FEATURE: The Taliban’s confederation of warlords

The new Taliban

The bomb was far from the biggest seen on the North-West Frontier but it did its job well. Placed in a water cooler, it ripped through the Nishtar Abad music market, sending shards of glass and splintered CDs in all directions. ‘Miraculously, no one was killed,’ said Mohammed Azam, who was shopping for presents for the Muslim holiday of Eid this weekend. Twenty people were injured, three seriously, and a dozen shops gutted.

For the police chief of Peshawar, the dusty Pakistan city 40 miles from the Afghan border, it was clear who planted last Tuesday’s bomb. ‘We suspect the involvement of those people who in recent months had sent letters to the CD and video shops, warning them to shut their businesses, saying it is against Islam,’ Abdul Majid Marwat said.

The ‘Pakistan Taliban’ – or one of the various groups claiming the name – had struck again. Within hours the debris was being cleared away and the blood wiped off the walls. ‘This is the life we lead,’ said Azam.’ We have no choice but to continue.’

The Pakistan Taliban’s campaigns go way beyond bombing music shops. Fifty miles south of Peshawar last week, a full-scale pitched battle, complete with air strikes and artillery barrages, raged between the Pakistani army and local and international militants dug into fortified positions in remote tribal villages. By the time a fragile calm had settled on the rocky hills, scattered palm trees and desiccated fields of Mir Ali, 50 soldiers, a 100 or so militants and around 100 civilians had died. Given the inaccessibility of the battlefield and the conflicting claims of the military and their opponents, accurate casualty figures are simply not available.

What is not in doubt is the scale of the fighting. It was a bloody week for everyone as half a dozen ragged conflicts raged across a stretch of land the size of Britain, from the Indus river to the central highlands of Pakistan. [complete article]

Terrorists in training head to Pakistan

As Al Qaeda regains strength in the badlands of the Pakistani-Afghan border, an increasing number of militants from mainland Europe are traveling to Pakistan to train and to plot attacks on the West, European and U.S. anti-terrorism officials say.

The emerging route, illuminated by alleged bomb plots dismantled in Germany and Denmark last month, represents a new and dangerous reconfiguration. In recent years, the global flow of Muslim fighters had shifted to the battlefields of Iraq after the loss of Al Qaeda’s Afghan sanctuary in late 2001. [complete article]

See also, Taliban use hostage cash to fund UK blitz (The Telegraph).

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1 thought on “FEATURE: The Taliban’s confederation of warlords

  1. Daulton Gleason

    My name is Daulton Gleason,
    and I am a senior attending South Kitsap High School in Port orchard Washington.
    I am only seveenteen years old, but I have a good head on my shoulders so to say.
    I haven’t been educated too well on the war and terrorism in the middle east, but I have recently enlisted to become a marine soldier in the United States military.
    After reading through a few of these articles I have realized that there is more than I had originaly thought to the war on terrorism.
    I have learned that over 54% of Afghanistan has a perminant presence of Taliban soldiers, which is much more than I had originaly anticipated. And that even im marketplaces where people go to get every day supplies to live, horrible things can happen…
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am grateful to all of the reporters and researchers who write for this site, and that I am very glad that I have visited this site because it has opened my mind to alot of new information!
    So again I will say thankyou to all who work so hard to bring this news and information to the American citizens, and I hope to learn more in the near and distant future.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Daulton E. Gleason

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