Thursday, April 27, 2006

"We do not waste bullets"

Scrolling through BBC's South Asia section, I found this to be fairly interesting. Apparently, Hajij Omar has raised the Taliban flag, so to speak, in the Pakistani province of Waziristan, which, according to the BBC is located along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. He and his lieutenants control large portions of the province and are using it as a staging area to launch attacks both against the Americans in Afghanistan but also against any person found helping them. The title is actually a reference to how he alleges he does this; he doesn't waste bullets on such individuals but rather slaughters them. Bear in mind that this edict includes the Pakistani government and its representatives.

Despite the fact that both American intelligence agents and Pakistani troops have poured into the region looking for him, Omar has successfully dodged them and maintains increasing control over the province. He remains confident that his lieutenants will be able to bring North Waziristan under his banner.

Doubtlessly, his message holds strong appeal for a nation in which honor killings still take place as poor Noor Jehan discovered to her detriment.

Between the existence of Hajij Omar and Dr. Abdul Quadeer Khan's recent admission that he gave nuclear secrets to both Libya and Iran, Pakistan is looking less and less like a reliable ally, particularly since it cannot maintain control over the tribally controlled Waziristan. In fact, analysts seem to believe that in light of the recent conflicts between armed villagers and Pakistani soldiers, escalation of conflict is inevitable.

If the conflict does escalate, Pakistan might find itself embroiled in its own civil war and America with one of its key allies compromised. Furthermore, the location of the conflict does not bode well for American efforts in Afghanistan itself as more conflict will merely destabilize the area further, and it indicates also that the Afghanistan project is perhaps not going as well as the US would hope. Already heavily invested in Iraq, can the US really afford to put down another resurgent Taliban?

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