At last, Pakistan zeroes in on Baitullah Mehsud


At last, Pakistan zeroes in on Baitullah Mehsud

After a successful operation at Manawan, Pakistani security forces cleared out the terrorists, capturing five terrorists alive, who will no doubt prove useful in the investigations that follow. The interior adviser, Mr Rehman Malik, has named Baitullah Mehsud, “amir” of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan, (TTP) as the planner and executioner of the terrorist operation, although the speculative reference to a “foreign hand” stays on the table “to be on the safe side”. Mehsud has claimed responsibility for the Manawan attack, and threatened to carry out similar operations in the future. The fact is that Pakistan’s enemy number one is the TTP, which commands the chaos-making activities of the Taliban in the tribal areas and Swat and is now expanding its activity to Punjab and the southern region, including Karachi.

A measure of confusion has thus been removed and Pakistan will now be more determined to act in an organised manner against the spread of terrorist activity in the country. The United States too has only recently recognised that TTP is a part of the Al Qaeda and Taliban threat by putting a price on Baitullah Mehsud’s head. Earlier, it made a distinction between Afghan Taliban and Pakistani Taliban and complained that Pakistan was concentrating on the latter while winking at (or even helping in) the terrorist activity of the former in Afghanistan. What Pakistan has to do now is to complete the mental revision on some aspects of terrorism to bring cohesion to its anti-terrorist response.

Talking to the TV channels on Monday, Brigadier (Retd) Mehmood Shah, an expert on terrorism in the tribal areas, said clearly that the official Pakistani mind was still reluctant to connect the TTP and the country’s various jihadi organisations with Al Qaeda, and thus gave itself room to speculate about such matters as terrorist funding through which it usually arrived at the “guesstimate” about the “foreign hand” which usually implies India and even the United States. For good measure, at times even Israel is named by experts on TV, adding to more confusion than objective analysis. This in turn has resulted in the local authorities ignoring warnings that a terrorist attack is imminent, as happened twice in one month in Lahore, in respect of the attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team and the raid at Manawan. In the first attack, the TTP had only to plant the “information” that the terrorists were going to come from India.

A misanalysis of the source of terrorism has led to misunderstandings between Pakistan and the West which, led by the United States, is now expressing doubts about the handling of the situation by the ISI. From the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, down to the CENTCOM chief General Petraeus and Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, all have now expressed fears that the ISI could actually be supporting the Afghan Taliban in their terrorist attacks into Afghanistan. The trend, allegedly based on telephonic intercepts, actually began under the Bush Administration when, during President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to Washington, the “complaint” was made to the Pakistani delegation.

Pakistan’s military strategy is based on its threat perception from India, both from the eastern as well as the western border of the country. This perception compels Pakistan to look at the ongoing developments in Afghanistan as being against its national interest. Therefore there is need on both sides to make revisions and adjustments in the anti-terrorist strategy, failing which there will be adverse consequences for the region. On the other hand, Pakistan needs to realise that a regional consensus developing among Pakistan’s neighbours is bound to isolate and harm it in the coming days if it does not revisit its strategy and make adjustments.

The foremost threat is internal and it comes directly from the Taliban-Al Qaeda combine, as proved by the incident at Manawan. The Pakistani mind should now be concentrated on the removal of this internal threat. Crucial international economic assistance to Pakistan is growing in these days of global crisis in the anticipation that a common regional approach to terrorism will be evolved that will include Pakistan. Hopefully Pakistan will steer skilfully through this process to preserve its self-interest. (Daily Times)


An eye-opener for the nation

Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Asad Munir

The terrorist attack at Munawan Police Academy again the fact that the state of Pakistan is at war against professional, determined and well trained terrorist groups which even have the capacity to sustain operations conducted by ground troops.

The Mujahideen are given more credit than they deserve for the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan. Some generals decided to use these trained jihadis as state instruments for objectives they thought could not be achieved through conventional warfare and political means.

