Sunday, January 25, 2009

As The US Role In Iraq Is About To “Wind Down” The Drive On Afghanistan Is Beginning Below The Radar.



As The US Role In Iraq Is About To “Wind Down” The Drive On Afghanistan Is Beginning Below The Radar.  That Battle Will Headline Three Nouns:

PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN AND WAZIRISTAN

 

Part I: Waziristan-The Land That Has Never Been Ruled

Part II: Waziristan-Analysis Detail and Documentation

  

“Not Only That, Waziristan Has Never Been Ruled In History.”

 

"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!"

- Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) –

 

Waziristan has been the undoing of many nations, many conquerors: The British, The Soviet Union…

 

Let It Not Be Written In Headlines: “War Weary West Wallows In Waziristan Wash Of Wasted Blood!

 

Think First!

 

Afghanistanthe Soviet invasion and the Afghan response, 1979-1982

 

Afghanistan Online: The Role of Afghanistan in the fall of the USSR

 

http://www.coldwar.org/articles/90s/fall_of_the_soviet_union.asp

 

http://www.raleightavern.org/lovell.htm

 

“Those who can win a war well rarely make good peace and those who could make good peace would never have won the war.”

Unfortunately for the mankind Middle Eastern insurgents and terrorists follow no codes. In absence of honor and trust no peace is possible.

 

U.S. Covert Action In Waziristan (Part I) By Akbar Ahmed - The ...

http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=6737

 

Jan 23, 2008 ... Throughout historyWaziristan has been invaded by empire after empire, and was never subjugated. With that history in mind, the Wazir and ..

 

The global spotlight is on Waziristan. Osama bin Laden is said to be there, as well as a new generation of Al Qaeda leaders. Worried about the destabilizing effect of Al Qaeda, the U.S. government wants the CIA to conduct more aggressive operations there. American University Professor Akbar Ahmed, a former civil service administrator once in charge of Waziristan, told The Globalist what the United States can expect.

 

“…North and South Waziristan are controlled by al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The last time Americans wandered in there, in a couple of helicopters that dropped special forces in South Waziristan, they were repulsed after a firefight. The last time an unmanned American Predator drone went in there, in September 2008 near Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, the same day that Bush was flattering Zardariface to face about "Pakistan's sovereign right and sovereign duty to protect your country," the Pakistani military shot it down. The next day, Pakistani troops fired at two U.S. helicopters violating Pakistani air space…”

 

NORTH WAZIRISTAN PEACE AGREEMENT ALLOWS AL QAEDA TO REMAIN

By BILL ROGGIO June 8, 2008 10:17 AM

 

With the flurry of negotiations under way in Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas, details are finally leaking about the North Waziristan peace agreement that was signed in February.

 

The Daily Times, a Pakistani news organization, has obtained a copy of the peace agreement. The agreement lets al Qaeda leaders and operatives remain in North Waziristan "as long as they pledge to remain peaceful."

 

While the agreement was signed in mid-February, the details of the North Waziristan accord have remained a secret. The Pakistani government has purposefully kept the deal secret, and built in language to prevent the Taliban from disclosing details. Based on information released by the Northwest Frontier Province’s Governor’s office and the Daily Times, the terms of the agreement are as follows:

 

• "Foreigners' must leave North Waziristan.


• Al Qaeda operatives can live in North Waziristan "as long as they pledge to remain peaceful."


• The Taliban may not establish a parallel government.


• The Taliban must halt attacks on government and security forces personnel. 


• The Taliban "agreed to jointly struggle against extremism and terrorism throughout the agency."


• Disclosing the contents of the peace agreement is prohibited.


• A fine of about $740,000 will be assessed for anyone violating the terms of the agreement. 


• The government will withdraw the Army and turn over security to the paramilitary Frontier Corps.


• The government will release captured Taliban leaders and fighters.

 

The agreement does not mention existing al Qaeda and Taliban terror training camps or the ending of cross-border attacks into Pakistan. The Taliban established a shadow Taliban government after the 2006 peace agreement, and by all accounts it remains in place. The Taliban runs recruiting offices, courts, and jails, taxes the population, and maintains security forces. The Taliban and al Qaeda are known to run 29 training camps in North and South Waziristan.

