The AfPak Reader

September 10, 2009

Mainlining Bill Roggio – Summer 2009 – Week 4 – Volume 3

Filed under: Enemy Profiles,Summer 2009 — huntingnasrallah @ 8:40 pm

Mainlining Bill Roggio – Summer 2009 – Week 4 – Volume 3

Tribal force kills 23 Pakistani Taliban
By Bill Roggio
July 14, 2009 2:51 PM

A Pakistani tribe killed 23 Taliban fighters during clashes in the Mohmand tribal agency. The fighting took place in the Anbar region in Mohmand, right on the border with the Bajaur tribal agency, where the military and the Taliban are again battling for control.

A tribal lashkar, or militia, numbering 150 fighters battled a Taliban force of unknown number. The Taliban are reported to have kidnapped and killed three of the lashkar fighters, and torched the homes of five villagers during the fighting.

Tribal lashkars have had little success against the Taliban in the past

A tribal lashkar in Upper Dir, far north of Mohmand, is also battling the Taliban after a suicide bomber leveled a mosque in a remote town and killed more than 50 worshipers. The Dir lashkar is “losing steam,” a Pakistani official told The Long War Journal. The Dir lashkar has been fighting for five weeks and has had little success in ousting the Taliban from their mountain bases.

Last fall, the Pakistani government and the military encouraged tribal leaders to raise lashkars to oppose the spread of the Taliban. Since the beginning of 2008, Pakistani tribes have organized lashkars in regions in Bajaur, Peshawar, Khyber, Swat, Dir, Buner, and Lakki Marwat. The tribes have had some success in driving the Taliban from local areas by conducting patrols and burning down the homes of Taliban fighters and their supporters, but ultimately the tribes have failed to halt the Taliban advance.

The Taliban have viciously responded to efforts by tribal leaders to oppose the spread of extremism in the tribal areas. Tribal opposition has been violently attacked and defeated in Peshawar, Dir, Arakzai, Khyber, and Swat. Suicide bombers have struck at tribal meetings held at mosques, schools, hotels, and homes.

The Taliban have also made examples of local leaders who have dared to resist. Last December, the Swat Taliban executed a local tribal leader named Pir Samiullah, then returned to the village to dig up his body and hang it in the town square. The villagers were warned not to remove his body or they would face the same fate.

Problems with manpower, training, geography, coordination between the tribes, and lack of support from the military and government plague the tribal efforts to oppose the Taliban. And often, the tribes do not want the support of the government and the military.

Military claimed Mohmand was cleared two months ago

The recent fighting in Mohmand belies the Pakistani military’s claim that the tribal agency has been cleared of the Taliban. On March 1, a senior Pakistani officer said the Taliban had been defeated during a series of security operations in Mohmand. Colonel Saif Ullah claimed that the region is “under the control of law enforcement agencies” and that the Taliban had been ejected from Mohmand.

There have been several major battles in Mohmand since the military declared victory. The Taliban have carried out several large-scale ambushes and attacks on military outposts, while the military has responded with airstrikes and artillery attacks.

Mohmand under command of able Taliban leader

The Mohmand Taliban is commanded by Omar Khalid, who is a deputy of Baitullah Mehsud’s Taliban movement. He is considered one of the most effective and powerful leaders in the tribal areas after Baitullah and Hakeemullah Mehsud.

Khalid gained prominence in Mohmand during the summer of 2007, when he took over a famous shrine and renamed it the Red Mosque, after the radical mosque in Islamabad whose followers had attempted to impose sharia in the capital.

Khalid became the dominant Taliban commander in Mohmand in July 2008 after defeating the Shah Sahib group, a rival pro-Taliban terror outfit with ties to the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The military claimed it killed Khalid in January of this year, but the Taliban denied the report, and he has since surfaced.

The Mohmand Taliban took control of the tribal agency after the Pakistani government negotiated a peace agreement with the extremists at the end of May 2008. The deal required the Taliban to renounce attacks on the Pakistani government and security forces. Both sides exchanged prisoners.

The Taliban promptly established a parallel government in Mohmand. Sharia courts were formed and orders were given for women to wear the veil in public. “Criminals” were rounded up and judged in the sharia courts. Women were ordered to have a male escort at all times and prevented from working on farms. The Taliban also kidnapped members of a polio vaccination team.
Extended Notes (Roggio’s Links)

GEO Pakistan
23 militants killed in Mohmand Agency clashes
Updated at: 0907 PST, Tuesday, July 14, 2009

PESHAWAR: twenty-three militants and three volunteers have been killed in Mohmand Agency clashes.

