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Thread: The US & others working with Pakistan

  1. #61
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    My apologies for addressing my last reply to Tequila when it should read Tacitus... PT

  2. #62
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Pragmatism & Pakistan

    The continued use of the FATA by AQ is an issue the British government (HMG) wishes to push out of the headlines, let alone pay attention to. The steady trickle of deaths, let alone injuries, in Helmand Province to British forces will keep the issue in HMG's "too difficult" policy box.

    Yes, some U.K. terror plots are reported as having their roots in FATA and Pakistan generally. Just as many I would suggest have their roots closer to home, or as many allude to the web at home.

    Any overt or covert Allied incursuion into the FATA, disregarding the immense practicalities, is political madness.

    Pakistan is an ally, which has its own difficulties, for example the secular parties may have a more nuanced stand on AQ and terrorism that Musharraf. An incursion before the Pakistani election is hardly pragmatic.

    What would HMG do if the logistic support Pakistan gives now was stopped or restricted? I refer to the reported use of Karachi docks and the overland movement of heavy supplies to Hlemand and Afghanistan.

    I am sure somewhere there is an author who has analysed and written on the lessons HMG learnt from the North West Frontier (up till 1947).

    It is odd sixty years later British national security is so bound up - again - by the NW Frontier and this time the BRitish military are on the other side of the Durand Line in Afghanistan.

    In our struggle against AQ terrorism in this region history can teach us much, we too found it frustrating and bloody for a very long time. Brute force is not the answer on this "playing field".

    davidbfpo
    (sitting in an armchair in the UK)

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    The continued use of the FATA by AQ is an issue the British government (HMG) wishes to push out of the headlines, let alone pay attention to. The steady trickle of deaths, let alone injuries, in Helmand Province to British forces will keep the issue in HMG's "too difficult" policy box.

    Yes, some U.K. terror plots are reported as having their roots in FATA and Pakistan generally. Just as many I would suggest have their roots closer to home, or as many allude to the web at home.

    Any overt or covert Allied incursuion into the FATA, disregarding the immense practicalities, is political madness.

    Pakistan is an ally, which has its own difficulties, for example the secular parties may have a more nuanced stand on AQ and terrorism that Musharraf. An incursion before the Pakistani election is hardly pragmatic.

    What would HMG do if the logistic support Pakistan gives now was stopped or restricted? I refer to the reported use of Karachi docks and the overland movement of heavy supplies to Hlemand and Afghanistan.

    I am sure somewhere there is an author who has analysed and written on the lessons HMG learnt from the North West Frontier (up till 1947).

    It is odd sixty years later British national security is so bound up - again - by the NW Frontier and this time the BRitish military are on the other side of the Durand Line in Afghanistan.

    In our struggle against AQ terrorism in this region history can teach us much, we too found it frustrating and bloody for a very long time. Brute force is not the answer on this "playing field".

    davidbfpo
    (sitting in an armchair in the UK)
    I concur with brute force not being the ONLY solution, however, we can't let ourselves be hamstrung. I understand Karachi's importance as a POE for supplies for the troops going over land into Afghanistan, which in my opinion remains a serious wekaness in our military strategy. I can't speak for the RAF but I know the USAF is over burdened as it is trying to keep supplies flowing into Iraq and Afghanistan, so relying soley on aerial resupply is out... My point remains a tactical dilemma which is why allow your enemy sanctuary? I keep getting political problems as reasons why we can't have a tactical solution to this and I am not quite buying it. I don't see Pakistan imploding if we decided to conduct precision bombing of key Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in the FATA, and I am not talking about the onsies and twosies we do now but an all out bombing campaign followed by ground incursions. If nothing else it would show our resolve to take the fight to them. I know the Pashtu understand and respect violence, and again I am not advocating a wholesale bombing campaign but a precise campaign of continuous strikes and raids. We haven't tried it yet, so I am not convinced we can sit here and predict the outcome accurately.

    PT

  4. #64
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    Default Asia Times Online - Taliban a step ahead of US assault

    Asia Times Online - Taliban a step ahead of US assault

    KARACHI - The ongoing three-day peace jirga (council) involving hundreds of tribal leaders from Pakistan and Afghanistan is aimed at identifying and rooting out Taliban and al-Qaeda militancy on both sides of the border.