 

The powerful Haqqani family is based in North Waziristan. The Haqqani family runs several mosques and madrassa, or religious schools, near Miramshah. The Pakistani government closed down the radical Haqqani-run Manba Ulom madrassa after the US commenced Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, but the school was reopened in 2004. The Manba Ulom madrassa has been described as a center of jihadi activities, where top Taliban and al Qaeda commanders meet.

 

Siraj Haqqani, the son of renowned Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani, is one of the senior Taliban leaders in North Waziristan. He has close ties to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. He has embraced al Qaeda's tactics and ideology, and has recruited foreign terrorists to act as suicide bombers and operatives inside Afghanistan. Siraj is believed to be running the Haqqani Network in eastern Afghanistan and has become a focal point of Coalition operations. The US military has put out a $200,000 bounty for Siraj's arrest. Taliban commanders Hafiz Gul Bahadar and Sadiq Noor also operate in North Waziristan.


For more information on the terms of the peace agreements in Swat, Bajaur, North Waziristan, and Mohmand, and the proposed terms for the agreements in South Waziristan, Mardan, and Kohat, see:

 

Descent into Appeasement


Pakistani government inks peace deal with Swat Taliban


Pakistan is negotiating a new peace agreement with Baitullah Mehsud (South Waziristan)


Pakistan revives the North Waziristan Accord 


Pakistan releases Taliban leader, signs peace deal with outlawed Taliban group (Bajaur, Malakand Division)


Pakistan strikes deal with the Taliban in Mohmand


Negotiations with the Taliban under way in Kohat


Negotiations under way with Taliban in Mardan

 

See The Fall of Northwestern Pakistan: An Online History for more information on the rise of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan and the history of peace agreements signed between the government and the Taliban.

 

 

US strikes al Qaeda in North and South Waziristan

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/01/us_strikes_al_qaeda.php

By BILL ROGGIO January 23, 2009 11:42 AM

 

The US launched two airstrikes inside of Pakistan's tribal areas on Friday, ending a three-week lull in attacks against Taliban and al Qaeda networks inside Pakistan. Twenty people, including "foreigners," have been reported killed in the Predator strikes in the Taliban-controlled tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan.

 

The first attack took place in the town of Zera just outside of Mir Ali in North Waziristan. Three Hellfire missiles are reported to have struck a compound run by a local named Khalil, killing 10 people.

 

The second strike took place in the town of Gangi Khel near Wana in Sourth Waziristan. Two Hellfire missiles were launched at a compound, killing 10 more people.

 

No senior al Qaeda or Taliban leaders have been reported killed at this time, and it is not yet known who the targets of the attacks were.

 

The town of Gangi Khel in South Waziristan is located in the tribal areas commanded by Mullah Nazir, a Taliban chieftain and rival of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. The US targeted Nazir and Tahir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, in a strike near Wana on Nov. 7. Nazir was wounded in the attack. Yuldashev's status is still unknown.

 

The town of Mir Ali is a known stronghold of al Qaeda leader Abu Kasha. He has close links to both al Qaeda and the Taliban, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal in January 2007. Kasha is an Iraqi national who operates in the Mir Ali region. He serves as the key link between al Qaeda's Shura Majlis, or executive council, and the Taliban.

 

His responsibilities have expanded to assisting in facilitating al Qaeda external operations against the West, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal in October 2008.

 

Kasha commands two local Pakistani commanders, Imanullah and Haq Nawaz Dawar. These men administer al Qaeda's network in Mir Ali. Kasha has a working relationship and close communication with the Uzbek terror groups, including the Islamic Jihad Group run by Najimuddin al Uzbeki, who also operates out of North Waziristan.

 

A PAUSE IN STRIKES

 

Today's attacks in North and South Waziristan mark the first cross-border strikes inside Pakistan since President Barack Obama took office. The strikes mark the third and fourth cross-border attacks inside Pakistan this year. The last attack took place on Jan. 2 in the tribal areas of South Waziristan that are run by Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud.

 

The previous day, a strike in Nazir's tribal areas killed senior al Qaeda leaders Osama al Kini and his senior aide, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan. Kini was al Qaeda operations chief in Pakistan. Both men were behind the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed 224 civilians and wounded more than 5,000 others.

