Rival militants clash in PakistanCould the Taliban have been headed off, before escaping across the frontier, and wiped out (assuming the lefties would have condoned such action, of course – a silly question, really)? The question assumes that the Taliban’s wellspring was and is Afghanistan. Moving back to the main question, however, there are solid indications that this situation may be getting worse.
Nearly 50 people have been killed after rising tension between local tribesmen and foreign militants in north-west Pakistan erupted into fierce fighting. Heavy shelling has raged since Monday near Wana in the South Waziristan tribal area close to Afghanistan. Most of those killed were militants from Uzbekistan suspected of links with al-Qaeda, officials said. At least two children also died in the crossfire.
The area is a stronghold of the Taleban, who have close ties to local tribes.
It is also home to hundreds of foreign militants who fled the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The security situation in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province continues to deteriorate. Once again, Western pressure on the government of President Pervez Musharraf has failed to prevent Pakistan from handing over territory to the Taliban, this time to a group called the Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws. On March 17, a Pakistani "peace" committee struck a verbal agreement with the Mohmand tribe, under which the government promised to cease military activity in Bajaur in exchange for the tribe's promise not to shelter "foreigners" or allow cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.Why the devil? Simple, the people Musharraf is negotiating with effectively inspired and sponsored the Taliban.
A look at the players shows this agreement to be another pact with the devil.
Faqir Muhammad is a senior leader of the Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws, which provided the ideological inspiration to the Afghan Taliban in the 1990s. Faqir's group sent over 10,000 fighters into Afghanistan to fight U.S. forces during Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001.While in the US, we have the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin, saying, "Long-term prospects for eliminating the Taliban threat appear dim so long as the sanctuary remains in Pakistan, and there are no encouraging signs that Pakistan is eliminating it”, no one appears to be talking much about the long-term threat to (and from) Pakistan itself.
Since the signing of the Waziristan Accord on September 5, 2006, essentially ceding North Waziristan to the Taliban and al Qaeda, attacks in both Pakistan and Afghanistan have skyrocketed.
Given the extremist nature of a significant number of Pakistan’s Muslims, not to mention the significant support originally given to the Taliban from elements of the Pakistani military and secret service, Pakistan is now shaping up as a very real potential problem.
If Musharraf were to be deposed, and let’s face it, the Pakistanis have form in this area (and there have been several assassination attempts already), we could be facing a very real, very new, and very deadly Islamic threat entirely: