Mar 10 2006

More Activity In Pakistan

Published by at 4:46 pm under All General Discussions,Pakistan

Something is definitely brewing in Pakistan it seems. More and more activity in the northern provinces:

Karachi, 10 March (AKI) – US surveillance aircraft have begun flights across the tribal belt of North Waziristan which lies on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Tribal sources told Adnkronos International (AKI) that the flights have been taking place over the last two days, coming soon after the meetings in Islamabad this week between the top US military comander, General John Abizaid, and Pakistani authorities. The aim of the meetings was to sort out a mechanism to combat cross-border infiltration by militants and at the same time ensure that neither Pakistan nor the allied troops will then face complaints of breaching borders.

“The aircraft comes from the Afghan side, goes up to the Datakhail area [near the ‘capital’ Miran Shah] and around and then it goes back,” said a tribal source in a telephone interview with AKI on the condition of anonymity.

Similar flights were observed before the the controversial US attack on the Bajaur Agency in January in which 13 civilians were killed in apparent missile strikes carried out by US-led forces.

Some good background from the BBC:

In North Waziristan, it is religion that overrides all tribal bondages and customs, making it the most conservative region in the seven tribal agencies that constitute Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

Always a hotbed of Taleban activities, recent incidents in the area show that many foreign militants may still be hiding there.

The heavily armed tribesmen, most of them students of local Islamic seminaries (madrassas), are being led by two militant clerics who are now aspiring to establish a Taleban-like government in the area.

Although North Waziristan had been a powder keg for over a year, first signs of a Taleban-like uprising started to emerge in December.

Sparked by a relatively minor incident of extortion involving a gang of tribal thugs and a small group of local madrassa students, violence soon gripped all of North Waziristan.

What happened over the next few days was filmed by some local Taleban to project their “cause” and the video is now being widely circulated.

A good read. There is also a profile out of another leading figure in the region who could be a new Al Qaeda force.

In mountainous North Waziristan — part of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas — where fierce battles are raging between Pakistani security forces and suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda militants, Baitullah Mehsud is the equivalent of Mullah Omar.

There are many similarities between Mullah Omar, the supreme commander of the Taliban — one of the people closest to Osama bin Laden — and 30-year-old tribal leader Baitullah. There are almost no photographs of both men. Both vow jihad. Both live from hideout to hideout.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “More Activity In Pakistan”

  1. Snapple says:

    I hope you have a LOT MORE more on this Pakistan story. There is an English-language paper in a town at the foot of the Hindu Kush I sometimes check out They also have links to Pakistani papers in English. Some American military have claimed Osama was around Chitral.

    FYI—Here is some new information on the Saddam tapes where he discusses his WMD.

    According to the Weekly Standard, Bush wants this information on Saddam’s tapes made public.

    I have a write-up on this at the links at my little blog

  2. Snapple says:

    Here is an article that says that the Taliban is telling the clerics to have religious instead of secular courts:\11\story_11-3-2006_pg1_2

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    25 militants killed: BBC: Clerics announce Sharia in S Waziristan

    Staff Report

    WANA: Tribal clerics announced the enforcement of Sharia (Islamic law) in South Waziristan on Friday, saying that feuds and tribal enmities would now be resolved through Islamic laws instead of the tribal jirga.

    Eyewitnesses and tribal elders told Daily Times that the announcement was made during Friday prayer sermons in Wana and other towns of South Waziristan. “We are glad to announce that an Islamic judge will decide cases from now on and not the jirga,” a cleric in Wana was quoted as announcing. The announcement was made following letters from local Taliban commanders to all prayer leaders asking them to enforce Sharia here, a tribal cleric said. “We were under great pressure from the commanders to announce the enforcement of Sharia in Waziristan,” he said.

    He said that the announcement effectively “buried” the role of tribal elders, vesting “hand-picked clerics” with absolute power. This will “strengthen the Taliban’s influence in the area”, the cleric said.

    Meanwhile, security forces conducted operations in Miranshah and Mir Ali in North Waziristan Agency and seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition in the operation, a military statement said. “The security forces also busted a terrorist planning and organisation centre established in the hostel of the Madrassa Gulshanul Uloom, run by Maulvi Abdul Khaliq, near Miranshah.”

    Daily Times Monitor adds: However, BBC quoted officials as saying that Pakistani security forces killed 25 to 30 militants and destroyed a heavy cache of arms dumped there during the attack.

    AFP adds: Meanwhile, security forces relaxed curfew restrictions and reopened key roads in North Waziristan on Friday after deadly clashes last week, officials said. Residents said that tribesmen who had fled their homes amid heavy fighting were seen returning to Miranshah and nearby towns after the Army opened the main road.

  3. Decision '08 says:

    What’s Going On In Pakistan?…

    Maybe nothing…but maybe something big. AJ’s been keeping a watchful eye out…


  4. clarice says:

    AP News Alert

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s army says about 30 militants, including foreigners, were killed in strike in a volatile tribal region near the Afghan border.