A new generation of Taliban fighters has taken over in Pakistan’s tribal regions near the Afghan border. Their leader, Baitullah Mehsud, is believed to be the master mind behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. If a subordinate disobeys him, Mehsud, gives him some money, sends him home with needle and thread and tells him to sew his own shroud within 24 hours– before time elapses, the man is dead. No known photos of the phantom leader are available and he shuns visitors. An ally of al-Qaeda, he has transformed the remote valleys of South Wazirstan into safe havens for terrorists.
Toward the end of last year, a council of high-ranking Taliban leaders appointed Mehsud the leader of the newly formed “Tehrik-Taliban Pakistan.” The new leader is not a person who is versed in religion, war is his speciality. His aliance is creating anger among the more conservative tribal chieftains who are more concerned over their own feudal areas and are much more religious minded.
Ironically, American bombing drove the Taliban into Pakistan where they found a new refuge. Turning away from creating a safe Afghanistan in order to delve into the madness of war in Iraq enabled the Taliban, not merely to regroup inside Afghanistan, but to establish safe bases in Pakistan and now turn that nation into a war zone. As one reviews what has transpired over the past six years, it is clear Bush policies in Afghanistan and the Middle East have proved to be the greatest recruiting drives for terrorism in modern history.