    This was to be followed up with military strikes at militant bases in Pakistan, either by the Pakistani armed forces in conjunction with the United States, or even by US forces alone.

    The trouble is, the bases the US had meticulously identified no longer exist. The naive, rustic but battle-hardened Taliban still want a fight, but it will be fought on the Taliban's chosen battlegrounds.

    Twenty-nine bases in the tribal areas of North Waziristan and South Waziristan on the border with Afghanistan that were used to train militants have simply fallen off the radar.
    ...

    The death in May of Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah in Afghanistan during a coalition raid set in motion a major change within the Taliban's command structure.

    The loss of the heroic commander was a huge blow for the Taliban in southwestern Afghanistan, as a major symbol of success had been killed - and there was no one of his stature to replace him, as another top Taliban commander, Mullah Akhtar Osmani, had earlier been killed in Helmand.

    Amid the demoralization, the entire Taliban leadership left Helmand, Urzgan, Zabul and Kandahar and sat idle in Satellite Town in Quetta, Pakistan, for several weeks.

    Finally, in June, Taliban leader Mullah Omar outlined new guidelines, which included:

    No members of the central military command would work in southwestern Afghanistan.

    Group commanders would be given control of specific districts and be allowed to develop their own strategy.

    This strategy would be passed on only to the Taliban-appointed "governor" of the area, who in turn would relay it to the Taliban's central command council. From these various inputs, the council would develop a broader strategy for particular regions.

    The Taliban would discourage personality cults like Dadullah's, as the death of a "hero" demoralized his followers.

    Four spokesmen were appointed to decentralize the Taliban's media-information wing. Each spokesman would look after only a specific zone so that in case of his arrest, only information about that zone could be leaked. They also have all been given the same name, at present it is Qari Yousuf Ahmedi.
    "In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." - Eric Hoffer

  5. #65
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default CSIS - A Perilous Course: U.S. Strategy and Assistance to Pakistan

    CSIS - A Perilous Course: U.S. Strategy and Assistance to Pakistan (pdf)
    Over $10 billion in aid to Pakistan since 9/11, and what to show for it?

    Recommendations include shifting aid from a purely short-term military counterterror strategy focused on the western border to more state-building and internal stability for Pakistan itself. Sounds good on paper, and I can see the temptation, but how to avoid watching funds disappear into what is essentially a massive development project?

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    10 Oct 07 HASC testimony testimony on security challenges involving Pakistan and policy implications for the Department of Defense:

    Teresita C. Schaffer, Director South Asia Program, CSIS

    Marvin G. Weinbaum, Middle East Institute

    Husain Haqqani, Director, Center for International Relations, Boston University

    Lisa Curtis, The Heritage Foundation

  7. #67
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Good points made

    Thanks, read all four. The forthcoming Pakistani provincial and national assembly elections, probably in January 2008, will clear some of the "smoke" as to who is the elected government. I remain unconvinced Ms Bhutto will succeed.

    Lots of wishful thinking on external support for civilian power, without considering how American support could harm those in power. Yes, the Pakistani Army has taken US military aid, can this be re-directed to enhancing COIN capability now?

    Worth reading from this armchair.

    davidbfpo

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    CEIP, 28 Nov 07: Pakistan: Conflicted Ally in the War on Terror
    Arguably the greatest reverse suffered by the United States in its war on terror has been the rejuvenation of al-Qaeda and the Taliban—a revival the intelligence community believes is owed to their ability to secure a sanctuary in Pakistan. Accordingly, many Americans blame the regime of Pervez Musharraf for not delivering on its commitment to root out terrorist operatives from its territory despite receiving massive U.S. aid for that purpose.

    The reality, however, is more complex. Although Pakistani counterterrorism effectiveness has fallen short of what Americans expect, Islamabad’s failures in this regard are not simply due to a lack of motivation. Instead, the convulsive political deterioration in the North West Frontier Province in Pakistan, Islamabad’s military ineptitude in counterterrorism operations, and the political failures of the Karzai government in Afghanistan have all exacerbated the problem. The war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban will thus be a long one requiring considerable patience on the part of the United States.....

