The Hill Forts Fall

In Wana, Pakistan 20 more Uzbek Al Qaida were killed by mixed Taliban and tribal forces bringing the total deaths to 270, with aproximately 70 deaths since the Taliban brokered peace failed on the 19th. Seven tribals died in the fighting at the high houses near Wana.

 From the International News, Pakistan:

hill-fort.gifWANA: The tribal lashkar, driving out the entrenched foreigners, have captured their bunkers while the clashes taking place during this process have taken the toll of 20 more foreigners dead.

Security officials told that following the clashes continuing through the whole night, at least 20 corpses of the foreigners were found this morning near the vacated bunkers.

UPDATE: FRONTIER POST reports that the Army has moved in to assist, the Son of the Tribal Chief who first started resisting the Uzbek’s has been slain by them along with six others, after calling for army support Rest in Peace Sherin Jan.

Also in Parachinar we have a sectarian/racial fight between sunni and shia, Hazara and Pashtun, 20 wounded, three dead:

Earlier, firefights broke out on Friday between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in a Pakistani tribal town, near the Afghan border leaving 20 people wounded, officials said. “We have imposed a curfew and called out the army after exchanges of fire between members of the two sects,” Sahibzada Mohammad Anis, the top administrator in Parachinar, the main town in Kurram region, said.

These high houses are (see correction below) called bunkers in the article, but fortified stone houses in the highlands of Pakistan are not unusual. Most tribes have houses in the lowlands and those in the highlands which they retreat to in times of trouble. These high or summer houses are usually not inhabited in winter due to lack of fuel and the  chance of being trapped there in the snow.

*** Correction: Research on Internet Hagganah and other sites indicates that this was an actual bunker originally built by Pak Security forces, not a fortified house as stated earlier ***** 

The Uzbeks now have to be in full flight, and the path they take ought to be noted by US and ISAF forces, it could have impact to the efforts in Afghanistan. Click on the thumbnail below to see where Wana lies in relation to Kabul, Islamabad and Tora Bora.


Previous articles:

War Drums Beat in Wana

Tribal Council of War, Jihad Declared Against Al Qaida

Meanwhile, Musharaaf speaks out against the extremists of Jamia Hafsa, and this gets little play in western press. I find that amusing because everyone continually complains about not being able to find moderate Muslims who will speak out. While you might dislike many of his other statements, and his lack of action in areas, you have to admire his courage to speak out against extremist Mullahs when he’s been the target of several asassination attempts, and he knows his country has several hundreds of them.

from the International News, Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD: President General Pervez Musharraf on situation at the Hafsa Madrasa in Islamabad regretted the rigid attitude of the people of the madrisa.

The President said expression of thoughts is not bad but a group could not impose their system of Islam with force. He said imposing the thinking of a specified group with force was not real Islam adding that suicide bombing is unIslamic.
Musharraf said the extremist elements are closing the minds, which is creating a negative effect about Islam in the world.
He emphasized the need to have tolerance, patience and respect for each other instead of adopting a rigid attitude.

The President, “There should be openness and avoiding rigidity, express your views and let the society decide itself about your ideas and views.” 

The Jamia Hafsa group and their obnoxious assault on society are a highly visible sign of extremism, but they really are not the norm in Islamabad. Indeed from reading local blogs, letters to editor in Pak papers, and seeing that people are demonstrating against the “Urban Taliban” it can be determined that they are highly unpopular, and the more noise they make, the less popular they become. Some political opponents of Musharaaf are even willing to go as far as to paint it as a plot by the administration since it is highlighting what rule under the MMA would be like — the equivalent of “Bush Derangement Syndrome” in Pakistan — we have BDS, they have MDS.

I suppose it’s natural, during times of strife and change the leader of the country will always be the lighting rod for all ire, deserved or not.

Dawn details the Anti-extremist protest:

ISLAMABAD, April 5: Several hundred men and women protested here on Thursday against the religious militancy and ferociousness of the students of Lal Masjid madressahs who have held the capital in awe for 10 weeks.

They gathered at the Aabpara Chowk in response to a call of civil society organisations to protest against Jamia Hafsa girls, and their Lal Masjid male supporters, who have launched a campaign “to stop vices” in the city and pave way for enforcement of Sharia in the country.

“Stop terrorising people in the name of religion,” said one placard held by the demonstrators who were outnumbered by riot police.

Jamia Hafsa girls have been on the march, and in the headlines ever since they seized a public library on January 21 and forced the city authorities to stop demolishing illegally built mosques.

That success encouraged them to launch their “stop vices” campaign. They kidnapped three women alleging that they were running a brothel, and started asking owners of music and CD-DVD shops in the Aabpara Market to close down their business.

One placard at the protest on Thursday declared: “No to religious extremism, Yes to life and music”.

Other placards and slogans declared: “No to extremism in the name of religion”, “No to mullahism”, “No to religious fascism”, “Ghunda Gardi Band Karo”, “Danda Badmashi Band Karo”, and “Mullah Ki Yari Nahi Chalay Gi”.

Though the demonstration took place a few hundred metres away from the Lal Masjid, it drew no reaction from the ‘moral squads’ entrenched in the mosque.

In the background of this, the students and the mosque have declared a week of “Sharia Law” and are posting signs, walking about with canes and clubs, and the usual thuggery of the extremists. During the demonstration in front of Jamia Hafsa / Lal Masjid none few of the protesters were wearing scarfs or hijabs, and the police had to restrain the demonstrators from entering. I see this willingness to confront the extremists and open the way for free and open speech without coercion in the streets as healthy for Pakistan. The question is “how long will Musharaaf allow this to simmer, until the elections are over?”

More on the “Women Against Fundamentalism” (WAF) Anti-Taliban Demonstration at Gateway Pundit

One note on this: the pics I’ve seen of the demonstration show that the signs are in Urdu or Arabic, had this been for show to the West, as many MMA demonstrations are, some if not all of the signs like past MMA ones would have been in English.

Previous Articles

Jamia Hafsa Update

Crows Come Home to Roost, Extremist Roots in Islamabad