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The Taliban in Afghanistan has proposed a month-long truce in order to reach a permanent arrangement with the Pakistani government. The Waziristan region has seen fierce fighting involving Pakistani troops, and as the Americans and Canadians press an offensive in Afghanistan, the two-front war has taken its toll on the Taliban:
The militants, also known as local Taleban, have set the government four main conditions.
They want a withdrawal of army troops from the region within a month, and the removal of all new check posts from North Waziristan, their spokesman Abdullah Farhad told the BBC.
He also demanded the restoration of salaries and jobs and other incentives for local tribes and the release of tribesmen arrested during military operations against al-Qaeda and Taleban fighters in the region.
The governor of North Western Frontier Province, Ali Mohammad Jan Aurakzai, said a decision on these conditions would be taken in talks with the militants.
He promised to reciprocate with a goodwill gesture but did not elaborate.
This follows a similar arrangement in South Waziristan, where a truce has held for the past month. The Taliban would like nothing more than to lick their wounds in the mountain regions while offering support for their allies in Afghanistan. It appears that the Musharraf government might also like to get out of Waziristan and focus their efforts elsewhere, a move that would likely cause some friction with Washington if it results in increased fighting in Afghanistan.
A truce with Islamists in this region sounds like a bad deal for the US, and it might impact our previous reluctance to conduct cross-border missions. Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri have long been rumored to hide in these regions, and an end to Pakistani military operations would at first blush mean greater security for the al-Qaeda masterminds and a renewed opportunity for them to rebuild some operational connections to their network.
We shall see what this means; perhaps the deal might require the betrayal of bin Laden and Zawahiri, who after all ordered two assassination attempts on Musharraf. We can only hope that the Pakistanis remain firm in their efforts to stop Islamofascist terror.
UPDATE: Maj. Gen. Benjamin Freakly, the commander of the forces in Afghanistan, tells Fox News that this both impacts his fight in Afghanistan and is a result of their successes against the Taliban. He notes that the cease-fire only applies to Pakistan, and he has no intention of letting up on the enemy. He's not surprised that the Taliban has fought back recently. The Canadian additions allowed the Coalition to expand their pressure on the Taliban in areas that had not been touched before.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Militants call for ceasefire from Morning Coffee
ISLAMABAD, June 25 (Reuters) - Pro-Taliban militants called a month-long ceasefire on Sunday in a Pakistani tribal region on the Afghan border to give tribal elders a chance to broker a settlement after months of fierce fighting. "We decided that ... [Read More]
Tracked on June 25, 2006 3:05 PM
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