July 15, 2007

Waziristan Tribes To Musharraf: It's On

Events over the last few days have indicated that Pervez Musharraf has rethought his hands-off deal with radical Islamists in Waziristan. After the Red Mosque siege and seizure, the Waziris have apparently concluded the same thing. Today they announced that the Waziri tribes would wothdraw from the agreement and, in effect, declared war on Pakistan:

Pro-Taleban militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan region say they have ended their truce with the government.

In a statement issued in Miranshah, the main town, the militants accused the government of breaking the agreement.

It came as Pakistan deployed more troops in the area fearing "holy war" after the storming of the militant Red Mosque last week that left 102 dead.

More than 50 Pakistanis, including soldiers and police recruits, have died in three attacks in the last two days.

The announcement was more or less a formality. The Taliban and al-Qaeda had obviously unleashed their terrorists in the aftermath of the Red Mosque seizure. Bombs have gone off around Pakistan over the last couple of weeks, killing dozens and inspiring the usual groups to launch protests against the Musharraf government.

Now, however, this will probably serve to strengthen Musharraf. The extremists have not gained the sympathy of the middle class after the imams at the Red Mosque started taking hostages and imposing Taliban rule in the neighborhood. Most see Musharraf's action as a positive step against radical elements, and the wave of terror attacks in its wake will not likely change their minds.

It also might give Musharraf some room to allow limited NATO missions in Waziristan. That would give Musharraf an opportunity to end the rebellion without sacrificing his own troops, and it would also satisfy long-standing demands by the US and UK to take action against known Taliban and AQ camps. The radicals will probably try to move their assets out of their established camps -- which means that Musharraf had better give that green light quickly.

Zawahiri wanted a fight, and now he'll get one. Don't expect Musharraf to cut deals with these people again.


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Comments (34)

Posted by Hugh Beaumont | July 15, 2007 10:43 AM

How does militant Islam feed a hungry child in Darfur?

How does it feed an obese hungry child living below the poverty line in the US?

Posted by Keemo | July 15, 2007 10:58 AM

Oh My God; Declared War...

Those words are going to rile up the trolls; as we all have heard, there is no war, only a bumper sticker for the Bush Administration to use while stealing elections...

This is kinda like the time OBL and AQ publicly declared War on America...

Seriously; this could be good news, as it opens up possibilities for allied forces to go in and wipe out AQ central. I would bet on AQ central moving HQ to Iran as I type this.

Posted by Lew | July 15, 2007 11:33 AM

The other, and far more serious matter here is that Pakistan already has a tested and proven nuclear capability that Europe can't rationalize away or pretend doesn't threaten them. They not only have the "gadget" but the delivery system as well. Consequently, Pakistan cannot be allowed to become another radicalized Islamic state on the model of Iran, and even though a military dictator like Mushareff may be entirely unsatisfactory on his own, the rising alternative is blatantly and visibly and unequivocally intolerable.

Let's see the Euros try to convince themselves that THIS doesn't matter either!

Posted by Lightwave | July 15, 2007 12:35 PM

"Zawahiri wanted a fight, and now he'll get one. Don't expect Musharraf to cut deals with these people again."

We should be extraordinarily wary of the fact Musharraf cut a deal with our enemy in the first place, Ed. Political reality or not, we all knew this was going to happen, that making deals with militant Islamist terrorists only invites more terrorism.

The fact Musharraf did it anyway should give us sufficient pause for assisting him with this fight. All along he's been saying "This is an internal matter." Now of course he's going to be coming to us for help.

If we do help him, we should set a sufficiently high price for our assistance: a free hand to deal with AQ in Waziristan in the harshest possible terms. If this means bombing Waziristan into rubble and then bombing the rubble, so be it.

Musharraf screwed us over once. AQ is an open threat to US security. Our price for saving his government at this point should be nothing less than total freedom to take AQ out of the picture in Pakistan.

