Pakistani reactions to Mohmand strike correspond with Taliban peace demands

Pakistan has responded forcefully to last weekend’s airstrike by ISAF forces that killed more than 20 Pakistani soldiers at two observation posts in the Mohmand tribal agency. In the wake of the attack, the Pakistani government has taken the following actions:

  1. Closed NATO’s supply lines through both the Khyber Pass and Chaman border crossings. An estimated 50 percent of ISAF’s supplies are moved via these two crossings.
  2. Ordered the US to vacate Shamsi Air Base in Baluchistan province. The base is used by the CIA to carry out Predator and Reaper drone strikes against al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other terror groups operating in North and South Waziristan.
  3. Ordered a review of its ties with the United States and its cooperation in hunting al Qaeda and other terror groups on Pakistani soil.

Oddly enough, these actions correspond closely with the Pakistani Taliban’s demands for implementing a peace deal with the government. See Threat Matrix report, Pakistani Taliban, government in peace talks, and LWJ report, Pakistani Taliban signal willingness to conduct peace talks for more details on the Taliban’s demands. On Nov. 19, according to the Washington Post/Associated Press, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman said that in order for Pakistan to make peace with the militants it must cut ties with the US.

The Taliban also want their prisoners freed and Sharia, or Islamic law, established nationwide. The former has happened in past talks, and the latter was permitted in the Malakand Division in Swat in 2009, so those two items are certainly negotiable.

Also, the Mohmand attack takes place just as Pakistan has been embroiled in the controversy over the so-called Hussain Haqqani memo. Haqqani, until very recently Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, resigned after it was disclosed that he passed along a request from President Zardari to Admiral Mullen to intervene and establish civilian control over the Pakistani military and to increase cooperation with the US to hunt terrorists in the wake of the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. The controversy has threatened to tear apart the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, and has put pressure on the military to act. In one fell swoop, the Mohmand raid has eased the internal pressure on both the government and the military, and has allowed Pakistanis to vent their anger at the US.

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8 Comments

  • mike merlo says:

    At some point in time Pakistan will find itself acquiescing to most if not all the demands by the ‘secessionists.’ The Haqqani memo is beginning to look like a Rawalpindi Conspiracy redux. With rumors of Mullah Omar scurrying about seeking to help facilitate this next round of cease fires & Pakistan obviously backing it Afghanistan should prepare themselves a yet to materialize campaign, a Winter Offensive. Feb is most likely start date if it happens. FATA & Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are starting to look like East Pakistan.

  • Knighthawk says:

    Surprise surprise.

  • Bing says:

    This would take an incredible set of circumstances to come together for this to work.
    Let’s keep Occam’s razor in mind as well.

  • mike merlo says:

    I fail to see the logic in minding Occam’s razor. Try going back in time & explaining that to Navarre before he found himself being stared down by cannon’s at Dien Bien Phu.

  • James says:

    Bill or anyone concerned, please check out this article:
    //www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/world/asia/haqqani-militants-use-death-squads-in-afghanistan.html
    Okay Julian Assange of Wikileaks shame, looks to me now that you’ve got blood on your hands ! ! !

  • FJ says:

    This is Pakistan’s 26/11 where terrorists from other countries came across their border and kill the people of Pakistan!!

  • Charles says:

    Closing the road from Pakistan to Afghanistan is now less crucial than a couple years ago as the USA has already forged several lines of transport through the Northern Route.
    //www.cnn.com/2011/11/29/world/asia/afghanistan-military-railroad/index.html
    When the afghans are ready to bring their natural resources to China and Europe–they won’t have to go through pakistan.

  • Knighthawk says:

    Charles that is the case (it’s less of a disaster then it would have been years ago), but it’s still a major major problem if lasts more then a couple weeks.

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