In a sign of electoral health, new polls released show that Pakistanis favor a free judiciary, a free press, and free elections. They don’t like President Pervez Musharraf in his dual role, and he polls lower than Bin Laden.
Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif both polled pretty well, with Bhutto at 53% and Nawaz at 47%. While Nawaz is back in exile, Bhutto is slated to return to Pakistan any day now.
Read more at Dawn.
Meanwhile in the frontiers the standoff between the Army and the Taliban / Al Qaeda forces appears to be heating up. The army has attacked in Northwest Frontier Province (Waziristan) with gunships, infantry, and artillery killing 30-40 Taliban.
“The ISPR’s claim is totally baseless and Mujahideen are safe,” said Ahmadullah Ahmadi who identified himself as spokesman for militant commander Hafiz Gul Buhadur based in Miramshah.
Mr Ahmadi told Dawn that militants had kidnapped 11 FC men from the Bannu Frontier Region. Gul Buhadur has influence in Miramshah and has been leading a strong corps of militants in the area.
Sources said a group of militants launched an offensive against security forces in Shawal region which lies in both North and South Waziristan Agencies. The first attack was carried out in Pesh Ziarat area and security forces called in Cobra helicopters from Miramshah.
Officials said the helicopters targeted positions in Shawal area and about 40 militants were killed. Combat helicopters shuttled between Shawal and Miramshah
Read More at Dawn.
The Afghan army and NATO forces have become very adept at springing ambushes, as the details of this encounter are not uncommon. The Taliban seem bereft of competent leadership, and the people performing these attacks are poorly trained. During the month of Ramadan the forces expect more attacks from the unholy warriors of the Taliban as occurred last year. From Breitbart:
Airstrikes and Afghan army gunfire killed more than 45 suspected Taliban fighters in a clash in a southern province just as the holy month of Ramadan began, the U.S.-led coalition said.
The battle in the southern province of Uruzgan on Wednesday began when insurgents attacked a joint Afghan army and U.S.-led coalition patrol with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire, the coalition said in a statement late Wednesday.
Afghan soldiers “cleared” Taliban fighters from firing positions within the village of Aduzay, while attack aircraft destroyed some fighting positions, it said.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force on Wednesday said insurgents increased attacks during Ramadan last year and that they could do the same this year.
“On the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, the enemies of Afghanistan have shown they will shun peaceful coexistence in favor of attacking government forces,” said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman. “Fortunately for the citizens of Afghanistan, the ANA (Afghan National Army) is improving their tactics.”
The coalition said no Afghan or coalition soldiers or civilians were wounded or killed.
Along with that US forces captured a high value Al Qaeda target earlier this month, and transferred him to Guantanamo yesterday Continue reading “Afghan Army Kills 45 Taliban”