The American/Pakistani/British shenanigans in S. Waziristan are once again exposing the old patterns–America makes more demands, unidentified militants attack Frontier troops, British press releases misleading disinformation (SEE: Deadly militant attack on Pakistan security checkpoint), making the reality of the situation nearly impossible to understand. In addition, the press is now starting to claim that the attack actually took place in N. Waziristan (SEE: Eight soldiers killed in N Waziristan militant attack), possibly to create the impression that the reported N. Waziristan offensive had begun.
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Forgetting for a moment about the recent alleged high-profile military/militant activity in the area, consider the implications of this one reported attack. It is in, or very near, Baitullah Mehsud’s hometown, Makeen. Two days ago, the lgovernment restored the privileges to the Mehsud tribe, which had been revoked during Baitullah’s rein of terror, allowing the displaced to finally return to their homes. The security checkpoint, which was allegedly attacked, is between Makeen and Razmak Cadet College, which was reopened one week ago, after having been closed for two years, as well. After Operation Rah–e–Nijat (English: ‘Path to Salvation’), this area was allegedly swept clean of terrorists, according to the Army, even though the CIA drones keep killing alleged militants in S. Waziristan.
This was not another cross-border attack, Makeen is nearly forty miles from the border. Who were the alleged attackers? Baitullah is dead and Hakeemullah is allegedly in deep cover somewhere in N. Waziristan or Orakzai. It is in Gul Bahadur’s territory, yet the Army has been at peace with the militant leader since his attack upon an Army convoy near Razmak two years ago. The other powerful local Taliban leader, Mullah Nazir may be blamed for the attack by the Western media, even though it is outside of his area of operations and he does not attack government targets, concentrating instead upon fighting only against the Americans and NATO in Afghanistan. Recent multiple predator strikes near Wana are being cited for motivating Nazir to intensify his jihad in Afghanistan, according to the America/India-friendly Daily Times of Lahore (SEE: Maulvi Nazir vows to escalate anti-US fight in Afghanistan). If we read nothing else but that one article, we might think that it is just a short step from widening attacks upon NATO to hitting Pak. Army targets, since Nazir has already blamed Pakistan for all CIA drone attacks (SEE: Paramilitary Pretense, Who Controls the Predators?).
The weakest part of the Maulvi Nazir story is the fact that Nazir himself has not been seen publicly since the commando assault upon him in 2009, following the drone killing of Baitullah Mehsud (except for a recent report by Asian Times correspondent Syed Saleem Shahzad). The reporter for the Daily Times Nazir story purports to quote Nazir’s subordinates, but not him–just like another recent report claiming to offer words from the missing or dead militant leader’s mouth, without ever actually quoting him (SEE: Pakistan Using Wazir Tribe of Mullah Nazir to Set-Up Next Psyop). That particular story attempted to validate the Pakistani claims that a recent US drone killed most wanted terrorist, Ilyas Kashmiri, in the Ghwakhwa area of S. Waziristan, just 6 miles west of Wana, by using quotes attributed to elders of Nazir’s tribe. That report on the Ahmedzai Wazir jirga (also not attended by Nazir) was also by the Daily Times. The plot-line being laid-down by that report, attempting to validate claims of Kashmiri’s death, was riddled with holes in itself. The biggest hole is placing Kashmiri in hostile territory, looking for shelter from Nazir.
Once again, as the US is screaming for an offensive in N. Waziristan, S. Waziristan is being set-up as the focal point of all terrorist action and military reaction. S. Waziristan, especially near Wana, has been the focal point of all military/militant operations since the days of Nek Mohammed, predecessor of both Abdullah and Baitullah Mehsud. This is where the “good Taliban/bad Taliban” soap opera has been played-out. Pak Army stages running gun-battles with criminal gangs associated with the Taliban, that invariably end in peace treaties being signed with the Army. Each time that a deal is struck with the Army, an American drone comes along and kills the Taliban who has signed it. Just as every leader of the anti-Taliban lashkars (militias) are targeted for assassination. Just as hundreds of anti-Taliban tribal leaders have also been murdered. Rise-up against the terror war in the Tribal Region and either protagonist or antagonist will kill you.
