North Waziristan Taliban threaten Pakistani government


Daily Times has the best description of the North Waziristan Taliban’s warning to the Pakistani government not to launch a military operation in the tribal area:

A shura of Taliban in North Waziristan Agency on Sunday said it can withstand government action but would not tolerate a military operation in the agency. In a pamphlet addressed to the people of North Waziristan and distributed in Miranshah Bazaar, it warned the government that launching an operation in the agency would lead to war.

The pamphlet issued by the Taliban shura appealed to the people of North Waziristan Agency to locate to a ‘peaceful’ area in Afghanistan before the clash began. The pamphlet said the shura had been honouring the agreement it signed with the government and had not attacked security forces since then, however, the government was violating the agreement to serve its vested interests.

The shura said the government was taking advantage of the situation, and had established a spy network in the agency and had killing several militants and civilians, according to the pamphlet issued by the Taliban.

The pamphlet said that according to the accord, the government had agreed to withdraw troops from Jani Khel and Baka Khel areas of the tribal agency [note Jani Khel and Baka Khal are regions in district of Bannu, which borders North Waziristan], however, the number of troops had increased there since the agreement. The pamphlet issued by the militants said troops were searching the houses of civilians, and in some cases even demolishing houses.

The shura said army checkposts still existed in these areas and the authorities were even checking women’s identity cards.

Reuters reported that the pamphlet was issued by the Council of Mujahideen.

“We will not accept any sort of operation and if there is any preparation from the government for an operation, or government forces enter any village in this regard, that could trigger a full-fledged battle,” said the Council of Mujahideen, which includes the Pakistani Taliban, in a statement.

The Council of Mujahideen was formed in February 2009 and was comprised of North Waziristan Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadar, South Waziristan chieftain Mullah Nazir, and then leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud. Nazir and Bahadar are not part of the The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. The three Taliban leaders formed the Council at the behest of Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden, who wanted the Pakistani Taliban to form a united front.

With the death of Baitullah in a US strike in August 2009, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan was no longer represented on the Council of Mujahideen. And as far as I know, Hakeemullah Mehsud did not take Baitullah’s place. With Baitullah no longer part of the council, this allowed the Pakistani military to cut a deal with Nazir and Bahadar to remain neutral while the Army launched its operation in South Waziristan in mid-October 2009.

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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