The Waziristan Accord gives the Taliban the power to influence territory within Pakistan
The Pakistani government’s decision to negotiate with the Taliban and al Qaeda in North and South Waziristan during 2006 has serious consequences for the internal security of Pakistan as well as the international community. Not only do the Taliban use North and South Waziristan to train and launch attacks into Afghanistan, but these bases are used to extend the Taliban’s influence in Western Pakistan. In May, we noted the Taliban extended their influence and established safe havens in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) districts of Tank, Khyber and Dera Ismail Khan, and Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) agencies of North and South Waziristan and Bajaur. This region is called Talibanistan.
The Pakistani police have admitted the Taliban are now spreading beyond the frontier and into the “settled” districts of the Northwest Frontier Province. Sharif Virk, the NWFP police chief, tells the Daily Times that the Taliban “have extended their sway to Darra Adam Khel, a tribal town just 30 miles from Peshawar,” the provincial capital. But the rot extends throughout the entire province.
“Because of the takeover of frontier regions, the Taliban influence extends to settled areas of Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Kohat districts and there the police have failed on many counts,” said a police official who served in one of the affected districts, wishing not to be named… In the north of the province, the situation does not look good as jihadis are spreading across Malakand region and moving up to Hindukush Mountains in Chitral district.
The NWFP districts that have fallen under Taliban influence directly border North and South Waziristan, and Bajaur.
The Taliban are using the standard guerrilla practices: night letters, threats, intimidation, executions, and shows of force. In Darra Adam Khel, the Taliban “terrorised music and video shop owners, non-governmental organisations and girls’ schools with bomb blasts. The police have been sidelined in these districts, as the Taliban have taken over security duties, further enhancing their stature. While the police admit corruption problems
As we noted yesterday, the Pakistani government refuses to take meaningful action against the Taliban in the triabal areas, despited a mountain of evidence of the Taliban and al Qaeda’s influence and operations eminating from the region. The military option is off the table, as the Pakistani government still believes negotiations with the tribal leaders can resolve the problem. The Taliban and al Qaeda have greatly extended their influence in western Pakistan, and have launched attacks into Afghanistan, India and as far west as London from Waziristan. Islamabad is but 100 miles from Peshawar, and the Pakistani government possesses the ultimate prize: a developed nuclear arsenal.
See The Fall of Waziristan: An Online History for more information.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.