Pakistan signs peace accord in Orakzai tribal agency

Orakzai goes red. Red agencies/ districts are controlled by the Taliban; purple districts areunder de facto Taliban control; yellow regions are under Taliban influence.

The Pakistani government has negotiated yet another peace agreement with the Taliban in the tribal agencies bordering Afghanistan. The latest agreement was signed in the Orakzai tribal agency, Geo TVreported.

The agreement mirrors other peace deals that have been signed in the tribal areas and in several settled districts in the Northwest Frontier Province. The Taliban agreed it would not shelter “terrorist, criminal or foreign elements” or create a parallel administration. The Taliban also said it would recognize the writ of the government and end “the illegal occupation” of government buildings and schools.

Information on the Taliban leadership in Orakzai is sparse. In November 2001, Dawn interviewed Akhunzada Aslam Farooqui, who was described as the “patron-in-chief” of the Taliban in the agency and a “close friend of Mullah Mohammad Omar.”

Farooqui promised 12,000 tribesmen to battle US forces in Afghanistan and offered support such as sanctuary and weapons and ammunition. He claimed to lead 7,000 Taliban fighters.

The Taliban have run a parallel administration in Orakzai, with security forces patrolling and sharia courts meting out justice. The Orakzai Taliban conducted a public execution of six “criminals” in June after a sharia court determined they were guilty of kidnapping.

In May, a joint Taliban and tribal jirga, or council, ordered all non-governmental organizations to leave the agency and banned girls’ schools. “The jirga also decided to burn down the houses of the local residents who cooperate with the NGOs and help in girls’ education,” a Pakistani journalist told BBC Urdu.

Several of the local tribes attempted to organize against the Taliban in January. But the Taliban waged a vicious campaign against the tribes and they ultimately relented after the government failed to assist the tribes.

The Kurram tribal agency and the districts of Hangu and Kohat border Orakzai tot he south and west, while Khyber, Peshawar and Nowshera border it to the north and east.

The Pakistani military recently conducted a ten day operation in Khyber after Taliban threats to Peshawar became all too obvious to ignore. The government cut a peace agreement with the extremist groups in Khyber after conducting a show of force operation.

The military is currently conducting an operation against the Taliban in Hangu. Some of the Taliban fighters are said to be moving from Hangu into Orakzai as fighting is underway along the border of the two administrative units.

Kurram is the scene of intense sectarian fighting between Sunni extremist groups and Shia living in the region.

The Pakistani military and the Taliban have fought intense battles in Orakzai and neighboring Kohat this year. Pitched battles were fought in the city of Darra Adam Khel and at the Kohat tunnel in January.

The fighting began after Taliban forces hijacked a military convoy in Darra Adam Khel and seized weapons destined for a military operation in South Waziristan in late January. Clashes ensued as the Pakistani military moved forces into the region to battle the Taliban, but the military backed down and quickly formed a “peace jirga” to negotiate with the Taliban.

The Taliban responded by taking control of the strategic Kohat Tunnel, a vital link on the Indus Highway that connects Peshawar to the southern tribal agencies and settled districts. The Taliban kidnapped more than 50 paramilitary troops from the Frontier Corps during the fighting at the Kohat Tunnel. Several soldiers and paramilitaries were beheaded and mutilated. The government retook the Kohat Tunnel after days of fierce fighting, but not before the Taliban damaged the tunnel during an attempt to destroy it.

On May 1, the Pakistani military pulled out from Darra Adam Khel. The Taliban immediately re-emerged and began levying taxes on vehicles traveling on the Indus Highway. The Pakistani Army, backed by tanks, rolled back into Darra Adam Khel on May 11, and fighting ensued. The fighting shut down the Indus Highway.

Orakzai is the sixth of seven tribal agency agencies where the government has negotiated peace agreements with the Taliban. The western border region with Afghanistan is now virtually under Taliban control. While the Pakistani military operates outposts along the border and maintains garrisons in some agencies, the Taliban are free to establish and maintain their shadow governments and surge forces into Afghanistan.

The security situation in northwestern Pakistan and in Afghanistan has rapidly deteriorated since the government initiated its latest round of peace accords with the Taliban and allied extremists in the tribal areas and settled districts in the Northwest Frontier Province. Peace agreements have been signed with the Taliban in North Waziristan, Swat, Dir, Bajaur, Malakand, Mohmand, and Khyber.

Negotiations are under way in South Waziristan, Kohat, and Mardan. The Taliban have violated the terms of these agreements in every region where accords have been signed.

The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terrorist groups have established more than 100 terror camps in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.



  • don juice says:

    all im gonna say is we cannot fail in afghanistan like we dis in vietnam we must stay the course and defeat the taliban and al-qaeda cause sadly they manipulating the pakistani government

  • anand says:

    “The Taliban, al Qaeda, and allied terrorist groups have established more than 100 terror camps in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal.”
    This is the crux of the long term strategic problems. Afghanistan is a holding containment strategy to manage the problem until Pakistan transforms itself into a prosperous free plural democracy respectful of all religions and cultures, at peace with itself and everyone else. This will be a long and challenging role.
    I know I have repeated this countless times on this blog, but my suggestion would be for the world to offer Pakistan $300 billion in grants over ten years in return for Pakistan transforming itself and defeating the Takfiris within their borders. America should offer to foot half the bill. India, may $40 billion. China, maybe $40 billion. The rest of the world should pony up $70 billion.
    This is the only strategic solution that might work. Let the Pakistani voters decide between this offer, and the big stick.
    In parallel with this, the “holding containment”

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post – From the Front: 07/20/2008 – News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • AMac says:

    Eddited by moderator. From the comments pollicy:
    “The comments section is intended to provide a forum to discuss and debate current posts. The Long War Journal makes no warranty to the accuracy of readers’ comments, nor do we condone or affirm the opinions of reader-based comments. Discuss the issue at hand and do not go off topic. The comments section is not a place for a political discussion.”
    Or to put it in USN terms: “No politics in the mess.”
    DJ Elliott

  • bard207 says:

    There are some significant issues to raise about Pakistan and your plan of funneling in
    billions of dollars.
    Who is going to administer – oversee this massive program? The Pakistani government would need strong leadership to accomplish the stated goal and that is nowhere in sight. The Pakistani Military has a tendency to siphon off money for their own objectives. An outside entity (UN or US) would probably be viewed unfavorably because they would be setting the policies and objectives for Pakistan. Overall, I think Pakistan would gladly accept the funds, but not the needed oversight.
    What is the downside (punishment) for Pakistan if they spend the money elsewhere and minimal progress is made towards the stated goals?
    There needs to be some resolve shown by the Pakistani government and population to standup to the militants and try to save their country. With negotiations being the favored method, there is no evidence of that sentiment being present.
    It is doubtful that donor countries will step forward with significant financial help Pakistan when the track record of Pakistan helping itself is poor and the future prospects remain dim.

  • Freedom Now says:

    “Several of the local tribes attempted to organize against the Taliban in January. But the Taliban waged a vicious campaign against the tribes and they ultimately relented after the government failed to assist the tribes.”
    This is the Awakening in reverse.
    Please send McFarland to Pakistan, now!!!!

  • Private Finch says:

    This seems to be one more of the endless agreements signed by the Taliban, soom to be ignored and back to Taliban business as usual. It only gives the Pakistan government more time to ‘pass the buck.’ Hopefully we will take direct cross border action to remove sanctuary camps. This looks much like the Cambodia sanctuary border areas and Vietnam all over again. It’s time to send in the drones.

  • Thanos says:

    We already tried the send billions routine, it did not work. Here are some updates, note that both articles are written by mouthpieces for the Taliban, but in all good agitprop are some gems of truth:
    Between 1,000 to 8000 foreign fighters in N & S Waziristan, Nuristan, Kunar.
    Asia Times, Syed: Big things any day now…
    My read on this is to watch for incidents that will attempt to pull us cross border and expect some serious attempts at supply interdiction soon. Also note that Fazlullah hosted a three day Shura meet in Swat that just ended.

  • SteveL says:

    anand says: “I know I have repeated this countless times on this blog, but my suggestion would be for the world to offer Pakistan $300 billion in grants over ten years in return for Pakistan transforming itself and defeating the Takfiris within their borders.”

    Oh, brother.
    Whatever happened to “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute”?

    America gets attacked on 9-11, and you want America to pay tribute to the Paks?

    I have a better idea: The entire Muslim world pays $1 trillion in reparations to America to compensate us for 9-11 (including a sufficiently large trust fund to make every 9-11 family fabulously wealthy). In exchange for that, we’ll stop calling for regime change in the Muslim world.

  • Hi,
    Why India or America pay to pakies for their Terrorism? Is it not an incentive for other actors to follow this route to get paid for being naughty? Naughty guys require hit on their knuckles or heads

  • Marlin says:

    Supposedly the ISI has told PM Gilani there are 10,000 foreign fighters in North and South Waziristan.

    The repeated assertions by the American and Afghan officials that the tribal areas of Pakistan have turned into a safe haven for Al Qaeda militants have finally been endorsed by the Pakistani intelligence agencies in their recent report to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, admitting for the first time that the number of the ‘foreign fighters’ present in the Pak-Afghan tribal belt is around 10,000.
    According to sources in the PM Secretariat, the revelation has been made in a classified report submitted to PM Gillani recently by the ISI, ahead of his upcoming visit to the US during which he is scheduled to meet President Bush.

    DNA India: 10,000 foreigners terrorising tribal belt, admits ISI
    H/T The Strata-Sphere

  • anand says:

    Marlin, more data on the 8,000 foreign fighters in Waziristan:
    The Congress needs to appropriate $20 billion in additional funding over the next 10 years for the ANSF ASAP. The Afghan governments needs clarity of long term ANSF funding to optimally plan how to build ANSF capacity over the next 10 years.
    captainjohann, a large part of the Pakistani establishment created these AQ linked network a long time ago. Now these “children” are attacking Pakistan. They have killed 7,000 Pakistani army soldiers and policemen. They have killed over 10,000 Pakistani civilians. Frankenstein has turned on the creator and significantly threatens the survival of the Pakistani state.
    Now is not the time for “told you so.” Now is the time for the international community to help the Pakistanis crush these dark forces

  • Raj Kumar says:

    Wrong again mate. Now is the time to crush PAKISTAN.
    Why do you want to treat the symptom and not the disease is beyond me? Taliban is the symptom & Pakistan is the disease. Get rid of Pakistan and you get rid of Taliban, simple no.
    Germany & Japan were not sorted till they were occupied and pacified to the extent that their people did not ever think of picking up the gun again. Something similar needs to happen to Pakistan if we want peace in the world.


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