Friday, July 16, 2004

July Surprise Update

Asia Times reports that, under US pressure, the Pakistani army is about to begin "a major oeration" aimed at the Taliban in its northwest territories.

If you aren;t comfortable with the Judis thesis that the Bush administration wants to upstage the Democratic convention by capturing a HVT (High Value Target) as close to July as possible, then consider the alternative. Rather than finishing the battle against the Taliban and Al-Queda, the US devoted resources and attention to Iraq.

Foreign fighters and local Wazir tribals have established themselves in a belt stretching from North Waziristan to South Waziristan and into the remote Shawal area in Afghanistan, a veritable no-man's land that now serves as the base for the Afghan resistance movement.

President General Pervez Musharraf is right, therefore, to say that the Pakistani tribal areas have become a base camp for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, "from where they have spun a web of terror from Kabul to Karachi".

When the Taliban and al-Qaeda retreated from Afghanistan in late 2001 in the face of the US-led assault on the country, without much of a fight, the move surprised many people. Strategic experts then argued that the Taliban withdrawal was a prelude to a guerrilla war, up to the point that they could start an organized war against US-led forces in Afghanistan.

The present situation in the Pakistan-Afghanistan tribal area bears testimony to this theory - and the war has only just begun, in North and South Waziristan, and parts of Afghanistan, where the Taliban have taken control of many districts around Zabul and Kandahar, with the US-sponsored Afghan administration unable to take them back. Even the US base in Kandahar came under attack recently, and according to a spokesperson of the Afghan government, several US soldiers lost their lives.

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