Malakand Accord ‘practically stands dissolved’ – Taliban spokesman

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Swat Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan.

The Swat Taliban are on the verge of dissolving the controversial Malakand Accord while the Pakistani government scrambles to keep it alive.

Muslim Khan, the spokesman for Swat Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah, said the peace agreement “practically stands dissolved” as the military is attacking Taliban forces throughout the Malakand Division.

The government signed the Malakand Accord with Taliban front man Sufi Mohammed on February 16. The peace agreement called for the end of military operations in Swat, the end of Taliban operations, and the imposition of sharia, or Islamic law, in the districts of Malakand, Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir, Chitral, and Kohistan, a region that encompasses nearly one-third of the Northwest Frontier Province.

“Our peace agreement with the NWFP government practically stands dissolved,” Khan told The News. “Forces are attacking us and our fighters are also retaliating” against Pakistani security forces and government officials.

“If the Awami National Party [the ruling, secular Pashtun party in the Northwest Frontier Province] supports us, we will not harm them,” Khan said. “But if they sided with the government, they too will become our target.”

Khan said the Taliban would focus on Pakistan’s federal government and the military because they are carrying out the policy of the United States. “However, our main target will be security forces and the rulers of Pakistan,” he noted. “We will also act in other cities of Pakistan but will not target the general public.”

Amir Izzat Khan, the spokesman for Sufi Mohammad, the leader of the banned pro-Taliban Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammed [TNSM or the Movement for the Enforcement of Mohammed’s Law] and father-in-law of Swat Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah, told The News that the peace agreement is still intact but it would end if the military operations in neighboring Dir and Buner continued.

“If the prevailing situation persists, the government will lose control over the area and reaction to the government actions will also be witnessed in other cities of the country,” Khan threatened. “In that situation, even the TNSM will be unable to control the situation.” In the past, the TNSM has admitted the group has the ability to control the Taliban violence in Swat and the surrounding districts.

The government, however, is eager to keep the peace agreement alive. Last Friday, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the provincial Minister of Information, said military operations would end once the Darul Qaza, or Islamic appellate courts, were established in the Malakand Division. Military officials also indicated the Buner and Dir operations would only last a week, signaling they had no intentions of ejecting the Taliban from the districts. Yesterday the government rushed the establishment of the courts. But the move only angered the Taliban and the TNSM, who claim they were not consulted.

The Taliban takeover of Swat and the government’s approval of the Malakand Accord have fueled the expansion eastward from the tribal areas. The Taliban’s move into Buner has put the Taliban within 60 miles of Islamabad and close to several nuclear facilities and the vital Tarbela Dam. The Taliban also moved into Mansehra and established bases and a training camp in the region.

Government and military officials have dismissed the Taliban threat to Islamabad and its nuclear facilities, but at the end of April, the local Islamabad government ordered troops to deploy in the Margala hills just north of the city to block a Taliban advance, while the Haripur government beefed up security at the Tarbela Dam.

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

  • IMPORTANT COMMENTS MADE BY MUSLIM KHAN:
    ON HIMSELF – HIS BACKGROUND:
    I went to Kuwait, where I spent 14 years. In this period, I continued my association with various religious parties, including the Jamaat-i-Islami and Dr Israr Ahmed [Tanzeem-e-Islami]. At last, while in Kuwait, I was connected with Maulana Sufi Mohammad [the founder of the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Mohammadi and the father-in-law of Mullah Fazlullah].
    I found his claims for Islam true. From his first speech I heard, I could measure that this is the right man for the enforcement of Islamic laws and therefore I supported his cause and movement.
    Then came the last phase when Mullah Fazlullah, who spent 18 months in jail in Dera Ismail Khan [in the NWFP], as he was arrested while coming back from jihad in Afghanistan [after the US invasion in 2001], he launched a movement and we supported it as much as we could.
    ON JIHAD
    When Pakistan came into being in 1947, they did not implement Islamic laws. This was a betrayal against the nation, religion and God. Then in Malakand division, when the government promised us the implementation of Islamic laws – we have the documents to show this – why did they betray us? Why were Islamic laws not implemented? Therefore, our struggle is justified and those who oppose Islamic laws, they are outlaws.
    ON PAKISTAN ARMY
    Killing the mujahideen and selling them out is a means of earning for our (read: Pakistani) generals. This is also the way to avoid confrontation with American troops. If our forces cannot fight against cowardly Hindus, how come they can face American troops? Whether it is Kargil [the war with India in 1999] or Afghanistan, the mujahideen were used. Is there any Muslim country which can claim to liberate Palestine? No. Maybe God does not want to use these people for his cause because every officer is a pharaoh in his character.
    My comments: What is left unsaid is more important than what is said. When Muslim Khan says -“is there any Muslim country to liberate Palestine? No”

  • Jerjes Talpur says:

    [From moderator:
    You were answering an machine generated advertising posting from Fuzhou City, China.
    Sometimes these get past the SPAM filter.
    I am fairly sure that the machine did not care what you said here.
    It was just trying to get you to check the attached IPC.
    DJ]

  • Sam B. says:

    Seriously, why can’t we just abandon Pakistan? What’s wrong with letting it fall apart?
    If the Pak government collapses, Pakistani sovereignty will cease to exist. We can then intensify airstrikes in the tribal agencies and expand them to Balochistan. Their military leadership will be in disarray, so there’ll be less support from them for the Afghan Taliban, JEM, and the LET. A win-win situation.
    As for their nukes, the Indians will be more than willing to launch a pre-emptive strike on Pak nuclear facilities if the Taliban are about to take them over. NATO can join them if necessary.

  • Robert says:

    Jerjes,
    I think some one already brought this to your attention but you are probably in denial.
    Sufi Mohammad, after the signing of peace deal said that democracy is Kufr.
    Its not just Muslim Khan. It is Taliban ideology.
    Sam,
    That looks like a good idea. And that is what US should do, leave them alone and they will collapse. After all there is no justification for spending billions of tax payers dollars in a futile cause. Pakis have to stand up for themselves instead of standing with a begging bowl.
    Only problem is to locate the nukes first. The US knows the launching sites but not the storage facilities according to a US General. Indians are too chicken to pre-empt.
    I had another idea though. The US(and NATO) is struggling having to spend billions on military. If they can hire soldiers from India and similar countries they can have a lot more forces on the ground.
    It will benefit both countries.But the legal issues have to be carefully worked out.

  • Spooky says:

    Not a question of being chicken, its a question of the fact that ALL THE NUKES ARE AIMED AT INDIA. That’s like saying America should have preempted the Soviet Union during the cold war. They would have still lost. Same deal with India doing the same to Pakistan. MAD is definately in play here.
    Letting it fall apart is just as foolish as keeping it going as we are presently. Instead of that, we should be systematically breaking it down to the provincial level, with the current provincial governments representing the new states, then give the Frontier to Afghanistan (they hate the Durrand Line) and Kashmir to India (which would help in the War on Terror since India would have a land bridge into Afghanistan and thus could help out more) and then deal with two or three baby states born out of what remains of Pakistan.
    In short, I agree it must go, but letting it fall apart is the worst way to go about it.

  • Robert says:

    Spooky,
    I encouraged let go attitude because that does not elicit any response from Pakis.
    If they are to be partitioned as you advised, who will take the task of carrying it out. US is scared as hell. That is why it does not seem practical.
    Leaving them alone is quite possible while saving US and NATO good amount of taxpayers hard-earned money.
    Of course India should have a no-refugee policy out of valid security concerns.
    India is way stronger than Pak compared with US-USSR. Both USSR had independent weapons research that was competitive. For Pak most of these are borrowed.

  • Spooky says:

    Doesn’t matter if they made it themselves or if it is borrowed. They have enough nuclear weapons to annihilate India. It is for this reason India did not attack after Mumbai, as was stated in an interview with the Indian military a month or so ago.
    Also, the US may be scared, but they are also not who I had in mind to conduct the break up alone. Every nation with an ounce of worry over those nukes would get involved until at least they had those removed. In the mean time the provinces would be stabilized enough on their own by the various powers that once everyone left, the successor states wouldn’t fall into anarchy, and thats all that matters.
    To leave things as they are and let it collapse utterly is a fool’s decision, as that would also swallow Afghanistan whole regardless of the number of American troops and threaten India, who is an ally of the US. I need not even go into the Humanitarian crises that would erupt from the situation which would only cause MORE hate of the west and give even more places for Taliban and their ilk to develop. This time too with the weaponry of the 6th largest military force in the world.
    Keep Pakistan stabilized enough to dissolve peacefully and then things could be easier to control for the West. Rather than have lumbering Pakistan, they could deal with Sindh (which doesn’t amount to much outside of Karachi), Balochistan (big but relatively empty of people), and Punjab (crux of the problem, can keep it isolated. Better to have an expensive solution than a cheap nonsolution.

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