Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I know I've been a bit out of the loop the last few days, what with the Fair and all, but just because I let my reading slip is no reason for major events to occur in my absence. I can't believe I missed this--Pakistan has ceded territory to the Taliban? There is now an "Islamic Emirate of Waziristan," recognized in a Taliban/Pakistani truce? Bill Roggio, writing at The Fourth Rail, describes the results of the agreement:

The Pakistani government has ceded a region the size of New Jersey, with a population of about 800,000 to the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan is not the end of the Taliban's expansion, however. An intelligence source indicates similar negotiations between the Taliban and the Pakistani government are being held in the agencies of Khyber, Tank, Dera Ishmal Khan and Bajaur. The jihadi dreams of al-Qaeda's safe havens in western Pakistan have become a reality. And the gains made by the Coalition in Afghanistan have now officially been wiped away with the peace agreement in the newly established Islamic Emirate of Waziristan.
Read Roggio's post for more details, including the terms of the truce, which don't seem to favor Pakistan, and, some sources indicate, include a safe haven for Osama bin Laden. I'd love to put a positive spin on this one, but I may need some help getting there. Any suggestions? I'm looking for the U.S. reaction to the news, and will report back if I come up with anything. You do the same, okay?

Hat tip: Instapundit

Update III: I moved this update up, because it answers a pertinent question from the previous paragraph. According to, posted today, Pakistan has denied that the truce will provide bin Laden with safe haven:
"Pakistan is committed to its policy on the war on terror, and Osama caught anywhere in Pakistan would be brought to justice," the country's top army spokesman, Gen. Shaukat Sultan, told The Associated Press.
Of course, the key phrase here is "caught anywhere in Pakistan." The catching part has been a problem.

Update: According to this report, from Jonathan S. Landay at McClatchy Newspapers, the truce went ahead with U.S. approval, although Landay, like Roggio, says that what the truce did was free up Taliban fighters in Pakistan to go join the battle against U.S., NATO, and Afghan forces in Afghanistan, now that the militants are not busy fighting the Pakistani army. Despite how this looks, though, I have to believe that if the U.S. encouraged the truce, there has to be more information that we don't know. Why would the U.S. back something so totally against its interests?

Update II: This report, from Yahoo!News India, sees the agreement as a good thing, and says that the truce carries a Taliban agreement that local tribesmen will stay put and stop fighting--and not head into Afghanistan:

No local tribesman would be allowed to enter Afghanistan to attack US-led coalition forces stationed in Afghanistan under the agreement signed on Saturday by pro-Taliban militants with the Pakistan government to ensure 'permanent peace' in the volatile northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, The News International reported from Miramshah in Waziristan, quoting intelligence officials.

Under the agreement, which is likely to be unveiled by the government next week, militant will halt all attacks on government officials and security forces, and the army 'will not carry out operations against them,' said an area intelligence official on condition of anonymity, the newspaper reported.

'This is a good development because the Taliban have promised to stay away from militancy,' said the official. 'The Taliban have also agreed to distance themselves from foreign militants' hiding in the area, he added.

I note that it's local tribesmen that are prohibited from crossing the border, but with the number of foreign Taliban fighters in Pakistan, which I understand to be quite high, I'm not sure that this restriction is very meaningful, and I'm very sure that this portion of the truce will be hard to enforce anyway. Militant Islam does have a habit of talking out of both sides of its mouth.