While the new government is on record pace to make deals with the Taliban, the Taliban is breaking the deals before the ink dries.
Bill Roggio has details on the NWFP deal here, as well as the ongoing negotiations with Baitullah Mehsud.
The Taliban celebrated the deal by attacking a Police station killing four muslims and injuring 30 in the Northwest. The Taliban says it doesn’t count as breaking the peace deal….. perhaps they had their fingers crossed while they blew up the police station, I don’t know.
What I do know is that Baitullah promised to hang those who break the peace inside Waziristan upside down in the bazaar. We will shortly see if he’s a man of his word, or just another neo-takfirist liar at “Bumpy” Zawahiri’s beck and call.
Four people were killed and 30 hurt when a car bomb demolished a police station in northwest Pakistan Friday, ending a lull in attacks since a new government took power last month.
Taliban militants said the blast in the city of Mardan was in revenge for the killing of a rebel leader by police, but added that a ceasefire declared this week by a top insurgent commander remained intact.
The blast is the first since the swearing-in at the end of March of Pakistan’s new government, which has since began talks with the Taliban and vowed to discard pro-US President Pervez Musharraf’s strongarm tactics.
“We abide by our announcement of a ceasefire. Today’s attack was to level the score with police, who first violated the terms of the truce by killing one of our commanders,” Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar told AFP.
The ceasefire was announced two days earlier by Pakistani Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud, who has denied accusations by the previous government of masterminding the slaying of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto.
The Daily Times is with me on this and they made a good call in their editorial, they don’t see the peace lasting either:
The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief, Baitullah Mehsud, has ordered his militants not to attack Pakistani security forces henceforth and warned that anyone violating his orders would be punished publicly. The TTP distributed pamphlets saying that “offensives” against the Pakistan army in Waziristan, Tank, Gomal and Dera Ismail Khan should be abandoned, and anyone who doesn’t obey the order would be “hanged upside down in the bazaars”.
The governor of the NWFP, Mr Owais Ghani, has confirmed from Peshawar that talks with Mr Mehsud are underway and “making progress”. He said the release of the TNSM chief, Sufi Muhammad, had attracted positive feedback from Malakand Division. He did not say if the talks were made conditional by the TTP to the withdrawal of the Pakistan army from the Tribal Areas, but that is what is being reported. Of course, it is presumed that if the army is withdrawn it would be in return for the re-establishment of the writ of the Pakistan state.
The same day in Bajaur Agency, close to the Afghan border, Afghan troops had an encounter with Pakistani border guards as a result of which one Pakistani soldier died. The Afghan forces were pursuing militants who had gone across the border and attacked the Afghan check post. In the exchange of fire, 10 Taliban militants died. Unfortunately, in the process, the Afghans ended up firing at the Pakistani check post. The press has been told that it was a “misunderstanding” and both sides have met at the command level and sorted it out.
The pattern, though, is familiar. The Afghans think that the Taliban raiders are “facilitated” by Pakistani border guards who let them in before the attacks inland and let them out when they are fleeing. Although the atmospherics with Kabul have been maintained, everyone knows that the Karzai government is deeply suspicious and resentful about what it thinks is Pakistan’s role in infiltrating the Taliban into Afghanistan. The ISAF-NATO command in Afghanistan backs up the allegations and is indeed behind much of the protest launched against Pakistan in Kabul.