Thursday, April 12, 2007

Waiting in the wings of Waziristan

News comes that "Pakistani tribesmen" have routed al Qaeda-linked fighters in Waziristan. If true, this would tend to indicate that the locals have grown fed up with the extremist group holing up in their tribal lands. I'm not altogether convinced of this story, considering how it seems to be emanating from the government of President Musharraf, whose own intelligence agency ISI is a known supporter of the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the region. Musharraf has always denied that his government is in anyway involved with Taliban or al Qaeda forces but the evidence is more than clear on this point. Musharraf has been taking a great deal of heat for this behaviour and he may think that this will demonstrate some resistance in Pakistan to the al Qaeda presence.

But an amazingly daft statement came out of Musharraf when he described this event as some kind of victory:
The people in South Waziristan have risen against the foreigners ... [and] they will get support from the Pakistan army if they ask for support.
If they ask for support? We are supposed to be under the impression that the Pakistani government is an active ally in the War on Terror
™ and was supposed to be taking the fight to the Taliban, not hanging in the background and waiting to be called upon by disgruntled locals. Of course, we know that Musharraf doesn't have much interest in reigning in the Taliban or al Qaeda, but this statement reveals that Musharraf himself is happy in playing a passive role while tribesmen in the area take the fight to the jihadis.

Then again, it may all be a fiction. Who knows? In either event, Musharraf has exposed more about his own policies than any putative gains against the forces of al Qaeda.


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