 

US intelligence believes al Qaeda has reconstituted its external operations network in Pakistan's lawless, Taliban-controlled tribal areas. The US has struck at these external cells using unmanned Predator aircraft and other means in an effort to disrupt al Qaeda's external network and decapitate the leadership.

 

As of last summer, al Qaeda operated 157 known training camps. Al Qaeda has been training terrorists holding Western passports to conduct attacks, US intelligence officials have told The Long War Journal. Some of the camps are devoted to training the Taliban's military arm, some train suicide bombers for attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, some focus on training the various Kashmiri terror groups, some train al Qaeda operatives for attacks in the West, and one serves as a training ground for the Black Guard, the elite bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and other senior al qaeda leaders.

 

There were 36 recorded cross-border attacks and attempts in Pakistan during 2008, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal. Twenty-nine of these attacks took place after Aug. 31. There were only 10 recorded strikes in 2006 and 2007 combined.

 

During 2008, the US strikes inside Pakistan's tribal areas killed five senior al Qaeda leaders. All of the leaders were involved in supporting al Qaeda's external operations directed at the West.

 

Abu Laith al Libi, a senior military commander in Afghanistan, was killed in a strike in North Waziristan in January 2008.

 

Abu Sulayman Jazairi, al Qaeda’s external operations chief, was killed in a strike in Bajaur in March 2008.

 

Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaeda's weapons of mass destruction chief, and several senior members of his staff were killed in a strike in South Waziristan in July 2008.

 

Khalid Habib, the leader of al Qaeda's paramilitary forces in the tribal areas, was killed in North Waziristan in October 2008.

 

Abu Jihad al Masri, the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group and member of al Qaeda's top council, was also killed in North Waziristan in October 2008.


US ATTACKS INSIDE PAKISTAN DURING 2009:

 

• US strikes al Qaeda in North and South Waziristan
Jan. 23, 2009


• 
US hits South Waziristan in second strike
Jan. 2, 2009


• 
US kills four al Qaeda operatives in South Waziristan strike
Jan. 1, 2009


For a summary of US strikes inside Pakistan in 2008, see 
US strikes in two villages in South Waziristan.

 

U.S. Forces Kill Couple In Raid on Iraqi House | Military Says Man Led Assassin Cell

 

BAGHDAD, Jan. 24 -- U.S. troops stormed the house of a former army officer Saturday in northern Iraq, killing the man and his wife, wounding their 8-year-old daughter and unleashing anger among residents at tactics they deemed excessive, police said.

 

The pre-dawn raid occurred near the village of Hawija, a restive area about 130 miles north of Baghdad and west of the contested city of Kirkuk. Police identified the man as Dhiya Hussein, a former colonel under Saddam Hussein who U.S. authorities said was wanted for running an assassination cell for insurgents in the region.

 

In the angry aftermath, 40 cars carrying hundreds of people converged on the family's funeral later in the day, said Fadhil Najm, a neighbor. He said the mourners shouted, "Death to America! Death to killers of women!" as they buried the bodies.

 

Gen. Jamal Tahir Bakir, head of the provincial police, said U.S. forces acted on their own in the raid. The U.S. military denied that. It confirmed the deaths of the couple and their daughter's injury but said the raid was conducted in cooperation with Iraqi forces. Under a new agreement between the United States and Iraq, which went into effect Jan. 1, all operations must be coordinated with Iraqi authorities.

 

Deadly missiles strike Pakistan

Two missile attacks from suspected US drones have killed 14 people in north-western Pakistan, officials say.

 

At least one missile hit a house in a village near the town of Mirali in North Waziristan, a stronghold of al-Qaeda and Taleban militants.

 

A second suspected drone attack has been reported in South Waziristan, killing five people.

 

Pakistan has long argued that such strikes are counter-productive and are a violation of its sovereignty.

 

These are the first drone attacks since Barack Obama was inaugurated as US president on Tuesday.

 

Pakistani leaders had expressed hope that the new US administration would halt the controversial air strikes, saying they fuelled public anger and complicated Pakistan's own counter-insurgency efforts.

 

Meanwhile, two security personnel were killed when a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a military checkpoint in the Fizzagat area of the Swat Valley in north-western Pakistan.

 

Swat plays host to frequent battles between the Pakistani army and Islamic militants trying to enforce a strict form of Islamic law set down by Mullah Fazlullah, a radical cleric.

