Bajaur: the crucial test
Reports are that terrorists known as Taliban are crossing the border from the Kunar province in Afghanistan to fight against the Pakistani forces in Bajaur and other areas. Pakistan has informed the US about this because the NATO-ISAF forces have, strangely enough, not challenged the cross-border movement on this section of the Pak-Afghan frontier. Unless vigilance is mounted on the Afghan side, Pakistan’s operations inside Bajaur, in cooperation with lashkars of the local tribesmen, will not be as effective as needed. For the first time the army is winning the war for the hearts and minds there.
Bajaur is the smallest tribal agency in terms of area and largest in terms of population and qualifies to be integrated with the rest of Pakistan because of the high level of the consciousness of its people. It has 70 percent TV coverage which is comparable to Kurram Agency which too qualifies for integration before other agencies. The enemy clearly knows this and wants to make Bajaur the test of its ability to resist Pakistan. Kunar is where the Arab warriors congregated when they came for jihad because of the presence there of a Wahhabi warlord named Sayyaf. Now things have changed and the US must take a close look at the Kunar-Bajaur border and prevent Al Qaeda from receiving fresh instalments of warriors in Bajaur. This is a battlefront where Pakistan cannot afford to lose. (Daily Times)