While the U.S. Army prepares its assault
on Sadr's Madhi Army, Pakistan continues the hunt
for al Qaeda in the tribal regions. The last round of combat between Pakistani forces and elements of Uzbeki and Chechen al Qaeda was a bloody fight, and the lesson has been learned by the Waziri tribal elders:
"The government has put a huge number of troops on our land, and they tell us they are searching for al-Qaida, but we want to make clear that there are no al-Qaida in Shawal," said Said Khan, one of 35 elders in the 30,000-strong Jani Khel tribe. "If there are foreigners, we will turn them over. We cannot afford to punish all of our people to protect one or two outsiders."
Pakistan appears to be serious about the crackdown in Waziristan, and is prepared to mount a long campaign to rid itself of al Qaeda sanctuaries on the borders of Afghanistan.
Brig. Mahmood Shah, chief of security for the tribal regions, said military action is a possibility. "We prefer a political solution, but at the same time, the threat of force is there and that is extremely important in the tribal areas," he told AP from his office in Peshawar. "Negotiations, threats and military action all go hand-in-hand."
Negotiations, threats and military action are the three pillars of diplomacy. Without allowing for military action, diplomacy is just talk. The Waziri tribal leaders will consider the Pakistani military operations last month when deciding how to handle foreign jihadis in their care.
Posted by bill roggio @ 11:58 PM