War Drums Beat in Wana

The battles in Wana continue as local tribes and Taliban comb the countryside to expel Al Qaida aligned Uzbeks and Chechens. The war drums have not sounded in five years due to Taliban edicts against them.

The battles in Wana continue as local tribes and Taliban comb the countryside to expel Al Qaida aligned Uzbeks and Chechens. The war drums have not sounded in five years due to Taliban edicts against them. More tribes, including some which were previously aligned with the Uzbeks have joined in. Alliances in Pakistan’s tribal regions are always fickle, and can change with one slight, imagined or real, one breath of wind.

The downside of this is that Maulavi Nazir, a Taliban-aligned leader, is gaining more support due to the conflict as he leads the efforts. He’s certainly not America’s friend, as his distribution of pamphlets stating the Uzbeks are agents of the “CIA, KGB, and MOSSAD” attests to — (a flatly ridiculous accusation if you think about it a minute.)

From Dawn:

Another sub-clan, Taojikhel, also provided 40 volunteers to the tribal lashkar and promised more if needed, the source said.
The jirga followed after weeks of fighting between the Uzbeks and local tribesmen that left over 100 dead and scores injured.
“The winds have changed their course,” the source said. “The game is up for the Uzbeks.”
He said that anti-Uzbek militant commander Maulavi Nazir and tribesmen seized vehicles in Wana to send armed men to fight the Uzbeks off, who were believed to be hiding in certain areas.
The source said that six Uzbeks were killed and two others were captured near the Karikot area of Wana at around 11am on Tuesday.
The number of Uzbek militants in the tribal region varies but security officials said that their number could be little over 1,000 in South Waziristan alone.
Religious leaders declared a jihad against the Uzbek militants on Monday.
Meanwhile, the jirga authorised the tribal lashkar to capture dead or alive the Uzbek militants operating under the command of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader, Tahir Yuldeshiv.

UPDATE: For a lucid concise and probaby true recap of events leading up to this, please see this ADN Kronos article.

Summation: The Uzbeks were hated, feared, reviled, and ambivalent about returning to Afghanistan to fight. The locals think they outstayed their welcome, and when a local tribe attacked the Uzbeks after they hit an Al Qaida bagman, the Taliban leader in the area saw opportunity to extend his power and jumped in.

Prediction: After the Uzbeks are gone, then another foreign militant group will go on the “outs” — it’s practically a given. The local tribes will be shuffling for control the next couple of years due to the large amount of funds coming to the tribal regions in the form of government uplift programs.