Jul 10 2008

Battle Brewing In Pakistan’s Tribal Areas

It seems both sides are gearing up for a Battle Royale in the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan which border Afghanistan and have been the launching pad for attacks into Afghanistan by the remnants of al-Qaeda and their Taliban cousins. First we see signs of al-Qaeda fighters fleeing Iraq and heading to the Pakistan tribal regions:

American military and intelligence officials say there has been an increase in recent months in the number of foreign fighters who have traveled to Pakistan’s tribal areas to join with militants there.

The flow may reflect a change that is making Pakistan, not Iraq, the preferred destination for some Sunni extremists from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia who are seeking to take up arms against the West, these officials say.

The American officials say the influx, which could be in the dozens but could also be higher, shows a further strengthening of the position of the forces of Al Qaeda in the tribal areas, increasingly seen as an important base of support for the Taliban, whose forces in Afghanistan have become more aggressive in their campaign against American-led troops.

The US is preparing to answer the challenge:

American commandos are poised to stage “hot pursuit” raids into Pakistan’s loosely governed tribal areas to stem mounting Taliban attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan and to disrupt resurgent al-Qaida operatives’ efforts to map strikes against the U.S. homeland, according to three Texas congressmen briefed during a trip to the region.

The lawmakers — Reps. Gene Green, D-Houston, Michael McCaul, R-Austin, and Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo — told the Houston Chronicle in separate interviews that the plans for stepped-up U.S. military operations are in response to Pakistan’s failure to disrupt terrorist training camps and cross-border attacks from a region known as “the Federally Administered Tribal Areas,” a remote, mountainous border area.

The Bush administration is recalibrating U.S. operations in the region because of a 40 percent increase in violent attacks against U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan that have pushed U.S. casualties for the month of June beyond the monthly toll in Iraq, the lawmakers said.

This region is basically the last major sanctuary of the Islamo Fascists groups associated with 9-11 and the Global War On Terror. The Pakistani military has around 100,000 troops surround the region to the south and is making incursions into the hot spots to further isolate the terrorists and limit their movements (see here for just one recent example).

To the North in Afghanistan there are another 100,000 troops from NATO, the US and Afghanistan covering the borders, and taking on the incursions from Pakistan. While it could take many weeks, we might be seeing the beginning of the end for the terrorist groups who have graciously retreated to this one area as they have been defeated in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Update: Reader Crosspatch notes some news out of Afghanistan pretty much showing how the Afghan people see the extremists:

Afghan officials say villagers in northwestern Afghanistan have killed two Taliban militants.

Officials in Faryab province Thursday said militants were trying to abduct aid workers in Qaysar district on Wednesday when villagers confronted them, killing two, and forcing 10 others to flee.

One of the militants killed was reportedly a Taliban-appointed shadow governor for the province.

The villagers protected the aid workers (probably foreign) and killed the Taliban leader. Sounds an awful lot like the Awakening that happened in Iraq, when local Sunnis decided to side with their fellow Iraqis and Americans against al-Qaeda. Seems after all these years since 9-11 it is now fashionable to hunt and kill Islamic extremists in the Muslim community.

Now that is some kind of achievement.

21 responses so far

21 Responses to “Battle Brewing In Pakistan’s Tribal Areas”

  1. WWS says:

    Quite literally, the chickens are coming home to roost.

    Pakistan can either fight them or pretend to live with them. Pakistan’s reaction so far has reminded me of the situation which caused Winston Churchill to famously say of Neville Chamberlain after he abandoned the Czech’s: “This country had the choice between war and dishonor. We chose dishonor, and we will have war.”

    Pakistan has war; either a small one for the provinces now, or a very big one for the entire country later. Their choice.