Posted by Carol Herman | July 15, 2007 12:38 PM

Don't trust what you read in the paper; or hear on the news.

First off, those mountain people don't talk English. Whatever they did say, however, they also signalled the saud's to "send mo money."

And, Musharraf is gonna finish this. (It started when idiots on the roof of the Red Mosque, shot at his helicopter. Since he lives not far from what WAS the Red Mosque; they had perfect opportunities to take pot shots at him.) GONE NOW.

Today, up at the Jerusalem Post I finally saw what "that" refugee camp up in Tripoli looks like. And, the reason this picture isn't making the rounds of the media? NOW, that's target practice. Some things stand. No windows. Big holes. And, no laundry flapping in the beeze, either.

Of course, since Israel isn't involved the people who bend the truth, have nothing much to say.

But there's a good Kristol article up there, on Lucianne. He likes the odds. Bush, with all his self-inflicted wounds, is gonna come out of his presidency, okay. Thank you to General Patraeus.

The Pentagon, it seems, has gotten the hang of it. Those that run to the Bonkeys? Haven't got a career opportunity in sight.

That we're getting weird noises out of the old media? Yeah. But, so what?

The Internet is still the best place to go to collect facts over fictions.

Posted by grognard [TypeKey Profile Page] | July 15, 2007 1:08 PM

If true, and we get permission from Musharraf to enter the two Pakistan provinces that are hosting the Taliban, this will be the end game for Osama. Incredible good news but no “limited operation” , this must be a full on major assault to destroy as much of the AQ as possible, esp. the leadership. But do we have the troops for a major operation that needs to be quickly carried out before the AQ elements can disappear into the woodwork?

Posted by RPinkley | July 15, 2007 1:24 PM

We have the troops we just need Musharraf to Ok.Ask why Navy men heading top command in M.E.? Lots of planes on the water. Once AQ is decimated in Pakistan, Iran will be fully isolated. Chase IQ from iraq to Iran then deal with them as even They tire of radicals ?

Posted by Palamas | July 15, 2007 1:29 PM

Wait a minute? Terrorism in Pakistan? But America has no troops there. We've been assured that there would be no terrorism in Iraq if it weren't for the American forces there. So how can there be any in Pakistan?

Posted by burt | July 15, 2007 2:50 PM

"Don't expect Musharraf to cut deals with these people again."

I'll keep my fingers crossed. I didn't expect Sadr to have nine lives either.

Posted by Baxter Greene | July 15, 2007 2:53 PM


Great post.
Appeasement has backfired on Musharraf.
Now if we could get the liberals in the west to realize this
we might be able to fight the war on terror with a united

Posted by Papa Ray | July 15, 2007 3:16 PM

There are a few things most Americans (actually most people) don't know about the area in question, the border area between the Afghan and Pakistan.

Most of it is only fit for mountain goats. The terrain is so tough that hardened SOF operators say that making any kind of distance requires days on foot.

The altitudes that must be obtained leave most of our hellos starving for air; only ones with special mods can even fly there and still are stressed to do so.

There are natural caves everywhere, out croppings, nooks, hidden trails and other advantages to anyone who wishes to use them.

The area where most of the enemy camps are in Pakistan are not much better, but even so, they have had decades to prepare for anyone attacking them. Only foot soldiers will be able to really destroy their camps.

Air power is great, but it is limited in what it can do against prepared positions. Most people think that a few B-52 strikes and such, will pretty much destroy a target.

But I can tell you from first hand experience that is not true if most of the target is underground, especially inside of a mountain.

If American troops have to go into these areas (which they do and have done, but in only limited ways) the cost will be high.

Mushie knows this and convincing his Army to go the ground war route might be more than he can accomplish.

Cutting off all supply routes to these areas is the first thing that must be accomplished. Then when they start starving and come out, then it will be easier to kill them.

