Jun 08 2009

The “Drone Wars” – It’s Hammer Time In Pakistan’s Tribal Area

Published by at 4:06 pm under Bin Laden/GWOT,Pakistan

Update: Here’s a very interesting post over at the Huffington Post by a Muslim who also sees the days numbered for al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is a fascinating assessment from inside the Muslim community, one which mirrors my own assessment of where things are headed from my perch well outside Islam. Two distinct and independent vantage points – a common conclusion. – end update

This summer we will hopefully be witnessing the beginning of the end of the war on terror, or at least the last major military offensive of the war on terror. For decades violent Islamo Fascists have been targeting the West, culminating in the horrific attacks of 9-11, which also doubled as the wake up call for those slumbering in denial about the threat of extreme islam like that preached by al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Since 9-11 al Qaeda has been beaten in Iraq, where they threw much of their forces against the US and later our Iraqi allies. In what has to be seen as a historic turning point, al Qaeda and the US entered into the fight over Iraq with al Qaeda seen as the future of Islam, strong enough to bloody and possibly defeat the Great Satan America.

But after years of al Qaeda appling its brutal and sick Islamo Fascist methods of force on the Muslims of Iraq, a backlash blew out of Iraq’s Anbar province which changed the path of history on this planet. al Qaeda, through its own brutality and lust for blood, had become the enemy of Islam. al Qaeda had committed heinous and unbelievable crimes against fellow Iraqi Muslims, the stories of which still echo through the Muslim Street in a manner not much different from how the West recalls the butchers of The Holocaust.

It has taken time, patience, determination and our own fair share of blood and treasure to chase the exposed evil of al Qaeda into its last large sanctuary in the Waziristan Agencies of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA – click map above to enlarge). 

One of the things I am forever grateful for concerning the new Obama administration is that it has not undone all the sacrifices and progress made under President Bush (who noted himself this war would go beyond his administration). And now we are poised to witness the beginning of the end. Our forces have the al Qaeda and Taliban pinned down to the North along the Afghanistan border, and the Pakistani forces are preparing to sweep north from the south and send our enemies into our waiting hands:

Divided into a north and south parts for administrative purposes, Waziristan, a tribal agency on Pakistan’s western border with Afghanistan, is that country’s most pro-Taliban area and the heart of the insurgency threatening its existence. This mountainous, tribal-ruled area, where the government’s writ does not extend, also serves as a base area for the Islamist forces fighting American and NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan.  

But Waziristan’s importance in the radical Islamists’ scheme of things extends far beyond the local and regional. This largely inacessible piece of geography, which constitutes 4,500 square miles and has a population of about 800,000, also poses a deadly threat to the West and the rest of the world.

Long known as a center of Islamic terrorism, it is home to al Qaeda, and, reportedly, of bin Laden himself. It is here the terrorist organization hatches and directs its deadly plots, and receives and trains international jihadists from around the world, including some from the United States.

Even more menacing, Waziristan is also the headquarters of al Qaeda’s planned worldwide jihad. From this rugged, isolated area, it eventually intends to launch a military campaign that will see its army and extremist brand of Islam sweep westwards to the Atlantic Ocean and eastwards to Indonesia and the Philipines.

The al Qaeda fighters also appear to be numerous and are receiving foreign reinforcements to help defend their Waziristan stronghold. The Los Angeles Times reported that four disillusioned European al Qaeda recruits, who returned recently from Waziristan, said they had trained with an Arab group numbering 300 to 500.

An Asia Times story also states Afghan and American security officials have noticed a movement of jihadists from the Middle East to South Asia. US Army Major Cory Schultz, based in Afghanistan, is also quoted as saying: “It sounds from the radio chatter like they have more recruits coming in, including Arabs, Uzbeks, Turkmen, and Chechen fighters.”

The Pakistani army, numbered at about 125,000 for the offensive, will probably rely on its helicopter gunships and artillery, like it did in the Swat fighting. The Taliban and al Qaeda have little answer to these weapons except suicide bombers. Military analysts expect the Pakistani army to drive the Islamist fighters towards American and NATO troops in Afghanistan in a classic hammer and anvil manoeuvre.

