Sep 28 2008
Good news is coming out today from the South Waziristan Agency of Pakistan’s FATA region. Â Baitullah Mehsud, a top Taliban leader and military commander claimed to be behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is possibly dying:
Baitullah Mehsud, the head of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is seriously ill, leading to convergence of the top TTP leadership in the Makeen area of South Waziristan Agency, reported Times of India quoting sources.
â€œHe seems to have gone into a coma,â€ the newspaper quoted the sources as have said.
â€œMilitant commanders have rushed to Makeen after receiving the information about deteriorating health of their top commander,â€ sources said.Â
Hmm, seems we have a gathering of high valued targets at hand. Might be a good time for some Predator missiles.Â
The news of his illness comes at a time when his forces are fighting a major battle with Pakistan forces in nearby Bajuar Agency:
Pakistan is fighting a battle that it claims will break the back of the Taliban insurgency within a matter of months.
For the past six weeks Pakistani troops, supported by helicopter gunships, tanks and heavy artillery, have begun to drive Taliban militants out of the tribal area of Bajaur.
The army has claimed it has killed more than 1,000 militants in Bajaur, a place described by commanders as a â€œmega-sanctuaryâ€ for militants and the â€œcentre of gravity of the insurgencyâ€.Â
â€œThe threat from Bajaur radiates in all directions. If we dismantle this here and destroy its leadership, then 65 per cent of militancy will be controlled. If they lose this, they lose everything,â€ said Major Gen Tariq Khan, the commanding officer of the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force that is engaged in the bulk of counterinsurgency operations in the tribal areas.Â
To the east is the restive former tourist region of Swat, and trouble is flaring south, through the Mohmand tribal area and into the major city of Peshawar. On the Afghan side is a border with the Taliban hot spot of Kunar province.
Washington has expressed its approval of the Bajaur operation, but analysts have questioned why Islamabad allowed parts of it to be governed by a Taliban parallel government.
Bajaur was deemed by US intelligence to be the sanctuary of Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama bin Ladenâ€™s deputy, who escaped an air strike in Bajaur in 2006.
Militants in Bajaur joined forces with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan group of Baitullah Mehsud, who is based in South Waziristan.
With Iraq now stabilized and most of the terrorist thugs now hiding in the Pakistan tribal regions, we could be seeing the beginning of the end of Islamist Terrorism on a larger scale (it will never disappear all together). Â With US and NATO forces, along with the Afghanis, holding the border closed, the Pakistani forces can move in and perform their own variation of The Surge.
Former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri has disclosed that Pakistan had allowed the United States to conduct limited operations in the country against al-Qaeda and Taliban-linked militants. He was giving interview to a private television channel.
This is the first public conformation of permission for the United States to launch operations in Pakistan against the militants.
Kasuriâ€™s statement came days after the US troops entered Pakistan tribal region of Waziristan on September 3, and killed 20 people including women and children.
Former Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif recently demanded disclosure of all secret agreements with the United States by former President Musharraf.
â€œWe could not go to the limits that were demanded by the US,â€ Kasuri said.
I can’t link to the stories now, but it has been hinted in the news since since before Bhutto’s assassination that we had limited permission to engage key, high valued targets. Â When Obama blurted out he would attack our enemies on Pakistan soil, and McCain said it was dumb to say something like that openly, McCain was trying to warn America Obama was about to blow the whole agreement out of the water by making it public.
Yeah, that’s ‘change’ all right. Â And experience is nothing more than ‘the past’.
Update: Looks like my suggestion about a little Predator Power is happening already:
Continuing with their violation of Pakistanâ€™s airspace, US and NATO spy planes and helicopters were seen flying over the skies of South and North Waziristan, Mohmand Agency and Chaman on Sunday.
Spy dronesâ€™ flights caused panic among local people, a private TV channel reported. Two NATO helicopters were seen hovering over Chaman along the Pak-Afghan border. Frontier Corps has been put on high alert following flights by NATO helicopters.
Sources in Frontier Corps said that NATO helicopters did not violate Pakistanâ€™s airspace at Chaman but they were seen hovering near the border.
The Pentagon has ordered that raids on suspected terrorist targets within Pakistan be stepped up to pressurise al-Qaeda leaders and distract them from preparing attacks on American targets elsewhere, claimed a British newspaper.Â
Be vewy, vewy qwiet – we’re hunting tewowists!