Taliban executes Pakistani troops in Mohmand

The Pakistani military and the Taliban fought intense battles over the weekend in two of the tribal agencies where the government claims to have defeated the extremist group.

Taliban forces under the command of Mohmand leader Omar Khalid killed or captured late Saturday night 17 members of the Khasadar Force, a lightly armed paramilitary police unit, along with three government officials.

The Khasadar had been dispatched to the home of a local tribal leader after the Taliban surrounded his home. The Taliban attacked the tribal leader because he has helped the government in the past and had recently welcomed the Mohmand political agent and the commander of the Frontier Corps’ Mohmand Rifles into his home, Daily Times reported.

The Taliban ambushed the paramilitary force as it attempted to come to the aid of the tribal leader. Six troops were killed and 11 more were captured during the fighting, and three government officials were also captured, Dawn reported. The bodies of the six troops killed in the fighting were recovered along with two other troops who were “slaughtered,” a term often used to describe the mutilation and beheading of captured troops. Nine troops are still being held by the Taliban.

The military claimed 15 Taliban fighters were killed during the clashes. The homes of three Taliban leaders were razed, a curfew was imposed, and a military operation was launched. The Frontier Corps “pounded suspected Taliban hideouts with artillery,” a source told Daily Times.

In the Mamond district of Bajaur, the Taliban violated a two-week-old cease-fire after attacking a military checkpoint. Four Taliban fighters were reported to have been killed.

The attack took place as the government and elders of the Mamond tribe signed a “28-point deal” to end the fighting. “Tribal elders assured the government that militants will lay down arms and live peacefully in Mamond under the deal,” local administration officials said, Geo News reported.

The Mamond had promised to end support of the Taliban in the past but is known to have close ties with the group as well as al Qaeda. The tribe had dug its feet in over the past year, resisting government calls to end support for the Taliban. In 2006, the Mamond signed an agreement to end support for the Taliban and eject foreign fighters from the region. The peace deal collapsed and the Taliban grew in strength, ultimately taking control of the district and establishing a parallel government.

The attacks in Mohmand and Bajaur took place just weeks after the military claimed the Taliban had been defeated and driven from the region. The military said the eight-month-long operation in Bajaur had resulted in the expulsion of the Taliban and that the operations in Mohmand over the past several months had ended Taliban dominance in the agency.

But no senior Taliban leader has been killed or captured, and Taliban fighters are believed to have melted into the mountains to fight another day. The military claimed Omar Khalid and Bajaur Taliban leader Faqir Mohammed were killed during these operations, but both men have since spoken to the press.

The military is currently conducting operations in the Taliban tribal strongholds of Arakzai and Khyber, and claims to have ended the siege of Peshawar, despite a rash of deadly attacks on police outposts in the provincial capital. The Taliban strongholds of North and South Waziristan have not been touched during the current round of operations.

The Taliban has extended its influence beyond the tribal areas and has taken control of territory in the Northwest Frontier Province. The government has ceded the districts of Swat, Malakand, Dir, Chitral, Buner, Shangla, and Kohistan to the Taliban, after bowing to demands that sharia, or Islamic law, be enforced in the region. The agreement merely recognized the reality on the ground, as the Taliban has virtual control over much of the region. The insurgency is also expanding into Punjab province, where the Taliban has begun military assaults on police outposts in several districts.

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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7 Comments

  • The backlash of the militants is temporary as Al Qaeda is desperately wanting the warring militant to come together under one banner and focus its attention to Afghanistan and not Pakistan Army.
    A peace deal has been signed in Mohmand too by Prez. Zardari. It seems his days are almost over – to be replaced by Musharraf once again.
    Did you know that Musharraf when he was a Brigadier, took help of Al Qaeda and SSP (from where Lashkar e Jhangvi spinned off) to kill the Shias in GILGIT?

  • Bangash Khan says:

    Fromy our reporting one cannot tell whether Pakistanis are making an effort or just putting on a show.

  • KW64 says:

    More whack a mole in Bajaur and Mohmand. What forces are left to hold areas once they are cleared?They needed quick reaction air support to protect the leader who was surrounded. The US could help in that if Pakistan wanted.

  • KnightHawk says:

    “The attack took place as the government and elders of the Mamond tribe signed a “28-point deal” to end the fighting. “Tribal elders assured the government that militants will lay down arms and live peacefully in Mamond under the deal,” local administration officials said, Geo News reported. ”
    —-
    This could almost read as comedy at this point. I think Einsteins definition of insanity might apply here, but who knows, he thought the universe was static too. 😉

  • mnkhan says:

    in this article word troops is used then changed to police or lightly armed khasadars, this is not the factual reporting, in tribal agencies of nwfp a khasadar is a person who is nominated by a local malik (chief) of his tribe,obay the local administration of political agent( govt appointed chief administrator) this khasadar has no training of any sort of policing, but being the son of the soil knows fully well the use of gun.

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 03/10/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

  • Rhyno327 says:

    P-stan is on its way to total chaos. Did anyone really believe this would work? The US may be able to root out insurgents in A-stan, but they will only regroup in P-stan.

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