According to sources, clashes between militants and lashkar reported in tehsil Anbar of Mohamand Agency in which 23 militants and three lashkar men have been killed. Militants also set on fire five houses of lashkar men.



GEO Pakistan
Pakistan tribesmen vow to fight US ‘until the last soul’
Updated at: 0846 PST, Saturday, September 27, 2008

RAGHAGAN: Toting rocket launchers and Kalashnikovs, the bearded tribesmen say they back the Pakistani government — yet pledge they will fight to the death against US incursions on their soil.

The Pakistani military took reporters to the Pashtun tribal fighters in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan in a bid to show they have the support of locals for a month-long operation in the area, an Al-Qaeda and Taliban hotspot.

But there was also a strong message for US forces over the border, who have caused anger in Pakistan with a string of alleged territorial violations, including a raid by US ground troops on September 3 that left 15 people dead.

“We will fight against America until the last soul if they come to our country,” said Malik Manasib Khan, the leader of a “lashkar”, or tribal force, called up to help Pakistan’s army expel the militants — and anyone else.

“For us, the Taliban, NATO and the United States are all equals,” the burly tribal chief told journalists in the bazaar at Raghagan, about 12 kilometres (eight miles) northeast of Khar, the main town in Bajaur region.

Fiercely independent, religiously conservative and obsessed by revenge, the tribes along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border have repelled all invaders for centuries and still hold the key to stability in the region.

When thousands of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants fled the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the tribes sheltered them, viewing them as successors of the “mujahedeen” who fought the Soviet occupiers of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

In 2003, Islamabad launched army operations at Washington’s behest in the tribal belt, especially the notorious Waziristan area, but civilian deaths helped to radicalize and fire up many more tribesmen against the government.

Pakistani authorities have in recent years made major efforts to win the support of leading tribesmen in a bid to drive out foreign Al-Qaeda militants and isolate the most hardcore Taliban commanders.

Yet that policy — combined with US and Afghan suspicions that elements in Pakistan’s intelligence agencies still back the Taliban — has caused tensions with Washington, which wants Islamabad to launch an all-out offensive.

Pakistan complied and in August launched a military push in Bajaur, the smallest but increasingly the most dangerous of the country’s seven tribal regions. The army said Friday the operation had left 1,000 militants dead.

But the deaths of 11 Pakistani soldiers in a US air strike in June, a series of missile strikes and, on Thursday, an exchange of gunfire after Pakistani troops fired at US helicopters, have raised tensions to boiling point.



Saturday, September 27, 2008
Tribes form lashkars against Taliban

* 600-strong lashkar assisting police in rural Peshawar
* Kalla Khel lashker to impose Rs 5 million fine, demolish houses of Taliban backers

PESHAWAR: Various tribes formed lashkars to assist the government against the Taliban on Friday.

A 600-strong tribal lashkar has started assisting police in patrolling the rural areas around Peshawar, a statement said. The lashkar was formed after a meeting between the capital city police officer (CCPO) and local elders. The elders assured the police of their co-operation against the Taliban. The statement said the police had provided weapons to lashkar members.

Fine: The Kalla Khel tribes in the Khyber Agency formed a 300-strong lashkar against the Taliban in the Bara area. The lashkar announced to impose a fine of Rs 5 million and demolish the houses of those sheltering or helping the Taliban. A Zakha Khel tribe jirga announced to form a lashkar against the Taliban after Eid. Separately, a jirga consisting of Shinwari tribe elders and the Landikotal political administration remained inconclusive on the issue of forming a lashkar against the local Taliban.

The Landikotal assistant political agent (APA) asked tribesmen to form a lashkar against the Taliban, which, according to him, were involved in crimes such as road theft. Tribesmen said it was the government’s duty to take action against the Taliban.

The political administration warned the tribesmen it would block the Ziarai Road if they fail to stop the militant group Lashkar-e-Islam from using the road. Addressing the jirga, tribal elder Hafiz Wilayat Shah called the political administration demanding the tribesmen to take law in their hands “out of its senses”. staff report



Monday, September 22, 2008
Tribesmen will counter Taliban activities in Dir

* Laskhar to patrol restive areas to help govt agencies maintain law and order

PESHAWAR: A grand peace jirga consisting of elders of major tribes of Upper Dir on Sunday unanimously decided that the people of the district will resist militant activities and that action will be taken against those providing shelter to militants or anti-state elements.