Foreign militants from different countries headed to Afghanistan. Training camps were established. In 1998 the Taliban movement in Pakistan was initiated in Mirali, North Waziristan. In 1999 local Taliban were raiding video shops and making bonfires of TVs and videos cassettes. Orakzai Agency was partially under the control of the local Taliban. A movement against NGOs started in the whole NWFP. A mullah of Dir issued a fatwa that anyone could take in marriage any female NGO worker found in the area. In 2000 TVs, video cassettes, VCRs and cable network systems were torched in different parts of the NWFP, including, Peshawar, and in FATA.

In the aftermath of the NATO forces’ operation in Torabora, the foreign militants fled Afghanistan and took refuge in different parts of Pakistan. In March 2002, the NATO forces conducted operation Anaconda in Shahi Kot area of Paktiya province. A large number of foreigners crossed over to North and South Waziristan agencies where the local tribal provided them shelter because of religious fervour, monetary benefits and the Pashtunwali code of hospitality. Most of these foreigners had not taken part in the jihad against Russia. These militants had one thing in common. They had differences with the ruling regimes and the systems of government in their own countries and wanted to change their governments through violent means. They came to Afghanistan from for training and went back to destabilise their ruling regimes through terror and violence. Very few had any affiliation with Al Qaeda. After 9/11, the Taliban movements in the tribal areas had subsided. They disappeared from Orakzai Agency and were no more active in North Waziristan In 2003 Gulbadin Hikmatyar, the Taliban and Al Qaeda entered into an alliance to fight the NATO forces jointly in Afghanistan. The apparent strategy was to start guerrilla warfare against the NATO forces, causing attrition and prolonging the conflict to tire these forces out and force them to leave Afghanistan. They also sought to restore the Taliban state existing in Afghanistan before 9/11. At the same time, they wanted to discredit the NATO forces through a propaganda campaign presenting the war on terror as a crusade launched by infidels against Muslims.

They exploited the sentiments of the Pashtuns’ code of Pashtunwali to get shelter and support in those areas.

They wanted to eliminate prominent elders and Maliks, create terror by use of brutal force and to Talibanise the whole tribal area so that security forces could not operate freely in the area. They portrayed both Karzai and Pakistani rulers as puppets of the US.

The Mujahideen and local Taliban joined hands with this alliance and started raids against the NATO forces across the border. The strength of foreigners started swelling. New volunteers joined them. The tribal areas were safe havens where NATO forces could not conduct ground operations against militants. Most of the prominent Maliks who could stand against them were killed. As long as Pakistani Army operations were targeting foreign terrorists and were not directed against the local facilitators and tribal Mujahideen they avoided confronting the Army.

With the establishments of border post manned by the Army and FC the cross-border movement on frequented routes became difficult for Al Qaeda and its local allies. Therefore, the militants reviewed their strategy. Raiding of army convoys with IEDs started. In 2004, The Army and FC suffered heavy casualties. Targeting of law enforcement agencies and brutal killings of local Maliks and suspected informers continued throughout the year. In February 2005 a peace deal was signed with Baitullah Mehsud, who until mid-2004 was an unknown person in the area. Baitullah virtually took control of Mehsud areas of the agency. A reign of terror was let loose against those who could pose a threat to the Taliban’s rule. Those tribals who did not support the Taliban’s brand of Islam assumed that the law enforcement agencies were not serious in establishment of the writ of the government, and they surrendered to Biatullah. Al Qaeda and other foreigners felt more secure in Mehsud areas. The Taliban were now more confident and started spreading their influence to other tribal agencies. In December 2007, Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan was established.

