Dec 30 2007
I was one of a few who noticed around March of 2007 that something dramatic was happening in Iraq. There were some intermittent stories about conflicts between Iraqi Sunnis and al-Qaeda, which in hindsight were the first steps in the impressive turn around for Iraq and its future. When the local started to turn on al-Qaeda what was once sanctuary became a death trap. Insurgents cannot operate without the explicit support of locals. If that support is lost or, as in the case of al-Qaeda in Iraq, it turns into organized hostility, then that insurgency is over. We are just trying to determine when it will fall.
Well we have seen stories of conflict between local groups and ‘foreign fighters’ through out the Northern Tribal areas of Pakistan for some time now. And it is becoming clear from stories like this one that Pakistanis may be rising up against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in their last sanctuary on Earth:
A delegation of notables from Kurram Agency has appealed to President Pervez Musharraf and Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani to stop the ongoing violence that has resulted in the loss of more than 100 lives and billions of rupees’ worth of property.
Haji Latif Hussain, president, Kurram Welfare Society, said the residents had been fighting the Taliban infiltrating from Afghanistan, North and South Waziristan and al-Qaeda operatives in the area who were thousands in number. He added over 70 people had been killed in furious clashes during the last 45 days. “The armed forces of Pakistan are playing the role of silent spectators instead of countering the attackers and protecting the residents under attack,” he said.
Latif Hussain said Qaeda fighters had occupied various areas of Kurram Agency and blocked the main road from Peshawar to Parachinar, resulting in a shortage of basic commodities. “There is an acute shortage of medicines, food, electricity and water,” he added.
The Kurram Welfare Society president said that as a result of war, hundreds of women, children and the elderly had taken refuge in Peshawar while over a hundred students who were unable to move to their native areas because of the war had been forced to stay in Islamabad.
This request for military support from the central government to fend off terrorist thugs is very reminiscent of the Sunni Sheiks who created the Iraq Awakening movement by breaking with al-Qaeda and asking Iraq and America to support their efforts in fighting al-Qaeda. And this is not the only place this backlash has been starting to percolate. There has been reports of backlash against the terrorists in Swat as well.
Now we are also seeing reports that the Taliban in Afghanistan are being rejected so broadly that the Taliban have to resort to using foreign fighters since the local Afghanis are not supporting the cause any more:
Taliban insurgents are depending more on foreign fighters because of increased difficulties recruiting locals, Canadian Brig.-Gen. Marquis Hainse said Sunday.
Coalition forces have observed a greater number of Arabs and other foreign nationals among the insurgents killed recently during battles in Afghanistan’s southern provinces said Hainse, ISAF’s deputy commander at its Regional Command South.
While the Taliban has used foreign fighters for years, that reliance is increasing because of a local backlash by Afghans against the militant group, he said.
“There is more evidence of foreign fighters,” Hainse told CanWest News Service in an interview. “These are signs for us that they (the Taliban) have a recruiting problem.”
The Taliban movement is also said to have been plagued by an increasing number of defectors, even as its upper echelons were shaken by internal squabbles this week.
“Just the fact that the Taliban, or the insurgents, are showing a lot more interest in reconcilliating with the government in the last couple of months, to me, is a good sign,” Hainse said.
This is how things began unraveling for al-Qaeda in Iraq, leading to their continued destruction as peace continues to spread and deepen inside Iraq. The bloodshed they bring with them, the atrocities they inflict on their fellow Muslims, is so overwhelmingly horrible that just about everyone who ponders an alliance with al-Qaeda ends up fighting to destroy them in the end. The Muslim community is beginning to turn on al-Qaeda and their killing sprees. It is not beyond the realm of possibility for the same stench that arose from al-Qaeda in Iraq to rise again with their retreat into Afghanistan and Pakistan, turning the people in those areas against them just as it did the Sunnis in Iraq.
Update: More signs that al-Qaeda and the Taliban are actually crumbling in Afghanistan, not rising up.
The Taliban leadership are struggling to contain the fallout from an embarrassing public argument after a senior commander was sacked for disobeying orders but then refused to stand down.
Taliban spokesmen traded accusations in phone calls to news organisations after Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of the Islamist organisation, publicly sacked Mansoor Dadullah, the new overall ground commander fighting British forces in southern Afghanistan.
Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman, said Dadullah was sacked for disobeying orders and conducting activities against the Taliban’s rules and regulations.
He refused to elaborate on the exact nature of the charges.
But Dadullah said he was the victim of a conspiracy by his enemies. “It’s not true that Mullah Omar kicked me out of the Taliban,” he said.
Is Omar trying to avoid the same fate as al-Qaeda in Iraq? Is he trying to reign in a brutal thug before he turns the people of Afghanistan against the Taliban? Who knows – but again this is the kind of splintering of the opposition we saw in Iraq before al-Qaeda’s spectacular fall. Afghanistan has also seen its bloodiest year in 2007 – just like Iraq. That means the Taliban have been getting decimated and they have been on rampant killing sprees of their own – just like in Iraq. It must be repeatedly noted that the fighting is always its most intense right before the end of hostilities, when the losers are spent and vanquished by the winners.