The jirga vowed to strongly counter any militant activity meant to damage public or private property, government installations or to kill innocent people.

The decisions were taken during a jirga of Sulthankhel and Payandakhel tribes held at the Government Higher Secondary School Wari in Dir Upper.

The jirga asked people to keep monitor movements of suspected persons to avoid any untoward incident in the wake of the Marriott Hotel suicide bombing in Islamabad. The jirga said that they will help the government in eliminating ‘anti-state elements’.

Lashkar: It was decided that a ‘laskhar’ will patrol restive areas to counter illegal activities besides helping the law enforcement agencies in maintaining law and order in the district. Peace committees at the village level will be set up to monitor the situation and compile reports about the presence and activities of ‘non-locals’ in the district. The committees will subsequently submit their reports to the jirga.

The jirga unanimously decided to continue to co-operate with the government in its efforts against militant activities and decided that the lashkar would continue to take action against perpetrators who harbour militants.

The speakers said the militants had destroyed the peaceful atmosphere of Swat. They said that entry of unwanted elements into Dir district will be strongly resisted. They said that the jirga had been convened to inform and mobilise people against militants who were trying to destroy the peace of the district, which was unacceptable to them. app



August 14, 2008
Villagers Kill Six Militants
By Abdur Rahman Abid

BUNER, Aug 13: Villagers killed six members of a militant group in Dara Shalbandi area of Buner on Wednesday.

Witnesses said that the villagers had surrounded the six militants and asked them to surrender. But the militants demanded safe passage and one of them hurled a grenade on the villagers to break the siege.

The villagers opened fire, killing the militants four of whom were identified as Azeem Khan, Usman Ghani, Behran and Rahman Said.

District Police Officer Mohamad Khaliq told journalists that the group was involved in attacks on a police mobile in Pir Baba and a police post in Kingar Galay. One ASI and eight constables were killed in the attacks.

Police raided a house in a village in Gokand and arrested five men suspected of sheltering militants. Arms and ammunition captured by the militants in the Kingar Galay attack were seized.



Tribal leaders swear to wage merciless war
By Isambard Wilkinson,
The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2008
Published: September 26, 2008, 23:32

Lakki Marwat: Peace is a rare thing in Pakistan’s tribal areas, and Anwar Kamal is determined not to lose it.

To that end, the chief of Lakki Marwat district has told his tribal army to hunt down Taliban “overspill” from the neighbouring badlands of Waziristan.

Kamal has formed a lashkar, or tribal militia, that varies in strength from 2,000 to 10,000 to fight Taliban militants trespassing on to his 200 square miles of mountain-bound territory.

He and other tribal leaders have formed militias along the Pakistani-Afghan border. Their aim is to stop both the Taliban and the Western-backed military who oppose them from making incursions into their fiercely guarded areas.

Last month he met the Taliban in Waziristan, a stronghold of Taliban and Al Qaida fighters who fled the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Kamal showed The Sunday Telegraph a mobile phone displaying video footage of the bloody remains of a young militant from Waziristan, killed by his men in one of several recent clashes. They claim to have already killed one prominent foreign commander.
Throughout Waziristan, the Pakistani army has fought tough but sporadic campaigns against local tribes allied to the Taliban and Al Qaida.

At present, the military has struck peace agreements with militants much to the annoyance of America, which fears that such deals in effect create havens. Washington has launched a dozen missile strikes there this year, including one last week that killed five suspected militants.

However, in the past month the Pakistani military, which is generally overstretched and ill-equipped for counter-insurgency operations, has launched a heavy bombardment against insurgents operating in the tribal area of Bajaur and the nearby district of Swat. “It is time to give the militants a proper thrashing,” said Gulam Qadir Khan, a government bureaucrat in charge of the tribal area’s security.

The operation has caused heavy civilian casualties and forced 300,000 to flee their homes. But the intensity of the fighting has sent out a strong message of the military’s determination, and made tribal leaders realise that even staying neutral may invite the wrath of the authorities.

Kamal said that at first he was against military operations in the tribal areas. “Previous military operations in the tribal areas were not properly conducted and haphazard,” he said.

