a free-spirited embed life.

    God bless him and his family. Dom.

  • thanos says:

    That’s high praise indeed Democracy, and not far from the mark. Thanks.
    Regarding the article, this is indeed chilling, but the MMA has burnt the Frontier Post offices before this. If they are resorting to extremes such as this you wonder if they are getting a tad desperate?

  • Taliban Ban Press in North Waziristan

    Please stop by The Fourth Rail, Bill Roggio has a write up on the Taliban attempts to muzzle the press, and ban periodicals in North Waziristan. There’s also a wonderful tribute to America in the comments section well worth the reading.
    This remi…

  • WK says:

    How refreshing to see an uplifting analysis, thank you Democracy! For a Canadian, you seem to have typified the normal American pretty well.
    Notice how the heat of the illegal immigration debate has died down as another example of your point, I’m not sure about anyone else but I don’t like walking around angry and upset all the time and I suspect many others, Americans and others, feel the same way. You are absolutely right, the American spirit will rise if the people are upset and we will triumph all adversaries that threaten our way of life and for that of our friends. When the United States is truly united, no nation or group of nations dare confront us or they will face grievous consequences. It is sobering to know that we can topple any other power on earth if we needed to, but do you see us going around conquering places? Our military presence in many nations is security based and benevolent, it is the Islamic passion and culture that causes most of the headaches. And I still will say this as I have in other blogs, I want to see evidence of meaningful scientific or other contributions the Islamic society has offered to its fellow man over many centuries. Much of its wealth has been hoarded by the royalty in these countries, hell they couldn’t even pony up serious money to help those affected by the tsunami. What a terrible indictment for an entire culture of people, that they can not see their way clear to help their fellow man in a tangible, meaningful way, during a humanitarian crisis.
    Many forget that the terrorists only offer misery, anger and violence, even though they are the sexy story in the MSM at this time. I do not know why Western women do not rise up in collective anger at the Islamist mindset and culture with their debasement of women. I sincerely do hope it is an American woman that puts a bullet in the head or drops the bomb on Osama bin Laden when that wonderful day comes.
    The MSM is the fifth column in the whole GWOT and I have abandoned their treasonous tendencies. They think they are reporting the news, but they are only reporting their biased version. Thank goodness for the internet and specialists like Bill Roggio and their work, this is one of the only true sources I have in knowing what is really going on in the Middle East and the GWOT. The MSM is not trustworthy any longer and they are a great casualty of the information and internet age.
    I maintain that the Founding Fathers crafted one of the most brilliant governing documents ever known to man. The most brilliant piece of our Constitution is their acceptance of our ability to apply change, or the Constitutional Amendments. Certainly paramount is the Bill of Rights including the freedoms we all cherish, and will fight and die for if some slimy country ever comes over here trying to dominate us. Which they will never do, because freedom will be triumphant.

  • KH says:

    I try to take a positive view on the West Pakistan situation: The taliban will make themselves utterly unpopular there, as is their habit. Then, at some point, the locals, allied with the Pakistani Army and/or allied with US secret forces in the area, will kick out the Taliban.
    Then, unlike now, they have no more places to run to. Let´s hope.

  • RTT says:

    NPR ran a couple stories on Pakistan yesterday which I thought I’d pass along. They’re not bad. About 8 minutes each, Windows Media audio.

    Thanks for all your work, Mr. Roggio. Very insightful and informative website.

    Taliban Sympathizers Take Refuge in Pakistan

    Trip to Religious School Offers Window on Pakistan

  • RTT says:

    Gah! Sorry about spreading my post all over the place…


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram