India-Pakistan: March 28, 2004

Archives

In Pakistan, the twelve day operation against several hundred armed al Qaeda fighters appears to be ending. Tribal leaders negotiated the releases of twelve soldiers and two government officials. Most of the al Qaeda fighters said to be surrounded, appear to have escaped. The army says if killed 60 fighters and arrested another 163, most of whom were Pakistani tribesmen. The homes of 83 pro-al Qaeda families were destroyed as punishment. 

The army believes it has al Qaeda leader Tahir Yuldash (head of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan) wounded and scrambling to escape an army sweep along the Afghan border. It's hundreds of Tahir Yuldash's armed followers who were besieged in South Waziristan. The Pakistanis thought they had a higher ranking al Qaeda official, but Tahir Yuldash is a pretty big fish. Chewing up his core group of followers is another heavy blow to al Qaeda's Central Asian operations. In late 2001, during the Afghanistan campaign, several senior Central Asian al Qaeda leaders were killed, along with hundreds of trained followers. Tahir Yuldash is one of several al Qaeda leaders who are hiding in Pakistan, along the Afghan border. Each of these men, surrounded by several hundred heavily armed foreigners and Pakistani gunmen, use a combination of cash and appeals for Islamic unity to obtain cooperation from local tribes. But the pressure from the army is making the tribes less willing to get caught in the middle of this war. Moreover, most of the hard core al Qaeda are foreigners, and many of them don't get along well with the locals. Arabs, in particular, tend to be contemptuous of the tribesmen. The feelings are soon reciprocated. 

While many Pakistani officers believe in Islamic conservatism, or even radical Islam, they also believe in the army as a key institution in keeping Pakistan together. But two assassination attempts against Pakistani president Musharraf by Islamic radicals has made it possible to motivate the army to actually fight the al Qaeda and Taliban forces and the tribes that support them. The operations in South Waziristan saw 30 soldiers killed and twenty captured (when supply convoys were attacked.) The casualties are not enough to discourage the army, but do anger it. While the Pakistani generals on the border know enough of local customs to spend a lot of time talking and negotiating with tribal chiefs, the discussions are backed by force. Things are happening, but it's uncertain if enough is happening to clear al Qaeda and the Taliban out of the border region.


 

Article Archive

India-Pakistan: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close