“But there is no time for double-dealing now. These people are a threat to the country. We have to finish this off.”

The dangers and sensitivities of entering the tribal areas were well known to the British colonial administrators during the Raj. At the end of the British Empire, the bulk of imperial forces were stationed on the frontier and engaged in almost permanent conflict with the tribes.

Rogue agents

One administrator noted that purdah, or a veil, over the tribal areas, was the “phrase constantly used by the tribes to emphasise the value they set on the inviolability of their country, to be preserved behind a veil as jealously as the modesty of a woman'”.

However, the colonial-era system of governing the tribal leaders loosely through political agents, tribal leaders and their tribal levies, known as khassadars, has broken down in recent years. Aided by drug money and clandestine help from rogue agents in Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, armed Islamists have killed 120 tribal leaders in the past two years and imposed their own rough brand of Islamic rule.

In Lakki Marwat, the strict Pashtun code of conduct – known as Pashtunwali and focused on honour and revenge – prevails under the auspices of the khan, or tribal leader. In 2004, Kamal led a lashkar of 3,000 men into the tribal areas to avenge the kidnapping of two tribal girls, killing 70 of his enemy.

“We keep the government away. If we became part of the government they would become an excuse, a liability, a rallying cry against us,” he said.

When the Taliban kidnapped a local councillor in July, 500 of Kamal’s armed men surrounded the kidnappers before they could escape from Lakki Marwat.

“We fought for four to five hours and blew them up,” he said, gesturing nonchalantly to a rocket-propelled grenade launcher propped up against his dining-room wall.

Among those captured in the fighting was an Uzbek, whom Kamal ordered to be passed on to the Pakistani army for questioning.



Bombings targeting Shia kill 28 in Pakistan’s northwest
By Bill Roggio
December 5, 2008 8:27 PM

Taliban bombers attacked two Shia gatherings in the insurgency-infested Northwest Frontier Province on Friday, killing 28 and wounding more than 90.

The first attack took place earlier today in the Arakzai tribal agency. A suicide bomber driving a car attempted to reach a meeting being held by Shia tribal leaders when police stopped the vehicle at a checkpoint.

“The bomber tried to drive into a market in a Shi’ite neighborhood where the meeting was taking place but blew up his car when police tried to stop him at a checkpoint,” a Pakistani intelligence official told Reuters. Seven people, including policemen, were killed in the attack.

The second attack took place outside of an assembly hall used by Shia in the provincial capital of Peshawar. A car bomb with up to 60 pounds of explosives leveled a building and severely damaged other buildings in the narrow alleyway packed with shops and homes.
“It shook the entire area like an earthquake,” a witness told Reuters as he was clearing the debris. “It was a huge and terrible explosion. As we reached here it was all burning. There was rubble all around.”

Twenty-one civilians, including three children and four women, were killed in the attack, Geo News reported. More than 20 of the wounded are said to be in critical condition.

The Pakistani military launched an operation with the intent of clearing the Taliban from the Peshawar district more than three weeks ago. In a press conference, a Pakistan Frontier Corps general touted the success of the operation, noting 25 Taliban fighters were killed and 40 captured. The operation, designed to relieve pressure on the provincial capital, was the second military offensive in Peshawar since the summer.

Despite the increased military activity in Peshawar, the security in the city and surrounding areas has deteriorated. Taliban forces are hitting NATO convoys in Peshawar regularly. The resident of the Jamrud region just west of the city of Peshawar is under Taliban control, the provincial government said.

“The government has to take action or we shall see Iraq-like situation in the area in the coming few months,” an official told Daily Times.

The Northwest Frontier Province has been rocked by bombings this week. Three security personnel and two civilians were killed in a suicide attack in Charsadda district on Dec. 3. A suicide attack in Bannu killed seven people, including a policeman, on Nov. 28.

The Pakistani military has threatened to withdraw its forces from the northwest if tensions with India rise due to the fallout from last week’s Mumbai terror assault. The Indian government accuses the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba of being behind the strike that killed 183 and shut down the city of 18 million for 62 hours.



Taliban attack mosque kills 25 in Pakistan
By Bill Roggio
September 10, 2008 9:15 PM

The Taliban attacked a mosque filled with Ramadan worshippers in northwestern Pakistan, killing 25 and wounding more than 50. The attack came just one month after local tribes began to organize against the extremist group.

