There’s a lot of furor over Pakistan’s recent pact with the tribes in North Waziristan, but if you’ve been following the war updates here, you should have seen this coming.
The first thing to remember is that these people are not monolithically Taliban, as ABC news would have us believe (SituationÂ DeterioratingÂ in Afghanistan and the War on TerrorÂ is the Action line for the DNC, Richard Clarke, and the liberal press right now.)
TheÂ tribes of Waziristan areÂ fiercely independent, and these tribes have some familyÂ ties to theÂ people of the Northern Alliance over-the-mountain from them. The Northern Alliance is no friend to Bin Laden, and it’s the one thing that mades me doubt the previous reports of Bin Laden in Chitral and Darkot the most.
Note this from the Frontier Post in Pakistan:
Miscreants in the volatile North Waziristan Agency – bordering Afghanistan – Tuesday signed a permanent peace agreement with the government in Miranshah town, officials and negotiators said. Under the deal expected to pave the way for lasting peace in the troubled region, the pro-Taliban tribesmen will stop attacks on government forces and installations in the area and across the border in the neighbouring country. Members of a grand tribal jirga, constituted by the NWFP governor in July, confirmed the two sides inked the long-awaited accord at the Miranshah College ground in the presence of a large number of people. After the signing of the deal, representatives of the tribal fighters hugged army commander Major General Azhar Ali Shah as a token of jubilation. The jirga hoped the accord, wrapped up after a series of meetings and tenuous negotiations, would put an end to two years of mayhem in the region, where hundreds have died in clashes and attacks. Under the pact signed by Azad Khan on behalf of the fighters and government representative Fakhre Alam, the tribesmen will drive alien militants from their areas and end cross-border attacks in exchange for a troop pullout from the semi-autonomous zone. Additionally, the army promised a halt to operations in the area. Speaking to a gathering including tribesmen, members of the jirga and senior army and government officers, tribal parliamentarian Maulana Nek Zaman hailed the agreement as a major stride towards peace. ?It?s a welcome step that represents a moment of hope for everyone,?? Zaman said of the deal barring tribesmen from sheltering foreign elements – often blamed for attacking security forces and sensitive installations. The local Taliban vowed to refrain from forming a parallel administration for any purpose to reciprocate the government?s gesture of freeing 132 militants arrested in recent years. No compensation would be offered to residents who suffered loses due to the fighting between the government forces and militants. All check-posts, set up in the populated areas will be abolished. Personnel of paramilitary forces – khasdar and levies – will be posted at the old checkpoints. The agreement says the political administration will be approached for resolution of any problem and all the grievances will be addressed in line with tribal traditions and the FCR.
I am going out on a limb here, but please read the War Chest Theory from one of my earlier posts on how Alexander the Great defeated his longest-lasting opponent (
SpitamenesÂ actually Oxyartes, memories get bad as you age)Â in this area:
In the end to win in Afghanistan you have to do three things: Kick everyoneâ€™s ass, demonstrate that you will persist, and then buy all the local warlords to your side. The warchest needs to re-open in southern Afghanistan, and we need to use it to corner Omar and potentially Bin Laden. This is how the Russians failed, they did not persist and they did not buy allies.
The last time the region was truly conquered, Alexander the Great fought long and hard against a nimble opponent who always ranÂ away to fight another day. In the end Alexander bought off all of the Grey Wolfâ€™s allies and thus conquered him, as detailed in Steven Pressfieldâ€™s greatÂ book, â€œThe Virtue of Warâ€œ.Â Alexander ended the campaign by defeating Spitamenesâ€™ and marrying hisÂ daughter, Roxana, who bore his son Alexander IV.
House and Senate negotiators reached agreement last night on a $94.5 billion package to pay for Iraq war and hurricane recovery costs, after shaving numerous extraneous provisions that the Senate had wanted to stuff into the bill. The bill, which is expected to reach President Bushâ€™s desk next week, would designate $65.8 billion to the Pentagon to cover troop pay, provide recruiting incentives, buy new body armor and fund continued operations of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other items. Diplomacy projects in the region would receive $3.9 billion in new funding.
3.9B for diplomacy will certainly buy some warlords and tribal leaders in Southern Afghanistan and North Pakistan.
Before I start wringing my hangs over this I am going to give it some time. Also remember that Musharaf made peace with the Bugti, and their Jirga before he did this.Â So this could just be a non-agression pact similar to the Hitler-Stalin pact that helped keep the war to one front at a time for Germany.Â Musharaf does need the winter to calm Quetta, and if this is the caseÂ look for developments in the Spring.
Please also note who is attending the conference with Karzai in Afghanistan, from the tag-end of an article in the Pakistan Observer:
The President is accompanied by a high level delegation which includes Governors of NWFP and Balochistan, ten Federal Ministers and three Ministers of State in addition to senior officials.â€”Inp
It’s interesting that the tribes are “expelling foreign fighers” as part of the pact as well. Perhaps they’ve just been bought off ala the war chest theory, and this is the war-council.Â This and thisÂ are bothÂ noteworthy as well in the context.
I for one am going to wait to see whether it’s non-agression pact or war chest in action before passing verdict.
Update fromÂ Daily Times, Pakistan:
The Khasadar force has taken control of the check posts vacated by the security forces after a peace agreement with local Taliban militants in North Waziristan, Geo television reported on Wednesday.
The channel reported that personnel of the Frontier Constabulary would remain deployed at some check posts to stop smuggling.
The channel also reported that NWFP Governor Ali Jan Orakzai would meet the tribal jirga that negotiated the peace agreement.