Oct 08 2007

Pak-Afghan Tribal Areas Heating Up, UK Preparing Largest Paratrooper Force Since WW II

As I predicted, now that Musharraf has a landslide win as President (making a judicial branch overturn very improbable) we see the area where al Qaeda and Taliban Islamo Fascists have been swarming in recent months starting to see a lot of action. Since the election of Musharraf the fighting in Pakistan’s tribal regions has definitely picked up, with around 175 militants killed already:

Pakistani helicopter gunships and troops have killed 130 militants in some of the heaviest-ever clashes near the Afghan border, while 45 soldiers have also died, the army said Monday.

The fighting raged throughout Sunday and Monday in the troubled tribal region of North Waziristan, which the United States has pinpointed as the new breeding ground for Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda extremist network.

The army said the pro-Taliban rebels were unusually well-trained and were getting support from Afghanistan, where the Taliban movement has waged a fierce insurgency since being toppled in late 2001.

The unrest puts extra pressure on key US ally Pervez Musharraf two days after he swept a presidential poll, the result of which the embattled military ruler must wait to have confirmed by the Supreme Court.

“The clashes broke out after militants set off IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and conducted ambushes on the security forces” on Sunday, top military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad told AFP.

I predicted on Friday things would go into high gear after Musharraf’s election if he looked solid to lead for another 5 years. And since he did get an overwhelming vote, the action against the terrorist hide out in the mountains the cut across the Afghan and Pak borders is gaining steam as predicted.

You can tell when things are coming to a head in a region by the mass exodus of those civilians who are getting out of the way. It becomes quite evident when a region is about to experience a major clash, and the mass exodus of Pakistanis from the tribal areas is already well underway.

The most difficult challenge Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is facing is checking the growing influence of rowdy pro-Taleban elements in the federally-administered tribal areas near the Afghan border, says a prominent Doha-based Pakistani Pashtun community leader.

They are terrorising people, triggering a mass exodus, says Firoz Khan Afridi.

One Taleban faction is pro-Deoband (which subscribes to the conservative Wahhabi school of thought), while the other is opposed to it. They have regional leaders and even private jails to punish people who defy their diktats.

People are fleeing the tribal areas and taking refuge in Peshawar, NWFP’s capital city and in the neighbouring Punjab province.

This divergence of an opposition group is also normal when things are coming to a head. One group of Taliban has been trying to find a path towards peaceful co-existence. The price was to stop enabling and protecting Islamo Fascists. Of course there was going to be the other side of the debate – the dead enders dedicated to al Qaeda’s brand of brutal Islamo Fascism. People are getting ready, picking sides and trying to generally get out of the way.

In Afghanistan, the effort is ongoing as well as there is a big build up of forces near Tora Bora, which is inside the general area of concern that spans both sides of the Afghan-Pak border. The UK may be reducing forces in Iraq, but just the opposite is happening in Afghanistan:

BRITAIN is to deploy its biggest contingent of paratroopers and special forces since the second world war in a bid to crush the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Ministers are to send 3,000 paratroopers, including the entire Parachute Regiment, to southern Afghanistan in the spring, as well as trebling the number of special forces in the country.

It will be the first time in the regiment’s history that all four para battalions, including its reservists, have fought together on the same battlefield. The number of UK special forces personnel will rise to more than 800 and will include the bulk of the Special Forces Support Group, which is largely comprised of paratroopers.

The deployment comes amid fears that the Taliban are likely to regroup over the winter and retake terrain from weaker Afghan forces unable to hold their positions.

The PR spin is a fear of an uprising. The tactical military reality is al Qaeda and Taliban forces have been massing in the area for months and now represent a nice contained shooting gallery. This previous post links to other bloggers who are seeing the signs of a major action to come in this area (if not already on going). The fact is the US is mum on Tora Bora right now – for some reason. What’s going on? Honestly I don’t know for sure. But the dots I see connect into an interesting pattern.

Addendums: Afghanistan has been off the nation’s radar with the Surrendercrats’ calls to fail in Iraq at any cost. So some of the news out of the region is a bit dated, but informative. One thing to ask yourself while reading these stories is what would the Surrendercrats do if Bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the Taliban were all destroyed in Afghanistan and the last stage of the war would be getting Iraq up right and self sufficient? LOL! They would probably implode.

Anyway, some other regional news. Seems the UK has been working all summer to decimate the Taliban in Afghan’s Helmand Province – with so much success the Taliban are repeating al-Qaeda’s mistakes from Iraq and simply bombing Muslims in greater numbers.

And it seems a Tajik member of al-Qaeda has been captured South of Kandahar – possibly with information that could help isolate the location of al-Qaeda’s leadership in hiding:

Security personnel detained Syed Hijran, an operative of al- Qaida network and resident of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, from Boldak area of Kandahar last week,” the statement added.

Hijran, the statement added, had used to stay in Kabul during Taliban regime and fled to Pakistan following the Taliban fall in Afghanistan late in 2001.

“During investigation, he admitted that he received religious and military training in Nizamia religious school in Quetta, the capital of (southwestern Pakistan’s) Baluchistan province,” the statement said.

If I were al-Qaeda I would be wondering when the storm was about to arrive.

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