Pakistan: A Bajaur ‘peace deal’ is coming

Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas

A peace deal in imminent in Bajaur, despite the worsening situation in the tribal agencies

The Pakistani government is preparing to cede the Federally Administered Tribal Agency of Bajaur to the Taliban. Jan Aurakzai, the governor of the Northwest Frontier Province, has informed the media that a ‘peace deal’ fashioned after the Waziristan Accord is imminent, Dawn reports.

Bajaur has long been an al Qaeda command and control center. The Taliban and al Qaeda funnel their northern Afghanistan operations from Bajaur. Afghanistan’s Kunar province, which sits just across the border from Bajaur, is one of the most violent provinces in Afghanistan.

Last October, the Pakistani government was just 24 hours from signing an agreement with the ‘Pakistani Taliban’ of Maulana Faqir Mohamed’s Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (or TNSM, which translates to the Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Sharia) when airstrikes hit a Taliban training camp in a madrassa Chingai. While the Pakistani government claimed responsibility, this was likely a U.S. Special Operations strike designed to sabotage the deal.

Liaquat Hussain, one of Faqir’s lieutenants who ran the Chingai camp, was killed, along with 80 Taliban. Faqir Mohamed narrowly escaped death. Up to five al Qaeda operatives were believed to have been at the Chingai camp. Intelligence indicated Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command, and Matiur Rehman, a high-ranking leader in al Qaeda’s in Pakistan and operational planner of the failed London plots, may have been in the madrassa. After the airstrike, TNSM, Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s, which is just the banned al Qaeda affiliate Lashkar-e-Taiba only renamed, and the Taliban supporting Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) political party held large protests in Bajaur and throughout the tribal areas and the NWFP.

During a tribal jirga (or council) just days prior to the Chingai airstrike, Faqir Mohamed called “Osama Bin Laden and Mulla Omar ‘heroes of the Muslim world’ and vowed joint efforts to fight the ‘enemies of peace’ in Bajaur Agency.” He also lamented the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan. TNSM is a banned organization in Pakistan, and Faqir Mohamed was once a wanted man in Pakistan for his role in sheltering al Qaeda terrorists. NBC News’ Mushtaq Yusufzai calls Faqir an “Yet Faqir is free to negotiate with the government and TNSM remains in tact and in control of Bajaur.

NWFP governor Jan Aurakazi has long been an advocate of promoting further peace deals with the Taliban and al Qaeda in the tribal areas. Even after the Bajaur airstrike last fall, and TNSM’s subsequent denouncements of the government and campaign of assassinations and attacks on government forces, which included a suicide attack that killed over 40 Pakistani soldiers, Aurakazi pushed to continue with negotiations with the Taliban.

Pakistan has lost control of its western territories, and is attempting to put the best face on this failure by cutting deals that cannot and will not enforce, and then claiming success. Musharraf, Aurakazi and a host of Pakistani political and military leaders continue to claim success with the Waziristan Accord, and promote the false hope that further peace deals can bring peace in the west.

This failure comes at the expense of security in Afghanistan, the West, as al Qaeda is plotting strikes and training terrorist from the tribal areas, and within Pakistan itself. The Taliban are openly pushing their agenda in the Northwest Frontier Territory, and are conducting a nationwide terror campaign to cower the government. The peace deals in North and south Waziristan, the upcoming deal in Bajaur and others soon to follow, and the inability to take action against the terrorists inside their own borders poses a direct threat to the existence of the Pakistani state.

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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21 Comments

  • Dom says:

    Musharraf and his entoutage are particularly well placed to understand that negociating with the jihadists is the same as capitulating to them, only with a pretense no to, as long as saving face is still possible, whatever the long term cost. This means that those within Pakistan who have cooperated with the US against the jihadists for some time have finally judged that they are no match to the Taliban and their hosts, and are simply abandoning the fight to save their skin.
    If nothing is done about it, there will be another one of the coups which periodically shake the in Pakistani governement, which could fall to the jihadists this time.
    While we and NATO (at at some point in the future the Afghan military) make it hard for the Taliban to re-capture Afghanistan, they are turning their energy towards Pakistan, which is an easier prey, and has the precious nukes!
    This runs the risk of involving new Delhi in a way they have been hoping to avoid.

  • Michael says:

    Bill, thanks for this updated report on Pakistan and the regional turmoil.
    “The peace deals in North and south Waziristan, the upcoming deal in Bajaur and others soon to follow, and the inability to take action against the terrorists inside their own borders poses a direct threat to the existence of the Pakistani state.”
    I believe this is the strongest I’ve seen you word the threat to Pakistan.
    I’m curious, what are contingency plans to deal with this possible scenario? When Musharraf made his American tour, he was full of bravado. You would think he was a king and under no threat at all. I’ve never closely watched a country disentegrate before over time.
    Is this similar to other past historical events that lead to a possible coup?
    Finally, what can NATO, Europe and Wasthington do to prevent it?
    Are there any personalities within the military of Pakistan we trust that may rise to the occassion of challenging the Taliban and Al Qaeda? Are there any outside personalities we trust?
    What are options if in fact worse case scenario erupts into full bore war in the streets of Pakistan?
    Surely, our intel, military and state have all looked at this closely if you’re turning an eye to possible threats.

  • Drazen Gemic says:

    This is starting to look like last years Islamic Courts offensive in Somalia. I think that Musharraf’s position is even weaker than it looks like now. I am afraid that his regime will collapse before the end of the year. That will leave jihadists with nuclear weapons in possesion.
    India will not like it. Even Iran won’t like it. China has some problems with islamic radicals in easter parts, next to Pakistani border. All of them have, or are about to gain nuclear weapons.
    Are we going to witness a nuclear exchange ?
    DG

  • ElamBend says:

    How long before the putsch comes in the streets of Peshawar? Pakistan is fracturing and there is no happy face to put on it.

  • ElamBend says:

    I know the source is Al Jazeera, but this report doesn’t make the Brits look good in Helmand:
    //english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/B27A5D56-0E55-4EAA-8B88-F523D18D15F5.htm

  • Drazen Gemic says:

    In reply to ElamBend:
    There is nothing but desert on the pictures. I can’t see no buildings. Even Taliban do not claim they control any particular city. Afghanistan is a very big country, I don’t think that current NATO force can even come close to control all of it. They can only kick Taliban ass when they gather at some place in greater number.
    DG

  • Dot says:

    Perhaps this is creating a back door way for the U.S. and allies to take care of the situation???
    Musharraf says tribal leaders it´s all yours…defense, too…
    So the U.S. attacks – Musharraf can say to the tribal leaders, sorry, as you agreed, I no longer control the area…

  • Roggio: Pakistan Situation is Serious

    Little Green Footballs

    Check out Bill Roggio’s report on a very disturbing situation in Pakistan, where the government is cutting “peace deals” with the Taliban—deals the Musharraf government has no intention of enf…

  • Jim Rockford says:

    What this means in the long term is war. With the US.
    Of course Pakistan will fall to Al Qaeda / LeT etc. With control of nukes.
    I don’t think China will have problems with this, as the nukes will be pointed towards India and the US. Same with Iran. India will increase readiness but fundamentally doesn’t want war so will only attack if they see a surprise attack in the offing.
    Meanwhile control of the nukes offers a perfect possibility to make Islamists happy and strike at the US: through deniable Al Qaeda cutouts.
    Surely the Jihadist must think that when Robert Gates rules out striking Iran because Congress would impeach Bush (which would be likely IMHO) they must think that they could nuke the US with absolute impunity because no President could “prove” that the attack came from Pakistan and that further the US fundamentally lacks the will to respond to attacks.
    This has been both Khomeni’s and Osama’s argument. That Barak Hussein Obama has 9/11 Truthers at his rallies must sit as a decisive argument for the accuracy of Khomeni and Osama’s predictions about US will to respond to attacks.
    I think both Iran and China will see Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal largely aimed at America through Al Qaeda, and likely provide assistance to bring down the US (which China will likely regret but that’s life; Kaiser Wilhelm regretted going along with the Schleiffen plan).

  • Thomas Griffith says:

    It seems to me that a terrorists greatest weapon is that he is not attached to a country or system that can be held accountable for his actions. A new trend lately is the grounding of terrorist organizations to government systems that can be held accountable, but I seem to be the only one that views this as a good thing. I read this article and to me it spells quasi independent state, vulnerable to attact from U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

  • Drazen Gemic says:

    To Jim Rockford:
    China already has problems with Islam in western parts, the border with Pakistan (Uighur separatists).
    Iran had a number of clashes with Taliban while they controlled Afghanistan (around year 1998). Last week an attack on Iranian special forces took place at the border with Pakistan. Iran and Taliban are no way at good terms.
    As far as I know Pakistan does not have carriers (balistic missiles) that could reach US, so the warheads would be, most likely, pointed at India.
    DG

  • RT says:

    Pakistan’s most reliable nuclear delivery system is JDAM – Jihadist Delivered Atomic Munition. This JDAM option has allowed Pakistan good cover to avoid paying the price for state tolerance of terrorism.
    As far as Waziristan goes, if a terror attack were to happen and should it be traced back there, I hope that all the US advocates of “let’s keep our thumbs up our rear” because Pakistan is “too unstable” get raked over hot coal.
    9/11 was due to a failure of imagination. The next one will be due to a lack of spine.

