Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Waziristan Sellout

Earlier this week, the government of Pakistan signed a "peace" deal with a collection of militant groups in the restive North Waziristan region calling themselves the "Pakistani Taliban". Pakistan's Dawn daily newspaper reports the details of the agreement:

The agreement envisages that the foreigners living in North Waziristan will have to leave Pakistan but those who cannot leave will be allowed to live peacefully, respecting the law of the land and the agreement.

Both parties (army and militants) will return each other’s weapons, vehicles and communication tools seized during various operations.

It said that tribal elders, Mujahideen and Utmanzai tribe would ensure that no-one attacked law-enforcement personnel and state property.

“There will be no target killing and no parallel administration in the agency. The writ of the state will prevail in the area”, the agreement said.

It said that militants would not enter the settled districts adjacent to the agency.

The agreement said that the government would release prisoners held in military action and would not arrest them again.

Tribesmen’s ‘incentives’ would be restored, it said and bound the administration to resolve disputes in accordance with the local customs and traditions.

It said the government would pay compensation for the loss of life and property of innocent tribesmen during the recent operation. There will be no ban on display of arms. However, tribesmen will not carry heavy weapons.
Let's see if we can summarize this in a bit more direct language:

  • The Taliban in North Waziristan will gently ask the foreign (al-Qaeda) terrorists who are living there to leave. But, if they don't want to leave, they are welcome to stay as long as they "live peacefully."
  • The Pakistani government will release all of the terrorists it captured during the operation in North Waziristan, give them their weapons back, and not arrest these terrorists again.
  • The Pakistani government will stop hunting down terrorists in the North Waziristan region.
  • Terrorists and tribesmen in North Waziristan will be free to brandish weapons as they walk around the place, so long as they are not "heavy weapons". (not that I can see a terrorist wanting to drive around town in a tank anyway)
  • The Pakistani government will pay money to the people in North Waziristan to compensate them for any damage they caused in trying to hunt down terrorists.
  • Pakistan agreed to have any disputes resolved according to "local customs", presumably in a tribal court who will likely find in favor of the terrorists no matter what the dispute.

In short, a very one-sided agreement in favor of the "Pakistani Taliban" militants in Waziristan. Pakistan has essentially surrendered and run away with its tail between its legs, giving in to every demand the militants made of them.

This type of agreement would be disturbing enough under normal circumstances, but is particularly insidious here. One thing worth pointing out: Waziristan is the region where it is widely suspected that Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, and all the other various terrorist leaders who fled from Afghanistan are hiding. Does this agreement mean Pakistan has just given amnesty to bin Laden?

A few days ago, ABC News conducted a phone interview with Pakistani military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan and asked him this exact question. After the interview was published, the Pakistani government alleged that Sultan was "grossly misquoted", however ABC News has the interview recorded on tape. Was this a misquote? Judge for yourself:

Q. ABC News: If bin Laden or Zawahiri were there, they could stay?

A. Gen. Sultan: No one of that kind can stay. If someone is there he will have to surrender, he will have to live like a good citizen, his whereabouts, exit travel would be known to the authorities.

Q. ABC News: So, he wouldn't be taken into custody? He would stay there?

A. Gen. Sultan: No, as long as one is staying like a peaceful citizen, one would not be taken into custody. One has to stay like a peaceful citizen and not allowed to participate in any kind of terrorist activity.

General Sultan said today it was "hair splitting" to speculate whether troops would be sent in if bin Laden was found in North Waziristan.

"If someone is found there, we will see what is to be done," General Sultan said today. "Pakistan is committed to the war on terror, and of course we will go after any terrorist found to be operating here," he said.

Does this sound like a misquote? I think not.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been sold out. Sold up the river by our allies in Pakistan, who decided it was acceptable to make a deal with the devil, and allow this devil to continue living and operating from its soil. Now that Pakistan has made this deal, the terrorists have free rein to continue operating in the Waziristan region: setting up training camps, running command and control centers, etc. So long as they "keep the peace" and do not target their nefarious works against Pakistan, they are welcome to stay there under the terms of this agreement.

The repercussions from this "peace" agreement will be felt around the world. Terrorists leaders in Waziristan will be able to freely direct the murderous activities of their followers in Iraq, Europe, East Africa, and even here in America, and we are left with no recourse. The Pakistani authorities who signed this "peace" agreement should be ashamed of themselves!