Replicating the Al Anbar model in FATA?
The News, January 31, 2009
Al Anbar is a region in Iraq that was devastated by Al Qaeda inflicted violence. Several Sunni tribes of the region formed an alliance, supported by the US, and took up arms against the terrorists. The tribes successfully controlled Al Qaeda terrorism and stabilized the region. In media it was called 'Al Anbar Awkening'.
All over the world think tanks studying the situation in FATA debate and discuss whether an Al Anbar style awakening is possible in FATA? Can FATA tribes take up arms against the Taliban and Al Qaeda? In my opinion there is tremendous potential for an Al Anbar style awakening in FATA. But there is one huge obstacle: the mistrust of the tribes in the military leadership, especially the intelligence agencies. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have been target killing tribal leaders and so far the military has failed to protect the latter. So far no one has even been officially accused or arrested of the target killing of more than 200 tribal leaders.
The target killing of the tribal leaders started in South Waziristan almost at the same time when the US was bombing Taliban and Al Qaeda hideouts in Afghanistan in 2001 and the militants ran towards Waziristan. They were not welcomed by the tribal leaders. In order to have a strong foothold in Waziristan, the militants killed more than 120 tribal leaders. Clearly the then government of General Pervez Musharraf was playing a double game. On one hand it joined the US led war on terror, on the other hand it allowed the militants to kill the tribal leaders and replace the tribal order with the Taliban order.
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