  • Pakistan: A Bajaur ‘peace deal’ is coming

    Courtesy of The Fourth Rail:
    A peace deal in imminent in Bajaur, despite the worsening situation in the tribal agencies
    The Pakistani government is preparing to cede the Federally Administered Tribal Agency of Bajaur to the Taliban. Jan Aurakzai, th…

  • Drazen Gemic says:

    In case the jihadists get their hands on nuclear weapons classic cold war schemes won’t work. Those fanatics actually encourage oposition to retaliate against their own people. They believe that it makes it easier to mobilize masses.
    If they get nukes they will do anything to force West to obliterate Islamabad and other cities. They wouldn’t care because they are not doing what they do for the future of their people, but because of some abstract religious concept. People are not important, dead or alive.
    There was an interview where OBL said:
    “West loves life, and we love death”.
    DG

  • RJ says:

    Got some bad real estate in western Pakistan…for sale? Take an offer from the Taliban, make a deal, let them develop the property, and all will be well. Then we invite America and its allies to come to this new “blighted area” for some instant reclamation! Only problem with this wish is it bets on the Taliban not wanting all of Pakistan! Good luck…remember: Talking with our enemies is really the right thing to do, especially when we can avoid “fighting” with them…to the death of one of us! Cowards have a knack with language. This just may be a chess game where we are merely lining up our pieces for the capture…at some point in time. Have’s and have nots are coming to you soon…get ready for this war!

  • crosspatch says:

    It is quickly becoming apparent to me that it is only a matter of time before the major countries of the world are active in those tribal regions of Pakistan.
    This seems to be an admission by the central government that they have no desire to enforce any control in these regions. The problem is that so many terrorist acts in other parts of the world trace right back to those regions of Pakistan that the world has to hold the Pakistani government responsible for it. The problem in the west is that at the current time, only the US and the UK are willing say anything about it.
    I wonder if things would change with a change of leadership in France. If Sarkozy wins, could there be some real willingness in Europe to address this problem?
    Forget Iran for the moment, I believe Pakistan is the greater threat to world security. I would be willing to bet that finance and training of killers from the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia in addition to Europe can be traced in many circumstances right back to Pakistan.
    The time is coming to clean that mess up.

  • Rahul Negi says:

    Mushraff is no dumb ass. He is playing too smart. I have a feeling that these supposed ‘peace deals’ are prelude to tacit US involvement in Pakistan’s federal areas. Musharaff knows that he can’t fight the islamists so he is agreeing to all these peace deals. Maybe he thinks that as the situation slips he would allow US in, saying to islamists that he agreed to there demands but the islamists failed to keep there promise..

    The only piece not falling in place is how much leverage Musharaff has inside his army because we know he has lost masses appeal.Any disagreement in his army may just backfire on him. Also does US and also india have any backup plan in case the general fails.The nukes can not be left to the whims of the mullas.

  • crosspatch says:

    Rahul, if the mullahs gain control of Pakistan, then they effectively gain control of a nuclear arsenal. That the Paki air force was unwilling to follow orders to conduct an airstrike on an extremist recently telegraphs to me that the integrity of their current nuclear arsenal is in question. I have some other opinions and ways of mitigating this problem, but nothing I would be willing to say in a public forum.

  • Clusiana says:

    And one wonders why Karzi mistrusts/hates Musharaff. The Taliban presently operates terrorists camps from the area against Afghanistan. And the former US Ambassador to Pakistan, now Ambassador to Iraq, thought and expressed so, “it’s a wonderful idea.” And we, the US, can’t go in or bomb them. Makes little sense.

  • crosspatch says:

    “And the former US Ambassador to Pakistan, now Ambassador to Iraq”
    Actually, he is no longer ambassador to Iraq. He will now be our Ambassador to the UN.

  • Pakistan: A Bajaur ‘peace deal’ is coming

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