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    16 Jan 08 testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Assassination, Instability and the Future of U.S. Policy:

    Christine Fair, RAND

    Ashley Tellis, CEIP

    Lisa Curtis, Heritage Foundation

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    CEIP, 23 Jan 08: Pakistan and the War on Terror: Conflicted Goals, Compromised Performance
    ....The growing dissatisfaction in the United States about Pakistani performance in counterterrorism operations is premised largely on the assumption of Islamabad’s mendacity: that Musharraf’s regime, despite being well compensated and despite its habitual claims to be performing at par, is willfully neglectful of its commitment to root out al- Qaeda and Taliban cadres operating from its territory for a combination of strategic and ideological reasons. The reality, however, is more complex. Although Pakistani performance in the war on terror has undoubtedly fallen short of what is expected in the United States, Islamabad’s inability to defeat the terrorist groups operating from its soil is rooted in many factors going beyond its admittedly serious motivational deficiencies in regard to combating terrorism.

    This monograph seeks to provide an analytical understanding of the problems associated with Pakistani performance in the combined counterterrorism operations currently under way in the FATA and in Afghanistan. Such an understanding is essential if the United States is to avoid becoming locked into the paralyzing choices of either coercing Pakistan—with varying degrees of discrimination—as urged by many voices in the current political debate or standing steadfast through publicly uncritical support for Musharraf as the Bush administration has done so far. The discussion that follows underscores the fact that, although Pakistan is a conflicted ally in the war on terror, it faces difficult counterterrorism challenges that cannot be overcome quickly for good reasons. The campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, accordingly, will be a long one requiring considerable patience on the part of the United States. Further, the analysis suggests that there are no easy choices for Washington, but it also emphasizes that Islamabad’s approach to defeating terrorism is sufficiently risky and could end up transforming Pakistan into an object of U.S. wrath should a major attack on the United States in the future reveal Pakistani origins, neglect, or, in the worst case, connivance.....
    Complete 64 page paper at the link.

  11. #71
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    Moslems cannot kill Moslems. It is said to be against the tenets of Islam. Therefore, to expect Pakistan to wage war against the AQ or Taliban is illogical and even unfair.

    Pakistan, thus, has not joined the War on Terror because it sincerely believes in the same. It is because of realpolitik that the approach is but ambivalent, wherein a semblance of both the western requirements and the Islamic necessities are addressed is showcased. It is another matter that neither parties are convinced of the effort nor contribution that is made, since the end statement for both the parties is neither here nor there.

    Pakistan, which would have been clubbed amongst the countries grouped under the Axis of Terror, joined the War on Terror, having no options, because it qualified for Bush’s parameters – having WMD and links with Terrorism. Pakistan had known WMD and her madrassas were the known and established womb of Islamic terrorism being perpetuated worldwide. This is the primary reason why Pakistan had no option but to hitch onto the WoT bandwagon.

    Further, it was advantageous for Pakistan to be seen as an ally with the US, the WoT notwithstanding. It reinstated her in the comity of nation (till then a pariah) as also it brought badly need financial aid (including WB and IMF) that salvaged her from the ignominy of becoming an international breadbasket case. Military aid that followed, ostensibly to fight Terrorism, was funnelled to bolster her defence, not against terrorism alone, but also against India. Thus, it was a win win situation for Pakistan, but for the fact, that it also brought in the unsavoury baggage of having to combat fellow Moslems.

    Pakistan cannot abandon its strategic aim of having a pro Pakistan Afghanistan. It gives in to the Pakistani strategic thinking of a strategic depth vis a vis a conflict with India, as also, it opens up a shorter route to the growing markets of the co religionist Central Asian Republics – an area where arch rivals, India, is making some headway. Therefore, to abandon the Taliban, a Pakistan created organisation and the sword arm of Pakistan in Afghanistan’s political scene, is suicidal. There it is essential for Pakistan to have a covert understanding and a quid pro quo with the Taliban, irrespective of the overt “actions” undertaken to appease the Western sensitivities. Terrorist organisations are, for Pakistan, ideal vehicles to extend her strategic goals, without resorting to war. Kashmir and terrorism perpetuated in the rest of India is a case in point.

