Anti-Taliban militia commander threatens to quit, join Taliban, after Peshawar suicide attack

Dawn reports that the leader of an anti-Taliban militia in the Matni area of Peshawar has threatened to end his support for the government in the wake of yesterday’s deadly suicide attack at the funeral of a wife of a fellow militia member:

The leader of a powerful anti-Taliban militia on Thursday threatened to stop cooperating with authorities after a deadly suicide bombing on his men — a warning that highlights the risks Pakistan is taking by using private armies with questionable loyalties in its struggle against the insurgents.

Dilawar Khan and other militia leaders close to Peshawar have long demanded more money and weapons from authorities in northwest Pakistan, accusing the government of encouraging them to rise up against the Taliban but not giving them the support needed to do so.

But authorities, worried about giving them too much power, have been careful not to give them too much.

And according to AKI, Khan said he’d join the Taliban:

“We are no longer capable of fighting them alone. We need the government’s help. Either the government accepts our demands within two days or they should let us join the Taliban,” he said.

As we noted in 2008 and 2009, the Pakistani government provides only minimal support for such militias operating in the northwest. [See LWJ reports, Pakistan engages the tribes in effort to fight the Taliban, from September 2008; and Anti-Taliban tribal militia leader assassinated in Pakistan’s northwest, from July 2009.]

Little has changed since those reports. Despite Pakistani military operations in the tribal areas, the Taliban still maintain an advantage over the militias due to the government’s lack of material support for the militias, poor to non-existent coordination with security forces, and the absence of an integrated support network between the militias.

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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  • madashell59 says:

    How dare this guy call himself a leader. So lets see your enemy blow up an ally or colleague and then you say well I guess I better go join the enemy. I would fire that guy and jail him for suspicion of treason. What would happen to this guy if he were working for the Taliban and he said the same thing?
    Or maybe he should have used his words more carefully. The point is if he was passionate about keeping the Taliban out of control due to their wanted rules of law he would have just complained that he needs more support. But apparently it seems that he does not care which side wins?

  • Zeissa says:

    Err he’s just some tribal leader in the Pakistani badlands… his only priority is keeping his own people alive.

  • Grim says:

    His decision is likely based primarily on survival. He is right that the GoP simply sucks at supporting what would be natural enemies of the Taliban. All our money goes towards lining the pockets of government officials instead of where it should be going. Generally decisions are based on near term gains in that region. When Taliban acceptance is easier than Taliban resistance, generating commitment against terrorism is rather difficult. Yeah on paper or with a western perception he does seem like a heartless leader but in the grand scheme of things we need to win guys like that over. Him being initially resistant to the the Taliban is actually a good sign and the failure falls on the GoP. Guys like that need proper support and should be rewarded. Instead the GoP lets them get the shaft and he is caught in a local conflict. Give him some damn guns and a few bucks so he can get back on the right track.

  • nolan says:

    perhaps you should choose your words more carefully. it seems you


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