Pakistan Offers AQ Safe Passage to Afghanistan?
In his latest report, a "senior Pakistani security official" told Syed Saleem Shahzad that Pakistan offered al-Qaeda and the Taliban safe passage into Afghanistan in exchange for vacating their North and South Waziristan lairs. The Taliban-al-Qaeda alliance rejected the offer, and why wouldn't they? Pakistan is not negotiating from a position of strength. Al-Qaeda is.
Lining up against the Pakistani Army will be the Shura (council) of Mujahideen comprising senior al-Qaeda and Taliban commanders, local clerics, and leaders of the fighting clans Wazir and Mehsud (known as the Pakistani Taliban). The shura has long been calling the shots in the Waziristans, imposing sharia law and turning the area into a strategic command and control hub of global Muslim resistance movements, including those operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"All previous operations had a different perspective," the security official told ATol. "In the past Pakistan commenced an operation when the Western coalition informed Pakistan about any particular hide-out or a sanctuary, or Pakistan traced any armed infiltration from or into Pakistan.
"However, the present battle aims to pacify Waziristan once and for all. The Pakistani Army has sent a clear message to the militants that Pakistan would deploy its forces in the towns of Mir Ali, Miranshah, Dand-i-Darpa Kheil, Shawal, Razmak, Magaroti, Kalosha, Angor Ada. The Pakistani Army is aiming to establish permanent bases which would be manned by thousands of military and paramilitary troops."
According to the security official, an ultimatum had been delivered to the militants recently during a temporary ceasefire. The army would set a deadline and give safe passage into Afghanistan to all al-Qaeda members and Taliban commanders who had gathered in Waziristan to launch a large-scale post-Ramadan operation in Afghanistan. They, along with wanted tribal warrior leaders, would all leave Pakistan, and never return.
More thoughts on this at The Tank on National Review Online.
Meanwhile, Bhutto's back in Pakistan and the Pakistani Supreme Court has yet to rule on Musharraf's election and its opposition. It had previously promised to decide the merits of the opposition by October 17 (yesterday), an now promises to decide in another 10-12 days.