By the way, my information comes not from books and maps. It comes from two of our Warriors
That have both been deployed in that general area.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Posted by Adjoran | July 15, 2007 3:24 PM

Musharraf did what he had to do to stay in power. He's not perfect, or even good, but he's one thousand times better than any likely alternative in Pakistan today.

It is said that Harold Ickes, Sr., was outraged to hear we were backing Somoza, Sr. in Nicaragua in the days before WWII. He protested to FDR, saying, "Somoza is a sunuvabitch!"

FDR replied, "So he is, Harold - but he is OUR sunuvabitch!"

That's Musharraf in Pakistan now.

As far as the invasion of the tribal areas by NATO forces, it never made any sense to me that this could be an issue. Obviously, openly allowing it could weaken Musharraf with his key constituency, the Army, but why not just have our guys put on Pakistani military uniforms and insignia on the choppers when we go in?

The bad guys would know once we grab them, but they won't be allowed to make phone calls and hold press conferences (unless, of course, a Democrat is elected in 2008). The rest will have seen an apparent Pakistani raid. The Army would know they hadn't done it, but it would be impossible to prove Musharraf hadn't set up a secret unit under his personal command.

Posted by patrick neid | July 15, 2007 3:27 PM

this is absolutely great news. in fact it couldn't be better. sooner or later the hotbed of radical islam with all the madrases, the sanctuary of most terrorists had to finally come to inflection point.

we know where they are and who they are. hopefully with Musharraf's life hanging by a thread he'll/we'll let the dogs out.

a conspiracist might think that this was the plan all along. give the creeps a sanctuary, let them collect and then concoct a premise to kill them. it would make me feel a whole lot better if this was in fact the plan from the beginning.

this could be the start:


Posted by Fight4TheRight | July 15, 2007 3:44 PM

Keemo...I agree with you completely when you mention Al Qaeda HQ is going to be moving. I hope we have every drone in the area up and filming because Zawahiri is no dummy - he knows his safe haven will no longer be safe within the next three weeks.

Now, I'm not sure if Iran is his first or best option - I'm not sure he won't first look at trying to get to Tajikistan or Uzbekistan - somehow I can't see him totally at ease in ShiaLand (Iran).

The other piece of this though is the great opportunity NATO forces would have to really clean house in Afghanistan. Without that "fall back safety zone" in Pakistan, NATO could literally crush the Taliban.

And one last observation. Iran is going to FLOOD the NW area of Pakistan with arms and perhaps even personnel. Let's face it, if Pakistan rids those provinces of Taliban and Al Q, and Musharaff still isn't satisfied...Iran will find itself surrounded by opposition. They would have Iraq to the West, Pakistan and Afghanistan to the East, to the North would be no friend in Turkmenistan and to the South, well...you have the American Fleet.

Iran will go all out to assist the Taliban in its fight against Musharaff.

Posted by reliapundit | July 15, 2007 5:52 PM

mushie should nuke em all.

that would send the right message.

why should he deliberately use inferior weaponry and put at greater risk the lives of the soldiers on his side?

it makes no sense.

Posted by AntonK | July 15, 2007 7:13 PM

Papa Ray paints a grim picture. But the same picture was painted of Afghanistan before we routed them there. Yes, a very grim picture was painted indeed.

What we should remember is, if they can live and work there, so can anyone else. It's easy to paint a grim picture. It's a habit of some amongst us.

They're not supermen, they're just jamolks. If they can inhabit the area, we can go there and kill them.

Posted by docjim505 | July 15, 2007 7:15 PM

Cap'n Ed wrote:

Don't expect Musharraf to cut deals with these people again.

Why not? After all, he did it before. It strikes me that the western style of waging war (i.e. to victory... usually) is somewhat different than that practiced in other parts of the world, where the truce / ceasefire is an accepted practice. Look at Mookie in Iraq: how many times did we have the fat bastard on the ropes, yet granted a ceasefire when he promised (cross his heart!) that he'd be a good boy and join the political process?

