Conflicting Strategies of Allies towards Waziristan

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As previously predicted by POLITACT, the strategy of the Pakistan Army and that of NATO and the United States in how to deal with Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Waziristan, do not conform.

Analysis

Pakistan wants to target and isolate Baitullah Mehsud while NATO and the United States also want to hit Mowlawi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadar in the South and North Waziristan respectively. All three have recently come together under a United Mujahidin Council. Recent drone attacks have been following Baitullah Mehsud and Mowlawi Nazir. These UAV attacks can be taken as stirring the pot, and then let Pakistan deal with the full brunt of Taliban menace. This also seems to be a strategy of diverting the Afghan war into Pakistan.

Mowlawi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadar are considered pro-Pakistan and they have up to now restricted themselves from targeting Pakistan military through a 16-month old peace treaty. Mowlawi Nazir and Hafiz Gul Bahadar do carry out attacks across the border in Afghanistan.

The deadly attack over the weekend on a Pakistani military convoy in North Waziristan has claimed the lives of about 16 troops. Subsequently, the Taliban of North Waziristan announced scrapping of the treaty with Pakistan Army. They further claimed that they will attack the army as long as it does not stop support for the drone attacks and withdraw troops from Waziristan.

This development would make the Pakistan’s military operation in Waziristan extremely complex. Other than the aerial pressure, the military is unlikely to proceed further in its operation against Baitullah Mehsud, under the current environment. The Pakistan government has also announced that it’s not moving any troops from the eastern border with India. The Army will most likely try to salvage the treaty and provide some kind of assurance to Mowlawi Nazir and Haifiz Gul Bahadar that they will not be targeted once Baitullah is dealt with. While the reason United Mujahidin Council came in to existence was because these leaders stand convinced that this is exactly the strategy of Pakistan, to divide and weaken them.

The United States also does not trust the intent of Pakistan to go after all these players. Through peace pacts, these pro-government Taliban groups ensure the safety of Pakistan Army. At the same time, these groups are a source of NATO and American casualties across the border, which results in drone attacks in Pakistan.

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