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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Pakistan - Taliban Hub
    Posted: 26-Dec-2006 at 10:53
Letter by Carlotta Gall

By Carlotta Gall
Dec.22, 2006
Islamabad, Pakistan

I am a British reporter working for the New York Times in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I would like to alert you to an incident in which my Pakistani photographer was detained, I was assaulted, and our belongings including computers, notebooks and mobile phones seized by four men who said they were from the Special Branch in Quetta, Pakistan on the night of Dec.19.

On Dec.19, 2006 I was in Quetta, Pakistan working with a photographer, Akhtar Soomro, a Pakistani national from Karachi. We had been in the city since Dec. 14.

Men in plain clothes, who said they were from the special branch of Pakistans police, but may have been from the Inter Services Intelligence or Military Intelligence, knocked on my hotel room door (Serena Hotel, Quetta) in the early evening and asked to come in and talk to me. I declined, saying that I was busy working and put a Do Not Disturb sign on the outside of the door.

Mr Soomro was then detained around 8pm from his hotel (Hotel Japan), his computer and cameras seized, and he was made to call me asking me to come down to the Serena hotel car park to talk to the men detaining him, saying he was in trouble. I again declined and called my foreign desk and the Minister of Information in Islamabad, Muhammad Ali Durrani.

At 9.43 pm I was speaking on the telephone when men broke open the door of my room and four men entered the room and began to seize my belongings. One snatched my handbag and when I tried to take it back, a second man punched me twice in the side of the face and head with his fist. I fell backwards onto a coffee table smashing the crockery. I have heavy bruising on my arms, on my temple and my cheekbone and swelling on my left eye and a sprained knee.

The men searched my belongings, took my three notebooks, my laptop, my satellite telephone, two cell phones (although they gave one back when it rang) and several other papers and items.

They were extremely aggressive and abusive. The leader, who spoke English, refused to show any ID, said I was in Quetta without permission, that I had visited Pashtunabad, a part of the town, which he said was not permitted, and that I had been interviewing the Taliban.

I explained that I had a one year, multi-entry visa with no restrictions, and was permitted to work anywhere in Pakistan, including Quetta. The only place we know is not permitted to visit without special permission is the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, FATA.

Mr Tariq Azeem Khan, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, who helped release our belongings and Mr Soomro, said I should have informed the External Publicity Wing of the Information Ministry of my intention to visit Quetta to avoid such difficulties. I have never been told before that this was a necessity.

Mr Soomro was with the men when they raided my room and when I asked that he stay with me, the plainclothes man said: He is Pakistani, we can do whatever we want with him. They took him away, driving off in a white jeep, number plate QAA 211.

Mr Tariq Azeem Khan apologized for the rough treatment I received and promised my belongings would be returned that same night. My things were returned around midnight and Mr Soomro was released at 1.30 am.


Thank you for your kind attention,

Carlotta Gall
The New York Times
Afghanistan and Pakistan
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Dec-2006 at 13:00
Afghanistan arrests Pakistani `suicide bomb supplier`


zeenews.com

Khost (Afghanistan), Dec 26: Afghan authorities on Tuesday said that they had arrested a Pakistani national who had allegedly been providing suicide bombers to the Taliban in eastern Paktika province.

The man, whose name was not revealed, was "in charge of recruiting suicide bombers and equipping them," provincial governor, Mohammad Akram Khpolwak said.

He was arrested from Bermal district in the bordering Paktika province yesterday, the governor said.

He gave no further details saying that the case was under investigation.

Afghan government officials frequently blame Pakistan for a surge in Taliban-led violence including the increase in suicide bombings in Afghanistan.

Pakistan firmly denies helping the Taliban and points to the fact that it has 80,000 troops along the border with Afghanistan, hundreds of whom have died fighting pro-Taliban militants.

The Governor also said that police raided a suspected Taliban compound in the same district and seized a bomb-fitted motorbike. However the owner of the motorcycle fled before the raid, he added.

Some 4,000 people, including 1,000 civilians, have died this year in insurgent violence that has made 2006 Afghanistan's bloodiest year since the fall of the Taliban five years ago.

