Pakistan Taliban Schism Confirmed – 50 Dead

The schism that has stewed for a couple of months within Baitullah Mehsud’s loose alliance of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan broke out into open large scale fighting in the Mohmand agency Friday. Initial reports had ten dead up until the point when the Afghan Taliban leadership brokered a peace through a Jirga. Fighting broke out again immediately after the Afghanistan Taliban left, demonstrating that they have little authority anymore.

Baitullah’s Wazir Taliban  ended by capturing the opposition forces with 50 dead and dozens injured on both sides. As Mehsud works to extend his warlord power you can expect to see more of this as he moves into regions with other tribes who will oppose him. Continue reading “Pakistan Taliban Schism Confirmed – 50 Dead”

TTP Taliban Re-Declares War on Pakistan

The Civil war in Pakistan has heated up again with assaults on proto-Taliban agents of Mangal Bagh in the Khyber pass (Taliban groups in Pakistan change names as the occasion or the goal allows, and they sub-contract with each other. In this case they are furthering tribal goals of Mangal Bagh and theirs as well. The Taliban goal here is retribution against the tribal forces that denied their takeover of the Khyber pass, Mangal’s is to extend his power.) Namdar, who leads the forces opposed to Mangal Bagh, is no friend to the US either but his desire to maintain control of the region counteracts that of the TTP/Mehsuds. Bill Roggio has a slideshow of the extremist leaders here.

This is the outcome I predicted in posts last year – when the new Government got rid of the old laws they failed to fill the vacumn, creating a power grab by every petty warlord in the frontiers. They removed the old power bases and authorities and didn’t replace it with anything.

As always the main Taliban forces fled before the Government forces arrived. This is the usual dumb-show cat and mouse we’ve seen for several years in the frontiers. In most cases the Frontier Corps will flee their checkpoint, base, or observation post before a Taliban attack, and the Taliban will flee their “hideouts” before the government attacks. It’s as if both sides know what the other is going to do in advance, and there appears to be a lot of winking and nudging going on in lower ranks.

Meanwhile the Pakistan Taliban Shura is following Baitullah Mehsud and has backed completely out of the peace talks, putting back in force the declaration of war from last September, once again showing they are really the lapdogs of Bin Laden and Zawahiri.

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.