Musharaff may not have the support of enough of his people and military to fight the war to a decisive conclusion (sounds familiar!). It may well be that he'll send in some troops, there will be some fighting, the Waziri tribes will ask for a ceasefire, he'll gratefully grant it to soothe his internal opposition, and then they'll do it all over again a few months later. Israel and the Palis have been doing it this way for years.

What war aim does Musharaff have? To totally pacify Waziristan? That may well be easier said than done. Does he want to tie up his army in lengthy campaign (how do you say "quagmire" in Urdu?) against a band of primatives who don't themselves pose a real threat to his regime? Or does he simply want to teach them and their wacko supporters in the rest of Pakistan a bit of a lesson, i.e. that they can have their madrassas, their alliance with AQ, and continue to cause trouble in A-stan, but they need to lay off causing trouble for Islamabad? My guess is the latter because I don't expect large segments of Pakistani society and especially the military to be keen on getting into a real scrap. It may be that Musharaff will give NATO / the US a green light to cross the border to hunt down AQ and the Taliban, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by Rose | July 15, 2007 7:51 PM

Posted by: Lightwave at July 15, 2007 12:35 PM

He is still on our side, acting all the way along better than American DIMS - and he is sitting on top of a nuclear power plant --- NOT HELPING HIM is what they call CUTTING YOUR OWN THROAT TO SPIT YOUR FACE.

STUPID. HE is one man you better help ALL you can.

Or do you have your bunker all fitted out in your own back yard, already?

It was reported 3 years ago that Al Qaeda had already bought suitcase bombs, that they have strong cells in 7 American cities - and there is every reason to believe those reports are very reliable.

They report strong Al Qaeda cells in New York, Miami, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC --- potentially with nuclear capabilities.

GLOBAL JIHAD 'Al-Qaida has nukes'
Arab paper: Bin Laden bought weapons from Ukraine, storing them in safe places

Posted: February 8, 2004
8:40 p.m. Eastern
By Joseph Farah
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
....According to a report in the Arabic newspaper al-Hayat, Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network bought tactical nuclear weapons from Ukraine in 1998.
... bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist network purchased 20 suitcase nuclear weapons from former KGB agents in 1998 for $30
million. ...
...one of at least three in the last decade in which al-Qaida purchased small nuclear weapons or weapons-grade nuclear uranium.
[Paul] Williams quotes an anonymous federal official as saying: "The question isn't whether bin Laden has nuclear weapons, it's when he will try to use them."


I live in Texas, close to the Mexico border - if you think you are in a safe place, you are smoking some powerful stuff.

Posted by Ray | July 15, 2007 8:29 PM

"There are a few things most Americans (actually most people) don't know about the area in question, the border area between the Afghan and Pakistan. Most of it is only fit for mountain goats. The terrain is so tough that hardened SOF operators say that making any kind of distance requires days on foot."

That actually works to the military's advantage as it limits the ability of AQ and the Taliban to resupply and rearm. It also means that reinforcing the AQ and Taliban troops is next to impossible. Regardless of the remoteness of the area or the logistical difficulties involved, it is a lot easier for the military, whether ours or Pakistan's, to rearm and reinforce than it is for the AQ and Taliban fighters as they do not have the necessary equipment required to transport large amounts of materials quickly and easily.

Helicopters may have trouble in the higher altitudes (and that can be overcome by simple technology upgrades), but resupplying via C130 air drops are relativity easy even at these altitudes.

Aerial bombing may be ineffective against an enemy that is dug in and hiding in caves but that same enemy can not launch any effective military attacks when they are pinned down in caves or trapped in inaccessible mountainous areas. The aerial bombings are not designed to kill the enemy, they are designed to destroy the enemy's ability to respond in force and, in this respect, are very effective.

Delivering the proper equipment is not a problem in mountainous areas, at least for a properly trained military, but supplying and maintaining necessary manpower levels can be a problem. Without the proper level of troops in any given area, it is very difficult to complete any mission. The Pakistani military, with the assistance of NATO, should be able to supply the necessary manpower and equipment to do the job. The question is: Will Pakistan actually provide the troops levels that would be necessary to complete the mission?