The timing of this blow to al Qaeda and the Taliban is very interesting, as it coincides with a growing backlash against these radicals amongst the locals – who have also been tasting the blood lusts of these thugs recently. Just as in Iraq, the Islamo Fascists have gone to blowing up their fellow Muslims as one final, empty threat against being hunted down and killed. 

Pakistani tribesmen seeking revenge for a deadly mosque bombing attacked militant strongholds for a second day Monday, while the country’s Taliban leader faced rare denunciation from within insurgent ranks.

n the most striking example of growing anti-Taliban sentiment, up to 1,600 tribesmen in the Upper Dir district formed a civilian militia force to fight militants they hold responsible for last Friday’s suicide bombing that killed at least 33 people in a packed mosque. Such militia are known in Pakistan as lashkars.

The group cleared three villages of Taliban fighters on Sunday and focused Monday on two more villages that are known Taliban strongholds, said Khaista Rehman, a local police chief.

More here and here. It seems the Pakistan Awakening has finally awoken. And with a backlash building, what was a sanctuary or safe haven is now an encircled trap where locals are starting to give tips as to where to find the bad guys:

Addressing a press conference, Additional Inspector General of Police Syed Jawed Ali Shah Bukhari said they had received a tip-off about the presence of some Mehsud aides in Lyari Town, where they were planning to carry out terrorist activities in the city.

Subsequently, he said, a raid was carried out during which Mohammed Naeem Rehmani, son of Qadir Bukhsh Rehmani, was arrested. However, his accomplices fled under the cover of fire. During the search of his house, the police recovered 10 suicide jackets, 10 hand grenades, two Kalashnikovs, six detonators besides 200 bullets.

Naeem has reportedly told the investigators that he was trained in Waziristan by Mehsudís commanders and was sent to Karachi to recruit youngsters for suicide attacks. He told the police that they used to recruit youths from Madrassas, who were then sent to Qari Hussain Mehsud in Waziristan for receiving the training for suicide bombing.

Yeah, who wants vermin like that recruiting suicide bombers from the local schools? It is only a surprise that it takes so long for the locals to wake up and realize how deadly the new neighbors are whop they once welcomed into their area.

The “Drone Wars” also seem to be paying off as well (from the first link above):

According to the failed European jihadists and other sources, American forces have already contributed to the Waziristan campaign’s success with its ongoing Predator drone attacks. So many al Qaeda and Taliban leaders and operatives have been killed by the Predator’s Hellfire missiles that they meet in groups of no larger than three to drink tea. So fearful are they of being targeted for drone attacks, al Qaeda fighters, it is reported, now receive their instruction indoors.

We can thank President Bush for working out this interesting tactic of surgical strikes, and we can thank President Obama for continuing it as the noose tightens around al Qaeda and their Taliban allies in Waziristan.

Update: You can feel the change in the mood of reporting from Pakistan, the tide seems to be shifting:

In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945”, Creveld identifies the elements of moral force, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die.” The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralization. Moral force, then, is the crucial factor in determining the combat power of any belligerent. 

The ongoing different war between the militants and Pak Army in Malakand Division in wake of the successful military operations and retreat of the Taliban has proved without any doubt that such elements like ‘will to fight’ and ‘moral force’ have been more noted in Pakistan’s armed forces who have exerted psychological impact of causing fear and shock, resulting in demoralisation in the Taliban.Unlike the different war waged between the insurgents and Pakistan’s security forces in 2007 and 2008 when the militants were provided equal chance of ceasefire, dialogue and peace agreement, this time an allout war has been declared by Pakistan’s government against the non-state actors with a view to eliminating them completely from Swat and FATA. Since the end of March, this year when the military operations were launched, Pak Army has achieved victory after victory by ejecting the Taliban from Buner, Dir, Swat and other adjoining areas, while killing more than four thousands insurgents and capturing there strongholds. 