The attack occurred right on the Afghan border in the village of Banai in the district of Dir in the Northwest Frontier Province. The attackers threw three hand grenades into a mosque packed with worshippers for Ramadan. Immediately after the explosions, Taliban fighters raked the survivors with gunfire. The majority of those killed and wounded are children, Daily Times reported. The death toll is expected to rise as many of those wounded are in critical condition.

The Taliban have struck inside mosques in Pakistan in the past. The most prominent attack occurred in the district of Charsadda in December 2007, when a suicide bomber detonated in a mosque in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and scores were wounded.

The Taliban have not officially taken credit for the attack, but it was likely launched in an attempt to cower the local population. The Dir attack occurred less than one month after local tribesmen gathered to oppose the presence of the Taliban in the region.

On Aug. 15, a tribal jirga, or council, requested the Taliban and “more than 150 foreign fighters” vacate the same region where today’s attack occurred. The tribes threatened to raise a lashkar, or tribal army, to eject the Taliban if they refused.
Some tribes in the districts of Buner and Swat and the tribal agency of Bajaur have made similar demands of the Taliban. In Buner and Swat, tribes have raised the militias and fought the Taliban, with moderate success.

But the Taliban have reacted violently to such efforts in the past. The Taliban ruthlessly crushed local opposition in Khyber, Aurakzai, and Mohmand this year. Tribal leaders and their families are executed or tortured once the tribal armies disband, leaving a leadership vacuum.

The Pakistani government and security forces have provided little or no support to individual tribes that challenge the rise of the Taliban. And in some cases, the local tribes do not want the military’s help. Last month’s jirga in Dir also insisted the Army stay out of the region, as the tribes said they could defend their own territory.

The Taliban have expanded outwards from the tribal areas into the greater Northwest Frontier Province. The Musharraf government cut multiple peace deals with the Taliban starting in 2006. These agreements gave the Taliban and al Qaeda the time and spaced needed to consolidate power in the tribal areas and prey upon the settled districts. The government of Prime Minister Gilani continued to strike deals with the Taliban after taking power in 2008.



Suicide bomber hits tribal meeting in Pakistan
By Bill Roggio
October 10, 2008 8:18 AM

The Taliban continue to attack the nascent tribal organizing against it movement in Pakistan’s turbulent northwest. A suicide bomber struck at a meeting of Ali Zai tribal leaders in the Arakzai tribal agency, killing 55 and wounding more than 100.

The attack occurred as the tribal leaders were in the middle of a meeting to discuss the formation of a tribal militia, or lashkar, to secure the region and oppose the Taliban. More than 500 members of the tribe were present at the meeting, according to Geo TV.

The government has been fighting the Taliban in the city of Darra Adam Khel and in neighboring Kohat after the Taliban took control of the Indus Highway and the Kohat Tunnel. The military was able to reopen the tunnel and the highway after the Taliban held it for almost a month.

The Taliban have ruthlessly targeted tribes looking to back the government. Tribes in Kohat attempted to organize against the Taliban in January 2008. A suicide attack on a tribal leader’s meeting in early March killed 40 and wounded more than 40. Several senior tribal leaders were killed, and the organized resistance to the Taliban faltered.

The Pakistani government has been courting the tribes to support the efforts to take on the Taliban in the tribal areas and in the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province. Tribal lashkars have been formed in Peshawar, Swat, Dir, Buner, Bajaur, Khyber, and Arakzai.

But the government has failed to obtain support from the major tribes, senior US military intelligence sources told The Long War Journal [see Pakistani Army rejects Waziristan operation]. The tribes that have been brought into the government’s fold are small and scattered. There is no overarching support mechanism to provide political and ideological support for those who dare to take on the Taliban.

The Taliban maintain support from the major tribal confederations, and have increased their capabilities by forming the Tehrik-e-Taliban, or the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. This organization has allowed the Taliban to coordinate military, political, and propaganda efforts.



Taliban suicide bomber kills 50, destroys mosque in Pakistan
By Bill Roggio
March 27, 2009 9:20 AM

A Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 50 worshipers and wounded more than 125 in an attack at a mosque in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the border with Pakistan. The bombing is the second mass-casualty suicide attack in Pakistan’s insurgency-infested northwest in two days.

