Pakistan Makes Deal With The Taliban

March 1st, 2007 § 0 comments

Nice one Pres Musharraf.

KARACHI – The Pakistani establishment has made a deal with the Taliban through a leading Taliban commander that will extend Islamabad’s influence into southwestern Afghanistan and significantly strengthen the resistance in its push to capture Kabul.

One-legged Mullah Dadullah will be Pakistan’s strongman in a corridor running from the Afghan provinces of Zabul, Urzgan, Kandahar and Helmand across the border into Pakistan’s Balochistan province, according to both Taliban and al-Qaeda contacts Asia Times Online spoke to. Using Pakistani territory and with Islamabad’s support, the Taliban will be able safely to move men, weapons and supplies into southwestern Afghanistan.

The deal with Mullah Dadullah will serve Pakistan’s interests in re-establishing a strong foothold in Afghanistan (the government in Kabul leans much more toward India), and it has resulted in a cooling of the Taliban’s relations with al-Qaeda.

Taliban commanders planning this year’s spring uprising acknowledged that as an independent organization or militia, they could not fight a sustained battle against state resources. They believed they could mobilize the masses, but this would likely bring a rain of death from the skies and the massacre of Taliban sympathizers. Their answer was to find their own state resources, and inevitably they looked toward their former patron, Pakistan.

So Pres. Musharraf, what’s in it for you?

Ever since signing on for the US-led “war on terror” after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, Pakistan has been coerced by Washington to distance itself from the Taliban. The Taliban were, after all, enemy No 1 for harboring Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s training camps.

So when the opportunity arose, Islamabad was quick to tap up Mullah Dadullah. This was the perfect way in which Pakistan could revive its contacts in the Taliban and give the spring uprising some real muscle, so the argument went among the strategic planners in Rawalpindi – in fact, so much muscle that forces led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would be forced into a position to talk peace – and who better than Pakistan to step in as peacemaker and bail out its Western allies?

The next logical step would be the establishment of a pro-Islamabad government in Kabul – delivering a kick in the strategic teeth of India at the same time. After all, Pakistan invested a lot in Afghanistan after the Soviet occupation in the 1980s yet it received little in return. Whether it was former Afghan premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar or Taliban leader Mullah Omar, they refused to be totally Pakistan’s men.

And Pakistan has been helping the Taliban with their new toys:

A notable addition to what can only be described as a limited Taliban arsenal this year is surface-to-air missiles, notably the SAM-7, which was the first generation of Soviet man-portable SAMs.

The Taliban acquired these missiles in 2005, but they had little idea about how to use them effectively. Arab al-Qaeda members conducted extensive training programs and brought the Taliban up to speed. Nevertheless, the SAM-7s, while useful against helicopters, were no use against the fighter and bomber aircraft that were doing so much damage.

What the Taliban desperately needed were sensors for their missiles. These detect aircraft emissions designed to misdirect the missiles.

And it so happened that Pakistan had such devices, having acquired them from the Americans, though indirectly. The Pakistanis retrieved them from unexploded cruise missiles fired into Afghanistan in 1998, targeting bin Laden. They copied and adapted them to fit other missiles, including the SAMs.

Now that the Taliban and Pakistan have a deal, these missiles will be made available to the Taliban. Much like the Stingers that changed the dynamics of the Afghan resistance against the Soviets, the SAMs could help turn things Mullah Dadullah’s, the Taliban’s and Pakistan’s way.
Complete article


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