In the last few days, two senior al Qaeda leaders were arrested in Pakistan, one, identified only as Mohsin, in Karachi and the other, identified only as an Uzbek named Mansoor, up north in Peshawar. Three other al Qaeda members were taken as well. Moshin was identified as a key planner of the recent assassination attempts on Pakistani president Musharraf. In the last month, 23 al Qaeda members have been arrested, and the government now believes that they have a better idea of where al Qaeda kingpin Osama bin Laden is hiding out, and will be able to capture him.
Negotiations with the Pushtun tribal leaders along the Afghan border are succeeding, with the tribes willing to give up or drive out al Qaeda members they had long sheltered. The new arrangement would mean tribesmen would cease their attacks on soldiers, and the government would life the economic embargo on the tribal areas. In the past, the amount of outside goods entering the tribal areas was not so large that army roadblocks, and halting of truck traffic, had much impact on the tribes. But growing prosperity, especially from the drug smuggling, has increased the economic dependence of the tribes. What they need can no longer be brought in over the hills and off the roads on horseback. They need the truck traffic, and when the army puts up roadblocks, the tribes feel pain.