Nov 28 2007
With al-Qaeda now spent in Iraq the focus of the war on terror is moving to Pakistan. There had been reports that the Pakistanis (with possible help from imbedded US Special Forces against certain targets) would start to purge Pakistan of foreign fighters that have been massing in that country for some months now. It seems the battle has begun in earnest:
Pakistani troops say they have recaptured a strategic mountain peak from militants in fighting in and around the north-western Swat Valley.
A radio station run by the pro-Taleban fighters has also been shut down.
The fighting in Swat is the first serious insurgent threat from pro-Taleban forces in what is known as a settled area.
Finally the army has begun its ground offensive in Swat after days of sniping at the Al Qaeda militants from its helicopter gunships, killing 35 on the first day. Since the army went into the Valley, there has been a steady growth in casualty among the outsider elements and their local supporters. This is a change from the humiliating reversals which the militants inflicted on the paramilitary personnel earlier on, forcing one to come to the conclusion that that phase in Swat had done much to undermine the confidence of the local population and given heart to the planners of Al Qaeda and its Taliban minions to act as if they owned Swat. The beheadings carried out by â€œforeign-lookingâ€ terrorists had nearly convinced the Swatis that a new government had actually come into being, pledging to institutionalise what they had always demanded as â€œjustice without delayâ€.
As the editorial notes (and this report from CS Monitor confirms) the people of Swat and Pakistan are ready to be rid of the brutal Islamo Fascists. The atrocities that come with al-Qaeda’s and the Taliban’s brand of Islam doesn’t wear well with the general populations in any area of the globe. It would seem that either the Pakistanis found their footing, or those US assets their to ‘help train’ are making a difference in the outcome of the battles. Let’s just hope these forces can surround and find al-Qaeda’s leadership if they are truly hiding out in Pakistan. That would be a great end to President Bush’s second term.