Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Taliban leader in Pakistan says he would aid bin Laden

The news about the struggle in Pakistan's tribal areas now takes a curious turn: Mullah Nazir, said to be the leader of the fight against the "Uzbeks" in the tribal areas, says he was fighting the Uzbeks because they 'refused to fight in Afghanistan.' So the war, he says, was over getting more people to fight the Americans and NATO rather than a diversion from the fight. The Pakistanis have been claiming that the fighting in South Waziristan is a positive result of the deal they made with the Pushtun tribesmen to withdraw their troops from the Tribal Areas if the tribesmen promised to give up their cross-border attacks. Mysteries still abound.

By Carlotta Gall
New York Times

"A Pakistani Taliban leader who has been waging a government-backed campaign to evict Central Asian militants from Pakistan's tribal regions said Friday that he would give Osama bin Laden protection in his area if he sought it"
"Al Qaeda's top leaders ... are widely believed to be ... in Pakistan's seven tribal areas ... along the Afghan border. Much of the area is ... used by pro-Taliban militants to run training camps and mount cross border insurgency operations into Afghanistan"
"The Pakistani government has championed [the Taliban commander] Mr.Nazir and backed him in his campaign against the Central Asian militants in his tribal region of South Waziristan"
"Yet, Mr. Nazir has always supported holy war against foreign forces deployed in Afghanistan. He said he rallied Pakistani tribesmen against the Central Asian militants, predominately Uzbeks, because they refused to fight in Afghanistan."

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