Posted by PD Quig | July 15, 2007 9:44 PM

I'm with the skeptics...and those who believe that thrust and parry, yak and yak back are the reigning military modus operandi in modern times. Too many bodies splashed around on TV otherwise. Communications capabilities and the news cycle have combined to thwart the kind of bold action that was the norm in WWII. Those days are gone and incrementalism is in. There is always a reason not to finish the job. Unfortunately, they are usually pan out to be bad reasons.

Posted by Noam Sayin | July 15, 2007 10:43 PM

Assuming NATO forces are allowed permssion for interdiction into Waziristan, this might come in rather handy:

The new robot plane is expected to be able to stay aloft for 14 hours fully armed, watching an area and waiting for targets to emerge.

"It's going to bring us flexibility, range, speed and persistence," said regional commander North, "such that I will be able to work lots of areas for a long, long time."


Posted by Drew | July 16, 2007 1:10 AM

A few points:
I spent the better part of a year in the Peshawar area during the 60's, with a lot of side-trips into the "tribal" areas.

Carol - they do speak English. This was a British Colony after all.

As has been mentioned, the area isn't fit for mountain goats. Which, if you don't have any air support/re-supply, it takes forever to get stuff in on the backs of animals or men.

Logistically, it will be very difficult for Iran to flood the area with equipment or "advisors" since they don't have a direct land route to Waziristan. And, with the Pakistan Govt not looking the other way, any attempt to get in through Baluchistan could be fatal for the Iranians.

Can we trust Musharraf to fight the A-Q's in Waziristan? It is his government which is on the line. This could very easily devolve into a full-fledged civil-war within all of Pakistan if major portions of the military and bureaucracy throw their support to A-Q. At that point, we will probably be drawn in.

The interesting thing to see will be how groups here in the 'States that have been denouncing our involvement in a "civil war" in Iraq, will react when we might be needed to help Musharraf against A-Q, whom our dissenters insist we should be fighting against in Waziristan.

The thing to remember is that Waziristan is no different than the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan, and our guys had no problems in a straight-up fight with the Taliban there. Our only problems was in relying on the locals. I don't think we will have that problem if we go into Wazirstan - that is if Musharraf hasn't nuked the place.

Posted by kindaskeptical | July 16, 2007 5:00 AM

It could be a good thing, but if Musharraf, who ruled as a dictator before ruling as an elected dictator, hasn't been able to clean up that area, I doubt it's for lack of trying.

I disagree with the WWII analogy, insofar as the Axis Powers' civilians wanted to get back to the business of being western democracies. Certainly the news cycle makes certain kinds of definitive battles less likely (I think the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO wrote a book on this), but depending on the antipathies and relationships, there may not be a way to structure a definitive battle short of genocide, which "western liberals" will never buy, and I think neither should we.

Given the apparently informed descriptions of the terrain contributed above, and the pragmatics of supply lines, the nature of this hodge-podge of tribes with their complicated and long histories of intermarriage, feuds, trade, hatreds, jealousies, mutual need, etc., it may be an area where there's no definitive battle, and that means long, long term containment. Having Musharraf at least sometimes on our side can be useful, but the bomb that kills the top al Qaeda leadership isn't going to be the end of our problem with fundamentalist mostly Muslim suiciders. Just the most organized and best financed ring of ones looking for creative ways to hit us.

I vote for hitting them back, of course, but what a complicated mess. I used to own a house with plumbing this complicated, ancient, and difficult to get to, and the contortions needed to merely patch a disaster waiting to happen was enough for me to move. A blow torch wouldn't have done it, and my neighbors would have objected to a nuclear device.

Posted by ajacksonian | July 16, 2007 5:53 AM

My background article on Mountain Warfare.

