As the [attacks] against the Pakistani military are ongoing in North Waziristan, the government continues to press for a “peace deal” with the Taliban. Today, the government of the Northwest Frontier Province dispatched a helicopter filled with local tribal representatives to negotiate with the Taliban. “We are going to Miranshah to discuss the peace accord with Taliban leaders,” Malik Waris Khan, a member of the “peace” jirga told the Daily Times. “The jirga left after a meeting with NWFP Governor Ali Jan Aurakzai. Sources said the jirga members were driven to a secret location to meet Maulana Gul Bahadar, a senior Taliban commander.”…
The current negotiations in North Waziristan are frequently referred to as the Pakistani government applying both the carrot and the stick to deal with the Taliban. This depiction is inaccurate, as the current actions of the government can be better described as the carrot and the punching bag. The government sends in negotiators as the military continues to get pummeled by the Taliban and al Qaeda suicide bombers and commando teams.
I’ve been posting stuff in the headlines the past few days about the relentless attacks going in Pakistan but follow the link and take in the whole vista as laid out by Roggio. They’re negotiating under fire to resuscitate a deal which already, by their own admission, constituted a “policy of appeasement.” What on earth is the new deal going to look like? Also, Roggio doesn’t mention it but keep in mind going forward that two of the highest profile attacks in Pakistan over the past month have been on Chinese workers. It was the kidnapping of Chinese massage parlor employees by Red Mosque jihadis and resulting complaint from the Chinese government that allegedly forced Musharraf to act against the Ghazi brothers. And according to Pakistani security agents, a car bomb that killed 30 Chinese workers outside Karachi yesterday was meant specifically for them, in what I guess was some sort of reprisal. The Times of London thinks it might indicate a broader regional reaction to Chinese “colonialism.” I wonder if it’s not aimed at instigating a backlash against the Chinese Uighurs which could then be exploited as another jihadi cause celebre.
The big news in Pakistan today has nothing to do with terrorism, actually. The chief justice, whom Musharraf tried to railroad so that he wouldn’t block his attempt to remain president and army chief of staff simultaneously, has been reinstated by the supreme court to the great delight of most of the population. Which means Mushy’s at his political nadir at the very moment when he’s negotiating with the Taliban and the news about AQ having spread from the tribal areas throughout the country on his watch is on the wires. Exit question: Isn’t it time for the U.S. to throw its support to Benazir Bhutto and the democratic opposition, notwithstanding Bryan’s sage advice?
Update (Bryan): Tread carefully into support for democracy in Pakistan.