 

'Militants killed'

 

The first drone attack struck a house owned by a man called Khalil Khan in the village of Zeerakai at 1700 local time.

 

Four Arab militants were killed in the strikes, officials said. Their identities were not immediately clear but officials said one was a senior al-Qaeda operative.

 

The second attack was aimed at the house of a Taleban commander about 10km (six miles) from the town of Wanna, local reports said.

 

But officials told the BBC that the drone actually hit the house of a pro-government tribal leader, killing him and four members of his family, including a five-year-old child.

 

More than 20 attacks have been carried out from drones on targets in north-western Pakistan in recent months, sparking protests from Pakistan's government.

 

On Thursday, President Obama appointed Richard Holbrooke as special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, having promised that his administration would continue to tackle the threats posed by extremists in both countries.

 

Earlier on Friday, a roadside bomb exploded on the outskirts of Mingora town as a security patrol was passing.

 

Eyewitnesses said the security forces opened fire and killed three passers-by, but the security forces denied being responsible for the deaths. 

 

http://noblesseoblige.org/wordpress/category/waziristan/

 

Debate: On Strategy in a Tribal Context

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Emirate_of_Waziristan

 

Why Waziristan cannot be conquered

by A. H. Amin

(Friday, February 13, 2004)

 

"Beware of despising the tribals. They brought both Muslim and non Muslim Emperors to grief whether it was Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb, Ranjit Singh or the British king."

 

Those who know the Pathans and their history will know exactly what is happening in Waziristan today and which Lashkar is doing what and for what reason. The tribal Pathans have traditionally been supreme fighters who defied the Mughal occupiers, the Sikh occupiers, the British occupiers and now the latest occupiers, i.e. the US coalition chasing the Pathans and Muslims of various castes and creeds motivated by sheer ideology.

 

The Fall of Northwestern Pakistan: An Online History

By BILL ROGGIO September 13, 2006 10:16 AM

 

Documenting the Taliban's rise to power in Waziristan and beyond over the course of 2006 and 2007

 

The fall of North and South Waziristan and the rise of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan was an event telegraphed by al Qaeda and the Taliban. During the winter of 2006,Osama bin Laden announced his strategy to establish bases and pockets of territory along the Afghan-Pakistani border. The Taliban and al Qaeda (virtually indistinguishable in this region at this point in time) had been fighting a long term insurgency against the Pakistani Army after President Musharraf put troops in the region shortly after 9-11.

 

But two developments accelerated al Qaeda's plans to conquer the agencies of North and South Waziristan: the airstrike against Ayman al-Zawahiri in Damadola, and the attack on the Danda Saidgai training camp in North Waziristan. In both instances, al Qaeda's senior leadership was targeted, and in Danda Saidgai, Osama bin Laden and his praetorian 'Black Guard,' or personal bodyguard, were the subject of the attack.

 

While bin Laden and Zawahiri escaped, senior commanders such as Abu Khabab al-Masri (WMD chief) and Imam Asad (chief trainer of the Black Guard), among others were killed. Al-Qaeda could no longer countenance a Pakistani presence in the region. The time had come to force the Pakistani Army to withdraw and force the government to accept terms of surrender. Al-Qaeda retaliated for the airstrikes by murdering a U.S. official at the Consulate in Karachi.

 

South Waziristan fell some time in the spring of 2006 (I suspect sometime in late March). On March 6, I referred to South Waziristan as 'Talibanistan.' Shariah Law was declared in South Waziristan at this time and the Taliban began to rule openly. A single political party was established in South Waziristan, a party loyal to the Taliban. It is said a secret accord was signed between the Pakistani government and the Taliban around this time. All along the fighting in North Waziristan increased over the course of 2006.

 

Pro-Pakistani government tribal leaders and informants were murdered and made an example of. The Pakistani Army paid a devastating price for their operations in Waziristan. The official government reports claim around 200 soldiers killed, however the unofficial numbers put the casualties somewhere around 3,000 killed in combat.

