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Finally: Some good news from Pakistan

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  • Finally: Some good news from Pakistan

    Editorial: Finally, boots on ground in Swat

    (From thedailytimes.com.pk, a newspaper frequently quoted by Bill Roggio)

    Finally the army has begun its ground offensive in Swat after days of sniping at the Al Qaeda militants from its helicopter gunships, killing 35 on the first day. Since the army went into the Valley, there has been a steady growth in casualty among the outsider elements and their local supporters. This is a change from the humiliating reversals which the militants inflicted on the paramilitary personnel earlier on, forcing one to come to the conclusion that that phase in Swat had done much to undermine the confidence of the local population and given heart to the planners of Al Qaeda and its Taliban minions to act as if they owned Swat. The beheadings carried out by “foreign-looking” terrorists had nearly convinced the Swatis that a new government had actually come into being, pledging to institutionalise what they had always demanded as “justice without delay”.

    One reason why the army delayed going into Swat could be linked to the MMA government of the NWFP which had to first “requisition” the operation. Peshawar had its own angle on Swat, perhaps looking at it as the first instalment of what it wanted to do to the rest of the province through its Hasba Bill. In May this year the MMA government had struck a nine-point “peace deal” with the local warlord Fazlullah in return for his pledge to let Peshawar handle the law and order situation in Swat. He had also agreed to close his centres of training for the militants, end acquisition and manufacture of weapons like the bombs, and had committed to providing troops [sic!] in operations mounted by the province against any “anti-state elements”.

    This was, of course, a joke and an eyewash which no one, including the media, tried to question. Fazlullah was given permission to operate his FM radio stations from where he continued to warn the local population against flouting his so-called “sharia laws”. The federal government reacted to this by extending the operation of PEMRA to the PATA area which included Swat and thus rendered the agreement null and void. This aroused Fazlullah to attack anyone playing or listening to music. After he beat up four mechanics in Mingora, workshops of the area shut in protest, something that was soon out of fashion because the warlord was just too powerful to challenge. Fazlullah began his rounds on his legendary black stallion and established his dominion over the usually peace-loving Swatis. As the paramilitaries went into Swat to stop his activities, he called in his friends, the Taliban, from the neighbourhood: South Waziristan, Bajaur and Dir.

    Since the army has gone in, the average death rate among the terrorists in Swat has been around 25-30 daily, strangely parallel to the Taliban death rate achieved in Afghanistan by the NATO-ISAF forces these. This is a development of some significance as it is bound to cause anxiety in the Al Qaeda camp where strategy experts like Aiman al-Zawahiri are in the process of creating centres of Al Qaeda in Pakistan to face up to the real challenge of attacking inside the US, a dare that they have not been able to carry out since Al Qaeda struck on 9/11. The hold Al Qaeda has on people like the warlord Fazlullah stems from many factors, not least of which is funding and control of the local economies. Warlord Fazlullah’s father-in-law, the great Sufi Muhammad, was the first religious scholar who legalised what the government of Pakistan thought was smuggling. Now Al Qaeda and its Taliban minions have legalised all kinds of smuggling through taxation, a dangerous trend that may be difficult to roll back if ever Pakistan succeeds in re-establishing its writ in the lost territories.

    The Pakistan army, as it operates in Swat, must recognise that the present operation is just the opening of a larger battle front. Some Punjabi veterans of the Kashmir jihad now fighting on the side of Al Qaeda, when interviewed recently, spoke of the fighting in Swat as a part of the grand strategy of “establishing small independent emirates” to be administered by them and their Islamist colleagues in Waziristan, Swat, Bajaur and in Afghanistan. Therefore, for the sake of Pakistan, it is imperative that a politico-military strategy is laid down to defeat this larger Al Qaeda design. One reason this “larger design” has to be opposed is its utopian lack of realism and its total defiance of the dynamic of Pakistan’s survival as a state. But Pakistan can’t go it alone in terms of the funds needed to underpin the on-going military operations. One has to admit that Al Qaeda is much better placed in that respect. Therefore assistance from the rest of the world, including states of the Islamic world, should be made available and accepted if Pakistan shows willingness to fight the war for its survival. *
    Last edited by Desert King; 27 Nov 07, 08:28. Reason: Misspelled website.

  • #2
    Interesting piece thanks for bringing it in.

    best
    CV

    Comment


    • #3
      The question is I believe is there the political, public and military will to fight a sustained campaign against these people. The kind of long running military campaign matched by the right kind of political and development issues to address the problem. I am not sure there is, and am not sure there is a longterm plan or strategy at the moment.

      The roots of the problem are far deeper than just taking a few areas, years of supporting, training and arming Jihadis and then sending them off to fight has well and truly backfired for Pakistan.
      "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it"
      G.B Shaw

      "They promised us homes fit for heroes, they give us heroes fit for homes."
      Grandad, Only Fools and Horses

      Comment


      • #4
        It'd be a tad bit more intelligent if Pakistan would coordinate with the Coalition forces and hit the terrorists from several different sides with more personnel. This would be a much more effective use of personnel and resources.
        "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sergio View Post
          The question is I believe is there the political, public and military will to fight a sustained campaign against these people. The kind of long running military campaign matched by the right kind of political and development issues to address the problem. I am not sure there is, and am not sure there is a longterm plan or strategy at the moment.

