Monday, June 1, 2009
So far the principle result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan following the events of 9-11 has been the destabilization of Pakistan. That breakdown is peaking with the events in what AP calls the “Swat town” of Mingora—actually a city of 375,000 from which all but 20,000 have fled as government forces moved in, strafing it with gunships. We’re talking urban guerrilla warfare, house-to-house fighting, not on the Afghan border but 50 miles away in the Swat Valley. We’re talking about Pakistani troops fighting to reclaim the nearby Malam Jabba ski resort from the Tehreek-e-Taliban, who since last year have been using it as a training center and logistics base. We’re talking about two million people fleeing the fighting in the valley and 160,000 in government refugee camps.
And of course, “collateral damage”: As was reported in The News in Pakistan May 19:
Several persons, including women and children, were killed and a number of others sustained injuries when families fleeing the military operation in Swat’s Matta town were shelled while crossing a mountainous path to reach Karo Darra in Dir Upper on Monday, eyewitnesses and official sources said. Eyewitnesses, who escaped the attack or were able to reach Wari town of Dir Upper in injured condition, said they were targeted by gunship helicopters. However, police officials said they might have been hit by a stray shell. Local people said they saw some 12 to 14 bodies on a mountain on the Swat side but could not go near to retrieve them or help the injured for fear of another aerial attack.
What a nightmare scenario for Pakistan.
We’re talking about the Pakistani Army sometimes fighting over the last year to retake towns from Taliban forces in the Buner region of the North-West Frontier Province that are closer to the capital of Islamabad than the Afghan border. And while the Talibs apparently lack popular support, even among the Pashtuns (who are 15 % of the Pakistani population—26 million and 42% of the Afghan population—14 million) they have been able to inflict embarrassing defeats on the army.
Tehreek-i-Taliban leader Baitullah Mahsud, head of the militant forces in South Waziristan, established his credentials when his forces captured 300 Pakistani soldiers and traded them for about 30 imprisoned militants in the fall of 2007. Time and again the several (sometimes rival) “Taliban” forces, which did not exist before the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan created them, have forced the government to negotiate terms. Most recently in February Islamabad agreed to the implementation of the Sharia in the Swat Valley in exchange for peace. The Taliban broke the agreement in April, or so the story goes, and the army claims it’s killed 1,100 militants since.
But curiously as of Sunday it claimed to have killed only 10 Taliban, while boasting of seizing (according to AP) “a spot nicknamed ‘bloody intersection’ because militants routinely dumped the mutilated bodies of their victims there.” On Monday I read of another four dead militants but the Taliban announced through a spokesman that they would maintain “aides” in place in the city, cease fire, and advise civilians to return. It appears most have retreated to other towns, including Buner and Daggar where fighting goes on now. This they can do under cover of the masses of refugees of course.
Full article here
(ယုံၾကည္ခ်က္ ။ ။ မုဒိမ္းေကာင္ လူရမ္းကား ၀ါဒကုိ ေဒါသမထြက္ပါနဲ႔… ႏွိပ္ကြပ္ရလုိ႔လဲ ပီတိမျဖစ္ပါနဲ႔. . . ကုလားကုိလဲ လူမ်ဳိးေရး မႏွိပ္ကြပ္ပါနဲ႔ . . အဲဒါေတြက အက်ဳိးမရွိပါဘူး။ ယုတ္ညံ့သည့္ ၀ါဒဆုိးၾကီးကုိ ျဖဳိဖ်က္ေရးမွာ ခင္ဗ်ားကုိယ္တုိင္ အုတ္တစ္ခ်ပ္ သဲတစ္ပြင့္အျဖစ္ လုပ္ကုိင္ေရးက လက္ေတြ႔အက်ဆုံးျဖစ္ပါသည္ )