Keeping the Waziristan Accord

Business as usual as the situation in Pakistan deteriorates

Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas

The U.S. pressure campaign to get Pakistan to clean up the Taliban and al Qaeda strongholds in the western and southern provinces has had a limited effect at best. After arresting Mullah Obaidullah and two other senior Taliban commanders in Quetta, Pakistan indicated it will go no further. “The ‘North Waziristan Peace Agreement’ will remain intact and it will not be rescinded,” reports The Nation. “Any new major operation in Waziristan will lead to serious repercussions for Pakistan and cause strong backlash, something that cannot be afforded and this has been plainly conveyed to the Bush administration,” an anonymous senior official told The Nation last weekend. “The US administration had been told that the peace agreement in North Waziristan and those entered into South Waziristan earlier needed time to succeed and those could not be rescinded.”

This news comes after the government concluded negotiation with Baitullah Mehsud, the most powerful Taliban commander in South Waziristan. While the Pakistani government has direct evidence linking the recent string of suicide attacks across the country to Baitullah, it none the less sees it fit to conduct negotiations with him. Baitullah has been linked to bombings in Islamabad (including an attempt on the Prime Minister Aziz), Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, Peshawar and in South Waziristan.

“Baitullah Mehsud was very positive. He not only condemned the recent terrorist acts in the country but also assured that he would honour the agreement with the government signed in Spin Kai Raghzai in 2005,” Maulvi Mirajuddin Khan, the leader of the peace delegation told Dawn last Saturday. “This is the last chance for Baitullah,” Jan Aurakzai, the Governor of the Northwest Frontier Province, said according to Khan.

But the situation in South Waziristan, the tribal agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and greater Northwest Frontier Province continues to deteriorate.

Today, 15 were killed in the Azam Warsak village in South Waziristan after “Uzbek rebels and some local supporters” attacked a pro-government tribal leader in a bazaar. Twelve of those killed were Uzbeks. While this isn’t stated, the Uzbek group is Tahir Yuldashev’s Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which has the support of Abdullah Mehsud, Baitullah’s tribesman in South Waziristan. Abdullah also supports Tajik terrorists in South Waziristan.

In North Waziristan, yet another “U.S. spy” was murdered, and another kidnapped. Over 200 pro-government tribal leaders and tribesmen have killed in North Waziristan since the signing of the ‘peace accord,’ and many of these murders aren’t reported in the Pakistani press, according to an American intelligence official.

The Taliban destroyed two barber shops and a music store in Khar in Bajaur agency, after issuing threats to barbers last week not to shave beards. The government hopes to sign a peace deal with the Taliban in Bajaur. The Taliban attacked a police patrol in Tank. Three journalists have been put on a hit list in Darra Adamkhel. “Death threats came in the form of pamphlets calling on the ‘faithful to kill the trio,'” notes the Daily Times.

Also in Darra Adamkhel, a Pakistani cameraman was beaten by followers of Maulana Fazlullah, a radical Islamist cleric in the Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariah Mohammadi (or TNSM). Maulana Fazlullah, who was arrested by police for preaching radical Islam on an illegal FM radio station, threatened the police prior to his arrest. “Next time my supporters will not leave the attacking policemen alive,” said Fazlullah. He is the brother in law of TNSM leader Maulana Sufi Mohammad, and his brother, Fazal Ahad, was killed during the Chingai air strike on the Taliban and al Qaeda camp last October.

As the Taliban continues to consolidate power in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, U.S. forces are continuing to conduct cross border raids into Pakistan.

This is only a temporary solution, as a Pakistan military operation is required to kill or capture senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in the region. All of the negotiations with the ‘tribal leaders’ such as Baitullah and Abdullah Mehsud will not cause the terrorist leaders to be handed over or result in the dismantling the Taliban infrastructure. That’s because the Baitullah and Abdullah Mehsud, and others are on the same side as the Taliban and al Qaeda.

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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15 Comments

  • Pakistan is a failed state with nukes. America is projecting power to one of the most rugged, remote corners of the earth in an attempt to compel the Pathans to violate their Code of Honor by turning over Arabs and Uzbeks and Chechens who have sought sanctuary among them.
    We may have reached the end of our global reach.
    Imposing law and order on the Hindu Kush has been tried by the Russians, the British, the Moghuls, the Persians, and the Greeks, and the only law that endures is Pukhtunwali.
    Somewhere from within the US-UK-AUS SOF community a Lawrence of Afghanistan-type snake eatin’, Airborne Ranger Pashto-speaking ethnologist must be found and encouraged and supported. It will take much tea drinking, much palavering, and a helluva lot of gold.

  • Tommy says:

    Pakistan BEYOND pisses me off!
    Despite what it says, I think there will be a bigger US role in Pakistan in the coming months. It’s encouraging that the US is sending forces into Waziristan after Bin Laden and Zawahiri. I think that shows that if things really need to get done the US will do what it takes to get it done with or without Pakistan’s approval.
    I can’t help but be an optimist even if things don’t look promising…

  • RJ says:

    Cannoneer No.4 thoughts make a great deal of sense to me. He sounds like a Hackworth kinda guy! If the western part of Pakistan is viewed as their “ghetto” or perhaps the “wild west” all is understood, kinda. Remember when Americans were using the Sears catalogue for toilet paper in their outhouses? My moustache is more important to me than, say…getting the wife a machine to help her with her work (or is that…duties?) Culture war is what this is.

  • Marlin says:

    The Coalition Forces have captured another senior Taliban commander. This time in Kandahar.
    ——————————-
    Afghan soldiers caught a senior Taliban commander at a checkpoint who was wearing a burqa, while NATO forces on Wednesday fought Taliban militants in the second day of the alliance’s largest-ever offensive in Afghanistan.
    Mullah Mahmood, who is accused of helping the Taliban detonate suicide bombs, was caught Tuesday in Kandahar province while wearing the all-encompassing Islamic veil worn here by women, NATO said.
    […]
    “We’ve established a presence and in some areas it’s a heavy presence, and we’re trying to disrupt the Taliban’s senior leadership in the area and try to separate them from trying to rally” the Taliban’s locally recruited soldiers, said Col. Tom Collins, the spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.
    Associated Press: 6 Terror Suspects Arrested in Afghanistan

  • Realist says:

    Several well-placed neutron bombs would rid the US of this snake-pit for the next 10000 years.

  • David M says:

    Trackbacked by The Thunder Run – Web Reconnaissance for 03/07/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

  • Marlin says:

    There is a little bit more information this afternoon about the senior Taliban leader caught wearing the burqain the Kandahar region.
    ——————————-
    Mahmood – the Taliban commander caught wearing the burqa – was trying to leave the Panjwayi area of Kandahar province – site of the large NATO battle last fall where hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed.
    “Alert (Afghan) soldiers at this checkpoint spotted the oddity and quickly arrested him,” NATO said.
    “The capture of this senior Taliban extremist is another indicator that a more normal life is returning to the Zhari and Panjwayi districts and a testament to the great work the (Afghan army) is achieving,” said Maj. Gen. Ton van Loon, the southern commander of NATO-led troops.
    Associated Press: Commander: Taliban Ready to Battle NATO

  • sangell says:

    The comments here, particularly Cannoner No.4’s
    about the limit of our reach and a vague desire
    to ‘find someone’, do ‘something’ are not very
    encouraging.
    Politically and geostrategically we are not yet
    ready to do much of anything beyond more of the
    same and ‘more of the same’ is not working.
    Our Nato allies will grow weary of the fight and
    so will we. That would seem to indicate we have
    to come to some ‘compromise’ with these Pashtuns
    or get serious about dealing with them.
    Is 45000 ISAF/NATO/US troops serious? Are our
    ROE serious? Are we ‘serious’ in what we say to
    Pakistan? I don’t know. It would appear we are
    not being taken so.