There is really no way to understand what is unfolding in S. Waziristan at this point, all we can do is keep analyzing the news releases from the area, understanding as we do, that there is NO honest reporting coming from the Afghan or Pakistani war theaters. The best that we can do is to observe the areas of spillover between the two war theaters, hoping to understand the importance of cross-border actions and multi-state actors interacting with Pakistani forces.
One consistently reliable source of information of the Pak. military/militant production has proven to be Mr. B. Raman, former interior ministor of India. Considering that he has to first look-out for his own interests, it is understandable that Raman doesn’t say much about anything derogatory concerning the United States or the CIA, but he shares with us much of what he learned about Pakistan while serving in India’s premier spy agency. He had the following to say about the second coming of the Taliban, who overcame nearly total defeat in 2001 , to begin rising once again in 2003, under the leadership of Mullah Omar and commander Mullah Dadullah:
“In 2003, at the instance of the ISI, Mulla Omar, the Amir of the Taliban, reconstituted the Taliban army to launch a new jihad in Afghanistan—this time against the Western forces. He asked Mulla Dadullah, who continued to enjoy the confidence of the ISI, to act as the chief military commander of the new Taliban army, which consisted of experienced jihadi fighters of the pre-October 7, 2001, vintage as well as new recruits from the madrasas and Afghan refugee camps of Pakistan. The new Taliban army was trained by the ISI and started operating in the Pashtun majority areas of Southern and Eastern Afghanistan from sanctuaries in Balochistan and in the Waziristan area of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Within a short period of time, Dadullah raised not only a well-motivated army, but also constituted a suicide squad of Afghan and Pakistani nationals for undertaking suicide missions against the Afghan army and the Western forces.
The total strength of the Neo Taliban army raised by him with the help of the ISI is estimated by reliable sources as about 5,000, but Dadullah himself has been claiming that it has a strength of about 20,000.”
By 2003, Afghanistan had virtually been pacified, just as George Bush was drawing-down military assets there to send to the new war in Iraq, even so, Bush could not allow the Afghan war to wind down yet, not before strategic objectives for South Asia were met. Musharraf had to find ways to prolong the fighting, even if he had to pit Pakistanis against Pakistanis–and that is just what the General/Dictator did.
The following is taken from Waging War Upon Ourselves:
“In S. Waziristan, during this same time frame, we see the rise of a succession of Lashkar Jhangvi terrorist leaders, who headed-up the new “Taliban” faction starting-up there. First under the command of Mullah Dadullah, the new “neo-Taliban” drilled under IMU Uzbek trainers of Sipah-e-Sahaba. According to plan, Dadullah (who had been selected by the British) was martyred in a Predator drone attack. Dadullah had developed a very proficient rear staging area around Wana, from which he supplied troops for the fight in Afghanistan. Under the protection of Nek Mohammad, he trained an army of thousands, reinforcing it with the first suicide bombers academy. After Bush pushed Musharraf to take over the terror war, moving the war to Pakistan, in 2003, Nek waged war upon the Pak. Army for turning against the jihad, eventually ending with him signing the first peace deal with the Army in 2004. Two months later Nek became the first Taliban leader killed in a drone attack.
Control of the Pakistani Taliban was given to former Guantanamo inmate Abdullah Mehsud, who was fortuitously released from Camp X-Ray in March of 2004. Abdullah moved from his release point in northern Afghanistan to Pakistan in the company of a ready-made army of several hundred militants, all drawn from the Northern Alliance, most of them Uzbeks and Tajiks. It is suspected that among these Uzbeks were the IMU terrorists (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) who wrought havoc in Pakistan, primarily around Wana. When Abdullah created trouble with the Army by abducting and killing Chinese engineers in November, he was fired from his leadership post by Mullah Omar himself, who made his cousin Baitullah the new boss of the Pakistani Taliban. At the insistence of the American administration, Musharraf launched the next war in Waziristan, leading to a new peace deal signed by Baitullah in 2005. War erupted again, followed by a new peace treaty, this one forced upon the Taliban by orders of Mullah Omar. Mullah Dadullah signed the “Waziristan Accord” in late 2006. He was killed in a Predator attack in May of ’07. There have also been reports emanating from the Wana area that a group of Pakistani Army officers have defected to side of the terrorists holed up alongside the late Nek Mohammed’s lashkar in Waziristan.”
