Monday, February 16, 2009

Pakistan Caves To Taliban; Islamists Win Again

Pakistan is busy turning itself over to the Taliban in bits and pieces and Sharia will be the law of the land before long.

Pakistan simply couldn't defeat the Taliban after six months of fighting in Swat, so they've decided that it's just not worth the fight to stop the Islamists and the supporters of al Qaeda from using Pakistani territory from which to carry out their attacks against Afghanistan or the rest of the region and beyond.

The Taliban aren't going to be satisfied with just their corner of the country (frontier provinces and Swat). They're going to want more, sensing weakness from the Zardari government. That bodes poorly for the US/NATO operations in Afghanistan as the Taliban and al Qaeda use Pakistan's frontier provinces for refuge, even as the US UAV airstrikes continue to take out top leaders and al Qaeda thugs much to the chagrin of the Pakistani government in Islamabad.
Mullah Dastagir, the shadow governor of Badghis province, was killed in the Sunday night airstrike in the Balamurghab district along with his brother Mullah Nabi Jan, another known Taliban commander named Mawlawi Hayatullah, and five other Taliban fighters. US and Afghan Army forces called in the airstrike after surrounding Dastagir's compound. Dastagir commanded more than 300 full-time Taliban fighters and another 300 part-time fighters.

Dastagir's rise to power in Badghis was facilitated by an order issued last year by President Hamid Karzai. Dastagir was released from National Security Directorate custody after the Directorate received an order from Karzai in September 2008. Karzai was responding to the appeals of local tribal leaders in Badghis, who appear to have been coerced by the Taliban.

Dastagir was nominated as the shadow governor for Badghis by a Taliban shura in October 2008. The Taliban appoint a shadow government in the provinces when it is determined the Taliban presence is sufficient. He quickly exacted revenge for his capture with the deadly November ambush on an Afghan Army resupply column north of the Balamurghab district center. The attack, which was purportedly led by Dastagir, led to a three-hour battle that resulted in 13 Afghan Army soldiers killed, 11 soldiers wounded, and 16 others missing. Scores of vehicles were torched and destroyed and others were stolen by the Taliban raiders.
The Taliban are sensing weakness and disarray in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and in the US and are hoping to exploit this to their own ends.

India is right to be concerned, especially after the Pakistani government admitted that the Mumbai bombings/attacks were planned from inside Pakistan.

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