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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Dec-2006 at 13:05
Incredible Line on Afghanistan

Rasul Bakhsh Rais

Pakistans relationship with Afghanistan is strategically too important for stability and peace within Pakistan and in the region to be left to the private groups or be subject to any ambiguity or ambivalence on Pakistans part

The world around Pakistan and beyond has changed during the past five years, and the pace of change is likely to quicken further in the coming years. What has changed is too obvious even to an ordinary observer. But lets recap.

Afghanistan continues to remain troubled and uncertainty about its future hangs thick. This will have serious security repercussions for Pakistan. Under the American guns and thunder, Iraq is now a failed state and on the verge of disintegration along ethnic and sectarian lines. What should concern Pakistan and other Muslims states is the destructive sectarian civil war that has sucked in Iran and is likely to draw Arab states into this conflict. The issue of Islam, ethnicity and the contest over political power in the emerging Central Asian states will also have vibrations in all directions.

Located at the crossroads of ethnic and religious polarisations, Pakistan is caught in deadly crossfire. One the one side are the United States-led western countries trying to win two wars and shaping the security of these regions according to their vision of peace and stability. On the other hand are theocratic Iran and Islamists with a different agenda of political change and national security. It may not necessarily be the infamous clash of cultures, but a bipolar worldview on what is good for the Muslims societies and who has the right and responsibility to define that good has definitely emerged.

This is not a simple question; it involves larger issues of state sovereignty, regional autonomy and self-determination of peoples, communities and nations. The Southwest region and Afghanistan have reached a new boiling point and it is unclear if our policymakers have the vision, depth and the sense of history to grasp the political and security trends and realise the dangers ahead.

Instead of relying on the robustness of institutions and the depth of collective thinking on national security issues, we lack clarity, remain ambivalent and rely heavily on great men to give us direction. It should be obvious that relations with Afghanistan constitute the most important regional relationship for Pakistan in terms of the latters security. Consider the elements that impinge on Pakistans national security: common ethnicity, porous borders, migration, refugees and movement of non-state actors, to list a few and it should be clear that the insecurity and instability of Afghanistan will have great impact on our own stability and security.

Pakistans declared policy of non-intervention and support to international coalition of forces for stabilising Afghanistan lacks credibility. With every incident of violence, the Afghan government, foreign media, and most importantly the United States point fingers at Pakistan. Islamabads response to these accusations has not changed a bit. The foreign office spokesperson reads the same line again and again: Afghanistan and international coalition of forces have failed in their efforts to secure and stabilise the country, and they use Pakistan as a scapegoat for their own weaknesses.

True, international forces in Afghanistan have many failures and weaknesses to account for, and the pace of economic and political reconstruction has been slow. Rebuilding a state and its institutions, reintegrating diverse ethnic communities into a single nation-state and rebuilding infrastructure are ambitious objectives that cannot be realised in the face of growing insurgency in some of the Pashtun regions bordering Pakistan.

Yet, Pakistans famous line on Afghanistan is neither trusted by our allies in the war on terror nor given any respect by the leaders of Afghanistan. In the vastly changed circumstances of the regional setting Pakistan cannot afford to entirely dismiss as rubbish, as unfortunately Islamabad has tended to do, whatever the leaders of Afghanistan and the world say about its polices. In fact the line on Afghanistan has become a joke in the academic as well as policy circles around the world. The credibility gap has widened over the past couple of years. Most important in this regard is Pakistans assertion that insurgents in Afghanistan will not be allowed access to Pakistani territory and resources in terms of shelter, sanctuaries and any other material support.

It is time to change our line on Afghanistan, in fact Pakistan should have done it a long time back: Afghanistan belongs to the Afghans; Pakistan will remain neutral in the current and future power struggles, and will not allow ethnic and religious groups from east of the Durand Line to give support in men and material to likeminded groups across the border. Obviously, Pakistan would not accept a similar policy from Afghanistan.

One important sign of the fragility of a state is that private groups encroach upon its sovereign territory by pursuing private foreign and security policies. Afghanistans ethnic groups and Pakistans religious parties have been running parallel polices with or without any meeting point with the sate. This is also a legacy of the war of resistance in Afghanistan. But todays world is different, and the decoupling of the private groups and the public national security establishments in both the countries is a must.

This is an area where states institutional and political capacity needs to expand, and their writ extended to the border regions and other areas outside of such control. This is not happening at all; at least the result of this kind of capacity are not visible on either side of the Durand Line. A recent statement by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the opposition in the national assembly, that he directs his followers to support Taliban fighters in Afghanistan by providing humanitarian aid, and that we support anyone who is struggling for the implementation of an Islamic government will confirm the doubts of Pakistans security partners. It is equally true that some of the Afghan leaders have been found involved in sabotage activities in Balochistan apparently to avenge our failure to control the flow of aid to the Taliban.

Pakistans relationship with Afghanistan is strategically too important for stability and peace within Pakistan and in the region to be left to the private groups or be subject to any ambiguity or ambivalence on Pakistans part. Islamabad must listen to the world and its Afghan friends carefully about what they say about Pakistans involvement in Afghanistan, real or imagined. A free, united, stable and sovereign Afghanistan is in Pakistans national interest. Its troubles have been, and will be Pakistans troubles. Pakistan should shed its doubts on this score and proactively remove the doubts of the partners regarding its will, intentions and actions.

The author is a professor of Political Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He can be reached at rasul@lums.edu.pk

Source: Daily Times, Pakistan
    
    
    

Edited by Afghanan - 26-Dec-2006 at 13:23
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Dec-2006 at 13:10
NATO Accuses Pakistan and the ISI of Supplying the Taliban]

Commanders from five Nato countries whose troops have just fought the bloodiest battle with the Taliban in five years, are demanding their governments get tough with Pakistan over the support and sanctuary its security services provide to the Taliban.

Nato's report on Operation Medusa, an intense battle that lasted from September 4-17 in the Panjwai district, demonstrates the extent of the Taliban's military capability and states clearly that Pakistan's Interservices Intelligence (ISI) is involved in supplying it.


Commanders from Britain, the US, Denmark, Canada and Holland are frustrated that even after Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf met George W Bush and Tony Blair last week, Western leaders are declining to call Mr Musharraf's bluff.

"It is time for an 'either you are with us or against us' delivered bluntly to Musharraf at the highest political level," said one Nato commander.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001 America gave Mr Musharraf a similar ultimatum to co-operate against the Taliban, who were then harbouring Osama bin Laden.

"Our boys in southern Afghanistan are hurting because of what is coming out of Quetta," he added.

The Taliban use the southern province of Balochistan to co-ordinate their insurgency and to recuperate after military action.

The cushion Pakistan is providing the Taliban is undermining the operation in Afghanistan, where 31,000 Nato troops are now based. The Canadians were most involved in Operation Medusa, two weeks of heavy fighting in a lush vineyard region, defeating 1,500 well entrenched Taliban, who had planned to attack Kandahar city, the capital of the south.

Nato officials now say they killed 1,100 Taliban fighters, not the 500 originally claimed. Hundreds of Taliban reinforcements in pick-up trucks who crossed over from Quetta waved on by Pakistani border guards were destroyed by Nato air and artillery strikes.

Nato captured 160 Taliban, many of them Pakistanis who described in detail the ISI's support to the Taliban.

Nato is now mapping the entire Taliban support structure in Balochistan, from ISI- run training camps near Quetta to huge ammunition dumps, arrival points for Taliban's new weapons and meeting places of the shura, or leadership council, in Quetta, which is headed by Mullah Mohammed Omar, the group's leader since its creation a dozen years ago.

Nato and Afghan officers say two training camps for the Taliban are located just outside Quetta, while the group is using hundreds of madrassas where the fighters are housed and fired up ideologically before being sent to the front.

Many madrassas now being listed are run by the Jamiat-e-Ullema Islam, a political party that governs Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province. The party helped spawn the Taliban in 1994.

"Taliban decision-making and its logistics are all inside Pakistan," said the Afghan defense minister, General Rahim Wardak.

A post-battle intelligence report compiled by Nato and Afghan forces involved in Operation Medusa demonstrates the logistical capability of the Taliban.

