Strange Goings on at Taftan Border Crossing

There have been more Taliban arrested transiting out of Pakistan into Iran this last week, and in the nearby town of Quetta a third journalist from an Urdu Daily has dissappeared.
From the Daily Times:

QUETTA: An Urdu newspaper journalist “disappeared” on Monday from the Pakistan-Iran border town of Taftan – the second journalist from the same paper to have gone missing in a week.

Muhammad Asif Baloch, editor of Quetta-based Daily Azadi, said Hameed Baloch’s family had said he was abducted. “No one knows about his whereabouts but one thing is certain, that he has been abducted because of his bold reporting,” he said.

The last time activity was up at Taftan the terrorist traffic was flowing the other direction — into Pakistan. Shortly after that we had Lal Masjid and more in-country terrorism than Pakistan saw the previous six years.

So this probably means at least some forces are moving out of country. I would suspect a couple of destinations – Afghanistan for the Spring offensive, or back to Iraq for a new attempt at a “Tet-style” offensive. Why go to Iran to get to Afghanistan? The direct passes that aren’t frozen closed are being watched, or they could be picking up supplies enroute.

The disappeared Journalists? Maybe they know something about who, when and where.

On the other hand, it all could be unrelated coincidence.

3 thoughts on “Strange Goings on at Taftan Border Crossing”

  1. THREE journalists. Like R above, I don’t see that as coincidence. And are these Taliban or Al Qaeda? From what I’ve read at several seemingly well-informed sites, the Al Qaeda “foreigners” have most definitely worn out their welcome with the Northwest Tribesmen. Things have reached the point of gunbattles between Northwest Tribesmen and Al Qaeda terrorists.

    But, back to the question of what’s going on. As I see it, there’s four basic possible destinations:
    1. Pakistan to Iraq
    2. Pakistan to Af-stan
    3. Pakistan to Iran, to go to ground for a while
    4. Pakistan to return to their home countries.

    1. If Al Qaeda, Pakistan to Iran to Iraq, to team up with their fellow Jihadis? Problem with that scenario is that the Al Qaeda and Taliban Jihadis are Sunnis who view Shia as heretics, as worthy of death as we infidels. So, they could hardly go to southern Iran to reinforce the southern Shia “militia” terrorist gangs. The othe alternative destination is to the city of Mosul in Northern Iraq, to reinforce Al Qaeda in their last stand there. The problem with that is that they’d have to transit a lot of Kurdistan to get there. The Kurds have built the safest area in Iraq, with security so tight that even most Sunni Iraqis aren’t allowed in. The Kurdish forces would almost certainly catch and kill those guys from Pakistan.

    2. If Taliban. Pakistan to Afghanistan may make sense to try to at all possible avoid the direct Northwest Pakistan to south and southeastern Afghanistan. The Allied Forces, both regular and Special Forces, plus the continually improving Afghan Natl Forces, have made that direct border crossing an ever-more dangerous undertaking. The Jihadis are likely to go to Allah and their 72 virgins just in tryign to cross the border.

    3 Pakistan to Iran to go to ground. This would make sense for both Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. Their safe areas in the Northwest Tribal areas are becoming less and less safe. Al Qaeda’s worn out it’s welcome; the US has made sure the Tribesmen are well aware there are large bounties on the heads of a large number of Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. We seem to be reading every few weeks another story that this or that Al Qaeda or Taliban leader and a number of his immediate followers in the Northwest Tribal areas just got killed by a Hellfire missile fired by a Predator. If I were an Al Qaeda or Taliban leader, I’d really like to be in a safe sanctuary in Iran.

    4. If Al Qaeda. Returning to their home countries, if possible, might seem extremely attractive for a lot of Al Qaeda terrorists. They got killed in large numbers and run out of Afghanistan. They’re on the ropes in Iraq, with most of the Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists now either six feet under or in an Iraqi prison. A large percentage of Al Qaeda are Saudis and the Saudi Govt has offered an amnesty program for Jihadis who will forswear terrorism and return to normal civilian life.

    This is only March. My guess is that we’ll probably know which of these possible scenarios it is by end of summer. As for those three unfortunate missing journalists, I see disposal of nosy journalists who knew too much as more likely than being kidnapped for ransom. Hope I’m wrong on that one.

  2. Well these were designated as plain Taliban in one case, as Afghan Taliban in another. (To differentiate from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, TTP) so two captures headed into Iran from Pakistan. Any of the above could be true.

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