  • Michael says:

    There were over 60 Pashtun tribal leaders that met in Jalalabad recently asking for NATO troops.
    The indicated the Pakistani military and ISI are complicit in working with and facilitating Taliban and Al Qaeda.
    This indicates we have tribal leaders to work with and they’re supporting Karzai.
    In the politically correct world that we live in today especially with the Europeans, time is required to show all avenues of diplomacy have failed.

  • davidp says:

    I was horrified to find that in 2002, Pakistan’s ‘sealed’ border with Afhganistan was sealed only for 20 yards each side of the roads – the tribes controlled the rest of the border and the police just watched from the road while convoys of people crossed on paths 100 yards from them. That’s “government” Pakistan style.
    I got this from a biography, ‘The bookseller of Kabul’ by Asne Sierstad

  • crosspatch says:

    The only thing I can say to the following is “Oh, holy crap!”
    Top Pakistan nuclear scientists in Taliban Custody

  • RJ, Pashtunistan has a lot of historical parallels to Apacheria. It’s the Wild, Wild East. And many of the tricks General Crook used to bring in Geronimo are worth looking at if America is serious about bringing in UBL and Zawahiri.
    If western Pakistan is allowed to become a sanctuary, The Base for al Qaeda, they will use that sanctuary to prepare for and launch another horrendous mass casualty event, worse then 9/11. That nest of snakes must be cleaned out, but air power or neutron bombs or brigades of air mobile infantry won’t succeed.
    What will succeed? Poachers make the best gamekeepers. Our Pashtuns must be unleashed upon their Pashtuns. al Qaeda survives in western Pakistan by taking advantage of the Pashtun tenet of melmastia. Osama’s son is married to Mullah Omar’s daughter. Zawahiri is married to a Mohmand woman. The Taliban has become dependent upon al Qaeda for money, training, and strategic direction, and al Qaeda has always depended on the Taliban for protection. The Taliban is a Pashtun movement. To fight and win against the Taliban we need Pashto-fluent operators who understand pukhtunwali and the dynamics of clan and khel rivalries, which must be exploited to the fullest.
    After 5 years, I imagine we do have a lot more Pashto-speaking snake eaters than we used to, and I expect they are out there having adventures that would boggle Rudyard Kipling’s mind that none of us will read about until everything is declassified 40 years from now.

  • sangell, geostrategically America took a huge hit in our ability to project power into Central Asia when we got kicked out of Uzbekistan. That was a coup for China and Russia, and it forced us to put all our logistical eggs in Musharraf’s basket. That is why we have tolerated so much from him, because he has but to close his hand and ISAF and US get to reenact Xenophon’s Anabasis.

  • RJ says:

    Ah..Cannoneer No4. I like the way you fight, up close and personal! At the same time, while I am guarding the rear, I notice our administration still trying to work out the definition of “compassionate conservatism” relative to fighting this war on terror. Back here, I sense a loss of energies focused on those who would do us the most harm. Sure, the rhetoric sounds ok; however, when I used Hackworth’s name it was to imply you don’t fight a war with one’s hands tied. ROEs that do this predict failure, even when the snake eaters are working the game really smart and at their level…successfully. Every sailor knows a thirty day journey with 10 days of supplies spells trouble. Culture war ramping up on this planet is what I sense. Keep up the good work, the fight and the victories. I’m going on a hunt for an American politician who knows a “duck” when seen and is willing to call it a duck! I’m looking for a serious, honest, and forthright communicator. Save the passive aggressives for setting up ambushes in the bush!

  • crosspatch says:

    Islamabad, 8 March (AKI) – American troops in Afghanistan arrested on Thursday the deputy head of the Taliban fighters active in the Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan, according to a report on the Arab satellite television channel Al Jazeera. A unit of US special forces penetrated the town of Loramani in Waziristan which border Afghanistan, capturing the Taliban leader Mullah Hakimallah Mansub.

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