Wednesday, November 19, 2008
clipped from: www.atimes.com
The Taliban this year decided to target the supply lines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as it passed through
Pakistan - as much as 90% of NATO's needs take this route, with no viable alternative.
Over the past 10 days attacks on Kabul-bound conveys in the Khyber Agency have reached unprecedented levels. Thirteen containers full of arms and ammunition, military vehicles and food were looted by the Taliban, forcing an entire NATO convoy from the southern port city of Karachi to stop in Peshawar,
It was not until Monday, under extraordinary government-enabled security measures, that the convoy was able to resume its journey.
530 containers loaded with armored personnel vehicles, military trucks, Humvees, arms and ammunition have not yet been delivered. They were sent four months ago from Jabal-i-Ali in the United Arab Emirates to Karachi.
The Taliban are now active in and around Peshawar. There has been a high-profile abduction of an Iranian diplomat and attacked foreign journalists
They are also killing pro-government tribal chiefs in Bajaur and Mohamand Agencies. Pakistan will be forced to retreat and leave the Taliban alone
Taliban's control in Afghanistan is such that they are inching towards a serious escalation of the violence which could create serious turmoil right in the heart of Kabul.
The provinces of Wardak, Logar, Kapisa and Parwan, all relatively close to Kabul, are either partially controlled by the Taliban or
no-go areas for anti-Taliban forces.
NATO is reluctant to entrust Pakistan with tackling the problem.
NATO will therefore lead all actions, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Last week, the NATO commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, visited Islamabad to brief parliamentarians
McKiernan wanted to take Pakistani lawmakers into his confidence over a new NATO initiative to increase the scope of Operation Lion Heart, which involves US strikes on insurgent targets in the Kunar region of Afghanistan and a full-scale Pakistani campaign in the region of Bajaur Agency.
Two prominent names came under discussion at these meetings: retired Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul and a former ISI official, retired Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja.
Gul, a former head of the ISI, is suspected of providing political and moral support to the Taliban-led resistance in Afghanistan.
Khawaja was the first person in the country to assist the displaced families of Arab fighters who fled to Pakistan after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001
Tightening the noose around people such as Gul and Khawaja and the like is one way to cut off support for the Taliban.