Captain's Quarters Blog

« Emily Litella Also Works At The Post | Main | GOP Conservatives Take A Stand »

March 7, 2006
Taliban and AQ Taking A Beating In Pakistan

It looks like President Bush's visit to Pakistan may have paid off, as Musharraf appears to have re-energized his campaign in Waziristan against al-Qaeda and the Taliban remnants that have taken refuge there. In a protracted battle near the Afghanistan border, Pakistani forces have killed scores of the Islamist terrorists:

Pakistani security forces battled pro-Taliban rebels holding out in a town near the Afghan border on Monday, killing 19 of them as the toll from three days of clashes rose to more than 120, the military said.

The rebels launched attacks on government positions in Miran Shah on Saturday as President Bush met Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in the capital. The fighting has raged since. ...

Militants launched attacks and seized government buildings Saturday in Miran Shah in revenge for a government attack Wednesday that killed 45 fighters.

The toll from the first day of fighting rose from 46 to more than 100 militants as more detailed reports arrived, Sultan said. Two militants were killed Sunday.

Five troops were killed and two wounded over the three days, he said.

That ratio shows that the Taliban and AQ cannot defeat anyone militarily; no army could suffer losses at a ratio of 100-5, and Pakistan has a lot more resources than the Islamists do. All they needed was the proper motivation. The rebels helped supply that by staging a rather stupid offensive during Bush's visit to Musharraf, giving Bush all the context he needed to press Musharraf for more decisive action against the holdouts in the border area.

The Afghanis also prodded Musharraf into action, a move they continue to defend today:

A rift between Afghanistan and Pakistan deepened Tuesday as Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office said intelligence about Taliban and al-Qaida fugitives allegedly hiding in Pakistan was "very strong and accurate." ...

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan — key allies of Washington in its war on terror — have deteriorated sharply since Karzai gave Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf last month a list of Taliban and al-Qaida fugitives he said were hiding in Pakistan.

Afghan and Pakistani officials told The Associated Press the list included Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and top associates, and that Afghanistan also shared the locations of alleged terrorist training camps. ..

Pakistan has accused Afghanistan of leaking the list to the media because Kabul did not trust Islamabad to act on it. "The bad-mouthing against Pakistan is a deliberate, articulated conspiracy," Musharraf was quoted as saying Monday by the state-run news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan.

Pakistan has had an uneven approach to fighting the militants in its border regions over the past few years. It presses in engagements such as the active battle we see now, but then relaxes for a while and tries to use the tribes as proxies to flush out the terrorists. That demonstrates the tense relationship that Islamabad has with these tribal leaders. Pakistan has long relied on them to act as a trip-wire defense against threats foreign threats in order to keep its military mobile in the less daunting landscape farther inside its borders. With a number of the tribes at least somewhat sympathetic to the Islamists, the Pakistanis have to tread carefully in order to maintain their traditional security barriers.

However, as Musharraf has seen this past week, as bad as angering and alienating the tribes might be, it's far worse to allow the Islamists to gather in the north and slowly gather into a substantial threat. As soon as they feel strong enough, they will attack Musharraf and the military and exploit the tribes either for support or to act as shields. Their attacks are not limited towards Islamabad either, but at least equally include Afghanistan and its new government. The US made it clear earlier that it would not forever resist the impulse to strike back on its own against the Taliban/AQ remnants using Pakistan as a terror base, and Afghanistan made sure that the world knew it had given Musharraf enough information to act on his own.

Musharraf needs a push now and then to recommit to the war. Bush and Karzai provided it this week, as did the terrorists themselves, and the results have been excellent thus far.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 7, 2006 6:10 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is


Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!