Thursday, September 28, 2006

Taliban open office in Pakistan

Bill Roggio has got the lowdown on the latest Pakistan Daily Times article (which will most likely be largely ignored by the U.S. media like usual):

The Pakistani government, led by President Pervez Musharraf, has repeatedly stated the Waziristan Accord does not mean the government has ceded control of the region, and that the deal was between the government and the tribes, not the Taliban. The Daily Times reports otherwise. The Taliban has now officially opened an office in Miranshah, the seat of government in North Waziristan.

“The Darpakhel, Burakhel and Miranshah tribes along with the Taliban have set up an office in Miranshah to bring law and order under control,” sources close to the Taliban told Daily Times. A senior leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman) denied reports that the Taliban alone opened the office in violation of the peace agreement which aimed at preventing the Taliban from running a parallel administrative system. The office was opened on Wednesday and local residents expressed fears that the growing Taliban influence would undermine the tribal code of life.

The Daily Times also reports the Pakistani government and military are no where to be found in Miranshah. The police and Army are absent, leaving the Taliban to fill the security vacuum.

More from the Daily Times:

Residents said the opening of the office meant “Miranshah has been handed over to the Taliban”. Local militants have set up similar offices in the major towns of South Waziristan where they take up civil and criminal cases. Meanwhile, the 10-member monitoring committee for the peace accord will meet Dr Fakhre Alam, political agent of North Waziristan, to discuss the fate of 10 tribesmen arrested in connection with attacks on coalition forces inside Afghanistan.

As intrepid military blogger Bill Roggio notes, the report was confirmed by Reuters, although they hedge at calling them Taliban.

Reuters instead calls them "vigilantes, who refer to themselves as mujahideen, or Muslim holy warriors," and then differentiates them from the Taliban:

Residents were unsure of the exact identity of the vigilantes, though Pakistani tribals who fight with the Afghan Taliban also call themselves mujahideen.

But the group appeared to be setting up a parallel authority, something that would be in breach of the terms of the treaty signed on September 5.

Pro-Taliban tribesmen have already set up a parallel administration in neighboring South Waziristan.


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