 

On June 25, I sounded the alarm that a truce would be in the offing in North Waziristan. The Pakistan Army was taking a pounding, and President Musharraf lacked the will to fight in the region became apparent. All along, Musharraf and the Pakistani elite attempted to draw distinctions between the Taliban and “miscreants” and “foreigners” - which is merely code for al Qaeda. The failure to realize the Taliban and al Qaeda worked towards the same end, and have integrated political and command structures, led the Pakistani government to cut deals with the 'local Taliban' and the eventual establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan. The Taliban and al Qaeda are by no means finished with their goals of carving out safe havens along the Afghan-Pakistani border. In March of 2007, the Pakitani government signed over the tribal agency of Bajaur to the Taliban.

 

The series of posts below document the history of the fall of North and South Waziristan and the rise of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan, and the rise of Talibanistan in the Northwest Frontier Province from 2006 onward.

 

Obama’s Disaster in the Making

“…There is a civil war going on in Afghanistan. There may soon be a civil war in northern Pakistan. The Taliban is involved in both, and the United States has every interest in staying out of both.

 

In Afghanistan, Taliban members are not foreign invaders. They ruled the country before the United States sent B-52s to annihilate (if Hillary Clinton will permit me) their peasant army in 2001, as it resisted invasion by the rival Northern Force, backed by the United States.

 

They now want to rule Afghanistan once again. They are a radical religio-political sect, which arose in recent decades among largely uneducated tribesmen living in the historically ungovernable “tribal areas” on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

 

They believe in a deeply obscurantist mixture of fundamentalist Islam and traditional tribal practice. They belong to the Pathan (or Pashtun) people, which means that they are kinsmen to more than 40 million other Pathans in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere in Central Asia, whom no one has conquered since Alexander the Great.

 

At various times the Taliban has been supported or manipulated by Pakistan military intelligence in connection with purely Pakistani or regional matters. The vast majority of Taliban members, other than those currently being bombed by the U.S. in Afghanistan or Pakistan, undoubtedly are totally ignorant even of the existence of the United States of America.

 

At one point in their tangled history, they afforded hospitality to their fellow-traditionalist Muslim, the Saudi Arabian Osama bin Laden. That was their big mistake. The Bush administration made the bigger mistake of becoming entangled with them, for which the United States will eventually be sorry. Barack Obama should think again…”

 

The Pashtuns Of Afghanistan : Alexander The Great Also Got In Trouble Here

 

WASHINGTON: There is a lake near Webster, Massachusetts called Chargoggaggoggmanchaugagoggchaubunagungamaug.

 

Translated from the original Nipmuck, it lays down this thoughtful code for keeping the peace: "You fish on your side, I fish on my side, nobody fishes in the middle."

 

Halfway around the globe, there is a place called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, seven so-called tribal "agencies" along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan where about six million of the most independent humans on the planet live on 27,000 square kilometers of rugged and inhospitable terrain.

 

They are the Pashtuns, and they have lived on their lands without interruption or major migration for about 20,000 years. They know their neighborhood very well, and their men have been armed to the teeth since the first bow was strung. Their ancient code involves a commitment to hospitality, revenge and the honor of the tribe. They are invariably described as your "best friend or worst enemy." The Pashtuns' sense of territoriality bears some resemblance to the Nipmuck tribe of Massachusetts; when outsiders venture into the middle of their lands on fishing expeditions or to exert authority, very bad things happen.

 

In the 4th century B.C., Alexander the Great fell afoul of Pashtun tribesmen in today's Malakand Agency, where he took an arrow in the leg and almost lost his life. Two millennia later the founder of the Mogul empire, Babur, described the tribesmen of the area now known as Waziristan as unmanageable; his main complaint seemed to center on his inability to get them to pay their taxes by handing over their sheep, let alone stop to attacking his armies. A couple of hundred years later, in the middle of the 19th century, the British experienced disaster after disaster as they tried to bring the same Pashtun tribes to heel, particularly in the agencies of North and South Waziristan. In 1893, after half a century of jockeying for position with Imperial Russia in the "Great Game," the British administrator of the northwest of Queen Victoria's Indian Empire, Sir Mortimer Durand, demarcated the border between India — now Pakistan — and Afghanistan. The Durand line, as it is still known to foreigners — the Pashtuns call it "zero line" and completely ignore it — separated the tribes on both sides of the line into 26 agencies, each with its own laws and tribal councils. It was this area that became the buffer between the British and Russian Empires, an agreed-upon "middle of the lake." The tribes were then left mostly to themselves for about 80 years.

