Name that army

At least one squad of the joint Taliban-al Qaeda Shadow Army operating in Swat.

In a London Times article on foreign fighters’ influence in Pakistan’s tribal areas, the author notes that the Punjabi and Arab fighters in the region are quite organized and efficient:

The Arabs, regarded by locals as good, quiet tenants, paying up to 20,000 rupees (£160) in rent per month, now reportedly move around chaperoned by another key group of international terrorists: the Punjabi Taleban fighters belonging to Kashmiri militant groups such as LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harakat-ul-Mujahideen.

“The Punjabis are very experienced in IEDs,” a tribal member said. “They and the other Kashmiri groups are like a regular army. [emphasis supplied]

That sounds very familiar. And the following quote from the same article makes you wonder if it is such a good idea for the Pakistani military to demonize India and Israel as being behind the Taliban during pamphlet drops.

“The Arabs stay with them [the Punjabis] in the homes we have left behind. They trust them more than the local Taliban.”

However, not everyone is happy with their presence. “It’s because of them that the army has come to our land and destroyed our homes,” one local tribesman said. “Because of them our businesses are wrecked. Because of them we live as internal refugees.

“I’ve met ordinary people who say that they’d even welcome Israel or India if they helped us get rid of these Arabs and their friends.”

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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