The Mehsud tribe will not hand over Hakeemullah


Hakeemullah Mehsud, left. AFP photo.

Be sure to take the customary mega-dose of salt that is required when reading about reports of “peace agreements” in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The Mehsud tribe has agreed, at the deadline, to a seven-point list of demands thrust upon it by the government. According to the Press Trust of India (and confirmed later in the Daily Times), the Mehsud have agreed to hand over Pakistani Taliban chief Hakeemullah Mehsud and other Taliban leaders. From the Press Trust of India:

In a jolt to militants, elders of the Mehsud tribe today said they would hand over 378 men, including Pakistani Taliban chief Hakeemullah Mehsud, wanted by the authorities and back the government’s efforts to restore peace in South Waziristan.

As a January 20 deadline set by the government to respond to its demands ended today, the decision to hand over the wanted men was made at a ‘jirga’ or council of the Mehsud tribe which is linked to Hakeemullah. A large number of Taliban militants belong to this tribe.

The jirga also decided to accept seven conditions set by the government for ensuring peace and maintaining public order in South Waziristan, described by the US and its allies as a safe haven for Taliban and al-Qaeda elements…

The jirga held in Tank district in northwest Pakistan was attended by over 300 elders of the Mehsud tribe. The elders also agreed not to display heavy and automatic weapons in South Waziristan and to accept the writ of the government. They also agreed not to provide shelter to foreigners in their area.

Note that the Mehsud tribes are so enthusiastic about this agreement that they came to it a day after the ultimatum expired. The government likely threatened to utilize the Frontier Crimes Regulations, which allows for the arrest of tribal leaders and members and the destruction of homes, business, and property. Not a very good counterinsurgency tool, incidentally.

Before anyone gets excited, this is the standard peace deal that the tribes/Taliban always agree to but never observe. Past agreements have always demanded that the tribes expel foreigners, obey the writ of the government, and stop carrying heavy weapons. And usually some senior Taliban leader’s head is called for.

But the tribes/Taliban never abide by the treaties. Ever. The multitude of peace accords in North and South Waziristan have required the tribes to eject al Qaeda and other “miscreants,” obey the government’s writ, stop running parallel governments, and stop carrying weapons. How’s that working for the Pakistani government?

Most recently, the same demands were put on the tribes in Bajaur and Mohmand in February 2009. The tribes’ acquiescence to the government’s demands, which included turning over Bajaur Taliban leader Faqir Mohammed among others, was used by the military to declare that the Taliban was driven from these two tribal agencies. Alas, Faqir Mohammed is still in business, and the Taliban are butchering tribal leaders who stand against them, with few repercussions from the government.

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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1 Comment

  • Neo says:

    “Be sure to take the customary mega-dose of salt that is required when reading about reports of “peace agreements” in Pakistan’s tribal areas. ”
    I’d advise passing on the salt, and going straight to the chalky tasting pink stuff. Another “peace agreement”


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