Sep 17 2007

Closing In On al-Qaeda Central In Pakistan?

Published by at 12:46 pm under All General Discussions,Pakistan

There have been some strange happenings in the northern tribal areas where Bin Laden and al-Qaeda central are supposedly located. My feeling is something is about to burst there because of the strange happenings. Strange happening number 1 – how did 260 Pak troops become prisoners of the Taliban?

Pakistan’s army has agreed to a cease-fire with militants holding some 260 soldiers hostage near the Afghan border, officials said Monday.

The soldiers were seized Aug. 30 in South Waziristan, a tribal region where pro-Taliban militants hold sway. Fighting between the militants and security forces there has since left scores of people dead.

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has sent thousands of extra troops into the border region amid signs that Taliban and al-Qaida militants are gaining strength there. The move has triggered fierce fighting.

So how is it thousands of troops allow 260 of the comrades to be captured? Seems very strange. And why the cease fire? What is to be gained there? That is strange happening number 2. And now we learn about strange happening number 3 – the Paks stand down in the region:

Some 80,000 Pakistani soldiers manning the nonexistent border between the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Afghanistan have stood down, but no one knows who gave the order or whether they are even taking orders.

Taliban and al Qaeda terror training camps are up and running again with the acquiescence — or impotence — of the Pakistani army. That’s the word by satellite phone from this reporter’s sources in Miranshah and Wana, the capital towns of North and South Waziristan.

80,000 troops stand down? Or are they standing by? Is the US coordinating on this? Apparently so:

The scuttlebutt among Pakistani troopers is that President Bush through his “puppet” President Pervez Musharraf ordered their mission in FATA.

The military loves to let the media run rampant with their wild-eyed theories before making moves. Normally you would see an attempt to stop the wild speculation, but when you want to confuse your enemy letting the media run with their fantasies can create nice diversions.

As usual I disagree with the conventional wisdom on the region. Musharraf had agreed to one last chance for the tribes in the area – he agreed they could live in peace of they kept the peace and purged al-Qaeda. They tribes did neither. This is how the media spins it:

It is now abundantly clear that Mr. Musharraf’s deal with tribal elders a year ago to rein in Taliban and al Qaeda elements and prevent them from crossing into Afghanistan was a camouflaged surrender to the terrorists. Taliban chiefs have controlled the Waziristans ever since.

You must give an area like this a chance for redemption – just like we offered a deal to the Taliban to hand over Bin Laden before we took them all out. This looks more like one of those “we tried to work with you” efforts before the hammer falls. So what are 80,000 Pak troops doing in the area? Seems to me they are blocking any exits. Note this is half the size of the entire US forces in Iraq right now – this is no small force. But make no mistake, there is a large terrorist force there as well:

Bajaur — one of the seven tribal agencies, led by Faqir Muhammad, who calls Osama bin Laden and Talian leader Mullah Omar “heroes of the Muslim world” — is adjacent to Afghanistan’s Kunar Province, where Taliban guerrillas conduct some of the heaviest fighting. Throughout FATA, Taliban has an estimated 40,000 guerrillas, who use the tribal agencies for rest and training.

I suspect we are seeing the final stages of preparation to clear out this hornets’ nest of terrorism. We have the resources now on both sides of the border and plenty of air power in the region. Things have been heating up in Afghanistan recently as well, which means we are seeing more contact with the enemy. Is this do to us or them (or both) getting more aggressive it is not clear. But we will not let a hornets’ nest exist for long if it hits critical mass. It seems we may be finally at a point for action to be taken.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Closing In On al-Qaeda Central In Pakistan?”

  1. crosspatch says:

    “I suspect we are seeing the final stages of preparation to clear out this hornets’ nest of terrorism. ”

    I suspect we are seeing the final stages of preparation for winter. Winter is a pretty tough time for 80,000 troops to operate in that region. Many of the passes are above helicopter ceiling, the roads won’t support much more than a donkey cart in many cases, and in winter many of the valleys are isolated. You just can’t operate much in the winter with conventional regular troops.

  2. crosspatch says:

    Looks like a deal has been reached on releasing the captive Pakistani soldiers.

  3. Terrye says:

    I wonder if the Taliban really have that many people.