This region is, indeed, high plateau/mountain environment and it is highly restricted as to the 'type' of fighter and fighting involved. The logic of light logistics makes the small, mobile and self-reliant forces King there. The US 10MD is in Iraq, currently, as the need for extremely light, mobile and high morale troops is necessary for 'the surge' as well as ones that have a high degree of stamina, above and beyond flatland forces.

Given that the actual need for forces is, as given, small: this is not armies of 100,000 but groups of 10 or 20 or 30 fighters at most, all inter-coordinating. This is the one area where the small coalition Nations have assets that are beyond price: alpen and mountain troops, as well as winter soldiers. Even SOF need acclimitization, specialized stamina building so as to change lung capacity and red blood cell count, and that is months of training at altitude to get that.

This Civil War, with declared breakaway province defying the government, now allows for the harsh application of force that normal 'tribal defiance' doesn't. Musharraf is no longer hindered, as much, by politics, although the ISI still need to be dealt with internally to the government. If you are looking for the main traffic routes to supply the North, look no further than the secret service of Pakistan. Musharraf needs to be ready to clean out that organization completely, or else this will only end with deep, multi-faction civil war in Pakistan. That only he can do.

The coalition and, now, native Afghan forces that have been trained for fighting above and beyond their traditional skills, are ones that Musharraf will call upon... we had asked him the ability to operate there a couple of weeks back and he gave that the green light. Do not forget that precedent: he knew it had to be dealt with and was willing to let others take the heat for it. Unfortunately for him, the heat has been applied to him and he can now respond.

The main routes out of that area, however, for all their paucity, lead into Tajikistan, Kashmir and China... and reports last week in Western China now point to their utilization. The problem is not fighting in Northern Pakistan, but removing the lines of retreat out of it. Otherwise the region becomes more widely destabilized. India, I think, can cope well... and the Tajiks can use inter-tribal alliances in various ways to keep things stable... but China? This is the poorest region of China and highly suitable to the al Qaeda concept of purchasing a blind eye to activities. I have severe doubts on things if this spreads... so stopping that spread must be first. Otherwise things will go from bad, to worse.

Posted by patrick neid | July 16, 2007 5:54 AM

If and this is a big if, Musharraf in a fight for his life, rallies the non taliban types in his government and launches attacks in Waziristan coordinated with Nato and the US only good things can happen. Tora Bora for all the CNN calamity talk was a huge success except for the supposed escape by Bin laden. An escape i think that did not happen. Whatever. I'm still waiting for old bin to show up reading the NYTimes. As Yogi would say, even if he is alive, he's dead.

By disbursing the taliban/al qaeda survivors their only escape route will be into the central asian republics. Despite the escape headlines this is not a place you want to go. These republics are some of the most repressive regimes on the planet. They have made short work of most radical elements while being muslim themselves. Plus and this is a big plus, once you are stuck there, you are really stuck. These places along the old silk road are truly remote. Pakistan is New York by comparison. Torture and mayhem are the tools of the trade for the governments there. Any terrorists caught will either talk or die. Either way I'm happy with the result.

My only fear is Musharraf doesn't know the stakes--despite numerous attempts on his life.

Posted by Scott Malensek | July 16, 2007 7:19 AM

Send the 5th Special Forces in with a pair of carrier groups in support as well as the A-10s in Afghanistan. Oh, you'll see BIG things happen fast.

Posted by The Yell | July 16, 2007 8:14 AM

I tend to agree with docjim505. The British Raj withstood a century of recurrent revolt in the region too. In the democratic West, a government that can't prevent annual mountain warfare loses legitimacy; in dictatorships what counts is the national government forcing a truce every year. If Islamabad is threatened he can slam them until it isn't.

Posted by Mark Eichenlaub | July 16, 2007 9:35 AM

A straight of confrontation on this was inevitable. Probably better that it happened sooner than later.

