India-Pakistan: March 29, 2004

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In Pakistan, a some 62 percent of the 162 people arrested in the recent campaign along the Afghan border, were foreigners. These people are thought to be al Qaeda members, as there are rarely many foreigners in the tribal areas. The tribes have historically been quite hostile to foreigners.

The Pakistani government has convinced thousands of tribesmen to help them track up to 500 armed foreigners (al Qaeda) hiding in the hills along hundreds of kilometers of the Afghan border. Some Americans have been seen with the Pakistani troops, and tribesmen. These are apparently CIA or Special Forces personnel, and there to supply intelligence information (from satellites and UAVs overhead) and cash to encourage the cooperation of the tribes. Efforts to persuade the tribes to turn against the Taliban and al Qaeda have generally worked, with six of the seven tribal confederations in the region agreeing to work with the government.

The army has launched another sweep through the mountains along the Afghan border, looking for Uzbek al Qaeda leader Tahir Yuldash (head of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan). Yuldash was sentenced to death for organizing fatal bombing attacks in Uzbekistan during 1999.  Yuldash fled to Afghanistan, where he was given shelter by the Taliban. When the Taliban collapsed in 2001, Yuldash and his followers fled to Pakistan.

 

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