 

The Soviet adventure in Afghanistan began on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1979, and took a decade to cycle through, ending in exactly the same fashion as all the other foreign enterprises in that land — with failure. It was in the territories to the west of zero line, in the lands of the Wazirs, the Mahsuds, and the Ahmadzais, that the Soviets repeatedly failed in their attempts to establish their authority. They took some of their heaviest casualties not many kilometers to the west of South Waziristan and Wana Fort where the current drama now seems to be winding down after two confused weeks.

 

This time it is the Pakistani Army and its local levies, the paramilitary Frontier Corps, who have ventured into South Waziristan. To the west of zero line, American forces lie in wait for the quarry to be driven into their gun sights. The Pakistani operation has been described as an attempt to route an enemy alternately depicted as Islamic militants, foreign terrorists, or "high value" Al Qaeda fighters. Early in the operation it was suggested that Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was cornered near Wana Fort. Now the word in Pakistan is that Tahir Yaldashev, leader of the radical Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, "may" have been there at the time of the Pakistani assault, but later escaped, possibly wounded.

 

As the CIA officer overseeing the final years of the war against the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan, I served as a 20th century American version of the British East India Company political agent and quartermaster to these same Waziri Ahmadzai tribesmen as they stymied all Soviet efforts to "exert a little authority." Their leader then was Jalaluddin Haqqani, a man of uncommon personal courage, and a deeply nuanced understanding of guerilla tactics. Though his current whereabouts are unknown — some say he died of wounds from a U.S. air attack — Haqqani has transitioned from America's best friend during the anti-Soviet war to its worst enemy in the current undertaking in Afghanistan. He is at the top of the list of America's most wanted, and it is his spirit and the Pashtun code of honor that continue to drive the Ahmadzai tribesmen against whom both the Pakistani Army and American forces are lined up.

 

t will be a tough and unrewarding slog. Like most of the great confrontations launched by outsiders in Waziristan over the last 2,000 years, this one will probably end in ambiguity. There have already been claims of "mission accomplished" by the Pakistani army and the Frontier Corps — after all, they lost up to 60 dead — but there will likely be nothing concrete to point to, aside from claims of having destroyed a militant sanctuary. The much ballyhooed "high value targets" we and our Pakistani allies expected to kill or capture will probably remain unknown and unresolved, and the American Operation "Mountain Storm" across zero line in Afghanistan will probably wind down with an equal lack of clarity. Already there seems to be a sense of relief that everyone will quietly go back to fishing on their sides of the lake.

 

That's the way it's always been in those rugged hills.

 

Milt Bearden was CIA chief in Pakistan from 1986 until the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. He is the co-author with James Risen of "The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB."

 

Why Waziristan and its Neighbors Should Keep Us Awake at Night

Increased militancy and violence in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan has brought FATA into sharper focus, as U.S., Afghan, and Pakistani leaders attempt to find solutions to the problems underlying the situation there. This most dangerous spot on the map may well be the source of another 9/11 type of at tack on the Western world or its surrogates in the region. Should such an attack occur, it likely will be spawned in the militancy that grips FATA and contiguous areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan today.

 

The principal actors are the Taliban, in both countries; their alliesformer Soviet-era

mu jahideen commanders including Gulbadin Hekmatyar of the Hezbe Islami and the Haqqani group (headed by Jalaluddin and his son Siraj); Sunni militants from Central and Southern Punjab; and al Qaeda, which benefits from links to most of these insurgents….

 

The United States went into Afghanistan without a comprehensive plan for winning the war beyond the military ouster of the Taliban (evidenced by its shift of focus to Iraq), or for the socioeconomic rehabilitation of the country after decades of war. 


The United States failed to see the proactive need to help Pakistan transform its own army and Frontier Corps into a counterinsurgency force or help equip and train them for that purpose; It has been in reactive mode ever since 2001. Afghanistan has shown no willingness to address the grievances of the Taliban against the excesses of the Northern Alliance forces in the wake of the U.S. invasion. This keeps the anger 
of the Taliban and their Pashtun supporters alive. 


The United States cannot win the war in Afghanistan without the full and willing participation and support of Pakistan, its army, and the general population, especially with a new civilian administration in place. It certainly cannot win by aligning itself to any one Pakistani leader, political or military, as evident in the past reliance on President and General Pervez Musharraf. 