After the Accord was signed, a wave of sectarian terrorism broke-out all over Pakistan. Much of that terror in the Tribal Region was linked to the IMU terrorists who had come over with Abdullah Mehsud. In that regard, the Pak Army decided on a new approach to troubles in the unsettled region, tribal “Lashkars” (militias). Competent tribal leaders would be brought into agreements to defend their territory from terrorist or foreign penetration. The first such leader was an Ahmedzai Wazir tribal leader, Mullah Nazir. He took it upon himself to raise a lashkar of 900 fighters to repel the trouble-making IMU Uzbek terrorists from around Wana, which he did, in short order. Those were Nek/Abdullah/Baitullah Uzbek terrorists, the very first Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists. They simply moved a few miles down the road to Makeen, S. Waziristan, Baitullah’s hometown, the scene of the alleged security post assault reported today by the BBC.
This fight between Nazir’s fighters and the IMU terrorists and Nazir’s lashkar was to be expanded throughout S. Waziristan, possibly even beyond, but Nazir refused, settling for his own treaty with the Army to police his area. This is the treaty referred to in the report on the Wazir tribal jirga members who allegedly confirmed Kashmiri’s recent killing. All things in the psyop lead back to here. Even though the idea of tribal lashkars sort of stumbled on from here, through local reporters, the idea was introduced into the popular domain as a split between the Taliban and “al-Qaeda,” based upon a series of reports on the Nazir (Taliban) and Uzbek (al-Qaeda) fight, made by recently murdered Asia Times reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad. This gave palpable substance to the “good Taliban/bad Taliban” scenario, being painted by the ISI and the submissive Pakistani press. ” Good Taliban,” were guys like Nazir and Qari Zainuddin Mehsud (who was murdered by Baitullah), who didn’t wage war against the Pak Army. They were sometimes called “miscreants.” Bad Taliban like the Mehsuds are terrorists and criminals.
More important than Syed’s minor favors to the ISI ( like the good/bad scenario), have been the favors he has done for the CIA, all of them involving giving life and substance to the CIA claims of pockets of “al-Qaeda” all over Pakistan, and assertions of a large Taliban presence in the highly-prized Baloch territory, the so-called “Quetta shura” (SEE: CIA Mouthpiece–Part II, Syed Builds on CIA Theme, “Al-Qaeda” Has Infested Quetta). The problem with Syed’s reporting is that you never knew which side he was speaking for, either CIA or ISI. He seemed to have access to everybody on every side. He performed a service for the ISI by faking an interview with Ilyas Kashmiri, wherein he attempted to refute the certain fact that Kashmiri is a product of the Pak Army, specifically the Special Forces (SSG). He also stepped-up to the plate for the ISI with his recent report claiming to be an interview with Mullah Nazir. The purpose of that exercise seemed to be to reaffirm that Nazir is one with the Taliban, the exact opposite of his former story of the Taliban/al-Qaeda split. His last earthly report on links between “al-Qaeda” and Pak. Navy Special Forces (which possibly got him murdered) was an attempt to paint the military with the “al-Qaeda” brush, just like the one used to paint Nazir as a terrorist, obviously a favor for the CIA, giving them the excuse to expand drone attacks in the area.
Now, all the various militant/military threads have been tied to S. Waziristan, NOT North Waziristan as America demands. The plot lines are being erased and re-written so fast and so often, that it is nearly impossible to get an idea of the entire mess. The hunt for “Islamists” within the Pak military will be the tool used to split the military into pro and anti-American officers and servicemen. Knowing that the ISI itself, or rogue elements from the agency, are working against the Pak Army, for their CIA masters, adds to the impossibility of understanding. What they do next in the area Wana area tomorrow, or the next day at the latest, may provide the final clues for cutting through this man-made Gordian Knot.
Peter Chamberlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org