Pakistani Army Allows Taliban to Move to New Sanctuary in Kurram Agency While Finally Agreeing To Carry Out Operation Against Militant Commanders in North Waziristan

Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 641,  October 25, 2010

By: Tufail Ahmad*

Introduction

While the Pakistani Army has agreed in principle to conduct an operation against the Taliban safe haven of North Waziristan, it appears that a move is already underway to shift the militants to a new sanctuary. This report will examine how Pakistani Army is recalibrating its strategy of not taking on the key militant commanders.

Currently, North Waziristan is the main refuge for the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and other foreign militants. In May this year, a Pakistani newspaper reported: "North Waziristan reportedly bustles with militants of all hues – from Jalaluddin's own Afghan militia to Hakimullah Mehsud-led Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to Punjabi Taliban fugitives belonging to the Lashkar-e-Zil [an Al-Qaeda unit] led by Commander Ilyas Kashmiri, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) led by Maulana Masood Azhar, Harkatul Jehadul Islami... and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi..."

The Haqqani Network led by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Hakimullah Mehsud-led TTP, and Al-Qaeda are united under the leadership of Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar, and all of them consider him the Emir-ul-Mumineen (leader of the faithful). Their main operations planning base is in North Waziristan.

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