The death toll is expected to rise, Tariq Hayat Khan, the Political Agent for Khyber said according to a report in The Times of India. “Forty-five to 46 bodies have been retrieved … up to 70 people could have been killed,” Khan said.
The attack took place in the Jamrud district in Pakistan’s Khyber agency. Khyber is the gateway to Afghanistan; NATO’s main supply route for its forces in Afghanistan passes through the tribal agency.

The suicide bomber detonated his vest in the middle of a packed mosque just as prayers began. “Police, paramilitary forces, and government officials were among the congregation in the mosque,” Geo News reported. The two-story mosque was leveled, the news agency reported.

The Taliban have not taken credit for the attack, but had previously threatened to destroy a police station next to the mosque.

“It’s surprising, those who claim that they are doing jihad and then carry out suicide attacks inside mosques during Friday prayers,” Khan told Geo News. “They are infidels. They are enemies of Pakistan. They are enemies of Islam.”

Today’s bombing is the third attack inside a mosque this month. On March 5, an attacker targeted worshipers at a mosque in Dera Ismail Khan, a district adjacent to the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan. Twenty-five people were wounded after the attacker lobbed a grenade during prayer. And a March 2 suicide attack at a gathering in a mosque in the Pishin district in Baluchistan killed six civilians.

The Taliban have conducted numerous attacks in mosques and during religious events in the Northwest Frontier Province, Baluchistan, and Punjab over the past several years. The most high-profile attack occurred on Dec. 28, 2007, in Charsadda, when a suicide bomber detonated in a mosque in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and scores were wounded.

Other major attacks at mosques and religious events in Pakistan include the Sept. 10, 2008, attack on a mosque filled with Ramadan worshipers in Dir that killed 25 Pakistanis and wounded more than 50; the Nov. 21, 2008, suicide attack on a funeral procession in Dera Ismail Khan that killed 10 people and wounded 25 more; and the Feb. 5, 2009, suicide attack outside of a mosque that killed more than 30 Shia worshipers and wounded more than 50.

The Taliban have stepped up their suicide bombing campaign in Pakistan and are on pace to break the 2007 and 2008 suicide attack totals. Today’s suicide attack marks the sixth such bombing inside Pakistan this month. There were five suicide attacks inside Pakistan in February this year and another three in January, totaling 19 attacks during the first quarter of 2008.

The Taliban and al Qaeda conducted 56 suicide attacks in Pakistan in 2007 and another 61 attacks in 2008.



Taliban desecrate body of slain opposing tribal leader
By Bill Roggio
December 17, 2008 1:03 AM

The Taliban have defeated the primary tribal opposition organized against it in the insurgency-wracked district of Swat in Pakistan’s northwest. The leader of the tribal resistance was killed and two of his aides were beheaded last weekend after the Taliban overran the region controlled by the opposition.

Pir Samiullah, a rival tribal and religious leader opposing Mullah Fazlullah’s forces in the Matta region of Swat, and eight of his followers were killed in a Taliban assault on Dec. 16. Two of his aides were subsequently beheaded in public, while an estimated 40 of his followers have been captured. “The Taliban also torched the houses of Samiullah and 15 elders of his group,” Daily Times reported.

After Samiullah was buried, the Taliban returned, dug up his body and hanged it in public. The Taliban made an example of Samiullah and those who oppose Fazlullah’s rule.

Samiullah was the first tribal leader in Swat to raise a lashkar, or tribal army, to oppose the Taliban. He claimed to have organized more than 10,000 tribesmen to oppose the Taliban and protect 20 villages. Samiullah and his followers are members of the Gujjar community, which is a group distinct from the dominant Pashtun tribal confederations that support the Taliban.

The Taliban targeted Samiullah and his tribal lashkar in late October. Fazlullah’s forces killed seven members of Samiullah’s tribal council and took more than 60 hostage after an assault on a tribal meeting.

The Pakistani government has been courting the tribes to support the efforts to take on the Taliban in the tribal areas and in the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province. Tribal lashkars have been formed in Peshawar, Swat, Dir, Buner, Bajaur, Khyber, and Arakzai. The Taliban have ruthlessly attacked tribal groups organizing resistance.

The Taliban hold an advantage over the disparate tribal groups in organization and fighters. The Taliban are organized throughout the tribal areas and the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province, while tribal resistance groups operate independently.
The Taliban “out-number and out-gun [resisting tribal groups] by more than 20 to 1,” a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal in October. And the tribes receive little support from the government and military. In many cases, they do not want government assistance.



