Topic: War on Terror
There is so much going on in South Asia these days I just don't know where to start.
The DAWN reports today that Nawaz Sharif will make another attempt ot make it back to Lahore tomorrow, which ought to be interesting.
With all the shutting down of independent media under Musharraf's maritial law it's difficult to know what exactly is going on, but the DAWN seems to think there was some sort a deal made between Musharraf and Sharif.
Interestingly, ISI chief General Nadeem Taj went along with Musharraf to Saudi Arabia in his own plane.
"The ISI chief, who accompanied the president to Saudi Arabia, stayed back in Riyadh after Gen Musharraf’s entourage moved to Jeddah. Gen Nadeem Taj’s prolonged stay in the Saudi capital fuelled speculations that an understanding between the two leaders was on the cards. Sources said the ISI chief was again in Riyadh when Nawaz Sharif flew into the city on Friday. Sources at the Pakistan embassy told Dawn that ‘clearance’ for the ISI chief’s plane had been sought from the embassy."
Meanwhile, another suicide attack struck Rawalpindi today:
"Twin suicide car bombings have killed at least 30 people and injured many others in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi, officials have said. One of the blasts hit a bus packed with members of the security forces. . . the BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says attacks are often suspected to have been carried out by pro-Taleban militants in revenge for military operations in the tribal areas near the Afghan border and in North-West Frontier Province. "
What is not mentioned in this article is that in an on-air interview early this morning Plett revealed that there is speculation that the attacker of the ISI bus might have been known by the riders, implying that these sucide bombers, like the one on September 5, were able to get away with these bombings in the heart of the military's stronghold because they are or were on the payroll.
Remember, the ISI had this little problem of supporting the Talibs all through the 90's. The GWU's National Security Archives recently got hold of files proving the extensive involvment of the ISI in helping the Talibs.
A "January 1997 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan observed that 'for Pakistan, a Taliban-based government in Kabul would be as good as it can get in Afghanistan, adding that worries that the 'Taliban brand of Islam . . .might infect Pakistan,' was 'apparently a problem for another day."
That other day is apparently here. But not to fear, former ISI chief Lt. General Ashfaq Kiyani is here to save the day. When John Negroponte -- himself no stranger to
supporting terrorists, I mean, his "special project" in Central America-- went to Pakistan this week where he had one meeting with Musharraf and three with Kiyani. He reportedly told Kiyani at one point, "Use your influence. You can help save Pakistan." [ANI]
Great, this gives me a lot of confidence. Intelbriefs says of Kiyani:
"It was during his tenture that the neo-Taliban staged a comeback in the tribal areas of Pakistan with a big bang and the Pakistan army practically lost control over the Pashtun belt, thus enabling al-Qaeda to establish its sancuaries in the Waziristan region on the Pak-Afghan border."
But, that's not a probelm, we've supported Musharraf up to this point and all he's done is drive the whole Pakistan file into the ditch.
And one more little tid bit:
This week Musahrraf's hand picked supreme court threw out all challanges to his election last month.
The Pakistan Times reports:
"Ten-member full court of the Supreme Court Monday dismissed six petitions including a contempt petition filed by Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed and others challenging the eligibility of General Pervez Musharraf to contest Presidential election for the 2nd term, as withdrawn as well as due to non-prosecution."
"Non Prosecution" is a legal way of saying the lawyers who brought the petitions weren't there to prosecute them. Funny enough, Musharraf had them all arrested so they couldn't show up. But I guess that's an internal matter that he US administration isn't too interested in. Better top focua on those free and fair elections coming up in January -- if ther Takliban doesn't taek over between now and then.
And in Afganistan:
The Senlis Council reports:
"The security situation in Afghanistan has reached crisis proportions. The Taliban's ability to establish a presence throughout the country is now proven beyond doubt; exclusive research undertaken by Senlis Afghanistan indicates that 54 per cent of Afghanistan’s landmass hosts a permanent Taliban presence, primarily in southern Afghanistan, and is subject to frequent hostile activity by the insurgency.
The Taliban are the de facto governing authority in significant portions of territory in the south and east, and are starting to control parts of the local economy and key infrastructure such as roads and energy supply. The insurgency also exercises a significant amount of psychological control, gaining more and more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people who have a long history of shifting alliances and regime change."