India-Pakistan: July 27, 2004

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The capture, in Pakistan,  of a key aide to Taliban leader mullah Omar has revealed much about how the Taliban continues to operate in Pakistan, and support violence inside Afghanistan. Mullah Sakhi Dad Mujahid was captured on July 6th, along with documents and a cell phone. Examination of the documents (including phone numbers in the cell phone), and interrogation of   Mujahid, revealed that Omar was hiding somewhere in Baluchistan (southwest Pakistan), around the pro-Taliban city of Quetta.  Mujahid had distributed $1.8 million, in the previous month, to Taliban supporters, for the purchase of weapons and other supplies. Some of the money apparently came from al Qaeda, some from Taliban sources and the rest from contributions by Taliban supporters in Pakistan and other countries. The information obtained from  Mujahid has led to more arrests in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including relatives of  Mujahid  and mullah Omar. Pakistan has always insisted that mullah Omar was hiding in Afghanistan, not Pakistan. But the capture of  Mujahid has made it harder to deny that Omar is in Pakistan. There appears to be some nervousness in Pakistan about Taliban operations in Pakistan. It's known that Pakistani intelligence (ISI) was responsible for the creation of the Taliban (in Pakistani refugee camps) during the 1990s, and some ISI officials are thought to still maintain contact with senior Taliban leaders. It is rumored that Omar remains free not just because of assistance from pro-Taliban tribesmen, but because of continued help from ISI.

In Pakistan's South Waziristan, Islamic radicals bombed a new radio station, the first in the region, and put it off the air for several hours. The station, built by the government with American assistance, began broadcasting pro-government material last week. The station reaches about 50,000 tribesmen in the area. Apparently the broadcasts were having an impact. 

 

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