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Who Are These Terrorists?

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Proving that those who are on the helm of affairs in the United States have been supporting terrorists is difficult, but the circumstantial evidences are enough for coming to the conclusion that terrorists have links with big guns in Pakistan and US. Actually a big game is being played in the name of war on terrorism. Most of the tribesmen think that war on terror could have won by the rulers since long, but they are not interested in elimination of terrorism. They want the contiuation of their game.

They forget one thing. They forget that women and children have also been living in the tribal areas. Millions of innocent and law-abiding tribesmen have also been living there. Before 30 or 35 years there was no Taliban and terrorists in the tribal areas. Who have created these terrorists and Taliban?

The rulers have still been showing double standard. According to a report, Pakistan rejected the local Taliban demand for the removal of security check posts across North Waziristan. The big no to the Taliban demand came at the jirga members’ meeting with NWFP Governor Ali Jan Orakzai in Peshawar, following their two-day stay in Miranshah where they held parleys with Utmanzai tribe elders and clerics. “The governor excused himself from meeting the demand, saying there is no question of removing the check posts unless the government is assured (by the Taliban) of an improvement in the security condition,” a jirga member said.

The jirga member said the governor argued that the check posts had been re-established due to deteriorating law and order in North Waziristan. “Now we will go back to Miranshah tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the government demand with the Taliban,” the jirga member said. He did not agree that the talks had been hit by snags over the question of check posts. A government communiqué, meanwhile, said the jirga members told the governor “While some progress has been made during the two-day negotiations with the North Waziristan Agency tribesmen, more time and effort will be required for a conclusive and purposeful dialogue.”The jirga is likely to meet the governor before leaving for Miranshah.

On the other hand the officials have been issuing conflicting statesments about tribal areas. According to a newspaper report, the White House all but ruled out a unilateral military strike in the tribal territories in the US hunt for Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries.

Tony Snow, press secretary to US President George W Bush, said in answer to a flurry of question urging unilateral military action in Pakistani territory, that Pakistan is a sovereign country. He said, while referring to the deal Pakistan signed in Waziristan, that the US was working with the “sovereign government of Pakistan, which had a plan to reach out to tribal leaders. And over time it became clear that what was happening is that it had been abused by members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda to find safe haven. I mean, I think when that becomes – when that becomes obvious, then you deal with it. I think the Pakistanis have done the same. You now have 80,000 troops in the region. You’ve seen them moving in, you’ve seen them taking casualties. So it also relies on collaboration and assessment involving the Pakistanis.”

Snow said, “The fact is that we’ve made our determinations and the Pakistanis have made their determinations and they’ve adjusted.” When asked to comment on the Pakistan foreign minister’s remarks about the inadvisability of a US strike in the tribal areas, Snow replied, “I think there has been this notion afoot, or at least an attempt or an inclination somehow we’re going to invade Pakistan. We always maintain the option of striking actionable targets, but we also realise that Pakistan is a sovereign government and a very important player in the war on terror. Not only has Pervez Musharraf twice faced direct threats from Al Qaeda, but also Pakistan, itself, has been a very important ally in trying to interrupt plots, to go after al Qaeda activists. The bomb plot in 2006, to bomb airliners making their way overseas toward the United States, very well could have been more deadly than September 11th. It was the result of intelligence generated in Pakistan that that plot was thwarted. So the Pakistanis certainly are valued allies and, again, they have also been taking a lead and moving aggressively into the areas and trying to deal with the problems.”

Asked why the US is not “going to go in there,” Snow answered, “Because Pakistan is a sovereign government, and furthermore, we’ve made it clear that we will offer whatever assistance, technical and otherwise, they have. I outlined a lot of that during a briefing last week. What you’re asking is, does the United States need to take unilateral action. We are working in coordination with the Pakistani government.”

A leading newspaper in its editorial comment wrote that what was once media and congressional talk is now becoming official. Even though President George Bush in his Saturday’s radio speech did not threaten American military action against presumed

Al Qaeda bases in Pakistan’s tribal belt, other US officials have spoken in more threatening tones. On Sunday, Homeland Security Adviser Frances Townsend lent weight to what Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher and White House Spokesman Tony Snow stated last week, saying that the administration’s job was to “protect the American people. There are no options off the table”. President Bush’s speech contained no open or implied threats, but he said — on the basis of intelligence reports — that Al Qaeda had established “havens” in Pakistan. The reason for this was the failure of the deal with the militants last September — something which, he said, President Pervez Musharraf had himself admitted. President Bush, however, made it clear that he believed Pakistan was quite capable of doing the job itself and expressed full confidence in President Musharraf’s government. Like their boss, Ms Townsend and others plied President Musharraf with the usual platitudes and said that the administration’s “first and foremost” priority was to work with Pakistan. Before Congress now is a two-billion-dollar bill that provides for $300 million for the Frontier Force to turn it into a modern fighting army as part of the US-Pakistan counter-insurgency efforts.

Pakistan has reacted angrily to the implied threats, with Foreign Minister Khursheed Mehmud Kasuri saying that the talk of America attacking Al Qaeda bases in Pakistan was “irresponsible and dangerous”. As he told CNN, Pakistan was “committed to controlling terrorism, and people in Pakistan get very upset when, despite all the sacrifices that Pakistan has been making, you get all these criticisms.” As for Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts, Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao said that those who knew precisely where Osama was should share the intelligence with Pakistan. Evidently, the failure of last September’s deal has given the American media and some Congressmen and officials in the Bush administration a ready-made pretext to put further pressure on Islamabad to ask it to ‘do more’.

Foreign governments and newspersons seem to be selective about the evidence before them. They may note, for instance, the recent wave of suicide bombings, but they forget that the victims are all Pakistanis, and that alone should spur any government in Islamabad into fighting terrorism. Pakistan has deployed 90,000 troops in the tribal belt and has suffered 800 dead. Also, as the Lal Masjid crackdown shows, ignoring the rightist backlash that was expected, the government went ahead and crushed what indeed was a Taliban rebellion. Obviously what can be done in Islamabad cannot possibly be achieved along the 2,400-kilometre porous border with Afghanistan with a mountainous terrain that is ideal for guerilla warfare.

The talk of American action in the tribal belt is laden with consequences. Any American air strikes within Pakistani territory could lead to serious consequences, destabilising Pakistan and embarrassing even the moderates, who will then find themselves in the company of the extremists whom they despise. The fight against the Taliban is in Pakistan’s own interests. What happened in the Lal Masjid — a virtual parallel government in operation in the heart of the capital — is enough for the people and the government to realise the danger which religious militants pose to society and the state.
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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is also (more...)
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