    The aligning with the US in the WoT and the killing of Moslems thereof, even if only for token significance, has not been appreciated by the common Pakistanis. Therefore, there is a groundswell of sympathy for the fundamentalists and the Mullahmen. Except for the educated westernised elite, and that too not all, the power of Islam, overwhelms the Moslem psyche. Therefore, to expect Mullahs, no matter how irrational and ridiculous as they may seem to the western mind, to be spurned by the Moslem, who are bound by sincere belief in the ‘truth’ that is Islam and the absolute essential of following the ways of the “perfect man”, Mohammed, is kiteflying. Musharraf is no exception either!

    However, by joining the US in WoT, even if superficially, and in consonance with the Islamic tenet of Takiyya (religious deception), Musharraf, whose regime was technically illegal (having come to power by a coup), used the same to rid himself of the powerful opposition amongst the religious fanatics, who were actively advocating his (Musharraf’s) end in worldly existence! This also helped in fostering of his image of being a great secularist! Thus, the action of the Red Mosque, where to appease the Moslem sentiments he allowed it to build up to project the image of a great exponent of Islamic championing and later, as an aggrieved party, forced to act ruthlessly in the interest of Pakistan! Hence, he hunted with the hounds and ran with the hare!

    Apparently, the West seems to have seen through the game and so is veering away from Musharraf.

    But then is there anyone better in a country that has never ever had a democracy as the world understand?

    Historically, it has never been a democracy, since it was only in 1956, way after its creation in 1947, did it have a Constitution and that too, it was only in name with the myriads of military dictatorships that usurped governance in actuality and even during the marginal “democratic phase” was always the arbiter, as per Musharraf’s book, “In the Line of Fire” and independent commentators on Pakistan.
    Last edited by Ray; 01-29-2008 at 08:47 AM.

  12. #72
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    CSIS, 1 Feb 07: The Afghan-Pakistan War: Threat Developments
    This briefing provides a broad view of the rising level of violence in the country based on a visit to Afghanistan in late January 2008, and unclassified data from the UN, NATO/ISAF, and US sources in Afghanistan. It provides an analytic overview of threat developments that map and chart a growing overall threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    It shows that the more traditional Taliban structure under the Mullah Omar in the south remains a major problem, and that the mix of Taliban and other Islamist elements in the East has become far more sophisticated and cooperative during the course of 2007. Al Qa'ida influence over the Afghan groups has increased, and the combined role of Al Qa'ida and the emerging Pakistani Taliban has sharply increased in influence and in the territory over which it has de facto control.

    Taliban support areas inside both Afghanistan and Pakistan have increased during 2007, and the Taliban has expanded its control over political and economic space in the south, far northeast, the area around Kabul, and in the central, western, and northwestern areas of Afghanistan. As the briefing shows, US experts in Afghanistan believe that the Taliban has set very clear objectives to expand its activity throughout the country in 2008, and into previously secure provinces and districts.

    The situation in Pakistan is shown as critical, and few in Afghanistan or Pakistan believe the situation will not deteriorate even further in 2008 unless the Pakistani government takes far more decisive action than it has to date. Experts do, however, question Pakistan's willingness to act, the role of the ISI in supporting the Taliban and other threat elements, and whether the Pakistani Army and government are acting with anything like their claimed firmness.....
    Complete 65 slide brief in pdf available at the link.

  13. #73
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default As always - useful

    This CSIS powerpoint is useful, particularly the details on drug production.

    davidbfpo

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    MISNA is reporting today that the Pakistani government is seeking a ceasefire with the Taleban and the local tribes in South Waziristan prior to elections:

    The Pakistani government has begun negotiations with the Taliban and allied tribal elders ahead of the crucial February 28 legislative elections, drawing criticism from both the opposition and United States.
    A little more at the link.

