Tag Archives: tribal areas

Pakistanis Stuck In Camps Of No Return

The United States has been urging the Pakistan government to accelerate the war in tribal regions in order to crush the Taliban and al-Qaeda. However, lost in the turmoil caused by this increased fighting is the impact on people living in the region. It is estimated over 300,000 refugees are now living in camps because they fear returning to their homes. They have become refugees in their own nation who live in government organized camps or they beg aid from relatives. Most of the women in this group come from traditional orthodox backgrounds and now find themselves thrust into the modern world of cities and women who act in different ways.

As always in such military operations, things get out of hand due to fear or anxiety on the part of villagers. Most flee and thus villages are left vacant or left without key people who play important roles in the life of the village. Bombings from either side destroy homes or businesses and leave inhabitants without a way to exist.

Of course, none of the above figures into the planning of Pentagon leaders, they are interested in killing militants. The price may well be radicalizing a young generation who will grow up to become militants.

Pakistan Talks Tough On Dealing WithTaliban

Pakistan President Zardari warned the Talian his nation was prepared to crush the terrorist group and will cooperate with the United States in achieving that goal. “I mean business. We will train ourselves with the US to present as trainers to rase the quality of certain forces.” However, he made clear to the Bush administration that Pakistan makes its own decisions pertaining to dealing with terrorism and will not be bossed around by the United States. He warned against US military incursions into Pakistan. “It is counter-productive and a political price is paid.” Zardari emphasized his belief that al-Qaeda and the Taliban played a role in the death of his wife, Benazir Bhutto.

Zardari said there would be new incentives for dealing with tribal areas such as industrial investment, working with farmers for crops other than poppy, and strong military action.

In the meantime, there are rumors a Saudi initiated peace effort is secretly taking place in Afghanistan.

US Considers Invading Pakistan To Pursue Militants

Top Bush officials are urging the president to unleash US forces so they can pursue militants into Pakistan. They want greater flexibility for US military leaders to operate against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces who use sanctuaries inside the northwest tribal region of Pakistan. One proposed plan is attaching special forces to the CIA and allowing them to hit specific targets located inside Pakistan. A meeting last week of senior members of the national security team explored “the possibility that political fragmentation in Pakistan is going to continue,” according to one official and will that necessitate altering US military strategy in the region. The current strategy is relying on Pakistan to control the tribal region and there is little evidence that is actually happening.

Some State Department officials are leery about talk of invading Pakistan(sorry, sending troops into a country without their specific invitation is an invasion) since it might increase the already fragmented state of that nation. Afghanistan Ambassador Said T. Jawad told AP he supports sending US troops into Pakistan. But, when exactly has the current Afghanistan government been able to implement successful military operations inside its own country.

Pakistan currently is going through a constitutional crisis. An American invasion of their country will only add to the already confusing picture. Ironically, such action might lead to President Musharraf turning from being an American ally to an American foe which would probably allow him to continue in office.

Mullen To Pakistan–Shape Up Or Ship Out!

AdmiralMike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will be in Pakistan in the coming days to bluntly express his frustration and to “read the riot act” to its government which has failed to do anything regarding curbing violence in tribal areas. Mullen, and the American government are disgusted, frustrated and angry with the apparent inability or unwillingness of the Islamabad government to take decisive action. Mullen believes they are flip flopping and using stall tactics to avoid action. In the meantime, raids continue hitting US and coalition forces from the save haven of Pakistan.

The Pakistan People’s Party under co-chair Asia Al Zardari has failed to decide on a course of action in tribal regions. They have shifted from negotiation to threats to action without any clear idea as to which represents a long term policy. Unless there are changes, American and US troops may resort to covert or overt action in tribal regions which will undoubtedly anger the Pakistan government.

Admiral Mullen Warns Of Pakistan Save Haven

Admiral Mike Mullen warned the situation on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border was becoming dangerous since militants are able to secure safe havens in tribal areas. “There’s a clear problem on the border.. there’s clearly not enough pressure being exerted to bear, particularly on the Pakistan side of the border.” Mullen believes the new Pakistan government is still trying to figure out its eventual program for dealing with al-Qaeda and the Taliban which is causing uncertainty in border regions on policy of dealing with militants. The Admiral believes “it’s a safe haven, and it’s got to be eliminated.”

Admiral Mullen undoubtedly is correct in fingering failure on the part of Pakistan’s government for lack of vigorous action, but equally relevant is failure on the part of Afghanistan’s government to be a viable force within its own borders. Pakistan alone can not reduce the Taliban threat. The Afghanistan government also has responsibilities for maintaining peace and security.

Is US Headed For A Third Front War?

American forces are stretched thin as they fight both in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there is increasing evidence of a possible new third front situation on the border area that connects Afghanistan and Pakistan. Three congressmen recently visited Pakistan where they met with President Musharraf and discussed American concerns about what was happening in tribal areas of Pakistan. Congressmen Gene Green, Michael McCaul, and Henry Cuellar, told the Houston Chronicle, US commandos are prepared to stage raids into Pakistan’s volatile tribal areas if Pakistan does not not action to halt Taliban and al-Qaeda militancy. They told President Musharraf failure to disrupt terrorist attacks which have led to a rise in US casualties in Afganistan will require new American military action in the border region. Musharraf has so far rejected resumption of joint operations with the American military that ended in 2003.

There is little doubt comments by the Congressmen were cleared with the Bush administration. McCaul openly said Pakistan’s failure to contain militancy makes it “imperative that US forces be allowed to pursue the Taliban and al-Qaeda inside Pakistan.” Even as they spoke, General David McKiernan was complaining of the growing number of militant actions that arise from their ability to cross over into Afghanistan.

There is no doubt militancy is growing in Afghanistan. However, US strikes into Pakistan will only create a new front which must be manned and will undoubtedly become a permanent center of new American military action. Is this a possible reality in light of growing concerns by the American public for continued fighting in Asia?