Pakistani Army rejects North Waziristan operation

The Pakistani military has announced it does not intend to take on the Taliban in North Waziristan even though the Taliban recently dissolved the 16-month-old agreement and killed 27 soldiers in an attack on a military convoy last weekend.

The Pakistani Army dropped pamphlets in Miramshah, the main town of the Taliban-controlled tribal agency, announcing that it “does not want any operation in the area,” according to Geo News.

The Army signaled that it would only retaliate for attacks against its forces via punitive strikes, and blamed the violence on a small segment that wanted to sabotage the peace agreement.

The military said it “preserves the right to take action against the miscreant elements, who would be held fully responsible for the operation,” the news agency reported. The Pakistani military often uses the term “miscreant” to refer to foreign or al Qaeda fighters.

But Hafiz Gul Bahadar, the senior Taliban leader in North Waziristan, was responsible for ending the peace agreement, and his forces attacked the Army convoy last weekend. The ambush resulted in the deaths of 27 soldiers and 10 Taliban fighters.

On June 29, Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for Bahadar, said the peace agreement was off unless the military withdrew from North Waziristan and the government halted the US Predator airstrikes that have targeted senior al Qaeda and Taliban commanders.

The military has sought to keep Bahadar and a host of Taliban leaders in North and South Waziristan [see list below] on the sidelines as it takes on overall Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in his strongholds in South Waziristan.

Earlier this year, Bahadar united with Baitullah and South Waziristan Taliban leader Mullah Nazir to form the United Mujahideen Council. The group was formed at the behest of Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and the Haqqanis. The three leaders of the newly-formed Council vowed to oppose the Pakistani military government, repel any government incursion into the tribal areas, and continue to support Taliban operations in Afghanistan.

Senior Taliban and al Qaeda leaders operating in North Waziristan

Hafiz Gul Bahadar: Bahadar is the senior Taliban leader in North Waziristan and one of the most prominent commanders in Pakistan. Bahadar is a direct descendant of Mirza Ali Khan, the tribal leader who fought the British and the Indians in the early twentieth century. Bahadar chairs the North Waziristan Shura, or executive council. His forces have defeated the Pakistani Army in 2006 and 2007. Bahadar is considered a “pro-government Taliban” leader.

The Haqqani Network: The Haqqani Network is run by Jalaluddin and his son Sirajuddin. It operates both in Pakistan and across the border in eastern Afghanistan, primarily in the provinces of Khost, Paktika, and Paktia. The network is responsible for some of the most deadly attacks in Afghanistan, and has the backing of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services.

Saddiq Noor: Noor is a senior Taliban leader and military commander who hosts Taliban and al Qaeda meetings from his offices in Miramshah. Noor administers a Taliban shadow government in Miramshah and supports the Haqqani Network’s operations in Khost. In early 2008, the Pakistani military signed a peace agreement with Noor, Bahadar, and Haqqani.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Haqqani: Abdul Khaliq Haqqani is a senior Taliban leader and military commander. He provides support for the Haqqani Network and other Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Abu Kasha al Iraq: Abu Kasha is the key link between al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis (main Shura or consultative body) and the Taliban. Kasha is an Iraqi Arab who is based out of Mir Ali. He has two local commanders, Imanullah and Haq Nawaz Dawar, who administer his local offices. Kasha has a working relationship and close communication with the Uzbek terror groups and also serves as a commander in al Qaeda’s Shadow Army.

Najimuddin al Uzbeki: Najimuddin commands the Islamic Jihad Group or IJG, an offshoot of the Tahir Yuldeshav Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The IJG is a a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. The IJG is also known as the Ijaz Group. The Taliban use the IJG as drug and arms smugglers.

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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