During the battle the Taliban fired an estimated 400,000 rounds of ammunition, 2,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 1,000 mortar shells, which slowly arrived in Panjwai from Quetta over the spring months. Ammunition dumps unearthed after the battle showed that the Taliban had stocked over one million rounds in Panjwai.

In Panjwai the Taliban had also established a training camp to teach guerrillas how to penetrate Kandahar, a separate camp to train suicide bombers and a full surgical field hospital. Nato estimated the cost of Taliban ammunition stocks at around 2.6 million. "The Taliban could not have done this on their own without the ISI," said a senior Nato officer.

Gen Musharraf this week admitted that "retired" ISI officers might be involved in aiding the Taliban, the closest he has come to admitting the agency's role.

Source: Ahmad Rashid - Telegraph News

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/10/06/wafghan06.xml

    
    

Edited by Afghanan - 26-Dec-2006 at 13:23
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jan-2007 at 14:04

Pakistani Taliban commended by Pakistan and the Taliban

M Ilyas Khan
BBC News, Karachi
Friday, 12 January 2007

More than 170 Taleban fighters from Pakistan's South Waziristan district have been killed in Afghanistan since 2005, BBC News has learned.

Families of the dead fighters were recently awarded certificates of commendation by the Taleban.

The Pakistani army has signed deals with pro-Taleban leaders in this area aimed at stopping cross-border raids.

But critics say the deals have given the Taleban safe havens from which to launch attacks.

The ceremony of commendation was held on 28 December in the village of Spinki Raghzai, eyewitnesses said.

It was presided over by Baitullah Mahsud, a pro-Taleban commander who signed one of the peace deals with the Pakistani army.

The witnesses said the families of 175 militants killed in Afghanistan since February 2005 were handed certificates by Mr Mahsud.

Of these, 50 militants belonged to his own Mahsud tribe while the rest were Ahmedzai Wazir tribesmen from the Wana region of the district.

Official sanction?

Some members of Pakistan's parliament, who hail from South Waziristan, also attended the ceremony.

Maulana Abdul Malik, national assembly member from the Wana area, and Senator Maulvi Saleh Shah Qureshi confirmed to the BBC that they attended the ceremony.

However, they said that they were only guests and had no role in organising the event.

The Pakistan army lost hundreds of troops in battles with pro-Taleban militants in South Waziristan before signing peace deals with the militant leaders.

Since then, the local administration and the army have claimed that militancy has decreased and peace has returned to the region.

Many analysts, however, disagree and believe that the accords have given a free rein to the Taleban.

 


Edited by Afghanan - 12-Jan-2007 at 14:06
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jan-2007 at 14:43
So tell me buddy?
Is the aim of AE to
 
1) Take potshots at Pakistan
2) Or perchance have a civilised discussion on history?
 
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  Quote TeldeInduz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jan-2007 at 14:56
Originally posted by Sparten

So tell me buddy?
Is the aim of AE to
 
1) Take potshots at Pakistan
2) Or perchance have a civilised discussion on history?
 
 
You get used to the same old spam after a bit Smile
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jan-2007 at 15:42
Originally posted by Sparten

So tell me buddy?
Is the aim of AE to
 
1) Take potshots at Pakistan
2) Or perchance have a civilised discussion on history?
 
 
It seems just as Pakistan has a hard time admitting that the Taliban exist in Pakistan; that Pakistan is harboring terrorists; the Pakistani-Taliban ceasefire is a joke, and  that the Taliban are using Pakistan as a base of operations, so do Pakistanis on this forum.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jan-2007 at 15:50
Originally posted by Sparten

So tell me buddy?
Is the aim of AE to
 
1) Take potshots at Pakistan
2) Or perchance have a civilised discussion on history?
 
 
I thought it was to take potshots at the US.  Tongue
 
(or is that pikeshots?)
 
 
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jan-2007 at 16:36
Pikeshot,
 
The US has always known that Pakistan is double-dealing with them. 
 
Pakistan has every right to do some double-dealings (with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban) as Pakistan already knows that the US is an ally of convenience, not really a true ally.
 
So they will continue to play their Taliban card and also give safe harbor to Al-Qaeda.  How does a top ranking Taliban leader go to UAE for business from Pakistan? 
 