Posted by Gwedd | July 16, 2007 10:03 AM


One other point to consider is that the terrain features which make both combat and logistics difficult also work to Coalition and Pakastani advantage.

By forcing the Taliban and other Fundamentalist groups up into the hills, it further disrupts their communications and both tactical and strategic attack/influence.

In such terrain, bereft of the technical abilities possesed by Coalition forces, it becomes harder and harder for the defenders to maintain contact with their scattered forces, let alone the outside world.

That's not to say that the Taliban, et al, do not have such equipment with them. It means that, being pressed further and further away from the source of replacement parts and even replacement batteries, they become disadvantaged quickly. That disadvantage becomes even more apparent when Coalition airpower and elint/recon forces are brought into the picture.

We do not have to completely destroy them, but render them incapable of coordinated, meaningful actions may work just as well. Destruction, of course, would be preferable, but let's take things one step at a time.


Posted by Carol Herman | July 16, 2007 10:42 AM

Drew. English, at best, is learned. And, in those mountains, I can assure you, there are few schools. And, none for women.

Recently, there was a video of a woman, pregnant 8 months, shot in the belly, who was rescued by American forces. Such violence, however, is routine. And, mostly have no rescuers.

Since the items of trade is poppy. There is movement on the roads out of them thar hills in Afghanistan. (That's what the Americans put IN. When fighting the Taliban. And, remains very much appreciated. Because it allows for the transport OUT of all the cocaine the world wants and buys.)

Before people think of this as "terrorist," it's better to recognize that those up there with the goats, aren't looking to come down into civilization. They opt to be alone. That they got stuck into this fight with Musharraf? Yup. Hot headed mullahs. But those imams, whatever, usually do NOT speak for all.

The population, up in them hills, are also limited to those who stay. And, the groups are not all that large. That they have the modern conveniences? Yup. That they desire jeans and Nike's? Double-yup.

As to keeping their supplies from the outside, down? That's a good thing. But you still can't stop what they produce. And, what does sell very well in the marketplace.

In my book those mountain people are not the greatest threat in the world because they're stuck up there. It's the Saud's who are the real problem.

Posted by AntonK | July 16, 2007 12:08 PM

Remember the "Brutal Afghan Winter" that the media warned us about at least one million times before the initial Afghan operation? That's right, the BRUTAL AFGHAN WINTER! would destroy our forces should they be foolhardy enough to go after the Taliban. Right.

Well, it turned out that many places in the US and Canada were colder and more brutal in terms of Winter than anything the Brutal Afghan Winter could throw at our forces.

Brutal indeed!

Posted by Immolate | July 16, 2007 12:54 PM

What about the fierce Iraqi Republican Guards that were going to hand us an arse woopin in Gulf Wars I and II? The press is always far more impressed with our enemies than with our own guys. The fact is that there are few fighting forces that could give our soldiers and marines (with Navy and Air Force support) an interesting contest squad-on-squad. Those who could are invariably trained and equipped with American tactics and hardware. Add to that the fact that we don't get into fair fights if we can help it. We use overwhelming force superiority whenever possible to ensure an outcome that is in our favor.

The only thing these goat farmers have that we lack is a sense of perspective that lends them patience.

Posted by Drew | July 16, 2007 10:00 PM

Carol, I think you will find that the poppy trade is in other areas of Afghanistan, not in the Hindu Kush. Also, poppy gives opium, which is refined to morphine, which is refined to heroin - no cocaine.

Every mosque is a school, the language of government throughout South-Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) is English because all of these countries have multiple languages.

One thing that this debate prompted in my memory: On the Peshawar - RawalPindi highway near the crossing of the Indus River, is a WW-1 war memorial to a native unit of Pathans (Pashtoons, in todays world) in the British Army, posted in the trenches of France. This one unit was awarded more VC's (Victoria Cross - Britain's highest military honor) than any other unit of the British military in WW-1. If there is a fight in Waziristan, it could be a doozy on an individual level - these men have a tradition of fighting to the death!

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