Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Losing Hearts and Minds in South Waziristan

The United States appears to be losing hearts and minds in the South Waziristan border province of Pakistan according to Iqbal Khattak, of The Friday Times,who comments on the situation in his article "Among the Taliban in South Waziristan."

"Militant leader Baitullah Mehsud is not worried over military air strikes ... he argues that the harder the army hits, the easier it becomes for him to win more public support..."
"... Baitullah ... told TFT, 'Blind strikes such as the JAnuary 16 hit in Zamazola only discredit the army, A single such strike helps the Taliban's cause much more than a hundred days' campaign to win the hearts and minds of the people.' "
"The attack left eight people dead and ten wounded."
"Muhammad Sharif, 24-year-old medical technician from the area, said there was no development in the area, no real schools, and no prospects for life ... 'I ask you: does such a situation not benefits the militants? It does, believe me!' "
"No villager ... conceded that foreigners were hiding in their areas at the time of the air strike."
"A day after the strike ... Batullah had vowed to 'avenge' it and within days ... [there] was a suicide attack."
"...militant groups in Pakistan had copied the strategy from the insurgents in Iraq..."
"A militant who has returned 'safe' from several missions across the border... [commented] that air strikes were proving a setback to the Taliban but felt confident that the militants being 'fast learners' had learnt to cope with them."

No comments: