Mushy’s Plan?

Hassan Abbas has an article in the latest Terrorism Monitor that gives some insight into exactly what Musharraf thinks he is doing to reduce Al Qaeda terrorist activity in the Himalayan region.

Pakistan is experimenting with the Taliban yet again. The primary focus of the effort is to de-link the Taliban from al-Qaeda and bring them back into the Pakistani sphere of influence. Uzbek militants have been the first “casualty” of this re-alignment. Potentially, remaining Arab militants will be next.

Abbas links this effort in Talibanistan (North and South Waziristan, FATA, and NWFT) to Mullah Maulvi Nazir, who rose to prominence in the Jihadist movement under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the most evil man in Afghanistan. Nazir recently was in the news for offering to protect Osama Bin Laden.

Nazir said that although he has never met bin Laden, “if he comes here and wants to live according to tribal traditions, then we can provide protection to him because we support oppressed people.”

South Waziristan, where Nazir makes his home, serves as home to many foreign Taliban who fled from Afghanistan in December 2001. The foreigners consist of Uzbeks, Chechens, Chinese Uighurs, and Arabs. Nazir has killed about 20% of the Uzbek fighters in his area. The Uzbeks were unpopular because they had developed more productive farms than the natives, though they were attacked after being blamed for bloody murders of pro-government tribal elders whom they accused of being spies for America. Nazir’s primary trump card is his close relationship to Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence).

Besides the remaining Uzbeks, Nazir is being resisted by the Mehsud tribe under Baitullah Mehsud. The Mehsud is the most numerous tribe in the area.

Summing up, Nazir might be a useful tool for the task of de-linking foreign Al Qaeda elements from the local Taliban. This would be a good result, as it would decouple the local jihadists from the anti-globalization jihadists, and certainly the UK and any other areas with a large concentration of Pakistani ex-pats could breathe easier. Whether he survives the decoupling process is a crap-shoot.

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