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    USIP, 15 Feb 08: Pakistani Public Opinion on Democracy, Islamist Militancy, and Relations with the U.S.
    In this fierce succession of events, it is important to not lose a broader perspective. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has gone through many crises in its 60 years, and its resilience has been often underestimated. One source of this resilience has been, necessarily, the Pakistani public. Thus it is vital to ask what are the strengths and weaknesses, the areas of agreement and polarization that characterize the public’s attitudes.

    Naturally a key concern, especially from an American perspective, is how Pakistanis view the proper role of Islam in society. Central to the US “war on terror” is concern about militant groups, such as al Qaeda and the Taliban, who seek to create an extremely conservative and theocratic Islamist state. How responsive are Pakistanis to the siren song of such ideas? The Pakistani government has taken a number of steps in recent years to reform the madrassahs and laws related to the treatment of women: how do Pakistanis view these developments?

    Conversely important is the question of how Pakistanis view democracy. How important is democracy to them and how do they assess the reality of democratic functioning in Pakistan? Likewise, how do they value the independence of the justice system, which has been sorely tested over the last year?

    Perhaps most centrally, does the majority feel there are contradictions between democratic governance and Islam’s social role, or do they see these as essentially in harmony? Does the current political turmoil arise from deep-seated ideological conflicts on these questions, or do they primarily arise from political power struggles?
    Complete 47 page paper at the link.

  16. #76
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Ballot Box Rules

    As I have said before the people who should decide are the Pakistani voters. Recent opnion polling indicates still 80% support for secular parties and this week there was an article from NWFP indicating the fall in support for the religious parties in control. Plus a report that the state (read ISI, police etc) are planning to "fix" the voting.

    A spectacular failure has been the lack of international independent observers, which apparently Musharraf opposed.

    The militants attacks on political rallies, building on the attacks on politicians, will I suspect intimidate the voters, not to vote at all.

    Kashmiris who I've known for many years guide my judgement on Pakistanis. Kashmiris invariably prefer to sit on the fence and take time plus pressure to move off. For the Pakistani voter what a choice to make?

    I did wonder this week, chatting with a British Pakistani, whether the USA and the UK have stood back so far - since Musharraf's declaration of a State of Emergency - that we will see ideologues cry 'Who lost Pakistan?'.

    We watch and wait.

    davidbfpo

  17. #77
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default A guide to a Pakistani strategy

    A good, short read on what is happening and what could be done:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/16/op...on&oref=slogin

    davidbfpo

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/16/op...on&oref=slogin

    To put it bluntly, the writer is an apologist and has sugarcoated the issues to make it palatable to the western ideas as to what Pakistan should be.

    The Pakistani President, who had a better insight of the going ons inside his country, having various intelligence and security agencies under his command, himself in a televised address on 12 January 2002 stated that the greatest danger facing Pakistan came not from outside Pakistan, not from India, but from Pakistan’s own homegrown religious radicals—“a danger,” he said, “that is eating us from within.”

    The unabated fundamentalist activities in FATA, NWFP, Balochistan, and the meek surrender of Forts, the surrender of soldiers without firing a shot, is indicative that the Islamic tenets rule the average Pakistani mindset, even if the killings of military personnel including their Surgeon General, numerous suicide bombings are taken to be acts of fanatics and not spurred by Islamic fervour.

    The Awami National Party has won in NWFP. Its leader is Khan Abdul Wali Khan, whose father was the 'Frontier Gandhi', Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan aka Bacha Khan, who espoused the Pakhtoonistan movement. It is interesting to note that the Awami National Party continues to support the Pakhtoonistan cause i.e. the Union of the Pashtun people on either side of the Durand Line.

    Therefore, while the election has indicated a decline of the fundamentalist parties, it has raised another spectre of subnationalism that may in times to come, if not alrady there, have some affinity with those who have the same aim, but are using Islam and the Taliban as an all encompassing shroud!

    The spectre of subnationalsim does not stop at NWFP. To the offer by the PPP's head Zardari that negotiations were welcomed with the Balochistan Liberation Army, the BLA spokesman BLA spokesman Bibarg Baloch is supposed to have said, ""Is he capable of conceding our demand for an independent Balochistan?"

    Therefore, a new threat of subnationalism is on the rise. And like it or not, Islamic fundamentalism cannot be far behind to murky the waters.

