Foreign Policy Blogs

Pakistan Heats Up

The pseudo-civil war raging in Pakistan has resulted in a new wave of violence across the troubled-nation.  The Taliban and associates have claimed at least two terror attacks in as many days, while Pakistani military personnel responded with heavy air attacks on suspected militant targets in the northwest frontier.

 

Thursday, a meeting amongst Tribal leaders in the Bajaur Province was bombed, killing at least 10 and injuring over 45.  The convention, ironically convened to discuss the increased presence of insurgents within the troubled region, included military officers as well as civilian officials.  “It appears to have been a suicide attack,” a senior government official said.  A day earlier, insurgents launched at least three rockets in to Peshawar's major airport.  It was the third rocket-style attack in one week.   

 

In response, Pakistani military personnel launched an air-to-surface assault on the suspected Taliban stronghold of Airab, killing at least 15 insurgents (including one major, non-specified target). This is the second time in recent months the Pakistani security forces have attacked the region, long known as a Taliban sanctuary.

 

This tit-for-tat is newsworthy, but offers little insight in to the growing conflict.  It does highlight, however, the increased trend of targeting tribal elders.  For months, the Pakistani military has tried to persuade these elders to evict Taliban elements from their lands, much like the American-inspired Awakening Councils in Iraq.  Unlike the Awakening Councils, the Pakistani security forces are unable or unwilling to provide essential protection to these tribal leaders. 

 

If one were so inclined as to be a staunch optimist, the tiniest of silver linings lay in the fact that the fighting is still taking place within the northwest frontier regions and not Islamabad.  I fear that will change in the coming months. 

 

UPDATE:  Apparently a third attack has been claimed in the Swat Valley.  A suicide bomber has reportedly (according to the BBC) killed at least two security personnel and wounded five. 

 

Author

Josh Hammer

Josh Hammer is an International Relations theorist, with expertise in terrorist ideology, American foreign policy, and war / conflict resolution. He currently holds a Master's of Science degree in International Politics from the University of Edinburgh, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the George Washington University. Josh's most recent work, his M.Sc. thesis, is a comparative analysis between Marxist / Leninist ideology and Osama bin Laden's global jihadi movement. He currently resides in New York.

Areas of Focus:
Terrorist Idealogy; American Foreign Policy; Conflict Resolution;

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