Latest reports suggest that after the killing of most of their commanders, majority of the recruits have deserted the ranks of militants and are on the run along with hardcore leadership.

On the run – towards that ever tightening noose. It seems the fighting forces of the Taliban and al Qaeda are fighting with guns pointed at their backs:

It could be judged from the talks which show that high ranked commanders of the insurgents are even threatening their own fighters in acute desperation. In this regard, some Taliban as suicide bombers were dispatched to a commander Hamzala, but Haji Gul warned them along with other militants that if any one of them tried to leave his position and task will be tortured to death. Similar threats to the Taliban warriors have also been given by other leaders and commanders of the banned Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) led by Sufi Muhammad and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by Maulana Fazlullah. 

The militants are demoralised to such an extent that even threats of death have no impact on them and they are deserting their comrades. 

Not a good sign for the enemy if they have to threaten their warriors into fighting.

Update: The news of tribesmen rising up against the Taliban even hit the Washington Post today.

In retaliation for the offensive, the Taliban have stepped up bomb attacks and are suspected of being behind a suicide blast at a mosque in the Upper Dir region, near Swat, that killed about 40 people on Friday.

Outraged by the attack, villagers formed a militia, known as a lashkar, of about 500 men and began fighting the militants on Saturday in an bid to force them out of their area.

A top government official in Upper Dir, Atif-ur-Rehman, said the militia fighters had pushed the Taliban out of three villages and surrounded them in another two.

People are taking notice.

Update: It seems the local uprising is not limited to Pakistan, but is also forming up in Afghanistan:

Authorities in southern Afghanistan said local and foreign troops have killed as many as 60 Taliban militants in the past week, as part of a stepped up anti-insurgency operation. And about 7,000 additional U.S. troops have begun deploying across volatile southern Afghanistan. 
Top Afghan security officials said the past week has seen intense fighting in the southern province of Zabul where local and coalition forces have jointly killed dozens of Taliban militants, including some of their key commanders. 

Hope the good news keeps coming.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “The “Drone Wars” – It’s Hammer Time In Pakistan’s Tribal Area”

  1. kathie says:

    I just love “Awakenings”.

  2. ivehadit says:

    Yes, kudos to ALL who have made this happen, ESPECIALLY George W. Bush who endured SEVEN YEARS of relentless bashing.

  3. groy says:

    If only it were possible…. Our country has never faced such a multidimensional threat, as tangled as the thousands of tribes that reside throughout the region.

    I wish this wasn’t our reality….but having majored in Political Science with an emphasis in Middle Eastern Studies, along with 30 years of business relations, with family in the region, this war has been fought within Islam since the Prophet Mohamed rode his horse to the high heavens and won’t stop until he or someone like him returns….. Perhaps best viewed as an incurable cancer for all civilization to deal with.

    In the interim the best case scenario is minimizing the threat as much as possible…to that end there will be no end.

    Until the rest of the world realizes that the very core Islam is incompatible with other religions, unless under the conditions laid out in the Koran…not particularly pleasant conditions, we’ll continue chasing our tail from country to country putting out radicalized fires that shouldn’t be ours to fight. Removing Saddam will in the long run have a stabilizing effect, however the vacuum is being filled by the next tyrant….as one is removed another surfaces.

    The Afghanistan/Pakistan war is entirely different, as complex as it is primitive with a single common denominator, the dominate rule of Islam…it‘s merely a question of how repressive. Non Muslim religions were exterminated centuries ago…over those centuries history has shown, whomever rules is on borrowed time, particularly the less ruthless.

    Our country is between a rock and a hard spot…..we can’t leave the region unless we’re willing to destroy our economic viability because our allies producing oil we are dependant upon cannot survive without our presence. The lone way to avoid that is to develop our massive domestic energy reserves….posthaste…..if we don’t we’re all just pissing in the wind….while the nuclear sands in the hour glass…. continue to fall in the wrong direction…unabated.