Waziristan Update

“This is a jihad dictated by outsiders, by al-Qaeda. It is not a holy war. They just want power and money.” — Malik Haji Awar Khan, 55, head of the 2,000-strong Mutakhel Wazir tribe of North Waziristan

In Waziristan the Peace Jirga has failed, and the fighting will continue. This is not necessarily a bad thing. What most analysts fail to come to grips with is that there are varying stripes and factions within the Taliban and they have differing goals — they are not monolithically aligned behind one leader now and have not been since early last summer.

Most are religious conservatives, some very extreme, but comparing all Taliban to the Afghan and AQ aligned Taliban is a mistake. The local Taliban in Pakistan happen to be disgruntled with the foreign elements, and the foreign aims. They are now allied with the tribes of Waziristan, and it’s hell to pay for the Uzbeks, Chechen, and Arab Al Qaida elements. As it goes, some are now leaving the Taliban, not openly, but they are doing so by aligning with their local tribal leaders.

While they are closer to the large population Afghan Taliban than the AQ elements, the Pakistan Taliban groups are starting to pull away from them as well, because they are seeing violence brought to their lands, they are seeing the ancient struggle for power and money overcome Jihad.

They are also seeing the Taliban lose badly and steadily in Afghanistan, and even though offensives are planned this Spring, everyone knows the realistic outlook for that. The Taliban in Afghanistan will once again get crushed from the Spring to the Fall in other words.

More from Frontier Post:
Fresh fighting erupts in South Wazirstan
WANA (Online): Clashes between tribesmen and foreign militants erupted at Wana and adjoining areas of South Waziristan tribal agency following the failure of Jirga of local religious leaders and tribesmen after long negotiations. According to a private TV Channel, a Grand Jirga was held to stop bloody clashes between tribesmen and foreign militants temporary in which religious leaders and tribesmen of North and South Wazirstan participated. The Jirga held long negotiations regarding the presence of foreigners and their future but failed to reach a consensus. Some tribesmen proposed to disarm the foreigners and providing them refuge in the Mehsud area failed to get approval from all sides and the talks resulted in failure. The four-days’ battle between foreigners and local tribesmen at Wana and adjoining areas left up to 161 people dead including 130 foreigners, while 175 persons were injured in the clashes. Local tribesmen have also detained more than 70 persons during the clashes. Meanwhile, the NWFP Governor Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai said on Friday that about 130 foreigners and 25 to 30 local tribesmen have been killed during fighting. The governor, however, ruled out speculations that the government instigated local tribals against the foreigners in the region.

The Afghan Taliban, AQ, and foreign fighters have made their own bed here by lording it over the locals, and you can see it’s a bed full of nails. While our media paints the Pashtun locals as frightened rabbits, they are mistaken. It’s like calling Geronimo a woman.

Who’s going to win in the end? My money’s on the guys with 20 centuries of experience in Asymetrical Warfare, the local Pashtun tribes.

While the government of Pakistan hasn’t joined directly in the fighting (although rumors speak of Pakistan Army artillery used to soften Uzbek positions,) their position is pretty clear, they consider the original  Peace accords violated. Pak Observer quoting Sherpao:

Peshawar—Federal Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao has said since the foreign militants operating in the tribal belt of Pakistan have failed to honour the peace accord inked with local tribesmen in North Waziristan Agency, they have lost their right to stay on our land any longer.
“As per the terms and conditions of the peace accord the foreign terrorists are now required to either surrender to the political authorities or leave Pakistan as they are hampering peace process in FATA”, warned the Interior Minister while talking to reporters after addressing a meeting of his party’s provincial council here on Saturday.
Sherpao attributed the present unrest and series of bloody clashes taking place in the South Waziristan Agency with the breach of agreement on the part of the fugitives. “They have not stood by their words which eventually led to the clashes between the pro-government tribesmen and the foreign terrorists in Waziristan”, the Interior Minister maintained.