The Taliban are now controlling most areas of FATA and some parts of the settled areas of the NWFP. Some politicians, journalists and majority of middle class think that we are fighting Americans war. They do not realise the magnitude and nature of threat this country is confronted with. Baitullah is not going to lay down arms and sit on a shop once the NATO forces leave Afganistan. Fazalullah, Gul Bahadur, Faqir Muhammad and all other Taliban leaders would not like to part with the power they have. Once NATO forces leave Afghanistan they will continue with their activities and will try to spread their rule to the rest of NWFP and the rest of Pakistan. This is our war and we have to win it, using dialogue where it is useful. (The News)

The writer is a retired brigadier. Email:


Mehsud threatens more attacks

* TTP chief claims responsibility for Lahore attack
* Vows attacks inside American territory

Staff Report

PESHAWAR: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the attack on a police training academy in Lahore and suicide attacks in Islamabad and Bannu, and warned of further attacks in Pakistan in the coming days and later in the US.

“These (attacks) were in reaction to (US) drone strikes in the Tribal Areas,” Baitullah Mehsud told BBC Urdu over the telephone from an undisclosed location.

“Over the next few days, more such attacks will come … two or three suicide attacks will take place,” warned Mehsud, without naming any cities or targets. “As long as the drone attacks continue, we will not stop.” The Taliban leader said he would himself “teach the US a lesson”.

“Very soon we will take revenge from America, not in Afghanistan but in Washington, which will amaze the entire world,” he told the AFP news agency over the telephone. “The maximum they can do is martyr me. We will exact our revenge on them from inside America … but let us avenge [those in] Pakistan first.”

Analysts said Mehsud’s announcement on responsibility for the attacks could pressure the Pakistan People’s Party government to order a military operation against Baitullah.

“Rehman Malik described the incident as an attack on Pakistan … the government should now move against Mehsud for ordering the attack in Lahore,” said the analysts.

Rehman said on Monday that an initial investigation into the Lahore attack indicated Mehsud’s involvement. (Daily Times)


Nazir Naji

Muhammad Amir Khakwani

Some relevant comments:

Kashif said:

All those who showed some reservations about the authenicty of Baitullah Masood’s statement about acceptingthe responsibility of Police Academy attack must come out of state of denial. The MF was on interview spree yesterday. He says he is retaliating against drone attacks. When Obama administration came in power they asked CIA to review drone attacks policy. CIA came back and said drone attacks are very demaging politically but very effective militarily. Because of drone attacks alqaida and taliban leadership is not the run. In the scenario where part of Pakistan Army supports militants drone attacks are inevitable. Based on that Obama administration informed Pakistan and drone attacks will continue. Baitullah Masud’s yesterday’s condessions and interview CIA review was right. Drone attacks are breaking the back bone of militant organization and they should remain on until their military targets are met. We should all condem attacks against Pakistani civilians, police and Army by militants not drone attacks by US against militants.

aly said:

حملوں ہم نے کیے ہیں: بیت اللہ محسود

still its not our war.
and we are worried why US drones are attacking these barbaric.

this US Daron attacks are bases on an old time tested philosophy as Bhullay Shah Said long ago.

“Kuttay Thay Gall Patta Huway Tay Watta Koi Na maray”
[if you dog is chained, no one will through stone at the dog]

if our army can NOT control these People {what ever you call them} US will continue its Drone attacks.

aly said:

so who is mullah fazal ullah, bait ullah mehsood, laskher-jhangvi, Lashker-e-TOIABA?

are they the front man of US and INDIA?

aly said:

who is an enemy:
anyone who wanted to impose their ‘agenda’ on Pakistan, through arm struggle, and fighting the security forces.

WHO we are fighting against:
the people who dnt believe in democracy, constitution of Pakistan, state of Pakistan, system of Pakistan, blowing schools, slaughtering army men, and running their own parallel govt.

WHAT we are trying to achieve:
a country where security of everyone is guaranteed and everyone playing in accordance with constitution not by arms, guns, rockets, or suicide attacks.

aly said:

my solution is simple.

1-ask them to surrender to the constitution of Pakistan
2-if they dnt then fight with them until they are brought to justice or get killed.

if you will not fight with them THERE they will come and fight us in our cities then they will choose a time and a target.