If he can, most likely Osama can as well. 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Jan-2007 at 00:11
Must be a sad life, going over the internet all day looking for news/opinions attacfking pakistan.
 
LOL
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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Jan-2007 at 09:58
Originally posted by Afghanan

Originally posted by Sparten

So tell me buddy?
Is the aim of AE to
 
1) Take potshots at Pakistan
2) Or perchance have a civilised discussion on history?
 
 
It seems just as Pakistan has a hard time admitting that the Taliban exist in Pakistan; that Pakistan is harboring terrorists; the Pakistani-Taliban ceasefire is a joke, and  that the Taliban are using Pakistan as a base of operations, so do Pakistanis on this forum.


Let me play the great satan's advocate here and admit that the Taliban is using pakistan as a base of operations. So now what?


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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Jan-2007 at 09:59
Pakistan's interests are not the same as those of the US.  We all have to understand that.  Pakistan was more comfortable with the Taliban in control of Afghanistan, and Al Quaeda was not attacking Pakistan.  Besides which, ISI could probably have found them and killed them all if they had been.
 
Deployments in the tribal areas and resources directed toward those operations take away from the Indian frontier where Pakistan's true interests lie.  They did a deal with Taliban remnants so they could operate from more a secure haven and direct their activities back to Afghanistan.
 
Strategy and politics; politics and strategy.
 
 
 
 
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Jan-2007 at 11:57
Originally posted by Sparten

Must be a sad life, going over the internet all day looking for news/opinions attacfking pakistan.
 
 
Its front page news, not much looking involved.  Whats even more sad is your denial.  Wink
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jan-2007 at 00:53
Even sadder is the fact I have not denied anything. Get your facts right.
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jan-2007 at 09:49
Maqsad,
 
I fail to see how speaking the truth will be considered the devils advocate?
 
The next question to ask is who is using who?  Are the Taliban using Pakistan, or is Pakistan using the Taliban?  They have used them in the past and it has only backfired on them.  What is their goal?
 
 


Edited by Afghanan - 14-Jan-2007 at 09:52
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  Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jan-2007 at 11:29
Its considered playing devil's advocate cuz pakis are supposed to officially deny funding the taliban just as pakis and the CIA denied funding the mujahideen during the soviet occupation.

As far as the taliban are concerned I do remember they did not solidify the durand line as an official border so they don't seem to be total puppets...do they? I have just started reading a book by an ISI brigadier who ran the soviet guerrilla resistance and from the first two chapters only I have gathered that the mujahidin had very strong wills and minds of their own. So...my guess is the taliban[whoever the hell they are supposed to be, pushtun wahabis?] and the ISI have a "you scratch my back and I will scratch your back and probably not assasinate you either" type of relationship going. But that is just a guess. I am sure the CIA, SAS MI6 are also involved heavily in the new "great game" starting to get going right now.
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  Quote TeldeInduz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jan-2007 at 13:31
Originally posted by pikeshot1600

Pakistan's interests are not the same as those of the US.  We all have to understand that.  Pakistan was more comfortable with the Taliban in control of Afghanistan, and Al Quaeda was not attacking Pakistan.  Besides which, ISI could probably have found them and killed them all if they had been.
 
Pakistan's interests and the US's interests are at odds on what constitutes a friendly government in Kabul, that's true (both have a common interest in getting rid of Al Q). But since the fall of the Taliban, Musharraf has been thinking long term I think, foreign soldiers will leave Afghanistan eventually and there's going to be a change of governance in Kabul, so he might be sitting on the fence till things are clearer. It's also true that Al Qaeda was easier to spot when they infiltrated into FATA than the Taliban because they were not of the Pashtun ethnic group. They are now dealt with, but the Taliban are not, and it is impossible to fully deal with them. Mining the border is one solution that would work, or real time intelligence.
 
 
Deployments in the tribal areas and resources directed toward those operations take away from the Indian frontier where Pakistan's true interests lie.  They did a deal with Taliban remnants so they could operate from more a secure haven and direct their activities back to Afghanistan.
 
