Thursday, July 28, 2005

Big Story on the Pakistan-Taliban Connection

Paul Watson has an important story in today's LA Times about how the Pakistani military is increasingly providing support to the Taliban.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf joined the Bush administration's war on terrorism and publicly turned against the Taliban immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. But Afghan officials allege that Taliban and allied fighters who fled to Pakistan after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001 are learning new, more lethal tactics from the Pakistani military at numerous training bases.
Watson also reports that Pakistani journalist and Times stringer Zulfiqar Ali has found evidence that numerous Pakistani training camps that were once closed have reopened starting in the Spring of this year. At the same time, Taliban attacks have intensified.

Over the next few days, we'll monitor whether other major newspapers follow up on this important story.

In related stories, AP reports that the Pakistani government has begun a crackdown on radical madrassas, or religious schools, and other religious zealots who preach violence. This crackdown follows the news that one of the London subway bombers had attended a madrassa. But for some needed context on this story, you need to turn to Pakistan's Daily Times, which quotes Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban:
As to the question if President Musharraf was “doing enough,” Rashid replied, “When crackdowns do occur, they aren’t effective. Three hundred, or even 2,000, people are picked up, they’re held for 90 days and then they are freed as soon as the attention and pressure from the West has stopped. There has never been an organised campaign to combat it. It has never taken place.”