          The roots of the problem are far deeper than just taking a few areas, years of supporting, training and arming Jihadis and then sending them off to fight has well and truly backfired for Pakistan.
          I suspect that you are right is many respects, however it is very much in vogue to allow former colonies to claim the perquisites of modern sovreign nations while reverting back to tribal/regional intersts at their convenience and at the price of the rest of the world.
          "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
          George Mason
          Co-author of the Second Amendment
          during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cyberknight View Post
            I suspect that you are right is many respects, however it is very much in vogue to allow former colonies to claim the perquisites of modern sovreign nations while reverting back to tribal/regional intersts at their convenience and at the price of the rest of the world.
            my my. such a temper. I bet you werent so grumpy during the 80s when the pakistanis and we were using these same tribal / regional conveniences to attack our Soviet foes

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Desert King View Post
              my my. such a temper. I bet you werent so grumpy during the 80s when the pakistanis and we were using these same tribal / regional conveniences to attack our Soviet foes
              I certainly didn't mind but neither was I part of the crowd of sophisticates sipping from my brandy snifter and lamenting their failure to have elected a pacifist Social Democrat or Labour Party PM and having to defend themselves to a hostile parliament as the response to amed civil insurrection. "One simply shouldn't be seen with such people, old boy."
              "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
              George Mason
              Co-author of the Second Amendment
              during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cyberknight View Post
                I suspect that you are right is many respects, however it is very much in vogue to allow former colonies to claim the perquisites of modern sovreign nations while reverting back to tribal/regional intersts at their convenience and at the price of the rest of the world.
                And while not for a second denying the tribal/regional nature of many of the problems it is also very much in vogue to completely ignore the role outside powers have had in destablising such areas.
                "Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it"
                G.B Shaw

                "They promised us homes fit for heroes, they give us heroes fit for homes."
                Grandad, Only Fools and Horses

                Comment


                • #9
                  I like this quote from the beginning of a NYT article on the web:

                  IN the early 1900s, a crusty British general, Andrew Skeen, wrote a guide to military operations in the Pashtun tribal belt, in what is now Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. His first piece of advice: “When planning a military expedition into Pashtun tribal areas, the first thing you must plan is your retreat. All expeditions into this area sooner or later end in retreat under fire.” This was written decades before the advent of suicide bombers, when the Pashtuns had little but rifles yet nevertheless managed to give their British overlords fits.
                  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/28/opinion/28keller.html
                  “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
                  “To talk of many things:
                  Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
                  Of cabbages—and kings—
                  And why the sea is boiling hot—
                  And whether pigs have wings.”
                  ― Lewis Carroll

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Combatengineer View Post
                    I like this quote from the beginning of a NYT article on the web:



                    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/28/opinion/28keller.html
                    heh heh heh. I like that quote. I recall a popular sketch that used to be sold in the markets of Kabul and Peshawar: The sole survivor (or something like that). The Afghans only let one man escape from the "British Army of the Indus", just to make sure he let everyone know the fate that befell the rest of the great army.

                    Chilling.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sergio View Post
                      And while not for a second denying the tribal/regional nature of many of the problems it is also very much in vogue to completely ignore the role outside powers have had in destablising such areas.
                      Agreed. Sometimes maliciously and sometimes with good intentions.
                      "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                      George Mason
                      Co-author of the Second Amendment
                      during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        More good news... and a couple of observations

                        http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp...-12-2007_pg7_4

                        Troops capture Charbagh


                        MINGORA: Security forces on Thursday captured Charbagh and re-deployed the police that was withdrawn from the police station after militants had seized the area.

                        A large number of locals welcomed the security forces with “Pak fauj zindabad (Long live the Pakistan army)” slogans.

                        They showered petals on the security personnel when they advanced from Fizzagut to Sangota, Manglore, Kot and Charbagh.

                        The army also took control of the Manglore Bridge and destroyed an explosives-laden van at Kot. The security forces also destroyed the houses of two militant commanders Sher Muhammad and Sher Malik.

                        Addressing the people who had gathered to welcome the army, Col Sarfraz said the army had come to protect the citizens. He said the government would soon give the people good news regarding the enforcement of Sharia in Malakand division. The security forces also distributed sweets among the residents of the area. A government statement said the security forces and volunteers had taken complete control of Charbagh. It said the public had praised the “gallant actions and kind conduct of the security forces”.

                        During a search operation, the security forces came across unmanned bunkers on Manglore Bridge. They also seized a huge quantity of locally brewed liquor. Militants headquarters at Darul Uloom Charbagh was also cleared and taken over by the security forces. The statement said the Frontier Constabulary had arrested three miscreants from Bariam and Ayub Bridge checkposts.

                        END

                        My observations: despite being "conservative," these tribals hate the so-called "islamic-militants." Their religion is completely different from what most muslims practice.
                        Not only that, most are mere thugs and use religion oppurtunisticly -- as can be seen from the liqour recovered from their bunkers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by trailboss49 View Post
                          It'd be a tad bit more intelligent if Pakistan would coordinate with the Coalition forces and hit the terrorists from several different sides with more personnel. This would be a much more effective use of personnel and resources.

                          Well, unfortunately, we know where the Taliban came from in the first place.

                          Comment

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