Update: Pakistan

To underscore the major shift of Taliban-AQ from Afghanistan as their central front to Pakistan, this from Asia Times:

Prior to 2003, the entire al-Qaeda camp in the North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal areas of Pakistan was convinced that its battle should be fought in Afghanistan against the foreign troops there, and not in Pakistan against its Muslim army.

That stance was changed by Sheikh Essa, who had taken up residence in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, where his sermons raised armies of takfiris (those who consider all non-practicing Muslims to be infidels). He was convinced that unless Pakistan became the Taliban’s (and al-Qaeda’s) strategic depth, the war in Afghanistan could not be won.

In a matter of a few years, his ideology has taken hold and all perceived American allies in Pakistan have become prime targets. Local adherents of the takfiri ideology, like Sadiq Noor and Abdul Khaliq, have grown strong and spread the word in North Waziristan. Former members of jihadi outfits such as Jaish-i-Mohammed, Laskhar-i-Toiba and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi have gathered in North Waziristan and declared Sheikh Essa their ideologue.

Read the whole article. Frightening.

Update I: A close read will reveal that the Taliban takfiri coalition are likely going to go after Islamist parties.  You read that correctly.  Islamists (those who will use elections and persuasion not bullets to bring about a theocracy, who only ever get 4-5% of the vote anyway) are sufficiently corrupted by the logic of the takfiris.  i.e. While the Islamists are not pro-Western, they are not an enemy in relation to the Taliban.  That should be a lesson for US policy throughout the Middle East.  Some of this is letting those groups dig their own graves and walk into them.

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Published in: on January 1, 2008 at 2:07 pm  Comments (3)  

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  1. CJ

    Not the most objective piece is it. It seems to be carrying Musharraf’s water, I was just waiting to hear him say putting Pakistan under marshal-law was to stop the terrorists.

    The writers seem to unequivocally concluded that the Taliban assassinated Bhutto, this is something that disputed by probably the majority of Pakistanis and the world for that matter.

    Again, the writer make it appear that the Takfiris has gained popularity sheerly through the preaching of charismatic figures, whereas Musharraf himself has shot himself in the foot in this regard. Let’s not forget Musharraf sending troops in the Northwestern frontier and engagement, Musharraf’s bombing of a school in the Northwestern frontier, his pathetic handling of the Red Mosque massacre. This provides the figures with ample material to validate their takfirs. Lastly, the Muslims in Waziristan are Pashtuns, as are most Pakistanis, and as we see in Iraq, tribalism is more influential than Islamic slogans.

  2. e,

    I re-read the piece. He does say al-qaeda is behind the attack.

    It certainly doesn’t articulate the vast differences between Musharraf/military and Sharif, Bhutto (nor the differences between their respective parties). Check out the piece by Barnett Rubin on that subject.

    But I still think it’s fair to say that there is an increasingly violent divide. Though Sharif is certainly quasi-Islamist that’s mainly via a connection with the Islamist parliamentary parties I believe. At least now. Yeah, Bhutto and Sharif (and the military) have used the Taliban to project their power.

    But I think Musharraf is underestimating how much they are not under the control of the ISI any longer. That’s what I got from the piece.

    You’re certainly right that the ISI and the military have trained/stoked the takfiris and that the pressure on civil society by Musharraf does not do anything to tamper their attractiveness.

    No doubt Musharraf sees his deeper threats as the democratic movements and India.

    Still I think the point of the article was that the Taliban are morphing and undergoing a massive shift, turning more dangerous and violent.

  3. Uuh, I don’t know the Northwestern Frontier is called Waziristan basically to underscore their more Islamic orientation than that of Pakistan.

    Just as we see Bush’s response to Al Qaeda is the biggest recruiting tool that Al Qaeda ever had. Now there are many other terrorist groups that are coupled with Al Qaeda but are not Al Qaeda, it’s just convenient to call them such. They use theses nouns of Taliban and Al Qaeda, as if they are synonymous terms

    In the same way, Musharraf’s action in the Northwestern Frontier, has prompted them to respond in a more violent and militant manner and the convenience of calling them Taliban but they may not be Taliban, even though they share common goals. I bet you if problems in Kashmir pop up, India will call the Kashmiri Mujahideen Al Qaeda or Taliban, namely, to shut the west up by linking it with the western enemy.

    But one thing for sure the ISI created all of these groups (not Al Qaeda), and use them as buffers on their borders and I agree the ISI can not control them


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