I agree what Rehman Malik said

‘there are two option either you hand over your country to them or stand fast and fight with them’

i am definitely for 2nd option.

aly said:

i think its my war because

1-my own country has been captures by these people
2-they dnt believe in my constitution
3-they dnt believe in our way of life
4-they are taking my flag down and flying their own flag up.
5-they are killing my own countrymen.
6-they are fighting my army, my police, my political workers.
7-they dnt obey any law of my country.
8-they want to impose their ‘will’ on others by force rather than by vote.
9-they are slaughtering my people who they think are ‘wrong’
10-they are running a parallel police system, Judaical system, jail system.
11-they are taking away the liberalise of countrymen given to them by the constitution of Pakistan.
12-they are waging the war with other countries with out the consent of my state.

aly said:

i think if someone has to resign then its should be army chief, and or ISI chief who failed to kill/capture bait ullah mehsood, mungal bagh, mullah fazal ullah, maulvi omer when GOVT has given them go ahead for operation against them.

I think our army either don’t have a WILL or a CAPASITY to wipe this menace out of our country.

if our army will not do that then US/NATO will come and do that job.

until unless the sponsors and supporters of these barbaric extremists are at large no GOVT will be able to control them.

mark my words.

and its the right wing parties who are the supporters are sympthsiers of these people people you can call them ‘Jihadies’, taliban, mullahs, religious extremists, lashkers, jaishes. or what ever.

aly said:

did bush resigned when US was attacked on 9/11.
did Brown resigned when UK was attacked 7/7
did ‘Nikka’ sharif resigned when LAHORE was attacked in GRO and FIA center.
did ‘Nikka’ Sahrif Resigned when ‘Extremists’ was ordering to shut the CD shops in LAHORE and shops themselves burning CDs on these threats.
Did “Nikka” Sharif resigned when extremists attacked the SUFI FESTIVAL in LAHORE.
did Nikka SHARIF resigned when there were repeated attacks in Multan, Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi and other parts of PUNJAB.

if none of above resigned then why Rehman Malik {who in fact is not responsible for law an order in PROVINCES} its a provincial GOVT responsibility.

what the hell is army doing whose main responsibility is to wipe out these extremists from FATA which it failed to do or doesn’t wanted to do.

hassan akbar said:

Though i generally restrict myself to watching programs on this site and religiously avoid making comments …. due to the seeming lack of logical discussions …. barring some, I must pick the pen and doll out a little black and white advice on how governments work. Although it’s quite apparent that the general trend at this forum is people bashing … I hope this statement is taken in its “stating an opinion” stride and not as “trying to create an argument”.

Not that im defending Malik or Tasser … but to argue that the attacks took place due to their focus on political wheeling dealing or rather more absurdly, as a result of governor’s rule, is both illogical as well as political simplification. Firstly, the sri lankan attacks took place a couple of days after the imposition of governors rule. Notwithstanding the effect of management changes at the provincial level in decreasing response effectiveness, we must accept the fact that organizing, planning, infiltration and logistical requirements necessitate the deduction that such a plan was afoot weeks if not months prior to the actual event. Would they have not carried out their atrocities if Shahbaz Sharif was still CM? I don’t think that would have stopped them. Secondly, while its highly unacceptable that none of the culprits were apprehended in the first attempt it isn’t wholly unimaginable to realize why they managed to escape. The liberty chowk strategically provides at least 10 different quick routes to escape the scene. ppl familiar with the location would agree. A quick operation followed by a swift exit would be possible in the face of the impossibility of cordoning that area with limited police nafri.

Now coming to the latest incident. We must appreciate the fact that policing is a provincial subject and as such the information ministry under Mr. Rehman has little or no direct control over it. The ministry provided detailed senario’s for possible activities based on its intel and expected a response. Here, the faliure of the punjab police should be solely put on the shoulders of Mr. Taseer and not Mr. Rehman. Secondly, we must be aware of how jealously bureaucrats guard their terrains, because that gives them a sense of power. The IG punjab would do the same in the face of interference from the interior ministry in operational matters. Thirdly, securing numerous police facilities in lahore alone is a big task. you need policemen for that and if they were all stationed at police barracks and training centers … our armchair critics would turn around and argue that they only defend themselves and not the streets. Thirdly, commendations to our police force who managed, this time, to capture some of the terrorists and finish the operation in a few hours…clearing the building without the help of the army or rangers … who primarily only provided the cordon.