The United States depends for more than 80 percent of cargo and 40 percent of its fuel in Afghanistan on transit shipments via Pakistan; Uzbekistan has expelled the United States; and Russia has the ability to block over flights to reach Turkmenistan or Tajikistan and then into Afghanistan. The only other relatively shorter land route is via Iran from Chahbahar on the Arabian Sea. But U.S. hostility toward Iran makes that an impossible alternative. This severely limits the United States options in taking military action inside Pakistan that could provoke a backlash, including the closure of this supply route into Afghanistan. 


Pakistan, its army, and the ISI have maintained an ambivalent position regarding the Afghan Taliban, based on the twin supposition that the United States would exit the region yet again, perhaps after capturing or killing some key al Qaeda leaders, and that the Pashtun Taliban would return to power in Kabul. They would rather have a neutral or friendly Pashtun government in power, even if it is the Taliban. 


On its part, Afghanistan fears a Pakistani desire to maintain control over Afghanistan becauseof its land-locked status and as a client state. 


Another powerful and persistent perception inside Pakistan is that rival India has chosen todevelop civil and military ties with Afghanistan and even to fuel militancy inside Pakistan in retaliation for past (and perhaps current) Pakistani support for militants in Indian-held Kash mir. Many Pakistanis see a conspiracy to encircle and weaken Pakistan in the region. 


Yet neither confrontation nor capitulation by Pakistan to U.S. interests in Afghanistan and FATA is the right approach. Rather, engagement and a joint effort to eliminate the militancies inside Afghanistan and Pakistan is the best approach. 


The Pakistan Army is seen as an alien force inside FATA. The Frontier Corps has lost its efficacy over the years. Both the army and the FC are ill-equipped and ill-trained for counterinsur gency (COIN) warfare. Compounding their difficulty is the fact that they are operating inside their own borders against their own people…

 

The U.S. in Waziristan: Learning from the Past-

 

Worried that Al Qaeda may be trying to destabilize the province of Waziristan, the U.S. government is proposing to expand the authority of the CIA to conduct more aggressive operations in the region. In part three of this Globalist Interview, American University Professor Akbar Ahmed explains why U.S. policies in the Muslim world have failed, and what the United States should do in the future.

 

The Globalist: Why does the U.S. government rely so heavily on the military option?

 

AA: Bernard Lewis, who under the current administration is viewed as the authority on Islam, believes Muslims need to be treated with force. But that policy has been a failure, an unmitigated disaster.

 

This policy has been a disaster in Iraq, a disaster in Afghanistan — and now the U.S. government is thinking of implementing the same disaster in Waziristan. Waziristan is not Iraq.

 

It was not ruled by a cruel dictator for 30 years.

 

Not only that, Waziristan has never been ruled in history.

 

What’s the logic there? Implementing a failed policy in Waziristan will simply confirm the bankruptcy of vision and wisdom.

 

Successful foreign policy is based on sophistication, intelligence and diplomacy. The current U.S. foreign policy in the examples above is based on the twin pillars of arrogance and ignorance. One is bad enough, but you really can’t have both. If it were based on arrogance, but with a lot of knowledge, it would have still worked. But you cannot combine arrogance and ignorance — and then hope to succeed.

 

Lawless Land Where Al-Qaeda Is Safe In The Embrace Of The Panthers ...

No foreign invaders, from Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan to the British, had ever been able to control Waziristan. It was not only ideological bonds ...

 

Waziristan: Avoiding A Step Too Far

 

During the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, the Afghan guerrillas had the great advantage of being able to retreat to safe bases in neighbouring Pakistan if Russian military pressure became too great. With the USA supporting Pakistan, there was never any chance the Soviet Union would attack those bases and risk a major crisis between the superpowers.

Today the Taliban militants operating against Western forces in Afghanistan run their operations from bases in the regions of Pakistan along the Afghan border. These safe havens are chiefly in northern Balochistan and the so-called Federally Administered Tribal Areas, especially North and South Waziristan. Other than occasional airstrikes, chiefly by Predator UAVs, the Americans have been reluctant to take direct military action against these Taliban and al-Qaeda bases in Pakistan. Instead the USA has encouraged the Pakistani government to suppress them.