  2. conman says:


    You sound like a broken record. You have been predicting a major offensive and the decimation of Al Qaeda in Pakistan all year long. Here is but a few samplings of your prior predictions:

    January 17th post – “Anyway, the good news is we have the world’s largest concentration of Islamo Fascists surrounded in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The fish are in the barrel, I just wonder when the shooting will start. * * * Anyway, the tea leaves of the region seem to be pointing to a major offensive soon to be sprung on the gathering remnants of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.” http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/4940

    March 2nd post – “Clearly Pakistan will be the focus of this year’s actions in the global war on terror. We see increased US special forces in the country, we see new attacks on the terrorist key targets and we see the Pakistan forces preparing for a major action. It seems clear that as Iraq fades into a success the news will be coming out of Pakistan.” http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/5128

    April 18th post – “Liberals seem to be as bad with history as they are with math. Many claim we have let Afghanistan and Pakistan go wanting as we diverted our energies in Iraq. The truth is AQ designated Iraq their key battleground and shifted their resources and fighters there – where they have been decimated and cling to small areas in the North. The fact is Afghanistan and Pakistan have become the center of AQ activities because that is where they ran to when they were defeated. But there is no sanctuary there either.” http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/5332

    Ever heard of the boy that cried wolf? Maybe you should stop predicting the end of Al Qaeda’s sanctuary in Pakistan over, and over, and over again, and just wait to see if it actually happens. Or maybe you stop trying to get your information surfing the web and listen to our military leaders take on the situation. Just last week Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the Taliban/Al Qaeda are becoming a growing threat in Pakistan/Afghanistan, and we don’t have enough troops to control the situation because all of our resources are committed to Iraq. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/02/AR2008070202010.html

  3. joe six-pack says:

    Pakistan is a BIG concern because they already posses nuclear weapons. This war could easily become much larger.

    In addition, the ideology of our enemy is so widespread that I find it difficult to believe that the war against Islamic terrorism will be ending anytime in the near future, even if we win in Pakistan. Iran and Syria come to mind.

  4. crosspatch says:

    I have wondered how long it would take before the world had enough of the death and destruction coming from Pakistan. Pakistan is currently the nexus. Smash them there and the remaining ones have nowhere to go but Iran.

  5. AJStrata says:


    I have been reporting on articles that claim forces were being readied. Clearly it took time to coordinate the effort with the change in the Pakistan government.

    The boy who cried wolf? Wasn’t he the fool who claimed Iraq could never be turned around, it was doomed to failure?

    Yep, I have heard all the liberal predictions of failure – for years!

    LOL! Keep praying for defeat – its your only hope.

  6. WWS says:

    Hey conman, Gotta love your buddy Obama votin’ for that FISA bill!

    Change you can beLIEVE in!!!! LOL!!!!

    yes he CAN (play you for a suckah, suckah!!!)

  7. crosspatch says:

    conman, there is a problem with getting accurate information out of that region. You can locate articles that validate any opinion you might have about the situation there. The thing is that the press there is even worse than the press here. In many cases one is reading pure fantasy made up by the “journalist”, or one is reading what amounts to rumor, or in the worst case, one is reading propaganda spoon fed to the “journalist” by the government, the Taliban, or the Pakistani intelligence community.

    In other words, don’t place a lot of weight on ANYTHING you hear reported out of that region. Pay closer attention to actions. So while there are all kinds of reports about “peace negotiations” with the various Taliban factions, you also see government actions against them.

    So I take ALL reporting out of Pakistan with a healthy spoon full of salt. It’s the fog of war.

  8. crosspatch says:

    I love to read stories like this.

    Afghan officials say villagers in northwestern Afghanistan have killed two Taliban militants.

    Officials in Faryab province Thursday said militants were trying to abduct aid workers in Qaysar district on Wednesday when villagers confronted them, killing two, and forcing 10 others to flee.

    One of the militants killed was reportedly a Taliban-appointed shadow governor for the province.

  9. crosspatch says:

    And one other thing. Keep in mind that basically the world’s heroin trade comes out of Pakistan. The tribes grow opium in Afghanistan, take it to Pakistan where it is converted to heroin and then sent on for global distribution. That means billions of dollars coming into Pakistan sucked out of the economies of the rest of the world.

    While that money might not directly flow into the coffers of the Pakistani government, the proceeds do end up in the economy. To wipe out the Taliban and the opium crops in Afghanistan would mean cutting billions of dollars out of the Pakistani economy.