Taliban has ‘lost’ in Bajaur, Mohmand: Pakistan military
By Bill Roggio
March 1, 2009 1:28 AM

Two senior Pakistani military officers claimed the Taliban has been defeated in the tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand, where the Taliban have held power for years.

Major General Tariq Khan, the Inspector General of the Frontier Corps, said the Taliban “lost” in Bajaur after an eight-month military operation.

“They have lost,” Tariq said during a press conference in Bajaur, the Associated Press reported. “Their resistance has broken down.”

The joint Army and frontier Corps operation destroyed Taliban command centers, bunkers, and fortifications, Tariq said. The roads in Bajaur are now under control of the military. Ninety-seven soldiers and paramilitary troops were killed during the operation and more than 400 were wounded. The military claims more than 1,800 Taliban have been killed, a claim disputed by the Taliban.

“We think we have secured this agency,” Tariq said, according to a report by the Times News Network. “The Taliban have lost their cohesion.”

The military plan on withdrawing some forces but will maintain a military presence, the general said.

In the neighboring tribal agency of Mohmand, Colonel Saif Ullah claimed the Taliban have been defeated and the region is “under the control of law enforcement agencies.”

Fighting spilled over into Mohmand as the fighting in Bajaur intensified last fall. The officer did not provide casualty numbers for the military or the Taliban.

In the past the military has claimed to have defeated the Taliban in other regions of the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province, but the gains were short-lived.
Temporary tactical victories in Khyber, Swat, Kohat, Arakzai, and North and South Waziristan were followed by the Taliban re-establishing control in these regions. In other instances, the military and government negotiated peace agreements with the Taliban, which only resulted in the Taliban consolidating power in these areas.

While the military claimed to have defeated the Taliban in Bajaur and Mohmand, the senior leaders in these tribal agencies remain at large.

Faqir Mohammed, a senior leader in Baitullah Mehsud’s Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and a close ally to al Qaeda’s Ayman Zawahiri, has not been killed or captured during the offensive. Military officials claimed Faqir was killed in August 2008, but the leader later surfaced. Faqir established a parallel government in Bajaur, complete with sharia courts, recruiting centers and training camps, taxation, and security forces.

The US has conducted several airstrikes Bajaur, including two attacks that targeted Zawahiri and another that killed Abu Sulayman Jazairi, a senior Algerian operative for al Qaeda who was the terror groups’ operational commander tasked with planning attacks against the West.

Omar Khalid, the Taliban commander in Mohmand and a deputy of Baitullah’s Taliban movement, also remains at large. He is considered one of the most effective and powerful leaders in the tribal areas after Baitullah and Faqir.

Khalid gained prominence in Mohmand during the summer of 2007 after taking over a famous shrine and renaming it the Red Mosque, after the radical mosque in Islamabad whose followers attempted to impose sharia in the capital. He became the dominant Taliban commander in Mohmand in July 2008 after defeating the Shah Sahib group, a rival pro-Taliban terror group with ties to the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Khalid declared sharia in Mohmand during the summer of 2008.



Thursday, January 22, 2009
Taliban commander Omar Khalid killed?

PESHAWAR: Rumours about the killing of Taliban commander Omar Khalid in a military strike in Mohmand Agency were rife on Wednesday, but Taliban sources rejected the reports, calling them baseless.

Reports said commander Abdul Ali, alias Omar Khalid, was killed in last night’s military offensive in Mohmand Agency, while his second-in-command Shakil had been injured. Locals told Daily Times that Omar Khalid’s house was destroyed in the operation while he was inside.

However, a Taliban commander said Omar Khalid was alive.

“Omar Khalid is alive and we shall present him before the media in a day or two,” a Taliban commander told Daily Times over telephone.

Meanwhile, security forces on Wednesday arrested seven terrorists, including a senior Al Qaeda operative allegedly wanted in connection with the 2005 attacks on London, catching them off guard in a raid in Peshawar, AFP reported.

The forces arrested the Taliban after storming their hideout, a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The official named the Al Qaeda operative allegedly wanted for the July 7, 2005 suicide bombings in London, as Zabi Ul Taifi, an Arab national.

Local officials confirmed the arrests, saying American investigators were present at the time of the operation.

“He’s been arrested in Peshawar this morning,” the first security official said.

