Tribal Militias Rise in Pakistan

October 2nd, 2008 | Sources: Wall Street Journal

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In a heartening development for the US, tribal militias along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border are rising up to battle Taliban and al Qaeda forces. Pakistan’s army has started to support these militias. There is hope the new development can turn the tide in the region in the same way the Sunni Awakening helped US forces in Iraq.

Spokesmen for Pakistan’s army claim it has deployed 8,000 troops to the region and killed 1,000 militants just in the last 6 weeks, but these gains have been offset by a stream of radical Islamists pouring in from both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Militias have formed in the Khyber and Kurram districts along the Afghan border, and in the Dir region further to the northwest. Their conscripts are apparently fed up with the draconian Islamic systems that the Taliban impose upon locals. In addition, the Taliban “are killing our people and destroying our land,” said Malik Munasib Khan, a militia leader who claims to control 4,000 fighters.

Also yesterday, Pakistan appointed Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha to head up the ISI, its domestic intelligence service. Gen. Pasha was most recently director of military operations. He has criticized the US for its “brute use of force” in the region, behavior he believes has fanned radical flames there.

Undoubtedly US officials will soon want to introduce themselves to Mr. Pasha. The US believes that right now rogue elements of ISI are aiding the Taliban.


 

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