So far such Pakistani military efforts have met with only limited success, and there have been increasing calls in some quarters for the USA and its Western allies to undertake direct military action against terrorist bases in the border areas of Pakistan, above all in Waziristan. Such calls must be resisted since for the West to invade a Muslim nation for the third time since 2001 (the other invasions being Afghanistan and Iraq) would only further inflame hatred of the USA and its Western allies in the Islamic world.

The tribesmen of Waziristan have successfully resisted foreign invaders for centuries. Even the British Raj had to recognize their semi-independent status in 1893. However, this did not stop clashes between the two sides. For example, after the short-lived Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, a considerable revolt broke out in Waziristan. British and Indian forces suffered more than two thousand casualties before they forced the tribesmen to make peace in March 1920. Nevertheless further clashes, large and small, continued in Waziristan up until 1947 when Britain could hand the problem area over to newly independent Pakistan.

The Pakistanis avoided serious trouble in Waziristan largely by leaving the local people to run their own affairs. However, after 9/11 and the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, Taliban and al-Qaeda remnants, including leaders such as Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden, fled across the border into Waziristan and adjacent areas. Under American pressure, the ruler of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, was compelled to send large numbers of troops into North and South Waziristan for the first time in decades. These forces had comparatively little success in rounding up Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, but their presence did anger local tribesmen, leading to increasing clashes between the two sides.

In March 2004 these clashes escalated into an open war between the Pakistani forces on one side and local tribesmen, Taliban guerrillas, and al-Qaeda fighters (mostly foreign) on the other. By the time a peace accord was finally negotiated between the contesting parties in September 2006, an estimated 700 Pakistani troops had been killed, as well as 1,000 militants and 1,000 civilians.

Although fragile, the peace accord did give the Pakistani authorities a chance to exploit divisions among their opponents. Relations between local people and foreign Islamist fighters had not always been good, and in the spring of 2007 violence broke out between local tribesmen and Uzbek fighters linked to al-Qaeda. By mid-April the Uzbeks had been largely driven out of South Waziristan, with Pakistani artillery assisting local tribesmen in some of their attacks.

These favorable developments might have led to further attacks on foreign Islamist fighters in the area, but in July 2007 Musharraf's government enraged radical Islamists all over Pakistan by its clumsy and bloody suppression of militant activity at the Red Mosque in the capital Islamabad. The Waziristan peace accord collapsed and between July and November 2007 there was intense fighting in the region, with suicide bombers taking a new prominence in attacks on Pakistani forces. By early 2008 the estimated casualties after barely six months of fighting exceeded those for the whole 2004-06 war: 850 troops killed, as well as 1,900 militants and 1,800 civilians.

Recently the tempo of the fighting has decreased and the new civilian government of Pakistan is promising to negotiate a peaceful settlement in Waziristan and adjacent areas rather than using further military force. The US government has expressed concern about this approach and some commentators have now suggested the Americans and their allies may have to intervene directly in Waziristan to destroy terrorist bases, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government in Islamabad. Such Western intervention, even if only in the form of increased airstrikes and raids by Special Forces, can only further inflame the situation in the region.

The only way to root out the Taliban and al-Qaeda from Waziristan and adjacent areas is for the Pakistani government to take action. As shown by the successful efforts against Uzbek fighters in South Waziristan in 2007, the Pakistanis can get local tribesmen to drive out foreign Islamist militants. This is the only way to go. It may not be swift, but it is likely to be effective in the long run. If impatience leads to clumsy Western military intervention in Waziristan, such action is more likely to spread war across Pakistan than to end it in Afghanistan.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

 

U.S. Joins Four Law of War Treaties

 

On January 21, the United States deposited its instruments of ratification for Protocols III, IV, and V of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (“CCW”) and for an amendment to that Convention. Protocol III covers incendiary weapons, Protocol IV covers blinding laser weapons, and Protocol V deals with explosive remnants of war. The Amendment expands the scope of the Convention to non-international armed conflicts.

 

And What Is Going On In The Mind Of The Right!

 

http://www.heritage.org/research/middleeast/bg2076.cfm

 

http://www.matthewbest.com/metalstorm.html

 

PARTING THOUGHTS: NEWS, VIEWS, ANALYSIS AND OPINIONS.

 

 

 

 

 

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