July 22, 2007

Waziristan Erupting

Despite Pervez Musharraf's attempt to put the genie back in the bottle, the Waziristan region continues to erupt with Islamist violence. Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists set off bombs and started firefights that wound up costing them at least 19 fighters today:

Islamic militants detonated bombs close to military convoys and attacked government positions in Pakistan's restive northwestern tribal region, sparking gunfights that left 19 insurgents dead, government officials said Sunday.

The fighting was the latest in North Waziristan since militants announced the termination of a peace agreement with the government last week following a deadly military raid on a radical mosque in the Pakistani capital. The tensions have raised concerns over the threat posed by Islamic militants to the military-led government of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Since the July 10 raid on Islamabad's Red Mosque, suicide attacks and shootings have killed at least 289 people in Pakistan, mostly in the volatile northwest.

The latest violence in North Waziristan began when militants attacked various security posts overnight near Ghulam Khan, a town close to the Afghan border, said Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, the army's top spokesman.

The fighting makes the collapse of the previous truce between Islamabad and Waziristan plain. These attacks do not have the appearance of lone-wolf suicide attacks but careful planning of ambushes. It also demonstrates the lack of skill shown thus far in those ambushes, as the ambushers have sustained most of the losses.

President Bush noted that he has not taken any options off the table in the war on terror, and the uprising in Waziristan could eventually make some of those options more viable. With the Islamists attempting an insurrection, Musharraf may decide that the benefits of a limited American excursion in the region outweigh the problems it would cause. He's tried to repair the truce for the past two weeks, but as that possibility dims, he may have to bite the bullet and get the nearest help he can find in suppressing the uprising. And the US would be happy to attack the root causes of the Islamist rebellion in Waziristan.

Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence, noted that al-Qaeda has picked up momentum in Waziristan, a result of Musharraf's hands-off policy in Waziristan. Let's hope he makes better decisions in the near future.

CORRECTION: Mixed up my Mikes. McConnell is DNI, and Hayden is the director of the CIA. Thanks to CQ commenter ddh for the correction.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments (5)

Posted by Philip | July 22, 2007 12:03 PM

Hope the coalition sensor-net is up. These jackals might be on the move:

Osama bin Laden (might be non-moving already)
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Mullah Mohammed Omar

Time to die.

Posted by ddh | July 22, 2007 12:03 PM

Mike McConnell is the Director of National Intelligence, who oversees Mike Hayden, the Director of the CIA.

Posted by Ray | July 22, 2007 1:46 PM

Damn that Pervez Musharraf for fighting the Taliban and al Quida! This is just another one of Bush's bumper sticker wars! Doesn't Musharraf know that al Quida and terrorism is merely an annoyance and they should be treated simply as criminals and NOT as combatants? At least that what the Democrats have been telling us lately.

Posted by John Hinds | July 22, 2007 5:43 PM

I don't remember her name. She was on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Rep from the Bush admin. Did the up front interview July 22. Blond lady. No nonsense. Straight, hard talk. She came closer than anyone I have heard in the administration to saying we were drones in the air, "boots" on the ground in Waziristan. It was way beyond "no comment".

Posted by flackcatcher | July 22, 2007 9:30 PM

Fran Townsend is her name. Director of Homeland Security . Use to be No.2 to Connie Rice in the WhiteHouse.