Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Development of the Pakistan Taliban

The following is excerpted from an article that details the evolution and development of the now infamous "Pakistan Taliban." The article The Pakistan Taliban, was written by Graham Usher for the Middle East Report.

"Today the Pakistan Taliban is the 'de facto political leadership' in North and South Waziristan ... The Waziristans are the most populous of seven tribal agencies that ... share a ragged mountain border with ... Afghanistan. They are collectively known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas or FATA."
"This 370 mile-long frontier -- and the Talibanized rule emerging there -- represents Pakistan's gravest internal threat, says Gen. Pervez Musharraf"
"...the Pakistan Taliban, allied with al-Qaeda and Islamists from Central Asia and Chechnya, have carved out an indispensable sanctuary for insurgents fighting in Afghanistan"
"For the first 50 years of Pakistan's existence, the government's policy toward the FATA was ...
Tribal leaders, or maliks, were granted semi-autonomous powers in exchange for fealty to the ... the regime."
"until recently, no foreign (meaning, non-Pashtun) troops were allowed in the tribal areas."
"For the last 30 years, FATA's isolation has served another purpose:
The state has used the region as the launching pad for Pakistan-inspired insurgencies in Afghanistan ... a war economy [grew] driven by opium, guns and God, while jihad was first taught, then waged, by generations of young men..."
"the younger tribesmen [ask] `Why was it jihad to resist the Russians, but now it is terrorism to resist the Americans?' "
"In March 2004 -- for the first time in the history of the state -- a reluctant Musharraf [pressured by Washington] dispatched 80,000 Pakistani soldiers to the tribal areas ... outraged [the] maliks, who saw the invasion as a betrayal of their basic pact with Pakistan's rulers..."
"The campaign was a disaster ... The political impact was profound, says Ismail Khan. 'It empowered the [Taliban] militants on the one hand and weakened the government...' "
"Over the next two years, the army mounted eight more incursions ... With every raid the Taliban grew stronger."

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