Making and Breaking the Peace in Pakistan

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.

4 thoughts on “Making and Breaking the Peace in Pakistan”

  1. Thanos –

    I realize I probably read Syed Saleem Shahzad too much, but he makes a case that the Taliban were just recently betrayed in the Khyber Agency when the CIA paid off their local champion and in turn he betrayed their fighters. He believes the Taliban does not want to see the Pakistani government netgotiating with tribes because with established relationships it will make it easier for the government to get these tribal leaders to also betray them later. A very interesting read.

    The Torkham success was followed by a number of smaller attacks, and the Taliban’s plan appeared to be going better than they could have expected.
    Then came this week’s incident in which the Taliban seized two members of the World Food Program (WFP) in Khyber Agency, and it became obvious the Taliban had been betrayed, and all for the princely sum of about US$150,000.

    Their Khyber dreams are now in tatters.


    In the broader context, Namdar’s betrayal vividly illustrates the dangers of traitors within the ranks of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The fear is that the various peace deals being signed now between the Islamabad government and selected tribal leaders could lead to a whole new batch of betrayals.

    The conclusion, therefore, is to go all-out to stop the government’s dialogue process with militants and tribals.

    Asia Times: Taliban bitten by a snake in the grass

  2. Yes, I haven’t read that one yet, but Syed’s been building up to that. It’s a reference to the “Foreign Dragon/Local Snake” situation I posited earlier. Happy to see it got noted.

    He’s going to portray the Khuki Khel as being in the pay of the US simply because the Talibs must save face somehow. They got their butts kicked by the tribes who have really controlled the pass for two eternities, and the Khuki were really just looking out for their own interests.

    First, if the Taliban control the pass the baksheesh goes to TTP and not to the Khuki, and they aren’t going to let that happen. Second, if the pass stays closed too long then the tribals start starving. He’s talking about a payoff to discredit the winners and save some face for the unpopular Taliban.

    He’s smearing local leaders from the neo-takfirist view making it ok to kill them from the Salafist creed, and also slandering them from the Afghan-“socialist” Jihadi view, or trying to put a bull’s eye on them for Hekmatyar’s crew.

    The Taliban in Pakistan are a large mob-style protection racket, and everyone in the frontiers knows it. If you pay them off you can sell whatever you want, but if you don’t you get killed like the grocer did the other day as a “US Spy” or whatever.

    He’s also laying groundwork for new “as yet unamed mystery groups” who will break the peace ala the NWFP incident and which will later be brought into control by the Taliban.

    Basically they will rename some of their stalwart groups to X, continue the insurgency, and say it wasn’t really the TTP responsible for the violence when pressed by the new Government. Later if need be, the TTP can say they helped control the violence when the pseudo groups fade away at their bidding.

  3. This is funny from Syed’s article:
    So the Taliban sent in its own fighting corps gathered from other tribal areas, and drafted in Ustad Yasir, a heavyweight Afghan commander, from Afghanistan. These predominantly Pashtun fighters consider the Afridi and Shinwari tribes, the natives of Khyber Agency, as materialist and non-ideological, but all the same a local host was essential for their operation.

    They are materialistic and non-ideological — but they sure can kick some Taliban ass. It must be all those sword dances they do or maybe it’s because pretty much everyone carries a gun and knows how to shoot it better than the average Jihadi.

    The other funny part is about Namdar “being the only one who knew where the safe houses were”. Now that’s pure idiocy. Of course everyone from one end of the pass to another knows where the smuggler huts and hideouts are… they’ve all used them at one time or another, who’s their new strategist, Homer Al Simpson?

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