    Therefore, the author is flawed in his attempts to lull the western mind that all is well in Pakistan and things are taking shape. In fact, the environment is getting dangerous.

    Pakistan has an affinity to Sufism?

    Sufism is an anathema to other schools of Islamic thought.

    BBC states (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4746019.stm):
    Post-colonial Pakistan has had a schizophrenic policy towards Sufi shrines.

    By subsuming them under the Auqaf department, the state has sought to weaken the powers of the spiritual heirs of the saints.

    Established under Ayub Khan in 1959, the Auqaf department received its charter from Javed Iqbal, the son of Pakistan's founding visionary poet, Mohammad Iqbal, who actually bemoaned the superstitions of Indian Muslims


    It is true that Quawalis are popular, but then that is no endorsement that there is an overwhelming love for Sufism in Pakistan. If it were so, then there would be more Sufis than Sunnis and Shias! Sufism, is at best, tolerated. The area where Sufism is widely prevalent is in Kashmir. Event indicate that there, too, fundamental Islamism is overtaking Sufism.

    The writer uses isolated incidents to show that the locals are banding against the Taliban and fundamentalists. If that were so, then why are there the reports that the fundamentalists are once again daring to raise their ugly heads in SWAT and elsewhere, where they had been nearly wiped out, as per the media? Without local support the rise once again of such elements would be impossible. Therefore, who is the writer trying to fool?

    There is indeed indications that people are tiring with militancy. But Islam and its tenets continues to predominate the mind. As the writer himself admits, the Pakistanis are against the War on Terror and thus the US and its actions in Afghanistan and FATA. Indeed, they are and they feel that it is but a War on Islam instead. This feeling is strong and this feeling will predominate any 'feel good' sentiments that the elections may have given. The civilian govt, which will be a coalition govt of dissimilar elements, will hardly be in a position to deliver to either the Pakistani aspirations or the US needs.

    This non deliverance will frustrate the common Pakistanis and also the US. And once again the cycle will repeat.

    No matter how many feel good articles are churned out to appease and assauge the fears of the Western mind, the reality and the ground situation does not portend to a peaceful stability and a changed Pakistan.

    In fact, it could get worse!
    Last edited by Ray; 02-27-2008 at 05:27 AM.

  19. #79
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Risks in peace agreements in NWFP and FATA

    And from the Pakistani Paper The International News

    The federal government has begun the process of negotiating a peace agreement with the Tehrik-e- Taliban (TeT) in South Waziristan. There are certain important reflections on this matter which need consideration.
    Earlier this month, the NWFP government signed a peace agreement with the TNSM, which is a religious movement in Malakand division, where the TNSM is demanding the implementation of Shariat. In the agreement, the TNSM promised to abandon violence and to propagate its views peacefully. It also condemned the recent militant violence in Swat. Although, the agreement was signed by the TNSM, its fighting rank and file, led by Maulvi Fazlullah, has condemned it! There is a danger that this agreement will wither away without having accomplished much.

    The NWFP government has thus opened itself to criticism for failing to include an enforcement clause based on indemnities, as well as the absence of any mechanism through which the agreement can be monitored and enforced.

    On the other hand, the proposed agreement with TeT of Baitullah Masud is in a totally different category. Firstly, this agreement, though not yet finalised, is the responsibility of the federal government as it relates to tribal areas. Secondly, it is not understood how the government can sign an agreement with TeT, when it is not a tribe but an armed organisation. Thirdly, TeT is signing the agreement in South Waziristan. How will it, for example, be effective in Mohmand agency, which is different from South Waziristan? How will it be monitored by the federal government in the NWFP, where TeT is also active? If the government signs the agreement with the Mahsud tribe it will not be with the TeT, who could ignore it and continue to fight. There are thus so many technical bottlenecks in the signing of an agreement with TeT that it is unlikely to materialise.
    Sapere Aude

  20. #80
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default US bombs Pakistani border post

    Under the headline 'Tensions rise....' the UK Daily Telegraph reports: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...bing-raid.html

    I know other websites have commented upon events in Pakistan recently, I cannot recall much on SWC.

    davidbfpo

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