Bajaur strike hit Taliban, al Qaeda strategy meeting

Bajaur Taliban leader Faqir Mohammed.

Some interesting news has emerged from Bajaur, where unmanned US aircraft pounded a Taliban and al Qaeda planning session, killing 27 Taliban and al Qaeda operatives. Eleven “foreigners” were reported killed. Some of developments from the Bajaur strike from The News:

1) One of Faqir Mohammed’s nephews (Zahid) and a son-in-law (unnamed) were killed in the strike.

2) Taliban and al Qaeda are at odds on how to deploy forces . Faqir and the Taliban want to reinforce South Waziristan, while al Qaeda commanders advocate following up on successes across the border in the Afghan provinces of Nuristan and Kunar. We should expect that these the military leaders disagree on how to allocate forces on a multi-front war. One group sees the potential of exploiting success, another hopes to deal a defeat to the Pakistani Army.

3) Swat’s Mullah Fazlullah and key Swat leaders are sheltering in Bajaur. This should come as no surprise; both Fazlullah and Faqir came from the ranks of the TNSM and have been close allies.

4) The government, despite all of the bluster about defeating the Taliban last March, has had to send tribal leaders to negotiate with Faqir to eject Fazlullah. Faqir has refused to turn over Fazlullah, so a new round of operations has been launched in Bajaur.

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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  • Strike Hard says:

    Al-Qaeda fears the repeated success of another US surge strategy in Afghanistan. They saw what happened in Iraq to their pet al-qaeda in iraq.
    Also, the leadership of al-Qaeda Central knows full and well that any support from the Taliban for al-Qaeda is dependent on their support in turn for the Afghan Taliban and Mullah Omar, because the Pakistani Taliban are still seen as subordinate to Mullah Omar.
    Al-Qaeda Central also knows that NATO, if given enough time with this new strategy and more troops, will be able to turn things around in a shorter space of time than the Pakistani army can in Waziristan.
    There are some very nervous people in Al-Qaeda at the moment…

  • My2cents says:

    To many survivors. We need to use bigger bombs when we go after one of these meetings.

  • Mars says:

    The gloves are off…The question is…Are they off enough for current & former isi brass to be shown the error in their ways

  • Civy says:

    Don’t know your source for #2, but immediately suspected this when looking at the location of the strike and proximity to Kunar and Nuristan. It looks like it was we who followed up on our victory at COP Keating, not they – Military vs Propaganda victories being what they are and all.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    The source is The News, AQ said it wants to follow their successes…
    The reality is their attacks forced us to leave the area and cede them to the Taliban. Whether we planned on leaving or not, it doesn’t matter. The propaganda victory is real, and the fact they own that ground is real too. Don’t confuse the tactical victory in defeating the assault (that very nearly overran Keating) and the high enemy casualties with the bigger Taliban victory of forcing us from the area, and making a show of it to boot.

  • FredP says:

    Any way to convince Pakistan leadership to allow us to support their efforts on the ground with air strikes? It seems that Pakistan Taliban must stand and fight or redeploy either of which should put them out in the open.

  • Mr T says:

    A weakness. Multi Fronts.

  • 23squiddoo says:

    “OK, uh, welcome evereybody…uh…(no, no, hit “Escape”)…OK, while Abdullah brings up the first Powerpoint presentation, why don’t we all go around the room and introduce ourse–”

  • Civy says:

    Agree with your particulars Bill. But we could go back at any time, as heavy as we want, and stay as long as we like. (political decisions notwithstanding). With the losses they are taking, they cannot.
    I agree we have NOT capitalized on our tactical victory to turn it into a strategic one, but don’t overlook the fact that we CAN, and pretty much at will. Of course, as I’m sure you’d agree, it would be helpful to actually demonstrate this ability. Without more resources, they’ll just change the venue, so I think we’re in agreement more resources are needed to generalize this application of power.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    No arguments here, Civy. Having the capacity to do so and having the will to do so are not the same things in this case. So the net result is a victory for the Taliban. I don’t like saying it one bit, but I believe in being honest about these things.


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