Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Trouble in Pakistan

The peace deal the Musharraf government had signed with the northern tribes is dead.

Pro-Taliban militants in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan on the Afghan border on Sunday called off the peace deal signed in September after accusing Pakistani authorities of violating the pact.

Under it, Pakistan agreed to stop military operations against the militants in return for their pledge to not send fighters across the border into Afghanistan and would not launch attacks on Pakistan's army.

A militant leadership council said it was dropping out because Pakistani forces had launched several attacks on them and the government had deployed more troops in the region.

On Saturday, suicide bombers killed almost 70 Pakistani troops and civilians in the region and, according to AFP, a jihad has now been declared over the attack of the Red Mosque.

Stephen Hadley was busy making the rounds on as many Sunday morning talk shows as he could manage to declare US support for Musharraf.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is fully backing a Pakistani military crackdown on hotbeds of al Qaeda and Taliban activity amid mounting concern over terrorism, President George W. Bush's national security adviser said on Sunday.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's 10-month-old peace deal with tribal elders in northwestern Pakistan that was aimed at marginalizing pro-Taliban militants, has failed, said Stephen Hadley, the adviser.

"It has not worked the way he wanted. It has not worked the way we wanted it," he said on the ABC television program "This Week."

Concern about a resurgent militant threat has grown over the last two months, Hadley added. "And we're responding to it ... In the short run, we need to take it on operationally," he said without elaborating.

Musharraf, a key ally in the U.S.-declared global war on terrorism, has been moving more troops into western areas of the country near the Afghan border, said Hadley, who appeared on four U.S. network interview programs.

"We are supporting that effort in order to get control of the situation," he told ABC.

He added on CNN's "Late Edition" program: "We have provided all appropriate support that we can consistent with Pakistani sovereignty,"

Shorter Hadley: It's official. American bombers are moving in. Screw sovereignty.

For insight from a Pakistani perspective, read this editorial in the Pakistan times.

Here's an excerpt:

Answering questions at a Congressional hearing, Ms. Rice said that, “frankly speaking Pakistan’s agreement with Waziristan tribal leaders is not working”.

The implication was that Pakistan must give up the idea of political solution of the issue and resume the military operation, and that too of the level and magnitude determined by Washington.

Its is not realized by the American policy makers that after earlier loss of more than six hundred troops in the Waziri conflict, people of Pakistan are not willing to support the military operation anymore.

Another reason, perhaps the foremost, is that in the rugged mountains of Waziristan or for that matter any other tribal community, it is almost impossible to differentiate between a terrorist and simple tribesman.

They all carry guns, are born guerilla fighters, and strongly believe in “badal” or revenge. When the governor of NWFP says that it would be an unwinable war, he is not far from the truth. History supports the outlook of Governor Aurakzai.

The Mughals from Akbar the great to Aurangzeb could not subjugate the Pushtoon tribes; the British met the same fate and the Russians in the process lost an empire. The resurgence of so called Taliban is no different.

It shows that despite unprecedented bombing and destruction of their military structure albeit rag-tag, their spirit for independence could not be destroyed.

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