The Adezai lashkar, just a few miles outside Peshawar. Image from the BBC.
Two of the major reasons the Awakenings were so successful in Iraqi’s Anbar province and beyond were: 1) the Awakening received support from the Iraqi government and the US, to include military backup in case of an attack; and 2) there was close and continuous coordination between local Awakening movements and a larger Awakening structure.
Pakistan has attempted to battle the Taliban using local tribal militias, but so far Pakistan’s attempts to utilize local militias have been haphazard at best, and even treacherous in some cases. The BBC reports that in one town outside Peshawar, the provincial capital of the Northwest Frontier Province, there is little coordination between the government and local militia:
The villagers are funding the militia out of their own pockets. “We give clothes, shoes and food to the volunteers,” said Dilawar Khan. “Machine guns, ammunition, cars, we provide the lot. We buy the fuel for the vehicles.”
“It’s 18 months since we started this war,” said Mr Khan. “And until now we haven’t had a minute’s help from the government.”
While the Pakistani government supports lashkars in principal, in practice the Adezai lashkar has had little or no help. Mr Khan says their next battle will be with the authorities – to get them to play their part.
“We are fighting this war for the sake of our motherland,” he said, “to protect our village, our tribe and our religion. But we cannot handle it alone.”
There is “Taliban-held territory on three sides,” the leader of the Lashkar told the BBC. Again, this is just outside the provincial capital, Peshawar, which is only 15 miles away. Keep that in mind when you hear the Pakistani military state that the Taliban have been defeated in the tribal areas and the NWFP.
Farther north, in Bajaur, where the Pakistani military claimed it has defeated the Taliban, a lashkar is being supported by the government. The Salarzai tribe, which previously accused the military of targeting its leaders at the behest of the Taliban, is now rampaging through the region and is torching scores of homes said to be owned by the Taliban – more than 144 at last count.
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