India Intelligence Report

New Taliban Threatens to Consume Pak


The Pakistani establishment is increasingly nervous about the rise of a group calling itself the "Pakistani Taliban" and reports say that they rule large swathes of tribal land in Waziristan. With distinct identity from the Afghani Taliban, this group is similar in many ways to Taliban version 1.

Both are ethnic Pushtuns, use Waristan as a base, empathize with the al Qaeda, and want to establish a medieval Islamic order. While version 1 was oriented, controlled, and managed by Pakistan to control Afghanistan and create a "strategic depth" for Pakistan, version 2 has grown to oppose the creators of version 1.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, the creator of version 1, is a worried man and has dispatched 70,000 troops with a carte blanche to quell this group. Troops use helicopter gun ships, call in combat aircraft to bomb disadvantageous positions, artillery fire to loosen up rebels holed up in the mountains, and shoot-on-sight tactics to eliminate suspected members of this group.


However, motivating more to join the Taliban ranks. The willingly accept their rule by paying taxes, following their dictates, providing shelter, and feeding them while spurning Government efforts at developing an intelligence network.

The Taliban have attacked the police, destroyed radio stations, eliminated tribal elders, and all pro-Government politicians. They have dissolved the jirga (council of elders) and set up Islamic courts instead. Strong edicts have been passed to ban music, books, or movies and barbers ordered not to cut or shave beards. They extract heavy justice when they feel they have been crossed. Recently, seven alleged bandits were caught and hung in the public creating terror among those who have not aligned with them.

Diplomats in Islamabad say that Musharraf is not winning this one and the "so-called war on terror is going badly." The rise if Taliban, increased Baloach rebellion in Baloachistan, al Qaeda and remnant Afghan Taliban militants in the West and North linking up with Chechen rebels, sectarian violence in Sindh, and opposition among the Pakistani-populated Kashmiri rebel groups to his Kashmir plans have increased the load on the Pakistan army.

This explains Musharraf's increased overtures and "out of the box" ideas to demilitarize Kashmir. With fewer troops to deal with on the East, Musharraf will have more resources to deploy on the West. Musharraf must now be increasingly conscious how un-strategic his "strategic depth" idea really was.

Just like Kargil, he has shown remarkable brilliance in tactical moves but also adequately demonstrated a severe lack of strategic thinking capabilities.