IMG 1 The Al Kuwaiti brothers, Bin Laden's trusted couriers in Abbottabad are said to be from Charsadda, in the NWFP. So the two deadly bombings at Charsadda on Friday, which claimed 70 plus lives, are most likely a revenge attack carried out by TTP to avenge Operation Geronimo at the Abbottabad. On its part, the Taliban has set any lingering doubts at rest by quickly claiming responsibility for the twin blasts. Its target was the Frontier Constabulary soldiers, who were about to leave their training centre on a 10-day leave. They were in civilian clothes and were about to board busess. The FC training centre is located in the Shabqadar Tehsil of Charsadda. Between 8-10kg of explosives were reportedly used in the attacks and upto 12 vehicles were destroyed in the explosions.
Not surprisingly, a Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan telephoned a news agency, AFP, and held out the prospect of more attacks. "This was the first revenge for Osama's martyrdom. Wait for bigger attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan", he reportedly stated from an undisclosed location.
In this age and day, more so after the way Osama scent was picked up, it should not be a problem for the agencies in Peshawar to trace the call and pin point its location. Yes, the call could have come from a public telephone booth. Even that nugget would help in spreading the net properly to catch the Islamist brigands.
Charsadda blasts signal that the Taliban and its several factions will be the new al-Qaeda for the Af-Pak region, while the "real' al-Qaeda will shift its focus to West Asia particularly Yemen and possibly Iraq. Yemen-based al Qaeda franchise, AQAP is active in the Arabian Peninsula. It has reportedly eclipsed the al-Qaeda when Osama bin Laden was alive both ideologically and operational strategies -wise. Nasir al-Wahayshi, who is also known as Abu Basir, is its leader. An ethnic Yemeni, he worked closely with Osama bin Laden on the Afghan theatre, and according to some analysts, he was for a while bin Laden's personal secretary,
What trajectory Pakistan-United States relations will take in the days ahead remains unclear. On the one hand, the Kayani army is threatening to limit its support for the U.S. activities against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It has cancelled the visit to Washington of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Khalid Shameem Wynne. He was scheduled to meet his U.S. counterpart, Adm. Mike Mullen, during his five day stay from May 22. Officially the reason given for the cancellation was "prevailing environment', which in essence means the public display of mistrust by Americans in the wake of Osama operation. .
On the other hand, Washington appears to let bygones be bygones and bring back the cordiality, if not the warmth, that has characterized the US-Pak military and intelligence cooperation. While President Obama downward, who ever matters in the US hierarchy, have rolled back their harsh indictment of Pakistan and have begun to give a benefit of doubt to the Kayani -- Pasha combine for the Osama rendezvous in Abbottabad apparently as the price for the help on the Afghan theatre. Coalition Support Fund (CSF) has just announced a $300 million dollar package for Pakistan and the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, led by Democrat John Kerry, wants to give Pakistan a larger role in Afghanistan as a result of its relations with the Taliban. \