Strategy and politics; politics and strategy
 
The deal with the tribal leaders was with the locals, not with the Taliban. The same deal was extended to Musa Qala by NATO and the more recently signed Babrak Tana area deals in Afghanistan. It's not really to do with the Eastern border at all, which seems to have calmed down considerably.


Edited by TeldeInduz - 14-Jan-2007 at 13:36
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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jan-2007 at 15:24
Originally posted by TeldeInduz

Originally posted by pikeshot1600

Pakistan's interests are not the same as those of the US.  We all have to understand that.  Pakistan was more comfortable with the Taliban in control of Afghanistan, and Al Quaeda was not attacking Pakistan.  Besides which, ISI could probably have found them and killed them all if they had been.
 
Pakistan's interests and the US's interests are at odds on what constitutes a friendly government in Kabul, that's true (both have a common interest in getting rid of Al Q). But since the fall of the Taliban, Musharraf has been thinking long term I think, foreign soldiers will leave Afghanistan eventually and there's going to be a change of governance in Kabul, so he might be sitting on the fence till things are clearer. It's also true that Al Qaeda was easier to spot when they infiltrated into FATA than the Taliban because they were not of the Pashtun ethnic group. They are now dealt with, but the Taliban are not, and it is impossible to fully deal with them. Mining the border is one solution that would work, or real time intelligence.
 
 
Deployments in the tribal areas and resources directed toward those operations take away from the Indian frontier where Pakistan's true interests lie.  They did a deal with Taliban remnants so they could operate from more a secure haven and direct their activities back to Afghanistan.
 
Strategy and politics; politics and strategy
 
The deal with the tribal leaders was with the locals, not with the Taliban. The same deal was extended to Musa Qala by NATO and the more recently signed Babrak Tana area deals in Afghanistan. It's not really to do with the Eastern border at all, which seems to have calmed down considerably.
 
Thanks for the information.  These tribal matters do leave Westerners puzzled.
 
 
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  Quote Afghanan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Jan-2007 at 12:37

U.S. Gen.: Insurgent chief in Pakistan


Jalaluddin Haqqani

By RAHIM FAIEZ
Associated Press / January 13, 2007

BAGRAM, Afghanistan - An Afghan insurgent leader operating from inside Pakistan sent some 200 ill-equipped fighters, some wearing plastic bags on their feet, into Afghanistan where most were killed in a major battle this week, a top U.S. general said Saturday.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakley said that Jalaluddin Haqqani recruited and sent unemployed and untrained men to fight in Afghanistan.

U.S. forces killed about 130 fighters moving in two groups in the eastern province of Paktika late Wednesday and early Thursday, one of the largest winter battles in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

"There's Taliban leaders in Pakistan," Freakley said. "We know that this group ... were from Jalaluddin Haqqani and we believe, though we don't know exactly where, that Jalaluddin Haqqani is operating from inside Pakistan and sending men to fight in Afghanistan."

Western and Afghan officials accuse Pakistan of not doing enough to stop Taliban fighters using Pakistani soil as a training ground from crossing the border into Afghanistan. Pakistan says it does all it can to stop the fighters.

No officials in Pakistan could immediately be reached for comment.

Freakley said that one of the enemies in the Afghan-Pakistan border area is unemployment.

"It is clear to me that some of these men were just either collected in a poor part of a village or perhaps from a madrassa or perhaps from a refugee camp and told to come fight," he said. "The message to the enemies of Afghanistan and the enemies of world peace would be that you can come at us with two people, 20 people, 200 people, 2,000 people, you'll be defeated and your young men will needlessly be killed."

Freakley said it was likely the insurgent fighters meant to attack a new military outpost near the village of Marghah that has affected insurgent infiltration routes.

In southern Afghanistan, meanwhile, NATO troops fought insurgents Saturday in a battle that left one Western soldier dead NATO's first fatality of the year.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force said the soldier died during an operation and that air support was used against insurgent positions. NATO refused to release any other details until the next of kin were notified.

Taliban militants stepped up attacks last year, and insurgent-related violence killed some 4,000 people in the bloodiest year since the U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban in late 2001.

The perceptive man is he who knows about himself, for in self-knowledge and insight lays knowledge of the holiest.
~ Khushal Khan Khattak
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