Suicide and roadside bombings continue in Quetta, Tank, Bajaur as the government continues to appease the Taliban
The deadly Taliban insurgency continues to strike at the Pakistani government in the southwestern province of Baluchistan and the the Northwest Frontier Province. Today, a suicide bomber detonated in a courtroom in Quetta while court was in session, killing at least 15, including a judge and several lawyers. Over 25 have been reported wounded in the attack, and the head of the suicide bomber is believed to have been recovered.
Saturday’s bombing in Quetta follows two bombings on Friday: a roadside bombing (described as an Improvised Explosive Device by the Pakistani media, interestingly enough) in the restive tribal agency of Bajaur, which killed the agency’s chief surgeon and wounded 3 doctors; and another bombing in a market in Tank.
The past two days attacks follow a rash of suicide and roadside bombings, and ambushes in the capital of Islamabad, Peshawar, Dera Ishmail Khan, Mir Ali, Tank, Bajaur and Darra Adamkhel.
One of the two attacks in Islamabad, at the airport, has been traced back to the Amjad Farooqi group, an offshoot of al Qaeda linked Jaish-e-Mohammad. Amjad Farooqi was an al Qaeda operative that was “linked to suicide bombings, hijackings, the killing of US journalist Daniel Pearl and assassination attempts on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf” before he was killed in the summer of 2004.
Further arrests inside Pakistan expose the tight web between Pakistani terrorist groups and al Qaeda. Three more members of the Amjad Farooqi group were arrested in Rawalpindi. The three are linked to the attempted suicide attack on Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in the summer of 2006. Two members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi were arrested in Rawalpindi, and were directly linked back to Waziristan. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi works with al Qaeda extensively inside Pakistan, and acts as al Qaeda’s “muscle,” and American intelligence expert on Pakistan informed us.
While the Taliban insurgency grows bolder, the Pakistani government refuses to take meaningful action against the terrorists, and in fact seeks to appease them. President Pervez Musharraf, in an effort to halt the ‘Talibanization’ of Pakistan, has called for more Waziristan-like deals throughout the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Northwest Frontier Province, effectively ceding control of Pakistani territory to the Taliban. He also seeks to merge FATA into the Northwest Frontier Province.
NWFP Governor Aurakzai, a Taliban sympathizer and architect of the Waziristan Accord, described the Taliban in Afghanistan as “a nationalist movement, a resistance movement, sort of a liberation war against coalition forces,” and defended the Waziristan Accord.
Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the leader of the Taliban supporting Muttahida Mujlis Amal, the dominant pro Taliban political party in the NWFP, and leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, has called for the U.S. and NATO to withdraw from Afghanistan, and for Pakistan to end its participation in the “so-called global war on terror, which is in fact an aggression against Afghanistan.” Fazlur Rahman “played a key role in making the [Waziristan] agreement possible… and… will play a key role in sustaining it” [in his own words.]
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.