    So there is more going on here than politics. The heroin trade is huge money and there are a lot of people around the world who are willing to expend millions of dollars in a heartbeat to protect that trade. Paying some politician a million here or a million there to ensure that things keep working as usual would be no problem for these people.

    “According to the UNODC, opium in Afghanistan generated in 2003 “an income of one billion US dollars for farmers and US$ 1.3 billion for traffickers, equivalent to over half of its national income.””

    From a paper written in 2001:

    more than US $ 11 billion per annum from the heroin trade goes to Pakistan, that is, more than Pakistani Rs. 715 billion at one US $ equal to 65 Pak rupees. During 2000-01, the Pakistani State had a total revenue of Rs.570.6 billion, of which Rs.471.6 billion came from taxes. That is, Pakistan’s heroin economy was 30 per cent larger than its legitimate State economy.

    Pakistan does not want to see that money dry up. It was what allows Pakistan to operate. These drug traffickers hire people, buy things … pay off politicians.

    Anyone who thinks this is just about terrorism is not seeing the whole picture. This is also about protecting Pakistan’s main source of income as the world’s heroin dealer.

  10. WWS says:

    Cross: I’ve long had an idea for supporting Afghanistan’s economy, and I can’t figure why no one will try it. First, the biggest problem for Afghanistan is that it’s basically worthless real estate incapable of producing anything of value, land in which people can scratch out a meager living but nothing more. No natural resources to speak of, rocky farmland, no industry, people with no skills, no ports, no great rivers – nothing on which to build a functioning economy. Never has been anything there, which is why it’s been a permanent basket case. Heroin production is probably the only thing they have a real competitive advantage in.

    So why not take advantage of this? Fund an agency which will fix a good price and buy all of the opium production which Afghan farmers can produce. Use as much as can be used for legitimate morphine production – dump the rest into the ocean. The cost will be FAR far less than dealing with all the problems of the worldwide heroin trade. Afghanistan farmers would be well subsidized, and the heroin trade would be wiped out overnight. So what if it costs a billion or two each year? That’s cheap compared to what we’re paying to fight that thing. As long as we try to clamp down on dirt farmers who realistically have no other good options, our efforts are going to be doomed to failure. Take control of the supply and the Taliban, along with criminal organizations throughout the world, are wiped out.

    Probably far too practical an idea to ever be tried.

  11. cj_thespook says:

    I can give you a little update you may not know. The marines mission has been extended, the army has started their own *surge* and we lost 2 American troops yesterday. Seems the Iraqi kind of IEDs have made its way into Afghan and is intensifing. Please pray for their families. Another interesting point my husband told me is Kandahar is like Mecca to the Taliban. This is why they fight so hard to take this city.

  12. AJStrata says:

    My prayers are going out to all of them. My son is enlisting in the Marines next week – I am very proud of him.

  13. conman says:


    I have never prayed for defeat in Afghanistan, Iraq or any other area involving US interest. Disagreeing with you is not anti-american – I just don’t agree with your assessment and had to point out that you have been wrongly predicting a turn-around in this region for months and months. You can provide all the excuses in the world why it hasn’t happened – but the fact of the matter is you have been predicting an imminent military action that has never materialized. I know it is hard for you to admit, but maybe it is not coordination with the Pakistan government that is delaying it – maybe you are just flat wrong.

    I’m just amazed how some conservatives such as yourself are willing to pretend (and try to convince others) certain Bush policies that are clearly failing are going well purely to deflect criticism of your hero Bush and the GOP. Our Afghanistan/Pakistan approach clearly is not working (just ask our military commanders) – so I think it is important to push back on your fantasy theory so there is more public awareness and pressure to correct it. It was Bush lovers like yourself, who refused to acknowledge that our Iraqi policy was failing the first 3.5 years of the war because you didn’t want Bush to be weakened, who delayed the implementation of the surge policy. If more people took off their partisan glasses and paid attention to what was really going on, Bush would have been force to make the correction much earlier.