“It was a well-planned raid carried out against a militant den. The culprits were caught off guard and captured without resistance,” the official said. staff report/afp



Pakistan strikes deal with the Taliban in Mohmand
By Bill Roggio
May 28, 2008 6:09 PM

The Pakistani government has signed another peace agreement with the Taliban in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. On Monday, the Pakistani government signed a peace agreement with Taliban commander Omar Khalid in the Mohmand tribal agency, making this the third such agreement in northwestern Pakistan since April 20.

The deal requires the Taliban to renounce attacks on the Pakistani government and security forces. The Taliban will maintain a ban on the activities of nongovernment organizations in the region and agreed not to attack women in the workplace if they wear the veil. Both sides exchanged prisoners. Eight members of the Saafi tribe were exchanged for a doctor. Khalid is a member of the Saafi tribe.

The Taliban immediately moved to establish a parallel government in Mohmand. “The local Taliban have set up a complaint cell to resolve people’s problems,” GEO News reported. “The decision to establish the complaint cell has been taken to provide people with quick dispensation of justice.”

The Mohmand peace agreement is the latest in a series of negotiations with the Taliban in the tribal areas and the Northwest Frontier Province. On April 20, a six-point deal was struck between the Pakistani government and the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM – the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad’s Sharia Law) in the Malakand Division. Just one month later, the Pakistani government inked another peace deal with the Taliban in the settled district of Swat. The Pakistani government is also in negotiations with the Taliban in South Waziristan.

Who is Omar Khalid?

Omar Khalid’s involvement with terrorism stretches back at least a decade. He was a member of the Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, a banned terrorist group that conducts attacks in Kashmir. He trained in terror camps in Kashmir and fought Indian forces, The Asia Times reported. He maintained close links with the Kashmiri terror outfits but also looked to contribute to the Taliban cause. Immediately after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Khalid took hundreds of fighters across the border to fight US forces.

Khalid claims to have 3,000 armed and trained fighters under his command. In July 2007, Khalid’s forces seized a historic mosque and shrine in the Mohmand tribal agency and renamed it the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, after the Taliban mosque in Islamabad that was assaulted by the government in mid-July.

Last Summer, Khalid denied links with the Taliban and al Qaeda even as he pledged allegiance to Red Mosque leader Ghazi Abdur Rashid. “If [the Taliban] come to us, we will welcome them,” said Khalid. “We will continue Ghazi Abdur Rashid’s mission even if it means sacrificing our lives.” Khalid also threatened to “use suicide bombers in self defense” if the new Red Mosque was raided. He seeks to “Islamize” the local tribes and plans establishing a “vice and virtue force.”

But Khalid has since joined the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, the umbrella Taliban organization led by Baitullah Mehsud that united movements in the tribal areas and the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province. Khalid is the Taliban’s representative for Mohmand agency.



Friday, July 04, 2008
Taliban order Mohmand women to veil

Staff Report

GHALANAI: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Mohmand Agency chapter on Thursday ordered women in the agency to observe purdah (veil) and announced a penalty for the male relatives of women in breach of the order.

TTP spokesman Dr Asad told reporters by telephone from an undisclosed location that the orders had been issued by TTP Mohmand Agency commander Omar Khalid.

TTP also claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of three locals – Meherban, Momin and Mumtaz – from the Qilagai area of Lakro tehsil in the agency.

Dr Asad said that they had taken action against the three locals as they had detained another person. He said they would be dealt with according to Islamic laws.

Nobody has however claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two other persons Akbar Shah and Nasir Khan who were kidnapped by unidentified men from the Ghazi Baig area.



Monday, June 23, 2008
Taliban issue burqa warning

LAHORE: Taliban in the Mohmand Agency have warned women to either wear burqas or face punishment, a private TV channel reported on Sunday. The TTP has pasted posters announcing this in various parts of the agency, Express News reported. The posters ask women not to work in the fields and prohibit them from attending marriage ceremonies and visiting doctors and markets without a male escort. daily times monitor



Sunday, July 13, 2008
Taliban release four workers of anti-polio team

ISLAMABAD: Local Taliban on Saturday released four workers of a team administering anti-polio vaccine in the Mohmand Agency, an official said. A spokesman of Health Ministry said that the workers have returned to Peshawar safely. According to an agreement reached between the NWFP government and the local Taliban, workers of anti-polio campaign would not be harmed. The polio team was facilitated in Swat, while the local Taliban violated the agreement in Mohmand Agency and kidnapped the workers. nni


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