Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Securing the Afghan-Pakistani border

By Shaun Waterman
ISN Security Watch

"Pakistan is pushing ahead with its controversial peace strategy in the tribal areas on the Afghan border, and, despite criticism in Washington, the US wants to fund it to the tune of $750 million."
"...Pakistani officials signed the third in a series of peace deals they hope to strike throughout the troubled region"
"...the tribal leaders also committed not to allow "subversive" activities, and added that violators would be punished by having their homes demolished and being expelled from the region, 'in line with tribal customs.' "
"Last year, a widely quoted assessment by a US military spokesman said that cross-border attacks had tripled in the months following the signing of the North Waziristan deal last September."
"The Bajuar deal was scheduled to be inked last October, but was derailed hours before the scheduled signing when a missile strike later claimed by the Pakistani military killed more than 80 people at a religious school run by Faqir, which intelligence officials said was a school for Taliban suicide bombers.The incident illustrated perfectly the contradiction at the heart of the Pakistani's peace strategy - many of those they need to strike deals with are actively fighting the Afghan government and the international military forces supporting it."
"But Boucher [senior State Department official] nonetheless announced that the Bush administration would ask Congress for US$750 million over the next five years in development program aid for the region."
"Pakistani authorities sought to portray the incident [The fighting in March between tribal militias and Uzbek Islamic militants near the town of Wana in South Waziristan]as the tribals keeping their end of last year's bargain by expelling the Uzbeks, affiliated with the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan founded by Tahir Yaldashev. They said more than 200 people had died."
"But Dawn reported the incident was sparked by the Uzbeks' killing of an Arab militant, also linked to al-Qaida and under the protection of a local Taliban militia commander, Maulvi Nazir"
"...facts on the ground are going to be hard to come by."

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