    You are correct that I and other so-called “liberals” were skeptical of the surge and it turned out to be much more effective than I anticipated. But being wrong about that particular phase of this war does not diminish the fact that we were right about most aspects of the war. We were right that the Iraq war would divert our attention and resources in Afghanistan, would be far more costly and complicated than the Bush administration publically claimed before we invaded and that the initial occupation strategy was a disaster. I love how you ignore how wrong you were about all of these issues and claim to have been right all along just because you were right about the surge.

    It is also not certain yet that the surge policy will eventually work. The surge clearly produced significant security gains, which I have repeatedly acknowledged on your blog, but the ultimate goal of the surge as Bush himself declared was to provide breathing space for political reconciliation. That hasn’t happened yet. We can debate the extent of political progress, but no sane person can say that it has progressed sufficiently to declare victory. I find it so ironic that conservatives like yourself are so quick to declare victory in Iraq and yet you vehemently resist the idea of withdrawing our troops. Until we can withdraw our troops and leave behind a stable country, I believe such premature declarations of victory are just another partisan viewpoint.

  14. WWS says:

    blah blah blah. funny to see you crawfish and unsuccessfully try to cover your ass. It’s still showing.

    How about that FISA bill, conman?? Obama loves it! You must love it too now, right???

  15. cj_thespook says:


    Does that mean Germany wasn’t truly defeated until we pull our troops from there. People like yourself just amaze me with the claim Iraq is lost blah blah, when they have never put a foot on the soil nor in Afghan as well. You and others like yourself buy into the antiwar propaganda that our media feeds you. EVERYDAY there are battles in Afghan and EVERYDAY bad guys are dying. Taliban RUN from the marines dude, and you have NO clue what u are talking about! Damn liberals like yourself who get our soldiers killed because you care more for the rights of terrorist and our enemy than our own troops. The liberal party has tied the hands of our special forces and many of our troops because they are so concerned we just may win these battles and folks will change their mind and vote Republican. THat is all it is about in a nutshell huh? Dems take the white house, congress and the senate at ALL Cost, and it doesnt matter who dies, starves, our suffers as long as Democrats win. How pathetic!


    Godspeed to your son, what a great AMerican!

  16. conman says:


    Apparently you do not understand the difference between a war and an occupation. Both the war with Germany and the war with Iraq ended when our military toppled the ruling government. That is when both wars ended.

    Since May of 2003 (when Bush declared the end of the Iraqi war), we have been occupying Iraq. It is not a question of when we “defeat Iraq” as you seem to think is the case. It is a question of when we can end the occupation so we can bring our soldiers home and stop hemmoraging the billion dollar a week bill we are footing for Iraq. Is that not something that you desire? I guess if you are okay with staying in Iraq for a hundred years or more, than McCain is your man.

    If you don’t see the difference between the post-war occupation of Germany and the post-war occupation of Iraq, then you truly are helpless. The security situation during the German occupation was stable – our soldiers were not being shot and bombed in Germany daily during the occupation phase. Because of the stable security situation, we were able to make immediate and significant progress rebuilding Germany. Iraq’s security and political situation has been such a disaster that the hundreds of billions of dollars we have spent has done very little to improve the economic situation or rebuilding effort there. The new post-war German government was competent – it wasn’t a bunch of fueding ethnic groups with thousands of years of hatred for one another that couldn’t get anything done. The post-war German government was not controlled by a group of exiles that lived for years in Iran , Syria, etc. and therefore have strong ties to other countries in the region that we consider to be serious threats. The two examples are night and day. Perhaps you should read up on post-WWII history before spouting off and making yourself look silly.

    As for your comment about bad guys dying every day, I suggest you read General Petraus’ manuel on counter-insurgency goals and strategies. As he explains, a counter-insurgency situation is very different from classic warfare. It is not about simply killing the enemy fighters. You should also listen to our own miltiary commander’s recent assessment of Afghanistan – it is not as rosy as yours. I love how conservatives like you say we should listen to our military commanders – unless they are telling you something you don’t want to hear.

