I really hope that things go well in Afghanistan, 'cause if not, and if things continue to go this way in Pakistan, that’ll be a very large, very backwards and dangerous corner of Asia for a long time to come.
I wonder what the Pakistani military would do with their nukes should it appear that the local Taliban were about to overthrow the government.
[quote=“Guardian: Pakistani Taliban take control of unruly tribal belt”]A powerful new militia dubbed “the Pakistani Taliban” has effectively seized control of swaths of the country’s northern tribal areas in recent months, triggering alarm in Islamabad and marking a big setback in America’s “war on terror”.
The militants are strongest in North and South Waziristan, two of seven tribal agencies on the border with Afghanistan. Strict social edicts have been handed down: shopkeepers may not sell music or films; barbers are instructed not to shave beards. Yesterday a bomb blew up a radio transmitter in Wana, taking the state radio off the air.
Militants collect taxes from passing vehicles at new checkpoints, and last week an Islamic court was established in Wana to replace the traditional jirga, or council of elders. Rough justice has already been dispensed elsewhere. A gang of seven alleged bandits were executed in Miran Shah in December and their bodies were hung from a post in the town centre.
The violent puritanism is spreading. On Sunday a remote-controlled bomb ripped through a police vehicle in Dera Ismail Khan, near South Waziristan, killing seven people. More than 100 pro-government elders and politicians have been killed in the past nine months, said a diplomat.
President Pervez Musharraf has vowed to quell the revolt. Since declaring a curfew in Miran Shah, government troops have regained control. But some people are worried. “The so-called war on terror is going badly,” said one diplomat.
Comparisons to the emergence of the Afghan Taliban in the early 1990s are increasing. Although they have distinct identities, the groups are strongly linked - both are ethnic Pashtun - and Afghans use Waziristan as a rear base.
Analysts say the Pakistani Taliban is a loose alliance of tribal militia operating under radical clerics such as Sadiq Noor and Abdul Khaliq. Many are angered by heavy-handed Pakistani military attacks against suspected al-Qaida hideouts, which are thought to have killed hundreds of civilians over the last two years.
The US is impatient to catch more senior al-Qaida figures. Unmanned Predator drones, now armed with Hellfire missiles, sweep over the tribal areas on surveillance missions so often that villagers now recognise their engine noise.
In January American forces destroyed a house in Bajaur tribal agency where it thought al-Qaida’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was hiding. Thirteen villagers were killed. The US has carried out several strikes, said a well-placed diplomat, but it has let Pakistan claim responsibility.
Such attacks have won the militants much support. “These are not the proper Taliban,” said the refugee Mr Khan. “They are the common people who have revolted against the [Pakistani] government and targeted killings by Americans.”[/quote]