Thursday, July 30, 2009

Taliban Assassinate Another Tribal Militia Leader In NW Pakistan


I blogged about the fact that the Taliban would be swift to try and suppress the formation of lashkars (tribal militias) in NW Pakistan and indeed, one of the best ways to do just that is to take out the leaders of those villages where the lashkars have been formed...and that is exactly what happened in the district of Shangla, as a tribal leader was assassinated by 50 Taliban jihadis. From the story here at The Long War Journal, we see this:


The Taliban assassinated a tribal leader who organized resistance to the Taliban in the northwestern district of Shangla.
More than 50 Taliban fighters assaulted the home of Khalil Rehman, a tribal leader who raised a Lashkar, or local militia, to battle the Taliban in the isolated district that borders Swat and Buner. Rehman's son and two others were also wounded in the assault. Two Taliban fighters were killed after police and other security forces responded to the attack


As for the Taliban strategy, this is a good recap of that from the article:


The assassination of Shangla's anti-Taliban tribal leader is part of the Taliban's strategy to destroy any tribal resistance.
The Taliban have viciously responded to efforts by tribal leaders to oppose the spread of extremism in the tribal areas. Tribal opposition has been violently attacked and defeated in Peshawar, Dir, Arakzai, Khyber, and Swat. Suicide bombers have struck at tribal meetings held at mosques, schools, hotels, and homes.
The Taliban perfected this strategy in North and South Waziristan. Tribal leaders who opposed the Taliban were brutally liquidated. The Taliban would execute the leaders and dump their bodies on the roadside with notes pinned to their chests branding them as "US spies" and traitors. The bodies are often mutilated and beheaded.
The Taliban have made very public examples of local leaders who have dared to resist. Last December, the Swat Taliban executed a local tribal leader named Pir Samiullah, then returned to the village to dig up his body and hang it in the town square. The villagers were warned not to remove his body or they would face the same fate

Now, in some of these tactics we really see the influence of al Qaeda in the Taliban operations. Much of this "shock and awe" terror was perfected by al Qaeda in Iraq and although it eventually backfired on al Qaeda there, initially it halted some of the formation of Awakenings in Iraq. Whether or not these tribes in NW Pakistan will continue to rebel against the ruthless Taliban remains to be seen but this latest assassination is telling the people of Shangla that the Taliban are there to stay and the people better fall in line quickly.


Anti-Taliban tribal militia leader assassinated in Pakistan's northwest

The Taliban assassinated a tribal leader who organized resistance to the Taliban in the northwestern district of Shangla.
More than 50 Taliban fighters assaulted the home of Khalil Rehman, a tribal leader who raised a Lashkar, or local militia, to battle the Taliban in the isolated district that borders Swat and Buner. Rehman's son and two others were also wounded in the assault. Two Taliban fighters were killed after police and other security forces responded to the attack, Daily Times reported.
The Taliban established bases in Shangla, Mansehra, Haripur, Battagram, Mardan, Malakand, and Swabi after the military launched operations to clear the Taliban in neighboring Swat, Buner, and Dir.
Taliban units ranging from 50 to 150 fighters fanned out through the districts with no resistance from the military, which claimed it established blocking positions to prevent the Taliban from retreating from the battlefield and bleeding into bordering districts.
The Taliban moved into Shangla in April after cementing control in Swat and Buner. More than 70 Taliban fighters occupied a hospital while others fanned out and took over control of government buildings and an emerald mine.
In May, the Taliban established checkpoints in Chakesar, a vital region that links Shangla to districts to the east. The Shangla tribes threatened to oust the Taliban and raised a lashkar. But the tribes said they did not want the assistance of the government.
"We told the Taliban that the local people would have to fight them if they intruded into the Chakesar area," a tribal leader told The News in May. "We made it clear that the people of Chakesar don’t want security forces in their area and would have to deal with the militants on their own."
The military and locals in Shangla claimed the Taliban retreated into Mansehra in June after the military launched an operation and ejected the Taliban form the emerald mine.
Tribal opposition has been ruthlessly crushed in the past
The assassination of Shangla's anti-Taliban tribal leader is part of the Taliban's strategy to destroy any tribal resistance.
The Taliban have viciously responded to efforts by tribal leaders to oppose the spread of extremism in the tribal areas. Tribal opposition has been violently attacked and defeated in Peshawar, Dir, Arakzai, Khyber, and Swat. Suicide bombers have struck at tribal meetings held at mosques, schools, hotels, and homes.
The Taliban perfected this strategy in North and South Waziristan. Tribal leaders who opposed the Taliban were brutally liquidated. The Taliban would execute the leaders and dump their bodies on the roadside with notes pinned to their chests branding them as "US spies" and traitors. The bodies are often mutilated and beheaded.
The Taliban have made very public examples of local leaders who have dared to resist. Last December, the Swat Taliban executed a local tribal leader named Pir Samiullah, then returned to the village to dig up his body and hang it in the town square. The villagers were warned not to remove his body or they would face the same fate
Samiullah's tribe had been the showcase for Pakistan's "awakening," the indigenous tribal uprising against the Taliban modeled after Iraq's Sunni resistance to al Qaeda and allied jihadi groups. After Samiullah's death and desecration, the Swat tribal resistance collapsed.
Last month, the Taliban also executed Zainuddin Mehsud, a South Waziristan Taliban leader who sided with the government against Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. Within weeks of denouncing Baitullah as an apostate, Zainuddin was murdered by his bodyguard.