Here are my two cents in regards to the current situation in Swat:
- The success or failure of the current agreement between the NWFP Government and the TNSM/Taliban should be defined by its ‘intended’ outcomes. The situation will be much clearer in the next few weeks. It may be noted that previously a similar peace deal by Mushararraf with the Taliban in Waziristan failed because Musharraf double-crossed both the USA and the Pakistani nation in order to safeguard the interests of the ISI. In my view, the strategic depth syndrome (re General Zia, Hamid Gul, Mushy, Kayani) is very much alive and kicking.
- TTP, TSNM, other jihadi and sectarian organizations are fully entitled to claim victory in the shape of this so-called shariat peace deal. However, the victory was planned and engineered in the ISI headquarters, not in Swat or FATA.
- The success of the military operation was dependent on the willingness and sincerity of the most powerful stakeholder, i.e. Pakistan Army. That will was simply lacking. The loss of low ranking soldiers, civilians, Talibs was accepted as collateral damage/ cannon fodder/ minor sacrifice in hope of much bigger jihadi gains.
- Indeed, the TTP will use this time to further reinforce their terrorist (wrongly known as jihadi) capabilities.
Here are some quick references / worth reading articles:
ANP deal with TNSM in Swat: What do ordinary Pakistanis think?
Will the Taliban be answerable to Shariat Courts? An analysis by Abdul Haye Kakar, BBC Urdu dot com:
Who controls Swat? Report on BBC Urdu dot com:
Finally, the bigger picture, this warning by Mr. Holbrooke:
Which explains why new alliances are being forged:
The ISI forges the Taliban alliance in Waziristan against the war on terror…
For a change of taste, this piece by a right-wing journalist, Ansar Abbasi:
In the end, a few questions for critical readers:
- In your view, why could not our army jam/eliminate the FM radio stations used by terrorists?
- Why could not they locate and eliminate terrorists and their leaders, e.g. Baitullah Mehsud and Molvi Omar in Waziristan, and Mullah Fazlullah and Muslim Khan in Swat, who conduct regular media briefings, conduct shariat courts and administer ‘swift justice’ on regular basis.
- Why were so many schools destroyed during the military curfew in Swat?
- If this army could not save Swat from a ragtag force of 2000 to 5000, how could it save us from India or the USA? (By that standard, it seems that Indian Army has shown much better performance in Kashmir.)