    As for your comments about tying our military’s hands and causing the death starvation and suffering of others, what are you talking about? Bush is the commander in chief and has set the military strategy throughout this engagement. Name one Democratic law, rule, policy whatever that has tied Bush’s hand in Iraq. Democrats have made weak attempts to do so, but have failed every time. As for death, starvation, suffering, who are you referring to? There has been extraordinary death, starvation and suffering in Iraq, but that is due to our invasion and occupation of Iraq. The lack of sufficient troops and disastorous initial occupation plan is the main cause of that. As commander in chief, Bush is responsible for that poor planning and the GOP was in control of Congress in 2003. Get a clue.

  17. conman says:


    You have much to be proud of with your son. Enlisting in the marines is always an honorable thing to do (I have several members in my family that are former/current marines), but it is especially so when he did it knowing that he may well be in a combat zone. You and I don’t see eye-to-eye on much with respect to Iraq/Afghanistan policies, but I always respect those Americans willing to put their life on the line for our country regardless of whether or not I agree with the government’s policy.

  18. VinceP1974 says:

    conman: By exposing to the world that you are capable of being influenced by our enemy in such a way that you would use political pressure to give the enemy a victory any claim that you respect any Americans (either military or civilian) is hollow.

  19. cj_thespook says:


    There is a difference between a war and an occupation, I know that. However, there is not always a clear, crystal line for when a “war” ends and an “occupation” starts. In fact, it is possible for both to occur simultaneously. Yes, we are occupying Iraq, but until we can be sure of Iraq’s security, then we need to help them fight against those who want to topple their government. Given the actions in Iran as of late, I would think the importance of secure Iraq would be both obvious and important. I was also think the lesson we learned when we evacuated Viet Nam too soon would also be remembered. To refresh, we left early, despite our “commitment” to stay and millions of Pro-US Vietnamese died at the hands of the Communist “liberators”. I look forward to having the troops come home, but we want to make sure they don’t have to go back. We fought one war in that region 15 years ago and had to return since we truly did not finish the job. If we pull out too soon and circumstances require us to return (again I point to Iran and their hostile actions), then the death toll of US soldiers will be even greater. As much as we want them home (and they want to be home), they want to be sure the job is done and done right. Lastly on this point, President Bush never delcared the war on terrorism over. Let me sell you a clue, we are fighting terrorist in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s called “The War On Terrorism”.
    As for who to listen to in a fight, I would recommend listening to the person who is actually in the fight and making the decisions that affects the troops directly. Our politicians don’t know the story as well, despite their “visits” to the region. They typically only spend a few days there and receive crash course briefings. Whereas the troops and military leaders have been living there for the past 7 years. I also think it is important to get as many sides of the story as possible.
    As for tying our military’s hands, I guess you are not aware that Pakistan is currently serving as a refuge for Taliban and Al Quaeda terrorists. When the war first started and we went into Afghanistan, we also had troops in Pakistan to seek out the terrorist leaders like Osama. Now, thanks to our government, they are no longer allowed to do that. As a result, the terrorists cross the borders, launch their attacks, then run back to Pakistan (ie safety). Also, they are not just attacking our troops, they are also attacking the Afghanistans themselves. They don’t care if they slit the throat of a teacher, blow up several kids, or burn down a school (which, I’m sure if I review my military history, I can confirm these are not legitimate military targets). I know this because my husband is there now and he sees the reports. He can tell you the evils these terrorists are carrying out. The likes of Bin Laden drove Russia out of Afghanistan, do you think they will simply celebrate a victory and leave the US alone if we leave now? You state things aren’t rosy in Afghanistan, yet you want to push for the troops to come home now. It is unfortunate the liberal minded Americans like that fail to see into the future. They want the now. So, what happens the next time another 9/11 occurs? (and to be frank, you are very naive if you think one will not occur again if we bring the troops home early). We tell nations we are “committed” to helping them, then our our American people start undermining their efforts by demanding they come home now. How selfish is that? I want my husband as much as any family wants their loved one home now. However, I don’t want innocent Afghans to be slaughtered like the Vietnamese because some Americans lack the stomach to finish the job. Yeah, guess you can call me *silly*. (hair flip)

  20. AJStrata says:

    Thank you Conman, very much appreciated.