My point therefore is that its easy to criticize and hard to do. Terrorism the world over is difficult terrain. Many of our friends here argue that why is it that the government/army always tell us so and so are in so and so city but never catch them? I hope you all understand the nature of intelligence gathering. A whisper on a phone here, a clue from an informant there and chatter on transmissions there is all you get. You don’t always get full details of their appearance, their target and their modus operandi. If they did they would catch them. Lastly, even if embedded sources did provide a little more detailed intel inaction is sometimes preferred as a means of preserving your few human intel sources whereby if they were suspected and beheaded you wouldn’t get any chatter at all.

The idea, of my mentioning all this, is simply to emphasize the extremely complex nature of how bureaucracies work and how intelligence is gathered. Having said that I also agree that even if, in the face of all these complications, an extremely high profile event happens heads should roll and ppl should be held accountable.

Unfortunately, we all hear of the intelligence failures because we see them transmitted live on networks…but we seldom hear of intel successes because of their inherently secretive nature. To end with an example. If our ppl catch 5 highly lethal guyz from shahdara all you get is one little ticker on geo or a third page report on dawn saying police/security agencies caught 5 ppl in shahdara on suspicion of terrorism….FINISH. If those some ppl ended blowing up a building you’d get 3 days of non-stop commentary on TV.

we just shouldn’t simplify things we (including me) don’t completely understand.


Mulla Nafs e Zakkiya said:

I have a suggestion…

lets create a pressure movement via media that Rehman Malik is more powerful then Gillani and even more powerful then Zardari…

lets chant this day and night and ask our contacts in media to keep pointing at this point in their small talk..

I am sure, the ego’s will clash soon and we will get rid of this evil person..

or else we can hire more of baitullah’s men to make it clear who the boss is..

I have a suspicion that Rehman Malik has some support in the Military too…not much but some what support …..otherwise it is impossible that after all these mega failures he is still able to talk like he does..

Salman be-taseer is out very soon… a matter of days….


aimalkhan said:

2 Terrorist Attacks in Lahore within a month with less than 50 dead gets 2 Featured Articles, with special Pro-Nawaz tadka.

Dozens of Drone Attacks and Terrorist Attacks in FATA/NWFP with at least 70 killed in Friday’s Mosque Attack in Jamrud = 1 News Highlight (currently at the bottom of the front page).

I just can’t understand the bias. Are the people of FATA/NWFP not the citizens of Pakistan. Why is it that Drone attacks and a proxy war between ISI backed Taliban and Army is tolerated in FATA/NWFP but we’re ready to nuke India if she tries to attack Jumaat-ud-Dawah hide-outs in AJK and Punjab.

Lets just get rid of FATA/NWFP and make our PPP/PMLN/MQM/ANP/JUI/JI boss’ in Washington happy.


PS: I have never been and never will be a fan or a supporter of PPP. I just don’t find any difference in Zardari and Nawaz when it comes to FATA/NWFP.

freemason said:

@ AimalKhan,

I do not belong to NWFP or FATA but I fully agree with you. It is very sad and beyond understanding that while we are giving coverage to the lives of police jawans lost in Punjab we have maintained a criminal silence over the lives of police and FC jawans lost in NWFP and FATA. Access to FATA may be a problem but access to NWFP areas where the police has been hit is not difficult. It is criminal of our national media and leadership to come out in support for the lives lost in one part of the country while maintaining a mum over the same thing happening in another part of the country. We all must come out in unison to express solidarity for the officers and jawans of law enforcement agencies specially the police no matter which part of the country they are serving. In this regard, we can send emails to national dailies and news channels informing them of their irresponsibility and biased approach to covering police casualties.

Source: pk politics