North Waziristan – The Death Trap

This section contains Spearhead Special Reports researched and developed by our team of analysts and writers. All Special Reports are in PDF format.

North Waziristan and Afghanistan

Postby Spearhead Research » Mon Jan 24, 2011 11:57 am

Image

North Waziristan and Afghanistan

By Alam Rind

The winter is withering fast and the season to start a military campaign in the tough and rugged mountains of Afghanistan and that of Waziristan is fast approaching. The Americans don’t have much time as they have to signal, at least, partial success to their own people by mid-2011. To deflect the criticism on this issue, the Americans have since long been insisting that Pakistan now go after al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries in North Waziristan. The pressure to carry out an operation is even greater now, since the PakistanI military is deemed to have completed its commitments in assisting with the 2010 flood relief effort. Also, recent remarks by the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who said that Pakistan was the “epicentre” of terrorism, are an indication in this regard.

Pakistan needs to consider the situation carefully with regard to cost and consequences. Launching such an operation in North Waziristan, especially in the absence of indigenous drone support; requires night vision devices and transport and attack helicopters and this will make the whole campaign far more expensive than in Swat and South Waziristan. One will also have to factor the likely possibility that the terrorists may retaliate in terms of attacking Pakistani cities. Furthermore, it would be fair to say that the whole exercise could also strain Pakistan’s already gas- and power-starved economy. And there are apprehensions that conflict in North Waziristan may change into a war between the two neighbours.

As for peace in Afghanistan, that will come about only if all segments of society have proportional representation in the government and in the composition of its security forces. It also has to be acknowledged that the Taliban are part of Afghan society and their ethnic background is mainly Pashtun, who constitute over two-fifths of the Afghan population. This is not to say that all Pashtun are Taliban, but most of them resent the fact that they are grossly under-represented in the country’s leadership ranks.

The best way to move forward is to give a greater role to Pashtun elders and chieftains in the Afghan government — this will act as a confidence-building measure, especially since their seats have reduced from 115 in the 2005 election to around 100 in last year’s poll.

At this point in time, Pakistan’s economic stability is central to its participation in the war against terror. In a recent meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and President Barack Obama, the need to maintain a moderate democracy in Pakistan was underlined. That objective can’t be achieved without political stability in Afghanistan and economic stability in Pakistan.

*** ** ***
Spearhead Research
Expert
 
Posts: 6749
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:36 pm

Taliban could be split from Al-Qaeda

Postby Spearhead Research » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:17 am

Image

Taliban could be split from Al-Qaeda: study

AFP

NEW YORK — The United States risks making an Afghan peace settlement ever harder by wrongly lumping together the Taliban and Al-Qaeda as a single force, US academics said in a study published Monday.

Image
Afghani policemen look at the wreckage of the car after a suicide attack

The study, by two scholars from New York University's Center on International Cooperation, challenges US policy that treats the Taliban guerrilla force and Al-Qaeda's international jihadist movement, arguing that instead they are fundamentally different -- and can be split.

"The Taliban and Al-Qaeda remain distinct groups with different goals, ideologies, and sources of recruits; there was considerable friction between them before September 11, 2001, and today that friction persists," the report by Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn says.

According to the paper, "Separating the Taliban from Al-Qaeda: The Core of Success in Afghanistan," Washington and the US military should work to widen that divide so that the key US goal -- preventing Afghanistan from being an Al-Qaeda haven -- can be achieved.

"There is room to engage the Taliban on the issues of renouncing Al-Qaeda and providing guarantees against the use of Afghanistan by international terrorists in a way that will achieve core US goals, the study said.

But the report's authors argue that intensified attacks against the Taliban could backfire by harder to include them in a political settlement.

"Elements of current US policy in Afghanistan, especially night raids and attempts to fragment the Taliban, are changing the insurgency, inadvertently creating opportunities for Al-Qaeda to achieve its objectives and preventing the achievement of core goals of the United States and the international community," the study says.

"Fighting and negotiating are not mutually exclusive; these can and will happen in parallel. But the way the conflict is conducted is important. If a political settlement is indeed being sought, there is little sense in trying to destroy the organizations one wants to talk to."

NATO says it plans this year to begin handing Afghan forces the security lead in the battle against Taliban rebels, province by province, with the aim of giving them full responsibility across the nation by 2014.

The alliance hopes to build up Afghan security forces to 306,000 soldiers and police by the end of the year to begin taking over from around 140,000 foreign troops fighting across the nation.

*** ** ***
Spearhead Research
Expert
 
Posts: 6749
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:36 pm

Pakistan to launch operation in North Waziristan

Postby Spearhead Research » Mon May 30, 2011 4:45 pm

Image

Pakistan to launch operation in North Waziristan

Image
"High placed sources" quoted as saying airforce planes would soften up militant targets before ground operations. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Pakistan has decided to launch an air and ground military offensive in North Waziristan, the main sanctuary for al Qaeda and Taliban on the border with Afghanistan, a report in The News said on Monday.

The United States has long demanded that Pakistan launch an offensive in the region to hunt down the Haqqani network, one of the deadliest Afghan militant factions fighting American troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan has been reluctant, but has come under intense US pressure to launch an operation there.

The News newspaper quoted unnamed “highly placed sources” as saying Pakistani airforce planes would soften up militant targets under the “targeted military offensive” before ground operations were launched.

The report said an understanding had been reached over the offensive during last week’s visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A US embassy official said he was checking into the report. Pakistani officials were not immediately available for comment.

Pakistan has maintained that its troops were already too stretched fighting Pakistani Taliban insurgents in other parts of the northwest to tackle North Waziristan.

*** ** ***
Spearhead Research
Expert
 
Posts: 6749
Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 12:36 pm

Previous

Return to Spearhead Special Reports

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron